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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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  • The local dodge dealer did the work. They talked my wife into it, they said that when they checked the fluid it was browsish.

    At this dealer, who I usually trust and like, they recommend the Wynns flush system. Apparently they drain, put in new fluid with the wynns solvent and flush it to get all of the old fluid and residue out. They then flush again with ATF+4 to displace everything with clean ATF+4. On the bill it showed 12 qts of ATF+4 used, a labor fee and 34 bucks for the wynns solvent / cleaner.

    I'll admit that in theory it sounds good but I just thought the 160 was a lot and I wasn't thrilled that they talked my wife into doing it with out me hearing about it first (she had forgot her cell phone). I would have really questioned the need at 42000 miles and the total cost.
  • Post 958 says 12 quarts which sounds about right. A pan drop takes between 4-5 quarts. The dealer has ATF+4 in bulk drums, so they probably used a little more than the 4 quarts listed on the bill. Most dealers charge about what you paid for this routine service, sometimes they have $75 coupon specials.
  • I am so relieved the work was done at an DCX dealer. When I saw "Wynn's Flush System", I assummed a quick lube place. $160 is not out of line if performed by a dealer with 12 qts of ATF+4. Even though the manual states no service (ever) required under normal usage, I will get my transmission serviced (not flushed) at 48,000 for peace of mind. Reading posts on this and other forums, some people go as far as changing the fluid (4-5 qts.)every other oil change! I guess it's cheap insurance if you do the work yourself and have the older (A604) DCX transmission
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Just think of it as good insurance on your transmission. Can't hurt the car at all to get this service doen on a regular basis. It will just hurt your wallet!!
  • We get our 01 DGC EX maintenance done at the dealer. We were told that we should have the trans. filter and fluid changes every 30K or two years. The cost is around $130. They charge $149 for a complete trans. flush. Since we had a complete trans. flush at around 54K, the next time around, we will have the fluid and filter changed. (We now have over 66K). :)
  • Hi, I have a 98 voyager with a similar problem, where the engine stalls/cuts out after 40 minutes of driving. I also agree that it is a heat related problem. Our vehicle dash lights up, but specifically the alarm set light comes up and beeps constantly. Also you can't get the engine to turn over as the ignition seems to be dead when attempting to start the engine by turning the ignition key.

    This behaviour started occurring after we had to jump start the vehicle that had a flat battery. We took our vehicle back to the dealer, where they replaced the computer module and got the vehicle running again. However, this took 3 plus weeks and nice big bill. After all this the problem started again after 6 months.

    I wonder if you have had any information provided by your chrysler dealer.

    Another thought we had was to go to a specialist auto electrician, to see if he can work out the problem.

    Looking forward to your experiences.

    Angelo
  • I own a 1996 Chrysler Town and Country that has 130,000 miles on it. About a year ago we had the transmission replaced. Well it was acting up so we tookk it to a dealer locally as my husband is in the military and we are in a different state for the next couple months. We were told that it needed a new solenoid pack and the transmission needed to be replaced. We it turned out that the transmission was still under warranty thru Aamco where i had gotten it done the first time. Well anyway, Is the soleniod pack part of the transmission or is it separate? Is this something they will replace when they fix the transmission or will this be separate? I am not getting much info from aamco as they had to tow it about an hour away from where we are and i was told they would call me when they did the diagnostic test on it after they picked it up. I guess they aren't in much of a hurry since they wont be getting paid as it is under warranty. Should I expect them to change that pack that the dealer said was no good? Or will i need to pay for that? Thanks for any input I can get.
    Annie
  • We have had the same problem. We purchased our '05 Grand Caravan in March. Over the past week when we stop at a red light and even in park the car wants to lunge forward. When we took it to the dealership the first time they said it was running on 5 cylinders and replaced the plugs. It continued happening and we took it back. The mechanic drove the car with me for about 20 minutes and it did not happen. They told us to monitor the situation and bring it back if needed. Have you found any information out as to what the problem is???
    Can anyone help with what is causing the car to want to lunge forward while you are stepping on the brake? I would like to get this fixed because we have three small children riding in the car.
  • I hve a 93 Plymoth Grand Voyager SE with a 4 year old transmission. We definately had some problems with low fluid levels and found out the proper filling methods etc. when we took it back to the shop that installed the rebuilt trany. The mechanic told us to use Merchon/Dextron III only. Have I been had? Last night my transmission stopped moving my car and we got a tow.
    Thanks man.......
  • On our '05 lunge problem, our dealer insists they have thoroughly gone over the vehicle but can't find anything wrong. They specifically stated they wouldn't be able to find anything that wasn't captured as a trouble. Our check engine light doesn't come on. It lunged again on my husband shortly after all the repairs from my accident, but the dealer told him not to bother to bring it up unless the check engine light had come on. Not only do I not drive this vehicle that was purchased for my use, but I'm also a nervous wreck as a passenger in it! It really stinks because I love everything else about the van. I have a child as well and am frightened for her to ride in the vehicle. Be careful and good luck on your end! :confuse:
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 223
    There is a long history of vehicles of various makes being subject to sudden acceleration. First I would be making a report to NHTSA.gov, then I would be working up the chain of command at Chrysler since you need to talk to someone concerned about fleet safety. The dealer response of tamstertime is particularly inadequate. The idea they can not address a problem not showing as a check engine light is retarded. Most items monitored by the computer contribute to emission control. Many problems drivers care about will never be found by the computer, such as a failed water pump or a broken belt or a flat tire.
    Try a google search on "unintended acceleration" and see what ideas/information you find. Roy
  • Thanks for your response Roy. Interestingly enough, my husband told me today he had an instance where the van wouldn't respond when shifted into drive, but idled as if in neutral. He had to shift back to park and drive again before being able to proceed. This morning, while in drive, the van shook and ran very rough. Obviously, we do have transmission issues and guess what - that check engine light didn't come on this time either! So much for investing in a reliable new vehicle! I'm going to look into some of your follow-up suggestions. Thanks - Tammy
  • I recently had my 97 plymouth grand voyager v6 3.3L transmission rebuilt and the guy put in dexron. From what I have read here it is a death sentence for my new tranny. The guy gave me the run around and said the dexron was fine and wouldnt put in the atf3 that is recommended. I am planning on doing it myself but have never done it on this van. On my volvo 240 you just pull off the return transmission line, attach a rubber hose and flush out the fluid 2 quarts at a time and then add the same amount of new fluid until you've run about 12 quarts of fluid through. Does anyone know how to do this with my van and could you explain the procedure. Any help would be greatly appreciated. By the way I am really tired of inept and irresposible mechanics who cut corners and just dont do the right thing. It's maddening. Thanks Phil
  • I own a '97 Sport Caravan, short wheelbase. I bought it new, had the dealer change the trans fluid and filter at recommended intervals. Currently have 142K miles with no problems. I hear few success stories out there about these transmissions. I called a local trans repair shop and they said these transmissions should go 180K with proper care. Hope I haven't jinxed myself by writing this.
  • I also have a '97 Sport (short) which has 140K on the original trans. No problems yet, except a shutter in 4th gear at lower speeds, around 30-45. Other than that,it's been a great car. I'm thinking about taking it on a 2K mile round trip next month. Good idea?
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 223
    My '95 has a filler tube that allows insertion of a 5/16 inside diameter, 7/16 OD plastic tube. With about a 5.5' length it will reach from the bottom of the tranny pan to a dish pan on the ground. If the dipstick shows full it will siphon a little over 3.5 qt. Roy
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 223
    Not going into gear sounds like low transmission fluid. Running rough has many possibilities, though most are not common in the first year. If your dealer is not successful this time I wonder if you have an alternate dealer to try. Also you might want to look for a source for TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) which manufacturers publish to help dealers identify and fix common owner issues. Try a google search for "Alldata" or "Technical Service Bulletins". Roy
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Last week I was forced to buy some very cheap fuel ($1.93 vs. a more typical $2.03-$2.09 around here) for our 1998 GC 3.8 from a Brand X gas station. Why "forced"? Well, the "Distance To Empty" display had long since hit zero and this was the only fueling station in sight. :-/

    Over the last 5 months and nearly 14,000 miles I've filled almost exclusively at ExxonMobil (which around here is more than half of all of the stations) with a few stray tanks of either Shell or Sunoco, and through all of those miles it has been the rare tank indeed that didn't hit between 21.5 and 22.5 mpg. Anyway, after this fill (and associated reset of the trip computer) I noticed that my "Avg MPG" display was hovering in the high 17s and low 18s and that my transmission was very rough when it upshifted. Initially I didn't associate the poor mileage to the cheap gas, and it wasn't until last night that I started wondering if the transmission issue was somehow related as well.

    Under typical circumstances (i.e. name brand fuel in the tank), my van would normally execute silky smooth upshifts during my daily commute on some rather hilly roads. Last night however, when I would approach those same hills at my normal speed of about 45, it felt as if I had to give the van more pedal to maintain speed up the incline, and when the upshift came, it was very abrupt and harsh, so harsh I found myself worrying about the health of my tranny (which is nearing 102K miles I might add).

    Thinking about it logically, if the transmission computer is monitoring the throttle position as one of its indicators that an upshift is necessary, then I would assume that with this cheap fuel the throttle position where the change-up would be called for would occur effectively at a lower level of power output (but at a similar throttle setting) than when compared to the normal fuel that I run. If the transmission is expecting to effect said gear change while dealing with a certain amount of torque, and said torque is well south of the mark, then the lock-up after the gear change should indeed feel harsh.

    Hmmm, thinking about what I just wrote, it would seem rather counter intuitive that a lower power (than what the designers expected) gear change would be at all damaging to the transmission. That being said, the harshness was significant and couldn't possibly mean anything good for the continued health of my tranny.

    The good news is that last night as I neared zero once again on the DTE display (and only a total of 18.5 on the Avg MPG display), I found myself right by a Shell station. Wouldn't you know it, I'm now 100 miles into this new tank and my Avg MPG display is sitting on 22.4 and the transmission is once again shifting smooth as silk.

    With all of that in mind the following questions are clamoring for an answer:
    1) Is there a correlation between cheap fuel and a high incidence of transmission failures?
    2) Does all of this even make sense?
    3) What can be done/added to Regular gasoline that would cause such a drop in power and mileage? Ethanol?

    Anything else that I'm missing?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    More than likely you just got a one time bad batch of gas that made the engine run poorly, and also made it feel like the transmission was shifting rougher as well.

    I really doubt anyone could make a case for poor gas causing transmission failures.

    Almost all the gas in our state is 10% ethanol, and I nearly always buy the cheapest I can find (though the brand names seem to match penny for penny with the offbrand/independent stations around here anyways lately), with no noticeably affect on driveability, on our 1996 Caravan.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Other than the rough up shifts, I didn't notice any other drivability issues per-se. That said, the transmission did seem to perform more gear changes on the whole than it is now doing with the Shell that is currently in the tank.

    Just curious, since I've never (knowingly) fueled with a fuel blended with Ethanol and as such have no experience with this fuel type, what kind of mileage are you getting and which engine does your van have?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
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