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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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Comments

  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    I guess it really depends on how you look at it. Not everybody buys a vechicle just because it has a long warranty. I believe that if people have the confidence in that car maker, they will still buy the vechicle and will make a choice of getting an extended warranty. I'm sure Daimlerchrysler will still give you the option to buy an extended warranty. So all is not lost. You'll just have to pay a little more for peace of mind if you keep your vechicle over three years. :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I would have NOT purchased my used 2002 T&C if DaimlerChrysler without the 7 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. I had too many expensive repairs on my 1970 Dodge van in the 6 years I owned it to even consider another Chrysler product from 1976 (when I dumped it for an even worse Volkswagen bus that also was purchased new) until last summer.
    What to buy? :confuse:
    I had planned on getting a new Honda Odyssey but now my friend tells me his 2002 Honda Accord purchased new is now leaking transmission fluid with less than 50,000 miles on it. I have read of more Odyssey transmission problems in the Town Hall than DC transmissions on vehicles built within the last few years.
    If DC drops the 7 year 70,000 mile powertrain warranty, they will lose many customers.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    Of course, you will always be able to purchase an extended warranty, what's your point? I do believe that Chyslers quality has improved, and if that is the case, the warranty cost to DCX will be minimal. How much are they already saving with all the de-contenting? I mean if they were never there, you would not miss them, but great features that were already in place, just disappear, without the chance to get them even as options. How many repeat customers felt cheated when they purchased a new vehicle, and the features they had on their OLD vehicles were missing? My brother has just decided to purchase a mini van. He looked at and priced the Honda, Toyota and Dodge GCV SXT. He decided on the Dodge, half because of price, and half because of the 7/70,000. I recommended the Dodge, solely based on the 7/70000 warranty.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    My point was, a few people on this board said that they would not make a future purchase of a Daimlerchrysler minivan because of the change in the 7/70,000 warranty. I just made the statement about buying the extended warranty because nobody else on this board made reference to that. As far as the features go, I agree with you on that. But, when compared to the competition, Daimlerchrysler wins hands down when it comes to variety and getting the most features for the money when compared to other makes. I think they might even be passing both the Ody. and Sienna in the reliability area too. :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I agree with masterpaul1 that DC minivans have the most features that my wife and I want....but sadly, many of the nice features that are on my 2002 T&C LX have been removed from the more expensive 2005 Touring and Limited T&C minivans.
    It took Honda many years to finally offer separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger on the Odyssey and Toyota only offers it on the Siennas that have an MSRP of $31,000 and above.
  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    The discussion is starting to derail away from Minivan Transmission Problems. If you'd like to talk about warranties and/or their impact on buying trends, please take it to the Smart Shopper or the Minivan Shopping discussion.

    Claire

    HOST

  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    The topic has drifted away fom transmission problems, but the 7/70,000 warranty was the reason many leery customers purchased DCX 41TE minivans, despite the horror stories on this and other discussion boards about the reliability of these transmissions. I apologize and will stop now.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    It's funny. I've talked to four Honda Ody owners in the last three months with failed transmissions -- two out of warranty, I might add -- and they don't seem to think much about it. In fact, they each think the Honda is the most reliable.

    Dusty
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,367
    The number of Odysseys that have transmission problems is miniscule compared to the Chryslers. You must talk to a lot of people if you talked to four people in three months who had trouble.

    Still, last summer, I took a 1992 Caravan on trade with 258,000 miles. Original engine and transmission. Go figure!
  • mediumfrymediumfry Posts: 239
    Hello folks. This is my first post on this forum and I must admit I haven't read the previous posts. I do have a question though.

    I just bought a '96 Chrysler T&C with a 3.8 motor and the 4 speed automatic...T41E? A604? something like that. 125K miles on it and no tranny work since the previous owner bought it at 60K mi. Anyway it goes up through the gears fine including overdrive. But since I got it, it has been shifting down roughly, particularly when decelerating to a stop at around 5MPH...it will lurch forward as it does its last downshift. Today I took it on a road trip of a couple hundred miles and found that it basically has downshift problems at any speed, as noticed when cruising at 60MPH with cruise control on. As we went up and down hills (even subtle ones), I felt little pushes and pulls occasionally. I had a '93 Voyager that did not do this.

    So now my question: I have heard that sometimes one can have the tranny control computer re-programmed or change the fluid or change a solenoid pack or perhaps some other cheaper things instead of having the whole thing replaced. I have already changed the fluid and made sure I used ATF+3 but the problem isn't the shuddering at overdrive anyway. Perhaps those with experience could let me know if some of the cheaper fixes work on this downshift issue or if I should just schedule to get this dad bloomin transmission changed out.

    Thanks for your help,

    Medfry
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    You say that it's minuscule, but I don't think so9. Maybe less, but most certainly not minuscule. And actually the four people are people I know. How many people do you talk to?

    Besides, there are far more Chrysler mini-van versions on the road compared to Odysseys. But I would bet the failure rate on both the Honda and the Chrysler are closer to each other than most Honda lovers would want to admit.

    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Do you occasionally feel a shudder when the transmission is going through the gears?

    It sounds like you are experiencing the "bump-shift" symptom. For most years in the '94-98 vintage the problem half the time is PCM reprogramming. A Chrysler/Dodge dealer should be able to resolve that. A clogged or partially clogged filter, dirty or oxidized ATF, or incorrect fluid level will cause your symptoms. Shift solenoid packs were notorious for developing problems, either from dirt or the plungers becoming magnetized over time, but they usually cause upshift problems. Shift packs are changed easily without tear-down. You could have a dirty valve body, which can also be removed and serviced without overhaul, or the gear shift and/or throttle cables may be out of adjustment. A loose front band will cause irratic and harsh downshifts.

    You could try retraining the PCM shift schedule yourself, there is a procedure for it. But on a transmission with that many miles a retrain may actually get you into more problems with that old fluid. Unless fairly new, a driver-induced PCM retrain should not be attempted on old fluid.

    More serious items are a sticking clutch or a governor, or a front pump seal or rear input shaft seal leaking. The torque converter could be mechanically locked-up, or a PCM fault could be enabling the TCC circuit, which essentially locks the torque converter up. With torque converter lock-up (all the time), the problem is accompanied by a very harsh initial engagement into any drive gear. These items require transmission disassembly.

    A dealer can run a simple test with the DRB3 tool that can detect where the problem is. It might be worth the $100 or whatever a dealer charges nowadays to take a health check.

    Oh, last but not least, DO NOT use Dexron-Mercon ATF with or without a additive, in a Chrysler-built automatic transmission.

    Good luck,
    Dusty
  • mediumfrymediumfry Posts: 239
    Wow, thanks Dustyk.

    I actually do seem to feel some shudder while accelerating, but I never attributed the vibration to the transmission because it happens during acceleration in a given gear (particularly first and second I think) but not during shifting. I was going to look into a CV joint or something because it's more reminiscent of the symptoms of an old rear-wheel-drive car I had with a failing U-joint on the drive shaft. Does this information help understand what it might be?

    The van got a new PCM and a new TCM together in 2000 or 2001. So, supposedly it has a more up-to-date program than what came originally in '96. I am going to check the paperwork to see if this was done at a Chrysler dealer or a local shop. Perhaps something was not done correctly...

    I did change the fluid (ATF+3) and filter right after I bought the van, and I looked up the re-train procedure and followed it. Incidentally the magnet in the pan had nothing but very fine particles in it, like a light coating of mud, but nothing that looked serious to me. I've replaced fluid on 'good' trannies that have the same stuff on the magnet in the pan. Anyway, at first I thought the fluid change might have helped a little (because I could not confirm what was in it before) but now I don't think the new fluid helped.

    I will study your note carefully, research your notes in my shop manuals, and probably go get a diagnostic done. The problem here is finding someone I can trust to do the diagnostic, because it seems like EVERYONE gets told they need a replacement transmission instead of a cheaper fix. Of course, I'm trying to avoid the $1500-$2200 option if possible.

    Thanks again,

    Medfry
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,367
    That is a bet you would lose. Just ask any independant transmission shop.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Not judging by my neighborhood. Two Grand Caravans, four Hondas, so far, zero transmission replacements on the Dodges, six transmission replacements (two our of warranty) on the Hondas.

    Then again, one of the "two transmission replacement" Hondas was just traded in on a new Honda with the new (5-Speed?) transmission, it will be interesting to see how long the new transmission lasts before it fails.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    It so happens that I have talked to "independent" transmission repair shops. I have a transmission tech in the family. Since I pass two every day I can see what's sitting on the lot. In terms of actual quantity I have seen more Chrysler mini-vans at these shops, although not to the degree nowadays that I once observed. But I see Hondas there also, and based on the ratio of Honda-to-Chrysler mini-van sales, it appears that the rate they're in for service is about same. So it's a bet I'd take in confidence.

    It is probably a sacreligious opinion to have to a Honda salesperson, but it does not mean that it's not based on facts.

    Dusty
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Better yet, count the number of Honda Odyssey transmission problems reported here in the Town Hall and then count the number of DaimlerChrysler transmission problems.
    Since there are so many more DC minivans sold than the Odyssey, there should be fewer Ody transmission problems but that is not the indication here in the Town Hall.
    The Odyssey is well known for having transmission problems as reported by owners here in the Town Hall. :blush:
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    ...and The Odyssey hasn't had to bear the unfortunate problem of people having used or had installed the wrong transmission fluid! That alone probably is the reason for more than half of past Chrysler automatic transmission failures.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    There could be a problem with the torque converter clutch, but by symptom alone it's hard to tell. You wrote that there was a PCM replacement some time back, but the PCM is not really the factor here. In my earlier mail note I stated "PCM," when I really meant TCM, or Transmission Control Module. Maybe my confusion in terms misled you. The reflash program would reside in the TCM.

    Chrysler automatics are designed to operate with a specific quality to the transmission fluid. The entire ATF+ series contains friction modifiers that aid in controlling clutch operation. Over time the fluid will dissipate the important additives and affect clutch performance. Chrysler transmissions are designed to compensate for this as they are being driven by constantly updating the TCM shift program. A system for monitoring clutch slippage is used to control clutch actuation pressures to ensure that clutches do not slip excessively. Obviously if they do it increases the wearing of the clutch facings.

    Slippage of the torque converter clutch is almost always the source of shudder (this is not a unique problem to the Chrysler FWD automatic series, by the way). A slipping torque converter clutch is almost always caused by operation with expended ATF, either dirty, oxidized, or dissipated, over a period of time. Like most things, there's a practical limit to how much the transmission can compensate for expended fluid.

    Of course, problems with the torque converter itself can cause shudder. Usually, if the shudder is not present after 42 mph the problem is related to the torque converter clutch. This means that the condition of the fluid could be playing a major role. Another problem that I've heard of is getting the wrong transmission filter installed. This generally occurs when the transmission has been serviced by somebody other than a Chrysler/Dodge dealer.

    As far as trusting the shift program flash of the TCM, I would agree that it would be a normal assumption to think it has the most recent flash. However, if I understand the parts process correctly, it is also possible that a dealer had the correct TCM in stock that was built before the reflash became available. This would mean that a technician would need to reflash immediately after installation of the "new" part. If the tech. was up to date with his service bulletins then I think it can be assumed it was done. If the TCM was an aftermarket, I'd be very leery that it was current.

    My recommendation is to have it checked by a Chrysler certified technician. If the news is real bad (overhaul needed), you could continue to drive it until it gets worse or fails completely.

    Keep us posted.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,367
    Well, since we don't have empiracle evidence neither of our opinions are based on facts it would seem.

    I just know where I would place my bet.
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