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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Regarding companies backing their equipment beyond a fairly typical 30-50K miles...

    You should ask the Odyssey and Accord owners in my neighborhood about their transmission horror stories. Of that group (2 Oddy's and 5 Accords), only one Accord hasn't needed a new transmission, it has a 5-Speed Manual. Of the remaining 6 vehicles, they have required collectively seven new transmissions, four under warranty, and three out of pocket.

    It is an established fact that the Honda transmission is, if anything, significantly less reliable than the Mopar unit on our DC Vans. In our case, we bought two new Caravans, one in 1998 and the other in 2003, and in both cases we were offered the option of buying a 7/70 warranty extension, and in both cases we declined the opportunity. So far, in almost 140,000 miles of combined driving, our total out of pocket for all unscheduled repairs has been a whopping $158 (two new Die-Hard batteries and a door switch).

    I'm thinking that you were most likely offered the option of extending your warranty as well. In the end, it all comes down to, "You spends yer money, you takes yer chance." We took ours, and so far at least we've come out ahead, you took your chance and you didn't. How is that Chryslers fault?

    Best Regards,
  • peardogpeardog Posts: 4
    I thought I "took my chance" when I put down 20K on a US made Vehicle. Not saying that others don't have problems..just when you have a vehicle that hasn't structurally changed (I mean my 2000 model at least) in years..and to have all those problems... You would think the company would have a recall or a discount prevention repair for customer goodwill. I know I have seen Chrysler has a redesign of the problem parts (not sure what it is) in the Tranny that solves most of the problem.
    I think what burns me is that lots of friends said don't buy the van because of past Tranny problems they have had with the model... but I decided to ignore them..and got burnt in the end.....
    And to say they Offered me an addon warranty and I should have bit..was like saying I should have paid another 5K and bought a Toyota. They coulda charged 15K for the van and another 5K for the 10/100.. How about that..? I just see the product life cycle becoming less and less when the prices keep going up..
    Thank goodness for my 1992 Ford 150 ..
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I'm thinking that your logic escapes me. You were warned about potential transmission problems (as was I), and yet you chose to buy one without an extended warranty (as did I, twice), which if I remember correctly was fairly reasonably priced somewhere just north of $1,000, and you got burned. I got that part. What I don't get is why you think it should be someone else's problem.

    The fact is that in this day and age, a decent automatic transmission should last for at least 100K miles. In reality, the vast majority of our minivan transmissions do, a few however don't. Is the difference environmental? Is it the driver, the maintenance (or lack thereof), incorrect transmission fluid, or simply the day of the week that the transmission was assembled? If all DC 4-Speed transaxles installed in V6 minivans failed before 70K miles, then I'd be quite receptive to your arguments, however, that just isn't the case. In fact, I read somewhere not too long ago that the number of DC transmission failures is actually a little better than the industry average. The reason that we hear so much about them is that there are just so damned many on the road.

    In the end, I suspect that you will find a sympathetic ear here and there, but none of that sympathy will get your transmission fixed.

    Best Regards,
  • rkjohnsonrkjohnson Posts: 2
    This is my first visit to this board and first post. I have a 1997 Town & Country Minivan that seems to be having transmission problems. It is most pronounced when the car downshifts from 2nd to 1st gear, or possibly from 1st gear into neutral when coming to a stop. There is a slightly audible sound and a small jolt in the car that makes it appear that the car had a problem making the gear shift and then just kind of jumps into the right gear. I know almost nothing about cars, transmissions, etc. and don't know what the problem could be. Any ideas? Also, if anyone thinks they know what the problem might be, any ideas on how to fix it and what the cost of repair might be? Thanks...
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    It's easy to be so optimistic when you have had such good luck with your vehicles, with out of pocket expenses being near zippo...shippo.

    But, some people actually make informative posts of their experiences without necessarily wanting or even asking for sympathy.

    Anyone know when Chrysler went to the 7yr/70,000 mile powertrain warranty with the $100 per visit deductible. Thanks.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    I believe it was some time in late 2003. :shades:
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    How many miles on your '97? Has the trans ever been serviced? DO NOT have a quick oil change place service your transmission, or any place else that you cannot watch them use ATF+3 only. (not fluid from a bulk container with an additive to "make it just like ATF+3").
  • thain66thain66 Posts: 4
    On Saturday, of this past week, the warning light for the transmission on my wife's 2001 Dodge Caravan came on. I called Monday morning, first thing, to let them know that she needed to bring it in. Although I had placed some cardboard under the vehicle over the weekend, and double checked the transmission fluid, there was no loss of fluid nor was it low. The car has 73,000 miles on it and I've had the transmission serviced ever 30,000 miles at the dealership. Anyway, they tell me that she can bring it in on Tuesday and on her way to the dealership there is a large bang and the car screaches to a halt! This is an absolute joke and the entire transmission needs to be replaced. $2000-$2500 later and we can have the van back?? I wished it had just blown up for this is a terrible vehicle. I have driven the ford taurus line since 1985 and every 3 to 4 years I get a new one when I reach 140,000 miles. I've never needed a transmisson or anything major. This is a joke. :lemon:
  • a1na1n Posts: 1
    Do you get an audible click, and then silence? My '94 Caravan CV did that, it was the big copper contacts that the solenoid connects together, they were flattened out, at least on my Nippon-Denso starter that Mitsubishi favors. This happens on alot of Toyotas, too, same type of starter motor. It is possible to fabricate your own contacts out of 2MM copper plate, if you're REALLY on the cheap, but most people will just buy a new starter motor, usually in the $150+ range, including your core return. They're a bit steep.
  • rkjohnsonrkjohnson Posts: 2
    Thanks, 97xpresso. I have about 115,000 miles on the minivan. We had to replace the engine at about 100,000 miles. I don't know if the transmission has been serviced. We've had the dealer perform most of the routine service up until about 90,000 miles, after which we've been somewhat erratic in the servicing. Any ideas?
  • rick1234rick1234 Posts: 1
    My 1995 Plymouth Voyager has an odd problem.

    When the engine has been running for a while, if I accelerate rapidly such as to pass a car or climbing a hill, it will lock into 2nd or 3rd gear.
    I have to turn the car off to "reset" what I suspect may be a sensor switch. It then runs ok until I gear accelerate rapidly again.

    Anyone else have this proble and any idea which sensor it might be?
  • peardogpeardog Posts: 4
    "In the end, I suspect that you will find a sympathetic ear here and there, but none of that sympathy will get your transmission fixed."

    Ain't that the Truth... $2000 for a rebuild... That got it fixed... And hopefully for good...
  • peardogpeardog Posts: 4
    Same deal here.. Loud bang was the sound of the $$ Flying out of your wallet at Supersonic speed..breaking the sound barrier. 10% of the vehicles purchase price because of a Known Defective or undersized Pin in the tranny...
    Hmm.. How are those Hyundais? Or the Kia's?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My 2002 Chrysler Town & Country LX has a 7 year, 100,000 mile factory warranty on the powertrain. The original owner got a DaimlerChrysler "Added Care" 7 year / 75,000 mile warranty that covers virtually everything in addition to the powertrain and this additional warranty has a $100 deductible.
    The Added Care was transferred to me and with it I also have the 7 year 100,000 mile factory warranty on the powertrain. ;)
    Based on reading of different problems with various brands here in the Town Hall, I am more afraid of getting a Honda Odyssey with transmission problems or a Toyota Sienna with engine sludge than getting a DC minivan with transmission problems.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Thanks for the correction. :)
  • ian5ian5 Posts: 1
    Hi, I had exactly the same problem, I change the turbine sensor and the speed sensor. It was OK for a weak. Now it came back. Any idea?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I think your posting about DC 7 year 70,000 mile powertrain warranty starting in 2003 is correct.
    For some reason, the 2002 models had a 7 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty called a "powertrain pledge" but I do not think there is any deductible on the powertrain pledge which is a warranty by another name.
  • dodge87dodge87 Posts: 2
    Thank you for a great forum.. Just some advice to save you some $$$..Change your trans fluid when problems like this show up.. my 1987 auto 3-spd caravan sometimes seemed like it was slipping when starting off- was actually starting out in 2nd gear- (you can check this after coming to a full stop- then select 1st gear with column. If you feel your trans shift, it wasn't ready to start off in 1st...the same is true when it feels like it is slipping when starting off, you can check to see if it shifts to 1st with the column). I also had heard a occasional shudder, only under acceleration, around 40 MPH or so... other than these symptoms, it seemed to operate normally. Though the trans fluid was at normal level and looked pretty clean, a trans mechanic pulled the pan and found some metal around the magnet, dirty clogged filters etc. A change of trans fluid and filters completely restored operation to normal. I've had zero problems with it since. Two trans mechanics before this said I needed a rebuild. Might be good to get 3 opinions!
  • dodge87dodge87 Posts: 2
    P.S.- Also make sure to have the bands adjusted at the time the fluid and filters are serviced.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    There is a $100 deductible on the 2002 powertrain pledge.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    That Chrysler is doing away with the 7/70K mile powertraine warranty for 2006 Minivans? We just purchased a 2005 Touring T & C and am glad we got the longer PT warranty. We also bought a extended warranty for 7yr / 85,000.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Is this something the dealership told you? I've yet to read or hear anything about it.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Yup, 2 different dealers told me this news. They said that after 9/11 Chrysler provided this extended powertain warranty (to increase foot traffic) and now they have decided that it's not necessary in order to sell Van's. I'm not sure how true this thinking is, but we'll soon find out.

    BTW: This comment made to me was not an attempt by the dealers to get me to buy the '05. The first dealer (Carmax) knew I was not buying the van from them so they had no reason to "persuade" me to buy a '05. The second dealer told me this same news after I had already completed the purchase of our new van.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Take your van to a Daimlerchrysler dealer and have them do a complete flush of your trans. It should cost you about $150.00. Also, remember to take off your caps lock. (All caps means that you are shouting.) :shades:
  • abidwellabidwell Posts: 1
    With 60K miles Transmission rebuild $1.6K, 65k the AC evapator replaced leaking freon $1.2K and now the compressor at 70K $900 and last but not least Front Brakes at 20K........Help from Dodge NONE. Lemon,Lemon, Lemon
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Thanks for the link fish. I think Chrysler is making a bad move to discontinue the 7/70 warranty. Will make the consumer think they don't have any confidence in their product. And just when people were just starting to get over the stigma of their poorly built transmissions.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    How many people have bought Dodge/Chrysler vehicles based solely on that great warranty. If the vehicles are that much improved, It shouldn't cost much for DCX to still offer it. How many sales will they lose to Toyota (5/50,000) and Honda (3/36000) or even Kia with (10/100,000)? They dropped it before, and had to re-institute it to increase sales, why drop it again?
  • sorry about the caps. age 63, first time on a message board.
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