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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • I have a 1999 Chrysler Town and Country that recently has been giving me issues. After starting it in the morning and throughout the day it will not shift into reverse or drive. I put it back into park or neutral and try again and it might go into gear. Also slowing down to a stop it will sometimes clunk before the vehicle stops. I am obviously worried about this since it is the only means of conveyance for my wife. Is there anything that I could do to help or fix this without taking it to a garage? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Decided to take shipo's advice - got an extractor and am cycling thru replacing with new ATF+4. Will advise....
  • my 2002 Grand caravan sport 3.3, 118700 miles on it was purchased 2 months ago. Since then it has following transmission problem. When i start it in morning and put it in drive, it will drive and shift ok. But when I will make first stop it wont grab first gear again. Only after pressing on accelerator and engine revs upto 3k to 3.5 k it would grab first gear with a harsh jerk. After that it will drive ok during that visit. all this will happen again after it rests for 6-8 hours again. Tranny fluid level is good. When I bought it , engine light had a code of P0700 among several others. I fixed other codes at that time and reset computer. No engine code since then even though this problem persisted. I have no idea about duration of this problem neither know what kind of fluid had been put in it in past. Fluid looks reddish and good, no smell.
    Wondering where to start. Someone suggested a TSB regarding "low reverse accumulator cover & o ring" but to me, it seems that TSB does not apply to 3.3 engines ! any help would be appreciated.
  • qdmazoqdmazo Posts: 1
    My cooling fan stayed on after shutoff. I pulled the fuse and drove for a week then transmission stopped working all of a sudden at an intersection. Cannot reverse and goes forward in jerks only with some noise below. Fluid is still red and does not smell. Is this an electrical or mechanical problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    well hard to say but your transmission is cooled through your radiator, and the cooling fan keeps the radiator cool, sooooo......... :confuse:
  • ed0628ed0628 Posts: 1
    How many miles do you have on this vehicle? Has the tranny been serviced, i. e. , Oil changes, filter cleaned/replaced, Flushed?

    Suggest you check the Dip Stick [engine running, in Park] for oil quantity. Wipe Stick with clean white cloth to check for Color of Oil [ pink preferred] .

    If oil level is low, add ATF 4. If color is brown, it needs replacing. If color is black, a professional opinion may be needed to assess the risks of changing the oil.

    Checking the tranny for computer codes and measuring the pump pressure to determine if internal leakages are present, may be necessary steps to take as part of the diagnoses.
    [ Tasks for transmission facilities ].

    I wish you well with it,

  • Hello All,

    99 T&C Transmission issue. When driving to the store, the tranny just gave out like it was in neutral. I shifted back and forth from N to D and it finally caught again. It did that 10 times in 2 miles while trying to drive home. Is it dying on me? Or could a fluid change get us some more use out of this old friend? Thanks.
  • jr15jr15 Posts: 1
    My 2003 T&C van has an issue where the output shaft sensor on the transmission fails and needs replacement (Common problem from forums). Because output and corresponding input shaft sensors are < $20 I replaced both. Both are magnet type sensors and read <600 ohms.

    Symptom is when sitting still speedometer fluctuates between 10 and 20 mph, making transmission think vehicle is moving and causing sensor fault.

    This is the strange part, if I do not have anything electrical running (lights, heater turn signals) everything is fine and Speedo is at 0. If I turn on anything - Speedo starts fluctuating and I get failure.

    I have replaced both sensors, Battery, and cleaned all connections connectors and terminals. When I put a DVM across battery I get 12.3 volts, crank engine and I get 14.5. When I induce failure I do not see any change from the 14.5 volt readings.

    I wish the alternator wasn't $200 and I would replace it to see what happens, but not sure this is the issue? Any ideas on what I could try?
  • My uncle had a Manual from the factory it was only a 5 speed. When you had 8 passengers in it; it wouldn't go over 65 lol. It didn't have a turbo and I think that would have helped but it also didn't come with factory ac he went and had an after market installed and man you could tell when the compressor kicked in while driving down the road lol. Here is the link to a site that shows that they had one available it was rare mind you but they did make them. rbo-vans-out-there
  • gg1328gg1328 Posts: 16
    edited February 2011
    I have a 1998 Plymouth Voyager (Expresso,) 3.3 engine. It has 198,400 miles on it. I was stuck on ice last week, trying to free vehicle by rocking it backward and forward. Then I heard something snap. Now car starts, but will not go forward or reverse when I put it in gear.

    Is there a chain or belt that broke? Is it something that I could fix myself, without removing the entire transmission? Or is the entire transmission shot?

    Thanks for your time and effort,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You might get underneath (engine off, brake on, in gear) and see if you snapped off an axle joint.
  • gg1328gg1328 Posts: 16
    Dear Mr._Shiftright:

    I'll check it later this week, the car is sitting on ice. If it is an axle joint, is it something I can do myself? If not, do you think it is expensive to fix? I forgot to mention, that when I put the shift gear back into park, it makes a noise like a chain is rubbing on something.
    Thanks for your time,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited February 2011
    If you busted an axle, no, that's not too expensive. You just buy an entire rebuilt axle for that side. It's cheaper than replacing the individual joints. I can't hear the noise you're talking about, so can't help you there.

    You might also have something broken inside the transaxle, in the differential gears, or, as you suspect, in the transmission itself.

    But simpler things first, then go to the complex.
  • gg1328gg1328 Posts: 16

    I looked under the car this afternoon, could not see anything physically broken. Did not look real carefully, because ice still surrounds car and did not want to jack it up. Is this broken axle something I can see and replace myself. What's your definition of not to expensive? The noise sounds like a chain swinging.

    Thanks for your time and help!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You may or may not be able to see it. It would be much easier if the car could be got on a lift and checked out that way. It's just not possible to "hear" noises of course at this distance.

    A broken axle joint might be a $300--$400 repair. If it's internal in the transaxle, then that gets a lot more expensive of course.
  • Hi, I just signed up and now I can't find out where I was. So unorganized. Me, or Edmunds, gosh, could be both!

    So, this 2001 Town and Country with the smaller V6 has just now, with 98k miles, showing signs of transmission slip. Put it in gear, wait 6 seconds, then the gear engages.

    From what i recall, Chrysler never made the transmission to go much past 100k, and I'm at the door.

    I can do some stuff, but, not all that much. Aside from changing oil, I'm pretty useless. Afraid of doing more harm than good, you know?

    Thanks in advance, wondering if and when this ever gets read, by whom, etc. Feel free to email em directly at [email protected] .
  • My wife's 2002 Town and Country stopped working on her way home from work. when she pulled away from a stop it shifted from first to neutral, and the engine would just free spin in any gear. If you turn the key all the way off you can start the car back up and it will drive, but will slip back into neutral after first gear unless it is shifted into Low keeping it locked in first.
    I replaced the solenoid and then the TCM (bought a rebuilt/programmed unit) but nothing has helped. The trans was replaced just over a year ago at 112,000 miles, and we only have 125,000 miles on it now. Does anyone have any idea what is wrong?
  • Update on my reply. I just rebuilt the used A413 transmission I installed 4 yrs ago. My vibration (symptoms identical to bill197) began right after installing the used tranny. I had suspected and changed both drive-shafts and wheel bearings. I think changing the right drive-axle fixed it, but my son mostly drove it since. Anyway, in rebuilding the tranny, I found the nut on the output shaft was loose, the inner bearing pitted, and the nut retainers missing (separate post). That could likely have caused or compounded the problem.
  • I rebuilt our two minivan transmissions in the last 2 months. Not for fun, the problems just arose simultaneous. Most owners would not attempt but I have been frustrated by "professionals" never fixing past problems in my 1960's Chrysler transmissions, usually "morning sickness". Also, I previously replaced the A413 with a used one and tore the original apart for forensics, which made me confident I could manage a rebuild. If you do so, get the Chrysler manual (Service/Diagnostics ~$15 ebay). I found the A413 manual on-line.

    Removing the tranny is the main effort (axles, suspension). A transmission jack (Harbor Freight $80) was much better than the past 2 time I removed trannys. It is a sissors platform. The tranny weighs only ~150 lb, but is a tight fit in the minivans, so a nice platform helps. If you tackle removal, why not rebuild it yourself?

    The only special tools are a T25 Torx bit, and a set of snap-ring pliers (Harbor Freight). A shop press is nice, but a normal rebuild requires just compressing a weak spring, which you can rig a threaded rod to do, or even push it in manually with a friend. Replacing bearings (unusual) requires special pullers, so perhaps better to buy new mating parts since pressing the bearings on is easy.

    First was our 2002 Chrysler T&C AWD w/ 3.8L, A604 4-spd electronic transmission. The problem was a suspected cracked flex-plate (true). Since 170K mi, I decided to rebuild the tranny and bought a kit w/ frictions, plus a Transgo shift kit. The transmission was perfect inside. Might have been rebuilt (we bought at 155K mi). I didn't even install the friction plates from the kit since mine were only 2 mil worn. I did replace all rubber (old was still flexible). The shift kit would help more on a ~1989 or earlier one since mine already had most of the upgrades. It did replace some metal rings with plastic (teflon?) and tweaked piston springs. I stopped after the L/R clutch, which means I didn't change the L/R piston seal (requires removing output gear). I didn't get into the gear train, transfer shaft, or differential since all felt tight. You do need to rig a lever to compress the 2/4 clutch "finger" spring. It doesn't take much and you could even make something out of wood.

    The A604 is actually simpler inside than earlier "Torqueflite" 3-speeds, since no bands. The extra clutch packs are simply stacks separated by snap rings, which go together quick. Very elegant design. The only reassembly problem I had was that one drum wouldn't go in fully until I found some friction teeth had burrs. Wouldn't have occured w/ new frictions. You can easily tell if you get everything all the way in because the toothed wheel won't align in the input sensor hole. If you follow the manual carefully, it would be hard to mess up.

    The second tranny was in our 96 Voyager w/2.4L and A413 3-sp hydraulic transmission. It wouldn't go in reverse when cold and the engine was flaring (trans slipping) on the 2-3 shift. Since my son uses this in San Francisco, he was sure to soon spin the plates to nothing on a hill. We just hoped it would last until I finished the T&C. The problem w/ the original tranny was it wouldn't go in reverse (hot or cold), plus a broken top mount from an accident (fixed w/ strap for 6 yrs). After replacing with a used tranny, I tore it down and found the only problem was a torn lip seal on the reverse piston.

    Since I could have fixed that from underneath, I thought - same symptoms, probably same problem, maybe 1 day fix. Well symptom does not always equal problem, why many people in these forums are too hopeful somebody can diagnose their problem remotely.

    The used tranny had a "Certified Transmission" label over the factory label so the junkyard suggested I might be getting a nice previously rebuilt one (read on). The A413 is the same basic "Torqueflite" design from 1956, shared by all Chrysler 3-spds, including 60's cars, 90's trucks, and Neons thru 1999? In minivans, it is mostly found in 4 cylinders (a few early V-6?).

    Same tools needed as the A604, except the lever. The bands add complexity, but you can't install them wrong. In the A604, the rear steels work against slots in the case. In the A413, nothing touches the case except the bands (so those steels serve function of the bands). The trickiest part in the A413 is the "over-running clutch" which sits at the bottom. Best to avoid touching it. Hold it down while pulling the clutch pack above it.

    I found the following problems:

    1. A lot of "mud" on the pan magnet. Mostly ferrous, i.e. worn metal. The oil was slightly brown and smelled a little burnt. The "reverse piston" lip seal was fine, so not same problem as before and a rebuild was needed - remove tranny and clean - 1 weekend.

    2. Front friction clutches (4) very worn, 1 down to bare steel. The ones in my old tranny (~110K mi) were perfect, within 1 mil of factory 72 mil thickness, so I used those. How could the "Certified" rebuild ones be so worn? Where the last thick steel should be, were 2 thinner steels making 40 mil extra thickness. Tells me the rebuild shop assembled it with worn friction plates (10 mil avg) and made up the gap a hokey way. Another reason to do it yourself?

    3. Rear friction clutches slightly worn (6 mil), but inner teeth worn to small triangles, which probably skipped on the drum until it warmed up. I found the same wear on the ones in the original tranny, so ordered new frictions on-line (only $2 ea).

    4. Output Shaft wobbly. The nut on the output gear was loose (under rear plate). Neither shaft nut had the "stirrup retainer" which was on my original '96 tranny. These were added (by 1990?) to insure the nuts don't back off. Should have been retainers since this tranny was newer, since it had the valve body cooler tube and matching case hole added ~1999. I suspect the rebuild shop just tossed them, or didn't add if some prior jerk did so. You don't need the special "gear holder" tool shown in the manual. Just use the park sprag to hold the transfer shaft. I slipped in a socket to hold the park lever in.

    5. Inner bearing on output shaft severly worn with bad pits. This could have been caused by the wobbly shaft, or conversely the bearing failed (dirty oil, coolant in oil, or over-load), which caused vibrations which loosened the nut. The bearing on my original shaft was fine, but the race was missing from the old case (must have removed and put somewhere). Rather than risk running an old bearing on a new race, I decided to replace it.

    I had a "bearing separator" which is a split disk with thin edges that get behind the bearing, allowing grabbing it to pull off the shaft with a screw. I could only grab the rollers, not the inner race so pulling it destroyed the bearing. Note that the outer bearing is in a recess and requires a special tool which is a split tube that fits inside the recess to grap it, s
  • Backed out of garage fine. When I put car into drive it bucked and jumped forward about one foot but would not go any further. Seemed to stay in neutral. Right front wheel seemed to be locked up but made a loud popping noise when car bucked forward. Recently transmission seemed to slip and bump occassionally when changing gears. Van has 118,000 miles on it. Torque converter repaired at 60,000 miles. One week ago had water pump replaced, R&R transmission solenoid, R&R Drive Belt, induction clean and clean throttle body. Don't know that repair work had anything to do with today's problem but wanted to let you know of recent repair. Thanks for any help.
  • I noticed Edmunds cut my post off, so I complete here. Is there a problem storing a few kB of text? Better I contribute free content elsewhere. Most posts here are more whiny tweets than useful info anyway.

    Note that the outer bearing is in a recess and requires a special tool which is a split tube that fits inside the recess to grap it, similar to a "pulley puller". Fortunately, my outer bearing was fine.

    Once I pulled it, I found the number is Timken L68149 (bearing) and L68111 (race). Call any trailer supply shop and they should have it for $10 (made in China). I saw 2 new Timken ones on ebay for $6 w/ shipping, but couldn't wait. Anyway, the trailer shop told me Timken's are now made in China, so maybe the same factory. The inner and outer bearings support the shaft just like the front hub bearings on older rear-wheel drive cars, except you don't adjust the fit by tightening the nut. The nut is torqued tight against a step on the shaft. A spacer sleeve w/ thin washer shims sits between the two bearings to get the pre-load right. Both trannys had just a sleeve (no shims), and I picked the one that gave the best fit (turning torque was in spec).

    Similarly, the differential bearings are shimmed for a perfect "pre-load". Similar to wheel bearings, you want almost no play, but not so tight it generates heat and makes the bearings fail immediately. Of course, over time the bearings wear and develop slight play (and it still works), so use your judgement how finicky to shim it. Since neither trannys had any shims, that part of the manual might be "special case".

    I used the "hard parts" from my original transmission since they seemed less worn, except the output shaft (to keep bearing paired to race in the case). My differential and bearing cones fit in the "Certified" case with almost perfect pre-load (slight turning torque needed). I added the upgrade "pin retainers" to the differential. They keep the pin from flying out under centrifugal force (destroys the case) if you spin a wheel on ice, or some "tuner" decides to "burn rubber". I didn't know about this when I did the A604, but maybe standard by 2002 (I didn't remove diff. cover). I used the pump from the "Certified" tranny since it had the newer (~1999) pump with the more efficient hypoid teeth.

    A few closing tips:

    If you get a junkyard tranny for parts or replacement, get one from 1990+ vehicle since those had most of the final upgrades that solved many problems - bigger diff. bearings, more seals on input shaft and pump, newer torque converter lugs, shared tranny - diff fluid, etc. Even better is 1999+ for the better pump (above). Avoid any from turbocharged 2.4L (PT Cruiser, Neons, a few early minivans) and any car that attracts "tuners". A base minivan might be safest - family owned, rentals are usually fully optioned. Many Neon trannys were for 2.0L and have fewer clutch plates. They should fit, but will wear faster behind a 2.4L.

    Forget the "slide hammers" shown to pull the pump. Just screw bolts into the 2 threaded "pulling holes" and keep screwing them equally and they will push the pump out (ditto for A604). It is just held by a square O-ring on the outside. Buy "tranny grease" to lube the seals. I didn't have any so used Vasoline, and now must worry if OK (needs to melt away under heat). Both trannys work, so probably OK.

    If you must remove the over-running clutch, as I did, you need a trick to get it back together. It has 8 rollers and 8 springs that fall out. Note that the springs must face a certain way, per the manual. They are on the "blind side" when you install it and the rollers must be pushed back against the springs to get it on. The manual shows a special loading ring that holds the rollers in as you slide it on (imagine inside-out piston ring compressor). I rigged up a sleeve of sheet metal and tried holding the rollers w/ Vaseline, but they kept dropping out before I got it down the bottom of the case. I finally thought to turn the case upside down so the rollers were facing up as I installed it and with a little wiggling and turning got it in. I then held it tight while I flipped the tranny over (~70 lb w/ differential and transfer shaft). If correct, you can spin the over-running clutch one way, but not the other. The A604 doesn't have this beast.

    Get as much old oil out of the torque converter as you can. I pour it, let sit 5 min, pour again, and repeat until I see no more. Blow thru the cooler lines w/ 30 psi air. Use a bike pump if all you have. Leave the upper hose off (return). Run a temporary hose from the lower nipple (outlet) to a pan. When you first start the car (~5 qts ATF+4), let it run until you see bright red oil for ~5 sec. Connect one cooler hose to the lower nipple and run the other cooler hose to the pan and repeat. Then connect to the upper nipple. Add another 2 qts. Total should be 8.5 qts, but approach slowly (don't over-fill!). You will get false high readings from splashing until you are close. Don't start w/ 8.5 qts or it may flow past the axle seals (level high until it fills torque conv, etc). I used fully synthetic ATF+4 (Autozone's Coast brand).
  • A common failure is that if one wheel spins very fast, such as on ice or a "tuner" kid "burning rubber", the centrifugal force throws a ~1/2"D pin out of the differential, sometimes leaving a hole in the alum case. Without this pin - no go. The pin is secured by a small roll pin, which wasn't enough. If you ever have your transmission rebuilt, add a "pin retainer" on each side. It is a metal tab, held by the differential ring bolts. The factory may have added this later. I know not in 1996.
  • arayannaarayanna Posts: 1
    I just bought one of these 5 days ago and the same thing just happened to me! I have a disabled little girl and a newborn in there and we had to hike home. Were you able to figure out what was wrong? I can not afford to rebuild everything and take the time to figure it all out. My little girl has ALOT of doctor appointments.....please let me know ASAP
  • keanezrakeanezra Posts: 8
    I took delivery of a 2011 T&C last 3/21/11. Great van, value and features. I have 200 miles so far. I, however felt a shudder while on slow reverse uphill. I normally park my van rear first up my driveway and it's quite steep. I have stopped parking this way ever since I felt this shudder several times. I'm bringing it back to the dealer. I'd like to hear some comments/opinions from owners/knowledgable people first before I bring it, so I have a better idea on what to say to the dealer in case they give me the runaround. This my first american car. I'd appreciate the help on this. On the other hand, everything else is perfect. The drive is much better than the 2009 Oddy I leased. Feature wise, it's leaps away from the Honda when considering price paid for. I just hope this is something minor. Crossing my fingers. Thanks in advance.
  • i Have 08 t&c 3.8l the battery has gone dead on me a couple times now for no apparent reason. no light left on no doors left open. go out in morn and dead. after recharging its ok for awhile then just out of the blue dead again. battery has been load tested a couple times now and load test says ok. it is a 600 cca battery and under load test it drops to 10.82 v which is close to weak point but still in good on meter. Any one know of a problem these vans have that would do this or a fix for it?
  • reonreon Posts: 19
    Considering what you said, I would try another battery first.
  • My 2000 T&C is doing the exact same thing!!! Please let me know if you've resolved your problem and what the issue was. Thank you very, very much!!!!
  • tiger125tiger125 Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Plymouth Voyager 2.4 engine with a 3 speed transmission. The transmission was rebuilt 10,000 miles ago and worked fine. The check engine light came on and gave me a P0743 code/TCC Solenoid problem. I took the van to Badger Transmissions and they told me the the tranny was fine but the solenoid needed to be replaced. I bought an OEM TCC solenoid removed the pan, and valve body replaced the solenoid put it all back together without any problems. with the engine running and the van in park you can go through all the gears but when I drive it it will not shift out of 1st gear (Having the shifter in &#147;D&#148;) any help would be appreaciated.
  • Sounds like speed sensor but not the one that runs the speedo
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