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Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Dodge Grand Caravan, Transmission, Van
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#45 of 2083 Trans. failing on 1994 Plymouth Voyager (3.0L)
Jan 19, 2001 (10:13 pm)
Since beginning vehicle ownership in the late '50s, we have never before had transmission problems, even with a 1990 Grand Voyager SE whose 4-speed was reputedly problematic (though we totaled it at 60,000 miles). From what I've seen on this website and others, our present 3.0L 3-speed is far from a dependable workhorse, but also an inherently weak transmission, for which the manufacturer ought to bear responsibility. It now has almost 84,000 miles on it, and the AT fluid and filter were last changed (by the dealer) at 76,000 miles. It's almost as if this last fluid change has something to do with the problem, but you'd think they'd know to put in the correct type. We don't drive the van hard and have never towed with it. For several years, starting when it was 6 mos. old at at 19,000 miles, we had a persistent stalling problem (esp. when decelerating), about which the dealer professed bafflement, stating it was surely a rarity. I don't think so, from a posting on another discussion here. They first tried a new fuel pump, with no improvement, then a new computer module, with no change. Finally, a young mechanic friend suggested cleaning the throttle body and idle control. We reported that to the dealer and it was done—presto, end of problem for several years, when it needed doing again. However, we wonder whether the repeated stalling (at various speeds, some quite high) and restarting might be one reason the transmission now seems to be failing. We also had a clunking noise with starting and stopping that we took to an independent mechanic last May, and he replaced the front motor mount, with an end to the clunking thereby. A couple of months ago it started sometimes delaying going into gear from park or neutral, then whammed in violently. It hasn't done that recently, but seems to be upshifting at higher-than-usual speeds and staying in 2nd way too long especially. Sometimes it seems to get to the 40s before going into 3rd, whereas formerly it went into overdrive at about 43. We also think it might be slipping in 2nd gear, in its present lower range. The fluid level is OK. Is the AT likely to go out on us at any minute (it's our only vehicle)? Or do we have a little leeway to figure out how to go about dealing with the situation and how to get DC to accept some responsibility for it? We don't need to do any/much highway driving for a little while, at least, unless it's to get it to an independent transmission shop 45 miles away that, in terms of quality, may be a better bet than the dealer's shop. We can't afford big bucks for this (also need new roof, to replace buried oil tank, etc.), and don't think we should have to spring for such anyway. What a contrast to our 1978 B-200 big window van, with its 8 cyl. 318 engine, which went 170,000+ miles with no AT problems (nor engine problems), before we sold it (body rusting out, cooling system problems, despite regular maintenance). Might the Center for Auto Safety be of any help with this sort of thing? NHTSA? Ultimately, transmission failure can be a safety problem. Any place else to try contacting?
#46 of 2083 Plymouth Voyager transmission trouble
Jan 21, 2001 (4:53 am)
First transmission after long rides at highway speed shifts into 3rd then later into 2nd. Second transmission now does same thing. Problem goes away next day so no diagnostic codes show up. Anyone have similar problems? Anyone have any ideas of how to fix it.
#47 of 2083 Grand Voyager '96 Transmission Failure at 68,000
Jan 21, 2001 (10:10 am)
I just had a transmission failure on our '96 Grand Voyager. It failed on the freeway and wouldn't go out of 2nd gear. Towed it to a local reputable repair place and they said the cranny needed about $1500 worth of work. This was on a Friday. Over the weekend I looked on the interned and was shocked by what I found. I didn't know about Edmunds.com. I know 68,000 is way too soon for a cranny to fail but I didn't realize about the history of DC cranny failures. The repair place suggested that I contact the dealer which I did. I notified them about what I had learned about the history of failures and "secret warranties" and that I expected them to share in the cost of the repair. They agreed to pay half and so I had the car towed there and everything ended up costing me $800.
I'm somewhat happy that they shared the cost of repairs but still disappointed with the performance of DC products. We have had some other problems with this car but overall OK. I'm not happy at all with seeing how many folks have gone thou several transmissions. I'd like to support American cars but I've had 3 Honda and a Toyota and they lasted forever with very few repairs (rust out was their death). We bought the Grand Voyager because the Honda and Toyota vans at the time weren't large enough for what we wanted. I think next time we're going back to Honda. This is a democracy and if we continue to support mediocrity that's what we'll get.
#48 of 2083 If you own a DC FWD with 4 speed CHANGE THE FLUID
Jan 23, 2001 (12:57 pm)
DC has made improvements to their 4 speed FWD trans - (and the problems were/are numerous). (This is from friends at DC & at tranny shops)
Bottom line: there are still problems - most of which can be avoided by CHANGING THE FLUID every 12K - and make sure you use Chrysler spec fluid!
#49 of 2083 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager
Jan 23, 2001 (2:41 pm)
I have a 1993 Ply mouth Grand Voyager, AT with overdrive, with 106,000 miles on it now. We have crept for the past 20,000 miles, praying that it wouldn't go out. We bought it at 86,000 miles from a local couple who told us that they were the second owners on it - that was a lie! We found out later from DC that we were not the third owner's on this van, but the fourth (we didn't know about www.carfax.com at the time, but I wish we had). The first thing I noticed was a "shimmy" when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. Then, I would put it in gear and it wouldn't go into gear immediately, then the "thump" when it engaged. That's when I knew it was getting worse. We had it serviced and were told of the infamous history of the A604 transmission. It was the opinion of several reputable transmission shops and dealerships that DC should have had a recall on these, but the only thing that they would have a recall on is a safety risk/liability to them. They should have! No one I know who has one of these vans has gone without problems. Yes, we tried to get help from DC, but they essentially told us that we were stupid for even asking. The 10/100,000 mile warranty that was originally purchased by the original owner was never transferred so they wouldn't honor it - I doubt if they would honor it even if it was transferred. Currently, the van is out of commission and I am debating with a transmission shop about the work. This is strictly my opinion, but DON' BUY PLY MOUTH/CHRYSLER/DODGE VANS!!! As nice as look, they are poorly engineered and DC won't back their product. We'll never own another.....
#50 of 2083 Changing oil not helpful
Jan 23, 2001 (5:07 pm)
Changing transmission fluid frequently didn't help me for either my 90 or 95 Plymouth Van. Current Van has 8,000 miles on rebuilt transmission and it is failing.
#51 of 2083 annoying 99 voyager
Jan 24, 2001 (6:25 pm)
I purchased a 99 grand se voyager one year ago. I've got this irritating whistle from the accelerator or something when the van hits 50 and 70 mph. It goes away if you let off the gas. Does anyone else have this problem, the dealer told me it is a problem with "ALL" voyagers with a 3.3 engine.
#52 of 2083 comment on #27
Jan 25, 2001 (2:18 pm)
I also had a problem first thing in the morning with 1998 Grand Voyaguer with 83,000km. Put it in gear and won't move. Takes a minute before it will go. Dealer said it is caused by fluid leak and that the transmission needs servicing and lines need to be replaced for about $300. Doesn't seem right for such a new van that's had all scheduled maintaince.
#53 of 2083 comment on #50
Jan 25, 2001 (2:27 pm)
Yes I have the same whistle on my 1998 but doesn't seem worse for wear.
Jan 25, 2001 (8:26 pm)
bucman: Any dealer's service rep ignorant enough to say "ALL bla bla bla do this" deserves to be encouraged to repeat it two or three times with comments " Are you sure of that " etc. Then ask for a demonstration on a couple of vehicles on the lot. Then you'll have evidence as to the truth of the idea that you should just live with it.