96 Chrysler Town & Country Tranny probs

We just got a used 96 Town & Country v6 3.3. 150k We think it might have a tranny problem, but I've seen and heard of this type of Chrysler models having lots of tranny problems. What i want from you guys is if you could post what common tranny problems you know and links to them to; how to fix or prevent, etc. The peeps we got the van from says it has a tranny problem, because it starts to vibrate at 50-55mph, and is smooth on all the rest of the speeds. I know we need to check alignment and balance on the wheels, but for now if you guys could just tell us what common tranny problems this model has had, it would be great. Thanks! Have a good day!
 
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25,046
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ON, Canada eh?
Sounds like the common transmission problem that affected those models. Time to pull it and rebuild. Make sure they replace the solenoids in the transmission when they do the job. I would also think about an external cooler that is thermostatically controlled and bypassing the radiator cooler completely. (If you intend on keeping it longer than 100K Miles)
 
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25,046
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ON, Canada eh?
The converter has 2 modes that are temperature controlled by fluid temperature. Full/Partial lockup mode. When the fluid temp in the transmission is warm but not hot it goes into partial lockup and reduces the RPM's by half of what it normally would. Then when it gets to full operating temperature it goes into full lockup and drops the RPM's even further. It's this partial lockup mode that wears the transmission prematurely. (Has been fixed in models after 2000)
 
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25,046
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No a Torque-Converter. Catalytic converter is for your emission system and inline with your Exhaust. You need to rebuild the transmission because the damage is already done and the Torque Converter is in the transmission so it needs to be removed anyways. An external cooler that has a "Thermostatic" control is better than the Radiator cooler that your van is currently equipped with and will prolong the life of your new rebuilt transmission. It will still fail in the future, because it was a poor design IMO.
 

SAMSATX

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San Antonio, Texas U.S.A.
 Originally Posted By: StevieC
The converter has 2 modes that are temperature controlled by fluid temperature. Full/Partial lockup mode. When the fluid temp in the transmission is warm but not hot it goes into partial lockup and reduces the RPM's by half of what it normally would. Then when it gets to full operating temperature it goes into full lockup and drops the RPM's even further. It's this partial lockup mode that wears the transmission prematurely. (Has been fixed in models after 2000)
So your saying that the partial lock of the converter is what wears the transmission, and this happens when the oil in the transmission is warm. I don't get it, why would the oil need to be cooled if it needs to be hot so it wont go into partial lock?
 
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The wear happens when the oil isn't at full operating temperature and the partial-lockup mode is activated as it causes clutches to slip partially to allow for a reduction in RPM. This clutch-slippage causes excess wear to the clutches and creates a lot of debris which then clogs up the cooler in the radiator and causes the transmission to run hotter than coolant temperature. I would get it rebuilt, then put a thermostatic cooler on it with a Magnafine transmission filter before the cooler to prevent the junk from ending up in the cooler. The cooler will bypass cooling the transmission until it gets to full temperature and then start cooling the fluid when there is too much heat. This will make sure that the transmission spends as little time in "partial-lockup" mode as possible. There are other bad things about this transmission, like the space between clutches that cause excess wear on the seals, the solenoids that stick or don't fully engage and cause the points to burn. The pin that can come loose and cause damage to the bell housing. (Just to name a few) Best to have it rebuilt at a reputable shop using the "Aftermarket Updates" that most shops know about and have a lot of these issues corrected. External cooler with Thermostatic control is your best friend with this transmission. My dad (retired mechanic of over 35 years and who had worked for Chrysler for 20 years) knows and has rebuilt a gazillion of these transmissions. Trust me! ;\)
 
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One other quick note about those vans. When I was a Dodge tech we would have brand new vans come back that wouldn't shift out of first gear. The problem. Aftermarket alarms had been installed. If the tech taps into the wrong power wire to power the alarm it will keep the trans from shifting. It's not the problem you're having but just a bit of info I thought I'd throw out there.
 
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25,046
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ON, Canada eh?
 Originally Posted By: AdRock
One other quick note about those vans. When I was a Dodge tech we would have brand new vans come back that wouldn't shift out of first gear. The problem. Aftermarket alarms had been installed. If the tech taps into the wrong power wire to power the alarm it will keep the trans from shifting. It's not the problem you're having but just a bit of info I thought I'd throw out there.
Good Point. Yes there is a wire from the ignition switch and if the voltage is altered in anyway it can affect the Transmission computer. \:\!
 
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The 4 speed including the 3 speed have this problem,spitting the spider gear pin out and it ruins the case.The fix for this and this is a prevention,weld the end of the spider gear pins up and most transmission shops will do this during a rebuild
 
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Pottstown, PA
Can't this be a CV joint issue? I would think that the converter clutch would engage before 50-55mph (could be wrong). Now OD (4th) could be around that speed. SteveC appears to have the inside view here, but that is one oddball way to design a transmission. I'd place it in a lower gear (the braking mode) and again reach 50-55 and see if the condition is still present. That would isolate the OD and (probably) the converter clutch. The converter clutch should disengage with the tapping of the brake. Not applying the brake, just getting the brake lights to go on. TAP! ..the clutch should kick out. If this is the clutch ..that should allow you to cycle the vibrations on and off.
 

SAMSATX

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San Antonio, Texas U.S.A.
oh yeah and it also vibrates when you go reverse and you hit the gas a bit. It also vibrates when doing like 40 on a curve. Something new happened too. It was fully stopped and i put it on L to see what it would do and when i shifted to 3 it wouldn't shift. Then i put it on neutral then it let me put it on D then tried to go to 3 or L and it wouldn't shift, the shift stick would just go all the way down and it wouldn't shift to 3 or L; it would shift like if it was on D but i had it on 3 and even L. I parked it then put it on L again then it worked. Seems to me like there is also an electrical prob. Once in a while the shifting from 1 to 2 is rough; other then that the rest of the shifting is smooth. I changed the transmission oil and filter today and it seemed to help ease the vibration at 50-55. Oh and yeah the vibration at 50-55 does get a bit worse after its fully warmed up. The CV joints look fine to me, no torn up boots or any leakage. I think if i try to go 50-55 on L it wouldn't it redline don't' you think?....not sure...but I'll try it. I'll also try to tap the breaks at 50-55. While doing 50-55 if i stop pressing the gas it doesn't vibrate at all; also if i put it on N.
 

SAMSATX

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Messages
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 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
Can't this be a CV joint issue? I would think that the converter clutch would engage before 50-55mph (could be wrong). Now OD (4th) could be around that speed. SteveC appears to have the inside view here, but that is one oddball way to design a transmission. I'd place it in a lower gear (the braking mode) and again reach 50-55 and see if the condition is still present. That would isolate the OD and (probably) the converter clutch. The converter clutch should disengage with the tapping of the brake. Not applying the brake, just getting the brake lights to go on. TAP! ..the clutch should kick out. If this is the clutch ..that should allow you to cycle the vibrations on and off.
Yeah i tried it on L and on 3 and it still vibrates at 50-55. Tapping the breaks at 50-55 does help quite a bit. I do notice the rpms going from 1600 to 2000 then back down when i do that and it nulls down the vibrating a bit. Oh and the van has 158k instead of 130k. We got it for $1000, so we knew it had that prob. The interior is in good shape, just the transmission problem. I think it has an electrical problem in general, because sometimes when i turn it on, the ABS and Airbag lights are on and the power windows don't work, then i shut it off take off the key and turn it on again then the ABS and airbag lights turn off and the windows work! =S Also the radio goes crazy quite a bit; doesn't turn on, the buttons don't work, etc. Its interesting what you guys said about the anti theft thing, could that be causing the electrical problem or is something wrong with the ecu? Thanks a lot for your support!
 
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