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Chris
Chris, Shop Foreman
Category: Dodge
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Experience:  ASE and Chrysler Certified Master Tech
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Dodge caravan: 2003 dodge caravan 2.4 4 cylinder...Just started

Customer Question

2003 dodge caravan 2.4 4 cylinder...Just started making a whine/growl sound with no prior warning of any problems or noises....caravan started giving issues shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear ...took to repair shop and they flushed tranny....tranny seemed to be fixed until i started coming up a steep hill home from the repair shop (approximately 10 miles) ...the whine was way loader and it kept jumping out of gear literally stopping me up this hill....once it went back in gear it was in a crawl state. Checked tranny fluid next day, it has a burnt smell but is clear. Any idea what Im looking at? Tranny being replaced or other issue??? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

Hello and welcome to just answer. Let me see if I can help you with this. The whine sound and slipping out of gear is indicative of a front transmission pump and failing torque converter. The whine is coming from the torque converter. The burnt smell is from failing clutches in the torque converter itself. If you want to keep the van for a few more years, then I really recommend having the trans and torque converter replaced with a re manufactured unit, or have the existing transmission overhauled and a new or re manufactured torque converter installed. Have the transmission's oil cooler flushed out with mineral spirits at that same time, because clutch material is probably in the cooler, and if you do not flush it, you risk the chance of damaging the new transmission.

I hope this information helps, and let me know if you need further assistance with this.

 

Chris

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
More helpful info to you for better understanding. Prior to tranny flush, when stopping at redlight or stop sign, van woulld not move, meaning no gears not even reverse. But if I shut the van off and let it be a second and then restart it, I had my gears back. When I had tranny flushed yesterday, It ran great until that steep hill. Then all of sudden the whine and slippage and not going out of first reoccured. I get it home, went to back it up in my driveway, I once again didnt have reverse, however, I shut it off waited a few seconds, turned it back on and had my gears back. This morning my husband went out to take it up road to see, and had no gears to pull out of driveway,. I am assuming in my opinion the tranny is now shot but before I spend that kind of money to buy a brand new one, I wanna make sure it can not possibly be sensors or something small and less expensive,. Thank you so much for the help you can offer.
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

Well after you telling me this, I am thinking that maybe the transmission's filter is getting plugged up with debris. What you may want to try before purchasing a new trans and torque converter is to have the transmission's oil pan removed and the filter replaced. Now this may help, but if the filter is really plugged up with debris and clutch material, you need to think that this plugging up is being caused by excessive clutch material and that means that clutches in the torque converter are coming apart. So this may help for a while, but the transmission may eventually fail completely. I do not think that this is a sensor issue at this point.

 

Chris

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, I had it over to have it flushed yesterday, I asked them if changing the filter and gasket was needed, they said NO, because the flushing normally cleans the filter as well...So, before purchasing a new transmission, you think I should take it back over and have them change the filter first?
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

Actually flushing the trans does not ensure that the filter will be cleaned, so yes I do recommend at least trying a new filter before going with a new transmission. Flushing the trans does replace the old dirty fluid with fresh clean fluid, but does not clean the filter.

 

Chris

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
how hard is it to replace this filter yourself without going to a shop?
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

Well it is not that difficult, but can be messy. You will need to get the van up on jack stands and get yourself a large drain pan placed under the transmission's oil pan. Then you will remove all of the pan bolts except for a couple. Then loosen the last 2 bolts a few turns, and take a flat bladed screw driver and a hammer, place the screw driver between the pan and the trans housing. Tap on the edge of the screw driver to separate the pan SLOWLY from the trans housing. Fluid will start to leak out. Then slowly remove those last 2 bolts and let more fluid drain out. Then while holding the pan, pull it off completely. You will then see the filter ( a flat looking filter mounted to the bottom of the valve body). Simply pull the filter off and then let the rest of the fluid drain for a few minutes. Place the new filter in place and tap it up to secure it. Be sure that you remove the old o ring and install a new o ring onto the new filter. Clean off the old RTV sealant from the pan with a razor blade. Clean/wipe out the pan's sealing surface. and clean off the old RTV sealant from the trans housing. Apply a fresh bead of RTV sealant (use RTV sealant that is designed for transmissions). Pick off the old sealant from the bolts. Set the pan into position and install the bolts. Tighten them to about 35 ft lbs. Refill the trans with about 4 quarts of ATF 4 transmission fluid. Shift the trans through all gears, and recheck the fluid with the engine idling and in park. Be sure that the van is on a level surface when checking the fluid.

 

Chris

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry it's taken so long to get back. I have had computer issues. I have one last question for you and then I am accepting your answer. My check engine light came on and I had codes....700-800 which are all tranny, it obviously is shot as I had thought. My question to you is, how long does it normally take to have a transmission put in at a repair shop/dealer?
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

Yes those are transmission related codes, and it may just be a sensor problem, so have the codes diagnosed properly. If it does end up needing a trans, expect about 2 days to have this repair performed.

 

Chris

Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry, but I got your question mixed up with another. It does sound like you need a transmission, and it is not a sensor issue (sorry).

 

Chris

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
takes 2 days, so at 69.99 an hour im looking at a grand alone for just hourly rate?
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.
No. I am thinking this is about a 6 hour job but am also figuring in the time it takes the shop to get the trans from their supplier. It does not take 2 days of work to replace it. Figure on 6 hours worth of labor plus parts.

Chris
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
what If I already have my own brand new transmission that I just want them to put in for me, will they do that?
Expert:  Chris replied 2 years ago.
You will have to ask them that but I don't see why not. If you were to ask my shop to install your supplied transmission I would say yes.

Chris

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