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Transmission Band Adjustment


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09-25-03, 10:16 AM   #1  
Transmission Band Adjustment

I have a 97' Chrysler Town and Country Minivan, 3.8 v6 with 93K miles. I recently had my transmission fluid changed and filter replaced. The lube shop didn't adjust any bands and I was wondering how critical is it to adjust the bands. The car seems to shift o.k. What happens if the bands are not adjusted? Will it cause premature transmission failure or just poor shifting?

 
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09-25-03, 11:06 AM   #2  
darrell McCoy
Basically a fluid and filter change should be all you need to do.
Wouldnt be concered about any adjustments.

 
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09-25-03, 11:15 AM   #3  
Joe_F
Most new transmissions require fluid and filter changes as Darrell mentioned. Many are electronic so the old ideas of adjusting things have become a thing of the past.

The computer does most of the "adjusting" now.

 
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09-25-03, 01:09 PM   #4  
Thanks for your suggestions. According to the owners manual maintenance schedule, band adjustment are needed periodically for heavy driving conditions. This includes frequent short trips, trailer towing etc. I guess my basic question is how does the transmission perform if the band adjustments are not up to par?

 
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09-25-03, 01:23 PM   #5  
Joe_F
I doubt you do heavy driving conditions with that van. That would be severe service.

I can tell you all I have ever done in any automatic transmission I have owned is change the fluid and filters in them and they all perform flawlessly.

If the band adjustment is an issue, you should be using the dealer, not a lubie shop for your service requirements .

 
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09-25-03, 02:25 PM   #6  
Thanks Joe_F. Believe me, I won't let a lube shop make any adjustments, especially on a transmission. I guess I'll take your advise and only if I notice any abnormal shifting problems will I take it to the dealer for band adjustments.

 
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09-25-03, 07:53 PM   #7  
Check with the dealer to see if there any adjustments. I doubt if it even has bands. I think all newer transmissions have clutch packs only.

The owners manual may be wrong. I have seen owners manuals specify chassis lubrication intervals on cars that have no grease fittings.

If there really are band or clutch adjustments to be made follow the manufactures maintinence schedule.

 
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09-25-03, 10:35 PM   #8  
Joe_F
Original poster:

You've missed my point...

You shouldn't be using a lube shop for your maintenance if you doubt their ability to assess what should be done. Auto repair is their business and they should know what your vehicle requires when a tranny service is specified. If they don't, wrong place to bring it.

The dealer or a better independent would know the car best..

Again, I have never had to touch any automatic transmission internally for "adjustments". I have always changed the oil and filter regulary and just driven it. That's what most require to operate well.

 
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09-26-03, 04:26 AM   #9  
Car Nut, I found a Haynes Repair Manual that covers my 97'Chrysler T&C and that showed two different types of transmission a 3-speed 31TH and a 4-speed 41TE. The manual showed band adjustment for 31TH only and not for 41TE. Leading me to believe that there are no band adjustment on the 41TE. I am certain that I have the 4-speed 41TE transmission and hence I don't think I need to worry about band adjustment. You know you are absolutely right about owner's manual and how inaccurate they are. It appears that car manufacturers write a generic version for multiple models and half the time the some of the stuff doesn't even apply. Thanks for all your help. Much appreciated.

 
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09-26-03, 06:11 AM   #10  
Joe_F
If you think the OM is inaccurate, wait till you try to use that Haynes manual for any serious repair

 
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09-29-03, 10:40 PM   #11  
mike from nj
your owner's manual is correct

the three speed(31th) has two bands and should be periodically inspected and rarely adjusted.

the 3.8L (and 3.3's too)under your hood can ONLY have the 4 speed(41te)---meaning no bands and no adjustments, the computer does it all for you

the owner's manual covers both transmissions in one printing, that's where the confusion is likely from.

my personal experience(almost daily) with lube shops or any aftermarket shop working on either of these transmissions, is they always use a gasket for the pan, and it leaks 99% of the time--eventually. the factory uses a small bead of silicone and when installed properly will never leak, even cars with 120,000+ miles on the pan,side cover or differential cover---don't leak. everyone in the aftermarket makes a gasket, none of them hold fluid inside though.

observation #2, they usually don't use the correct fluid, it has to be chrysler's ATF+3 for this year, about $3.50 a quart, and will take exactly 4.5 quarts. the question is when (not if)will it start shuddering into lock-up, i don't mean to scare you, but you must be educated to this fact, it should be printed in the owner's manual too, about the correct fluid usage. check your receipt and see what they used, the price and part number should also tell you, the chrysler part#s end in 'AA' or 'AB'

 
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09-30-03, 04:20 AM   #12  
Thank you Mike from NJ. I guess I also came to the same conclusion that my car has the 41TH transmission, requiring no band adjustment. I wish the owner's manual could be more specific when it comes to stuff like that. Your point about the pan gasket is quite valid and I'll surely keep my eyes open for any signs of leak. So far it's been a couple of weeks and it's o.k. As far as the fluid goes, I saw the guy add an additive to make it Chrysler compliant. By the way the lube shop is LubeExpress in NJ. Thanks for you input.

 
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09-30-03, 07:12 AM   #13  
Joe_F
Whoa-----I'd get that out of there. Have the right fluid installed. Make sure you go to a Chrysler dealer and specify the right fluid.

As Mike said, using the right fluid is imperative. I don't understand why people just won't use the right stuff.

Sometimes you have to delve into the text of the manual a bit. It will say "as equipped" or "If equipped". because parts of the text are used in other vehicle's manuals.

 
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09-30-03, 07:38 AM   #14  
Joe_F, I checked on the fluid that was installed and it is a Highly Friction Modified fluid which is equivalent to Chryslerís ATF+. Basically these lubeshops use a base fluid like Dextron II/III and add and additive supplement which converts it into an HFM fluid like the Mopar 7176. I am assuming this is O.K.

 
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09-30-03, 08:54 AM   #15  
Joe_F
And I'd say not. Use the right fluid. Dexron III and ATF have different qualities and I don't think any "additive" is going to change that.

The right fluid is cheap compared to puking the tranny and replacing it .

 
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09-30-03, 12:08 PM   #16  
Joe_F, I checked with LubeExpress and they told me that they use an ATF +3 fluid I believe Castrol, along with Hartland Total Transmission Treatment. The additive is some sort of an HFM converter. I also did some research and found out that Castrol ATF+3 is a replacement for Castrol 7176 ATF. Castrol ATF+3 is a multipurpose ATF formulated for use in Chrysler transmissions/transaxles where an ATF+3, Mopar ATF+, ATF+2 or ATF+2 Type 7176 fluid is specified. Castrol ATF+3 can be used in Chrysler cars model year 1998 and most 1999's, and meets the 7176E specification which is required for 1997 and older Chryslers. I was told that this is equivalent to Mopar 7176 and meets that specification. Let me know if this is not the right fluid.

 
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09-30-03, 12:20 PM   #17  
Joe_F
Mike is your man on this as he is a Mopar tech, but I'm going to have to say that you should ONLY put in what the dipstick says (as he has said before).

If the can isn't labeled as such, I wouldn't trust it in my vehicle. Another case of Chrysler with their bottom barrel service information and confusing everyone and never getting it straight.

I know there was a transition in one year, but the safe bet is to go with what the dipstick says.

GM is easy. Dexron. Done .

 
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09-30-03, 12:48 PM   #18  
Joe_F, thanks for the advise and in the future I'll stick with Mopar parts. I realize today's transmissions are prettly complicated and sensitive, but to the degree they'll only perform with a proprietary fluid makes me wonder. If you do a search on ATF +3 you'll see that there are so many brands of ATF +3 and all of them claim to meet Chrysler requirements. Hence for Chrysler to only require their brand sounds like they are trying to get you to pay $150.00 for a transmission fluid change at their dealership. Sometimes you wonder how much of these requirements are really true, versus a hidden motive to get customers to spend more money. I hate to bring the vehicle in to a dealership for every little thing especially things like oil change. Your comments and inputs are quite appreciated. Thanks. Perhaps Mike from NJ can comment on his experience with other brand ATF +3 fluids.

 
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09-30-03, 01:00 PM   #19  
Joe_F
Bottom line:

Fluid is less expensive than a tranny. Don't gamble or you will (not maybe) be putting a tranny in it. Read up a few posts to Mike's reply. Don't cheap out to save a few bucks on fluid.

The prices are what they are....the cost of owning a new car is such really. I wouldn't squibble about a few bucks for fluid. The labor is the same no matter what, putting the right fluid is the same work, so just use the right stuff.

As I said, Chrysler has always been bottom barrel with service information, and it's usually confusing because they either contradict themselves, change midstream or just plain say one thing on the dipstick and something else in the owner's manual. I know that Mike posted something here a while ago about some confusion in a given year as to what was actually right.

Again, be ABSOLUTELY sure whatever you use is what your vehicle requires. Again, GM is easy. If a car required Dexron, it's easy, because all new versions of Dexron work with the old and cover the previous service requirements. Chrysler has always been over the map with this and Ford no better.

If you're hellbent on saving a few bones for fluid, call up Castrol or the major oil guys and ask them if they are supplying an equal to the required fluid required. Ask them, "Do you supply the stuff to Chrysler as OEM or dealer service?" "Is it ready to go in the can, or do I have to add something???"

My guess is if the bottle says Dexron and ATF+3 on it or some combination other than ATF+3 ALONE you are using the WRONG fluid.

15 bucks in fluid won't kill ya, use the right stuff. Done.

 
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09-30-03, 01:57 PM   #20  
Joe_F, when you get a chance next time you are at an auto parts store take a look at the label on castrol's ATF +3 and you'll see that it is specially formulated for Chrysler. You can also check http://www.castrolusa.com/canada/atf.html . Unless one wants to change the fluid themself it's hard to find a national lube chain that will use Mopar. I am pretty sure I have the right fluid, but in the future I'll bring my own fluid to the shop. I don't know if they'll let me, but it's worth a shot. I normally do most of the easy work myself, but changing trans fluid is one of those messy jobs since I don't have a drain plug and you have to drop the entire pan. Anyway, thanks for your useful advise.

 
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09-30-03, 11:51 PM   #21  
mike from nj
last time i checked, dexron was up to III, up from II, IIe?, and the original stuff

chrysler used atf+, then 2, then 3, now 4 and you can supercede any fluid type you want too, like 4 in 2 or older

almost the same,


to the original question---i don't know who makes the chrysler stuff, and i don't know what's in the castrol stuff. i use what i get from the parts dept. all $15-20 worth and peace of mind knowing it's right. we are a wholesaler dealer too and we sell a lot of this fluid to the aftermarket---caseloads.

any shop anywhere would use fluid you bring them, we use all kinds of infomercial additives, mobil 1, redline, royal purple, syntech, anything they want, they get, they're paying the bill and they own the car, give then what they want.

i do know specifically of one car that had a horrible shuddering into torque converter lockup, i rebuilt it under warranty, went to put the wheel lock key back in the glove box and there was a jiffy lube receipt with dexron stamped right on it and only 3000 miles ago, they got a free one, lucky them and they didn't even know it, only thing they know is that their car broke and it's a p.o.s.

keep an eye on things and save your receipt, i'm sure with the volume that shops like that have, and doing things like that, these transmissions would be dropping like flies, and they aren't, and there's no class action lawsuits, so everything must be ok--right?

there was an old service bulletin for t/c shudder, it involved changing the fluid twice with atf+3 and driving it for a while, was supposed to fix it, i tried it twice and the cars never came back, so who knows what happened.

i wouldn't be surprised if castrol actually made atf+3 or +4, not that i know anything secret, it just wouldn't surprise me.

ps. until very recently, we charged $80 for a complete trans service, includes a road test and a quick once-over from a trained eye, that's cheap in my book.


now try putting mystery atf in your 2001 durango/dakota/hemi truck with the new style trans, they don't like that one bit, that one went right back to jiffy lube and we never saw it again, buzzing loud and shifting whenever it wanted--maybe

 
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10-01-03, 03:59 AM   #22  
Joe_F
Ya, it's III or something now, Mike (Dexron). The new stuff supersedes the old, always has.

I've used Castrol in my GM cars, no problem at all. I've used Cam 2, fine as well. As long as it's current Dexron product, it's better than what came in there originally (since my cars are older).

Original poster: Again, do the math. You're talking under 30 bones for fluid. 30 bones is cheaper than wasting a tranny to "save" a few bucks. I have seen various Chrysler dealers offer specials on this fluid in the parts dept. Maybe buy a case on sale and stock it for the next time? Probably better off.

 
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10-01-03, 04:02 AM   #23  
Hey Mike from NJ, thanks a lot for your info. I checked on the web and almost every manufacturer that manufactures trans fluid is also selling ATF +3. Castrol, Havoline, Chevron, Penzoil....If I am correct ATF +3 is a designation for oil that meets or exceeds MOPAR 7176E and specifically designed for Chrysler trans that specify 7176. All of the lube chains that I talked to use a non-Mopar ATF +3. LubeExpress puts about a pint of Hartland Total Transmission Treatment which enhances the ATF +3 into a HFM. If this was a real issue and ATF +3 from other manufacturers was not compatible with MOPAE 7176E then you would have thousands of vehicles failing. Now the owners manual does specify that for optimum performance use the MOPAR 7176. But honestly how many motorists take their car to the dealer for lube service. If that was the case, these lube chains would be out of business by now but they are not. I think Chrysler has done a poor job of informing the public about transfluid choices for their vehicle. Especially when you have half a dozen manufacturers making ATF +3, the Chrysler formula or spec can't really be proprietary. Thanks to you guys, I've learnt a lot from this discussion.

 
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10-01-03, 04:06 AM   #24  
Joe_F
Chrysler has one of the companies you called make it for them, but to their specifications for their products.

I can't think of a single OEM who makes their own fluids. All of the major companies are factory fill for someone! .

 
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10-01-03, 06:04 AM   #25  
I am sure that's probably the case and everyone is selling it under their own name. It's no wonder there is so much confusion and disinformation out there. By the way I checked with the parts counter at my Chrysler dealer and he told me that ATF +3 is equivalent to Mopar 7176. Another interesting thing he mentioned was that they rarely sell the Mopar 7176 to the general public over the counter and most of their consumption is for their service department. Which means that folks are using other brands of ATF +3 for their Chryslers. Also, the dealership is now solely using the new ATF +4 or Mopar MS-9602 in place of the 7176. The tech told me that it has better characteristics and is backwards compatible with ATF +2, ATF +3 etc.. The ATF +4 goes for about $8.00/qt. Just goes to show you that Chrysler is constantly trying up the ante on trans fluid. This discussion has certainly been very educational to say the least.

 
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10-01-03, 06:09 AM   #26  
Joe_F
I feel as such:

Bottom line, if you had to "add" something to your fluid to make it work, "It ain't right".

There are very few cases in automotive where additives are right or recommended. I can only think of a few where the OEM would recommend this.

Most times using the right stuff is better, more efficient and above all cheaper than making a square peg fit in a round hole .

 
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10-01-03, 07:21 AM   #27  
Joe_F. you are absolutely right. It's just not worth taking any chances with new trannys that are computer controlled and much more suceptible to failures because of fluid mismatch. Thanks.

 
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10-01-03, 05:31 PM   #28  
mike from nj
slc---do you want the corporation to advertise on bulletin boards along the turnpike or take out full page adds in the ny times, telling you which fluid to use??

every bit of maintenance information you need is in the owner's manual.

i think you'd be surprised at how many people come into a dealer for basic maintenance, fluids and tune-ups included. it makes a big difference too when it comes time for a goodwill warranty repair(covered, but out of warranty)

atf+4 is too expensive to use as a replacement right now for +3, i don't think it's neccessary to upgrade to synthetic when the old stuff works just fine and is $4+ cheaper a quart. if that dealer was a 'wholesale discount' dealer, they'd be moving a lot more of it off the shelf. why should 'XYZ aftermarket' buy it at full retail when they could get it from (us) a wholesaler for 30-40% cheaper. we get a fresh pallet about every three months.

computer controlled transmissions means nothing other than more things to go wrong and more money(and better gas mileage), the friction elements inside the trans are designed to work with a certain additive package(atf) use the wrong stuff and the clutches won't grip at the right speed---harsh shifts and shuddering---in a nutshell

lube shops won't go out of business from lack of work, only from all the work they cause(and have to pay for to fix correctly)

 
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10-01-03, 06:42 PM   #29  
Hey Mike, I wasn't expecting car manufacturers to help advertise other brands of fluid, but what would be nice is if they were forthright in stating that any trans fluid that meets the 7176 specification is acceptable for their vehicle. Just like they do it with engine oil when the specify 5w30 or 10w30. Let's face it, there is nothing mysterious about Mopar 7176 since ATF +3, which is its equivalent, is being sold for a lot less by others. Car manufacturers purposely weasel word their manuals to create doubt and fear for consumers to only go to the dealership for every little thing. It's all part of their marketing strategy and everyone does it. By the way the Chrysler dealership by me only stocks ATF +4 at $8/qt. and they put that in every vehicle whether it needs it or not. Eventhough there are cheaper alternatives like ATF +3. It's becoming very hard to separate the facts from fiction these days because everyone you talk to says something different. No wonder most consumers are confused when it comes to something as simple as trans fluid. It shouldn't be this way...

 
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10-01-03, 07:08 PM   #30  
mike from nj
(not yelling or being sarcastic)
i think you have me confused by now
have you read your dipstick lately?

it should say 7176 and not atf+3, all you or anybody had to do was five minutes of research, read a bottle's label, a phone call or two or come here and all questions are answered.


not all 5w-30 is the same either, 'se' is different than 'sf' which is different than 'sg' and there are major differences between them, don't find out the hard way.



who's wording the manuals, the manufacturer or the manufacturer's lawyers? guess?

 
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10-02-03, 03:50 AM   #31  
Hi! Mike, I know you were not being sarcastic and believe me I do understand your point about the fluid requirements in the manual and on the dipstick. They both specify ATF +2/ Mopar 7176. I guess you misunderstood my point when I said that ATF +3 can be used instead of the Mopar 7176. According to what I've read, the ATF +3 was specifically engineered for Chrysler type applications and that's my only point. Cheers.

 
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10-02-03, 04:07 AM   #32  
Joe_F
"Use Guide Lamps when Relamping is necessary"

---That's in every GM owner's manual for cars I own. Buy a Guide Lamp (GM) and it's a Sylvania or GE bulb. Easy. Doesn't work, you change the bulb to a GM one. LOL.

Use the wrong tranny fluid to "save" money and it could be a $2000 repair.

EVERY owner's manual, piece of literature, or parts list will always say "Use Genuine XYZ parts". That's because these OEM's, whether it's a B&D saw, a Craftsman snowblower, a Chrysler Town and Country, a Toro mower, or whatever want to make money on parts and service.

They will naturally say aftermarket stuff is inferior so as to cast doubt in their mind. Now, research can be done to refute that or prove that they, the OEMs don't make the stuff (who would argue that a Bosch TPS is "inferior" to a BMW one with the same # on it for example?), but in this case, I wouldn't worry about a couple of bucks on fluid.

Chrysler will tell you to use their belts too when replacement is needed, but a Gates will do just fine. Honda will say only to use Honda power steering fluid and I'd agree with that because they are unique in this realm.

Weigh the cost of time, effort, research and cost when you do this and sometimes it's just cheaper to follow along .

 
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10-02-03, 04:20 AM   #33  
Joe_F, I totally agree. The important thing is to always check and ask what any mechanic is putting in whether it's at a lube shop or a local garage. In the real world, most folks never question the "wisdom" of the mechanic which leads to wrong stuff being put in your car. Especially when it comes to trans that could be a costly mistake for sure. Thanks an awful lot to both you and Mike for your responses. I can tell that you both speak from real life experience.

 
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