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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 22983
Experience:  ASE Master & Advanced level certified, Chrysler Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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2003 town and slow down and hit 30 mph it has a hard jerk

Resolved Question:

2003 town and country. when you slow down and hit 30 mph it has a hard jerk.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!


Did this start after doing any work to the trans? Changing the fluid, etc?


Have you checked the fluid level with the van hot, idling and in park?


If you start the engine after the van has sat, drop it in gear quickly, will it take off immediately? Or is there a delay before it moves?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no work done to tran it only has 40,000 miles on it bought it of my grandpa. only drove it on sundays and all that jazz. took great care of it the leather isnt even broke in. it just started one day when we were going shopping my wife looked at me and asked did you feel that. so i drove it and coming down from 30 it bangs. i never thought to check tran fluid. the delay thing i dont really know i dont drive it that much
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.

Are you able to check these couple things at the van now? Would it be possible to start it up and drop it right in gear and see if it takes right off, and then check the fluid real quick?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
yeah give it a go hold on
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.

Not a problem! Knowing these two things will narrow it down for us.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

how long should it run before i check the fluid


Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.

For best results you would want it hot, after being driven enough to be at operating temperature. For our purposes here just let it run a couple minutes, make sure the level is between the full and add marks on the stick.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
goes in to gear ok and the fluid is ok after running. the fluid looks brand new bright red
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.

The first thing you'll want to do is have your transmission controller software updated to the current level. There was a change to the software to not let this happen. What has happened is the underdrive clutch volume index has risen too high. A clutch volume index (CVI) is a measure of how much fluid the trans controller is using to apply a clutch. The only time the underdrive clutch comes on for an up or downshift is at the 4-3 downshift, which is why that's the only time you feel it.


The root cause of this is the trans losing prime as it sits, to some degree. It could be low fluid level, a leaking low/reverse accumulator piston cover seal, a leaking low reverse piston, or a bad pump. There were problems with some pumps of this era which could be your root cause.


If you aren't feeling any delay when cold then have the software updated and the trans controlled "quicklearned". This will set the CVI's back to a baseline to let them relearn correctly. After these two things are done then the problem will be gone. If it does return or you start to feel a delay after sitting then you may have a pump problem or one of these internal leaks.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

the mech. we took it to thaught it was something elect. in the trans. his is very good and never done us wrong but said it would be 1800.00 dollars. i live in a small town so he is like the city mech. and yes he is ase. does that sound like something it could be for that price

Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.
There's nothing electrical on the trans that costs more than $200. The solenoid pack on the front of the trans runs $200 and is the most expensive part. It's not causing the problem though. If a solenoid or pressure switch in the solenoid pack was bad then you would just lock in second gear.

You've got a high underdrive CVI, I have absolutely no doubt. This is a common symptom of that, there is a service bulletin for this, and someone experienced on this trans should have picked up on this. I would recommend having the trans controller software updated, the software was revised for this exact problem, and after the software is updated it will need to be quicklearned. This will all take about a half hour to do. Expect to pay between .5 to 1 hour of labor at your dealer at the most, probably under $100 to get the problem fixed.
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