Grand Caravan auto-stick problems

I have a '99 Grand Caravan, 3.8L, auto-stick on the column.
Symptoms are as follows: -If I shift into auto-stick mode at any speed, there is no perceptible
change anywhere--gear indicator stays on 'D', no change in gears, etc (this could be normal, as it has never worked so I'm not sure how it should behave when first engaged) -Once in auto-stick mode, clicking the up or down switch causes no perceptible change...gear indicator stays on 'D', the gears do not change -The overdrive button at the end of the shift lever also does not work--it does not disable overdrive at any speed
My Chilton's guide has no auto-stick info at all, nor is it included in the wiring diagrams, so I'm not sure where to start--can't find a fuse or relay for auto-stick, and I don't know where the common failure points are.
If anyone has any suggestions or info I'd be much obilged.
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On Tue, 01 May 2007 10:34:09 -0600, Joe wrote:

Don't worry about it. The auto-stick is a joke and a waste, anyway, especially on a Caravan. Leave it in "D" and worry about something that actually matters.
--
"Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".


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Don't know about other models, but on this van the autostick is the only way to downshift. Driving in a mountainous area (we just moved to one) without being able to engine brake is just plain unsafe.
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Joe wrote:

Agreed. I use it to down-shift on steep downhill grades all the time!
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Joe wrote on 05/01/2007 12:34 ET :

reading. I had the same problem on a '99 Dodge Grand Caravan ES with the autostick. The van worked fine in D (drive) but would not turn on the autostick function when the transmission lever was placed in the next slot. Since I live in the mountains, it is essential to be able to downshift on a long grade. People who don't burn their brakes out quickly and are dangerous on the passes.
My van also illuminated the "AUTOSTICK" when the engine was off and transmission selector was in autostick position, but not while running. Transmission shop said it would take them a few days to figure it out, but that it sounded electrical and would be best to go to the dealer. Dealership said there were several possibilities (lever select pawl, transmission control module, and others) but it would cost $189 to look at it and then they would call with a repair estimate after their diagnoses. I read that a common problem with the autostick was a broken wire running from the steering wheel to the transmission select lever and then going inside it to the autostick buttons. There are two wires; every time you shift from park to drive, the wires are bent. Eventually they break. After taking all of the covers/panels etc. off, I found the wires and they looked fine. However they were broken inside the insulation. I spliced and soldered both back together and it worked! Saved hundreds of dollars and only took a few hours (going slowly and with interruptions). Hope this helps someone else out!
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