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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • Any one having the same problem as I, on the 07 Dodge Caravans transmission.
  • 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 Posts: 9,152
    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,
  • 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?
  • Anything yet? Seems I may have the down-shifting problem with my PT :cry:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "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,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    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,
  • 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 Posts: 9,152
    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,
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 only happens during braking, on the change from 2nd to 1st gear, and only in (over)drive, not D3.
  • nwganwga 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 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 :)
  • :cry: actually its a three speed transmission it shifts first and second but not third. pls help. thank you. :cry:
  • 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.
  • 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: 9,152
    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: 9,152
    "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!
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