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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • If your trans fluid looks and smells good, and the stuff in the pan is very fine (VS chunks), all may be well. It is sure a lot of work to bust open the pan (not to mention the mess and gaskets) since there isn't a drain plug, VS having a machine set up between the transmission and cooler lines. They claim to get it all out while it is running. Whatever. I would rather DIY my engine oil, too, but I can't get my car into the garage, and the driveway is about 8 degrees. Somehow the Jiffy Lube 20 minute service looks better all the time. 'Don't have to recycle the oil, either. I still have to rotate the tires. I have winter tires mounted on rims and get that done at Goodyear along with an alignment, and try to keep up with all the other maintenance on a DIY basis, including the K&N filter cleaning and recommended inspections of the CV boots, etc. Convienence more than anything.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    I've never really been sold on the "suck em dry" tranny machines, but the convenience is certainly there.
  • bfly0714bfly0714 Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Caravan 4-speed with 120k miles on it. Recently I have noticed a problem, usually when the car has not been driven for a couple of days. Once the car is started, the shifter is put in reverse or drive and nothing happens. It seems that turning the car completly off and on a couple of times makes this problem go away.
    What I was wondering is this a sign of more problems to come, or does this sound like maybe some type of small part or linkage problem that would not be outrageously expensive to repair. The van has been great, and is in great shape. I am thinking about trying to sell it, but I don't want to sell it to someone and have the trans. die on them . I also do not want to have to replace the transmission to sell it, I would not be able to cover the cost of the transmission. I want to take it to have it looked at, but I have heard horror stories about people needing 10 dollar parts, and being told that they need a complete rebuild.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    ...Clutch Volume Indices (CVIs) which will tell you the amount of life left in the clutch packs. That'll give you an idea of what to expect.

    Sounds like the clutch packs are on their way out, but if the CVIs are good, then you may want to look for something else.

    A good idea would be to have a fluid level check, and drain and refill with Type 7176 (ATF+3) fluid.

    What is the maintenance history on the transmission, and your style of driving?

    120k miles is darn good overall I think.
  • xpatxpat Posts: 2
    I am in the processing of deciding which new Minivan to purchase and have been following the discussions regarding transmission problems and comparisons to the Odyssey and Sienna. I had a new 95 Grand Voyager that I shipped over here when I moved here but recently sold due to the beginning of the nagging repairs and potential tranny problem. Basically, I enjoyed the van when I was single and also now with 2 kids. I took the risk of shipping it here since the guarantee was invalidated outside of North America. One option that I see as a way to avoid the tranny problem is to buy a 2.5 CRD (Diesel)Manual 5 speed transmission model. These are not offered in the states and are quite popular over here since diesel is cheaper than normal gas. Unfortunately, there are no real alternatives to the Voyager as both Honda and Toyota do not offer their large minivans in Europe. A Honda dealer will import one but the price gets up over $45K! It is funny how different cultures consider which things are important. VW sells a lot of minivans without sliding doors which to me is one of the main reasons for a minivan. The Germans also consider the magic seat to be a safety risk as opposed to the fixed seat. Go figure. I would like to get the Sienna but it looks like I am "doomed" to the Chrysler as the headache of importing a Toyota or Honda and getting it inspected is not worth the aggravation. If anyone has had any experience with the Diesel Grand Voyager or shipping a Honda or Toyota to Germany, please contact me. Thanks
  • elf6elf6 Posts: 10
    After 6 months and 5K miles driving my 02 T&C LXI with 3.8L engine developed a transmission problem. Several times the transmission shifted into reverse very slowly when started cold but other times shifted normally. Then it developed a hard downshift at 30 mph. No check engine light was seen and the oil level was good and smelled good. Dealer checked it out and said there was a TSB on the 02's only to replace the front oil pump which is bolted on the front of the transmission. Two hours later the transmission was fixed and at 7.5K miles continues to shift smoothly. 01 and 03 vans do not appear to have this problem so they must have had a bad batch of pumps. Other than this problem my van has been flawless. Two previous vans I have owned, a 95 Voyager LE with 98K miles and a 98 T&C LX with 57K miles, have not had any transmission problems. I guess I can no longer say my van has been flawless. That's what I get for bragging.
  • smulveysmulvey Posts: 139
    I had two transmission in my chyrsler front drive vehicle and your very fortunate your dealer got you going with so little trouble.

    Tips to the wise: based on my experience with my car and my neighbors Caravan , change the tranny fluid every 20K miles. this will reduce the amount of metal particles building up in it.

    If you end up needing a repair some day, a good repair man will flush the transmission cooler lines for up to an hour to get the broken fragments out of it before he sends you on the road with the repaired transmission.

    I learned this " the hard way"

    Good Luck.
  • I have a 2003 Caravan SXT with about 4000 miles on it. It has been to the shop twice already. First was a bad Trans pump, apparently there was a defect in the production of these pumps. Second time the driver side power window motor went out. My question is about the gas mileage. It gets about 17-20 miles to the gallon. It has a 6cyl with 4 speed auto. Is this normal? The dealer says everything checks out fine.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    It's probably doing fine. Most people find that their mpg increases as the engine breaks in and keeps increasing for at least the first 10,000 miles.

    Hope the other stuff gets worked out.

    Steve, Host
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    You haven't stated what kind of driving you do. That was the kind of mileage that I used to see in My Windstar during the summer when I used the A/C. If you are in a hot climate and are running the air conditioning you can probably figure on a 1-2 gallon drop in mileage. BTW, that mileage was on a suburban commute. The commute fell somewhere between City and "mixed" driving.

    If you are doing city driving or a lot of short runs, then you are probably getting excellent mileage. If you are driving more a "mixed" commute, then you may be at the low end of the range but certainly within accepted mileage. If that were all highway driving then the figure is a bit low.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I have a 2003 Chrysler Voyager LX with the 3.3l V6 and 4 speed transmission with about 3800 miles on it now. When was your van made? My transmission shifts smoothly and flawlessly, but if there was a bad batch of pumps, I would like to know when yours was made in relation to mine. As far as your mileage goes, what kind of driving do you do to get 17-20 mpg? If that is city driving, you are doing very well. Here in the stop and go driving of Atlanta with the A/C blasting and the engine idling, I can get as low as 14-15 to as high as 16-18 mpg. Now, if I mix in some highway driving or find myself not having to idle very much or run the A/C as much, then the figure goes up, of course.
  • icnjillicnjill Posts: 2
    Here's my question. I'm considering buying a 2000 T&C Limited ... 41,000 miles... one owner... excellent condition overall.
    Roughly $15,000 OBO.

    However, in the last month, after their 40,000 service, the first potential indication of transmission malfunction occurred. The car engine light turned on and it was difficult for the car to shift from 3 to 4th. The car did not slip into neutral... just very slow shifting.

    Dealer serviced it and replaced the input speed sensor. The diagnostics revealed the following

    "5 codes stored. Fault immediately after shift P1790, speed sensor error P0715, gear ratio error in 4th P0734, gear ratio error in 1st P0731, gear ratio error in 3rd P0733."

    The owner had it serviced at regular intervals but was not aware of the transmission issues. Assumed that the transmission fluid was replaced on routine service but was unaware if this had been done. Given the history of transmission failures, particularly in situations where the fluid has not been replaced, this could be a potential risk.

    Would YOU buy it?
    Would this be more of a computer error or the onset of a transmission failure??

    I've a bad pelvic injury and am desperate for a smooth suspension and cushy seats. Would rather not buy a new Sienna though it drove wonderfully. Odyssey seats were too uncomfortable for me. I need the cargo space. Loved the Chrysler Pacifica but, again, pricey.

    Any other suggestions for the error above and car choice.

  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    ....will generate error codes for improper gear ratios for all gears except the second gear. Once corrected, the transmission should work fine, provided it has been serviced regularly with the correct type of fluid.

    The speed sensors are a known issue at around 40-50k miles, and perhaps not a big deal. Why don't you consider a third party mechanical evaluation such as AAA?
  • my van limited has 19000 miles and i just got 17.6 mpg on a 1000 mile trip to north carolina, when going through gradual hills the van feels like itis missing and struggles, no engine light comes on, so the dealar says there is no problem
    the sticker says 21-28 on the hwy ive never gotten over 17 since ive had it, any one else have this problem
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,286
    ...approach 22-24 mpg easily. Something is amiss. The reasons can be varied: Bad gas, clogged injectors, dirty air filter, fouled plugs, igntion module and/or cable problems, in short, it should be checked out thoroughly.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    I agree with vcheng. Get an opinion from a knowledgeable independent mechanic who has access to TSBs for your van. The diagnosis expense will not be covered by warranty but how else are you going to get it addressed. If this were a new problem on an older van, I'd bet on electrical more likely than fuel. Your case seems to be a problem when new so one bad part is as likely as another. Roy
  • lxpatellxpatel Posts: 34
    I have 96 T&C, currently has 140k and still original transmission, i have had the transmission service done by dealer every 15k, with type 7176 mopar trany oil, where they tell me that they also adjust the bands.

    now since it has so many miles, i am cosidering just plain dextron III ($$$) or equivalent oil for the transmission, the dealer tells me the if i dont use mopar fluid the shifting quality may change.

    Is this bunch of bull or do i really need to use type 7176 and have the bands adjusted, what the hell are they?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I am answering this from memory, but I believe my manual on our '96 Caravan 3.3L engine with 4 speed specifically states something about Dexron fluids producing rougher/poorer shifting and should only be used in an emergency if the proper fluid is not available. If I were you, I wouldn't mess with success and keep using the Chrysler recommended transmission fluid. I'm not so sure you really have to do it every 15K, though, that sounds conservative, unless you tow a lot which could put a lot of extra strain (heat) into the transmission. My 96 has 68K on it and has never been changed, but we do not tow either, and it does not have a towing package.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    the Chrysler 4 speed transmission is designed around and requires the Chrysler ATF, either Type 3+ or 4+. I believe that type 4+ is suggested for use in almost all transmissions now. The use of Dextron with it's different coefficient of friction, would lead to premature failure of the internal clutches. The Allpar site has a good discussion of the Chrysler 4 speed transmission.
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