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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'm not so sure about seals being the culprit here. I cannot think of any leaky seal that would cause the transmission to drag the engine down. I know a lot of transmission techs that would not advocate a transmission additive such as Trans-X, but I suppose some would. If something like this worked I would agree that it's only temporary.

    This could be a failure of the solenoid shift pack or a PCM malfunction. It would be nice to know if these symptoms were present immediately after a PCM reset was performed by disconnecting the battery for 3 minutes. Of course, it would also be nice to know if you're getting any codes.

    This could the result of a locked up torque converter, or a defective overdrive clutch. You could have a broken planetary gear set, but this is rare on Chryslers, especially at your stated mileage...unless there's been some abuse. Broken planetary gear sets usually result from high RPM pop-drops into gear. Do you have a teenager that drives this vehicle?

    The front or rear band could be out of adjustment, or there could be a stuck servo.

    I don't see how any transmission rebuild could cost you $4000, even with replacing parts other than seals and such. I would highly recommend having Chrysler do this. There are a lot of offshore transmission parts being used by some independent transmission rebuilders, and off-the-shelf rebuilders too. So far I have yet to hear that the manufacturing quality is as good as factory parts, and this is especially true of shafts and gear sets.

    Best regards,
  • After picking my daughter up from the airport this evening we exited off the interstate and came to a stop at the light, when I slowed down the van started shaking violently then stalled. When I restarted the van and put it back into drive it stalled again. I had to give it enough gas when putting the van into drive to keep it from stalling and when it started to drive the van would kick and shake until I reached 25-30 MPH. All the way home I would have to put the van into Neutral when coming to a stop. This is the second transmission I replaced, the first one died after the 70K mile warranty now this one has 70K miles on it. I don't care what anyone says these transmissions are crap! Does anyone have an idea of what is going on?

  • paj3paj3 Posts: 1
    I am now facing a second failed transmission in two years. The first transmission was rebuilt by Chrysler and it has only lasted two years and my warranty is expired because I have exceeded the mileage for the warranty. Now my decision is to either take a loan out for a new transmission or purchase a new vehicle. I am not sure if it is worth paying another $2500 for another transmission.....just wondering if this is a waste of time or if it is worth replacing and if there are any tips on how to take better care of my transmission if I should replace it. I did not maintenance on the rebuilt transmission and maybe I should have because I do travel alot for my job..........any suggestions or ideas from anyone.

    Signed very frustrated............
  • daglowdaglow Posts: 1
    Last night I drove 20 miles home on the freeway -- no problems--today I went 2 miles and the transmission slipped out of gear into neutral and would not go into any gear until I came to a complete stop and then only into first and would slip out when I reach the speed of 15 mph. I check the fluid and it was full and did not smell burn't. There are no leaks. After letting it sit for a couple of hours it works fine for about 2 miles then it slips again. I am not a mechanic, but do I need another transmission or is the problem somewhere else?
  • mdgraysonmdgrayson Posts: 1
    My 97 T&C transmission slips when cold. After going 2-3 miles and it warms up everything is OK - usually for the rest of the day - unless it sits for a long time.

    I have changed the fluid and the slipping went away for a few days and then came back. It has 150K on the transmission but runs great otherwise. Could this be the solenoid pack?
  • zipppy1zipppy1 Posts: 1
    Last fall, my 1996 Chrysler Town and Country LXI transmission went.
    My folks and I had just ventured into the mountains and were heading home on the flats when the motor reved up. and we didn't go faster. then we stopped and heard some grinding and then ... nothing worked. we got it barely turned around then headed for a gas station. . a mile down the road... we pushed for a while.
    after getting home... it seemed to go forward a little but reverse didn't work. but it would not do that long.
    Had an independet transmission place put a rebuilt one in for 1600.00 and it works nice now. I am in the market to sell it as I bought a new 2005. but hate get rid of it as it does have good pickup It had over 114,000 miles on it
  • statmechstatmech Posts: 2
    After picking my daughter up from the airport this evening we exited off the interstate and came to a stop at the light, when I slowed down the van started shaking violently then stalled. When I restarted the van and put it back into drive it stalled again. I had to give it enough gas when putting the van into drive to keep it from stalling and when it started to drive the van would kick and shake until I reached 25-30 MPH. All the way home I would have to put the van into Neutral when coming to a stop. This is the second transmission I replaced, the first one died after the 70K mile warranty now this one has 70K miles on it. I don't care what anyone says these transmissions are crap! Does anyone have an idea of what is going on?

    I had a similar problem a couple years ago. It was NOT the transmission. If the plugs and/or wires go bad, you will get this kind of behavior. It will start fine, idle fine, but put it into gear and it will buck, studder and stall as soon as you put a load on it (by putting it into gear). I was pleasantly suprised when my dealer fixed my problem with a simple change of plugs and wires.
  • rcpgrcpg Posts: 5
    Why is your 2001 T&C with 32k miles out or warranty? I thought that it had/has a 7/70 warranty, unless you are the second owner.
  • Just had transmission rebuilt on 2001 T&C (planetary gear problem)...every other day OBD light comes on...first time they replaced output sensor...second time said "transmission out of range" but didn't know what that meant so just cleared it out...third time I figured out how to check the codes by cycling through on/off ignition positions and retrieved code P1494 = leak detection pump switch or mechanical this something to be addressed or do I keep getting these codes because they did not retrain my computer after rebuilding transmission? Going on a 3 hour trip this weekend and don't want to be stranded but can't go to transmission shop every other day for OBD light! Thanks for any information..I am definitely a mechanical novice if that!
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    2001 have only 3/36000 waranty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You don't say how many miles is on the vehicle nor how many is on the rebuild. You should not have had a problem with the rebuild if it had been a quality job.

    Whether its worth investing $2500 in to it is dependent on the overall condition and miles. Does it need any other type of mechanical work? Does the total exceed the value of the vehicle?

    As it stands now no vehicle is worth much with a bad transmission. A $4000 high mileage mini-van with a bad transmission is worth about $500. It may pay to get it fixed.

    On the other hand it might be worth a second opinion, too. You didn't state the failure symptoms, but a lot of Chrysler transmission problems are not complete failures. A dirty valve body or bad shift solenoids can be fixed for a lot less that $2500. I might recommend another Chrysler or Dodge dealer, however.

    Good luck,
  • Recently the instrument panel (digital display) on my wife's 1994 Town
    & Country went haywire. Whenever you put a load on the electrical
    system (power windows, interior lights, apply the brakes (brake lights
    I guess), head lights, etc) the instrument cluster flashes off and then
    goes through its power up test and then displays normal. It can get to
    where it does this several times a second to the point that you have a
    blank display with flashes of lights only in certain segments. If you have the ignition off and open the drivers door the panel powers up and displays the main
    information along with the mileage. Once you start the engine it just
    goes flashing like a discotec.
    Any clues as to the cause of this? I have heard that these digital displays goe bad, but wouldn't that just be the printed circuit board each of the gauges is plugged into? Or is there a controller (BCM) that is responsible for driving the display?


    Lon Allen
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well, this discussion is supposedly only on transmissions, however I will give your question a shot.

    Have the battery checked out. Even though it still may be starting the car OK, these minivans seem to be very sensitive to low voltage which drives the displays crazy.

    Could also be a bad voltage regulator or altenator, I suppose. Many auto parts stores will do a free diagnostic of your battery and charging system. I would try that first.
  • sfuchssfuchs Posts: 1
    Good evening.

    I just purchased a 1994 Dodge Caravan SE with 140k. I've looked through 15+ pages and dont see a problem similar to mine.

    Let it be said that I purchased the vehicle with knowledge of this existing issue, so it's no shock. For $750, it's got a strong motor, good interior, and all accessories work. So I guess I did okay.

    The meat of my trans problem is as follows: when going steady between 30-40 MPH, the transmission will rapidly slip in/out of overdrive. It feels and sounds almost identical to going over a double set of train tracks.

    Accelerating, decelerating, or hitting the OD switch all make it stop immediately.

    My thoughts are solenoids or (hopefully not) the OD clutch.

    Transmission fluid is clear, clean and smells like a spring garden. (okay not really a spring garden unless you were growning ATF flowers).

    Anyhow, Outside of that I'm pretty happy with it. I admit I'm rather surprised to read that 100+k is outside the average life expectancy of a DC transmission. I suppose I'm spoiled by German engineering.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    I'll take the reliability of a Chrysler over a German car any day!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I've seen weak and failing batteries cause the craziest things on Chrysler products, so Baderfan suggestion is right-on.

    Another sometimes problem on your year's mini-van is the Central Timer Module (CTM) going bad.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The 41TE transmissions typically go better than 100,000 miles in average service, with a majority going 150K or more before serious repairs are required. Many go 200,000 with good routine maintenance.

    Check the underside of the hood for the presence of a decal indicating a Transmission Control Module (TCM) flash. For the years '93-'95, there should be at least two if the previous owners had this vehicle serviced for torque converter shudder. Chrysler issued several flash updates for these years all related to shift anomalies and torque converter engagement problems.

    If your vehicle was flashed and this vehicle has been driven for some time with this condition, there unfortunately is a good chance that the torque converter clutch is badly worn. There are other things that should be considered, however. Despite the apparent condition, the ATF could be degraded (oxidized) or contaminated with a quantity of Dexron-Mercon. Dexron-Mercon in a Chrysler transmission will cause the same symptom. If you haven't done this, I would recommend a transmission filter change and a fluid flush. The anti-drain back valve should be removed and flushed, or replaced at the same time. In addition, the battery should be disconnected for at least two minutes and reconnected. This will force the TCM through a retrain with the new fluid.

    Most of the time this symptom is caused by an intermittent EMCC TCC signal that causes partial engagement of the solenoid. The torque converter solenoid could be weak or there could be a bad (intermittent) electrical connection at the solenoid. This is very, very common. The governor piston could be worn (they mushroom at the end from actuation) or the under drive clutch could be bad. The TCM could be bad, also.

    Strange at it may seem, ignition components can cause this very same symptom, either spark plug wires or distributor cap and rotor, and worn spark plugs.

    Best regards,
  • Thanks for the help. Do you know where the CTM is located on the 1994 T&C? What I have noticed since my original post that the display is good when you open the drivers door (it powers up to display the mileage), but after it either times out or the ignition is turned on it displays nothing. Sounds like whatever relay switches it over to the ignition circuit is bad. I would expect that this might be in the CTM.

    Lon Allen
  • My appologies. I had a difficult time figuring out where on this board to post this message. Even worse, I had a difficult time figuring out where my post ended up. Sorry...
  • I dont know if this is the trans or not but, after driving freeway speeds for approx 10-15 minutes (70+mph) the car wants to pull slightly to the right....almost like it has a mind of its own but moments later the pull ceases.

    At the same time, it shimmes unless I add throttle at which time it smooths out.

    During the shimmy, I tried a quick stop & it shimmies from side to side like having a "bent wheel" effect untill a full stop.

    If I stop & go in reverse for a quick moment & resume on my way, the problem is cleared & gone for street driving until of course, I drive at freeway speeds again.

    So far Ive suspected the Trans, the steering or maybe the right axle which, has a broken boot at the wheel side.....btw, its a 1990 Voyager LE with LOTS of does need front end bushings as per a visit to the alingnment shop...

    Thanx in advance for any clues you may have..

  • Hi Dave, One thing you might check on: Minivans with front wheel drive put a lot of torque on the engine mounts when you accellerate or stop. If the engine mounts are old or are broken, the steering will frequently pull to the right or left. Your description leads me to believe that reversing or stop and go changes just reposition the engine on the shock mounts. These mounts are critical to good steering performance and allignment on these minivans. For a car that is 16 years old, I would recommend changing the engine shock mounts. You will be amazed at the difference it will make. How do I know? I have a 97 Dodge Gran Caravan and the mounts lasted about 3-4 years before I had to replace them. Good luck. -NMHUCOWBOY
  • mhaldrmhaldr Posts: 1
    The other day, the car jolted into first, and after that, would not get past second gear. I can put the car in reverse as well. The odometer shows a steady 0 mph, and will not change. The transmission fluid was recently changed. Is it worth a shot to try and change out the speed sensor or check the cabling? Where exactly is the sensor located? I also have the Chiltons's chrysler book as reference.
  • I 'm having the same exact problem ,(lhs 99) but did not take any action yet .
    pls let me know if u make any progress .
    thanks !
  • Since I was getting Service Engine Soon" light and since the transmission in 'D" position was not shifting to higher gears (higher RPM on 40-50mph) I scanned the OBD computer using Creader and it gave me codes 0760 and 0700 in that order. 760 is listed in as Shift solenoid C malfunction and 700 says transmission control system malfunction. I have no knowledge on these. Was wondering if anybody knows as to what it might mean in terms of fixing this problem? I am sure it will cost money, but is it a major transmission job. I am worried about that to take it to the dealer. I have owned this vehicle form the beginning with regular maintenance and average family driving in city/hwy conditions.

    Thanks in advance.

  • dspringdspring Posts: 1
    The engine light came on recently. Was checked by the dealer. The dealer wants to put in a new transmission. No explanation was given as to why? The van runs and seems to shift normally under local and highway conditions. Took the van to a local guy who tried to diagnose the problem. He changed 2 parts on the transmission without change in condition. The engine light comes on. He sent the van to a transmission shop for diagnosis without conclusion other than to rebuild the transmission for $1500.00. The dealer wants to put in a new transmission for $2550.00 with a 36,000 mi. warrantee. The local guy recommends putting in a rebuilt transmission from Jasper for $2500.00 with a 75,000 mi. warrantee. Is something being missed? Should the transmission be replaced? Thanks.
  • My 97 Grand Voyager starts and runs fine when I first start it in the morning. If I drive more then 15 miles or start and stop the engine several times, I start to have problems. Sometimes the engine will just die at a stop light. Sometimes when I restart it the check engine light comes on. Sometimes when take off from a stop the RPM's drop then it will lurch. Now all the buttons on the steering wheel quit working and the airbag and ABS lights came on. I'm sure all these problems are related (I hope). I read somewhere that it may be the computer and one mechanic said it was the fuel filter. Since the engine problems only start when the car has been ran for some time I'm thinking its temperature related. I dont think its the transmission because when it studders or stalls the RPS's drop no matter what I do to the gas pedal. The Van has 97,000 miles with no problems till now. Any ideas?
    Thanks :confuse:
  • I have a 1992 Plymouth Voyager, 3.0L engine, 3-speed transmission, 138K miles. The transmission was rebuilt yesterday and today ($1485) after it burned up last week. (It had been behaving badly for a couple of weeks. My usual mechanic drained fluid, found metal bits in the pan, and flushed the transmission. Said we would try the cheap fix first, but that the transmission probably needed to be replaced. It appears he was right. He went on vacation and the transmission failed the next day. Another mechanic that I use less often recommended the rebuilder.) Based on invoice, rebuilder replaced torque converter, front planetary gear, and used a rebuild kit (looks like "32007 AF OH Kit" on the invoice, which is hand-written). Invoice indicates that fluid was 10 quarts of Mercon III ATF.

    Intermittently, the transmission does not downshift to first gear when coming to a stop, but downshifts only to second. On moving from the stop, it will sometimes rapidly downshift to first with a bit of a jerk. (Failing to downshift all the way was a problem for a few days before the rebuild. The transmission died very suddenly.) Is this a problem that can be expected to work itself out, does it indicate a problem with the rebuild, or is it related to some part that would not ordinarily be replaced in a rebuild?

    There is a lot of talk about the evils of Mercon/Dexron in a Chrysler transmission on this board. Owner's manual says Dexron III can be used if ATF+3 is not available. I did not ask the rebuilder why Mercon III was used. Does this cause a problem?

    Thanks in advance for whatever suggestions you have.
  • docsbddocsbd Posts: 5
    Please tell us what happened with chrysler as our 03 town and country transmission just died this weekend and ruined our family vacation. We are also out for a hotel where we got stuck and rental of another van to return us home. Thanks,
  • Have a '95 Caravan with 116k that has just been a peach for us. Absolutely no problems until now. Got a check engine light and my mechanic advises either the torque converter or the torque converter solenoid is getting ready to give it up. Car is running smoothly, with no shifting problems, no overheating, no drop in gas mileage. Any thoughts?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    No, the transmission should not be replaced until someone can give you a detailed description as to why the transmission is causing the Engine Lamp to illuminate.

    It seems that everybody you've mentioned seems to think the same thing, so there's something going on. If that's truly the cause, my first suspicion is that you're not getting torque converter lock up in fourth gear, but it would be nice to know if the Transmission Control Module is laying down a code.

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