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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • I have a 1988 Plymouth Grand Voyager with a 3.0L mitsubishi engine and A-670 3-speed automatic transaxle with 170,000 miles. It has been a great vehicle. Recently a bad whine developed in the transaxle at 45 mph and above. After a day or so of this, the tranny wouldn't shift above 1st and there was a nasty whine in Reverse. I simply removed, cleaned, and replaced the valve body and the tranny works perfectly now. The work only took me 8 hours total (including setup and cleanup ) and I only spent about $70. (Service manual from Chrysler: $50; Filter: $7; ATF and Brake cleaner; $10)
  • eppy5eppy5 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Ply. Voyager SE, w/32000 miles on it. Transmission is shot and I am just 4 months beyond warranty period. Neither DC nor dealer want to assist in repair cost ($2,000) Car was serviced by dealer, low mileage for 3 1/2 years.
    This is the first American car I have bought in 20 years and my last. Everyone agrees it is horrible and not right for tranny to go but nobody wants to stand behind their product. They have lost a customer for life. Anyone with similar problems on this model?
  • My husband and I are getting ready to purchase a 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE
    with 57,000 miles on the odometer.
    After reading everything on the townhall talk about the transmission going out, I think we should purchase the warranty for $395.00 to cover us. Any advice from anybody that owns a 1998?
  • I have a 90 Voyager too and mine has just under 55,000 true miles. My driving has had to be just in town on the usual chores (grocery, work etc) and have JUST replaced the spark plug cables. Dealership could not believe it was still original equip. Have had only boots to replace a couple of times and the a/c had to have work this year. I feel it has been a great vehicle to drive tho I would get at least a 6 cyl next time instead of the 4 cyl.
  • Has anybody had a problem where you start the
    engine on your Town Country,Grand Caravan,or Plymouth Voyager and when you try to
    change gear, either to drive or reverse, nothing
    happens? The van stays idle and does not change
    gear at all. I have been able to shut the engine
    off, restart it and then it started to work again.
    This is a used 1996 T&C which we bought three
    weeks ago and we have experienced this problem twice. Is it a transmission problem?
  • mpittmpitt Posts: 1
    I have a 93 Plymouth Grand Voyager. I have the exact same problem. I don't know how many miles you have, but I have just under 93,000. A few weeks ago, it started where it wouldn't engage in reverse a few times. Now it happens on a daily basis. Sometimes I can turn it off and back on and other times I drop it down to the lowest gear and back in reverse and it works. I have had it happen in drive about 3 times (one time the gears didn't shift at all). I took it to a transmission shop and they told me the transmission was going and I would have to have it replace. A minimum cost of $1,300. I read above where Chrysler was replacing some of the transmissions, but I noticed they were mostly around 60,000 miles. Would it be worth checking into with almost 93,000 miles on it?
  • We purchased a 91 Grand Voyager with 7000 miles on it in 1992. It had the largest V-6 engine available at that time and the automatic transmission. At about 40,000 miles, the transmission began to shift all by itself at highway speed, usually shifting down. I would be in cruise at 55 mph straight line, with no reason to shift. After several trips to the dealer and several stories about some phantom PRNDL switch nonsense, the van finally refused to shift at all and was towed into the dealer. Oh, and it had also managed to completely void itself of fluid, again on the highway, prior to its final shift into park. The dealer replaced the transmission, their cost. Mind you, there was probably three or four months involved with all of this.
    We got almost 40,000 miles out of the "new" transmission when it started down shifting itself hard enough to almost give me whiplash coming up to a stop sign. I found an independent transmission shop with a computer analyser. He told me that the low end was going out. I took it to him for a complete checkup and discovered what the dealer had done all those miles prior to this. New and old parts had been mixed. I realize that this is standard procedure in some cases, but these parts were not compatible for the long haul. The computer had not been upgraded for the new parts. I was told that even when the transmission was replaced there had been about 26 upgrades to the computer at that time. None of those had been put on my van. Basically, my transmission ate itself up. New and old mismatched parts just made lunch of each other. You should have seen all the metal filings in the bottom of the case. I tried unsuccessfully to contact Chrysler, by phone, for about a month and finally gave up. I had a new transmission put in the van by the independent shop. All new parts and with Amsol fluid (I hope that I am spelling this right). There have been a few things that needed to be adjusted, but I finally have the old pep back when I accelerate. That shop has my business for as long as I have cars. Yes, it was another $2000 investment, but the van has been a real trouper for us and it was cheaper than getting another vehicle. While I am not happy with the service that I got from the dealer, to put it mildly, as long as I have independent shops that I trust because of their honesty, I will stay with the Voyager.
  • Mpitt, I also just reached 93,000 miles on our 1996 t&c. Could this be a coinsidence? Ours is still under warranty so I'm hoping that we can get it resolved at little or no cost to us.
    Eneth thanks for your input as well.
  • jaque1, I have a 1996 Grand Caravan that has/had the same problem. I bought it used in May and started experiencing problems in August. I took the van to a local dealer who "checked" the tranny (67,000 miles)and said it was just low on fluid.

    I have just taken it to an independent transmission repair shop to check it again because the problem never went away. I have now been told that it was 2 1/2 qts low on fluid and now I need a complete rebuild. I now have 74,000. How could the dealer have missed the leak?

    From reading others comments, its appears that this problem is not uncommon. I'm beginning to wonder if I have any recourse from Chrysler for this? Anybody have any ideas?
  • Own a 95 Caravan 3.0 3 speed 78,000. Trans went out, and I had it fixed at a reputible non DC shop b/c I could not wait without a vechicle to have chrysler fix it and fight them to pay for it. Now I am seeking some reimbursement from them. I have been hung up on after calling and politely talking to their 800 customer service #! Does anyone have a Local DC office phone # or DC zone office phone # that worked for them? (I don't care if it was your local dealer, I will call them). Or give me exact details on how to get the $ from DC. Feel free to e-mail me at I really appreciate it.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    You may not have much success with seeking compensation for your
    3-speed - that unit has a pretty good reputation for reliability (it's been around since 1977 with the original Omni/Horizon). It's the 4-speed automatic that DaimlerChrysler has had (and continues to have) trouble with.

    See below for some references that may help.
  • I signed up for the 3 year/36000 mile warranty which was the biggest mistake of my life with the 1993 Voyager. At 78,000 miles the transmission was completely destroyed and had to be replaced at the Chrysler dealer at $1700 cost to me. I complained to Chrysler without success. I filled out the papers and sent them to different places without success. On the phone for hours without answer sometimes or on hold. I was on hold eight (8) hours one day and the phone just hung up after 6 pm. I though, well I am unlucky.
    But I knew I was in for trouble at 118,000 miles when the torque converter started that vibration like a tire was out of balance. A torque converter replacement and transmission was again needed. I called Chrysler again and what made me mad was the customer relations person said, "I have no reports of any transmission problems from even one consumer with that model van." I told him he was a liar as I had reported a failure a year ago that I had reported many, many times. Also, there were three Dodge and Plymouth vans with 3.0L engines sitting at the local transmission shop where my van made number four. This and the following two replacements cost $1200-$1600 each about every 40,000 miles. You pay $18,700 for a van, and then put $7,000 in transmissions in it, what a laugh (the manufacturer is having at us, we all are paying $100 per month to them for transmission repair only).
    I had a Chevrolet product that the dealer and the manufacturer refused to fix under warranty. When I pulled into the traffic lane and the engine died at 11,500 miles for the hundredth time, I went to Chrysler (1979).
    I do not think America can make an automobile any more and the industry officials refuse to admit a mistake, like a rear end that explodes, wiring that catches on fire, torque converter that sends shrapnel into the transmission upon failure(no filtration to separate them)...
    I purchased a new Honda Civic and had no major cost until it had well over 210,000 miles. I purchased a Datsun pickup at the same time as the Chevrolet auto and had only brake lines needed until well over 240,000 miles. I presently own a Honda Accord with over 178,000 miles on it and plan to keep it until it rusts into a heap.
    Guess what Chrysler, you are responsible for me purchasing another new Honda when this one fails.
    Guess what Chrysler, you will be responsible for me purchasing a new Toyota pickup in a about three months.
    Guess what Chrysler, you are responsible for me purchasing a foreign auto whenever I need to replace my present model.
    Steve Roby
  • Bill I have had four failures and every time but the first (which was a bang and crash) the vibration started before the failures. Have a reputable transmission shop pull the two electric wires going to the torque converter. If the vibration stops, you will have to replace the transmission before you can sell the vehicle. Believe me I know how to test it by now. Oh I forgot to mention I drove 61,000 miles in a year with the 1993 van, it was only 1 1/2 years old with the first failure at 78,000 miles... And I had the dealer change transmission filters and fluid every time the schedule said it should be changed... Oil every 3000 miles is the only exception.
    I am very diligent with scheduled maintenance. I went through the strut, tire, drum, rotor, bearing, axle thing. Just unplug the two torque converter wires for one test drive. Let the shop do it. When the vibrations stops, the crying can begin again and again and again.... Steve Roby
  • Own a '94 Grand SE. Changed transmission fluid within warranty period but transmission went out shortly after expiration of warranty. No help from dealer or Chrysler. A friend's son worked for a Chrysler dealership as a mechanic at the time and advised that the repair lots were backed up with bum transmissions, many of which went out after changing the fluid. Dealer wanted around $2K to repair but when we told them we were sending a wrecker to pick up the van and take it somewhere else they agreed to rebuild for $1,200, a much more reasonable price, though we should not have had to pay anything. Probably an opportunity for a class action if enough people could band together.
    We will not be in the market for another Chrysler product!
  • I have a 96 Dodge Grand Caravan EL with 80k on it. For the past 20+ thousand miles have had both the transmission fail to engage (forward and reverse)and finally fail to shift out of 2nd gear. I shut the engine off and it began shifting normally again. After calls to the dealership and the old "unable to duplicate" excuse it finally stalled and we got an error code. The dealership changed the transmission control module ($500) and serviced the transmission. Seems to be o. to date. Have had numerous electrical problems including wipers that go 1x on their own, front blower that fails to come on for 10 minutes or, get this doesn't shut off when the key is removed! Also at the moment am battling intermittent starting (starter changed and battery good)problems at any time and temperature. Again unable to trace as it is intermittent. Thinking ignition switch but not sure. Anybody else with similar problems or ideas? May dump the car to get reliable transportation and before anything else comes up!
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    If nothing else is wrong, it may make sense. Future useability is unpredictable - you could spend the money, have the transaxle replaced, and then have someone hit and total the van, so it's a gamble either way.

    If you were to sell the van, it would have to be fixed, anyway - or trade it at a loss.
  • markf3markf3 Posts: 1
    Wanted to add mine and ask if anyone had gotten anywhere with a post warranty claim. I've got 42000 (warranty ended at 36k) on a 98 and at a stop light, the van refused to move again. Then jolted foward after moving shift lever into and out of different gears. Drove to shop, mechanic pulled apart and there was metal in pan and filter. Suggested bearing defect and had to replace and rebuild much of the tranny for $2k plus. I have digital images of bad components and would like to send them to Chrysler if anyone has an email address of a service person who will actually do something with it.
  • mwaddomwaddo Posts: 30
    Wanted to ask if anyone had any insight into the reliability of the 1996 transmissions. My DC (3.3L 4-Sp) has 90,000 miles. My Dodge Status needed a new cranny at 62,000 (I got rid of it), and I was wondering if at 90K miles, I have made it past where many people have problems, or if I still run a risk. From reading the posts, it seems as though many people have problems at <60K, than again in the real high numbers (>150K), but not as many in between. Thanks in advance for any insight.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 221
    mwaddo: I'd hoped some wise person would answer your question. The best long term surveys I know by Consumer Reports generally show steady increase in problem rates as these vans age. Thus it seems to me a bit of a crap shoot after one factors in preventive maintenance which for this transmission needs to be done correctly and often. Beyond that, you might consider Hoofer's advice of transmission fluid analysis by a company like Schaeffer, about $47 for a set of 6. 800-325-9962 to order.
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