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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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Comments

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    There is likely something wrong with the circuitry in the instrument panel. It is common, apparently, for these vans, though the exact manifestation varies from case to case. If the price is right then it might be worth the risk. If you want to fix the problem, though, it is likely going to cost you much in the way of money and frustration.

    It probably will not affect the mechanical operation of the vehicle, at least not unless it spreads.
  • lovecdlovecd Posts: 50
    I recently noticed an abnormal noise when driving in low gear (L gear) on my 98 Caravan. That noise will disappear after shifted to higher gear (D gear). When I changed to D from Reverse gear, I can hear this noise in very low speed, after it switched to higher gear with higer speed, this noise is gone. This problem come out right after I use my Caravan to pick up the furniture I just purchased last week (about 450 pounds, ofcourse I removed my second and third row seats), and I did not apply the parking brake when loading the furniture, so, the car can move or shake a little during loading and unloading, not sure if this will associate to this issue at all).

    Appreciate if somebody can give some advise here.

    Thanks!
  • napagirlnapagirl Posts: 6
    Hello, I would appreciate anyone's expertise on this since I am a woman and don't want to get hosed by the dealer!!

    I have a 2000 Grand Caravan, 198k miles, original owner, mostly maintained per manufacture rec.

    Two days ago, when I would come almost completely to a stop, there would be a "clunk" just before stop. This always happens now when coming down to a stop, but not at any other time. I thought transmission, and had the fluid/filter changed today. Fluid was in need of a change.. had let it lapse a bit. They used the special Chrysler ATF. But the problem is still there. Additionally, the check engine light has come on. I tried the 3 key turns on trick to see if it flashed (and found code list on web), but it only flashed once and no more. I'm not sure what that means.

    Today after having the tranny serviced. I spent time driving it to see if I noticed anything else. I did notice that after having the van in reverse, say to back out of a parking space, when I then put it into drive, there is a few seconds of hesitation before it will drive. I had not noticed this before all this started two days ago.

    Any ideas????? I am taking it in this week, but really don't want to get taken by the dealer. The van has had no troubles up until this point.

    Thanks!!!
  • khzkhz Posts: 6
    I purchased a 2002 Voyager with 102,000 miles. When I purchase it was running great. Took it to have trans filter and fluids changed. Now the van seems to have problem when down shifting in the 25 - 30 mph range. Still runs good on highway. Problem only occurs when slowing down. The car bucks or seems to down shift real hard. Any suggestions?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Why did you have the fluid replaced? IIRC, the 2002 uses a lifetime fill of ATF+4 transmission fluid.
    2) Who did the work on the transmission? Many places claim to have some magic elixir that will magically change Dextron transmission fluid into ATF+4. It won't. So, unless you took it to a dealer, you may well have the wrong fluid in the transmission.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • khzkhz Posts: 6
    It was suggested that I have all the filters and fluids changed when I got the car. I take it to a local mechanic and he claims to have put the proper fluid in the van. Would the wrong fluid only effect when the car is down shifting for a certain gear? If I take it to a dealer and have the drain and refilled, do you think that would eliminate the problem?

    Thanks for your assistance.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Without knowing what when in, it would be very difficult for me to speculate. Another thought is that when your local mechanic did the drain of the old fluid, the transmission control module sensed "loss of prime" and as such it needs to be reset. When you have the fluid replaced at a dealership the do that for you automatically.

    I suppose the first thing I would do in your shoes would be to get your mechanic to spell out exactly what the "Proper fluid" is for your transmission. If he says anything other than Mopar ATF+4, then you have a problem. If he does give you the correct answer, go to a dealership and pay them to reset the TCM. That may or may not solve your problem.

    Keep us posted.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • khzkhz Posts: 6
    Thanks again for the assistance. I took the van to a dealer this morning and had all the fluids changed again. It still bucks at the 25-30 mph downshift. The dealer may feel it is a valve being stuck from debri. Couldn't tell unless they took apart. They wouldn't give me an indication if I run as is what could happen. What do people think about letting it go until it dies or if it is debri it would loosen? How much damage do you think it could do?

    Thanks again for all the comments.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    At this point I'd say "Driv'er till she drops." I put a new transmission in our 1998 (different generation of transmission and not as robust as the one in your van) last year when it had only 109,000 miles on it and felt it was a worthy investment. Good choice a it turns out. Another car would have cost me considerably more than the cost of the transmission, and now with nearly 150,000 miles on it, it still runs like a top. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Yep - if you have to tear into the transmission, might as well make it worth the effort! Ripping it apart probably will not cost much less than replacing it.

    Just be aware that it might (and probably will, at some point) leave you stranded, so be prepared for that and take it as it comes. :D

    I find it hard to swallow that it just "appeared" after a service, but stranger things have happened.
  • khzkhz Posts: 6
    That's what is making so hard to understand. I drove the van and not any indication. Change the filter and fluids and it starts. Most likely it will leave me standed. Any experience as to how long? I know it is hard because you don't know how it feels to drive. Figure ask around.

    Does the debri, sound accurate? I'm not that familiar with tranmissions.

    Thanks,
  • khzkhz Posts: 6
    I have a 2002 Voyager that sounds like it is doing the same. It happens when I'm slowing down in the 25 -30 mph range it would clunk. It started after I had the filter and fluids changed in tranny. Like yourself, I'm not experienced in transmission work. The response that I get from service stations is, "it could be a stuck valve". Won't know until we take it apart. Of course if not, "it could be a gear". None would give a definite answer or price. GOOD LUCK. Let me know what they discover. Thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Well, the debris theory is not satisfactory to me. But then, I do not have much experience tearing into transmissions. Automatic transmissions work through hydraulic pressure, so something sticking would make more sense. Basically, if there is a rough shift, the most likely cause is the system is not reacting to normal engine inputs. The transmission wants to shift, but requires higher than normal RPMs from the engine in order to accomplish the task. You press the gas harder to get the van to move faster, and eventually the pressure builds up strong enough to force the mechanical movement and the gear shifts down.

    What is causing the "sticking" though? Is it debris? Friction? Improper fluid? Tough to say, but I would think debris would be the least likely problem, as that would tend to cause a blockage altogether or would at least be less consistent than the other two. But, debris and/or friction could be addressed by flushing the transmission with a solvent. A shop would actually have to hook the vehicle up to a machine that cycles the fluid through to replace all the current fluid, clean the internal components of the transmission, and then install all new fluid. Not sure how much it would cost, but I would guess perhaps $500. No guarantee, of course, that it would fix the problem.

    If it is the fluid causing the problem then get it out as soon as possible!

    As for when it might strand you.... anyone's guess. It all depends on what is wrong and how much damage it is causing. It will probably get worse before it gives up altogether, though.
  • vango6vango6 Posts: 2
    My '89 Dodge Caravan gets stuck in first or second gear whenever it gets accidently shifted to either of these gears on the column.
    This started happening after someone tried to steal my van and broke whatever on the steering column. My cousin had a mechanic fix the column and later fix the problem with the linkage or whatever was causing the problem of it sticking in gear (twice).
    I was never able to get any feedback on how this was fixed but it is now stuck in 1st again in a really remote spot and I would like to know what I might check in order to fix it.
  • ondamanondaman Posts: 21
    1998 Plymouth Voyager, 113k, transmission broke down.
    AAMCO repaired for ~3k (with 3yr warranty, has new transmission, torque converter, replaced broken oil pan and right passenger axle too). X-sing fingers hopefully another 100k mi ahead :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, $3,000 for a 36 month, 36,000 mile warranty? Last year I put a factory remanufactured Mopar transmission in our 1998 DGC for only $2,600, and it had the same warranty (which sadly is already expired).

    Assuming that your new transmission is built to the same specs as the Mopar unit, and assuming that they put the correct tranny fluid in it (ATF+4), there is no reason why it shouldn't last another couple of hundred thousand miles.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • krock1krock1 Posts: 5
    I have an 02 Caravan with 85k miles with the same problem I havent changed the fluid as of yet. I took it to a suto shop and they said it was probablily a stuck valve. He put a additive in it and I drove it for two weeks with no improvement. I took it to a friend of the family's that owns a transmission shop. He said that the clutchs were worn. I not sure if he did anything at all, but it down shifts fine now. He may have reset the TCM. He said not to rebuild and I could get another 100k miles out of it. He didnt charge me a dime, by the way he is someone I can trust. I would take it to a transmission shop you can trust.
  • I have two Chrysler minivans, a 2000 T&C and a 2002 Voyager. The torque converter went bad on the T&C at 80,000 miles. Today the same thing happened to the Voyager (56,500 miles), which is currently in the shop under warranty for a transmission rebuild. Symptoms before torque converter failure (on both vans) were what you describe. Clunking for a while, which later developed into slipping, finally no forward or reverse.
  • vango6vango6 Posts: 2
    Never mind. I finally found the problem. :shades:
  • lovecdlovecd Posts: 50
    Noticed something is wrong with my 98 Caravan recently. Have my mechanic shop checked and was informed that the trans is gone and needs a new one with a repairing cost of $2900. Considering this is a 9 years old vehicle and resell price is about $4000, should I go ahead to fix it or simply donate it, get some tax returned and buy a new vehicle?

    Your comments will be highly appreciated!
  • krock1krock1 Posts: 5
    First I would get a second opinion from a trusted transmission shop. Transmissions are kind of a speacality item and most mechanics dont have the scanners to detect transmission codes. As far as putting 3k into a car that is 9 years old it depends. If you are the only owner and the engine is in good condition with proper oil changes I would concider putting that amount of money into it. Do you want a car payment that comes with a new car? Do you want to buy a used car and get something that is not well maintained and may have to invest money in as well.

    I would say if you have owned it for 9 yrs and this is the first time you have had to drop some serious cash in it, you have got your money's worth out of it.
  • ondamanondaman Posts: 21
    I had my 98 Plymouth Voyager's trans fixed 2 wks ago, cost me almost $3k. I decided to keep it as a 2nd car for family.
  • I have a 2003 T&C with 55K miles. The transmission just started knocking when it downshifts from 4th to 3rd gear. I brought it to the Chrysler Dealership and they charged me for the $100 deductible. The diagnosis was the transmission pump. I called an independent transmission repair shop about the problem. The owner said that it was highly unlikely that the transmission pump was the problem for my vehicle, but what he explained to me about the transmission pump sounds relative to the problem with your van.

    As for the $100 deductible charge for each visit for the same problem, I would call Chrysler Corporation and fight it. I've heard from several people that some dealerships are nickeling and diming the consumer to death with these fees, and replacing parts that weren't necessary.

    I've pulled my T&C from the dealership to get a second "unbiased" opinion.
  • I would get another estimate. I had the tranny in my 2000 T+C rebuilt 25,000 miles ago by our local Chrysler dealership and it was about $1800.

    As for "is it worth it?" how much is a new car going to cost you? A lot more than $2,900.
  • I am thinking about buying a 2007 Grand Caravan are they still having trans problems like the older ones did or is all of that fixed now?
  • Well, it is now 6 months later with 2 more visits to my dealership and finally have my problem resolved. They installed a NEW tranny after first rebuilding the old one and after replacing the computer module. After $300 and 4 trips to an out-of-town dealership my problem SEEMS to be fixed for now. Luckily it was still under warranty till 70K though or I would have been screwed.

    Now after all this, I seem to have the "shudder" problem since they installed the tranny. :lemon:

    Even though it wasn't doing it before the new transmission, they said they weren't responsible for this problem. ALTHOUGH they did have a service bulletin explaining how to POSSIBLY fix my new prob for only $200 more ...... I guess I'll live with it! :mad:
  • krock1krock1 Posts: 5
    I would think so, unfortunately it is probably too early to tell. It seem that everyone in this form has had problems on a 2002 or older van with 70k or more miles.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I would think so, unfortunately it is probably too early to tell. It seem that everyone in this form has had problems on a 2002 or older van with 70k or more miles. "

    Really? I haven't gotten that impression. My read suggests that a limited number of folks have had tranny problems since the latest 41TE transmission was released in 2001. Prior to that there did seem to be a fair amount of problems, however, I know of quite a number of folks with over 200,000 miles on their original tranny in their Gen 3 models.

    FWIW, our 3.8 liter 2003 DGC ES has 95,000 miles on it and it is still running its original transmission, in fact, its still running on its factory fill of ATF+4 tranny fluid and original filter as well.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
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