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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • council2council2 Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    Tranny has started to studder on acceleration on shift between the last gears, not sure if it is drive to overdrive or 2nd to 3rd. once it starts to studder I ease off the gas and then it is gone runs fin. It does not always do this, I am wandering if this would be a speed sensor issue? I should mention it has 129,000 miles on it, fluid has been flushed about 40,000 ago.
  • Hi council2,

    When I had a reman tranny installed, I had the "shudder" problem in my Town and Country on the downshift from 2nd to 3rd (between the 35 to 40 mph zone). My garage insisted it was a "ghost" in the tranny and had another one put in by the manufacturer. Guess what? Same problem. I suggested he have his mechanic take it to a regular tranny service center for a second opinion. He finally did, and found out the tranny mechanic (Bob's Transmission here in town) had a "Big Brother" diagnostic system to the one that was used on mine. Also a term called the "pinion factor" was in question as my mechanic had never heard of the term when he confiqured the first time. So there you have it...if this is your original transmission, it might just need an adjustment. Definitely needs one if it has just been installed. Hope this helps.

  • I am the original owner of a Dodge Grand Caravan Sport 3.3L 4sp FWD with 171k miles.
    The transmission and engine are original, as are the front struts, and I've looked after the vehicle for the past few years with dealer maintenance in the early years.

    Over the past year it has developed a shake under light or heavy acceleration that starts at 47mph and stops at 52mph. A year ago, when I first noticed the shake, it was at 37-45 mph.

    The shake is not felt through the steering wheel and is very noticeable, shaking the GPS that is on a stalk from the windshield from side to side. The shake is engine speed related and does not change if I drop it a gear.
    If I tap the brake when the shuddering happens, nothing changes.
    If I back off of the accelerator and coast, the shuddering stops immediately. The shake is 100% reproducible, and perhaps slightly worse if the engine is warmed up.
    Apart from the shake the transmission and engine perform perfectly. There are no unusual noises

    I suspected the drivetrain, and to no avail have tried the following in the course of general maintenance and trying to solve this:
    - rebalanced the front wheels
    - checked rim run out
    - changed the tires front to back, bought new ones, put on my snow wheels and tires
    - changed both driveshafts for mopar remanufactured ones.
    - checked there is no play in the inner CV joints
    - rebuilt the brakes front and rear
    - changed all 4 engine & transmission mounts
    - changed 50% of the ATF fluid to ATF+4 (no problems evident in pan or on magnet)
    - done a general service (plugs, O2 sensor, coil pack) to rule out any misfire
    - changed front bottom ball joints, and tie rod ends

    So, what remains is the brake rotors and the differential on the output side of the drivetrain.
    My prime suspect is the diff, either the infamous pin is part way out & making it out of balance, or the bearings are allowing the diff to wobble.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone?
    Any other ideas or tests to try with the transmission in the car?
    I might remove the diff cover next...

    Thanks in advance!
  • Sorry 2028, but this one is a new one on me. Might have to take it to a higher echelon of mechanic.

    Squeaky 4.
  • olivers: Having been a glutton for punishment, I have owned quite a few of the DCP minis from model years 85 thru 2000, & have probably experienced and repaired just about every type of problem known to these vehicles. I believe that your shudder/vibration problems is definitely transmission based. Thes transmisssion usually show problems long before the milage you have on yours, and can probably be traced to one of 2 sources.

    First of all, what you described sounds exactly like a very well known GM transmission problem with an electric torque converter switch. The way to confirm that on a GM veh is to simply unplug the connector on the switch & see if the problem disappears, & if it does, you just replace the switch & plug it back in.

    Unfortunately, I do not think that test works on these vehicles, but it is very similar in nature. There is a sensor in the top of the transmission bell housing near the engine block.

    Leaning over the driver's side fender, look down between the brake system master cylinder and the engine to the bell housing, on the side of the housing closest to the firewall. ( If I remember correctly, you may have to remove the air filter tube to the throttle body to see it & work on it).

    Unplug the connectoer, & remove the switch from the housing and replace it.

    The new sensor will have a paper disc glued onto the end of it that goes inside the transmission housing and that end senses the flywheel/ torque converter rotation. Do NOT remove the paper disc!!!!

    It is a built in sensor spacer to adjust the gap, and it will be removed by the internal rotations and fall inside the housing.

    After changing this sensor/switch, if you still have the problem, it would lead me to believe your problem in in the tranmission solenoid valve body bolted onto the front of the transmission infront of the filler tube.

    These controlers have plastic/nylon valve bodies that are controled by electronic solenoids, and are very prone to going bad due to gumming up. I really do not think that is your problem though, because they usually cause shifting problems & slipping & banging during shifting as you drive when they go bad. They can also be quiet costly to replace, so when one of my 2 went bad, I ordered a factory rebuilt trans from a dealer in NJ that shipped it right to my home at about 1/2 the cost of a trans shop doing the job, & just changed the entire tranny myself as opposed to spending the $$$ on an expensive part just to have the gears go on me at some point.

    I feel pretty confident that the sensor/switch is the source of your problem, & fortunately it is not real expensive or time consuming to swap it out.
  • davandavan Posts: 2
    Last trans service at dealer at about 190k, now 219K.

    Was driving fine but 3 weeks ago coming to a stop - Clunk. Another clunk on acceleration. Pulled into parking lot, tried all gears - OK. Drove fine again (3 weeks) until today.

    Same clunk coming to a stop, then went 1/2 mile and lost Drive. Stopped, disconnected battery for 5 min, then seemed not have reverse but moved in low. Tried drive again but nothing, put in low and nothing. Turned off engine, restarted, put straight into low - drove 25 miles home at 20mph in low.

    Am I all done? With these miles on it I can't justify $2500 - 4000 to fix, even tho engine and body are good.

    Opinions? Thanks, Dave in Spokane.
  • Well you probably owe the van at least a check of the fluid level, and maybe dropping the pan and checking for debris, clogged filter, etc. If you see debris in the bottom of the pan, well you know that's the end, then.
  • davandavan Posts: 2
    Should mention that this was not the original transmission. After reading all the complaints on the internet about Chrysler transmissions (seems like very few get more than 100K and many fail between 20 and 80K) I think I'll swear off Caravans. Too bad, they are nice vans otherwise.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    Our previous Chrysler minivan was a '96 T&C. Sold it to a private party w/120k miles. Original tranny. Ran fine, but 3.8l engine burned about a qt. of oil every 1k miles. Trick to long lasting tranny for us was to change fluid/filter every 50k miles and use only ATF+4 transmission fluid.
  • joepeterson56 -- Thank you for your response!
    I haven't found any part for a 4sp called a torque convertor control solenoid switch -- although there is one for a 3sp.

    Today I swapped out the input and output vehicle speed sensors. They seemed clean enough. The problem may have reduced slightly but too much traffic got in the way of testing on my commute. It certainly has not gone.

    The transmission control solenoids are in the range $104-140 on rockauto, so that might be the next step, per your suggestions.

    Thanks again.
  • My 2008 Grand Caravan's Transmission died this week with about 70,000 miles. The dealer informed me that the unlimited drive train warranty (now 5/100,000 transferable) was not valid since the car was sold to me by my parents. They have a complete log of servicing and had all the recalls (breaks, and air bags) taken care of.

    I need the car but there is no way I will buy a used transmission which will most likely have problems in the future. I saw one link of someone who replaced their transmission 2 times within 105,000 miles and now needed a 3rd.
  • You would think Chrysler and Dodge would have found out their tranny problems by now. I guess the bailout money wasn't enough incentive, ha.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Sorry to hear about the tranny failure. It's still cheaper to put a rebuilt tranny in than to buy a good, reliable used minivan ( at least $10k). If the engine runs strong and doesn't burn oil, the interior is in good shape, and the exterior shows little or no rust, it may still be worthwhile to keep. Good luck.
  • Hello there
    I have one dodge grand caravan with some trouble that started lately, it's now reached 236k miles with very good engine no engine light on or anything !
    The problem is when I start it in the cold weather like in the morning it will not engage on either reverse nor drive, I mean If I put it on R or D it will not engage even when I accelerate it does not do anything for at least 7-10 minutes after the engine heats up to above the C (about 10 minutes ) it will then shift to both reverse or Drive and drives with no problem at all and shifts very good, can't even tell when it shifts almost without looking at the RPM.
    Now is this problem going to lead to more serious problem any suggestion there
  • zarthanzarthan Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    Read online that the transmission is 100% computer controlled. Was getting a P0736, replaced both in and out speed sensors, no codes have come back. Replaced transmission fluid with atf+4 and changed filter. Still getting no codes, and gears sound like they're engaging, but no power, free rolls in all gears as well as park and reverse.

    Shift lever moves, and isn't loose. You can feel it engage each gear like normal when using the selector, and the van feels like it wants to move, but when you release the brake slowly you get very little to no push back from the transmission, and the only noise when get is a 'slight' rattle when coming out of park and into reverse/D/3/L, but that sounds like its coming from the passenger side and its done that for a couple years now, thought that might be from the belt tension pully and only at low rpms. Feels like a manual clutch that slips. Axles and u-joints all look good.

    I have also read something about retraining the TCM to fix similar issues since these transmissions are 100% computer controlled. My manual states I need to retrain after replacing solenoids. Does anyone know if this sounds like the case?

    Thought it might be mechanical because of Park not working, but wasn't sure since the TCM controls all aspects of the transmission and can disable all gears to protect itself if there's a detected problem. Thanks for all your input.
  • Sounds like the diff or output shaft has broken. After putting it gear and trying to move and then when putting back in park does trans make a clicking noise? Generaly if park is free wheeling and never locking in park then it probly is diff or output shaft related but either way it new trans time. Computer does not control park or neultral fucntions only shift points from 1 gear to next.
  • My 06 TC Touring was a reliable vehicle for many years, good for road trips, hauling cargo, camping trips, and as a people mover. Wanted to keep for longer when the tranny failed with a loud clunk noise while cruising the highway at 70 mph. Was quite scared by the way it failed, with no warning at all. Wondered if this is a one-off case or there are similar cases.
  • cmills5cmills5 Posts: 1
    edited February 2012
    Our 2003 Chrysler Voyager minivan had transmission replaced at 109000 miles 2.5 years ago by a Chrysler dealership who guarantees the transmission for 3 years. We now have 147000 miles and for the past two months have been experiencing some odd symptoms which appear to be transmission related. Symptoms usually come up after the car has been driven for more than a half hour and usually when driving at higher speeds like on a highway, often on an incline. Seems like it's losing power momentarily then downshifting and up shifting erratically, and then the engine races. I instinctively take my foot off the accelerator to stop the engine racing. It doesn't happen all the time. One time i took it to a local garage we deal with (not a Chrysler dealer) and had a mechanic drive with me when the symptoms were severe and he said it was definitely the transmission, and that a transmission flush would sometimes help. Since we have a guarantee on the transmission for another 6 months, I took it to the dealer who replaced the transmission and as luck would have it, when they drove it and plugged it into the diagnostic computer, there was nothing showing up as wrong with the transmission or engine even though it had those symptoms on the 45 minute drive to get to the dealers. Another time the same symptoms, and i stopped at a different Chrysler dealer. I turned the car off and went in to talk to them. A mechanic drove the van about 10 minutes later for a few miles and no symptoms! The dealer who replaced the transmission said transmission fluid on these vehicles should be changed every 30,000 and also checked my fluid and said it was clean. I pointed out it didn't say that in the owner's manual. The second Chrysler dealer said the fluid was clean. Our local garage said it looked dirty. Don't know if this is relevant, but after the transmission was replaced at 109,000, there was a new very slight whining sound relating to the transmission which i just learned to live with. This is a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine Voyager LX model. Any advice would be much appreciated...
  • nick1967nick1967 Posts: 1
    my Chrysler Voyager 1999 ,when stationary it attemps to cut out , any ideas chaps...?Thanks
  • gordo316gordo316 Posts: 1
    Common transmission problems with Chrysler automatics is they have a very fine transmission fluid filter that for longevity needs to be changed every 30,000 miles. the slow shift / no shift problem is usually caused by oil pump cavitation due to restriction in the filter... new oil and filter usually will fix that. The slippage of slow shift or no shift will usually happen when the transmission is cold and the fluid is thicker and or dirty... My Chrysler cars with proper filter and fluid change have all ran to the 200,000 mile mark!!!
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