understanding my tranny

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  #1  
Old 06-06-03, 01:15 PM
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understanding my tranny

Hi,

My vehicle, a 1994 Dodge Caravan with a 2.5L, 4 cylinder engine and a VIN # that starts with a "K". I want to know if my tarnny is an A413, or an A404, or A604? I suspect it is A413. Also, is it computer controlled? I've been getting some slippage, and I'm wondering if this trans has bands or a solenoid pack. Never done it before, but is it particularly hard to rebuild if necessary? Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-06-03, 03:29 PM
Joe_F
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Internal tranny work is not DIY repair. It cannot be done correctly without know-how and the proper tools. Professional service required.

What you can do is take out and install the unit yourself and have a good shop R&R it. Remember that they may not warranty it if they do not do the install since they cannot guarantee it is done correctly. Depends on the shop.

Does the shifter quandrant read PRND21 or PRND321 (or PRND(with circle) D (without circle) 21)?

Most likely a simple simon 3 speed with a 2.5K motor. Shouldn't be too bad to do. When was the last time it saw new fluid and a filter? Start there first before rebuilding it.
 
  #3  
Old 06-07-03, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I changed the fluid and filter last Summer--I was careful to use ATF+3--and I don't think it's been more than 10,000 miles. I will change the fluid and filter again before rebuilding, but I don't think it will help much.
Removing the tranny and bringing it to a rebuilder was my original plan, but finding someone who actually does it and not merely exchanging it isn't so easy. Could you recommend someone in Queens or Brooklyn? I found a good machine shop for my cylinder head on 57th Street in Woodside. "Magnum" is the name I think.
One transmission place quoted me a price of $575.00 for removing, rebuilding, and installing it. This sounded a bit too good, is it? Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 06-07-03, 06:14 AM
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The $575 price seems a little too good to be true.There is nothing wrong with exchanging your smoked trans for one already rebuilt properly.It's done to save time most larger trans shops do this to avoid downtime due to parts availability,which saves you money.If you replace your trans,be sure the cooler is flushed properly before you start the car or you may be right back where you started.
 
  #5  
Old 06-07-03, 06:19 AM
Joe_F
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I agree with Davo. If the truck is worth it, go with a Mopar Reman transmission. It will have all the needed upgrades and updated parts incorporated into the rebuild.
 
  #6  
Old 06-07-03, 08:22 AM
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Thank you for your speedy response gentlemen--you guys are very good about that and I appreciate it. I agree that the mopar reman is the best option, a bit pricey for me though.
The transaxle is an A413 3 speed. The shift reads PRND21, no circles. Where's a good place to look for manuals?
 
  #7  
Old 06-07-03, 08:58 AM
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If you are thinking of doing it yourself you will need many special tools to rebuild a trans.I know because I do rebuild trannys.Seal tools,special spring compressors and holding fixtures.You are looking at a major jig saw puzzle,have you done trans rebuilds before?Parts are not cheap for trannys and any mistake will most likely double the cost of rebuild if not triple the cost.
 
  #8  
Old 06-07-03, 09:20 AM
Joe_F
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Davo is correct. Trans rebuilding is again NOT DIY repair. You'll need at minimum all the tools he's stated and a Chrysler service manual, which will easily set you back 100 bucks.

Also, Chrysler likely has separate powertrain books plus the service manual too. Links to sources are in my signature file.

I'd say get the service manual, but forego the rebuild yourself. It's not cost effective to do it on your own.
 
  #9  
Old 06-07-03, 09:52 AM
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I probably won't rebuild myself. I just want to keep the option open. I know about the tools and I've seen the video (courtesy of the library), lol. The car's gotta keep going money or not! There are other things that need fixing too! Thank you much.

P.S. Great resource link Joe F.
 
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Old 06-08-03, 08:24 PM
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http://www.turbovan.net/Trans.html
(this is NOT my website, just something i found of interest)
the chrysler 3speed is a very easy trans to rebuild, the above website spells it out bolt by bolt, most of which isn't even necessary(he was racing his car). a LOT of cars come in with the customer thinking the trans is slipping, when it isn't, it is stuck in third gear(it doesn't downshift when coming to a stop) a quick way to check is to put the trans into manual low(1), if it accelerates normal, that was the problem. listen to the engine, if the rpm goes way up(in any gear) it is a burn't clutch or band and the fluid will have an overheated smell. if the rpm is low(1500approx when starting out) and it 'works' when manually downshifting the governor is sticking and is a somewhat easy repair

let us know
 
  #11  
Old 06-08-03, 08:40 PM
Joe_F
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Umm, Chrysler three speeds are simple inside, but specialized tools are required to do a PROPER rebuild that will last .

There are reasons why the service manuals specify all those special tools. Good tranny rebuilders get their lunch money and then some .
 
  #12  
Old 06-08-03, 09:08 PM
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yes, specialized tools are 'mentioned' in the service manual, but absolutely NOT required, there are hundreds of specialized tools in our toolroom with an inch of dust on them. the service manual shows A way to do it, not THE way to do it, and i quote my instructors at chrysler training classes on that! 99% of all chrysler transmissions can be rebuilt with a simple K-D clutch spring compresser, i've done it! most of the 'special tools' are designed and made to keep union machinists in business at miller tools, yes they are top notch in quality, but not all are necessary.
i'm not here to argue with anyone, especially a moderator, i'm just trying to present a different option for someone who might not be that well off financially. there are a good amount of trans specialists and major chain shops who are worth every penny they earn, but i think you'd be surprised how many of them end up taking it to a dealer and marking up the bill or just installing 'purchased' remanufactured units and what i've seen them charge is usually a small amount under what we charge
 
  #13  
Old 06-09-03, 08:57 AM
Joe_F
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Chrysler trannies have always been bottom barrel and second rate. Some Chrysler rebuilds are bad off the shelf Sure, there are specialized tools made by other folks too, but they "ain't" your hammer and screwdriver type tools. Sure, GM will quote you a J number for a lockplate holddown tool you can buy in Sears (which is a K-D made product).

The service manual provides the RIGHT way to do it; in fact it's the only way to do it. The Chrysler trainer you dealt with undoubtedly read that book, it's where their knowledge comes from.

Again, tranny work done RIGHT requires: knowledge, tools, skill, experience, training, time and determination to do right.

No argument here, but as we are saying tranny work/rebuild is NOT DIY work.
 
  #14  
Old 06-09-03, 01:57 PM
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Mike from NJ, the site is way cool! It's much better than anything else I've found online! I don't want to be the cause of a controversy on this forum. I'm just looking for information. Information is very important to any consumer, in any situation, and this information will have me better understand the scope of the work my car may need. Thanks again to all for your kind assistance.

Israel
 
  #15  
Old 06-09-03, 06:45 PM
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hey israel, i'm glad i could help you, all i wanted to do was show you that it can be done, by someone willing to try, if you have any specific questions, you can e-mail me privately and i will usually respond within 24 hours, don't ask me about pricing though. by reading your first message, i assumed 'you' replaced your own cylinder head, but after rereading it, i don't know now, i was thinking anyone capable of doing that kind of job would be capable of rebuilding this kind of trans, if not, then this job could get real complex fast! you might want to think it over for a while
to the other responses, i will bite my tongue at the risk of furthering this argument except for two things, our instructors are usually taught with the engineers present who designed these cars and usually they tell us which year service manuals to stay away from because they are completely wrong. 2nd fact, the chrysler torquflite (727) was used behind the hemi top-fuel cars of the 60's and early70's(2000+ horsepower) until the lenco came out and they held together, guess what, it's still the same trans inside today except for a lockup torque converter and an overdrive bolted onto the back, that's pretty good for "bottom barrel".

i'm done
 
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Old 06-10-03, 03:50 AM
Joe_F
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Mike:

No argument here. But if the manual IS wrong, Chrysler's problem and they should issue a correction. GM does, I have seen them.

The trainers you have spoken to likely consulted with the engineers who have written the manual. In such case, they should KNOW what is wrong in the book . Bottom line: The service manual is the guide. The revisions are the update. Humans write these books and they do make errors, however, the service manual or technical updates are the ONLY way to do it right. If there are factory deviations, the factory publishes them.

Especially for a first timer, I would suggest following the book to a T, unless there are known errors.

Chryslers transmissions and powertrains have always been rough and crude. That's bottom barrel to most folks who expect a smooth shifting car on the street.

You have to ask yourself why Rolls Royce and the likes of them used the THM400 and later its electronic variant behind their cars over a AOD or a TorqueFlite. There are reasons .
 
  #17  
Old 06-10-03, 07:21 AM
redneck
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Chrysler trannies are junk. 727 included.
 
  #18  
Old 06-10-03, 09:17 AM
Joe_F
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Redneck:

Bottom barrel compared to a THM transmission; yes. Outright junk? No.

Chryslers of the 60's were crude but quite raw and commanding. After the mid 70's Chrysler really cheapened out and their sales showed accordingly, almost to the point of bankruptcy in the summer of 1979. I remember it like it was yesterday

(I was 8 in 1979..lol).
 
  #19  
Old 06-10-03, 12:09 PM
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Hi Mike,

I simply removed the cylinder head and took it to a machine shop. I'd never done anything like that before, or any major auto repair for that matter. I got a lot of help on this forum without which I would not have been able to do it. I saved a lot of money and a year later the problem has not recurred. Thanks again.

Israel
 
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