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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • Hi, My family just bought a brand new 2007 Caravan and after driving the van for about 100km's, I noticed when the temperature gauge goes to normal operating temperature, and I apply the break and come to a full stop the transmission seems to switch gears after I've completely stopped. I noticed immediately that this is not normal and brought the van into the dealership. The service consultant drove the van with me and told me that this is very normal and that the transmission is getting used to the driver. I've never heard more bs in my life. I actually read some of the messages on this forum before I went to the dealership and mentioned that many have the same problem. With no reasonable answer he told me to drive the van for about 2000km and if the problem continues I should bring it in again. I can guarantee the problem will continue but in the meantime what should I do? Is there a fix for the problem?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    While I haven't heard of that specific issue with the 41TE transmission, I will tell you that it isn't BS that the transmission is getting used to the driver. These transmissions have a computer that uses "fuzzy logic" to learn normal driving characteristics, and yes, it does take about 2,000 miles before the learning process is complete.

    FWIW, granted our two transmissions are of an older vintage than yours, however, ours perform the 2-1 shift just before coming to a complete stop. Many folks have complained about that shift characteristic, so I suppose it's possible that Chrysler has reprogrammed the shift map to delay the downshift.

    Regardless, thinking about this logically, I cannot see how delaying the shift can hurt anything, and if it does, your transmission is under warranty for a good long time (if not for the life of the vehicle). I assume that you're in Canada, if so, do y'all get the lifetime warranty on the drivetrain like we've been offered down here?

    Best Regards,
  • Shippo,
    being under warrenty and probably not hurting anything is really not the point, i have owned a 96 a 98 a 2000 and all shifted smooth accept for minor bump shift on the 96, my 2007 shifts like a teenager with a learners permit trying to drive a stick shift for the first time. this is not the same old bump shift thing it is much moore anoying :(
  • Dealership now says that the transmission now needs a torque converter along with software update. It's been 83 days into their 90 day window on the repair. They still don't have the update fix.......
  • Have a 2001 T&C that had full transmission replacement when still under warranty in 12/03. Last week, it started giving a jolt when downshifting (I think from 2 to 1). Had transmission fluid changed last week when also having an oil change hoping that would solve issue (wishful thinking). So this morning, took it to a transmission repair place. They said not enough prime going through and it needs to be rebuild/replaced. I'm pretty ignorant with cars, but happened to be reading this forum this morning after the diagnosis. Went & picked up the minivan with the intention of getting second opinion. Noticed somewhere earlier in the forum that others had mentioned driving in D3 alleviated the problem. Sure enough, on the short drive home, while in D3, no symptoms at all. Would appreciate advice from others on here who clearly know a lot about these issues.
    a) What is the long-term impact of driving in D3?
    b) Is it appropriate for city driving only? Highway driving?
    c) What does "not enough prime" mean, and am I risking broader damage to my vehicle?
    d) Any other thoughts on this issue?

    I would love to avoid investing in a new/rebuilt transmission at this time. Thanks in advance!
  • If driving in D3 solved it, are you sure the bump downshift is between 2-1 and not 4-3?

    My 2002 has had a problem in the past with a bad 4-3 downshift which showed up after getting a fluid change with non-Chrysler fluid.
  • Hi Toronado. Thanks for the reply. Can't say definitively that it's 2-1, but I suspect it's 3-2 at most (I'm pretty close to complete stop at the point it occurs). Does seem weird that D3 would have had any effect.

    I did notice the problem prior to last week's fluid change, but it seems more pronounced now. Called the place where it was done and they used Mercon and T3(?); definitely not Dexron. The person I talked to there (who's usually reasonably reliable) assured me that Mercon/T3 in combo effectively yields ATF+4. But now I'm wondering...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "Hi Toronado. Thanks for the reply. Can't say definitively that it's 2-1, but I suspect it's 3-2 at most (I'm pretty close to complete stop at the point it occurs)."

    Definitely the 2-1 shift.

    "Called the place where it was done and they used Mercon and T3(?); definitely not Dexron. The person I talked to there (who's usually reasonably reliable) assured me that Mercon/T3 in combo effectively yields ATF+4."

    Total and absolute BS. Get that stuff out of there now before it's too late (if it isn't too late already). What has now happened is that you have a mixture of ATF+4 and foreign fluids and you'll need to either pay for a complete flush at your dealership or have several fluid changes with ATF+4. I cannot tell you how many folks I've seen that have reported that their service provider added Mercron or Dextron and some magic elixir that is supposed to somehow create ATF+4, and have then had complete and utter $3,000 transmission melt downs.

    Another approach would be to demand that your service provider put in writing that they'll pay for a complete transmission replacement if the transmission fails in the next 30,000 miles or so. If they won't, demand that they pay the bills for having your transmission flushed with the proper fluid.

    Best Regards,
  • Hi Shipo. Thanks so much for the info. Very helpful. Will get that stuff out right away!
  • Hi,
    I'm planning to get a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan in next 2 weeks. The LIFETIME POWERTRAIN WARRANTY seems to be a big plus. Would this cover transmission problems in the future? I had a 98 Plymouth Voyager, and about a dozen relatives/friends with same vans had transmission issues after 5+ yrs. I'm hesitating to get another Chrysler/Dodge van. Please advise. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "Would this cover transmission problems in the future?"

    Yup, drive that sucker a million miles over the next twenty years and they'll pay for all the transmissions you need (if any). ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • I would not buy a Chrysler or Dodge Van at this time.I have a new 2007 Caravan and the transmission is bad in it. I've taken it to the dealership but they say they have no fix for it. They have been selling these vans knowing the problem with the transmissions.I was told that it would be 60 to 90 days before a fix would take place. It's now 85 days and have heard nothing. Give some second thought on the Van.........
  • Ya, bet they don't have a fix for it......
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    While I understand that you are not happy with the way your transmission shifts, I'm curious as to why you consider your transmission "bad". It may not be comfortable, it may be annoying, it may be a lot of things you don't like, but do you know for a fact that it won't go the distance?

    Best Regards,
  • Am in process of replacing my transmission in my 1996 dodge caravan 3.0 v6 with 3speed automatic without the overdrive. Have purchased a used transmission out of a plymouth acclaim looks like will bolt up to engine but is missing the crankshaft sensor. My question will transmission work without the crankshaft sensor. I don't think so?
  • Thanks Tom for the advise. Makes sense.. very unethical practice how a corporation would sell a big $$$ item product with known defect to families such as a car/van. Automobiles such as vans are essential to all parents, esp. to moms and grandmas who would be stalled in highways alongside with their kids in the van. This also pose safety concerns for infants in cold winters or summer heat. I wonder how this corp. could get away with this practice for decades...
  • I consider my transmission "bad" because a $30,000.00 van should not be "annoying" or "not comfortable" the $12,000.00 KIA i rented last week shifted smoooooth as silk every time, i guess im just expecting too much from my $30,000.00 Chrysler.

    Best Regards,
  • Shipo; your right, I don't know if it will go the distance but as of this date they still don't have a fix for the transmission. I shouldn't have to wait this long for a repair on a new vehicle.So if they can't fix the problem that I and several others have, i would say it's bad!
  • Hey, slightly off subject but it seems a few of you might know what you're talking about so I have ask! :P

    Our 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport is leaking trans fluid and the tranie has slipped a few times. Like shifted up late or shifting down harshly.

    My husband is about to throw the car away as he's heard of so many trans problems. Our warranty has run out as we're at 85000 miles.

    Although my husband usually know what he's talking about, most of his experience is with old muscle cars and classics and he wants a 4wd so his opinion might be tainted ;) .

    Does anyone think these symptoms warrant concern? Anyone have experience with this or know where to send us for more information?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Given the fact that you have a leak, the transmission might be slipping due to low fluid and nothing more. Were I in your shoes I'd take it to a dealer and have them give it a good look-see. A simple pan gasket leak is exceedingly simple to repair, however, if the leak is coming from some of the other seals, they're more expensive to repair but still WAAAAY cheaper than a new car. In fact, even in the unlikely event that you have to buy a whole new transmission (about $2,600), that's still way cheaper than buying another car.

    The good news about these vans is that, aside from what appears to be a slightly higher incidence of transmission repairs than most other brands (except apparently Honda), the rest of the vehicle is quite robust. FWIW, our two Grand Caravans (one older than yours, one newer) have a combined 250,000 miles on them and they run as well today as they did when they were brand new.

    Best Regards,
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I've driven a Kia as a rental and was quite pleased with it. If a dearlership was in my town , I would have bought one. Wish that I had gone the extra 45 miles to buy one
  • Thanks. We owned a Crysler Plymoth Voyager that had about 250,000 miles on it, about 5 years ago. It did have one engine rebuild and 1 tranie replacement but it was a good car, nonetheless.

    I think I'll suggest having the Caravan checked out before we go the new car route...

    Thanks Shipo!
  • I just bought a 1998 plymouth voyager and the transmission doesn't shift properly.

    It shifts ok when taking off but once it goes through all the gears it will down shift and stay like that until I

    come to a stop and then it starts all over again.

    Sometimes it will shift normally while getting on the highway but then downshift and stay there

    but then nothing it's like it's in neutral what can this be???
  • I consider my transmission "bad" because a $30,000.00 van should not be "annoying" or "not comfortable" the $12,000.00 KIA i rented last week shifted smoooooth as silk every time, i guess im just expecting too much from my $30,000.00 Chrysler.

    I have had similar exeriences, and I have to agree and disagree with 2006 Caravan (3.3L) has the same "annoying" characteristics as my parent's 94 T&C and 91 Dodge Dynasty. It absolutely amazes me that this transmission still stumbles on the 1-2 upshift after nearly 20 years of production. However, I have found that this is not necessarily a cause for concern about longevity....both of my parent's transmissions lasted 90k miles with no problems at all, though both units started to fail at 90k. My wife has a Hyundai Sonata (which uses a transmission of similar design) and it shifts flawlessly every time....smooth as silk every shift. Overall, I love my Caravan and view the transmission as adding personality to it, but quite frankly, there is no excuse for Chrysler to still be having these issues with a 20 year old design. Maybe the new 6 speed will be better....

  • this is not a stumble from 1 to 2 it is a thump hard enough to rattle the dash, i agree it probably will not effect longevity but it will effect resale value, how do you explain this poor shifting to a potential buyer who is probably already cautious of these transmissions? and a trans failing at 90K is not acceptable to me

  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Tomorrow is supposed to be the fix date for my 07 Caravan.I would bet money that it's not going to happen. Will let you know.
  • and a trans failing at 90K is not acceptable to me

    No argument here....I think the average lifespan for these transmissions is about 100k, which in modern times is ridiculously little....there are posts on this board of people who have gotten over 150k, but they had to do numerous fluid changes and treat the tranny very gently all it's life to get it there. People can make all the excuses they want, but I've had experiences with Chryslers and Oldsmobiles in the 80's that went 100k miles with no trans problems.....the old 3 speed Chrysler trans were nearly bullet proof.....even my 91 Ford Escort went almost 100k with no trans problems and only one fluid change. My only point is that these quirks don't necessarily mean there is a problem (though the thump you describe is not normal), but even with a properly operating trans, you will be lucky to get 100k out of it. Chrysler is going to be replacing a bunch of these under their new lifetime warranty.

    I know that some of you on this board have a lot more technical expertise than I do....can you shed any light on why, after nearly 20 yrs, these problems still exist?

  • "I know that some of you on this board have a lot more technical expertise than I do....can you shed any light on why, after nearly 20 yrs, these problems still exist?"


    Denial!! ;) :shades:
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I just came from dealership and they did not get the fix today but their calling every day to keep preasure on tech. services for the updates. Just another way of putting us off.
  • I am looking to buy a 2008 grand caravan.Can anyone tell me how hard it is to hook up my xm unit. I have a roady 2
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Dealership called today and said the transmission updates will be this week.Just putting me and others off. Tonight I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. I think every one should file a complaint with them. Will advise if I get a response from them.
  • To everyone with 2007 Caravans.

    I have an early 2007 model I purchased in December. I just turned 15,000 miles on it. The clunky/rough shift in and out of 1st gear is just as bad as the day I bought it. So the idea that this problem will go away as soon as the van "learns" your driving habits obviously does not apply to this specific problem.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    What have they told you about the transmission.I've filed a complaint with the federal trade commisssion few days ago.Going to take it to another Chrysler Dearlership and see if they give the same answers.
  • I have not taken it in yet. After seeing on some message boards that a service bulletin was coming soon, I have just been waiting for it because my wife drives this and I am having trouble with my 07 Dodge also. However it was supposed to be out a couple of months ago, and I am beginning to wonder about whether it is really coming or not.

    Believe it or not I also have a 2007 Ram with transmission problems, it was jumping out of reverse, I fought with that for a few months, a sevice bulletin finally came for that. Now there is loud gear grinding when I put it in reverse. I just dropped it off this morning for that.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I received a call from the dealership today. They say that they are ordering the parts for the transmission today. No later then this Friday they are to have the updates from Chrysler on the computer adjustments.
  • My 2007 SXT downshifts bad when coming to a stop at slow
    speed (1-5mph). Almost a shudder like feeling. Quick stops
    are ok. The problem is still there at 7000 miles
    Our 1985 and 1997 shifted fine. This one has a glitch
    Been to the dealor twice. Going back soon.
    Any news on a fix for this problem yet?
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Well, guess what, no call call from dealership on the fix.
    I've got less then 4,000 miles on mine and it seems to be getting worse instead f better. Well keep you posted.
  • 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.1L
    For maybe 2 years, the transmission would "jerk" while driving anywhere, in town, on the highway, at any speed basically, and in any gear. It was annoying but I did what I do best and ignored, it, figuring I would just wait for the whole transmission to go instead of sending a mechanic in there to waste my money and maybe solve nothing.

    Anyway, I had a wild hair about a month or so ago, and decided to change the filter. It had never been done, on a van with 190,000 miles. (No comments, please.) So, changed the filter, cleaned the magnet (it was really bad), put it all back together and VOILA! The thing shifts as smooth as the day I bought it.

    I've been told that a flush would have done the same thing, but some mechanics have told me that a flush will just stir things up that don't need stirred up. It wasn't all that difficult doing the filter and magnet, and if you are careful it isn't overly messy. So, needless to say, I am glad I did it. If anyone out there is having transmission problems, try what I did first. It's better than a $150.00 diagnostic charge.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Last thursday the tourqe converter was replaced along with computer updates. This has almost taken care of the problem. I still feel a slight surge as I come to a stop and take off. I will give it a week and take it back. The fluid change may work for you but on the new caravans it's more then the fluid.
  • Just an FYI . . .

    We recently sold our 1994 Grand Caravan ES with the 3.3L and 4-speed ECT. We got 162K on the original transmission, but it was starting to act a bit weird at times (hard bump downshifts, etc.) prior to selling the van. In excess of 150K is possible on the original transmission, but we drive very conservatively and changed the ATF every 24K or 2 years. The only real strange symptom was about a year after purchase in the spring of 1995, the transmission went into "limp mode," but after a reset all was fine, and it never did it again - very strange.
  • My 2007 trans seems to be fixed, dealer installed computer update for transmission and it is now shifting verry smooth :shades:

    Best Regaurds

  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Happy to hear that your vehcile has been fixed. Mine, it improved a lot but I still have the problem. Will be taking it back in on the 5th.
  • That is good news.
    Dealor called and said the software update came in last week. Taking it in tomorrow. 2007 sxt

    Hope it works.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Let me know if that has fixed yours.It helped mine, but I still have the problem ,but not as bad.
  • Just picked up my 2007SXT. Drove it about 18 miles. So far it shifts fine. Nothing like it used to. No more weird downhshift into 1st at slow, stop and go speeds.
    The paperwork references TSB 21-015-07. They reflashed the
    pcm. Good luck. They said this fix just came out 2 weeks ago. Good luck
  • I got a 96 town and country lxi, the transmission started slipping real bad. I want to replace it but it is impossible to find one. is there any other tranny that would work with my 96 lxi motor is a 3.8l please help anyone.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    If you value your van, go to your dealership and have them put in a Factory Remanufactured transmission. The reman is built to the latest 2000 model year specs for that generation of that transmission and is the only Generation 3 minivan transmission designed specifically for the new ATF+4 transmission fluid. That and you get a 3-Year and 36,000 mile warranty for your $2,600.

    Best Regards,
  • izzy5izzy5 Posts: 2
    Computer says it is the TCM - which I thought was located in front of the battery. However, when part was ordered it was not what I thought. We could not find the location of the TCM. I am hoping someone has experienced the same issue and can advise.
  • izzy5izzy5 Posts: 2
    I am experiencing the same problem with my van. I was wondering if you got any answers or how you resolved the problem. Please feel free to email me any suggestions.
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