Last post on Oct 23, 2006 at 2:11 AM
You are in the Chrysler/Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan
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Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Voyager, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Town and Country, Van
#289 of 4276 OBD, life goes on Bro'
Jun 20, 2000 (2:31 pm)
A while back we were talking about OBDII and DTCs, transmission troubles, and fuel economy. Here are some updates from my GC fleet.
FYI on DTCs:
I did the trip/reset/5 second trick on both my 1996 and 2000 GC (3.3L). They both do the "check 1,2,3", but these are not DTCs.
My buddy the Dodge Service manager tells me that this is just a calibration for the gages and instrument cluster. Only the 96-97 models will spit out DTCs using the ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON method.
I haven't found anything else on this "trip" check, but remember reading about it somewhere. Will advise.
I plan on buying a DRB, maybe one of the types that hooks to your own PC (www.obdii.com).
Update on transaxle problems:
I got the latest spectrographic oil analysis back on my 1996 GC and it now shows normal levels of silicon (dirt/sand) and aluminum (this is a complete reversal from the upward trend in aluminum and has me scratching my head). I will retest in another 1,000 miles to establish trends. I am pleased about the Al numbers. I looks like I got enough dirt out to stop the abnormal wear of the softer aluminum parts. Still not experiencing any tranny problems at 65,000 - crossing my fingers based on all the complaints I see about trannys.
Chrysler changed the tranny filter and the 5 +/- quarts of oil that go with that on my 2000 GC under warranty, but refused to do a power flush. I put 1,000 miles on it last week, so I'll pull a sample and send it off this week. If I still get abnormal silicon (which I expect) I'll do a powerflush out of my own pocket and retest. I'll keep doing this until the levels drop to the normal level.
My advice to any car owner, especially Caravans, is to do a transmission powerflush ASAP and then every 24/24 - 36/36 after that. I think that the silicon is chewing them up inside.
The Penske shop close to me (in Kmart) has a tech that knows how to do these right (and knows to use the 2126 Chrysler oil) for about $80 which is 50% of the dealership price (the dealership got tranny fluid all over the front of the car too). Check around and find somebody who can do these RIGHT.
Wherever you get your tranny work done, WATCH them put in the correct 2126 fluid. DO NOT let them use Dextron III.
I still recommend spectrographic oil analysis. At $7.50 per test, it is cheap "insurance" and can give you a heads up on incipient problems before they become big, expensive ones.
It looks like I may have headed-off two expensive transmission repairs thanks to the early warning I got from spectrographic analysis. You can order a 6-pack of spectrographic oil analysis kits for $45 plus tax ($7.50 each) from www.schaefferoil.com. Get the 800# off their website. This is the best price I have found for this service.
My 2000 GC with 4,000 miles only got 19.3 mpg on the highway last week. Of course I had a family of 5, car top carrier, boo coo luggage, and was averaging 75 mph. Oh yeah, the AC was on. Still, without the cartop carrier, my 1996 would get about 22-23.
My 1996 gets 20 mpg around town vs. 16 mpg on my 2000 (again both are the 3.3L). I am still trying to figure out the disparity. Must be in the gear ratios or programming. Still being studied.
best of luck
#290 of 4276 Thanks for the clarification
Jun 20, 2000 (2:53 pm)
Vcheng, I now understand your oil cooler configuration. My van doesn't have rear heat/air so it lacks the second AC condenser. My oil cooler is in the same position as OC2 in your creative figure. I was also aware from the Haynes manual of the in-radiator cooler options and it seems an external oil to air cooler would be more efficient. I wonder if there would be a way to now monitor the transmission temperature with your tandem oil cooler arrangement to see how effective it turns out to be?
Jun 22, 2000 (2:51 am)
great info on the oil analysis, please keep it coming. I have a '90 that blew its tranny at 68,500--fortunately in the days of 7/70. I now have 130K on the van (62,000 on the 2nd trans) so I've been concerned about how long it will last. I have the tow package with the extra cooler by the way. I'm in the process of buying a 2000 GSC and I think I'll skip the analysis and just get the trans serviced at 15K. Why won't your DC dealer do the flush? Will my SM know what I'm talking about when I tell him I want 'The Flush'?
Jun 22, 2000 (4:59 am)
I've heard of 7176 and 9602, but what is 2126? Is this a typo? Doesn't the 2000 model year Chrysler minivans use ATF+4(9602) while the pre 2000's use ATF+3(7176)? Maybe this could explain some of the differences between the spectrographic fluid analysis with your 96' and 00'. I wouldn't worry too much about silicon contamination chewing up the transmission since the purpose of the filter is to trap any particles large enough to do serious harm. Have you ever tested pure ATF out of the bottle? I would be interested in learning what both types of ATF are made of. Does ATF contain traces of aluminum and other elements right out of the bottle?
Also, the down side to flushing a transmission is the AT filter isn't changed.
I figure an AT fluid and filter change at 15K miles to clear out anything left behind during manufacturing, then at maximum mileage intervals of 30K there after is a good idea. I change the AT fluid and filter in my 97' at least every 30K miles since I figure it is kind of like having your AT fluid changed once "in theory" by 100K miles since only 1/3 of the fluid is actually changed.
The life expectancy of transmission fluid under "normal" conditions is 100K miles, but it's arguably too late to have it changed if you wait until 100K miles.
Check out the following link. My owner's manual says the normal transmission operating temperature is 180 degrees.
#293 of 4276 AT controller
Jun 22, 2000 (6:19 am)
Haven't herd of 2126 either and our 2000 T&C uses ATF+4 while the transfer case for AWD unit uses ATF+3. My local dealer recommends transmission fluid and filter changed every 30,000 miles for normal driving which they include any software update for the engine/transmission controller as well. I believe in the very near future ATF+4(9602), which is a half synthetic blend, will be used on older transmissions by updating the transmission controller. Does any one know what are the benefits of ATF+4?
That is an interesting web site. The trans controller monitors the transmission temperature (don't know which year it begin) and I think it can be displayed using a OBDII scan tool. I'll be ordering an OBDII scanner soon and am curious if this is true and what temperature the factory consider "normal operating parameters".
#294 of 4276 Typo for sure - 7176
Jun 22, 2000 (8:34 pm)
Yep, it was early, before my second cup of coffee. I meant Type 7176 ATF which is what my 1996 GC uses. The bottom line is to watch them put in the correct kind, not Mercon.
The dealership should know what a tranny flush is (total transmission fluid replacement vs. just the filter and 5 or so quarts). They may not all offer it since it takes a special machine. My 5 Star dealer does.
The Chrysler rep. didn't want to pay for any tranny service on a car with 2-3k miles. I had to b*tch and then he agreed to do the cheapest one to shut me up.
As for the filter protecting you from smaller contaminants, I disagree. That is why I was getting wear metals and why they have disappeared now that the silicon is down to acceptable levels.
The wear is going on at the microscopic level. It is the stuff that is too SMALL for the filter to catch that is circulating and causing the damage.
Also, I did the filter change first on both GC's. Then the (multiple) flushes. I was told that this is a back-flush and cleans the filter media. Maybe some real wrench turner can confirm.
I have taken a second sample from my 2000 and sent it for analysis. I will advise when I get the results. This will help to illustrate how just changing the 5 quarts is like taking a shower and putting your dirty clothes back on. The dirty oil contaminates the new. Yes it dilutes it, but not much.
There are no real differences between the 1996 and 2000 analyses. They both have abnormal AL and silicon.
As for testing a virgin sample to ensure that the lab is not reading additives (e.g. silicon can be an antifoaming additive in some hydrocarbon lubricants), no I have not. I have to identify the brand and type of fluid used, because they have to know that to account for different formulations. I was getting 262 ppm of silicon where the highest allowable under normal circumstances is about 40 or so ppm (I don't have my file right at hand, but 262 is WAY off the scale.
Go to www.texaco.com and jump to the lubricants site. They have all the MSDS for their products and you can see contents.
best of luck
Jun 24, 2000 (3:24 am)
Just drove home a new DC Sport today, and lovin' every minute of it. I admit I am very impressed with the original research you are doing on DC engines and transmissions--your conclusions strike me as very logical. As the owner of three Chryslers now, '90 GV with one replaced trans and 130K; '99 300M with two open-heart transmission surgeries and 42K; and a 2000 GC Sport with 80 miles, I am all ears on ways to increase the longevity of these vehicles. My personal experience has been that Chrysler engines are bulletproof but the trannies leave something to be desired. Why are you recommending waiting for 24/24 for the first tranny service if you are observing "severe" and "abnormal" results? You've got me thinking 10K on the first tranny service and 1K, then 3K on engine oil. You mentioned you had found a trans service store you could trust. How do I go about finding same in Indy?
#296 of 4276 In post #368
Jun 24, 2000 (5:40 pm)
"My advice to any car owner, especially Caravans,
is to do a transmission powerflush ASAP and then
every 24/24 - 36/36 after that. I think that the
silicon is chewing them up inside."
I would give it about 1,000 miles and then go have a power flush done. I would change my engine oil at 1,000 too. Both the tranny and engine of my 2000 GC Sport (3.3L) had excessive silicon in them at 1,000 miles.
Many places do full tranny flushes. Just make sure that they use the correct tranny fluid, many will try to use Mercon as a "univeral".
If you want to be sure, then use the dealership. Will cost about $150. I found the local Penske (at Kmart) has a former GM Dealership SM who can do a good job for about $80.
I still recommend the spectrographic oil analysis. It only costs $7.50 a pop. You can have the mechanics collect a sample when they are changing oil or buy an inexpensive pump and pump a sample out of the dipstick tubes. The test kits work on both engine and transmission (or any other petroleum based lube oil).
Here is the link for the oil pump:
You want the 12V DC fluid pump #OP-1 ($7.95 plus about $4.00 S/H < $13.00). best of luck
Jun 24, 2000 (8:56 pm)
Just curious, does your 300M have factory auxiliary trans cooler?
Jun 24, 2000 (10:29 pm)
I just put a deposit on a 99 GC LE 3.8 AWD with 6400 miles on it. Is there anyone out there that has a '99 with AWD or has knowledge of the AWD system? I'd like to know if it is a solid design or if it is problematic.