1991 Plymouth Vogageur- Transmission Problem

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by ken baer, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. ken baer

    ken baer Guest

    Bought this vehicle a year ago, 3.3 Liter V6. The vehicle has over 180,000
    miles on it and the second 4-Speed Auto Transmission. The transmission
    refused to shift up and remained in the lower gear. After a few stops and
    starts I could not engage the tranny in any gear. I'm trying to determine if
    the transmission is gone or whether it might be another problem?
    I have never had to top up the fluid level until the garage mechanic checked
    and advised down about 1/2 quart, which he added, Chevron Dexron 2. That
    was about two weeks prior to the failure. The dipstick reads" Use Mopar ATF
    7176, If unavailable use Dexron 2." I am assuming the tranny contained the
    correct ATF fluid because it operated normally up to that point. The fluid
    was always very clean.
    Anyway I have the remaining 1/2 quart ,Chevron Dexron 2, on hand.
    Might this be the problem. possible mixing ATF with 1/2 quart Dexron? The
    guy that topped it off is the owner and qualified mechanic. I doubt I would
    have any recourse against him but would certainly approach him if I think
    his action was the primary cause of the failure. Appreciate comments.

    ken baer, Nov 24, 2003
  2. The transmission is seldom "gone" unless it is driven for much time in the
    "limp home" mode of permanent 2nd gear. Prime suspect is the input speed
    sensor; the output speed sensor and a great many other individual
    components can cause this symptomology, however, so you need to get the
    van to a *competent* transmission diagnostician. NOT a franchised "throw
    in a remanufactured transmission" place! A suitably-trained diagnostician
    can read a great many values with a diagnostic computer and find out
    exactly what isn't working right.
    The correct fluid is ATF+3 **ONLY**. Use of Dexron is an emergency measure
    only, it's not a "Well, we'd rather you use ATF+, but y'know, whatever,
    Dexron, it's all good". It is all NOT good. At the same time, it's
    unlikely that adding a pint of Dexron would cause a failure. Are we sure
    he checked the fluid level using the correct procedure? It's unusual for
    this transmission to lose any fluid without an obvious external leak.
    Overfilling, on the other hand, is a very bad thing.

    Daniel J. Stern, Nov 24, 2003
  3. Dexron is BAD for this transmission no matter what the dipstick or owners
    manual says. There's been lots of discussion of this in this newsgroup. Go
    back and look at the faq or previous posts. Also, look on www.allpar.com.

    Chrysler's 4 speed tranny is not good transmission.
    David J. Allen, Nov 25, 2003
  4. Yes, it is important to use the proper fluid to maintain the performance
    and life of this transmission. Just like it is important to match your
    blood type when you receive a transfusion.

    Hogwash. Once the initial teething problems were resolved (many years
    ago now), these transmissions are as good as any others in minivans.
    Mine has 143,000 trouble-free miles to date. The only car I've put more
    miles on was a 1989 Acclaim that had 146,000 when my wife totaled it
    taking out a deer.

    I'm not saying it is the all-time best transmission ever made as I don't
    think it is. But it certainly is a good transmission, just maybe not a
    great one.

    Matthew S. Whiting, Nov 25, 2003
  5. This is an old subject, but I'll just say that my experience in this
    newsgroup over a number of years and my own experience with Chyrsler
    minivans and the experience of friends and acquaintances and finally, the
    opinion of a couple of tranny shop managers I've spoken with the last couple
    of days has confirmed in my own mind that this transmission has been and
    continues to be a problem transmission.

    One transmission shop said this is the single worst transmission in terms of
    failing they see day in and day out in their shop. He did say that he
    thought the problem may not be so much the transmission itself as it's
    application in a minivan. He said the transmission was designed for
    Chrysler's passenger cars and just doesn't hold up well to the beating it
    takes from the heavy minivans. He also said that even though Chrysler
    denies there's a problem with the transmission, the service dept. at the
    dealer down the street always keeps 20 or 30 reman units on hand due to the
    David J. Allen, Nov 25, 2003
  6. Yes, old data takes a long time to purge from the system. Even Consumer
    Reports, which looks for any opportunity to trash American cars doesn't
    make any issue with Chrysler van transmissions.

    I've more friends with fried transmissions in Windstars and Toyotas than
    in Chryslers ... and I know a lot more people with Chryslers.
    Unfortunately, this ng, your experience and my experience aren't worth a
    cup of coffee. I don't place much faith in J.D. Power or CR, but they
    are about the best source available for things like this in addition to
    NHTSA, and I don't see any of these sources claiming that Chrysler
    minivan transmissions are notoriously unreliable. If they were as bad
    as you claim, the people that make them couldn't keep up what with
    probably more than 5 million Chrysler minivans on the road.

    I've seen many people post here of getting 150,000 or more miles on a
    Chrysler minivan transmission. And people tend not to post the good
    stuff nearly as often as the bad.

    I had a similar situation when I was building my house. I planned to
    use precast concrete walls for my basement. Every builder and building
    supply store in my area told me how bad these were and how they would
    never hold up. They all had horror stories and one local concrete block
    supply house even had pictures of a failed basement. Well, I did some
    digging and found that most of the horror stories were complete myths.
    When I asked for names and addesses, I got nothing other than "I heard
    it somewhere." The few people that could give me a name and location,
    all pointed back to a SINGLE failed foundation ... the one that the
    block company had pictures of in their store. So, I called the wall
    manufacturer and asked about that. They gave me the details. Turned
    out the builder had ignored almost every instruction in the site prep
    manual and applied the coup de grace by backfilling before the floor was
    installed in direct violation of the wall maker's instructions. I ended
    up using these walls and have been very pleased with them.

    The moral of the story is that a few bad situations get spread like
    wildfire and often get amplified as they go. I believe that is the case
    with the Chrysler electronically controlled transmissions. I think they
    had problems at the outset, but I think they've been pretty good for at
    least the last 10 years.

    Matthew S. Whiting, Nov 25, 2003
  7. I agree that this is a problem transmission, but I think the biggest
    problems are
    that there's too many transmission shops that do not know how to service
    I also think that a lot more people use minivans for towing than Chrysler
    assumed would do so, and in most of these minivans the transmission cooler
    inadequate for towing.

    The Chrysle rminivans were basically designed for a single young soccer mom
    weighing in at maybe 150 pounds hauling around the American average of
    2.5 children and their associated shit, total weight maybe about 300 pounds,
    with occassional carpools of kids and the occassional family vacation with

    But I frequently see minivans repainted with company colors and used as
    commercial vehicles, (instead of a full sized van) espically used as
    hauling 6-7 250 pound typical lard-ass adults. :) It's no wonder that
    trannies fail more frequently.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Nov 26, 2003
  8. ken baer

    Thumpower Guest

    Nope, the problem likely with this kind of mileage is that the notorious A604
    has struck again. My '94 T&C is on its third trans. at 125k so this is not
    unusual. Any "check engine" lights on? You might get lucky and have it just
    be a speed sensor. Worth checking out.
    Thumpower, Dec 3, 2003
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