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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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Comments

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I would take it to a Chrysler dealer. There have been many Chrysler transmissions "rebuilt" or "overhauled" that only needed a solenoid pack, or even worse, a TCM reflash. Not sure what the 3rd gear issue is, but a dirty valve body or weak shift solenoids are very likely a problem. Neither requires a major overhaul.

    Of course, a dirty valve body means dirty fluid. It's probably time for a complete evacuation and refill with fresh ATF+4.

    Good luck,
    Dusty

    P.S. Oh, yes. Many independent transmission shops will tell you they use Dexron with a additive that makes it ATF+3 or 4. Unfortunately, that's chemically impossible. Their additive is only a friction modifier. ATF+ is more than. For example, it contains a formulation that brings the pour point down to -55 degrees. No additive package can make ATF+ out of Dexron. Chrysler strongly warns against the use of Dexron with any additive.
  • bob_g_wbob_g_w Posts: 2
    OK, I have one more Q. I had the fluid changed less the 5K ago. We only use the car to drive around town. Why would the oil be dirty in such a short period? what cause this? Also, the car is leaking trans fluid. I have also checked the fluid 'hot' and it appears to be between full and add. But, the fluid is discolored. I _wish_ Chrysler would own up to the fact that they have a real problem and make it right for the customer. I think 80k is a very short life for a trans.
    I mean I like the car and the way it rides. The car is an good shape and the engine is strong, Shame to junk her for some crap tranny. I was going to buy a newer 2002 model, but after reading the .net im re-thinking my idea.
  • cdmomcdmom Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 97 Plymouth Grand Voyager. Has 112,000 miles on it. I do a lot of driving. Anyways, last week on my way to work it started making a whirring sound and I couldn't go over 55mph. I can go in reverse without any problems. We checked the fluid and it looks clean and is red. No burnt smell. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the problem is? I'm panicking at the thought of what this is going to cost me.

    Thanks
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>> I had the fluid changed less the 5K ago. We only use the car to drive around town. Why would the oil be dirty in such a short period? what cause this?<<<

    City driving can be harder on the clutches and correspondingly harder on the transmission fluid. A lot depends on your driving style. The more that the clutches slip, the more material is lost from the clutch faces. This deposits clutch material into the fluid. City driving can easily overheat ATF. As the fluid heats up oxidation of the fluid occurs. The more rapidly it oxidizes the dirtier it gets.

    If the shop you had do the fluid change used Dexron with an additive, it will change color rapidly in a Chrysler transmission. You should be advised, however, that color by itself cannot be used as a determinate factor is judging how clean the ATF is. ATF+3 and 4 have a color dye added to make it red. As the dye dissipates the ATF will return to it's base color, which is a very dark, dark red.

    >>> I had the fluid changed less the 5K ago. We only use the car to drive around town. Why would the oil be dirty in such a short period? what cause this?<<<

    A correctly design transmission nowadays should and will go more than 80K. The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association says that a properly maintained transmission used in normal service should go 100,000 miles before overhaul. In fact the large majority do go that and even more. Most Chrysler that I see have gone beyond that with little or no routine maintenance. I can think of several dozen in the last year that have gone over 150,000 miles without an overhaul.

    What part of the country are you in? In the case of your '96 there were some internal lubrication issues that were addressed in '98. These issues are easily resolvable. A knowledgeable and reputable transmission rebuilder will retrofit an earlier version at the time of overhaul.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • pvownerpvowner Posts: 4
    I have a 99 plymouth voyager with 90k miles, 3.0 V6 engine. Last week, the engine service soon message came up on the dashboard. One side effect is that the transmission will not shift into overdrive at all on highway driving, it stays on third gear. I tried to shift from D to 3 to D again to see whether the gear shifts, but to no avail, it stays on 3rd gear. On decelerations, just before stopping, I can feel a hard downshift of gears. The chrysler dealer said that the flexplate has to be replaced. I brought it into a transmission specialist, he did some computer scans, and said that the overdrive clutch had to be looked at (i.e. transmission has to be opened and costs alot {$1700}). The transmission fluid seems to be in good condition, although it hasn't been changed since I got it 3 years ago. Would anyone happen to have any other ideas as to what is wrong?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    First, we need to establish the series of events.

    Did the transmission shifting problems begin AFTER the "engine" lamp illuminated?

    Or did this happen the other way around?

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • pvownerpvowner Posts: 4
    I can't be absolutely sure, but I think the "engine" lamp came out first. Normally my driving routine is on city streets. So, kicking into overdrive is not an everyday event.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I can't be absolutely sure, but I think the "engine" lamp came out first. Normally my driving routine is on city streets. So, kicking into overdrive is not an everyday event."

    Hmmm, that's odd, the transmission on our 1998 GC with the 3.8 will drop itself into top gear (what I assume you are calling "Overdrive") somewhere in the twenty mile per hour range when tooling around town. Is the transmission used with the 3.0 liter Mitsubishi motor that different?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • pvownerpvowner Posts: 4
    Here's the complete sequence of events. I took the minivan in for standard oil/lube/filter process two weeks ago at the dealer. They did that and found some of the belts to start to wear off and recommended replacing them and they did. A week later, I notice the belt was noisy and the "engine" lamp was illuminated, and started to notice the gear shift problem too - can't shift from 3rd to OD (the highest gear) and also jerky shift just before stopping (this second symtom is intermittent) . I brought it back to the dealer. They said the belt has nothing to do with the transmission. At first, they said it was the input sensor that need replacing. 5 minutes later, I got a call saying that it was the input sensor and flexplate. I told them to just change the sensor, as it was relatively inexpensive, and I will need time to consider the fixing the flexplate. They say they won't just change the sensor as it will not fix the problem.

    Next day, I bought the minivan to a local transamission specialist and explained the problem. They supposedly did a computer scan which took less than 10 minutes and indicated that it was the OD cludge plate that is worn out. They will need to open up the transmission to fix it.

    Hope the sequence of events help to clarify the problem. Thanks to everyone that can offer some advise.
  • lou11lou11 Posts: 2
    I am considering the purchase of a new '05 Chrysler T&C and was wondering if the new DC minivans still have cronic transmission problems. One would hope that DC would resolve or has resolved this issue.

    Thanks
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    It is the same transmission. It has been updated several times, and since they started to use ATF+4 fluid, these transmissions have become quite dependable. Also purchasing a 2005 is a good idea, as the 70,000 mile 7 year powertrain warranty will be discontinued in 2006.
  • dreamzdreamz Posts: 1
    I have a 94 dodge grand caravan se the transmission is stuck in 2nd gear wont change just happened one day while driving down the road.... never had any problems in the past about changing gears.... i have been told that it could be a vechile sensor that has gone bad....i kno that we changed a relay fuse and it changed gears and had no problems for a week then it stuck again in 2nd gear..... Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • baylockbaylock Posts: 2
    I have a 96 town and country that fails to shift into gear above 45 mph. When first taking off the vehicle will shift into gears at lower speeds but when i get to 35 mph it seems like the transmission shifts into neutral and the will not go back into gear until the speed drops below 35 mph and again shift out of gear when back at 45. As long as i stay below 40 mph everything works great. Would like to know if this could be fluid related (ie type), weak solenoid or dirty valve body related or is this something i should take the vehicle in to have repaired.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    No. The shift solenoids that were a major source of trouble have been revised. The failing input shaft seal that plagued the very early models has long since been resolved. Change automatic transmission fluid and filter at the recommended intervals and you shouldn't have a problem.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • baylockbaylock Posts: 2
    I just changed the fluid with ATF 3+ and replaced the filted withit the last week, but i'm still getting the same indications.
  • Just got back from the dealer and they suggested that I get an engine flush. I only have 32k on the engine and we purchased it new in 2001. I have had it in for every scheduled maintenance and had no problems. I can't find anything in the owner's manual. I think I've been taken by the dealer. Before I go pointing fingers, what do you guys think? With engines being as "high tech" as they are, I really can't imagine I would need something like this. Thanks in advance for your responses.
  • wintermanwinterman Posts: 1
    Have a &#145;91 Grand Voyager, 3.3L, currently 140 K miles, purchased last summer (2004). Seller said transmission had been rebuilt at around 100 K and sometime after that the &#147;transmission computer&#148; had been replaced. I replaced fluid/filter when I bought the car and am virtually positive I used the correct fluid. Normally shifting takes place when rpms are around 2000 - 2100. Problem is that the car wants to &#147;hang on&#148; to 2nd gear until rpms reach 2800, then it will shift and frequently goes right away into 4th (shifting from 1st to 2nd is always fine). Also becomes reluctant to go into &#147;lockdown&#148; until car speed reaches 50 mph and wants to drop out of &#147;lockdown&#148; almost as soon as speed drops below 50 and will frequently drop past 4th into 3rd, even if the car is coasting downhill. This above scenario ONLY occurs AFTER the car has been driven for at least half an hour, never in the first 30 minutes of driving and usually it takes 45 minutes to an hour to occur. It makes no difference whether the first period of driving is on the freeway or around town. Stopping and restarting the car doesn&#146;t help unless it is allowed to sit for half an hour or so. A hard (90 degree) turn will temporarily cure the problem!? It appears to me that after the crucial period of driving, something is not sensing load correctly, but that is as far as my thinking takes me. I&#146;m grateful for any ideas.
  • gmhellmangmhellman Posts: 121
    3.3l v6 64,789 miles....I inherited from my grandfather after his funeral and I am wondering what to do to "protect" the tranny. I do not know if he has had the fluid changed to ATF 4+. I have driven the van and it drives great....no searching for gears or any other troubles with it. He drove the van very conservativly and was very meticulous with the maintanace. I usually only use GM products, but have been impressed with this vehicle so far. I just want to know what to do to minimized any chances of a tranny failure while on a vacation or long drive. I appreciate any help.

    Greg
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm thinking that your dealer is looking for a little extra revenue. Unless they can produce any recommendations from Chrysler, IN WRITING, stating that the engine needs to be flushed, you should ignore their suggestion.

    Looking at this another way, we have two GCs, one with 89K and one with 45K, neither have ever had a flush, and both are spotless inside. The only difference between the way our vans have been maintained is that while we have both adhered to the maintained schedule, I've done all but the 30K and 60K services on our vans myself. That, and I've always used Mobil 1 Synthetic oil since the first oil change.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    If it has had "meticulous" maintenance, the transmission fluid has probably been changed at least once already. If you have no records of such, that's the best thing you can do to protect your tranny. With your model year, ATF+3, is acceptable. Also just a pan drop with new filter and re-fill is sufficient, I would not get a "flush". Never get this work done anywhere but the dealer, unless you can actually witness that genuine ATF+3/4 is being used. Also many people install an external cooler to extend the life of the fluid and transmission.
  • pvownerpvowner Posts: 4
    Well, I took the minivan to another dealer and didn't tell them anything other than that the "engine" lamp was illuminated. After checking, they told me it was the "speed sensor" that was not working. This caused the lamp to be illuminated and the computer module will then slow down the car in order to minimize any additional damages. But, unfortunately,this give the driver the impression that there are serious problems with the engine or transmission. After changing the sensor and $200 later, the minivan is running well again.

    This experience thought me that one should always go for second opinion when having trnsamission/engine problems. Sometime it is just the sensor. Chrysler's design on slowing down the vehicle when "engine" lamp is illuminated allows a lot of owners to be cheated by repair shops - ultimately ruining Chrysler's reputation.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    The 30K engine flush is more of a wallet flush, ie they are trying to flush your wallet of extra cash.

    This is just a dealer money making scam. If your van is starting fine, running good, no performance or mileage decrease, then you do not need this item.

    We own a 1996 Caravan with about 84K miles, never having had an engine flush or any other engine tuneup for that matter. Still on the original good for 100K spark plugs as well and it starts and runs like new and just passed its semiannual emissions check with flying colors.
  • marcos1marcos1 Posts: 1
    i have a 97 caravan it runs good.. no problems. i went to get a tranny fluid change and they said i was leaking fluid from the solenoid box. the job would cost $320.00 to repair. if nothing is wrong with the car why is this costing me so much? is this nessesary? or do i just need to change the gasket? please someone give me some needed advice.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    It is easily accessible from the top. Remove the air filter resonator box. The solenoid pack is right on top of the transmission towards the front of the case. Remove the input shaft sensor. Remove the two hoses going to the transmission oil cooler. Remove the noise shield (if equipped) by loosening the tabs (the one in the front needs to be pushed out from below). Remove three bolts holding the solenoid pack. Carefully remove, taking care not to let any loosened dirt/crud fall inside. (Hint: Cleanliness is godliness. Clean up the mess created by the leak with a good degreaser before starting work.) Put on the new gasket (Cost: about $4 from the dealer) after removing old gasket and cleaning the mating surfaces thoroughly.

    Install the solenoid pack and noise shield. (Hint: DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE BOLTS!) Install the hoses and speed sensor. Install air filter resonator.

    Step back, have a cold one, and plan on how to spend the $300 you just saved.
  • bobsboxbobsbox Posts: 1
    Have read of all the transmission problems in Chrysler minivans at this and other boards. But they seem to be focused on the mid-1990's vintage vans. I seldom see any reference to Chrysler/Dodge minivans 2002-2005. Since I am in the market for a used van, perhaps 2003 or 2004 year, I would like opinions on the reliability of transmission in these newer Chrysler/Dodge models--especially the fourspeeds mated with the 3.3L engine.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    They have gotten better all the time and the old ones were not nearly as bad as you may be led believe, based on what you see people post in discussions like this. Our 1996, built right in the midst of DC's transmission problems has been fine, now at about 83K miles.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    We have a 01 DGC EX with 60K and no transmission problems. :shades:
  • upset2upset2 Posts: 1
    Greg,

    I have a Town and Country 1997. Last week driving to work the van went into the left lane and I almost lost control of it. Once I got back onto the road I felt something had gone wrong with the van. There was nothing anywhere that could have caused this to happen. I went a couple of yards down the road to work fighting the van all the way. Once I got to work I noticed that the van was loosing fluid. Towed it away and found out later that I needed a new transmission. Now I want to know if anyone knows of someone that has had this same problem. If I would have had any accident I don't think that they would have said "Oh it must have been the transmission".
  • gmhellmangmhellman Posts: 121
    After reading the postings on this chat board it seems to me that the transmission problems are a hit or miss. Two T&C's can have identical repair records and the same type of driving style and still have tranny problems in one and not the other. I am not a mechanic.....but, it does seem odd to have a tranny problem that would create a sudden lane departure and severe steering problems. I would get a second opinion from a reputable dealer with chrysler experience. Our local chrysler dealer sucks, but the one in the next town is definitely a five star dealer even if chrylser will not recognize them. Good luck :D
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    This is pretty hard to swallow...sorry.

    How could a bad transmission cause your van to change lanes?
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