Last post on Nov 07, 2013 at 3:04 PM
You are in the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan
What is this discussion about?
Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Dodge Grand Caravan, Transmission, Van
Go to NHTSA to file a safety complaint.
Or call Monday-Friday (8 am to 8 pm ET) (888) 327-4236 TTY: (800)424-9153
#1864 of 2083 Transmission question.....
Feb 06, 2010 (11:03 am)
I have a 1999 Dodge Caravan Sport with a 3.3 in it. I pulled into the driveway the other day and it was leaking tranny fluid. By that night, it looked like someone butchered a pig under the van and all of the fluid was out of it. I did not drive it with low or no fluid in it. My question...so is my whole tranny shot? Like I said, it has not been driven after it started leaking as there was no, zero, nothing leaking before this. I did start it up and checked forward and reverse and had neither one. No driving with it like that though. What should I be checking to see what leaked?
Any help answering this question would be appreciated.
#1865 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [chuckls68]
Feb 06, 2010 (11:53 am)
It sounds like the internals are probably alive and well, that said, you do need to find where the leak is coming from. If either your pan or your solenoid are leaking then it's an easy fix, if the tranny case itself is cracked (very-very rare), then you're probably better off with a new tranny. Anything else (such as one of the various input and output seals) is a more involved fix, but way-WAY cheaper than a new transmission.
Keep us posted.
#1866 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [shipo]
Feb 06, 2010 (11:49 pm)
Thanks for the info shipo. Hopefully you are correct with the lesser of all the evils that could be wrong with it. I was quoted $1250 to have the tranny replaced, so hopefully it will be lower than that.
Another question...does it pay to put a tranny cooler on these vans? I do some towing of a boat, normally not long distances, but sometimes a couple hours one way. I am not going to keep the van for more than 8 months longer as I want to get back into another Expedition. Not sure if I should look at investing in a tranny cooler for it.
#1867 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [chuckls68]
Feb 07, 2010 (8:50 am)
Given the history of these transmissions, especially the ones built before 2001, I think that if I was towing so much as a bicycle behind me I'd be putting a tranny cooler on.
I had another thought regarding your leak; I've heard sporadic reports that the tranny cooler lines occasionally leak, especially at the point where they enter the radiator. Give those a good look-see while you're checking things out.
#1868 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [shipo]
Feb 08, 2010 (5:46 pm)
Well, my future brother-in-law came over and we added a quart of ATF-4 tranny fluid. I had forward, reverse and all other drive gears. No noises, clunking, nothing. They all worked good. There was some tranny fluid dripping off of one of the tranny solenoid brackets. Now, if the solenoid needs replacing is there any other parts that should be replaced at the same time? I thought I read somewhere that there is another part that often goes bad at the same time. Also, any guestimates on what I could expect for a cost to fix this if it is not the tranny itself?
Thanks for all the help!!!
#1869 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [chuckls68]
Feb 08, 2010 (7:41 pm)
I just wanted to add that a sudden massive leak is usually a cooler line that blew off of the trans. The 2 lines are located right above the solonoid pack and if looking from below it will look like the solonoid is leaking. It is however very common for the solonoid to leak in cold weather but not all the fluid out at once. Hope this helps.
#1870 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [dasboot72]
Feb 11, 2010 (5:27 pm)
Well, the transmission case is cracked and the tranny needs replacing. Just does not make any sense as to why this happend. New tranny going on for under $1,500. This van is gone by fall!!! I will NEVER buy another Dodger/Chrysler product.
#1871 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [chuckls68]
Feb 11, 2010 (6:21 pm)
What is the history of your van? Did you buy it new?
FWIW, the transmissions in the Gen 3 vans were a weak point, that said, when the transmission went out in our 3.8 liter 1998 DGC after 109,000 miles, I gladly put a new one in as opposed to disposing of the van. Why? Because prior to that point the van had cost me a whopping $8.00 in unscheduled maintenance since it was brand new. I am also happy to report that after the new tranny went in I drove the van another 70,000 miles before trading it in, and during that time the unscheduled maintenance was extremely low (like $400 for a starter, a window regulator, and a muffler). In fact, I was so impressed by the vans mechanical reliability that when we needed a third vehicle for our family, I went out and found a fully tarted up 1998 Chrysler Town & Country LXi with 180,000 miles on it and bought it. I have no doubt that the T&C will soldier on in our family for a number of years.
Long story short, I understand being frustrated with needing to pony up for a large maintenance expense, but given that your van is eleven years old, and given that there are many folks that are getting three, four, and even five hundred-thousand miles out of these vehicles, you might A) forgive the van for the failed transmission, and B) find that keeping your van will be the best financial investment you could make.
#1872 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [shipo]
Feb 12, 2010 (11:28 am)
1998 Dodge Caravan Sport. Purchased used in September of 2008 from a dealer. They had just done a flush of the tranny. Since then, I have had it flushed twice to keep the fluid fresh. I did a lot of highway driving and pulling the boat no more than 60 miles one way. I was told that this vehicle would be just fine for pulling a boat of the size I have. I wish I would have done my own in-depth homework before buying the vehicle. My next vehicle will be a Suburban, Yukon or Expedition. I had a 2000 Expedition that I never should have gotten rid of.
I realize that you can have problems with any vehicle...new or used, but with my fiancee having a mid 1990's Caravan that went through 2 transmissions before I met her, we both vowed to never go with another Dodger/Chrysler product. I just hope that this van now makes it until fall when I hope to be able to afford my larger SUV.
#1873 of 2083 Re: Transmission question..... [chuckls68]
Feb 12, 2010 (2:50 pm)
A couple of points:
1) "Flushing" most automatic transmissions is generally considered both a bad idea and a way for a service center to empty your wallet. Why? Because your transmission wasn't designed to have the fluid run through it in reverse and because more often than not, the fluid that ends up in your transmission is worse than what you had in it to begin with.
2) More often than not, Gen 2 and Gen 3 41TE transmissions have failed due to either the incorrect fluid being put into the transmission and/or the transmission being flushed. Bear in mind that the ONLY fluid that should be put in the 41TE is Mopar ATF+4 (or its predecessor ATF+3). If any other transmission fluid, be it Dextron. Mercon, Amsoil, Pennzoil Universal (I've heard rumors that Pennzoil does sell a Mopar approved ATF+4 which is acceptable), then you are almost assured of a transmission failure.
As for your towing, some vans had the "Towing Package"; most did not. If you're driving a van without the package and your boat is heavier than what is outlined in the Owner's Manual, once again, you are highly likely to experience a failed transmission.