1998 Plymouth Grandvoyager Transmission Issue??

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by ckmeusel, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. ckmeusel

    ckmeusel Guest


    I have a 1998 plymouth grand voyager (3.3 liter, 4 speed automatic
    transmision) that currently has 151,000 miles on it. I had a
    remanufactured transmission installed around 97,000 miles and last
    night I noticed that the transmission shifting was a little more rough
    than normal. When I parked the van and came back to start it after
    45 minutes the van seemed to operate ok in Park and Neutral but when I
    put it in reverse it jerked and died. When I put it in drive it made
    a horrible grinding sound in the engine compartment. This sounded
    like the engine or transmission was falling apart. The noise would
    occur while I had it in Drive with the brake on.

    After that episode I opened the hood and checked both the Oil and
    Transmision Fluid to see if I could smell any burnt fluids. The fluid
    levels were OK and the transmision fluid did not smell burnt or

    About 15 minutes later I tried to back it out of the parking lot and
    was able to move the vehicle and drive home even though I could still
    feel some roughness in the transmission shifting.

    I am planning to go to an aut parts store to see if any Codes were
    recorded that could help me diagnose the problem.

    Has anyone experienced any problems like this?

    I was going to look at the following: (Hope it is not another
    transmission issue)

    Bad spark plug wires/plugs;
    Bad sensors (Speed/Oxygen)
    Transmission issue.

    ckmeusel, Jan 25, 2008
  2. Who did the rebuild on your transmission? How long a warranty did they
    give you? Is it still under warranty?

    One of the issues with these transmissions is that in order to get them as
    as they are with the number of gears they have, Chrysler used some very
    construction and hardening processes in the manufacture of the gears in the
    transmission. The problem is that a lot of transmission rebuilders when
    get a transmission in that has a hard part break, they will rebuild it with
    aftermarket parts instead of getting them over the counter from Mopar at the
    dealership. The aftermarket is flooded with cheap Chinese knockoffs
    of the gear packs in these transmissions that do not have the reliability
    of the Mopar stuff.

    For one of these transmissions rebuilt in 2003 or thereabouts, pretty much
    of the design flaws in these transmissions had been corrected, and all of
    rebuild kits incorporate them. You should get at least 100K miles out of
    a rebuild, not 54K. The only reason it would fail prematurely is if your
    wheelspinning, or your stuck and doing the rock forward then rock back then
    rock forward then rock back, etc. etc. Both of those manuevers will break
    these transmissions.

    It sounds to me like you have either a problem with the torque converter
    or in the transmission gears in the transmission.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Jan 25, 2008
  3. ckmeusel

    ckmeusel Guest

    Thanks for the info. The remanufactured transmission I received at
    97,000 was a chrysler remanufacturer model with a 3 year 30,000 mile
    warranty. (Which has since expired) I took my van to a local auto
    repair shop and paid $45 for diagnostics to see what was wrong. The
    mechanic called and said I needed a rebuilt transmission for $1,700.
    I asked him why he thought I needed a rebuild and he said that since
    there was no error code and the noise coming from the engine sounded
    like the torque converter locking up which indicates a mechanical
    failure. As well as the harsh shifting.

    Sounds logical as the sound was awful when it occurs and the vehicle
    stalls out. I now need to decide on whether to have this place do
    this, get a second opinion, or look for another used vehicle. I was
    thinking that maybe I could get the transmission flushed and refilled
    with a new filter as well as a computer upgrade to see if that fixes
    the issue. The second thing would be to replace the solinoid.

    The mechanic was reluctant to do this as he kept going back to the
    mechanical transmission noise that has already been experienced and
    that these other options may temporarily fix the issue but the failure
    of the transmission would probably reoccur.

    I was thinking on getting a second opinion. Another option would be
    to buy another chrysler/dodge minivan that is 2 to 3 years old since
    we like these vans other than the transmissions. Any ideas???
    ckmeusel, Jan 26, 2008
  4. ckmeusel

    Steve B. Guest

    I would get a couple of estimates. The mechanic is probably right...
    the noise you were hearing was the fat lady singing... show is now
    over. Changing the fluid at this point is a waste of money but having
    the electricals checked out holds a note of promise.

    Realistically you are dealing with a ten year old van with a $2500
    value. If it is in great shape and been well maintained I would think
    about repairing but if it is your typical ten year old minivan with
    typical kid type wear I would Craig's List it for $500 and go get a
    newer one.

    Steve B.
    Steve B., Jan 26, 2008
  5. I'm afraid I'd have to agree - hard part failures in these transmissions
    many times do not set a code, and if they do set a code it generally
    indicates something that isn't failed.

    However, as to whether you need a rebuild or not - that's different.
    As long as the converter hasn't fragged internally, the trans can be
    separated, the converter replaced, and everything can be put back
    together. Of course, there is always the chance that a piece of metal
    may have got where it's not supposed to be - but you might run
    that up the flagpole with the mechanic and see if he's willing to do it.
    Your long term reliability is going to be a big gamble - so you might
    think about selling the van when you get it back.
    I think that is a big waste of money.
    Another thing you can do if your thinking about selling it is to
    call around to your local wrecking yards and see if you can
    find a transmission. Also, many times these yards can refer you
    to people who rebuild transmissions in their garage for extra
    money. For example I own a Ford Torino, it uses a C-4. About
    15 years ago I broke the transmission and when I called around
    to the local wreckers, one of them was selling rebuilt C-4s I
    went down there to talk to them and what they said is they
    had a guy who came around once a month and took about 10-15
    C-4 cores home and would rebuild them in his garage. Basically
    he would strip them all down and take the best parts from the
    group and create 5-10 good transmissions out of them, and
    bring them and the rest of the cores back. He probably got
    something like $150 a transmission for doing this and the yard
    had them marked at $250. I decided to take a chance on that
    deal - I did the R&R myself - and that C-4 is still running in
    that Torino to this day.

    Here's my $0.02 on your predicament. Assuming you go the rebuild
    route, your likely going to get about 70,000 more miles on it before the
    engine is entering the period where it would be worn out. If you pay the
    $1700 and your driving the average 14,000 miles a year, that's 5 years
    more - or $340 a year. That's going to be a lot cheaper than a note on
    a 2-3 year old van. So what it boils down to is how clean is this van?
    If it has never been in an accident, and the paint is shiny and not peeling,
    and the interior is clean, and the underbody doesen't have rust all over
    it, why then I'd go for the rebuild.

    Now, as for the rebuild, you should shop around. But, not for a cheaper
    price. What you want is a better warranty, and you want to find out if
    the rebuild shop does a lot of these transmissions. Your mechanic may
    not actually be doing the rebuild, he may only do the in-and-out and
    be sending the transmission out to someone else. You need to actually
    go visit the shop where it's going to be rebuilt and ask them if they can
    show you their shop and inventory. And you need to find out if they
    will be rebuilding yours, or if they will be swapping with one that they
    already rebuilt. And, ask them what warranty they offer, and ask them
    if they will give you the names of a few of their customers (ideally,
    business customers) that you can call and ask if they are happy with

    I would not do another Chrysler "remanufactured" job. What you want
    to find is a transmission shop that is local, and does a lot of these
    transmissions. Also, one last thing is to make absolutely sure that
    whoever does the R&R (remove and replace) refills the transmission
    with ATF +4 and NOT with Dexron+Lubeguard.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Jan 27, 2008
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