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Transmission Problems 96 Dodge Caravan


nicole12's Avatar
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10-02-04, 04:50 AM   #1  
Transmission Problems 96 Dodge Caravan

My 96 Dodge Caravan is having transmission problems. In the past 6 months I've replaced the transmission govenor and had a trans axle replaced. It doesn't happen all the time but it becoming more frequent when I'm at a stop and begin to drive the car is very sluggish and then it will shift hard. I also notice a hard downshift when I come to a stop. I took it back to the dealer to have them take a look at the transmission govenor to make sure it was operating properly and they said it's fine and my transmission needs to be rebuilt which costs around $2000. Is there anything else that could be looked at first before rebuilding the transmission? Also my husband is very handy could he replace the transmission himself or would he need very specialized tools? He has rebuilt, repaired, replaced many motorcycle engines and also does all the minor maintenance on the car like changing brake pads, rotors, oil, etc.

 
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the_tow_guy's Avatar
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10-02-04, 05:44 AM   #2  
You don't say how many miles are on it, but for an 8 year old vehicle I would assume something in at least the 100-125k mile range.

Shop around for a good independent tranny shop; I suspect you'll find a much better deal. Use a shop whose only business is transmissions. Ask friends who may have had to have tranny work done or call a couple of independent towing companies; Tow Guys know who's good and who's not. If I remember correctly, one of the guys we tow for told me once that he NEVER puts used units in Caravans/Voyagers, so you'll probably want to avoid that choice.

Tranny work is usually not DIY type stuff beyond replacing a bad sensor or solenoid, things like that.

 
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10-06-04, 08:28 PM   #3  
Tranny

A couple of things:

First make sure that only ATF 3 is in the tranny, if any other fluid is in there, get it all out. Do not let anyone tell you that Dextron with an additive is OK, it isnt, do not pay attention to the dipstick, it is wrong...Mopar has a TSB on it. This might be all you need.

If that dosent help, go to xxx.allpar.com, a whole bunch of tranny info there, that is the first place I go when working on my 99 Voyager.

Hope this will be of some help.

 
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10-07-04, 08:09 PM   #4  
jpowell
Nichole, 96 Caravan trannie problems

It may be that you need to clean the trannie to get the varnish out of the valves. I have fixed several AT's with Hydrotex Essentialube using 2 ounces per quart of oil in the trannie. Look in your owners manual or add about 18 ounces (probably 9 quart capacity) and drive. Normally it will fix it in a few minutes. it doesn't matter if you run it a few days. My daughter has a 92 Lumina that we have to use it in all the time. About once a year it needs another 1 ounce per quart and it will be fine for another year. After getting it working okay, then put Hydrotex Hytorque in it. This is a much better fluid than the dealer provided or auto parts store fluids. Chrysler trannies are known to be troublesome. It isn't the trannie, it is the fluid they use in them. It doesn't hold up. Most people forget to change the trannie fluid as often as they should. Those trannies run hot because they are behind the engine together with city driving you have a recipe for trouble. email me at [email protected] and I'll help you out. John Powell STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist

 
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10-17-04, 12:14 AM   #5  
joecamel75
It sounds like the dealer is pretty much right on the money! I think what is happening is that there are seals that run right down the centerline of the trans and they become hard and do not seal well (especially when cold) my friends 95 has the same problem, If it were mine I would definatly do it at the dealer, they will have a guy that has replaced or rebuilt that same type of trans probably a hundred times over, and have been to Chrysler training classes on that trans. There are a few special tools for that trans yes! Good luck!

 
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10-17-04, 12:21 AM   #6  
Thanks for all the good tips. Actually the mileage on the van is only 71K miles.

 
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10-17-04, 05:46 AM   #7  
Rather than rebuilding the trans, go to an independant shop as suggested. They can get you a good, used trans with 12month/unlimited miles warranty for half that price. If your husband really thinks he can do it, you could find a used trans for between $300 and $700.. A shop may charge charge less than $400 to R&R a trans, including replacing various gaskets and seals in the process.

 
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10-17-04, 06:10 AM   #8  
[QUOTE=jpowell]It may be that you need to clean the trannie to get the varnish out of the valves. I have fixed several AT's with Hydrotex Essentialube using 2 ounces per quart of oil in the trannie.My daughter has a 92 Lumina that we have to use it in all the time. About once a year it needs another 1 ounce per quart and it will be fine for another year. If it fixed the tranny why does it have to be repeated once a year when that brand of fluid is in the trans?Does this spectacular fluid cause more varnish buildup in the valves?Sounds like snake oil to me and is swelling rubber seals in the trans for a possible temp "cure" not an actual lasting repair.Going against manufacturers suggested fluids could(most likely)cause catastrophic transmission failure leading to more expense to repair properly.

 
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