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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • Have 21,000 miles. Just got the vehicle. Seems to "thump" lightly going in and out of low gear and once in a while shifting at a higher speed. What is this? Unusual?
  • Check engine light came on when I started up the van. After consulting with Chrysler service, I took it for a test drive. Drove like it was stuck in second gear. Dealer performed the following test" Check engine lamp on, transmission in limp mode. Scan system and check for codes. Stored code P0888 - relay always off. Performed diagnostics on EATX relay circuit. Control circuit OK. Found open in relay. Replaced bad EATX relay. Cleared PCM and TCM codes. Test drove vehicle, checks OK." That was last week. Has driven fine since. Put 300 mi. on. Started this morning and check engine light comes on again. Called dealer again and was told it could be many things causing light to come on. Shifts OK, not like the first time when stuck in second gear. Van has 14,500 mi., checked all fluids, next oil change November. I need to go on another 300 mi. trip. Not able to get to the dealer before trip. Should I be OK? (light is not flashing)
  • Can you retrieve the code via "key dance" method on a 2005? I would not be comfortable driving 300 miles not knowing why CEL is on. There are reasons that I would have no problem with, but if you can't retrieve the P XXXX code....
  • Is that the on-off-on-off-on under 5 secs.? Have not tried that. Not sure if it is possible.
  • 96Dodge GCaravan SE 3.3L engine, 120k miles. Trans. leaks a little fluid, I keep it full (by the way, what exact fluid should I use? ATF+3??). Had some quirks a couple months ago - you shift from reverse to drive and nothing would happen for a second. Has been fine since then. Now the "service engine" light is on - gives code 731 - "gear 1 wrong ratio". Reset it, it came back on. No problem when driving, shifts fine, seems OK. I'm afraid of getting ripped off when I take it into a transmission place. There is an AAMCO, a Cottman, and another repair shop that is not "transmission only" that I am considering taking it to.
    What are likely causes of this, and estimated $$ to fix??
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I cannot tell you the likely cause, but I would stay far away from AAMCO and Cottman. AAMCO has never had a good reputation, and I have personal experience with Cottman, who introduced more leaks than I started with on our 96 Caravan 3.3 four speed by not tightening properly and overtightening and stripping some hose clamps on the transmission oil cooler hoses when they replaced the supposedly leaking solenoid valve body gasket. I remedied the hose clamp problem myself, and it leaks not a drop anymore.

    I would go to either a locally owned independent transmission shop which has been in business a long time, or secondly a dealer shop.

    Don't assume right away that the first shop that tells you your transmission is shot is telling the truth, sometimes it is just solenoid problems that don't warrant a complete transmission change. If in doubt, get a second or third opinion, this could cost you a bit, but save you a bundle if it allows you to not have to replace the tranny.

    ATF 3 should be OK with your 1996.
  • Claire@EdmundsClaire@Edmunds Chicago areaPosts: 968
    ajensen, you might want to ask about the potential cost in the Maintenance & Repair Costs discussion.



  • I am having a weird problem with my 92 Plymouth Voyager. It seems to come out of gear and go into neutral when I am driving so the rpm's go way up and the car is not responsive to the gas pedal being pushed down. I can physically put it into neutral, turn the car off while coasting, and restart it, and that used to fix it temporarily. Now sometimes it will go out of gear immediately and I have to keep repeating this process to try to get it to "catch". Sometimes when I am stopped it will shudder and jump out of gear and I will have to shut off the engine and re-start it. I may have to do this more than once. Today I drove around 50 miles and it must have happened 30-40 times, which is very bad on the freeway and makes it difficult to get up to speed. It also seems to happen when I am going uphill more, but it has also happened downhill and on straightaways. It happens more often at higher speeds, over 40 mph, but it has happened at lower speeds and at a full stop (when it shudders). One person thinks it is something with the computer in the car,and another thinks it is the transmission. I am wondering if anyone else has had similar problems, and if so, what was it.. Or if anyone has any other ideas I would greatly appreciate any ideas or input.. Thank you!
  • I'm assuming you are talking about lesser "generic" compatible" fluids. I'm getting ready to do a filter change and plan on putting Amzoil syn fluid in my 97 Voyager. This should be an upgrade and should help my shudder problems. Do you concur? Thanx : >)
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    The mere fact that a transmission fluid is synthetic does not mean it is fully compatible. Only ATF+3, or its replacement, ATF+4, are fully compatible. A change of fluid type to synthetic by itself only addresses fluid flow and operating temperature range characteristics. Chrysler ATF contains a patented friction modifier that is not replicated by aftermarket synthetic ATFs. Chrysler specifically warns that any fluid other than ATF+3 or ATF+4 will alter the shift quality and can cause clutch or torque converter shudder. A ATF that does not contain a friction modifier will accelerate transmission wear and hasten repair or failure. Shudder over a period of time will manifest itself as premature clutch or torque converter vane wear and contaminate the fluid.

    Best regards,
  • seattlekev, I yield this one to dustyk. He is by far most knowledgeble about these transmissions and the fluid types. Based on his response, I'd be inclined to stick with the Chrysler brand fluid. :D
  • Does anyone see a benefit in terms of longer transmission life by installing a deeper transmission pan? Is one available for the DCX minivan transmission?
  • grc2grc2 Posts: 1
    My "service engine soon" light started coming on intermittently within the last 1000 miles. My repair shop indicated it is a transmission signal (perhaps a solenoid) and that I should be able to drive for a while without a problem. (The repair shop is trustworthy and doesn't make unnecessary repairs) I need to take a 1500 mile trip at the end of this week and am wondering if the transmission will last. I have a 97 dodge caravan 3.3ltr engine with about 120,000 miles

    Current symptoms: I have occasional minor lags in shifting when going from deceleration to acceleration (e.g. slowing for a red light that then turns green). The light only comes on after driving on the interstate for about 15 or 20 minutes. It will go out after a couple of days of city driving.

    What other symptoms can I expect before failure and what can I expect after a solenoid fails? Should I use the van for my trip. The alternative is renting or flying, which I'd rather not do.
  • renee5renee5 Posts: 2
    I have a 96 grand caravan es and my service engine soon light came on too. I was told at the local garage that it would be ok. The transmission went out before the weekend was up. We broke down inside a tunnel at night . It was a horrible experience. My transmission has gone out now 4X. I currently have 127,000. It first went out at approx. 98,000. Every 15,000 miles it seems to goes out. I only have 1,000 miles left on my warranty. My advise to you is if you can get rid of it. I can't right now, but as soon as i can i am. They are not reliable vehicles. :sick:
  • renee5renee5 Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Dodge Grand Caravan. Mine did the same thing. It has gone out 4X since 2003. I have no warning either. It just goes out. I have 1,000 miles left on my recent transmission. My advise is while you can still get some money out of it, get rid of it and don't by another Chrylser Product. I have been fighting with Chrysler to honor the warranty that I have with them. The dealerships are ok, but the company is difficult to work with. Not a reliable vehicle. :sick:
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    I'm not aware of anyone making a deeper pan for the 41TE.

    What would accomplish the same thing by adding volume and be more beneficial to long term transmission reliability is to install an auxilary transmission cooler. If you lower the fluid temperature 20 degrees you reduce the ATF oxidation rate by about 45%.

  • Hi 2 u all,
    could anyone help - having had my 98 grand voyager 3.3lx for nearly two years i'm experiencing problems - the gears seem to change for no reason rather than the previous comfortable exchange - they change down for no reason and it seems she cant decide what gear to be in - at low speeds she keeps going up and down the gears for no reason - furthermore when getting upto to higher speeds she wont go into top gear and high revs in the lower gears - can anyone offer any advice / tips prior to me getting an expensive garage bill,

    thanks in anticipation of any responses
  • dont know pal - but i have the sma problem with my grand voyager - wont go into high gear n revs high as a result in lower gear - jerky gear changes and she doesnet know what gear to be in
  • My 96 voyager has multiple transmission codes showing up so i am getting rid of it.

    I got 132,000 miles out of it before the transmission had any problems.

    Since the fuel pump was damaged when recently replaced, it is squirting gas on the engine, so unsafe to drive. I am hoping to get $1500 for it, which will make me happy and probably be a good deal for a mechanic who can do the repairs themself.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Squirting gas on the engine? IIRC, that's a very old recall issue that should have long since been taken care of. If not, your dealership should provide the fix for free.

    Best Regards,
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