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Richard, Dodge Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 4141
Experience:  Over 24 years of experience as lead tech and shop foreman.
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97 Dodge Caravan: starts, idles, revs up or reverse

Customer Question

97 Dodge Caravan starts, idles, revs up fine. Shuts off completely when putting in drive or reverse. Will start right back up? What is wrong?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.
Were there any symptoms leading up to this?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

While driving, no. Thought i was running out of gas. Cut off right when I pulled up to the pump, refueled and hasnt driven since.


1) Check engine light was on, most codes indicate O2 Sensor. (Five "21" codes, and one "55" code").

2) Oil change was overdue, oil light was on, the added oil

3) Minor electrical quirks, such as, interior light intermidtant, low fuel light repeatedly dings while tank full

3) Thermostat changed 2 months prior

Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.

What you are describing is a problem in the transmission and the clutches are stuck together so when put in gear it stalls. If it is fine until put into gear then this is the most likely problem.


Have you checked the fluid level of the transmission?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, what needs to be done?
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.
The transmission will need to have the clutches replaced (rebuild the transmission) to correct the problem
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Expert:  brownjeff replied 7 years ago.

I see you re listed as you must not have liked the answer?


I will send the question to the other experts as I assume you want another opinion.

Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

Hello, I am Dodgetech 2875!

I have to disagree with the answer you received! Burnt or stuck clutches in the transmission will not cause this!!

If your clutches were burnt or stuck together the transmission would not stall when selecting drive or reverse. The problem is related to your torque converter clutch staying engaged. This will not require a complete rebuild. Most of the time it is related to the torque converter itself, but could also be caused by a stuck valve in the valve body. When the torque converter clutch is staying locked up, it will kill the engine as soon as you put it in gear.


I would stop at your local transmission shop and have them verify my diagnoses. From the symptoms you provided, the torque converter clutch is staying engaged!

I hope this helps!