Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems

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  • ondamanondaman Member Posts: 21
    I wonder if the 2007 Chrysler Town & Country SWB (3.3L V6 170HP) has the same transmission quality issues. I was about to purchase one 3 wks ago for $16k OTD at zip 94086, but decided to wait end of Sept, will be doing more research. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "I wonder if the 2007 Chrysler Town & Country SWB (3.3L V6 170HP) has the same transmission quality issues."

    I'm not sure which issues you are referring to. Starting in 2001 Chrysler revised the transmission a bit and started sending them out the door with external transmission oil coolers (the Gen 3s relied upon an oil cooler in the radiator only), and a lifetime fill of the new fully synthetic ATF+4 transmission fluid. Since the Gen 4s debuted I've heard of a few sporadic transmission failures, but nothing like the older generations.

    Like I said before, the unit in our 3.8 liter 2003 DGC ES has 95,000 mile on it and still runs as well as the day it came from the factory. That said, the transmission in our 1998 3.8 liter DGC Sport managed to go 108,999 miles with just regular fluid and filter changes and never had a hiccup. At 109,000 it literally gernaded going down a freeway ramp and managed to limp another fifteen feet before it fully croaked in the middle of an intersection. The good news here is that the new factory reman transmission in that van is built to the 2000 model year spec which also uses ATF+4 fluid, and I have little doubt that the van will see the quarter of a million mile mark without any further transmission problems. Only 101,000 miles to go. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • superwoodysuperwoody Member Posts: 13
    "I'm not sure which issues you are referring to. Starting in 2001 Chrysler revised the transmission a bit and started sending them out the door with external transmission oil coolers (the Gen 3s relied upon an oil cooler in the radiator only), and a lifetime fill of the new fully synthetic ATF+4 transmission fluid. Since the Gen 4s debuted I've heard of a few sporadic transmission failures, but nothing like the older generations."

    Maybe it's because I've been a victim but it seems a lot more common than just "a few sporadic transmission failures" in my opinion. From what I have read here and other places, the 3.3 engine/tranny combo doesn't seem to have the same frequency of problems as the 3.8 but I don't have any statistics to prove or disprove that so do your own research.

    I personally have had an SWB 3.3 van and really really liked it. It has plenty of power for the SWB and seems to get much better MPG than the 3.8 I have now. I would not hesitate to purchase another Chrysler/Dodge new right now (In fact I just purchased a PT CRUISER this week ;) ) because of the unlimited warranty they are including. Plus now is a good time to get a 07 van since the new body just came out. Although I personally like the current body better. I think Chrysler/Dodge is going to over board with the "boxy" look IMO :surprise:
  • ondamanondaman Member Posts: 21
    Yes Shipo, same as what you described in your 1998 3.8 liter DGC Sport, my 1998 Voyager's transmission also went down at 113k mi (with regular fluid and filter changes every 1.5 yrs. Transmission grinds while shifting, van will not move). I had it repaired with 3yr/36k mi warranty. Hopefully would last another 100k
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "I would not hesitate to purchase another Chrysler/Dodge new right now (In fact I just purchased a PT CRUISER this week because of the unlimited warranty they are including."

    Good point. I'd forgotten about the lifetime warranty for the original owner. If I was in the market for a new van (I'm not as I'm betting that we have an easy quarter of a million combined mile left in our two current vans), I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 2007 model, even if the transmissions were found to be totally flaky. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,961
    Hmmm.... but how valuable is a "lifetime" warranty from Chrysler at this point? :sick:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Are you implying that there won't be a Chrysler sometime in the near future? For my part, I see them getting more successful, not less.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,961
    No, I expect the company, in one form or another, to be around for a while yet. It is the continuity of the company's past programs between iterations that I think could be an issue. Especially for those owners who actually keep their vehicles for long periods of time. Granted, most owners do not (what is the average, about 3 years?), so it is likely not a costly program to implement for the company and yet it offers a wonderful "peace of mind" fringe benefit.

    Time will tell, so no sense in me going too far off topic. My apologies - that post was one of those "snicker responses." I need to check my impulse regulator. :D
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • buylobuylo Member Posts: 4
    The engine warning light came on in my 2001 T&C (95,000 miles) over a month ago and stayed on. The van acted fine.

    Two weeks ago I got water in my gas tank at a station out of town, and just after leaving the station the van died.

    A mechanic there drained the tank and cleared the code.

    The engine warning light came right back on and the van has been misfiring or shakey. Took it to my 5 Star dealer, who said the codes show I need a new transmission due to failing torque converter ($3800 cost/van is valued at about $5500).

    Took the car to my local mechanic who said 8 codes showed up, and thought the computer might be sending codes in error because of the bad gas. The mechanic cleared the codes.

    Engine light came back on with TCC malfunction code and 2 Trans Controller codes. Mechanic drained transmission, put lube stuff in, said there were no metal shavings or signs of transmissions troubles.

    Engine light came back on and my van loses power, even over 40 or 50MPH. Still shakey, misfiring like it's going to die, but doesn't.

    I thought I knew when a Chrysler transmission was going bad, as this is my thrid Chrysler mini van, and would be my fourth transmission replaced if I do this one. But this isn't behaving like the other three at all when they started failing.

    Could it be a computer problem? Any ideas or anyone else with this problem?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I think the transmission is a red herring. Nothing in what you wrote would lead me to think you have a transmission problem. That said, the "lube stuff" that your mechanic put in your transmission might just cause your transmission to fail, these transmissions are EXTREMELY sensitive to what is in them. Said another way, get that crap out of there as soon as you can.

    As for your misfiring problem, it seems the be ignition, fuel or engine related, however, what the exact problem is I cannot say without a closer look. Regarding the water that you got in your fuel; how do you know you got water and not something else? I ask because your symptoms seem to mimic a problem an acquaintance of mine had when he got Diesel fuel. In his case he ultimately needed a new engine as the Diesel fuel literally ruined his engine.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • buylobuylo Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for your reply shipo.

    The out of town mechanic was sure it was water in the tank, he said he could see it floating on top of the gas.

    I'm pretty intimate with the symptoms of Chrysler Mini Vans since I've owned three.

    My instinct tells me it is an engine problem, too. My husband seems to think it's a computer problem, but he's definitely not a mechanic either.

    The local mechanic, who has actually always been really good with our cars, says if it continues to act up it may eventually need a transmission. But the misfiring and shaking was going on before he ever did anything to the trans.

    Could you suggest how I should get this diagnosed? The 5 Star dealer will just want to put a new transmission in it.

    I may just trade it in, but I really want the time to look around. I'm afraid it might be like one of my other vans, which by the time I decided to put a second trans in it, on the way to the dealer, the trans and the engine blew, and the car was then worthless.

    Thanks again for your reply.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    DANGER, WARNING SIGNS...

    "The out of town mechanic was sure it was water in the tank, he said he could see it floating on top of the gas."

    There's a mechanic that should lose his license immediately and with no appeal possible for a statement like that.

    Fact (and that mechanic should know this), water weighs MORE than gasoline. Specifically, water weighs roughly eight pounds per gallon, diesel fuel weighs roughly seven pounds per gallon and gasoline weighs roughly six pounds per gallon. Said another way, water CANNOT float on top of gas.

    Regarding diagnosis, it sounds like you need to have the fuel system flushed, and if that fails, have the combustion chambers bore scoped to see if there is any piston, cylinder wall or valve face and seat damage. If those two fail to yield any results, it's time to check the ignition timing and ignition system.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • buylobuylo Member Posts: 4
    Wow Shipo, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with me. It seems I've done everything wrong. I hate that I know nothing about these mechanical things. But I do know the the dealership just wants to put a new $3800 trans in there, so I can't trust them.

    I'll share this info with my local mechanic. My local guy did ask me before putting the lube stuff in there, and he did tell me what it actually was, he said there was only one kind that could be used, but I forgot the name. So I guess I'm at fault for saying yes without researching it first.

    So what kind of product would float on top of gas?

    Thanks again,
    BusyLo
  • superwoodysuperwoody Member Posts: 13
    I think it has a great deal to do with whatever dealer/service center you deal with as to how good the "lifetime warranty" is and will be! Although the current Chrysler products I own have come from several different locations, the dealer I use to service my vehicles has treated me like a lifelong customer and until they change personnel or policy, I feel very good about my lifetime warranty on my new Chrysler.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    What floats on top of gas? No liquid that I know of, I'm sure there are some, but certainly none that belong in a gas tank.

    Sorry I can't be of more help, keep us posted on what your local mechanic says.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,961
    How about pulling the spark plugs to see if they were fouled due to the "bad gas?" If it was something directly related to the fuel, which it appears it was, it seems to me that the plugs are certainly an eligible (and cheap) candidate!

    Did you notify the fueling station of this problem?
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • buylobuylo Member Posts: 4
    Any bad spark plugs were replaced already.

    We've notified the fueling station several times, but they will not respond. My attorney is sending them a demand letter, but she says it probably won't mean much to the station.

    I left a message today with my state's regulatory complaint line for bad fuel.

    I'll keep you posted.

    Thanks again for all your help,
    BusyLo
  • sweelosweelo Member Posts: 2
    I have recently purchased a 97 Grand Voyager 3.3l.The transmission had been replaced about 4000kms ago so i felt confident it would be ok for a while...the thing i am wondering is if it should be making a clicking or ratcheting noise when i shift?Other than that the shifts are smooth.I had read on another forum that this noise is normal for Chrysler transmissions going from P to R or D,but i can also hear it when it shifts through the gears.All advice is welcome!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Nothing to worry about, the solenoid pack that controls the internals cycles many times per second and does in fact "click" a lot during any gear change. Errr, that is they click a lot if they have the old style solenoid, the newer model of the solenoid pack is rather quiet.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • sweelosweelo Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the reply shipo!What year did they change to the new solenoid pack?I have to go study on how a solenoid works now :P
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, I don't actually know when the solenoid pack was changed. I do know that our 1998 came from the factory with the Bzzzzt-Click kind of pack, while our 2003 is silent. Furthermore, when I replaced the transmission in our 1998 with a factory remanufactured unit (2000 model year engineering build), my Bzzzzt-Click when away. I kind of missed it, you know, kind of like the passing of an old friend. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • caprice66269caprice66269 Member Posts: 1
    I have 2000 Caravan. Transmission shifts in all gears but slips and screaches at about 30 mph and even worse when up hill to the point it will not engage
    Dealer says trani has to come out for futher diaganosis
    Anybody have thoughts? Just want to make sure it is mechanical failure before I change out trani
  • pmakki1pmakki1 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 94 also, tranny problem, went to Milex, they said this was classic. There is a problem with the way they pin one of the bearings (chrysler). The pin eventually works its way out and cuts into the housing. The fix is to weld the bearing rather than re-pin it. Does not require a transmission overhaul. Before I went to Milex, I went to 2 different shops who wanted to replace the tranny. They said it was not repairable. Watch your wallet.
  • toronado455toronado455 Member Posts: 83
    I have a 2002 Grand Caravan which occasionally will slip out of gear momentarily. It only happens very infrequently, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year. It only happens when the car is first started after sitting overnight. And it always corrects itself after about 15 seconds or so. It's as if it goes into neutral and then back into gear. It happens right after I put the car in gear for the first time after starting the car.
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    I bought a 2007 Dodge Caravan on 7-2. I noticed a grabing as you came to a stop and a hard shift as you pulled from a stop. Took to dealer and was advised that the problem was the transmission and that there was no fix for it but one may be on the way in 90 days.Talked to Chrysler rep. yesterday and they have narrowed the fix down to 60 days. Asked to do a trade to another van and was told that that would do no good as the other vans prob. would have the same problem. I WOULD NOT BUY A DODGE CARAVAN NOR A TOWN AND COUNTRY.
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    I have a new Dodge caravan and it doe's have transmission problems with less then two thousand miles on it.Dealer say's there's no fix for it but their may be one in 90 days. Yesterday talked to Chrysler rep. and he has narrowed the fix to 60 days maybe.THey will not refund money nor replace van. If they traded out Vans the next van would have the same problems.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    As I understand the problem, Chrysler "upgraded" the clutches and the new friction material is a bit grabbier than what was used on the traditional clutches. In addition, my understanding is that there is in existence (as in available right now, today) a software upgrade that changes the shifting characteristics to deal with the new clutches. I'll poke around and see what I can come up with and report back.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    Ok, that would be great, if your able to come up with the fix, a lot sooner then 60 to 90 days.Thanks for your help.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Still looking, unfortunately the information isn't where I thought it was. :( I'll keep at it.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 2005chrysler2005chrysler Member Posts: 1
    Hello!
    I had my 2005 T&C in the shop to fix an alignmnet issue. After leaving the shop, we noticed that whenever shifting, the engine got really loud. It was fine before and after the shift - it only gets loud during the shift. The dealership at first said it was nothing. Then at my insistence, they took it back and said a belt needed tightening. This still did not fix the problem and I need to take back some knowledge so that I can point the clueless dealership in the right direction. Anybody got any ideas?
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    Any one having the same problem as I, on the 07 Dodge Caravans transmission.
  • rita12rita12 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 2007 Dodge Caravan in April. We have had problems with the transmission from day 1. It's a very "off and on" problem giving a clunk when slowing down as the car shifts DOWN into 1st gear. There has also been problems shifting up out of 1st gear. It's been into the dealer 5 times and is in there now as we speak, having a selenoid (sp?) replaced. Previoiusly they ran a diagnositc and "shortened a cable," then, at a later visit, flushed out the transmission and replaced the fluid. This morning, the young man who picked up my van, brought me a loaner that is a 2007 Caravan and he told me that it does the same thing, indicated to me that it is a problem across dealerships so it's not just a problem with this one car. My son suggested I look on the Internet to see what I can find and here it is: problems, problems and more problems. I would appreciate any help and/or anecdotal reports anyone can send me. Thanks so much and I have one thing to say: "screwed again!!" You'll never see another such product in my driveway after I dump this one.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    It sounds like you're describing the legendary "bump shift" that relates to the 1-2 and 2-1 shifts on the 41TE transmission. FWIW, both of our vans do that to a certain degree and they aren't any worse off. It seems that all of these transmissions have that shift pattern in common although the 2007s seem to be a bit more noticeable due to the new friction material (Kevlar by one account) in the clutches.

    At this point I have heard that there are two basic "fixes" for the harder shifting 2007s:
    1) Wait as the clutches "bed-in", a process that can take as much as 10,000 miles. Some folks have reported that the new clutches are MUCH more robust than the old ones and take just that much longer before they've hit their stride.
    2) On more than one occasion I've "heard" of folks having their transmissions "reflashed" with new firmware that solves the problem. Unfortunately getting this reflash seems to be a hit and miss prospect as many other folks have reported that their dealership knows of no such firmware update.

    Keep us posted.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • superwoodysuperwoody Member Posts: 13
    Do they use the same tranny for the PT Cruisers? My cruiser with 5K has the same "jerk" when down shifting to a stop. Shifts fine on acceleration (except for the "programed" power drop at shift points! ugh) but mine seems to be getting more noticeable instead of less.

    Shipo, you seem to be here a lot helping with problems, R U a DC tech?
  • superwoodysuperwoody Member Posts: 13
    Anything yet? Seems I may have the down-shifting problem with my PT :cry:
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "Do they use the same tranny for the PT Cruisers?"

    I believe that they are the same basic design, however, the ones used on the larger engined minivans are much more robust.

    "Shipo, you seem to be here a lot helping with problems, R U a DC tech?"

    Nah, I'm just your basic run of the mill gear head who happens to currently own both a Gen 3 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 as well as a Gen 4 2003 DGC ES 3.8. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Anything yet? Seems I may have the down-shifting problem with my PT :cry:

    Nope, I've been checking and even posted a few queries on other boards and so far at least no one has responded. :(

    I'd keep leaning on your dealership for help, or failing that, try another dealership.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • brokenspokebrokenspoke Member Posts: 15
    Yes, my 07 town and country has had this since i baught it in may. It has been to the dealer several times and has been escallated to regonal tech, they tell me chrysler is working on a fix and should be availible in a month or two, they have been telling me this since may. at 9600 miles clutches havent brook in yet? Funny how chrysler has known about this problem for at least as long as i have owned my TC, but they dont mention it when you are buying the van they wait untill the day after you buy when you bring it in to the service department for your well known transmission problem? does anyone kmow if LEMON LAW applies to this, or perhaps failure to disclose a known problem? this is my 4th chrysler van and none of them have had shift quality this bad.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, this sounds like an odd one. I cannot for the life of me think of something that would cause your problem short of a completely hosed up transmission or transmission control unit, nothing that should have been touched during an alignment.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    I've got the same problem as you. I bought mine in July. Have had it to the dealer and have been told that the goverment has held up the fix. It may be any where from 60 to 90 days for the fix.I have filed a complaint with the Chrysler service repersenitive.He was of no help as he only told me what I had allready had learned from the dealer.I also filed under the lemon law of Ohio.
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    It's been 12 days sense I sent four letters to Chrysler on the 07 Caravan transmission. Have yet to get a reply from them.I think my next game plan will be to get in touch with chanel 4 on myside and see if they can get some results from Chrysler.I realy don't think they have a plan to fix the transmissions. Their hopeing that the clutch will seat itself to solve the problem.Maybe a CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT WILL HELP GET THEM TO FIX THE PROBLEMS.
  • superwoodysuperwoody Member Posts: 13
    Check your states Lemon Laws, mine if you take a vehicle in for the same problem 3 times or more in a ?? month period without resolve, you have a case. That is if you purchased the van new. Call a lawyer in your area, they'll be up to date on all the particulars and usually will at least "talk" to you about it without a fee. Good luck!! :lemon:
  • dcarvan93dcarvan93 Member Posts: 1
    I hae a grand caravan that is having some tranny problems. the tranny seems to stay in 3rd gear most of the time. the tranny will shift here and there. I have replaced the filter and vaccum leaks. Could this be the transmission control module? Please help with any suggestions.
  • engr1engr1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Grand Caravan with the Sport towing package, and we have never had this problem (hard down-shift during braking) until very recently. Just picked it up from the dealer, where they had supposedly upgraded software (the TCU was replaced in 2005 after it failed), but the issue remains. My dealer is recommending a transmission service (change fluid, etc), but it doesn't seem like a mechanical problem to me...it only happens during braking, on the change from 2nd to 1st gear, and only in (over)drive, not D3.
  • nwganwga Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a used '03 Grand Caravan w/68K on it, serviced the trans. and now it "clunks" when slowing down. I think it's between 3rd. & 2nd. gears. (30 to 25mph) and, will NOT clunk when put in D3 manually. I spoke w/a few techs. one says do a "relearn" procedure w/DRB3 so trans will reset the shift adapt. & Other tech says, Reflash PCM and check valve body... Note, when I svc. the trans, everything looked normal. Anyone had there's in for this same problem?
  • tom166tom166 Member Posts: 31
    I just got a letter today from Chrysler Dealership.My 07 Caravan was diagnosed as having a torque converter concern for the transmission. Chrysler technical center has confirmed that it needs a software update but there's no update for it at this time.Ohio lemon law says that they have three chances to fix the problem. So, with no fix in the near future, I still have to drive it as is.Still yet to hear from Chrysler Repersenitive.
  • acurab18acurab18 Member Posts: 2
    i just bought a plymouth voyager 97 with a 2.4 that has a transmission problem. transmission stays stuck in first gear. what could be the cause of this problem?
  • nwganwga Member Posts: 2
    Hey all, I just got my '03 Grand Caravan back fr. the dealership, all they had to do was reflash my TCM (Trans control Module) and now the "clunk" is gone :)
    :shades:
  • acurab18acurab18 Member Posts: 2
    :cry: actually its a three speed transmission it shifts first and second but not third. pls help. thank you. :cry:
  • brokenspokebrokenspoke Member Posts: 15
    Maybe Chrysler would be more helpful if there was some media coverage of this wide spread problem, right now they dont seem to care. Next time i will be sure to buy from a manufacturer with a reputation for caring about the customer.
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