By on December 6, 2014

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Way back on August 13, 2013, just two comments into the discussion in which I trumpeted to the world the selection of the Chrysler Town and Country S as the chariot of choice for the mid-size Kreutzer family, user “Infinitime” wrote: The only hesitation I have about buying a Caravan when the time comes, is their propensity to use the most fragile components for the automatic transmission. Hopefully, the design of the new six-speed has finally addressed this concern. Well, here we are just a year and three months later and I am forced to acknowledge the wisdom of the best and the brightest and ponder, once again, why it is that transmissions always seem to grenade on rainy, crappy days.

Over the past few months I have been off pursuing a master’s degree and have been unable to contribute to our favorite website. Recent events, however, have demanded that I break my self-imposed hiatus to bring you news that, as several astute readers predicted, the transmission in my Town & Country did, in fact, give up the ghost with less than 12K easy miles on the clock. While checking on the repairs a couple of days later, I was shown the transmission oil pan and snapped a photo of what appears to be a dead sea-urchin. How that creature found its way into my transmission is a mystery at this point, but the effects of its arrival were catastrophic.

Transmission urchin

It started a few weeks ago. I noticed that the van hesitated when I was backing up a small slope. It went, but it acted almost like I had forgotten to release the emergency brake. After that we went on our merry way without any difficulties. Then, a day or two before the transmission decided to leave us stranded, I backed out of the garage, made a full stop, and shifted into drive. The transmission gave a mighty metallic thump and went into gear. I probably should have had it looked at then, but since there seemed to be no follow-on effects, we continued to drive the vehicle for another week.

The day the transmission died involved a trip to our local mall. We left home and made the 30 minute drive without trouble, but after a brief stop at Target we were greeted by a high pitched whine, similar to what your power steering pump might do when the fluid gets low, when I restarted the engine. We ran a couple of blocks up the street to have lunch and when we came back out the whine began again as we made our way out to the street. As we turned onto the main road the van struggled forward and then all momentum dropped off while the RPMs went up. After a couple of minutes of fiddling with the gear selector and revving the engine, I was able to get enough momentum to get us off the street and into a parking spot from which I called Chrysler roadside assistance.

If there is a good side to this story, it’s that Chrysler roadside assistance got us a tow truck in short order. Because there are five of us, including three in booster seats, we weren’t able to get a large taxi right away but, after making a few calls, I was able to summon a friend who could come and take the family home while I waited for the tow truck. After dropping me at home the driver, who told me he makes a lot of money hauling around late model Dodge and Chrysler minivans, took it to the dealer and left it on their lot.

T&C Back

Ten days later, after a full transmission rebuild, the van came home. Since its return, we’ve used it for errands around town and taken a couple of trips out onto faster roads in the country just to make sure things are normal. To my local Chrysler shop’s credit, the van seems like it runs better than ever and shifts so smoothly you can’t even feel the gear changes. Chrysler, of course, picked up the entire bill under their 5 year/100,000 mile warranty program but I am hoping that this is the last of it.

It’s no secret to regular readers that I am a Mopar guy. Over the past 25 years I have owned several used Dodge and Chrysler products and this van is the second Chrysler product I have purchased new. I can tell you from personal experience that the quality of Chrysler products has definitely climbed over the past two decades but this latest experience, especially when I consider the fact that TTAC’s readers expressed this exact concern at the time of my purchase, takes away some of my warm and fuzzies. I wrote when I purchased it that I intend to have this vehicle a long, long time and that it will likely follow me around the world and home again. Reliability is important to me and despite the fact that Chrysler’s quality is improving, it seems to me that they still have some work to do.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Leavenworth, Kansas with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast, he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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244 Comments on “TTAC Readers Call it: Town & Country Troubles...”


  • avatar
    Omnifan

    I’m still on the first transmission in a 95 minivan at 120,000 mi.

    At least it crapped out on a rainy day. Normally, all of my car crap outs occur on severely cold, snowy days.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So, the T&C turned out to be a piece of poop :(

    Glad to see you back :)

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’m disgusted. Completely unacceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      It must have been a problem because of the previous owner, blah-blah-blah… maintenance, blah-blah-blah… if he had bought it new, blah-blah-blah…

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      For real, that’s brutal. I always wondered why people kept buying these when they had the old A604. I can’t believe Chrysler would even bother trying to sell the new ones without making sure the trans was the strongest part of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        AlexMcD

        Because they know just how few people even research a car purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There’s a huge disconnect from what’s w!dely known by us somewhat familiar with cars in general, and the general pop.

          I thought everyone I knew, knew about the Taurus and its glass AXOD 4-speed. Then the random friend or neighbour, mostly gals, would show up in their new or new to them, AXOD Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        Way back in the mid 80’s the wife and I leased 2 Dodge mini vans(1985 and 1988, both blew their trans under warranty Other than the inconvenience of the repair we loved the vehicles. Very useful hauler for a growing family with 4 kids…….way more useful than today’s CUV or SUV IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      It’s impossible to have 100% perfect record. I’m sure there are Toyotas that had transmission failure at 12k miles

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Exactly. While this is embarrassing for any automaker, there are always a few outliers. Chrysler seems to have more than most, and certainly more than Toyota. Because of the legacy of of A604 disasters this makes great internet fodder. But how many minivans would be sold if the typical life was twelve thousand miles? By this logic I should dump my C7 as Car and Driver grenaded the engine in theirs. If I was Thomas I would be way more worried if I had a list of intermittent failures that the dealer listed as “could not duplicate”. This transmission failure, while unfortunate, will not make a bit of difference to Thomas. What it will do, though, is result in a telling of story of failure over and over again at every family function which is a disaster for an automaker.

        • 0 avatar

          There seem to be more than a few for late model T&C–as the warnings to TK when he posted about his planned purchase, would indicate.

          From TrueDelta re the ’12 T&C

          47 TrueDelta members own (or used to own) a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country. 17 of these members (36.2%) have reported repairs for their car. A total of 50 repairs to 2012 Chrysler Town & Countrys–an average of 1.1 per vehicle–have been reported.

          16% of those repairs–eight–have been transmissions.

          TK–sorry about this. I hope the minivan has a long, reliable life with no more transmission repairs. My mother had a ’97 Dodge Caravan, which I quite liked, but which did not set any reliability records.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Mopar is at the bottom of the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

          Some automakers build more reliable cars than others. I hope that Marchionne creates a sustainable business, but reliability is not one of his company’s strong suits.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You seem to forget that he’s still trying to fix a lot of what his predecessor left behind. Remember, Daimler sold off Chrysler’s electronics division among other things that really screwed things over for the company that Marccione is still trying to help them recover from. I live not 5 miles from the property that used to make the Grand Cherokee and Durango and the shutting down of that plant did serious damage to local suppliers for that plant–including Lear who had been manufacturing many of the interior components for decades. Yes, Daimler did do some things right–the new JK model Wranglers and Wrangler Unlimited really took off for them and Jeep is still riding high on that model’s success. But I’ll also point out that the new Cherokee itself has launched the brand even higher without significantly cannibalizing sales from any of their other models.

            So wrapping all of the FCA brands under one “Mopar” banner is to me a subjective argument that isn’t fully deserved. What I’ve seen is a significant improvement from the Daimler era though I will acknowledge they still have some distance to go. It may be that once all the Daimler-designed models are replaced by FCA-designed models their overall ratings will rise above the likes of Ford and GM and properly compete with those Japanese and European brands.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Vulpine-

            The Grand Cherokee was never built at Newark Assembly. For the US it’s only been built in Detroit. The Durango and Aspen were assembled in Newark though. The closure of the plant had everything to do with consumers moving away from truck based SUVs (and Jeep being the brand people pay $$$ for SUVs). The Durango moved to Jefferson North, because it is now built on the same platform as the Grand Cherokee.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I know what sat on the display pads out in front of the plant for the 9 years I drove past that place before it was closed. The Durango was always there in its various year models, but the GC and Aspen both shared the other spot at different times.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            According to Allpar, and other sources, it was only the Durango and Aspen. Even if it did make the JGC, Newark would have been the odd plant out during the economic turndown.

            Jefferson North was built in the early 90s, and expanded in the late 90s, while Newark was showing it’s age. Jefferson North is also very close to other Chrysler plants (assembly, engine, transmission, stamping, you name it).

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            It may be that the JGC was moved to Jefferson after that plant expanded; they may have already had plans to shut down Newark in place by then. However, they still displayed the JGC at Newark at least until the Aspen arrived.

            Problem for me was that the new Aspen is nothing like the late-’70s/early-’80s Aspen and to me was a misuse of the mark. I liked my black ’79 SE coupe and the new SUV version to me was an insult to the model’s older drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Jefferson North was built for Jeep Grand Cherokee production. The first one rolled off the line in 1992. Newark was building K-Cars then. I don’t know why they’d put a JGC in front of the plant other than the fact that the JGC is awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        bachewy

        My brother is a Chrysler/Dodge mechanic. He has worked on many cars but for this brand he says, “As a Chrysler/Dodge I’ll always have a job.”

        It shouldn’t come as a surprise their vehicles have the lowest quality rating.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My parents finally got away from Chrysler, after years of crap product, failing transmissions, AC failures, and surface rust.

      Except for my dad’s 04 RAM 1500, which is rusting and has OK AC, but has needed the rear end replaced.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I do want to say that I have missed your writing on these pages. Too bad about your automotive troubles and hopefully the service performed will be the last of it for a long time.

    Only 12k miles? That has to be an anomaly. Its still not to the first service even under any severe service schedule. The urchin appears to be a 3D sculpture of metallic filings in a magnetic field, but its hard to tell from the photo. Between the filings and short failure I would say the transmission must have been under filled from the factory. At least they took care of it instead of trying to blame you for not checking the trans fluid level.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My usual advice is to change ATF every 25k miles, because IMO every automatic is seeing severe service, especially those coupled between a 250 HP V6 and a heavy minivan. But this is crazy bad.

      Magnets typically collect a lot of steel from a transmission, but that seems excessive.

      Well, TK, glad to hear from you, but not under these circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        And guess what? Deleting the magnet is a cost-savings, and a mass savings. It will get them 0.001 more MPG. Stay tuned for no magnets in the future; it’s only a first year engineer, Powerpoint suggestion away.

        • 0 avatar
          John

          I like to replace the factory magnet(s) with much stronger neodynium mangnet(s) from old computer hard drives. They are flat, so fit in the pan without interference. Also, anyone towing should add an aftermarket transmission cooler, a simple job. Just my two cents.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Everybody has so many horror stories about chrysler transmissions but I’ve owned many over 200000 miles with no issues at all. It’s always the body that rots before anything major happens mechanically. The one exception would be my cherokee but that has a japanese aisin transmission that is supposed to be “bulletproof” but died at 140000.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Automatic transmissions are probably the most trouble prone component on 90% of vehicles equipped with them, even if they vary in their degree of statistical reliability.

      And not only are they problematic, but they’re fantastically expensive to repair, or worse yet, replace, if necessary.

      Another reason of about 88 why manual transmissions are superior to slushboxes.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Agreed, but….for a myriad of reasons people need automatics. My last car was the first one I had with an automatic….commuting in heavy traffic with a stick is highly stressful.

        GM & Toyota transmissions seem to last forever; my Trooper goes through one every 60k miles….(now on #4)…..

        • 0 avatar
          BobinPgh

          You definitely need automatic in a minivan. How can you shift a manual if you have to break up a fight between Timmy and Susie on the way to the (more expensive than college) day care center, not to mention its hard to unpack a box of Pampers if you have to use the stick shift.

        • 0 avatar

          I do remember fondly the 1960-1973ish Dart/Valiant twins. My parents had a 1970 Valiant. Those cars were indestructible, including the transmissions. (Of course, 3 speeds were probably a lot simpler than today’s 4- and 5-speeds. (Not to mention the 6,7,8 speeds)

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Surprise:

          Your Trooper has a GM 4L30E transmission!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was about to say this.

            60K tranny replacement is a Trooper standard. It should be in the manual. I feel like that tranny was just not suited for that car at all. It can’t handle it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah isn’t it odd that Chevy’s segment competitor S-10 Blazer got the heavier duty 4L60E and Isuzu got the lighter duty transmission in a truck that was just as heavy? Even more odd considering just how overbuilt the rest of Isuzus drivetrain/suspension/brakes are. 100k miles on a set of front rotors and pads was not unheard of.

      • 0 avatar
        vt8919

        My 01 Outback has a five speed manual and it’s on its third transmission in 173k miles. Not all manuals are built to last.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          That’s certainly unusual. The typical failure point in a manual transmission is the clutch, which often needs replacing at 100,000 miles. That’s usually a much cheaper job than replacing an automatic transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I’ve yet to replace a clutch, including on a 1994 Honda Civic 5MT that had over 140,000 miles on it and was on original clutch.

            E(veryone’s)MMV.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ll agree, Bruce. In my own experience the clutch plates have lasted 100,000 miles or more in three different MT vehicles I’ve owned. However, I do believe that transmission shops like to fleece the customer when they can.

            The last AT car I had with transmission troubles routinely started slipping between 50K-65K miles. The first time I had it fixed, they charged me for a complete rebuild and I accepted that as I didn’t know any better. However, the second time it did it I asked them to return ALL used parts to me as my father-in-law was a mechanic and wanted to analyze the issue. When he saw the bands, he nearly blew up as the print was still sharp and legible, even if a little worn. He told me they still had nearly 2/3s their life left in them. The other surprise was the torque converter, a full two inches less diameter than expected. It was a high-stall converter designed to tie Chevy’s 3.8L V6 to their big V8 transmission and still give crisp performance. The cost of a torque converter replacement ran about half that of a full overhaul and he told me the shop screwed me by doing the full job when I couldn’t really afford it.

            That said, the only other AT problem I ever experienced myself was with a 2-speed PowerGlide in a ’64 Chevy II. In that one, the transmission refused to shift out of low except under heavy acceleration, then would slam back into low as soon as I lifted my foot even a fraction from the floor. Shop at that time claimed the bands had ‘slipped’ and supposedly merely adjusted them. Like I said elsewhere, that old car refused to die as long as I had it. I traded up for a 1-yr-old Olds Cutlass S and saw that old Chevy II still on the road in the paint job I’d had done at Earl Scheib almost 5 years later.

        • 0 avatar
          Pinzgauer

          My 05 Outback at 185k is still on its original transmission and clutch.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Hey, TK. Good to see you back. Always enjoy reading your articles. Sorry to learn about your experience with Chrysler products.

    (Did want to add that on our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5-speed automatic, the transmission-oil dip-stick tube is sealed. There is no way to check the transmission oil for color, smell, debris, etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      Lots of chevies are like that

    • 0 avatar
      jf1979

      Recent BMW’s do not have an engine oil dipstick either.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        jf1979, I didn’t know that either. How do you know what your oil level is between oil and filter changes? It’s like the missing Ammeter in our 2012 Grand Cherokee. We have no way to know how the electrical system is functioning, whether it is charging, not charging or draining.

        • 0 avatar
          joeveto3

          The BMW’s check their own engine oil.

          The Jeep uses an older 5-speed Mercedes transmission that has a red lock on the filler tube where the dipstick would normally be. You can spend $25 and buy a dipstick, then break the red tab, and check your fluid (or fill it after a drain).

          These transmissions were originally “sealed for life” but later the guidance was revised to regular fluid changes.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I knew about BMWs checking their own engine oil for pollution and when to change it, but didn’t know they also checked for oil level.

            A retired guy I know who bought a lease-program BMW 3-series sedan from a BMW dealer in El Paso, TX, was allowed to watch two technicians change the oil, reset the computer with a special tool, insert shims at all four corners, etc before taking delivery.

            Since he maintains all his vehicles himself, I wonder how this will affect the maintenance computer and if he has to invest in these special reset tools.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You don’t need any special tools to rest BMW service indicators. You can do it through the settings menus in the onboard computer. The dealer will use their system to do it because they are going to have it hooked up to scan for codes anyway.

            I don’t see much point in a dipstick in a car with computer monitored oil level. It tells you when to add a quart, and my BMW holds almost 8 quarts. It also uses no oil between annual changes.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Ammeter? Those haven’t been put in vehicles in decades. Some trucks had voltmeters until recently, but these days you can read the system voltage through the OBD port.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            bumpy ii, on our 2012 Grand Cherokee there is no voltmeter and no indicator about how the electrical system is functioning.

            I have been told that there is a recall for the Alternator diodes in effect (P60/NHTSA 14V-634) and that the symptoms prior to failure are: no output, reduced output and/or a fully shorted to ground condition with all sorts of critical ramifications, like underhood fire, loss of airbags, and/or vehicle shutdown while driving.

            I haven’t received my notification yet. I got the info from a friend of mine who did get her notice.

      • 0 avatar

        I have no clue how you manually check the DSG fluid on my TDI (but since it’s a Volkswagen, I probably *should* know that). I believe a Vagcom controller will tell you, though.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Kyree, if you have a good relationship with your VW service manager, that’s the person to ask.

          If not, get into the owner’s manual and go to the maintenance section at the back and see if that topic is listed.

          If that turns out to be incomplete, visit a VW-owner site and pose the question.

          When I first got our 2012 Grand Cherokee in Nov 2011, I wanted to find out how to change the AGM battery under the front passenger seat, change the oil filter, what type of filters it used, how to change out the Cabin Air Filter, what kind of EHPS fluid to use, etc.

          Got all my answers at Jeep.com with links, even how to install my s!desteps and hitch.

          Then when my free maintenance and owners manuals arrived from Fiatsler, I already knew the answers and could cross-reference.

          And surprisingly enough, Amazon had everything and shipped me everything I wanted or needed, with free shipping and no tax. I stocked up because my oldest son has a 2012 SRT8 Grand Cherokee and some stuff I bought can be used by both.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          You can’t check the fluid level of a DSG, well, I guess you can always just look for fluid stains on the garage floor.

          But luckily VW made the service interval for fluid changes so short there really isn’t any need to check the level in between!

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    At least it happened while the vehicle was under warranty.

    That being said, there’s a reason Chrysler is at the bottom of the Consumer Report’s reliability totem pole as much as the tin-foil-hat B&B crowd beg to differ.

  • avatar
    ajla

    You’re a liar. Everyone knows that anything built after 2010 never suffers a catastrophic mechanical failure except for maybe Volkswagens.

  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    I have a 2010 T&C with 110,000 Km and the transmission has been no problem. I am getting a 2015 GC in January, whicch I plan to keep for a long time so I will keep an eye on the transmission issues

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I don’t pay much attention to CR’s reports any more; while they claim they are not ad-supported, etc., my personal experience with many of the products they’ve either recommended or opposed has been counter to said reports. It goes beyond reason to believe that I would be the only person whose personal experiences differed with theirs ON EVERY ITEM.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’ve been a subscriber to CR since I got married in 1965. My experiences with the products they recommended have also been spotty.

      In several cases over the decades I ended up buying the products that were not rated tops by CR because those products worked best for me.

      Still, I recommend CR as a guide but I don’t believe their findings are gospel.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Their criteria seems strange to me. They dinged a baby seat that I was interested in (and ended up buying) because it did not work well with seatbelts, despite the fact that the LATCH/UCSSS has been required for all new cars since 2002.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Remember the Suzuki demo where they flipped a Suzuki?

          CR has its biases. Probably personal biases on the part of the testers and evaluators.

          It time, buyers of the Ford Explorer found out they flipped a whole lot easier than the Suzuki did. Killed and maimed a few occupants, too.

          I say, caveat emptor. I use CR as guide, then decide what works best for me. Sometimes the items CR did not test are an even better match for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Consumer Reports is only as good as the survey information.
            One needs to corroborate data. I look at JD Power and as many other sources as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That’s the best thing to do: use as many sources and resources as you can find.

          • 0 avatar

            On reliability their own bias doesn’t enter into it. The survey data have the problem Madanthony describes (see directly below).

            My own experience with cars has been pretty good, except for my ’93 Saturn, for which they predicted–based on not so much data because the car was still fairly new–that it would be quite reliable. If you ignored the oil use problem, it was OK, but the oil use problem was on the scale of the transmission problems in these recent T&Cs.

            CR was quite good for cars during the 1960s. They recommended the 1970 Valiant I told my parents to buy, which was by far the best car they’d ever had.

            My dishwasher which they recommended is excellent, my Nikon D90, not so much.

    • 0 avatar

      My problem with CR’s reliability reports is it’s methodology isn’t statistically valid – they mail out a bunch of surveys to all their subscribers, who may or may not fill it out, and then tabulate the results. It’s not a random sample. It’s more akin to a poll on a website.

      While there is going to be some correlation to the truth, it’s not going to be gospel. I’ve also seen them make recommendations that one vehicle in a group of badge-engineered ones is more reliable than another despite being made from the same parts in the same plant – which to me shows it’s inaccuracy.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And a lot of the responses are driven by how the dealer and its service department treated the buyer. For instance, GMC/Buick buyers were treated better, more attentively, by my brothers’ dealerships than, say, Toyota or Hyundai buyers.

        Many “complaints” were amplified by elaborate “fixes” when in fact a “fix” was often no more than a thorough check of the malfunction that could not be replicated, like balancing the tires by rotating them, or stopping a squeek or rattle in the dashboard by spraying liquid expanding foam into that area. Worked every time, for more than thirty years.

        And they filed a warranty claim with the OEM, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      joeveto3

      I just had a good laugh today, while standing in line at the grocery store. CR had it’s car issue on the rack, so I flipped to the used car recommendations and cars to avoid. It seemed they based everything on how many recalls each model received.

      I hardly consider the number of recalls alone to be significant proof of how reliable a car is going to be. If a car is recalled, it’s generally fixed with a higher quality part than was originally in place, and as such, the problem is fixed. So what’s the big deal?

      I’m more concerned with the issues that aren’t bad enough to warrant a recall and are constant issues for the owners. It’s these things that will greatly affect a cars potential reliability and cause headaches for subsequent owners.

  • avatar
    strafer

    That sea urchin thingie, looks like metal bits stuck around the magnetic drain plug.

    • 0 avatar

      I know. I knew this sort of formation could happen with metal flakes and a magnetic field, but was surprised to see it in my own transmission pan. The trans must have been slowly grinding itself to bits for months. That thing was, no joke, as big as a golf ball.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Clutch material stuck to the magnet. If the clutch(es) weren’t being applied correctly, they can shred like this in short order.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Is clutch material ferous these days?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The plates that separate each friction disc are steel, so those can grind up with other debris.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Interesting; didn’t know they still used the high-pressure inefficient individual clutch discs and steel plates, like in motorcycle clutch assemblies.

            Thought all the 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 speed automatics on the market these days used low pressure clutch bands and multiple planet-gear systems.

            I learn something new every time I read ttac. Serious business.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Stacked clutches are often used to hold and/or drive different members of the gearsets in modern transmissions, they’re mainly what’s used in this 62TE. Some other transmissions use a combination of bands and clutch packs, dog clutches etc. so there’s a growing variety with the ever increasing complexity.

            An interesting note about the 62TE in Tom’s van is that it’s actually a 7 speed transmission with 7 forward ratios. It has a double 4th gear, one only used for downshifts from 6th to 4th.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            They sure came a long way since the days when I rebuilt a C6, a C4, a ’63 TorqueFlite and a B&M Hydramatic with the parts kits and exploded-views bought from JC Whitney.

            More recently, if I needed a transmission, I would go to the Local Autozone and arrange for a swap for a rebuilt one from a Vo-Tech and R&R it myself. Ditto with Long Block engines.

            Worked like a charm.

            Too old for that sh1t now.

            Good tranny techs are really, really hard to find. I found one in El Paso, TX, along I-10, near the SBA office. He’s from Palestine and is here legally.

            He did some work for me before I sold all those cars when I bought my Tundra in Jan 2011. He completely rebuilds the transmissions, resealing and replacing all the parts that are worn, all for ~$300 per tranny. And he does it within 48 hours after he gets the vehicle in.

            I didn’t ask where the parts came from, but I suspect they were pulled from the junk yard, like gears or clutch bands, pumps, even whole cases. And I am almost certain he makes his own low pressure seals with Blue Silicone.

            The stuff that makes the world go ’round.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            danio3834 wrote, “An interesting note about the 62TE in Tom’s van is that it’s actually a 7 speed transmission with 7 forward ratios. It has a double 4th gear, one only used for downshifts from 6th to 4th.”

            Ahhh, I did not know that. That reminds me of the old torqueflites had two 1st gears:

            the first gear with the gear selector in “D,” for normal forward progress, with the overruning clutch for smooth downshifts during deceleration,

            and the other first gear with the gear selector in “1,” for engine braking, if so desired, and also used for rocking the car between “R” and “1” when you got stuck in the snow (that used the low-reverse band; not good for that brake band to shift back and forth between “R” and “D” a bunch of times)

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Yep, the general principle is still the same, use a different gearset an apply mechanism better designed to accommodate the operating speed under those conditions. There are other transmissions that do this as well, the 545RFE in the Rams had a double 2nd to give it 6 forward ratios, but 2nd “prime” was only used on downshifts. To make the 65RFE trans, they literally just programmed the 545RFE to up-shift through all forward ratios. Boom, now you can market a 6 speed.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      In these it’s most likely the compound planetaries giving up and the teeth chipping or bearings coming apart. These parts largely carried over from the old A604 into the 62TE (some even interchange)and are still under-designed and under-built for the weight of the vehicle.

  • avatar
    mmmach1

    That’s a downer, nice looking van though. I’ve had 3 T&Cs and put over 100K on 2 and 90K on the other and never had any transmission problems.
    I heard a story once though that transmissions go out of other makes once in awhile too but I cant remember which ones. Don’t hear much about it. Probably a myth.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      May be nice looking, but after all the things kids do, probably not nice smelling.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Honda is the other make you’re thinking of.

      The gearbox in the Odyssey wasn’t up to the task for a couple of years a few model cycles ago.

      Toyota vans aren’t exactly problem free, either. There’s nothing Japanese about my 2004 Sienna beyond the logo on the hood. It’s a nice machine, but it’s more like my Ranger than my Prius or any of the Accords my dad owned over the years.

      I’ve found two design defects which affect the doors & windows in son & ice, and one manufacturing problem related to the headlights since I’ve owned the thing. But the gearbox still works! And it’s extraordinarily well suited to my use-cases!

      My van just needs to hold out until I can replace it with a hybrid van, or until I can afford a Tesla. The prognosis is good.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My daughter picked up a new, left-over 2013 Odyssey in El Paso, TX, in late July 2013. She traded her old, ratty Odyssey in on it.

        Her old Odyssey had well over 100K on it, generally was not well cared for, and yet still brought a ton of money (on paper).

        Surprising, because the timing belt was still the original. It needed five new tires. It needed regular maintenance in the worst way, like it was at least 4000 miles past its recommended oil change interval. And, it had a giant white racing stripe painted the length of the minivan over the driver’s s!de.

        It hadn’t been washed since it was bought new and had been parked in the driveway in Southern California because their garage had been converted into a room.

        But the dealership had no trouble selling it either. She saw it a few days later on the street and recognized it immediately because of the distinguishing white racing stripe over the driver’s s!de.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Holy mackerel, Thomas! Now THAT really stinks.

    Unfortunately I lost my 20-year love affair with Chrysler in 2002 when we sold our 3-year-old Dodge Stratus after buying Wifey’s 2002 CR-V.

    Although we never had catastrophic failure with any Chrysler vehicles we owned, I always played it safe with the Torqueflite in the 4 cyl. cars, and didn’t keep them long.

    When it came my turn for a new car, I went back to Chevy in 2004 with my first new Impala and never looked back.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    I kind of backed into buying and owning contemporary Chrysler products. My DD is a ’10 Challenger (V-6/Auto). At 35k miles the car went into limp mode and I nursed it home at 40 mph. Chrysler ponied up for a rental and replaced the main computer. At about the same time I started noticing a very slight valvetrain noise, the kind of thing you only notice if you drive a car all the time. I told the Dodge dealer at my next oil service, but they reported nothing being wrong. Within 15k miles it had progressed from sewing machine levels to almost clattering. This time they said that yes the valvetrain was worn and they replaced both banks. Otherwise, the car has been solid and I am very satisfied with it.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Wow, an automatic transmission failure in 12k miles is something I have never heard of. Would be interesting to find out if it’s a workmanship or defect problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I personally remember a car that went through three automatics in 15,000 miles. They eventually claimed it was a hard misalignment between engine and transmission but it turned out they were using a small-diameter high-stall torque converter that simply couldn’t handle the output from the V6 engine. Car was fast, but it ate torque converters for lunch and was hungry for snacks right away.

  • avatar
    Blue-S

    The metallic sea urchin in your pic is a group of steel filings stuck to the donut-shaped transmission pan magnet. I have a 2008 Grand Caravan with the same 62TE automatic trans as yours. Mine has been OK for 93,000 miles with the exception of a solenoid pack replacement at around 88,000 miles. It has never shifted as smoothly as the 2011 and newer ones do, though.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Le sigh…

    I was really anticipating the next generation Chrysler minivan with V6, 9 speed auto, and (according to sources) AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I don’t think AWD and Stow and Go are compatible.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        What if you ditched the third row seats? They suck anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/next-gen-chrysler-minivans-to-get-9-speed-automatic-all-wheel-drive/

          It wouldn’t be the first time an automaker made you choose between options.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            I remember you could get a 1963 Studebaker Avanti with a supercharged V8 or factory AC, but not both. There wasn’t enough room under the hood, so they had an excuse.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            They speak to a “revised” stow and go. If you look at diagrams of the floor pan, it’s not too hard to imagine them carving out enough space for a driveshaft. There’s already a structural member separating the stow and go compartment into two halves on the current implementation.

            The third row seats fold into space behind the wheels, so they don’t need to go anywhere.

            (It also occurs to me that fitting a fixed second row and stuffing some batteries in that space would make a perfect hybrid for taxi use.)

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Maybe now I’ll give my nephew less crap about trading his 1.5 year-old GC for a row of urinals.

    But his two big dogs won’t, idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      He went from a Jeep to Fiat car impersonating a Jeep, have at him.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Oops, I should have spelled out Grand Caravan.
        You can understand why his Newfie is especially pissed.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Oops, I should have spelled out Grand Caravan.
        You can understand why his Newfie is especially p1ssed.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d still run the Caravan over the not-a-Jeep. Chryco minivan transmission issues are well known, par for the course really. But once you get past them, the vans are very nice and functional. “Cherokee” strikes me as smaller, less functional, more expensive new/used, while still not improving on minivan drivetrain technology (transverse motor/auto trans).

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            One of my “real” Jeeps had a crappy transmission too. Doesn’t matter which way the engine is mounted

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            @28
            Yep, he basically traded a vehicle that perfectly fit his family’s needs and might eat a tranny at any time for one that barely suffices, cost nearly 40K and might eat a tranny at any time.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lie2Me

            Certainly it happens and is not limited to Chrysler, but I imagine your Jeep had true capabilities of which the posers can only dream.

            @petezeiss

            Winning!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yep, they sure did. They could crawl, climb or zoom past anything but a gas station

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            “Winning!”

            I’d kick him more often but my sister is weirdly fond of him.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            True delta isn’t showing much data but I find this tidbit interesting:

            4dr SUV 271-hp 3.2L V6 9-sp shiftable automatic AWD

            For being a vehicle that weighs over 4,000 pounds it is hard to complain about the as mileage. I do mostly highway driving or driving on back roads with 45-55 MPH speed limits. When I drive aggressively I get approximately 25-26 MPG. Under my normal driving conditions I have calculated just shy of 30 MPG. This is without the vehicle being entirely broken in yet, so the mileage may even still increase over the next few months. Sport mode will decrease the mileage, as it changes the shift points and holds lower gears longer. More fun at the expense of more gas used. No real surprise there. If you do a lot of city driving and are worried about gas then I do not recommend the Cherokee. With first and second gear being so tall, this thing uses a lot of gas in stop and go driving. Any decent amount of highway driving balances this out though.

            http://www.truedelta.com/Jeep-Cherokee/mpg-143/2012

            So it would seem in city driving you’re back near I6 Cherokee levels, with nice gains on the highway. I’d say its progress if say the Cherokee were closer to the XJ Cherokee in capability, but alas it is not. Acceptable for the average leaser sure, acceptable for the average Jeep enthusiast? That I am not so sure.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Personally I think you could get over that anti-Fiat prejudice. Fiat’s reliability in Europe is far better than its 40-year-old US reputation would suggest.

            So far I’m liking the Fiat 500.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Its not so much a Fiat thing as it is small euro car != Jeep thing. Throughout its history, Jeep products rode on Jeep platforms and did Jeep things. This came to an end with the Mitsubishi derived GS platform used for Patriot and Compass under Daimler’s rule, and continues under FCA’s with the Alfa derived “Jeep” KL.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Exactly my point, 28-cars. How many owners are complaining about its inability to perform as advertised? While I’ll grant there’s been a few minor teething pains as they fine-tune the shift points and axle locks, they also haven’t been charging the owners for the updates and so far as I have heard, none are going back for actual repairs. Maybe you’ve heard something I haven’t?

            I was planning on buying a ’15 Renegade, but I couldn’t wait any longer; I needed something to replace my truck right away and the wife really, REALLY wanted the 500. She got it and I’m glad she did. I’ll trade my JKU Wrangler on a Renegade in a couple years if FCU hasn’t imported the Strada/Ram700 by then.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I simply see it as milking the equity of an iconic brand.

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            “Personally I think you could get over that anti-Fiat prejudice. Fiat’s reliability in Europe is far better than its 40-year-old US reputation would suggest.”

            Sorry, no. Like I’ve said before, Fiatsler = a pedigree that, if it were a dog, you’d toss in the river. Literally the absolute worst of both worlds.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’m sure an old Cherokee would have more doggy-room too, compare a box to the modern Cherokee, a football.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice to see ya back Thomas.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks. I’m always lurking but I’m not able to comment much right now. School occupies a lot of my time but I;m doing well. Hopefully I can get you all an update on my Shelby Charger over Christmas break. I do need to spend more time on my thesis though….

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What is the subject of your thesis?

        • 0 avatar

          It was originally going to be the management of information as an instrument of national power, but I recently changed it to something nearer and dearer to my heart: The effect of long term training at military institutions of higher learning on the careers of certain specific classes of fat, over the hill bureaucrats.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            So sort of Admin Cohort Becomes Officer Country with all the attendant cronyism, prejudices and sclerosis?

          • 0 avatar

            Almost exactly the reverse, actually. The cronyism, prejudices and sclerosis are in my organization and because I am stepping away to play in officer country I look like a chump. The point of the study is to discover if this is really true over the long term, or just a imaginary fear that could keep a lot of the best people from following in my footsteps.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Heh… surprise! Wrecking some stereotypes you are.

          • 0 avatar

            Stereotypes, careers, what the heck as long as something gets wrecked…

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            The original subject sounds a lot more interesting. Who would want to read about the second one? Besides maybe Mr. Kelly to get away from the kids.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            >> Stereotypes, careers, what the heck as long as something gets wrecked…

            Transmissions included I see. Welcome back, however briefly.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    TK! Welcome back!

    That stinks about the transmission. A friend has a 2012 Odyssey that lunched its transmission after 22k mi – I’m hopeful that this is an outlier for my own sake, but I also had a minor transmission issue with my 2011 Caravan which isn’t a good omen. A defective valve created a slight over-pressurized resulting in a dribble of fluid when parked. Due to an idiotic, lying dealer, this required 6 visits to fix under warranty when one should have been required.

    On the eve of the 6th, I filed a non-combative and factual lemon law notice with Chrysler dryly laying out the service history. Chrysler was very helpful, extremely apologetic, and I got the sense that Corporate firmly inserted a size 14 Red Wing up the rear of the dealer’s service manager. Without even asking, they gave me the premium 100k bumper to bumper warranty, which I felt was a fair trade for the obnoxious number of visits.

    I just ticked over 50k without any other issues and I was, um, ‘exercising’ the van and its new tires (solo of course) this afternoon. The transmission snapped off smooth shifts when requested and at redline and we’ve never had any other issues. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    The transmission is a bit surprising, but the brakes, on the other hand – well the rotors warp quickly on these things for no discernable reason.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Well, most minivans carry a heavy load with all the kids, the toys, the sports equipment, the Pampers and diaper pails can be quite heavy.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The models with 16″ wheels have smaller brakes that the owners frequently overheat. Models with 17″ wheels have the heavier duty brakes which get a reasonable service life.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        The larger brakes on the Pentastar vans started in 2012. I went through a set of the undersized rotors and pads after 25k miles and will upgrade to at least the larger front calipers and rotors when my current set burns out.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          You could get the HD or LD brakes on 2011 models as well as 2012+, so be careful what you order. BR3 is the sales code for HD brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            akatsuki

            I have the HD brakes and they are decent. I would have put on a BBK if I could have found one, but nobody was willing to try and figure out fitment (maybe Jeep SRTs?)

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    Most parents with minivans trade them in after 2-3 years so maybe now is the time. After all, with 3 kids in booster seats, you are part of the minivan parent club, having them all so close to each other. Are you trying to be like the Kellys, the neighbors I grew up with who had kids right after another? By the way, Mr. Kelly was a surly engineer who drove plain Ford station wagons. He couldn’t even afford a Country Squire!

    Hope you aren’t turning into a Mr. Kelly.

    • 0 avatar

      I was 40 when my first was born. I figured it was time to get busy living or get busy dying. There are no plans for any more, but if one comes I’ll still be happy,

      The surliness has always been there.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        Busy living? Now life is all about diapers, diaper pails, Pampers, Barney, Thomas the Tank, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, “I want a toy” and “I have to go potty”. Or does your wife do all that and you just get the Kodak moments? No wonder you are like Mr. Kelly, now you have to look forward to teenagers saying “I hate you!”.

        • 0 avatar

          Who said I picked living?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Four references to Pampers in one thread on an automotive forum Bob? Seek help. Whether that help should be for your sterility or for your scatology is up to you, but getting help you should do.

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            You may think I need help but I will never turn into a Mr. Kelly. I see Thom changing his last name to Kelly. I will never, ever have to drive a minivan on my way to Target on miserable day because we ran out of P_____. And I can be smug knowing I will never need 3 booster seats. When my sister had her tubal ligation, when they put her under, she kept saying “no minivan, no minivan, no miniv—“. Tom, there is a family planning aisle found at Target so you will not have to “welcome another one”. Besides, how can you afford this large family?

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            Well, wherever there is a minivan, there is always some reference to pails, pottys and Pampers.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Pittsburgh still has a vibrant German community.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Bob, I get it that you’re a member of the green school of misanthropes. You can externalize your hatred all you want, but at the end of the day there is only one man making you miserable, one that you have direct biological control over should you want to ease the planet’s imaginary burden.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            petezeiss: Yes, Pittsburgh does. What does that have to do with this discussion?

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Geozinger, viel Spaß!

            http://www.poopreport.com/Intellectual/Content/Scheisse/scheisse.html

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            So, this is meant as an insult to BobinPgh? Or a compliment?

            Ich weiß nicht…

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Anecdotal information/datum point.

    I’ve had 4 Chrysler/Dodge minivans. (3 at the same time once). Never had any transmission problems that required ANY service or failures.

    My current 96 has 180,000 and is shifting smooth as butter. Just taken it on multi-thousand mile trips over past 20 months.

    I’ve had the 4spd+OD. Owned 1996, 2000, 2003 and now back to 1996 again. My 2000 had a 4 cylinder with THREE SPEED AUTO! (And I’d take it north of 100 mph every weekday on my commute, too.)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I4 and 3spd auto on an MY2000 minivan? Was this a typo?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        …and the 100mph everyday??

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        No typo here–The Oracle of Wiki says 3rd- and 4th-gen(!) Caravans came with a 2.4 out of the Neon and a 3-speed.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          The Neon only had a 2.4 Turbo in the SRT-4, otherwise the NA 2.4L that the Caravan used came from the Stratus.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Welp, shows how much research I didn’t do. Mousing over the “EDZ I4” link on the Caravan page gives a URL of “Chrysler Neon engine,” but actually clicking on it (which I couldn’t be bothered to do) redirects to the “2.4 and 2.4 Turbo” section of the “Chrysler 1.8, 2.0 & 2.4 engine” page, the first sentence of which begins with “The Neon itself never carried a naturally aspirated 2.4L engine in its lineup, but…”

          • 0 avatar
            FThorn

            Hi guys.
            Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

            Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

            Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

            Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

            Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            FThorn

            Hi guys.
            Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

            Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

            Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

            Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 i.imgurDOTCOM/xLMschH.jpg

            Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. i.imgurDOTCOM/Sj6OtdT.png i.imgurDOTCOM/WGpSR4M.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            FThorn

            Hi guys.
            Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

            Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

            Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

            Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 … can’t seem to post url link

            Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. no link shrug

        • 0 avatar
          FThorn

          5th attempt to reply…

          Hi guys.
          Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

          Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

          Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

          Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 http://i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

          Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. http://i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png http://i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        FThorn

        fourth time to try and reply… I am NOT seeing my replies. Refreshing AND using other browsers. and now VPN and aNOTHER browser to see if ANY of my replies are showing up…

        Hi guys.
        Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

        Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

        Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

        Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 http://i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

        Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. http://i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png http://i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        FThorn

        5th attempt to reply…

        Hi guys.
        Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

        Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

        Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

        Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 h**p://i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

        Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. h**p://i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png h**p://i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      92 Grand Caravan ES what was then the top of the line. 3 Transmissions all under warranty and always serviced at the dealer according to the manufacturer’s schedule.

      93 Caravan 24T (base model). Mitsu engine and 3 speed tranny. Ran for 15 years with zero problems.

      96 Caravan Sport. 1 Tranny under warranty.

      99 Grand Cherokee Laredo. 1 Tranny under warranty.

      05 Caravan. No tranny issues. Alternator, water pump at 120,000kms (out of warranty).

      Never any problems with my 4 GM mini-vans and Malibu owned during the same period.

      • 0 avatar
        FThorn

        I have tried about 30 times to reply to those that have replied to me. Sorry, no matter how I edit my message, it fails.

      • 0 avatar
        FThorn

        Yes, my 2000 BASE had only AC as an option. Crank windows. 3 doors (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto no overdrive, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was 12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had 3 cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the moolah more than the third car.

    • 0 avatar
      FThorn

      Hi guys.
      Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

      Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

      Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

      Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 http://i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

      Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. http://i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png http://i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      FThorn

      third time to attempt this REPLY… sigh…
      Hi guys.
      Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

      Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

      Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

      Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 http://i.imgur.com/xLMschH.jpg

      Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. http://i.imgur.com/Sj6OtdT.png http://i.imgur.com/WGpSR4M.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      FThorn

      test

      Hi guys.
      Sorry, I don’t use the NOTIFY features on this site as I get way too much email traffic. Unless someone can tell me how to configure it to email me ONLY when MY POSTS are replied to????

      Yes, my 2000 BASE had only A/C as an option. Crank windows. THREE DOORS (no driver’s side slider), 3 speed auto WITHOUT ANY OVERDRIVE, and 2.4L four cylinder. Was $12,500 out the door (with no adjustments for cash/trade). Cheap, reliable transportation. The van never gave me any problems. As we had THREE cars at the time, once I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, I sold that van, sadly. But I needed the cash more than the third car.

      Surprisingly, the 2.4L got no better fuel economy than my other vans, which had 3.3L, and 3.8L. Might have been my lead (Pb) foot, or the 3 spd (no OD) auto… shrug???

      Yes, I would have one stretch that was alway LEO-free (no cops) on way to work at 5:45 am, that I would peg the van. It would do 115 mph easily, even with the 3 speeds and fairly low gearing. EVERYDAY I just HAD to get it over 100 mph for the fun of it. I have a photo somewhere around here of the speedo I took one day. It’s blurry. Found it. Apr 16, 2004 … can’t seem to post url link

      Nowadays I only drive the speed limit. Except when I drive a Jag, Viper, AMG, or Aventador at Amelia Island Concours in March. I allow myself to PERHAPS drive in excess of the speed limit. Allegedly, as they say on The Smoking Tire podcast. ;) wink wink. Still, this photo I took driving the Aventador… I was only going 24.. no link shrug

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    My next purchase will be a new Sienna. I am willing to spend the extra money for what I believe will be a better chance for less problems.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      And that’s the core of Toyota’s success. Not bad cons1dering the complexity of modern cars.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      mfgreen40, my daughter-in-law bought an AWD Sienna. Not cheap. She traded her old Sienna in on it and got a lot of money on paper for it.

      In order to find an AWD Sienna, she had to go to Beaver Toyota in Santa Fe, NM, the nearest dealership that had one.

      I guess they don’t sell the AWD Sienna in the Brownsville, TX, area, but USAA located one for her in Santa Fe (snow country).

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      My circle of friends and neighbors also seem to prefer the Sienna to its competitors, despite the fact that the Odyssey seems to be the better product. The Sienna in Sport trim is certainly the comeliest of all and the only game in town if you want AWD.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Every Chrysler I’ve driven with the 62TE has had poor shifts, and overall were best described as “jerky”. On the Journey that I drove for a month (work fleet), it would get confused and then violently slam into a lower gear….which oddly enough was a trait of my 93 Intrepid.

    After having 2 Chrysler’s get transmission repairs done under the extended warranty we dumped the corporation all together, and waved bye bye to Ford as well in the same process as it was no better.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    MY wife and I purchased a new 2001 Grand Caravan in the spring of 2002. It never died but it was at the dealership a minimum of 4 times a year. The transmission would start to downshift into first badly and a reflash would cure it for a year an then it would start all over again. The electric rear hatch latch would die like clock work every 16 months. It needed new lifters at 98,000 km. Brakes didn’t seem to last more that 45,000k. I don’t remember the number of recalls but there were several.

    Since then I look at JD Power, Consumer Reports and other sources religiously before buying. Both of our current vehicles were purchased with durability data in mind.

    Our Sienna has needed a set of brakes at 65,000 km and round that time needed a new strut mount bushing (warranty). A sensor for the emissions needed replacing (warranty) and the only recall was a check on the cable for the spare tire winch.

    My 2010 F150 had to get the 4×4 engagement servos changed and I got a new grill out of Ford due to bubbling plastic chrome on the grill (both warranty). At 78,000 km it is still on the original brakes. No recalls.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I’ve long been leery of how much vehicle you got for the money with Pentastar Grand Caravans, especially the AVPs. Never shopped Chryslers. But maybe my suspicions weren’t unfounded?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The new ZF 8 speed is coupled with the Chryco Pentastar equipped vehicles 2014 and later.

      It’s a more efficient, smoother and better transmission, but we’ll see how durability/reliability shakes out with some more time.

  • avatar
    donutguy

    Had a 2000 Chrysler Grand Voyager….the transaxle took a shit at 39,000 miles (3 thousand miles out of warranty)……I will never, never, NEVER buy a Chrysler product ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Powertrain warranty is 7yr/70k miles.

      Weekday are you talking about?

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Powertrain warranty is 7yr/70k miles.

      What are you talking about?

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Interesting, my wife had a 2000 Accord, 4cyl. Honda had problems with this auto trans. Car had 3yr/36,000 mile warranty, we did not buy extended. At about 40 months and with 47,000 miles the trans crapped out. Figured I was SOL but without me even asking Honda warranted the trans. Put in a brand new trans, zero cost to us…….Incidentally, my son still owns this car, 220,000 miles and the replacement trans has been fine. Kudos to Honda.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I’m with DeadWeight on this one. Whenever I’ve owned an automatic, the transmission has ALWAYS been its most problematic component. I will forever drive a manual, that is, as long as it’s available!

    T.K. I too despise VW!

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Had a couple MTs go out and had some autos last a long time. The three speed auto in my 81 Datsun truck was the most rugged. The TH350 and 700r4 were almost as tough. Then I bought a 4L60e and got rid of it quickly. Back to MT in my 4runner but stuck with autos in the wife’s car. Electronic overdrive trannies are the pits and I’ll do a self performed root canal before I buy another for my vehicle.

      Totally agree with MT as the (almost) failsafe approach.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I’ve had multiple automatics, including 3 Torqueflites, 3 powerglides, 2 Ford C4 and one C6, a Borg Warner with OD, Hondamatic, GM 3speed auto, Nissan 4speed auto, and a current GM 4speed auto on my 2005 Buick. The only one that gave me any trouble was the Honda that left me stranded with a frozen torque converter.

      OTOH, I’ve had 3 GM 3-on-the-tree, 2 Ford 3ott, two VW 4 speeds and a Mercedes 4ott. Two of the GM 3ott’s lost a gear, one Ford had to be rebuilt, and the Mercedes clutch needed constant adjustment. The MB dealer said he could fix it for $500 (in 1969 dollars – over $3000 today), but I dumped the car instead. On the Squareback and Karmann Ghia, the 4 speed was the only thing that never needed work.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Thomas,
    Sad to hear about your transmission fail. It’s working now, so that’s better than walking.

    Stop “talking” to everyone on TTAC and finish your thesis.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Why? The second subject of that thesis sounds like a real bore. Who would want to read it?

      Why do minivan transmissions fail on rainy, miserable days? Because that is usually when people with kids have to make a run to Wal Mart because they ran out of Pampers. Boy, I really want to shop for that!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m sorry to hear about your transmission problems, but I’m glad the dealer got you fixed up. My father’s 2012 DCG has been trouble free for its 25k miles, but unfortunately some low mileage defects still happen from time to time. It looks like one or more of the clutches wasn’t applying correctly, either because of a control problem or a hydraulic leak, and the clutch(es) shredded. Hopefully that’s the end of it.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope so Danio. One of the reasons we bought when we did was so we could have a bit of a sorting out period before we head overseas. When my VW had trouble in Japan I was on my own and I swore I’d never take a brand new car overseas again.

      It looks like my method is justified. I’ll keep a close eye on it now, but otherwise I’m still thrilled with the vehicle. It’s probably one of the nicest rides I’ve ever owned.

      • 0 avatar
        infinitime

        Alas, it doesn’t seem like the revised 6-speed is any better…

        If you are keeping the van for the long haul, may I suggest full synthetic ATF (Amsoil, Mobil-1), coupled with an aftermarket transmission cooler? Heat seems to be the main culprit in premature AT failure, at least according to Amosil’s somewhat self-serving study:

        https://www.amsoil.com/lit/g3118.pdf

        This is corroborated to some degree though, by other similar studies…

  • avatar
    Joss

    And to think Nissan can’t move the Quest. Whilst boatloads of T & C fly off the lots with primary mechanism suspicion.

    Well done your dealer Tom.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    WELCOME HOME THOMAS ! .

    Good on ya for continuing your Ed-U-ma-kashun .

    Bummer about the tranny failure , I’m pleased to see a magnet in the sump and wonder if it’d have died sooner but for that .

    @ 12K , this almost has to be some weird manufacturing defect .

    Carry on then and don’t forget to keep us posted .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks Nate, and to everyone who gave me a virtual smile and a thumbs up when I posted this. It feels like I’ve come home for a while and makes me feel for certain that I want to get back to writing for fun again.

      I’m having a good time in Leavenworth,, by the way. Interesting things to stady and discuss and I am surrounded by some of the hardest working, most sincere people I’ve ever met. It’s a struggle to keep up sometimes but its worth it.

  • avatar
    zach

    Seems like Chrylser has had trouble with their tranmissions since the 4 speed was introduced on the 1990 ‘ish Grand Voyager/Caravan, I had a 1993 LeBaron with supposedly the same transmission, got it with 30,000 miles, drove it for another 120,000 miles with no tranny problems, maybe the vans were just to damned heavy for this transmission?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Very few of the early vans had transmission coolers, many got cooked. These 62TE transmissions are a distant relative to the old A604 “Ultradrives”. I know it’s not much consolation to Tom or anyone else who’s had a problem, but they are fairly reliable in the aggregate sense.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Fairly reliable”? That’s usually not what I’m looking for. Unless it’s a Hot Rod, or hot chick.

        But aren’t we fooling ourselves with mids!ze stuff that does fulls!ze work? Depending on usage, something’s gotta give.

        If you’re using it near full capacity on an ongoing basis especially, never mind hills and headwinds, it not within its design limits for optimal reliability, regardless of what you drive.

  • avatar
    zach

    I just realized my parents bought a brand new white with wood sticker paneling Plymouth Voyager nearly 30 years ago! wow I feel old.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Don’t feel old Zach, I remember my Dad buying new cars in the 50’s.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        The difference is, if you were a teen or even a tween in the 50s you were excited if your dad brought home a new car. If were lived that age in the 80s, you were embarrassed if your folks brought home a minivan. Worse, for me it was in the 70s and I really did not want to drive the Kingswood Estate.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I never had an automatic transmission fail until 5 years ago on my Isuzu at 8k miles. Isuzu replaced the transmission and covered the tow and the transmission seems to shift better. So far no other problems with the Isuzu.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    My 2008 Dodge Caravan would have put me in the poor house without a warranty. It had 4 complete brake jobs before 60K (all covered under warranty because they had a recall on MOPAR pads and rotors. That’s right – a recall on brake pads!) They eventually replaced with aftermarket parts at the dealer. Torque converter died at about 65 K. Various small parts began to break off in annoying fashion – they finally gave up on the front console and just glued some parts together. I finally had it when the wire guides in the door – plastic parts that hold the door wiring in place – started breaking and exposed a ground wire, leading to all kinds of electrical mishaps. They wanted $200 for the part – traded it in the next week.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    2009 Routan here. Only about 25K miles. Got a killer deal on it during cash for clunkers. Brakes have been a problem – oddly the rear ones. Rotors warp and heat glaze. Dealer kept replacing until warranty ran out. I replaced w/ aftermarket and stopped using the parking brake and things have been much better.

    Labor day weekend, when I was hundreds of miles from home, on a Sunday on a 3 day holiday weekend, transmission went into limp-home mode. I disconnected the battery for a little while and that brought it back to its senses – no problems since then. VW has only 3 year warranty so I’m on my own.

  • avatar
    EMedPA

    My wife has a 2012 T&C with almost 45,000 miles on it now. So far we’ve been lucky: other than brakes it’s been reliable transportation, and it’s still a great road trip vehicle. The transmission software was reflashed as part of a recall about 18 months ago, and that smoothed out the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts. I hope this was a fluke, Tom.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m sorry about your loss but you’re in the minority. I’m 16 and I own a 1985 Dodge Carvan turbo with 500,000 miles on it! I haven’t had to do anything to it other than regular TLC! Yours must’ve been raced around town lol.

    Oh right, this isn’t carsurvey.

  • avatar
    zach

    G still amazing Ford and especially GM this segment to Chrysler, and eventually Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    TCragg

    Thomas, nice to see you back on TTAC!

    I have a 2010 Routan with the 4.0L and the same 62TE transmission. I have 163,000 km on mine with no issues. At work, we have a fleet of 7 2008-14 DGC (one from each model year, incidentally) that we use as transit supervisor vehicles. The vans are driven hard in a slip-seat environment, spend a lot of time idling, and generally don’t get a lot of TLC. The only transmission failure we’ve had since 2008 was in the 2009 model with the 3.3 and the 41TE (at 140,000 km). All of the 2011-later vans with the Pentastar and the 62TE have been trouble-free, and these vans see 18 hours a day of use, 7 days a week.

    So my personal experience and my experience at work with these trannies has been positive. Still, it sucks to have a lemon. Hope this was just a fluke.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    There really is no excuse for Chrysler’s transmission problems. This is hardly a single vehicle or specific model year.

    At some point, you just have to assume that Chrysler doesn’t care. They’ve decided they make disposable products for the subprime consumer. Has anyone seen any evidence that they have aspirations above that model?

    I had a Dodge Dakota that was getting close to transmission number 3 when I had the good sense to finally dump it. Just about every component on that car that could fail, did fail.

    It’s a shame, because many of their cars I would unquestionably own if they had better quality control. Fanboys keep saying that it’s “old Mopar” that had all of these issues and that it was decades ago, but it’s not. It’s very much a problem here and now.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This is why I own an Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      An Odyssey is why I went back to Dodge in 2007.

      My 05 Oddy was a lemon (power sliding door), and I won a lemon law suit against American Honda. After 20 miserable months dealing with a lousy car, incompetent dealer, and arrogant mfr, I went back to a well-used Dodge Grand Caravan. I even paid the guy at the used car lot MORE than he was asking for the Dodge, just so he could give me what I owed on the Honda.

      Now I’m a Kia Sedona fan. No tranny problems, either.

    • 0 avatar
      LeadHead

      Just sayin, but the Odyssey is famous for blowing transmissions.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Master Baiter (Lol) … Honda has had their fair share of transmission problems as well. I remember in the late 90’s early 00’s every Honda equipped with the J30 had issues. I believe Honda may have even recalled several models.

    Manual gearboxes should be the standard, even amongst minivans!

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    A Chrysler lifetime bumper to bumper warranty would be a really wise purchase. You can purchase them online from a dealer for a song.

  • avatar
    zach

    It seems like the older Chrysler 4speeds the smoother they shifted the sooner they failed.

  • avatar
    zach

    I never understood why Chrysler has such a hard time with their 4 speed automatic transmission, and for so many v years, they should have outsourced and let GM and Toyota design them.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A friend whose Sienna tranny failed 24k miles out of warranty had it replaced by Toyota free of charge. That’s how you keep a customer.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “That’s how you keep a customer.” I know of three individuals who switched from Highlanders to Grand Cherokees. They are my wife’s three sisters.

        But it appears that buying the Grand Cherokees was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Their 2014 Grand Cherokees have had many issues.

        What is so unlikely is that these are three different 2014 Grand Cherokees, bought from three different dealerships in three different states, and operated in three different types of terrain.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    The problem is once you load it up with two fat adults and 4 fat children and their fat accoutrements your talking about almost a ton of extra weight on an already portly vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Seriously, when you cons1der the respective health profiles of those who have bought Chryco minivans versus their Japanese competitors, you may well have a serious demographic point. Increasingly over the past 30 years, education and affluence have meant thinner people.

      But then again, it’s not like Chrysler had no experience with providing cars to a public that previously believed obesity rightly came with affluence.

      OK, Chrysler trannies are just junk.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    Pete and Mike you are both right. Chrysler minivans appeal to young large families with a lot of little kids like Thom has and since parents have to multitask they have to be automatic. For example, at a fast food, these people pull up to the drive thru in a minivan and end up with $75.00 orders at McDonalds and between having to pull away and having to pass out all of the packages to Suzy and Tommie who has a chance to shift? Then they have to make a trip over to Target to buy all the Little Tykes and Playskool plastic kindercrap so they don’t have to play in the park which may explain the overweight. As for the vans not lasting long, Chrysler knows that by the time the kids are tweens they will not want to be caught dead near a minivan so they make the transmission go so you end up buying your sweet 16 daughter a little Fiat to show off at the JR/SR high school. Chrysler vans are lower priced than the others so they are the choice of parents who have less to spend from buying toys, fast food, potty chairs and Disney vacations. Thom are you sure your last name is not Kelly?

  • avatar
    SilverBullett

    My parents bought a 95 Dodge Shadow brand new. The transmission blew at just under 6K miles. The dealer almost didn’t replace the transmission, the dealer finally gave in but made it sound like my mom, who drove the car most often, was too hard on it. Not even close to being the case. Speed limit driver all the way.
    Anyway- 5 years later, I had to drive the car across the country, from Snohomish, WA to Long Island, NY- for my sister, she would have a car for school. I was a bit hesitant, but drove it. It came close to overheating a couple of times due the heat in the midwest… near 100 degrees for two of the four day trip… no AC, so I had to run the heat to keep the car at normal temps as well during those two days. I got to NJ and the car stuttered a bit, but finally made it to it’s destination late in the evening on the fourth day.
    At that point, I was glad I got there. Amazingly enough, the car lasted another 8 years with just regular maintenance. She gave it to my aunt and she drove it a couple years before it had enough. If I recall correctly, the car ended with over 120K on the odometer.

  • avatar
    mags1110

    Transmission on my 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid, dead at 12,000 mi. My 1995 Lincoln town car with 169,000 mi. still shifting flawlessly.

    Which by the way is for sale if anyone is interested…

  • avatar
    cartunez

    I was able to put 40,000 miles on my 2013 T&C without any problem. In truth I loved it, 30 mpg while carrying the wife and kids and stuff, the seats in front are excellent not so much the back areas. The only thing transmission related it would do is abrupt (very rough) shifting from time to time. Good thing it has that 5/100000 but yeah I can understand how breaking down with family can be unnerving.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My co-worker friend is on his second transaxle in his 2008 Honda minivan. Admittedly it does have 101K miles now but still. Not one of my W-body cars including a 2000 Impala 3800, 2002 Olds Intrigue, 2007 Chevy Malibu(only non W-body owned by GF), 2008 Impala and the current 2013 Impala have ever grenaded a transaxle or engine for that matter and all of them had well over 100K miles.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    NIce to see you back, Thomas. Seems like your experience was definitely an outlier, notwithstanding all of the horror anecdotes about Chrysler trannies. Good that Chryco fixed it with no back talk, and let’s hope that’s the end of it. My family went into mini-van mode when our 3rd kid arrived, and we stayed there for 10 years, until the oldest left the house. The notion that someone should apologize or feel embarrassed at having kids – along with the necessary equipment for them — I find kinda sick.

    My wife wanted a Pilot in ’08 (when we had only one kid at home). I never liked the car, but it’s been stone reliable for over 100,000 miles . . . so, so much for the anecdotes about Honda transmissions.

    Good luck with your thesis!

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks Bruce. I know that a couple of other users pointed out that my experience is just a data point and it may well be be an outlier. I really do hope that’s the case because I do like the van. Still, I felt the need to bring this to everyone’s attention as I had been posting updates on the van every few months and had I not added to that earlier work everyone would have been denied this added insight.

      Once I put this master’s to bed, hopefully I can make some sort of a come back on TTAC. I’ve missed writing and the feedback that posting on such a widely read forum can bring.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I had an ’84 or ’85 Caravan w/ 4 cyl and 3 speed auto w/ crank windows and manual locks. It ran and ran and ran. Finally threw a rod on the highway at over 300K miles. Random stuff broke (and fell off), but the engine and transmission were solid. Had to lube the kickdown lever frequently to keep the gas pedal from getting stiff, and the sliding door was hard to open and close.

    We bought an ’89 Grand Voyager w/ 3.0 and A604. Everything broke on that van except for the transmission – it finally let go at ~290K miles. At that point the engine also had a head gasket leak so we scrapped it. In my mind, the best feature of that van was the tranny/engine combo – even though by that point it had been smoking for over 200K miles.

    I know the A604 was documented to be one of the worst transmissions ever, but ours worked.

    Both of them were bought new by us.

  • avatar
    Sooke

    “Manual gearboxes should be the standard, even amongst minivans!”
    .
    .

    Does anyone still sell a minivan with a manual transmission?

  • avatar
    74DodgeD300

    I have been a Mopar fan for years. I have a 2000 Grand Caravan which had 166k, with no issues. Simple maintenance issues, and a new timing belt. I changed out the 3.0 motor at 166k, as it was drinking gas. It was running, and driving great, and it had plenty of power, the tranny was shifting great. I put a motor from an auction wrecked van which had 34k on it, so how could I not resist. I have now put 48k on the motor since, and it runs good. Unfortunately the tranny bit the dust after putting 48 k on the newest motor. 450.00 later, and the tranny runs good as new. The wife now has a 2014 200, and the van is now my home remodeling truck :)

    My son is driving a 2000 cirrus 186k (new ignition switch)still running. The daughter is driving grandma 2000 breeze, 134k still running(this car is mad crazy tough).


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