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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • So far so good with my transmission...I have 126K miles on it. I had to have the gaskets replaced in my transmission due to leaking, which was making my transmission "slip" into neutral...the gaskets were replaced, I had the transmission fluid flushed and filled, and so far no further problem.
  • rap16992rap16992 Posts: 4
    Hello there.

    I recently suffered through similiar experience and was wondering if you, or anyone reading this, would be willing to provide further information as I am at a lost with my 97 Chrysler T&C.

    Recently driving my T&C on highway and feel vibrating (around 85 mph) that I initially attributed to poor tire balancing. Reduced speed to under 80, vibrating disappears. Next day on same trip about one hour in, transmission goes out. In R, D, 3, L, NO action.

    Any words of experience/advice much needed as vehicle currently in local Chrysler shop.


    Hope to hear from you, anyone, soon.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Transmission Control Module (TCM)? I suppose it's possible.

    Torque Converter failure? Sounds more likely to me. Unfortunately, usually when the TC fails, it takes the rest of the transmission with it. If your dealership is honest, they'll open it up and let you know for sure.

    When my TC went last year there was NO DOUBT in my mind that the rest of the transmission was toast given the horrible grinding sounds that issued forth as I tried to nurse our 1998 off the road. Even still, my dealership insisted on opening it up first before ordering a factory remanufactured transmission. Needless to say, as soon as they dropped the pan, they ordered the tranny. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • rap16992rap16992 Posts: 4

    Very much appreciate your reply. Just to give you more info on where I stand currently. I am in Germany and this happened coming back from a weekend away with my family. You state that there was NO DOUBT in your mind when your's went due to the grinding, I too experienced the grinding especially when I tried to reverse. I have sinced heard back from the Chrysler service shop and they have confirmed that it is the trans and that I need to replace it. As the vehicle is about 4 hours away at another location, I am at their mercy and feel relatively safe that they are telling the truth at least to the best of their ability. The Germans seem to be quite serious when it comes to doing business over here and hopefully that extends to their service shops.

    What I would like to ask you is what you can provide me in the way of expereicen/advice concerning my options. It is going to cost me $4500 to have this trans replaced. I have spoken to some of my American co-workers here and they stated that I can expect to pay more for the same level of work/service as I would if this were done in the US. They have told me that it comes with a 12 month warranty.

    What I would like to know is to the best of your ability, if I decide to replace the trans, what is the reasonable expectation of its success and the life-extension of my T&C?

    Thanks for your guidance.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The transmission on our 1998 3.8 liter DGC went last year at exactly 109,000 miles (literally), and I had several options for replacement. Said options ranged from a checked out unit from a bone yard for $1,200 (plus installation) that included a thirty day warranty through $2,600 (installed) for a Chrysler factory remanufactured unit (with all of the latest engineering revisions for that generation of transmission) that came with a three year or thirty six thousand mile warranty (no other replacement transmission option was even close to that warranty). The good news is that now, fourteen months later that new transmission is still performing perfectly. The bad news is that I only have about 2,000 miles left on the warranty. Yeesh.

    Regarding your situation, while I have no doubt that you're going to have to pay a premium to get the same transmission, I'm stunned that you're being quoted $4,500 for a transmission that only comes with a 12 month warranty. Yuk! With that in mind, I might be inclined to shop around a bit.

    Regarding the particular transmission that you are being quoted the $4,500 on, what is its source? Is it rebuilt or remanufactured over in Europe or is it the same unit that I got that has been shipped across the pond?

    As for extending the life of your van, that was the dilemma that I was faced with last year. "Do I dump $2,600 for a new tranny or do I just trade the sucker in on a new car?" The fact is that our van has looooong since been paid for, and other than the tranny, it has been a model of reliability. So, dumping the money seemed like a good bet given how good the rest of the van was. Would I make the same decision if I was faced with a $4,500 repair? Ummmm, probably. That said, as fuel over here in the U.S. approaches $4.00 per gallon, and given that my company is about to move, forcing me into a 130+ mile per day commute, I might make a different choice today.

    Best Regards,
  • tc2007tc2007 Posts: 2
    Is yours Town and Country 2007? Mine is 3 months old and has a transmission shudder ever since I got it. I went to the dealer 7 times. This morning went there again and a foreman called Chrysler. When the foreman told him that it was a 2007 T & C, a Chrysler rep immediately asked him if it was a trasnmission shudder. Apparently, it's a new material that Chrysler used for 2007 model and it affects a low reverse clutch. The dealer said that they are going to order the special part and this should fix the problem.

    PS I had my transmission settings changed/downloaded twice and it did not take care of the problem. Hoping for the best with this new part.
  • rap16992rap16992 Posts: 4

    I am actually being charged a rate of 3,353 Euros excluding tax, which I am exempt from paying. What's kicking my behind in this transaction is the piss poor exchange rate. I am getting the trans from local German Chrysler dealership who has quoted that the casing may be reused/remanufactured, whatever the correct terminology may be, but that all the parts inside are new Chrysler parts. They stated it was 12 month warranty. Should I seek additional assistance from Chrysler direct in USA regarding more warranty? Is it possible for me to order directly a trans?

    As I have never experienced a trans blow-out, I am not really sure what I am dealing with. As I read some of the stuff in this string, I am somewhat confused. I do know for a fact that as I was traveling down the German autobahn at around 80-85 mph, the van started to shake and shudder, not violently though, and the trans felt as it disengaged and pressing the gas pedal only acted as the van was in neutral. I finally coasted to a stop and when trying reverse heard the grinding high pitch noise. I assume it is shot. Any thoughts on that?

    As for extending the life of my van, I share the same dilemma that you faced with yours. Our van too has looooong since been paid off, and other than the trans, it has been a model of reliability. That's why it is so tough to make the decision although I am seriously leaning to fixing it. If it weren't for the sad exchange rate it would be more even with what you paid in dollars.

    Appreciate your thoughts.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I am getting the trans from local German Chrysler dealership who has quoted that the casing may be reused/remanufactured, whatever the correct terminology may be, but that all the parts inside are new Chrysler parts."

    Rebuilt typically means taking a broken unit, tearing it apart and measuring every part. All parts that meet minimum used specs are reused, all parts that don't are replaced with either new aftermarket or used parts, and then the unit is reassembeled.

    Remanufactured typically means the case is gutted, cleaned and all internal parts are replaced with factory new, and at the latest engineering build level. Essentially a "Factory Reman" is a new unit.

    Regarding the warranty, I'd press your dealership on that one. As for getting a unit from the U.S., hmmm, I suppose it is possible. I just checked and saw that they have 3.8 liter transmissions for 1998 3.8 liter models for $2,047.50 (for some reason they aren't listing the 1996 and 1997 models although I'm pretty sure they're available).

    Another alternative is going with a mass rebuilder like Phoenix Rebuilders, they're showing a transmission for a 1997 T&C 3.8 for $1,135 with a 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty. Their unit can be seen at the following link:

    If you decide to opt for an American unit, I'm sure the freight couldn't be more than a couple of hundred dollars and then you could simply install it yourself or pay your dealer to do the R&R for you. The potential problem here is time. How long can you be without your van?

    Best Regards,
  • Yes it is a 2007 about 6 weeks old now, please let me know what part the dealer reoplaces, i was told new clutces are made out of kevler and need time to brake in? i would like to know what the new part is so i can have it replaced.

  • logerloger Posts: 1
    We have a 96 Grand Caravan. we are on the second transmission. coming home tonight as we pulled off the road there was little poof and all of a sudden we had no transmission. checked the fluid and it is good and does not smell burnt. any suggestions?
  • tc2007tc2007 Posts: 2
    The dealer ordered low-reverse clutches (there are 5 of them) but I don't know the material that they are made out of. I also spoke to the foreman who wasn't sure of the material name either.

    To cut the story short, I am relieved to know what causes the problem and that Chrysler is aware of the problem.

    My transmission guy now knows that I was not making up the stories about transmission shudder.
  • rap16992rap16992 Posts: 4
    Thanks again for the response.

    Latest news is that I in fact shopped around, as hard as it is to do in a foreign environment, but nevertheless I called another Chrysler dealer closer to my home and they have quoted me a price for what I believe is the "Factory Reman" for 1,000 euro less than previously quoted from first Chrysler dealer. I am now down to 2,499 euro completely installed and ready to roll. At todays exchange rate that is $3,325, so about a $1,200 savings from first quote and this one comes with 24 month, unlimited mileage, world-wide guarantee. I think this is going to be the best offer, I suppose. I will need to verify the part number as I received that from calling Chrysler Germany HQ in Berlin and they have pretty much confirmed all that second dealer has quoted me thusfar. Once work is complete I will be forever crossing my fingers everytime I drive the vehicle. It currently has 132,000 miles and if I can get to 200,000 without any further trans problems, I will be happy. Hope I am not asking for too much.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given the local taxes, likely higher hourly labor costs and the shipping involved, I think the $3,325 (a $725 premium over what I paid last year) is a pretty good deal. Add in the 24 month unlimited mileage warranty (I wish I had a warranty like that), and this is a very nice deal. Congratulations. ;-)

    Keep us posted.

    Best Regards,
  • dzamdzam Posts: 1
    I was wondering if you ever found out what this problem was I am having the same problem
  • mopar4u1mopar4u1 Posts: 1
    91 plymouth voyager 3.3 4speed 135,000

    I confirmed it today, around the 50-60mph range crusing, if you get on the accelerator for example to go from 52mph to 55mph you will feel a light vibration, if you let off the accelerator it goes away. It is not the road surface it is the van. Not sure where to start to find the problem. The steering wheel does not shake like a out of balance tire would do to it. It doesn't seem to do it at lower speeds that I have noticed. Is this tranny? suspension? tires? motor? No idea where to start. Everything else seems to be fine on the van besides your usual rattles.
  • axr6axr6 Posts: 42
    Hello Forum

    I just recently got an '06 T&C with 20 K miles. It runs perfect for all account but there is this noise that bothers me. I often have to descend into steep canyons over tight, winding roads and quickly figured that I needed to shift into "L" and slow down to 25 MPH to engage 1st gear to avoid overheating the brakes. This way I can just let the van coast down at around 25 MPH, hardly touching the brakes.

    However, after a couple of miles of such winding, steep descent I hear a rather noticable whining sound. The sound will change pitch with the engine revving. This sound will last for several minutes even after returning to more level and higher gear/speed driving. After a few minutes the sound goes away. It sound like it could be either a transmission oil pump noise or a power steering whine. However it is most noticable from inside the car. When opening the hood I can not really hear it and the power steering oil is not foamed up.

    Wonder if anyone experienced it? I have plenty of warranty left on the car, just concerned that the dealer's mechanics will not be able to reproduce the sound unless they find a deep canyon to descend into in 1st gear.

    Appreciate any advice
  • slfadairslfadair Posts: 1
    I've got a 2007 Grand Caravan. I had it in the shop for 5 days because of a hard shift from 1st to 2nd and from 2nd to 1st. The parts they list on the work order are Body Comp, Fluid and Sealer RT. I understand the Fluid but am unsure about the others. Unfortunately, I still had a problem. It wasn't a "hard" shift anymore, but it was an unusual shift and from 2nd to 1st it shudders a little. I just got it back from another 4 days and still have the problem. Their solution "May have to break in trans with more miles". I'd buy that if it weren't getting worse. I was told that they worked with Chrysler and there is a problem but Chrysler didn't know how to fix it. I'm not to happy with that. Does any of this sound like what you were experiencing?
  • yes sounds like the same problem, dealer says chrysler told them they are working on new software upgrade and hope to have it in about a month. this is caused by new kevlar clutches witch tend to grab more than previous clutches did.
  • sccom335sccom335 Posts: 1
    Yesterday our 2001 T&C developed a problem. I'm assuming it will not shift into higher gears. Put it in drive and at highway speeds, 70MPH tac is over 5k. No grinding or other noises. I have read alot about tranny issues here. Any thoughts or guidance will help.
  • mcetmcmcetmc Posts: 1
    I am going to buy a 97 Caravan. When I move the shift lever to neutral, the dash display does not show an "N" or an "N" with a box around it.

    Also, sometimes all the shift positions (P, R, N, D, 3, L) light and all have boxes around them.

    Is the above caused by a mis-adjusted or bad switch connected to the shift lever?

    Does all the positions lighting suggest a problem with the dashboard PC board or circuitry?

    How do I get to it to adjust it or replace it?

    I assume that the above will not affect the transmission or any other part of the van. True?
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