Bought this vehicle a year ago, 3.3 Liter V6. The vehicle has over 180,000
miles on it and the second 4-Speed Auto Transmission. The transmission
refused to shift up and remained in the lower gear. After a few stops and
starts I could not engage the tranny in any gear. I'm trying to determine if
the transmission is gone or whether it might be another problem?
I have never had to top up the fluid level until the garage mechanic checked
and advised down about 1/2 quart, which he added, Chevron Dexron 2. That
was about two weeks prior to the failure. The dipstick reads" Use Mopar ATF
7176, If unavailable use Dexron 2." I am assuming the tranny contained the
correct ATF fluid because it operated normally up to that point. The fluid
was always very clean.
Anyway I have the remaining 1/2 quart ,Chevron Dexron 2, on hand.
Might this be the problem. possible mixing ATF with 1/2 quart Dexron? The
guy that topped it off is the owner and qualified mechanic. I doubt I would
have any recourse against him but would certainly approach him if I think
his action was the primary cause of the failure. Appreciate comments.
The transmission is seldom "gone" unless it is driven for much time in the
"limp home" mode of permanent 2nd gear. Prime suspect is the input speed
sensor; the output speed sensor and a great many other individual
components can cause this symptomology, however, so you need to get the
van to a *competent* transmission diagnostician. NOT a franchised "throw
in a remanufactured transmission" place! A suitably-trained diagnostician
can read a great many values with a diagnostic computer and find out
exactly what isn't working right.
The correct fluid is ATF+3 **ONLY**. Use of Dexron is an emergency measure
only, it's not a "Well, we'd rather you use ATF+, but y'know, whatever,
Dexron, it's all good". It is all NOT good. At the same time, it's
unlikely that adding a pint of Dexron would cause a failure. Are we sure
he checked the fluid level using the correct procedure? It's unusual for
this transmission to lose any fluid without an obvious external leak.
Overfilling, on the other hand, is a very bad thing.
Dexron is BAD for this transmission no matter what the dipstick or owners
manual says. There's been lots of discussion of this in this newsgroup. Go
back and look at the faq or previous posts. Also, look on www.allpar.com.
Chrysler's 4 speed tranny is not good transmission.
Yes, it is important to use the proper fluid to maintain the performance
and life of this transmission. Just like it is important to match your
blood type when you receive a transfusion.
Hogwash. Once the initial teething problems were resolved (many years
ago now), these transmissions are as good as any others in minivans.
Mine has 143,000 trouble-free miles to date. The only car I've put more
miles on was a 1989 Acclaim that had 146,000 when my wife totaled it
taking out a deer.
I'm not saying it is the all-time best transmission ever made as I don't
think it is. But it certainly is a good transmission, just maybe not a
This is an old subject, but I'll just say that my experience in this
newsgroup over a number of years and my own experience with Chyrsler
minivans and the experience of friends and acquaintances and finally, the
opinion of a couple of tranny shop managers I've spoken with the last couple
of days has confirmed in my own mind that this transmission has been and
continues to be a problem transmission.
One transmission shop said this is the single worst transmission in terms of
failing they see day in and day out in their shop. He did say that he
thought the problem may not be so much the transmission itself as it's
application in a minivan. He said the transmission was designed for
Chrysler's passenger cars and just doesn't hold up well to the beating it
takes from the heavy minivans. He also said that even though Chrysler
denies there's a problem with the transmission, the service dept. at the
dealer down the street always keeps 20 or 30 reman units on hand due to the
Yes, old data takes a long time to purge from the system. Even Consumer
Reports, which looks for any opportunity to trash American cars doesn't
make any issue with Chrysler van transmissions.
I've more friends with fried transmissions in Windstars and Toyotas than
in Chryslers ... and I know a lot more people with Chryslers.
Unfortunately, this ng, your experience and my experience aren't worth a
cup of coffee. I don't place much faith in J.D. Power or CR, but they
are about the best source available for things like this in addition to
NHTSA, and I don't see any of these sources claiming that Chrysler
minivan transmissions are notoriously unreliable. If they were as bad
as you claim, the people that make them couldn't keep up what with
probably more than 5 million Chrysler minivans on the road.
I've seen many people post here of getting 150,000 or more miles on a
Chrysler minivan transmission. And people tend not to post the good
stuff nearly as often as the bad.
I had a similar situation when I was building my house. I planned to
use precast concrete walls for my basement. Every builder and building
supply store in my area told me how bad these were and how they would
never hold up. They all had horror stories and one local concrete block
supply house even had pictures of a failed basement. Well, I did some
digging and found that most of the horror stories were complete myths.
When I asked for names and addesses, I got nothing other than "I heard
it somewhere." The few people that could give me a name and location,
all pointed back to a SINGLE failed foundation ... the one that the
block company had pictures of in their store. So, I called the wall
manufacturer and asked about that. They gave me the details. Turned
out the builder had ignored almost every instruction in the site prep
manual and applied the coup de grace by backfilling before the floor was
installed in direct violation of the wall maker's instructions. I ended
up using these walls and have been very pleased with them.
The moral of the story is that a few bad situations get spread like
wildfire and often get amplified as they go. I believe that is the case
with the Chrysler electronically controlled transmissions. I think they
had problems at the outset, but I think they've been pretty good for at
least the last 10 years.
I agree that this is a problem transmission, but I think the biggest
that there's too many transmission shops that do not know how to service
I also think that a lot more people use minivans for towing than Chrysler
assumed would do so, and in most of these minivans the transmission cooler
inadequate for towing.
The Chrysle rminivans were basically designed for a single young soccer mom
weighing in at maybe 150 pounds hauling around the American average of
2.5 children and their associated shit, total weight maybe about 300 pounds,
with occassional carpools of kids and the occassional family vacation with
But I frequently see minivans repainted with company colors and used as
commercial vehicles, (instead of a full sized van) espically used as
hauling 6-7 250 pound typical lard-ass adults. :-) It's no wonder that
trannies fail more frequently.
Nope, the problem likely with this kind of mileage is that the notorious A604
has struck again. My '94 T&C is on its third trans. at 125k so this is not
unusual. Any "check engine" lights on? You might get lucky and have it just
be a speed sensor. Worth checking out.
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