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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    I agree, that 130,000 miles on a 8+ year old FWD minivan transmission, is unfortunately considered an "acceptable" service life. I would only use ATF+4, now that +3 is no longer available. It is semi synthetic. Also an extra cooler is recommended, the current models already have one installed from the factory. I doubt the use of ATF+4 caused the demise of Shipo's transmission, which was factory filled with ATF+3. I believe there was an issue of torque converter shudder with the ATF+4 when used in a "un-broken in" pre-2000 transmission. how many pre-2000 transmissions are not broken in yet?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While I certainly cannot point a smoking 155mm Howitzer at the ATF+4 that was in my transmission when it failed, I believe that I have quite a number of smoking Derringers, not the least of which is the confusion factor surrounding the three TSBs.

    It will be interesting to see, if over the next year or two we start seeing a spate of pre-2000 minivan transmission failures occuring a few months after ATF+4 is introduced for the first time. Should that come to pass, well... You get the idea.

    Either way, I no longer have to worry about it as I now have an ATF+4 tranny in both of our DGCs. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • joe2222joe2222 Posts: 2
    I came across a website a few weeks ago, that sold aftermarket or rebuilt TCM's. Well my computer crashed so now I can't remember the website. Anyone out there come across any TCM dealers other then Dodge? I have 98 Caravan, 3.0l.

    Thank you.
  • I have a 1999 Caravan SE 3.3L V6 97K. It drives great but when i slow down, it shifts to 2nd gear when i hit the gas again. Most times, i slow down a bot but not stop, so it is fine. But if i slow down to almost stop or stopped then when i accelerate it shifts to 2nd gera and stucks there. I have to turn off and on the engine then it is ok. Till next time.

    I have replaced the transmission filter and oil. No difference. The check engine light is on all the time.

    When we looked at the codes It says "Transmission control system malfunction" Does anyone know what this means?
    Should I replace the Transmission Control Module-TCM? or the overdrive module?

    I would like to resolve this transmission problem soon, any help is appraciated...
  • gregmangregman Posts: 24
    I suggest you let a Chrysler transmission mechanic check it out before you go swapping out parts. It could be needing something minor like flashing the computer.
    With the age and mileage you have, I would start preparing for the worst. From what I've read 100 to 150 thousand miles is pretty much it for these trannies.
  • What is flashing the computer? how much would it cost?
  • lariat10lariat10 Posts: 22
    My sister minivan is hung up 2/4 shifts any ideas about what is wrong and about how much to repair.


  • gregmangregman Posts: 24
    Don't know enough about computer flashing for your tranny to give advice, it's just something I've heard may help. I understand it reinserts instructions to tell the tranny when, where, how, and why to do certain actions. Also will give any new upgrades that may be available. But I am not knowledgeable
    by any means. Good luck.
  • wbundywbundy Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Plymouth Voyager, the trans was
    overhauled at 115K miles and again recently at
    142K miles, becasuse of planetary gear failure.
    Rebuilt torque converter installed.

    Now the torque converter comes unlocked at high
    speed (70 mph) when there is a very slight
    increase in power to pass, on the interstate.

    Transmission gets hot enough that I can smell it.

    I do not recall the old tansmission doing this.

    Shop says this is normal for new torque converters.

    Is this NORMAL? What is the problem.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I just had a factory reman transmission (and torque converter) put in my 1998 this spring and it didn't/doesn't unlock unless the power increase was significant.
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    i replaced the serpentine belt and the belt tensinor after replacing 6 belts within amatter of 3 months everything was good yesterday until i took the van thrugh a car wash then it started sqealing the serp belt is in tack but on acceleration this sqeualing got louder now the ses light is on this van loves to eat belts i was told that dodge chrysler and plymouths have belt issues please help to date i have over 6000 .00 int to this van with 132 .000 and constant maintinance done on it . do i have a lemon . first the tranny for 3000.00 to rebuild belts tensinor brakes starter alternator everything has been replaced . i am now desperate for answers thank you problem plymouth
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of things:
    1) I don't remember where I heard this; however, I heard somewhere that a number of aftermarket belts have been known to cause problems. IIRC, the only belts that I've heard that work well are Mopar, NAPA and Gates.
    2) Introduce enough water to the pulleys and even the best of belts will squeal.
    3) You may have a pulley or accessory that is binding (i.e. not turning as easily as it should) and that is putting undue strain on your belt. If this is the case, then a short belt life is guaranteed.

    Entirely too many mechanics simply treat the symptom (i.e. the failed belts) in this type of repetitive scenario and not the cause (i.e. a bad pump or pully). My counsel to you is to find a mechanic who will find the cause and use quality replacement parts to fix it.

    Best Regards,
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    thanks for the reply i have been using napa serpintine belts is it true that this was a issue with the dodge chrysler plymouths i was told this yesterday also will this trigger the ses light on
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Your comments are right on the mark, Shipo. Obviously something is misaligned or failing, or defective in the components driven by the serpentine belt. For example on our 1996, the water pump started failing at about 85K miles, resulting in a wobbly water pump pulley. In addition to the initial noise of the pump starting to fail, before we got it in for repair, the serpentine belt jumped a couple of grooves. I managed to get the damaged belt back on the pulleys and limped to the service station.

    These 3.3 and 3.8 L engines are more sensitive to issues such as this as there is one long belt driving everything, however once setup properly and with a quality belt, will go 50-60K with no issues.

    Chowbuick, you should also check to make sure no one removed the big black plastic shield that protects the lower engine pulleys and belt on the passenger side of the engine. I could see a lot of water splashing up on the belt if this is missing.
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    my sheild is there also i have a 3.0 not a 3.3 or a 3.8 this van runs fine but love the belts thanks for you help
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    hello folks its me again i have a horror story for you about a 1998 plymouth voyager to date i have almost 8000 soaked it to this van it eats belts and wears out belt tensoners like crazy the transmission had a leak i was never told about when the pump seal was leaking i found that during a regular oil change appt 3600 for that plus 3 weeks down could not locate a tranmission i had to rebuild what i had this van was never maitained by the former owner i have the original parts that i had to replace and all of them were original chrysler products this van has been rebuilt . at lees than 13000 miles this is highway driven and maintained like a baby ,. today i was at work and i herd a ding ding noise i looked at the instrument panel and the oil light was making the noise found out that it was a sensor leaking oil dealer part only drove to get that part now i need a gasket that fits where the oil filter goes dealer only part when ever i need parts i have to order them and pay through the nose or not find them at all i have taken steps thru my state dealer inspectors and filed a complaint thru them against my dealer we were lied to from the start i bought this van on 1/3/06 from a wisconsin chrysler dealer and have herd some awful stories about these vans fyi plymouth is no longer be made so a word to the wise buyers BEWARE trouble ahead believe me this has made me sick
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    why can i not get parts for this van on saturday i had to drive to duluth mn to a dealer for a oil filter gasket they were the only place that had the part and i needed this van for my job on friday the oil light went ding ding i turned the van off imedeatley got it to a shop they found the oil sensor leaking oil no warning until ding ding this van never used any oil i have 132000 for miles on it and it is highway and very kept up this will be the final repair for me next time this crap dies it goes to the plymouth heavens . what a lemon and a major mistake purchase a 1994 buick century if far better then dodge chrysle plymouth i own one and am darn proud of it
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    ...what a lemon and a major mistake purchase a 1994 buick century if far better then dodge chrysle plymouth i own one and am darn proud of it

    Didn't you post sometime back that you bought this van with over 120,000 miles on it, and with an unknown and/or questionable maintenance history? If that's the case I honestly don't understand how you can come to the conclusion that your car is a "lemon". FWIW, any car that is poorly maintained for over 120,000 miles is going to be fairly unreliable, regardless of whether it's a 1998 Voyager or a 1994 Century.

    As a contrasting point, we have a 1998 DGC and it has suffered only three squwaks in its nearly 120,000 miles of service life to date. Given that we bought it new and I know how well it's been maintained, I have absolutely no doubt that we can get and easy 200,000 to 250,000 miles out of it before it's ready for the bone yard.

    As far as your issue with the "oil filter gasket", ummm, which engine do you have? The filters for the 3.3 and the 3.8 liter V6s (and presumably the 2.4 liter I4) are made with a built in gasket. Hmmm, that only leaves out the 3.0 liter Mitsubishi mill. Does that thing use a separate gasket for the oil filter? I'd be kind of surprised if it did.

    Best Regards,
  • chowbuickchowbuick Posts: 13
    yes shipo i do have the 3.0 motor and it does have a seperate gasket i had to drive to duluth mn to the this part no local parts house or dealer ship had it let me be very honest with you i have HAD TO REBUILD THIS VAN FROM BOTTOM UP IT ONLY HAD 114000 ON IT WHEN I GOT IT I AM SHOCKED THAT THIS VAN IS SUCH I LEMON AS I SAID I WILL STAY WITH BUICK OR GMS FROM NOW ON WHEN THIS PLY MOUTH CROACKS THIS TIME PLYMOUTH HEAVEN IT GOES SORRY TO BE SARCASTIC BUT I HAVE HAD IT 8000 IN DEBEBT ON THIS
  • I gotta agree with you, nosetomuch. We bout our 99 Plymouth GV brand new. It now has 168,000 miles on it with the original trans. I change the trans fluid and filter every 36,000 miles. A mistake a lot of people make is putting Dexron trans fluid. This fluid will result in premature failure of the transmission. The only acceptable fluid is ATF+3 or ATF+4. Here's a web site with more information:
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