Tranny repair / rebuild costs

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-23-10, 09:39 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Tranny repair / rebuild costs

I've had the unfortunate experience of losing my tranny on a recent out of town trip. I was able to limp along in 'L'ow, but Drive and 3rd are shot. I've got a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan LE with all the bells and whistles. I checked Kelly Blue Book with the options I have to get an estimate "Private Party Sell" and the value of Excellent came in at $4,970.

My question is, how much is too much to replace / rebuild my transmission in regards to the value of the van? I've tended to this van and kept up all maintenance...brakes, tires, oil changes, etc etc.

(I haven't heard back yet on the work estimate yet.)

Thanks for your thoughts on this.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-24-10, 04:59 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,945
Received 48 Votes on 38 Posts
Well, first off I think the KBB value is pretty optimistic. I did a search on autotrader.com for '96 Grand Caravans and got 100 hits. The average price for those 100 is $3147. In those 100 is one at a dealer with 37,000 miles on it with an $18995 price tag so that $3147 average figure is skewed a bit high by this one. The NADA figure is $3275 which I think is more realistic (you didn't mention mileage, so I used 150,000; didn't seem to matter as the same value came up even with lower mileage figures).

I'll take a wild guess and say your tranny job could run $1500-2000. That puts it in the range of about half the value of the van. You'll need to ask yourself questions like how long will you keep the van and how long a warranty can you get on the tranny after rebuild. [Side note: If memory serves me, I don't think this is a good candidate for a used tranny; seems to me like my tranny guru has said this in passing when discussing Caravan trannies]. Also you have to consider that, good maintenance notwithstanding, you might shell out $1500 for the tranny only to have the motor go south six months later. I don't know that there is a good answer to your situation, but I can tell you that you have a lot of company in that quandary.
 
  #3  
Old 08-24-10, 05:20 AM
E
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,051
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I agree with the tow guy, there is no good answer, but spending half the value or more on a major repair item is high risk especially when you are talking about a vehicle that does not exactly have an untarnished record of repair, and a failed component history that includes more than the tranny which anyway is a given problem with this vehicle. Repairing the vehicle in this case would likely not be the best financial decision in the long run, but again it also can depend on your short term needs and the ability to purchase something newer at this time. Some older Honda and Toyota products aren't even ready for their second breath after 150,000 miles for instance. There are a few domestic models like that also, but not many from 10 years ago or more.
 
  #4  
Old 08-24-10, 08:58 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the input guys. I spoke with the manager / mechanic who would be working on the vehicle and was given an estimate of $1800 to $2100...but it would include a 3yr 36,000 warranty.

The van has 123,000 miles on it.

After speaking with my regular mechanic, he concurs that the van is "clean". Given the year of it, I know that anything can go at any time, but weighing my options, putting $$$ into the tranny makes more sense now then purchasing another car (used - more problems???) and having add'l monthly payments.
At this point, I'll be keeping this van as long as I could. As far as the comment about the engine...that too has already been under the knife and basically rebuilt (due to cyl 1 croaking).

Thanks again for your input.
 
  #5  
Old 08-24-10, 09:05 AM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I agree with my colleagues, but the kicker is your tranny may not be shot or need rebuilding. The tranny in your "Caravan" is elecrtonic. It has sensors and electronic shift solenoids. You have to get it to a real tranny pro and have the electronics checked first. Also wiring and circuits for the electronics have to be checked. Have the "TCM" (Transmission Control Module) scanned for error codes. If there are any codes post them so we can see them. "Shift Solenoids" and "Speed Sensors" are a problem in Mopar. Also confirm the level, color, and condition of the fluid. Be sure you are using the correct fluid. You should be using ATF+3. Has the fluid and filter screen been changed recently? Drop the transmission pan. If an unusally high amount of metal particals are stuck to the magnets, or if you see pieces or chunks of metal in the pan, then you know you have a mechanical issue.
 

Last edited by ASE MASTER; 08-24-10 at 09:37 AM.
  #6  
Old 08-24-10, 10:46 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
ASE,

A lot of good questions, but to the novice, my first thought was to get it into a reliable company...so the van was towed to Aamco. Unfortunately, the vehicle is 260 miles from here; so I am unable to do anything visually (I was out of town at the time and took the train home). I'm putting my trust in the technician. One thing that he did say was that when he dropped the pan, there was about 1/2" to 3/4" of metal on the magnets, and the fluid color was dark brown.

The Service Engine Soon did come on but well after the van died.

Well....that's all I know.
 
  #7  
Old 08-24-10, 12:09 PM
ASE MASTER's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 560
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
(Quote) Unfortunately, the vehicle is 260 miles from here;

(Quote) I'm putting my trust in the technician.

(Quote) One thing that he did say was that when he dropped the pan, there was about 1/2" to 3/4" of metal on the magnets, and the fluid color was dark brown.

Being 260 miles away sort of puts you between “A rock and a hard place”. Even if the tech sent you pictures of what he is claiming he found in the pan, there is no guarantee that those are pictures are from your pan. “Brown Fluid’ means tranny fluid is burnt. Doesn’t necessarily mean a mechanical issue. Could just be a sign of a long overdue fluid and filter screen change. When was the last time the tranny fluid and filter screen were changed in this vehicle?


(Quote)
The Service Engine Soon did come on but well after the van died.

Doesn’t matter that the “Check Engine Light” came on well after the van died. The “Check Engine Light” came on because that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s doing its job. It’s telling you that there is a at least one stored error code in the “ECM” or “TCM”.

If the tech is a straight up guy he should do a scan of both the “ECM” and “TCM” and tell you what the codes are. From there you can post the codes here, and we’ll give you our recommendations and tell you what the codes mean. Furthermore if the tech is a straight up guy he should be telling you that the issue may be electronic related and a rebuild may not be necessary
 
  #8  
Old 08-24-10, 05:37 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,552
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
though it's too late to change anything, and deal is set, here's down to reality opinion:
dump it. reason being, blows and whistles 96 LE are less than $3000 on craigslist. that's asking price. so, $2100 is not 50%, it is, actually, almost the value of the car.

here's another reason. yea, they give you 3 yr warranty, or whatever on trannie. that's 260 miles away from your habitat, right? what are the chances of you, actually, driving there, leaving your van there for a week or so, for warranty repairs? and who told you that those will not cost you more? did you read the fine print what is actually, covered by that warranty?

here's even better reason. they will fix trannie awright. except, to get it out, they will have to remove helluva bolts, nuts, sensors and wires. you know what will happen next? a leak will start somewhere else. a sensor will quit in a month or 2. a lot of functionality in older cars comes from "don't fix if it ain't brok" condition. you just start messing with them.....

personally, for $2100, i'd have sold it as is, add those monies to saved $2100, and either put down for an odyssey or quest or sienna, if van is a must, or turn around and buy one of the like, off craigslist. IF IT'S A MUST.
 
  #9  
Old 08-26-10, 11:36 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 1,098
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Nickle's worth

I have a 98 Grand Caravan 3.3 V6. It is the most reliable vehicle that I have ever owned. Total repairs have been a turn signal switch. I have been a zealot about tranny service and all other fluids including flushing brakes. I bought it new with trailer towing pkg so it has a trans cooler. I think that helps the tranny in these. FWIW I had a 90 Camry before the van and currently have an 02 Tundra. Both had many problems. I just finished a $1,000 repair on the Tundra differential @ 70k highway miles. IMO Toyota ain't building what they once did.
 
  #10  
Old 08-26-10, 12:13 PM
I
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 70
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I have a 96 caravan too, but I only paid 200.00 for it.

The tranny in this is toast, so that explains the 200.00 price tag, but I have been driving it anyway, although I fully expect it to give up without warning.

Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how that thing has done. It has nice ride and I can get a 4x8 sheet in the back W/O the seats.

I think I'd get another, albeit newer one.

I spoke to a friend who had a tranny shop and his estimate was around 2000.00 to re and re the existing, I'm in Toronto.
I decided not to bother since there are small nagging issues with the vehicle and I can imagine what will get displaced when the tranny comes out and then be trouble down the road.

The tranny in those was only used for 3 or 5 years as I recall so finding another used one may be challenging.
 
  #11  
Old 08-26-10, 03:36 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,945
Received 48 Votes on 38 Posts
ukrbyk: AAMCO's warranties are nationwide. That's just a statement, not an endorsement.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: