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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • 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,
  • 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 ‘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 “transmission computer” 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 “hang on” 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 “lockdown” until car speed reaches 50 mph and wants to drop out of “lockdown” 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’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’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 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.

  • 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,
  • 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: 1,564
    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: 1,564
    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

    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: 17,610
    This is pretty hard to swallow...sorry.

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