1996 Grand Caravan (41TE) Transmission Issues


Old 10-21-07, 11:26 AM
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Question 1996 Grand Caravan (41TE) Transmission Issues

Looking for some advice, I am experiencing Transmission problems with my 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan ES with 3.8L V6 and 41TE 4 Speed Transaxle. My van has relatively low mileage for its age (64,700 miles) and I have meticulously maintained it over the years, as I am a full time wheelchair user and have a good deal of money invested in the vehicle in the way of wheelchair accessibility modifications, and needless to say, enjoy the peace of mind of a reliable vehicle. Just recently the Transmission has begun to slip into what feels like a false neutral while shifting from 2nd to 3rd, never engaging 3rd. Then, I will let off the throttle and it will kick back into 2nd. If I accelerate again it will do the same. After two or three failed attempts at engaging 3rd it will kick into Limp-in mode and stay in 2nd gear. I brought it to my local Chrysler Dealer and they told me the Trans needs to be rebuilt at a cost of $1,100. I am posting this in hope that someone may have had a similar symptom and may be able to shed some light on the cause and possibly a less costly repair.
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Old 10-22-07, 07:04 PM
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Had a similar problem with a 92 Caravan, & luckily had a friend who ran a Mr.Transmission, look at it. Turned out to be a high or low speed sensor on the transmission. $100. and I was back on the road. (Lucky) Wouldn't hurt to get it scanned at a tranny shop, if you feel you can trust them, and tell them the dealer mentioned it was probably a sensor, or something. If you end up going with a fluid & filter change just to try, make sure you do not let them put any tranny fluid in except the recommended Autopar/chrysler fluid, even if they say it doesn't make a difference, or is the same thing, because there are numerous postings on various Chrysler/Dodge forums, where it's been proven time & time again, that anything other than the chrysler recommended fliud, can cause the tranny to act up, shift funny, etc. Sometimes a second opinion can pay off.

Good Luck.
Old 10-22-07, 07:30 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks for the Response

Thanks for responding. There's quite a difference between a '92 Trans and the '96 Trans. The 41TE was a whole new animal in '96. But I value your input. I'm not sure which error codes were found, but I will try to find out from the dealer tomorrow. "Service Engine" light has not come on, so I'm not sure if codes have been set. I will be getting a second opinion from my brother in-law. He is a tech at a local Volvo Dealer, but he told me that any OBD-II Scanner should be able to read the codes.

I had the Transmission serviced at 30,000 and 60,000 miles by my local Chrysler Dealer which included dropping the pan and replacing the Filter and Fluid (which I witnessed). I believe Mopar 7176 Fluid was used in both services. So I don't believe it is a bad filter or low fluid (I check it regularly). I have meticulously maintained the van and consider myself to be a very mellow driver. I don't abuse the transmission or brakes, which is why I am having a hard time believing the transmission is shot at 64,700 miles.

The Transmission Tech seemed like a nice guy and very knowledgeable. He assured me he would replace all internal parts prone to failure or wear with current Mopar Parts. He also told me many parts have been updated and improved, which in theory, should improve the reliability of the Transmission. I'm sure the Tech is much more knowledgeable than I am, and I trust his opinion, as they are a very reputable dealer and he has a $4,000 scan tool and I don't! But all to often the simple things are overlooked. So just to satisfy my curiosity I will try resetting the TCM, and then I will check the pin connectors at the TCM and Transmission, as I have heard they are prone to corrosion and failure. If there's one thing I have learned in my life, it is to start with the simple things first.

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