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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Shipo, leadfoot69 - thanks for the clarification, guys.
  • can any one tell me what would be wrong with transmission or what i need to do to fix this. The transmission makes this winding noise when i give is gas. it does it when driving or sitting still. It seem to be shifting just fine. Please help thankyou
  • Hi,
    I'm new to this great forum and hope someone can help me.
    I have a 1996 Chrysler T&C LXi with 154k miles. The van has always been properly maintained at our local dealer since new. The engine runs great and we have never really had any of the more serious ($$$) problems that often plague this van.
    As of the last few days, the van starting making a whinning (high pitch) sound that seems to get louder as the RPMs increase. Almost sounds like a siren :(

    The transmission has never been changed nor any associated electronic control modules. The only work that was ever done to the tranny was the cleaning of the valve body and replacement filter approximately 40k miles ago. The tranny has been working fine and continues to work without issues except that it is starting to make this horrible whinning sound that can be heard from 25 feet away! I believe it is the tranny since I checked the engine and the sound is coming from the lower right side of the engine (driver's side). I've heard of differential pins breaking and some other things that can go wrong that can really get expensive to fix.

    Any idea what it might be? Has anyone experienced the same sympton?

    Before I pull the entire tranny down and spent big $$$, I am hoping one of the talented Chrysler guys on this forum points me to some possible causes of this whinning noise.


    Thank you in advance for your replies.
  • I have a 1996 Chrysler T&C LXi and it is doing the exact same thing. At first it was barely winding noise is getting louder. I hope someone can provide some insight.
  • We have recently had the exact same problem with our 2006 TC - while driving from OH to MI at highway speeds - and after driving over 2 hrs. Our van has 40,000 miles on it.
    We thought it was a transmission problem, but after stopping and calling our former mechanic in MI, he informed us that it was referred to as "harmonics" in the power steering hose. He said that the noise would stop if we shut it off and waited about 5 min. Sure enough, it did. He also asked if the noise was only inside the car - by the driver's feet, and it was... because that's where the hose is - on the other side of the firewall.
    He went on to say that the the noise is caused by the fluid in the hose, and that lengthing the hose will cause it to stop whining. He said that there is a kit for this "hose-lengthening" and he installed it on our van the following day. We had no problems on our way back to OH.
  • I'm glad to hear that your problem was resolved by lengthening the hose. I wish that my problem were the same; however, it is quite different. The sound my van is making is more like metal rubbing against something that is spinning. The faster the RPMS...the faster the winding sound. We have stopped using the van until we get a better understanding of what it might be.
    Thanks for the feedback though.
  • Well, I thought I'd share some news that I just received from a friend who has been a mechanic for 20+ years...and just happens to be working at the local Chrylser dealership for the last four years.

    The whinning or winding sound that is coming from my transmission is the tranny pump that is going bad. Is this serious, 'yes'. It needs to be replaced very soon or tranny damage will occur that will result in spending more $$$.

    My mechanic friend mentioned the following:
    One way to quickly test whether the problem is with the differential or with the tranny pump is to put the car in 'Park' and slowly increasing the RPMs to 3000. If the whinning sound gets louder and more pronounced as you increase the RPMs...the problem most likely is the tranny pump.

    If the whinning sound isn't heard until you start driving and gets louder and more pronounced as you speed up...that is more indicative of a differntial problem.

    In either case though...the transmission needs to be remove from the van and checked.

    I'm getting some cost estimates tomorrow and will share with all.

    Take Care :D
  • Hi, I have a 99 caravan standard 4 cyl with 102k miles that will every now and then shudder, normally going up an incline at low rpm with little gas. Did this but alot worse at 80k, had transmition checked and serviced as well as the torque convertor checked, full tune up, and it ran great until a couple of months back.
    Replaced the plugs and new set of tires but still shudders every now and then.
    I need to drive the vehicle on a 3600 mile trip, any thoughts?
  • Quick Update....

    Always start with the least intrusive (read costly) method. It turns out that the winding sound on my '96 Chrysler T&C LXi was due to the tranny pump not being able to pump enough fluid since the tarnsmission filter was too dirty and not enough fluid could pass through it especially at higher RPMs...when the winding sound was loudest. It turns out that although I had the transmission filter and fluid changed about 50k miles ago...the shop never flushed the transmission cooler (which is part of the radiator assembly) and the sediment (i.e. clutch material etc) found its way to the filter (as it should). Between the old sediment and the additional clutch material wear particles that are expected...the filter became clogged enough to cause the fluid starvation which in turn caused the winding sound.

    I have since changed the fluid (ATF+4) and the filter and it works like a charm and is super quiet now :) I did this myself by buying the fluid at Walmart ($3.67 qt) and the transmission filter kit at the local Kragens ($9.99). In total, I spent about $35 and the van shifts like it was new...without the annoying sound.

    Amazing since I was ready to bring it to a transmission shop that was going to charge me $2300 - $2600 to rebuild the tranny. They had me convinced and told me I was lucky to have gotten 154k miles without doing a tranny rebuild.

    I hope this helps someone that has run into this winding/whinning sound that occurs when parked or moving and gets louder in proportion to the RPMs.

    Take Care ;)
  • this sounds like what my 92 voyager was doing... i had a broken motor mount
  • i have a 92 voyager that has started dying when i put it into gear.. does anyone have any idea what might be causing this?
  • After 6 months, I found the problem with my 1996 dodge mini van. It was a cracked
    rotor in the distributor. on the bottom where the screw fits. looking at top of rotor
    it looked ok. How it had a smooth idle and would start quickly. I suppose as the crack
    got worse when it got to operating temp it would die and start back up. Thanks to all
    who posted and helped me trace down my problem. van now performs great.
    have 186,000 miles on this one have over 250,000 on my other van got to replace radiator.
  • Did you ever find out what the growling noise is? i am experiencing the same thing right now.. Just started making this reasonably loud noise from the transmission when the car is parked in the transmission is placed into drive....
  • Thanks for the info. Just took my 1994 T&C to the local dealer this morning because it went into the "limp-in mode" comming home from work last night. Would not shift out of 2nd gear and I have a 60 mile commute. Discovered that when I shut the car :sick: off and "reset" the computer that it would shift to higher gears until I had to slow down or stop. Then back in limp-in mode. Finally, I discovered that if I would place it in neutral when expecting to slow down or coming to a stop light, it would continue to operate and shift into the higer gears. I have 225,000 miles on it so, it may mean a more expensive rebuild. Waiting on the read out of the transmission codes to see what they say. Would love to have it be a simple filter or sensor change out but not expecting too much. It does have a hard jerk when shifting and this morning after I got it to the shop it did not go into reverse.....
  • I had an identical problem on my 2002 dodge caravan 3.3. After diagnostics it turned out to be the TCM. I purchased a recon unit with warranty from e-bay. The TCM is already set ready to install and does not need dealer set up. I installed it and the problem was solved. 24 thousand miles later it is still fine.
  • gphilgphil Posts: 1
    A little over 90,000 and transmission slammed into limp mode with no warning of problems. Check engine light came on. Luckily my independent mechanic went over it thoroughly and found a wire corroded right through. He fixed the wire and all is well.
  • I also experience a bad shake between 45 and 55 mph under strong throttle like entering the freeway. It seems to come from the left side and seems at the tire frequency. At other speeds it accelerates fine. This is a '96 Voyager w/ 2.4L and 3-spd hydraulic transmission. It started right after I replaced the original transmission w/ a used one at ~120K miles. Initially I thought I must have damaged the CV joint when I pulled the driveshaft. However, no difference after I replaced the left driveshaft and bearing. I now suspect from the transmission differential, probably the output bearing/race that supports the driveshaft. Since I have the old transmission I may be able to swap those parts with it in the vehicle. If so, I'll report the result.

    BTW, I think Chrysler is unfairly bashed on transmissions. Mine failed because the seal on the reverse piston tore (forensic tear-down). That was probably due to adding stop leak (never use again) for a front seal leak that was my fault (long story). It seems most of today's >4500 lb minivans w/ V6 engines have transmission problems. We considered a used Honda Odyssey a friend offered to sell, but I found those trannys fail like clockwork at 30K miles. He was on his 3rd tranny at 90K and my sister's Odyssey on the 2nd at 70K.

    If you want a transmission that lasts buy a 4-cyl van, but I don't think anyone makes them anymore, due to public demand. I can't rant since we recently bought a 02 T&C AWD w/ 3.8L to satisfy my wife. I will change the ATF4 fluid and filter every 60K, but still expect the tranny will need rebuilding every 100K. There is just too much load from a monster van. However, mileage is amazing, comparable to our 3500 lb 2.4L van on the highway.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I also think the transmission problems may, in part, be due to situational stress. My van has nearly 215,000 miles on it with no transmission (or engine) problems - it is the electrical system that currently has it hobbled!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • sounds like a vacum problem. when u hit the brakes your vacum brake booster robs the eng of vacum. so then the motor will try to recover by reving up. the trans has notthing to do with the way the motor runs.
  • there is a transmission fix kit for $25.00 Canadian however it is not a told fix it will just prevent the spider gear pin from walking its way threw the case of your transmission. there is a little pin thats called a split-pin that holds the spider gear pin in. thats the pin that brakes and lets the spider gear pin to wreck the case. when your transmission actually is fine. after buying the fix get your tranny service regularly because the tranny and the rear end or axle casing use the same oil you will find small bits of metal filing in the pan that will tell you to check your pin to see if it is broke then it will only cost you for changing that pin instead of a tranny.
  • I have a 2009 TC which I brought in to the shop because when shifting from park to reverse it make a noise, noise has gotten progressivly louder in the last couple monmths. Shop said it was a normal sound. but if so why getting louder. any ideas to say when I bring back in? Also when coasting at 10 mph in traffic it will shift down and lurch enough to set my seat belt. Again they couldn't find any thing
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    What kind of noise? I loud thump, a growling/gnashing noise?

    FWIW, our '07 DGC makes little noise when shifting into reverse. There's something that comes from the linkage, a change in the engine rpms, and a soft clunk as the drive train torques up.
  • the noise is it like a haunted door closing slowly.
  • Its a clunk but sounds like its from the gear shift
  • Hi! I tried to find this problem already posted, but did not seem to have luck with our issue.

    We have a 2002 T/C with 3 speed transmission. It currently has 230K miles. I have replaced fluid and filter. On occasion, now about 20% of the time, when you are driving on highways above 50 MPH when going up slight grades or hills the tranny will downshift into 3rd (with engine reaching 3000 RPM) and then if you press a little more on the gas or the grade gets steeper it will downshift again with engine jumping to 4500 RPM. When this occurs and we back off of the gas, it will get back to normal gear and about 2000 RPM but will continue erratic shifting while finishing the grade or hill. When this situation occurs, it is continues during the course of the trip while maintaining the highway speed. If you stop the vehicle and restart either with the engine running or by stopping the engine with the car in park, the transmission seems to return to normal operation.

    Any advice would be appreciated.


    davidwt in PA
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Sounds completely normal to me. FWIW, the first downshift you are referring to isn't actually a downshift, what you are experiencing is the torque converter coming out of lock-up mode. That said, the second downshift you mentioned is when the transmission physically changes from 4th gear to 3rd gear.
  • I was out again yesterday and it worked normal. The only variations in motor speed with the gears going up a grade ranged from 1700 RPM on level road to 2700 RPMs. Going up a grade or hill it downshifted fine and then increased speed and then smoothly went into the next faster gear.

    When the vehicle acts up and hits 3000 and 4500 RPM, it will not continue to speed up or get to a point where it will mechanically shift to the next faster gear. When it down shifts to the low gear with the 4500 RPM it will not speed up at all and this is even on a slight grade. The only way to get it out of the revving mode and low gear is to let your foot off of the gas pedal.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I am not sure if these newer vehicles still use the vacuum system to sense the need to shift, but if that is the case, you may have a vacuum leak, clog, or restriction somewhere that is causing the abnormal behavior.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Nope, the Chrysler 41TE has never used vacuum as a means of sensing the shift requirements. Per the discussion on the web site:

    The TCM [of the 41TE] considers operating conditions such as ambient and transmission temperature, engine loading changes caused by climbing grades, loss of engine power at high altitude due to lower air density, and engagement of automatic speed control in determining when shifts should occur. On up-grades, "anti-cycling" logic assures that down shifts do not occur cyclically. After a down shift to Third occurs, the TCM determines the torque required to maintain the existing speed and/or acceleration level and only allows an up shift if the same torque level is available in Fourth gear. When speed control is engaged, down shifts on up-grades occur somewhat earlier than with driver control of the throttle to assure that speed is maintained.

    Best regards,
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