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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 22976
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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1996 Dodge Caravan transmission will not shift into third gear

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1996 Dodge Caravan transmission will not shift into third gear when at operating temperture. Shifts fine when cold. Could that be the computer module?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

The first thing you'll need to do is have the codes read from the trans controller with a code reader or scan tool. Almost all parts stores will read codes with a code reader. There are many things that could cause this. The most common causes are the input or output speed sensors or the solenoid pack mounted on the front of the trans.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This I have already checked. I replaced the speed sensor. It does"nt have but one sensor. Is thesolenoid located on the bell housing? Does it carry a shift relay? I serviced the transmission new filter and fluid due to this problem but when it shifts to high gear the motor just reeves like going into neutral
Which trans do you have? Do you have a three speed trans or do you have overdrive?

Which engine do you have?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Three speed with overdrive
Ok. You say you had the codes read? What codes were stored? They start with a P and have four numbers.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No I have"nt had the codes read yet
Ok, I thought you did because you said "this I had already checked". The next step then would be to have the codes read from the trans controller. Not knowing which speed sensor you replaced there is still another, and there is the solenoid pack, wiring, and the trans controller itself that could be causing this.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thats what I thought the second opinion was what I needed But the only sensor I found was the speed sensor witch operates the speedodometer
There is an input speed sensor and an ouptut. The output speed sensor is the one that is also used for the speedometer. The input speed sensor is the one mounted over the solenoid pack.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Ok I will have the codes read and get right back with you.

Thanks David

Sounds great, let me know!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok I had the codes read and all that come up was the o2 sensor and the catiliyic converter. What is the recomended fluid for this transaxle

Are you positive you have an overdrive trans? If you do have the 41TE overdrive trans there would have been codes stored for sure. The picture I posted a few replies ago shows what the 41TE looks like. If you have a three speed trans then that would make sense why there were no codes.


With either trans the recommended fluid is ATF+4, you can use ATF+3 if +4 isn't available.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
There were no codes. On the selector it shows d21. Maybe it does"nt have a overdrive but when on the highway about 50 to 55 it seems like it shifts to overdrive. What if I put a transmission cooler on it ? Because it has no problems untill it reachs high temperture.

Ok. You don't have a 41TE overdrive trans, you have the 31TH three speed. It's not electronically controlled, it's all self contained and hydraulically controlled. You either have a line pressure problem, the front clutch is slipping, or the governor is sticking. These have a history of governor problems. It's going to need some hydraulic tests done with a pressure gauge while it's acting up.


An auxiliary cooler may help the problem if the cooler in the radiator is plugged and causing the trans to overheat. This does happen sometimes and will definitely cause your problem. The cooler in the radiator can be flushed and flow checked with a machine to see if it's blocked.

sprinkles08 and 2 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you Thats what I needed to know

You're welcome, and good luck!