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Tricky Tranny Troubles

Tricky Tranny Troubles

March 18th, 2006  · stk

We'll never purchase a Chrysler automobile again and we're recommending you don't either. Read about our experience with a poorly engineered mini-van transmission and ridiculous experience with the Chrysler Customer Service. The transmission failed three hours from home, cost us $2,500 US to repair and customer service has been absolutely NO help whatsoever...

chrysler thumbs down

We'll never buy another Chrysler automobile and I'm recommending that you don't either. The transmission problems we had on our mini-van were astonishing and costly. (Their customer service and loyalty is also a match to their poorly engineered cars).

~ Troublesome Transmission ~

We bought a used 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE. It was 10 years old and had 118,000 kilometers (approximately 73,000 miles) on the odometer. It was in superb condition, both physically and mechanically. It was the largest version of the model year, had AWD, a large 3.3 liter engine, a towing package, electric controls & leather seats. We paid $4,500 CAD for it and thought it was a good value, considering its features and condition.

We drove it locally, for a month, then took it on a 1,200-mile family vacation, to see Scott's folks, in California. The transmission acted funny on the way down, refusing to go into gear immediately at a stop sign and shifting jerkily on a couple of occasions. In California, we drained the transmission fluid, replaced the transmission filter and refilled it with the recommended "Mopar 7176" fluid.

On the return trip, we stopped to visit with friends in Seattle, spending the night. Upon our departure, the transmission refused to deliver power, leaving us stranded in Seattle. We opted for a genuine Mopar replacement transmission, which came with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. The bill totaled $3,503.89, plus incidental expenses, including a bus ride, back to Vancouver. It was an frustrating experience and and expensive repair.

That a transmission would fail at 73,000 miles is unbelievable. The mechanic who replaced the tranny said, "These transmissions are known to be troublesome and only last for about that [70,000 miles]. My advice? Drive the vehicle for another 70,000 miles and then sell it, before it needs another transmission."

Some stuff on a car needs to be replaced, including oil, tires, brake pads, a water pump (perhaps) and the odd fan belt. But not transmissions! Certainly not at $2,700.00 USD a pop and certainly not three or four times, over the life of a vehicle. Shame on Chrysler for such shoddy engineering.

But, that's not the end of the story and it's their customer service that really made me part ways with Daimler-Chrysler. To learn about the customer service fiasco, read on ...

~ Worrisome Warranty & Poor Customer Support ~

Canada and the United States are friendly neighbors. They share similar values, operate under a free trade agreement and many of the businesses that operate south of the border, operate north of the border. But, they're two different countries and the companies in each, are independently operated. There's Chrysler U.S.A. and Chrysler Canada. We worried that our U.S. Mopar warranty might not be honored in Canada (especially since the Canadian warranty had slightly different terms).

We asked various dealerships, both in Canada and the U.S., if there was a reciprocal agreement for honoring warranties. As you can imagine, it's not a question that comes up much and we received a disparity of replies. So, I called Chrysler Canada, hoping for a definitive answer, which I was relieved to receive. "Yes, warranties are honored throughout North America," said Stephanie, the Customer Service representative. Although a relief, a verbal response doesn't do much good when faced with a dealership that says, "No, we can only honor Canadian warranties."

My feeble retort would likely not garner much support, "But when I spoke with your Customer Service representative, Stephanie, on the phone, she said it would be honored."

When I conveyed the desire for written confirmation, Stephanie provide the file number for our telephone call and an address to which I could write, requesting a transcript of the call. So I wrote, thinking it would put the matter to rest, our minds eased that if needed to exercise the warranty, we'd be covered. Imagine my dismay when I received the following reply from a Chrylser Canada Customer Service Manager (S. Mailloux):

We have received your letter ... which is further to your previous contact with our Customer Assistance Center regarding your 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager.

Please note that DaimlerChrysler Canada remains available to review the possibility of warranty coverage (my emphasis) for future repair required to your vehicle's transmission with the receipt of all pertinent required documentation.

What? 88| This isn't the confirmation I was requesting or expecting. What kind of corporate CYA mumbo jumbo is this? I was appalled and couldn't believe my eyes.

I wrote back, indicating that I was "disappointed with their reply" and that it certainly wasn't confirmation of their commitment to honor a U.S. warranties in Canada. "The question is simple: 'Will Chrysler Canada honor a genuine Mopar Warranty for a genuine Mopar part, installed in the U.S. - Yes or No?' "

The second response, from a different Customer Service Manager (R. Ramos) didn't nothing to reassure me of Chrysler's commitment to their product, warranties or customers. It only cemented my belief that their customer service department steadfastly refused to answer to a straightforward question.

We regret any misunderstanding regarding the position taken by Daimler-Chrysler Canada with regard to your prior concerns. Based on our assessment of your file, it was concluded that the appropriate information had been provided in our earlier reply. Our primary objective is the satisfaction of our customers; however, pursuing this goal may not always include the full relief expected in a particular situation.

All I really wanted was, "Yes, provided that all the paperwork is in order, warranties are honored throughout North America". Why is that so difficult? There was the telephone call log, if they had printed a transcript of the call, I'd have been satisfied. We are really hoping the transmission doesn't fail again, or that we'll need any warranty work, especially anticipating the battle at the dealership just trying to get our valid warranty honored.

Because of a poorly engineered transmission, we were stranded in Seattle and incurred $3,500 CAD out-of-pocket expense for a Mopar replacement. That's bad enough, but it's the ridiculous manner in which Chrysler responded to our warranty question that is driving me to part ways with Chrysler. Though they couldn't commit to providing us with an answer to our straightforward question, I CAN commit to letting others know about our experience. I CAN commit to the avoidance of Chrysler products, forever more. And I can commit to recommending, vigorously that others do the same.

~ Update - October 2007 ~

What became of our genuine Mopar Chrysler replacement transmission? - - - It failed in 2007 after only 20,664 miles! - - - Un-freaking-believable!

Though it was well within the 35,000 mile warranty coverage, because we don't drive a lot, it had been 3 years and 4 month - four months PAST - the 3-year warranty period. (We called Chrysler, to see if they would shoulder any responsibility).

Being the upstanding, solid and customer-oriented company that they aren't, we got the response we expected. "No, we're sorry. We won't cover the failed transmission because the warranty period has passed."

Rachel pressed her case, "20,000 miles on a genuine Mopar transmission is horrible performance! Surely Chrysler will step up to the plate, given such poor performance of a genuine Mopar transmission?"

The Chrysler rep replied, "Chrysler's responsibility is only for honoring the written warranty agreement, Ma'am."

"With all due respect, I disagree. Chrysler's responsibility is to manufacture quality automobiles and stand by their products," Rachel said, before she hung up.

The value of our vehicle, which is still in superb condition (leather seats, tow package, electric everything, air conditioning, etc.) went from $3,500 to zero in a single day.

"This is, without a doubt, the worst vehicle I've ever owned," Scott said, "and I've owned a fair few of them during my 48 years."

We've hung up on Chrysler. We took what we could get for the van ($450) and have washed our hair of our crappy Chrysler car. We now caution anyone: Do not buy from Chrysler! They are a crap company that makes crap automobiles.

~ Update - March 2010 ~

It did my heart good to see that our word about Chrysler is getting out there. From Canadian Business magazine, February 15th article titled: "Winners & Losers: Who's up, who's down", they said Chrysler was a big loser.

There’s nothing big about Detroit’s Big Three automakers anymore, except the bailout GM and Chrysler received last year. U.S. sales of cars and light trucks dropped 21% last year and hardest hit was Chrysler. Thanks to a lack of new products and a reputation for poor quality, it sold just 931,000 vehicles in 2009 — its worst performance since 1962.

It's the second time that Chrysler's been bailed out by the government. I'm not sure what's worse; that Chrysler can't manage to make good cars or that the government gives money to companies who pay their executives far, far more than they should be paid and who can't run their businesses. Actually, they're both really bad.

~ Update - July 2010 ~

I ran across last year's Consumer Reports Canada magazine that focused on "Best & Worst 2009 Cars". Out of morbid curiosity, I checked to see if Chrysler had changed its crappy auto-making ways and moved up in customer satisfaction, reliability or scoring.

I laughed outloud when I read the following, regarding Chrysler:

Chrysler, which tied with Suzuki for last place in our 2008 ranking, fared even worse this year. Overall reliability of Chrysler vehicles, which was average last year, dropped to below average this year. No Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicles are recommended.

In other words, Consumer Reports is saying that Chrysler sucks worse now, than last year. We don't recommend anyone buy a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep.

Detroit's Troubles: Chrysler's grades fell to te bottom of the class, and it is the only automaker to drop from last year in all three measures. Most models from [Chrysler] have noisy, inefficient, unrefined powertrains; subpar interiors; and poor visibility. Chrysler is the only automaker with no models on our Recommended list.

If you like pictures, better than words, these two graphs tell the tale. Chrysler is a poor automaker. We've learned the hard way, with our 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager mini-van ... as have many others. STAY AWAY FROM CHRYSLER!


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1.flag Dad Comment
Why don't you email this story to President, Chrysler Canada and explain it is posted on the web. Don't say where. Let him search if interested. You might get some satisfaction.(?)
2.flag Wammara Comment
Our tranny has failed us on our 2001 Caravan while we were vacationing too. We are waiting to hear what the cost will be but it has turned me off chrysler too after we have been long time customers.

3.flag stk Comment

Sorry to hear about your transmission woes. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

We still have our minivan, but are eager to sell it (we will be selling it, this autumn). We'll NEVER buy or recommend a Chrysler product and it sounds like you won't either.

Spread the word.

4.flag TB Comment
Youre an idiot. I sell these vans and one bad experience doesnt justify your claim to never buy another Chrysler. We have never had a problem like the one you are describing. Im so sick and tired of people saying the foreign marques are so much better (not that you said that here, but Im sure you would agree with it). They are not any better or worse. Chryslers are just as reliable as a Honda, Nissan and Toyota (I sell these too), and Im sure if you researched it, similar numbers would be found for all makes / models of minivans.
5.flag stk Comment
ROLFL TB!! Lemme see ... I have a Master's Degree in Geophysics from PSU, I invented "Photo-Caption Zoom", I don't name-call and utilize decent grammar. Yep, I'm an idiot alright! rolleyes

Firstly, it's Chrysler's poor customer service that sealed the deal for me, not the transmission. Secondly, I'm not alone with my Chrysler transmission woes. Thirdly, it's unreasonable that anyone should purchase a bunch of Chrysler mini-vans, to see if they all fail in similar fashion, before coming to a conclusion.

A reasonable person would buy one and if it fails, be leery about purchasing another. There are enough GOOD automobile manufacturers that no one needs to waste their money & time on a loser.

Sure, I'm not happy about the transmission failing and why should I be? Consumers shouldn't have to expect to replace their transmission every 70,000 miles!

You say that "Chryslers are just as reliable as a Honda, Nissan and Toyota". Nope! My 1983 Honda Accord has NEVER needed a transmission and its got 178,000 miles on it.

Which is the better experience is obvious, even to this idiot!

I stand by what I say.

6.flag Mech Comment
well here's a little tidbit for everyone..

i own a 1990 grand voyager,has 286000 klm,yes 286000.i've owned this van for many a year.get this trick,,regular annual service..hint hint.i know vehicles in general can be a pain at times,i'm not defending or damning any Vehicle,i drop my trans fluid and filter every six months no matter the mileage.the 4 speed auto trans in the caravan or the voyager had an issue with burning out the over drive clutch thusly breaking the retainer snap ring for the clutch pack.why??? because we change our engine oil and never think of the tranny.

yes when I first bought my van it had this very problem,it had 146000k,and no overdrive and would screw up upon shifting.the trans cost me 1700.00 cdn to at 286000 i have never had an issue with it, service your transmission,it will save you in the long run, wondering how i know this??? i'm a certified automotive technician,i see this every day.

and to be fair yes the trans is poorly designed and prone to failure,allot of the rebuilders have an upgrade for this problem
i'm told,we'll see.

yours truly: kw
7.flag DPBG Comment
I hae a 1996 plmputh voyager. WHAT A PIECE OF GARBAGE. The trans went 3 times and it has just failed again. What a piece of garbage. After the second one we started servicing it every x km but it does not help. Nothng mmakes a piece of garbage better. We origionally paid 14000 for the van and put well over that into repairs. Close to 20000. If you want to own a piece of crap and have 20000 dollars for reapirs go ahead and get 1.
8.flag stk Comment
Mech - Yes, I've heard that about regular service (and special Mopar 7176 fluid).

What other transmissions require such "babying"? Even with such superfluous care, there's lots of folks that STILL have Chrysler transmission failures. ;)

DPBG - I feel your pain.

An update on our van: The genuine Mopar tranny for which we paid $4,500 CAD, failed two months ago, at about 20,000 miles. Because it was past the 3-year warranty (by 4 months), Chrysler couldn't run away fast enough. Twenty thousand miles and then failure! Ridiculous!!

We disposed of our "piece of garbage" mini-van, which had less than 150,000 kilometers on it, ran great, was in EXCELLENT condition ... for a mind-numbing price of $450 CAD.

I hope to do a full-blown post-mortem on this Chrysler debacle, because IMO, the car was the worst I've ever owned and I hope to keep others from buying vehicles from such an awful company.

We paid a huge price, but now we're "Chrysler free" (and will be, till the day we die).

Let's all do the Mopar Chant: "Don't buy Chrysler, don't buy Chrysler ... Stay Away, Stay Away!"
9.flag Mike Comment
just wanted to say to "TB". i know you sell the vans but try calling them in 4 or 5 years and see how they run. i have had 4 caravan in the last 10 years. 3 of them the tranny went. last one i bought with 30,000 miles. it was the 3 speed auto which is the transmission that does not have the same problems as the 4 speed. supprised when the tranny went at 110,000. decided to rebuild it. fist ever that i fixed. at 122,000 went back to get rebuilt again. at 131,000 it sits in my drive way with a bad tranny. 4 caravans 5 bad trannys.

your bad experience doesnt justify your claim to never buy another Chrysler
10.flag Done With Dodge Comment
I have a 2003 dodge caravan with 51,000 klm. I have had nothing but problems with it. It has just come out of shop from having ''internal transmission problems''. I just don't understand how this could happen with only 51,000 klm, we have done everything epected with owning a new vehicle. Always having all fluids checked. There are alot more problems with this van. I just know that we are now looking into a new vehicle and that not ever being a dodge again.
11.flag Raymond Comment
I purchessed a 1996 Plymouth Voyager short wheel base 3.0 V-6 @ the tune of $1.700 US and (THOUGHT) i was getting a good deal. Well when i bought the van it was clearly stated that tranmissions issues were abreast by the dealer. The last owner had just brought the van back from a family vacataion from north carolina to new york state and the tranny. was slipping and traded it for a taurus. So i bought the van in the mind set that if the transmission blows ill just pay for a new one. ok yeah the van ran for 3 monthes after purchess and tranny died. i paid $1.800.00 US for a new tranny. and 3 1/2 years into ownership i have blown my 3rd transmission. The previous owners bought the van and had a warrenty and replaced the tranny when it blew on them. After the warrenty was out of date and the tranny was ready to blow again and thay still had monthly payments on the Voyager so the mini van was traded. HERE I COME! what a fool! this is a 1996 voyager and by 10 years of its life its pissed away (5) tranmissions! UNACCEPTABLE and shame on chrysler! I FIND THAT AFTER A TRANNY REPLACEMENT I GET ABOUT 15 THOUSAND MILES OF DRIVEING OUT OF THE TRANS. BEFORE IT CRAPS OUT and @ 15 thousand miles i should not need to service the fluid or filter. Again unaccaptable. Never the less to add more salt to the wound i own a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan w/ a 3.8 L V-6 AWD and (SUPRISE) transmission failure. I also own a 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE 3.3L V-6 front wheel drive and a 1994 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L V-6 AWD. so far to date all is good with both of those mini vans but im sure its just a matter of time before thay (trannys) both will FAIL! GO NEWER? NO NO! a friend of mine has an 04 Chry. T&C All Wheel Drive and same thing.TRANNY TRANNY TRANNY along with other machanical issues. Heater blower / check engine light. The list is MORBID! I recently test drove the new 2009 Volks Wagon Rutan and was discusted to learn that VWs new mini van is a Dodge and Chrysler mini van w/ a VW twist and name stamp! Dodge - Chrysler and VWs mini vans share the same engines -transmissions and most all inner and outter components! BUYER BEWARE! Again, SHAME ON YOU CHRYSLER! It's bad enough that our wallets and pocket books are being robbed @ the gas pump and by other dailiy living expences. We as canadins and americans and what other countrys you sell your junk too don't need this added stress!
12.flag Val Comment
We bought a used 1993 Plymouth Voyager and we are having tremendous transmission problems. We heard there was a recall; however, Chrysler isn't standing behind it and pretty much told us it's our problem.

Buy a Ford!
13.flag Victoria Comment
You are soooo right!! I will NEVER buy another Dodge product which is also Chrysler and Plymouth.

I have an 05 Dodge Grand Caravan. I have always maintained it. It had the transmission fail at 35,000!! Thankfully while under warrenty! I have had nothing but problems with this car. If it wasn't for the warrenty I'd be broke!

We also have an 89 FORD escort that runs and runs with original transmission and engine and a 99 FORD expedition with 217,000 miles on it all orginal transmission and engine as well!

Oh and I have an 08 Chevy with only 17,000 and we will see how long that lasts but I have never had problem with chevy, toyota or Ford.

Save your money people and buy something that will be worth your money! Maintain it thorugh regular FULL maintenance- not just oil changes but ALL fluid changes at the appropriate times taking into account if you live in an area that would classify your driving as severe.
14.flag Ap Comment
I just wanted to say, I have had several Chrysler Products and have NEVER had transmission problems. I'm sorry some people are but I never have. I find Chrysler has always been reliable for me and my Family. Back in 1998 I bought two new cars the same day. A all new 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the indestructable 4.0, and a 1999 Dodge Intrepid with the 2.7. I for some reason traded the Intrepid with 140,000 trouble fee miles in on a 05 Rendezvous and have had nothing but problems with the Rendezvous until 2008 When I finally got sick of it and Traded for a 2008 Town and Country with the 3.8 v6. I love the van and still love my jeep that has as of yesterday 180,000 miles on it and EVERYTHING still works including the A/C. I have put new ball joints and routing maitnance in the Jeep and that has all that it has asked from me. None of my Chrysler's transmissions have ever faltered. I hope people that have problems can get them solved. As for me I am a Chrysler owner for years to come.
15.flag stk Comment
Ap - I, along with "Done with Dodge", Raymond, Val and Victoria all humbly disagree with your assessment.

We're not the only ones. Check out my "July 2010" update graphics from Consumer Reports magazine. It's clear. Chrysler (which includes Chrysler, Dodge & Jeep product lines) is the worst automobile manufacturer!
16.flag Shay Comment
That van was nothing but problems. It seemed that every few months something would fail on it. The tranny was just the tip of the iceberg. (replaced it 3 times!) We also had to replace the power steering pump, the electric windows, ignition and alternator and went even so far as to replace the engine too. Everything was properly serviced and still the problems occurred.

And then to add to further insult to injuries already inflicted a weird banging noise started in the front end. We drove that damn van from dealer to dealer to shop to try to figure out what it was wrong with it and no one could tell us. Frustrating, I tell you.

While all this was happening the paint started peeling off the entire vehicle at once. It was the factory paint job too. My parents decided not to have it repainted and instead in 2004 they traded it for a FORD Windstar. No problems since.

I bought my first car used 2 years ago a 1992 Ford Mustang and it still runs great.

My family is now Happily a FORD family.
17.flag Shay Comment
Just clarifying my other post. The van was a 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE as well but it had a metallic blue and hidious faux wood paintjob.
18.flag Dodge Guy Comment
Well Ill just say that I under stand your frustration with Chrysler and I would be too. But I would have to disagree with the Idea that all Chrysler vehicles are poorly built. I worked in the automotive world for a few years at a GM, then Toyota,Ford, Chrysler and at a private garage. I saw reliability problems with them all.I made A LOT of money replacing head gaskets on Toyota s more money than I ever made at the Chrysler dealer I bet that shop did 4 of those jobs a week,but no one ever talks bad about Toyota.I own and use regularly several Chrysler vehicles and very rarely have trouble with them.My 1981 Ram 250 with 268,000 miles on it has taken me to work everyday for 16 years and I ride with the windows up in the cool A/C! The engine nor the trans. has ever been out of or taken apart more than service and tune ups. My Wife has been driving her 03 Concorde every day since new with no trouble.I also have a 87 Ramcharger 4x4 that takes us on vacation trips to the beach,Thats right 1987. its been a very reliable truck, and so has my 07 2500 Ram that tows my 73 Cuda to the car shows. there are about 30 other Chrysler vehicles in my family that range from new to old with 325,000 miles (v8 Dakota) they get driven and have been reliable.I would have to say that my experience owning Chrysler vehicles has been good.
19.flag PFUSA Comment
I got stuck in the snow with my 1999 Caravan, and the trans exploded! After that, my sister came to tow me out with her caravan (1996), and her transmission also exploded! Is my sister and me idiots?
20.flag Grant Comment
thats funny...our transmission in our 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager (Made By Chrysler) just died we had 350,000 KM (217,489 Miles) on it however...we had the overdrive removed from our transmission about 7 years before it died we had it removed because it would rumble horribly going up never did it again after...we also have a 2005 dodge caravan it has 201000 KM (124901 Miles) we have replaced a whining water pump so far and were thinking about selling it and getting a 2008 dodge grand caravan
21.flag Grant Comment
It seems that alot of people never wait for the transmission to actually go in gear for example if you put it in reverse then wait a few seconds and then start backing up otherwise it will likely slip...thats been my experiance alot of people seem to not get that but usually that will destroy any transmission FAST!
22.flag Deeleebee Comment
sorry to burst your chrysler bashing bubble but I have owned a 1996 plymouth voyageur and i am happy to report that after almost a decade of driving her she still runs like a charm with a whopping 310000 klicks on tranny issues or any other kind either....
23.flag stk Comment
Deeleebee - LOL. No worries. You haven't burst my bubble. Chrysler did. The car they made and the one I bought turned out to be the worst I've ever owned ... and many others have had a similar negative experience. How else do you explain the Consumer Reports data (Chrysler is the worst auto manufacturer)? Consider yourself a lucky sod, eh?
24.flag Panther Comment
I own a 1991 Chrysler Dynasty with 3.3L coupled to the 4 speed transmission. The engine has 500,000KM on her and she purrrrrs like a kitten. As for the transmission, never every had a problem, just fluid changes every six months. When I first bought the car I did install a transmission cooler, overheating is what kills these trannies.
25.flag stk Comment
Panther - Consider yourself extremely lucky, as the Consumer Reports data shows Chrysler products are the pits for reliability.

I sincerely doubt overheating is a problem. Consider: Our Chrysler Grand Voyager had the largest engine - 3.3L - for that model and came with the tow package (which included a transmission cooler), yet ... we never towed anything with it. Two transmissions went out on our van within 20,000 miles of each other (and if you knew me, you'd know that I baby my cars ... i.e., don't accelerate fast from stoplights).

No ... definitely not an "overheating" problem (unless they overheated from a engineering design flaw).
26.flag Robert P. Comment
I have a Town and Country Limited 2008 with only 15,000 miles and 3 years of use.

The minivan needs a new transmission, the problem started one day after we turn the minivan and we hear a strange sound, after that the minivan was not moving forward or backward.

Right now I am fighting with Chrysler so that they repair the transmission with the warranty.

As you can see the transmission problem of Chrysler Minivans is not over after 15 years.

On a Year 2001 minivan at over 7 years the engine has to be rebuilt because it was out of oil, this is also a big issue with Chrysler cars that after some time the oil burns inside the engine and it breaks.
27.flag Robert P. Comment
Chrysler has accepted to repair the transmission under warranty. If they want to have better cars they need to do what Honda did on the Odyssey minivans from years 1999-2001. Honda extend the warranty to 7 years to problems related to the transmissions.
28.flag stk Comment
Robert - Glad you were able to get Chrysler to repair the transmission under warranty. That's good news!

If Chrysler wants to have better cars, they need to make better cars. If Chrysler wants to have a better reputation, they should do what Honda did.

Good money is betting they won't!

Hope your 2nd transmission lasts longer than your first transmission (ours didn't). :(

29.flag Mike Comment
I still own and drive the 1966 Chrysler 300 that i took my drivers test in. 44 years and still a cruiser and very smoken quick. the seats are ripped and carpet has warn where heal rests in carpet. the Saturn Sw tride to kill me the cruse control just started excelerating and it would not shut off by brake, put it into neutral trying to find an opening to get to burm(out of lanes off free way) engine reved (all while in rush hour traffic) did not want to lose steering by shutting engine off. finally someone bless there heart let me over and on the shoulder of the freeway. Dodge diesel truck is 2001 still running very strong is in Ohio SALTY winters(could technology invent somthing not corrosive to our secound largest investments(the vehicle you purchase is usualy the 2nd largest investment to the home unless you have medical bills. the medical bills will be the most expensive investment then the home then the car 3rd. but dont worry the Drs get there money (HYPOCRITICAL OATH) and your home and car go into forclosure and repo. SO THATS THE REAL WORLD ! TOOOO many people out there raping and pilaging and the congress and senate and judicial system do not take care of the Americans. You want an example. I paid into SS for 14 years then worked for public system, since i did not pay into SS during the last 12 months before becoming disabled i do not get any SS disability. THE CONGRESS AND SENATE GIVE OUR SS TO ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO HAVE NOT PAID A PENNY INTO SS. THE REAL ISSUE SELL THE PROBLEM VEHICLE. NEXT CALL YOUR CONGRESS SENATOR "REPRESENTATIVE" AND TELL THEM TO REPRESENT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THEY WERE VOTED IN BY. GET THE ECONOMY IN THE BLACK NOT THE RED. digital tv now the seniors can not figure out how watch there favorite shows while they are locked in, and o ya our reps are having there shoes shined and hair cut for hundreds of dollars$ you pay in taxes going to hundreds of $ galas YOU PAY FOR.
have a nice day
30.flag Chyrsler Owner Comment
The ones that had transmission problems ,one of the fault on the transmission is the transmission cooler.When the transmission runs hot it will cause problem.What you need to do is put one in it dont cost much.I have a 1999 chrysler town and country and its still running with ove 250000 on the trnsmission.If you getting the fluid change and a lube place be careful because they put dexron with a additive in your fluid and that will cause it to jerk and kick and etc then it will mess up the transmisson
31.flag stk Comment
Mike - That's an interesting tirade, Mike. Maybe you should cut down on the coffee. (Mind you, the Social Security debacle would make me angry too).

Chrysler Owner - Apparently you haven't read the comments. Our mini-van had the towing package, which included the transmission cooler. Two transmissions within 20k miles? Cooling is NOT the issue. It's the (poor) engineering. Neither is it the fluid (always used Mopar 7176 fluid).

While I'm glad to hear that yours ran well, ours (and a LOT of other people's) didn't. Bottom line? Chrysler - for the most part - makes awful cars.
32.flag Chrysler Owner Comment
I did read it but i want to ask you if you disconnect the battery to see if it still has a problem.Was yours a four speed transmission? If it was then on the four speed transmissions you can disconnect the battery to reset it. Also the transmission has a computer,was the computer good? Im sorry that you had problems with your chrysler and im sorry for the other people that had problems too. One thing i can tell you that i had and 1992 plymouth voyager and when i took it to a lube place to change the fluid they didnt put the right fliud in it and it messed up the transmission. Was yours a three speed or four if you dont mind me asking?
33.flag LuLu Comment
1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE Originally an AWD bought in Florida. The engine has been wonderful.3.2 V6, but I have had serpentine belt replaced 3 times.At appx 80,000 the transmission failed for the 1st time, then the transmission failed a second time. I replaced 2 times. Then, the electrical system shorted making power locks fail; last year the instrument cluster failed, two weeks ago the driver door main motor for the windows caught fire. I have changed oil as suggested and have done all preventative maintenance. Last week the main computer started will run fine for miles, then suddenly at a light I cannot get it about 20, like it's out of gas, but that happens when the van is on a full tank. It has me stranded, now having to take a bus to and from work. When it started, it began multiplying problems.
34.flag LuLu Comment
Can someone suggest a more dependable car, with the kind of miles than a Mopar product gets? I really need to get another mode of transportation. I do not want to sink any more $$$$ into the GV. Love the room, but can't take the extra maintenance costs.
35.flag stk Comment
LuLu - I'm sorry to hear about your Chrysler woes. I still rue the day we bought our Plymouth (Chrysler) Grand Caravan - the worst car I've ever owned.

Regarding your next move ... I'd have a quick look at the last graph in this article. What it shows is fairly clear. Look for an inexpensive used Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Mazda or Nissan. You'll be picking from the top of the tree, where the fruit is much riper! (You could get even more picky and compare each of the different models against each other, but these 6 manufacturers have a consistently good record).

Good luck!
36.flag Chrysler Vans Are Crap And Chrysler Does Not Back Up There Obligatios. I Will Never Touch Another Ch Comment
Chrysler would not agree to my claim for front brakes because i paid in cash. When did cash become void in Canada?
37.flag Old Fat Guy Comment
I have owned a 1991 Dodge Caravan, 1995 Plymouth Voyager, and now a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. I have loved everyone of them. I do all the routine maintenance myself. I have had minor problems from time-to-time, and have been treated fairly by them.

The biggest was the paint peeling on my 1991 Dodge Caravan after it was 5 years old - It was well out of warrenty and by being nice to them, making several phone calls between local dealer and corporate, they agreed to pay half the expense of repainting.

My only other problem has been with the 1997 - just this summer. It began leaking fuel from the fuel rail on the engine. Because it was a recalled (and replaced part) many years ago, they put a new fuel rail on for free.

Sometimes you get what you dish out - If you are rude and pushy, don't expect much.

To all you nay sayers out there I'm sure you were never rude, demanding, pushy, whatever as you wee dealing with the local dealer or corporate!

I have never had to replace a transmission or any other major component - All of my vehicles have been power workorses (literally). And when I have traded them in, with near 200,000 miles each time they were running as well as they did they day I drove them off the lot.

There is a lot to be said for proper preventive maintenance.
38.flag stk Comment
Old Fat Guy - You are very, very lucky that you have had only positive experiences with your three Chrysler vehicles. The fact is that most many Chrysler owners have found their vehicles unreliable, which is reflected in the Consumer Reports data (Chrysler is the worst automobile manufacturer on quality and reliability. See the Consumer reports data above).

You intimate that those speaking negatively about Chrysler are somehow deserving of their woes, as some kind of retribution for being "rude, demanding, pushy". I find this a ludicrous suggestion, both biased and presumptuous.

For us, the facts are clear. Our Chrysler Grand Caravan mini-van was the worst car I've ever owned. In the 4 years we owned it, its value dropped an order of magnitude. The transmission failed shortly after we bought it and we replaced it with a costly "Genuine Mopar" replacement. Within 20,000 miles, the 2nd transmission failed. We couldn't get a straight answer from Chrysler customer service when we asked the simple question and Chrysler didn't honor their warranty when our second transmission failed, even though we had 16,000 miles remaining on the warranty mileage coverage.

As a general rule, in my experience with vehicles I've owned - and those driven by friends, family and co-workers - the only "maintenance" required for automatic transmissions has been to check the fluid level and top it up if needed. Something is wrong when people suggest that transmissions require "preventative maintenance" and/or special fluids.

I believe that in many year-models that Chrysler manufactured poorly engineered transmissions (and other parts). They denied this and tried to wash their hands of the matter, despite public outcry and appeal. Chrysler simply turned their back on many customers. You said it Old Fat Guy, "What goes around comes around." Now Chrysler is getting its due. Customer backlash. Horrible reliability and quality ratings. Vocal customers, like myself, who have had only negative experiences with their Chrysler cars and Chrysler customer service. And - ultimately - poor sales volume.

I posted this article as a warning to others. This is our experience, we'll never buy a Chrysler product and here's why. Don't spend thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money on a car made by a company with such an awful track record. There are lots of good automobile manufacturers. Steer clear of Chrysler and buy from someone else.

If you want to continue to support Chrysler Big Fat Guy, go right ahead. I would just argue that it's not the customers that got what they deserved because they were "rude, pushy and demanding" ... rather Chrysler is getting what it deserves for making unreliable cars, not taking responsibility and turning their back on customers..

39.flag Philip Ruehl Comment
I own a 1996 (172K) and 2002 (90K) T&C and they both go through a bunch of parts. The FT end suspensions are really expensive to fix. They go through brake rotors due to rust pitting every 2 or 3 years and I can't remember how may switches I have replaced.

I am on my second rebuilt transmission in my 1996. The first one at 78K. I also got the Chrysler rebuilt transmission and paid $2800.00 for it. It leaked (which Chrysler fixed under warranty) and had a bad gear whine, which caused the gear-set to fail at about 150K.

I got it rebuild with a new torque converter and gear set at a local shop for $1400.00. It works perfectly.

I would not recommend anyone buy a rebuilt from Chrysler. Go to local shops and get some estimates from them. The quality of the work will be better and you will be much happier with your vehicle. I finally woke up and quit using Chrysler service when they cross threaded the #1 spark plug in the cylinder head of my 96 and had to dissemble the engine to get the metal out of the cylinder.

I love both of the cars. The 2002 is much better than the 1996 and requires much less maintenance. They meet the family needs very well and have lasted much longer with less maintenance cost per mile than any of the imports I have owned in the past. I CAN ALSO FIND PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO FIX THEM and the parts are usually less than the imports. In short I would purchase another one but I would have it undercoated to prevent rust at a local shop (FORGET THE DEALER SERVICE). Also check that the dealer has removed the tape over the door drain holes. On my 02 they just punched holes in the tape (Lazy SOB's) and this causes a rust problem.

Finally, if you have one of these cars invest in a can of spray undercoat and spray the rear break lines where they come out from under the gas tank. They rust around the junction box and you have to remove the tank to replace them and that is expensive.
40.flag Jack Of Some Trade Comment
I found this link very interesting. There is a website call Allpar which provides extensive info on these products especially the transmission issues. For me I have used Swepco since purchasing my 95 Grand Voyager in 2003. It just died last night (Fuel Pump) and we are going to get rid of it. The Swepco Brand of oil is standard fare for Porsche and Ferrari club owners and is the standard trans oil for GT2 and GT3's. Not sure if it is in the trans of other Porsches but I suspect it is as they have 100,000 change intervals if needed. I replaced the motor after purchasing it (head gasket problem) then had the same problem again on the rebuild (3.0) motor 50,000 miles later. My mechanic told me the hash marks were still there in the cylinders. He has never seen that before meaning no wear. Miracle stuff. Never a problem with the transmission. My mechanic has machine to circulate and flush the trans with it (12 qt). It is the fluid mainly that is the problem besides the inherent poor designed. Had an 88 Mazda 323 trans eater also. Stopped dead on the freeway. Flushed and cleaned with other well know brand trans fluid but did not work. Swepco is $7.00 to $2.00 so I tried the others first. Swepcousa made it run better than new.
41.flag Too Sexy For My Van Comment
I have to laugh at your ignorance. I agree there are millions of Chrysler front wheel dive automatic transmission minivans/ cars that have failed. And they do get a very bad reputation. But its crazy how we believe everything we read. Its almost like firestone taking the brunt for Ford underinflating their tires and recomending their customers to do so by posting it as the vehichles recomended tire inflation psi. It was all fords faul. Tires blow from heat built up during underinflation. As with Chrysler automatic transmissions, there is this stuff called ATF plus 3. Its the recomended tranny fluid for these transmissions. I say recomended because if anyone puts Dextron ATF (The most common transmission fluid) into them, they eventually break because its viscosity is different and not meant for the transmission!!!! Tell your husband or juffy lube to use the right fluid and you'll be alright!
42.flag Jeepgirl Comment
Good day,

I am a very frustrated jeep owner. My husband recently purchased my first new vehicle for me in our 34 years of marriage. He bought me a jeep something I had wanted since I was a young girl, however it always eluded me, we had children, paid for educations, and now in this time of our lives he was able to purchase one for me. Well, it is 2010 brand new, from day one I have had issues, first the airbag wasn't working, after four trips to the dealer, keeping my new jeep for one week after that travelling 1200 kms with it they figured it out. They replaced the airbag. I got my jeep back and was happy, but that didn't last it was leaking, the roof apparently was not on right. Well, after that happened I was happy, but now we had another issue, the gear was slipping out of first when I drove, well apparently it was an issue they took it for another day and replaced the boot. Well, I was getting frustrated but I was reasonable, I thought this has to be it. Guess what, no we took it back two weeks later and was told the gears were stripped and needed new transmission apparently after they put it together something was wrong. Well, once again I drove away frustrated, a new transmission on a jeep sahara only six months old and less than 11,000 kms and may I add they put the first 1,000 or more on my vehicle themselves. Well, yesterday I took it back, there is now a banging in the rear of the jeep, my husband thinks shocks, spring or something more complicated. I phoned chrysler they didn;t want anything to do with me, they said they will fix it and that should make me happy. It doesn't this is clearly a lemon and I believe since I have shown good faith it should be replaced. My husband also bought a dodge ram, 2010 and my son purchased a jeep rubicon, did this not show our loyalty, however they show nothing in return, I am a disappointed jeep owner, and I find myself not wishing to purchase another vehicle that is a Chrysler product, they have turned me from a jubilant owner to a very disgruntled owner. I would have thought the customer service for Chrysler would be better than this.
43.flag stk Comment
Philip - You are a lot more accepting of your transmission problems than I. Three transmissions in your 1996 Chrysler Town & Country? Crazy! While we loved the interior design of our Grand Voyager, but having to repair or replace the transmission every 20,000 miles is too costly, absurd and unacceptable!

Jack Trade - Everyone's mileage will vary, but "a particular brand of transmission fluid" is not THE FIX for the poorly engineered Chrysler transmission. (i.e., we used the recommended Mopar 7176 fluid and our Chrysler transmission failed after only 20K miles).

Too Sexy - I'm not sure whose ignorance you're laughing at, but (a) that's rude; (b) our Chrysler was an AWD not a front-wheel drive; (c) Chrysler's horrible customer service, transmission and mechanical repair reputation is both well-documented and well-deserved; and (d) Mopar 7176 was the recommended fluid for our Chrysler transmission, not ATF3 as you claim.

JeepGirl - Sorry to hear of your Chrysler woes. It's very sad when people spend their hard-earned money buying Chrysler (Jeep, Chrysler or Dodge) vehicles and they end up needing repair, after repair, after repair. There is a point at which one needs to stop tossing good money after bad and say "adios" to Chrysler, their awful cars, horrible repair record and non-caring customer service. Your story is all too common. :(
44.flag jeremy Comment
i have never had a problem with mine maybe your just very unlucky!
45.flag stk Comment
Jeremy - Uh huh, Mr. (de-linked) auto-click-profile, the graph proving that Chrysler is the worst automaker tells me "I'm the only 'unlucky' one!" LMAO
46.flag Nick Comment
stk, I would suggest investing in a good pair of shoes if you want bulletproof transportation.
These types of problems occur with all vehicles on the road; it doesn't matter who manufactured the vehicle. Also, all manufacturers are inclined to reject every warranty claim they possibly can because it reduces their losses. And they do! I don't care if you own a Honda or Toyota; if your warranty has expired because of mileage, time, duties on your part, or any other number of factors, there are no exceptions. There are limits for reasons. If they replaced your transmission after your warranty has been up for four months, then they would have to fix every other issue for everyone else who was past their warranty expiration, too.

Acura and Honda have both had huge problems. In particular, the 5-speed automatic transmissions. Also, warping rotors, air conditioning leaks, wheel bearings, power steering leaks, etc.

General Motors had numerous issues with the pressure control solenoids in their 4T65E transmissions in their V6 equipped cars, which included those from Buick, Pontiac, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. Also, with their 3.8L V6 engines, the heat from the engine and EGR valve would melt the plastic intake manifold, causing coolant to leak into the engine, and in many cases, causing spun bearings and thrown connecting rods.

Mercedes-Benz had issues with their wiring harnesses in their S-Class sedans and coupes (their flagship product), due to the use of biodegradable insulation on the wires, which couldn't stand up to the heat in the engine bay. This caused a massive number of electrical issues and "gremlins" as they are affectionately named.

Subaru had issues with head gaskets blowing in their boxer engines. In many cases, replacing them can cost as much as the car is worth.

Ford had issues with the intake manifolds on their 5.0L engines. They also had numerous drivetrain problems including the transmission and 4 wheel drive system on their SUVs,

While these are all *common* issues, it is certainly not true that "most" owners of the various vehicles I've listed have had these problems.

By the way, it should be mentioned that while Mopar 7176 was the correct transmission fluid for your original 1993 transmission, it was NOT the correct fluid for a new rebuilt transmission. Manufacturer's replacement transmissions (Mopar, GM Goodwrench, etc.) are, in fact, rebuilt transmissions that once failed. By the time your Mopar transmission was rebuilt, ATF+4 was now the standard, (see Chrysler TSB # 21-010-06) and unless it was used to fill the replacement transmission, and serviced with ATF+4, it could've easily caused the premature failure. The 41TE transmission is HIGHLY sensitive to incorrect fluid. The most common problem, as stated by, is incorrect transmission fluid type. Simply draining and refilling with the correct fluid can solve many problems.

Also, programming the transmission computer with the latest software (there have been MANY updates since your van rolled off the assembly line in 1992) is also another possible solution to the transmission problems with Chrysler vehicles. From "Master tech Chris Taurman wrote: “changing the fluid in 1993-95 units is a short term fix; the TCM [Transmission Control Module] must be flashed or replaced to prevent the fluid from becoming degraded again and to eliminate partial ‘EMCC’ torque converter clutch operation, which was the cause of 90% of torque converter shudder complaints as well as the aforementioned bump down (shift scheduling changes in the software took care of most low mileage complaints).]”

Even incorrect transmission fluid filters (which can cause fluid starvation), and broken or corroded ground straps can cause these transmission to stop working.

Yes, it's nice that people can use the internet as a tool to express their concerns about the products they buy, and to inform themselves before they purchase, but it is quite misleading to state things like "most Chrysler owners have found their vehicles unreliable." You state that Consumer Reports is evidence of this. The problem with this argument is the fact that nearly 24 million Chrysler vehicles were sold in the US during the past twelve years. Mind you, this is US sales only. Your statement that "most Chrysler owners have found their vehicles unreliable" is completely inaccurate. Even if one chooses to define "most" as 51 percent, lets say, this would mean that more than 12 million Chrysler customers have found their vehicles unreliable in the past 12 years, which is not supported by your evidence at all. Also, the "graphs" that you have uploaded to this website are not cited, and therefore, have no relevance in this matter.

Also, it should be noted that most people do not post online about the great durability and longevity of their purchases. Most people, including yourself, use the internet to communicate only the problems they have had with a certain product. If someone who lacks logical reasoning looks at the number of websites that appear when searching "Chrysler Transmission Problem" in Google, they might infer that "most" Chrysler vehicles have transmission issues. when, in fact, this is simply incorrect.

Also, you stated that you purchased the 10-year-old van with approximately 73,000 miles on it. By 2003, these Chrysler 4-speed transmission problems were already well know, and well documented. It seems pretty ignorant of you to have not referred to the numerous online and offline resources about these vehicles before you purchased one. If you had researched, you, no doubt, have found information on Chrysler's 4-speed transmission.

Happy Trails,
47.flag stk Comment
Nick - Your comment is of the most dangerous variety. At first blush, it appears to be well thought out, contain good information & by the end, one might believe that I have unfairly picked on Chrysler, whom is no better or worse than any other automobile manufacturer. Unfortunately, it contains incorrect information, flawed logic and erroneous conclusions. Let's examine what you say:

Your comment starts off in a disarming manner, offering some sage advice about "bulletproof transportation", suggesting that "these types of problems occur with all vehicles" and then you give several examples. This leaves the reader with the impression that you have great knowledge about automobiles and suggests that my complaints regarding our Chrysler mini-van transmission woes is just a case of sour grapes.

Firstly, at no point in my article do I profess to be seeking "bulletproof transportation". I think everyone understands that an automobile is a complex piece of machinery that contains many moving parts. Sometimes these parts wear out, need replacing and their failure may cause owners a certain amount of grief and cost. (Humorous side note: on our last trip to Mexico, we took your advice and walked back to Canada!)

Secondly, to my way of thinking, repeated transmission failures - due to poor engineering - falls under the category of "major automobile repair". Such repairs are NOT common across all automobile manufacturers.

Thirdly, despite your examples of known manufacturer problems, these other manufacturers still managed to score much higher in the 2009 Consumer Reports reliability and quality tests than Chrysler, which is clearly pegged as the worst automobile manufacturer. How can that be if "these types of problems occur with all vehicles"? Might it be because they don't happen as often with other manufacturers? That they aren't as major? That they are dealt with differently, perhaps by honoring edge-case warranties or by recalling automobiles and fixing known faults?

The data clearly show that Chrysler isn't just another manufacturer, they are the worst manufacturer.

Your comment then goes on to make some specific technical suggestions regarding our Chrysler transmission: "while Mopar 7176 was the correct transmission fluid for your original 1993 transmission, it was NOT the correct fluid for a new rebuilt transmission, citing an unlinked Chrysler Technical Service Bulletin. There was also some advice about the transmission "brain" and you included a quote from a Master Technician.

Wow. Impressive. You sure do know your stuff, eh? (Or do you?)

Firstly, there is much discussion regarding fluid type for the Chrysler transmissions ... you even say "The 41TE transmission is HIGHLY sensitive to incorrect fluid." and then state "Simply draining and refilling with the correct fluid can solve many problems.", but Master Technician Chris Tauman says, "changing the fluid in 1993-95 units is a short term fix".

I am confused. Will replacing transmission fluid with the proper fluid fix many problems or is it only a short term fix? Which is it? And what fluid is the "correct" fluid?

You cite Chrysler TSB #21-010-06 and say I should have used ATF+4.

But this Technical Service Bulletin is dated April 14, 2006 and our genuine Mopar rebuilt transmission was installed in the spring of 2004 ... fully two years before this Technical Service Bulletin was published!

Our year/make isn't listed in this Technical Service Bulletin. (Voyager is listed 4 times .. but none are for year 1993. All are 1996 or newer).

Hey Nick, guess what? This Technical Service Bulletin does not even apply to our vehicle! Hmmm. I'm still confused about what fluid to use. TSB #21-010-06 supercedes TSB #21-010-04, perhaps the 2004 document will shed some light?

It does, as it says: "This bulletin applies to all transmissions manufactured by Chrysler except for 1999 and earlier minivans with the 41TE/AE transmission."

Nick, you don't know what you're talking about. Neither the Technical Service Bulletin you cited, nor the one it supersedes, pertains to our transmission. You state that our transmission is highly sensitive to fluid type and then proceed to tell me to use the "wrong" fluid. LOL.

But this exercise isn't pointless, as the obvious confusion regarding fluid type, the need to update the computer instructions and the suggestions regarding cooling, the filter or ground straps all tells me something ... that Chrysler is grasping at straws to find a "fix" for this poorly designed transmission. It's all smoke-and-mirrors to mask the real problem which is that these poorly-designed transmissions self-destruct.

Thinking (erroneously) that he's made some very good points, Nick then goes for the jugular ... suggesting what I write is misleading, saying that I use the internet only to communicate problems, discounting graphs because they are "not cited" and suggesting it was "ignorant of [me] not to have referred to the numerous online and offline resources about [our van] before we purchased one".

Well Nick, I've already demonstrated that you don't know what you're talking about, so why stop here?

First though, I will concede one point (upon which you focus heavily). I should have used the word "many", rather than "most" in my reply to Old Fat Guy. Unfortunately, comments don't typically receive the same sort of editorial critique that the main article does and I have rectified it.

After conceding this minor (hair-splitting) point, let me go on to the rest of your assertions.

Firstly, we are not "most people" and do not use the Internet simply to communicate only our negative experiences. If you had taken the time Nick, you would have seen that we make a concerted effort to provide balance in the category "GoodCo-BadCo" (Good Companies - Bad Companies). For as many bad experiences that we've had, we also have good experiences - and write about them. Chrysler just happens to be one of the worst (and costliest) ones we've had.

Secondly, they are not "graphs" (i.e., "so-called graphs") ... they are graphs. Also, your inability to spot a citation doesn't mean there isn't one, as the source is clearly cited in the "Update-July 2010" section - including page number. I'm happy to cite it again: April 2009 Issue of Consumer Reports Canada magazine, pp 14-17.

As much as you wish to discount these data, they remain valid and indicate clearly that we are not alone in experiencing reliability issues with Chrysler (in general) and our 1993 Chrysler Grand Voyager LE mini-van 41TE transmission (specifically). Chrysler is in a class by itself when it comes to manufacturing poorly-made, unreliable cars!

Lastly, you suggest that it was ignorant of me that I didn't research online and offline information prior to our purchase, "that these Chrysler 4-speed transmission problems were already well known". I laugh at this. Your original tenet and supposition is that "these types of problems occur with all vehicles on the road" ... that Chrysler is no different than any other manufacturer. Use the right fluid, flash your brain, use the right filter and you'll be fine. Well, which is it? Should I have shied away from purchasing this Chrysler after my research or should I just follow the advice of Master Technicians and Technical Service Bulletins?

As one might expect from a retired geophysicist, I did research the vehicle prior to purchase. And, as you had originally suggested, understood that all manufacturers have some kinds of problems with various year/make/models. I thought, as you suggested, if I used the correct fluid, filter and cooler, drove conservatively and smoothly, that I could avoid transmission problems that some others were experiencing. HA! We got burned. Hindsight is 20-20!

For these reasons, I stand by what I wrote. Our Chrysler vehicle was the worst I've ever owned. It cost us many thousands of dollars. Chrysler customer service was horrible. They did not acknowledge their failure, nor did they help. Heck, they couldn't even answer a simple question! I write this as a warning to others: Do not buy a Chrysler (Jeep, Dodge or Plymouth) vehicle. Not based on just our experience, but look at Consumer Reports. Chrysler vehicles (Dodge, Jeep & Plymouth) are sub-par. Spend your hard-earned money on another vehicle, one made by a more reputable automobile manufacturer.

Chrysler could have handled the 41TE transmission problems much differently. They could have put out a recall. They could have communicated with customers (regarding fluid-type, coolers, filters, etc.) And by communication, I don't mean Technical Service Bulletins ... I mean letters sent to home addresses. They could have replaced controllers, extended warranties ... or ... (perhaps easiest of all) ... engineered a long-lasting transmission.

In the end, they chose to deny there was a problem. They chose not to honor warranties. They allowed, perhaps even authored smoke-and-mirrors confusion over fluid-type, controller instructions, filters, ground straps and coolers. The bottom line is that their decisions affected their reputation and - where it hurts - their bottom line. Chrysler had to be bailed out - not once, but twice by the government! They continue to manufacture unreliable, sub-par automobiles, trucks, SUVs and mini-vans. They are now reaping what they sowed. It couldn't happen to a better company. What goes around, comes around.

Nick, thanks for writing. As you can see, I do not tire of talking about our horrible experience with Chrysler!

48.flag Hugh Comment
I have owned a Ford EXP, Ford Mustang, Jeep Cheerokee and a Chrysler Town & COuntry and I'll never buy another make from either one of these again. Spent thousands of dollars on repair bills on each one of them. Buy American yep keep people employed fixing them.
I now have a toyota with 53K on it and no problems what so ever. Bye Bye GM Ford & Chrysler
49.flag Majiktom Comment
I am a very UNhappy owner of a 2011 Journey R/T. The car itself is not that bad, but the sales experience at Calgary Courtesy Dodge was the worst example of Sales possible.

I bought my car in February and requested "Fully Loaded". Little did I know that "Fully Loaded" apparently does not actually mean "Every Available Option" which is what I was implying. So of course when I refused to drive the car off the lot because it didn't have all the options I was expecting, they humbly "Promised" I would get everything on it added "in a few weeks". Sure it's amended in the sales contract, but here I am 4 months later and still waiting for parts, and the rear bench with child integrated seats was installed but doesn't work properly. They even tried to convince me that "it's not supposed to move back and forward", until I proved them wrong with a car sitting in their showroom.

The Bluetooth sync isn't even available yet as an accessory, it has to be installed at the factory to get it.

What's a roofrack without the crossbars? "Oh that's extra."

But the best disappointment of all is laughable. I made sure I ordered the Tow Package. I drive 250km to pickup a trailer and when I get there, there's no Hitch! When you confront the dealer, they say, "Oh that's extra." It's like buying a TV with built-in DVD, but the optical drive is extra.

So I ask if they can install the hitch, but they refer me to an aftermarket shop because they "don't install hitches". The shop they refer me to never installed a hitch on a 2011 Journey, so I go to another who has. When they get it all hooked up, nothing works. They've been through this before and had to replace the entire cable system which apparently is "often defective".

So, $2,000 later with all the other "options" I didn't get with my "Fully Loaded" Journey, and I'm still waiting for other parts and accessories I ordered with my "New" car back in February. Oh and by the way, "it's all extra."

In hind sight, I would have bought a Nissan...
50.flag Geo Comment
Our 2010 Dodge Caravan Transmission failed at 22,000 KM and 14 mths afer purchase. Most of the milage is highway driving - which included 2 trips to Florida from Toronto The dealer still has it after 1 week????? - The problem is 1st and reverse gears.
51.flag Phil Comment
noticed steam comming from the front of my 2002 Dodge mini-van, so guess what I went straight to the dealer....Big mistake spent over eight hundred dollars, had tranny service done, winter maintenance, and a new waterpump to boot.
Well I am driving along the highway and there is this steam again...back I go to the dealer, now the mechanic tells me that there is a little hole in the radiator, just then a lightbulb goes on in my head that was the problem to start with... they gave me an estimate of six hundred to repair the original problem... small leak,I say never mind.
The story even gets better, remember the tranny service...I start noticing red fluid all over my driveway, so being as bright as I am I take the van back to the dealer.....well they do not have time to repair it so a young mechanic checks the leak says that it's not bad and gives me the rest of the container of tranny fluid, at no cost I might add.
Jan 24 th back I go to the dealer hoping to cure this leak that I thing was caused by their tranny service, had things to do so I left the vehicle.... phone rings an hour and a half later and its the service advisor informing me that they found the cause of the leak, POROUS METAL on a transmission solenoid. It cost me over five hundred dollars to get my minivan back that day, so I feel that I have been scammed.
Next time I an buying a Honda my wife has one and gets way better service from their dealer>
posted by Gate at 6:50 PM on Feb 14, 2005
52.flag Mike Comment
I hate to say it, but I think the tranny in our 1994 Chrysler TC is finally done for. After 300,700+ miles, it may be done for. I will drain, change filter, and refill to see if I can get some more life out of it. Can't afford another car or laid off in March...ain't life grand!! lol
53.flag Rob Comment
I had to replace the transmission in my 1997 Dodge Caravan AWD after just over 70,000 miles. Which is what I think the original warranty period was. That was an expensive and very aggrevating experience. But that was not the worst part of owning the vehicle. The worst part cam when at 100,00 parts relating to the AWD compnents began wearing out and failing. Then the problem became the fact that aftermarket does not carry these parts. Chrysler took advantage of that fact and began raping customers until they literally began running out of parts at which time they simply stopped "supporting" these vehicles at any price. I was simply told, we do not have the parts, we have them on back order and do not know when or if we will have them in the future...
54.flag RB Comment
Wow... After reading this I wish I hadn't invested in a 05 Grand Voyager. I've actually been wishing that for quite some time. We haven't lost our tranny yet but have had a computer go out, intermittent wiper problem which was a different computer, Vehicle dying, ground problems, power steering pump fail, Window motors fail, power locks fail, rear vent motor fail, rear hatch stuck, various noises, wheel bearings disintegrated, and the list goes on. We have been left stranded more time that I would like to admit, but Chrysler mechanics have been real friendly and gotten us back on the road fairly quick, as they smiled on their way to the bank. When you spend approximately 25k on a vehicle you don't expect to spend half the cost of the vehicle on repairs.
55.flag Joker Comment
Hahaha well your dumb maybe you should service your vehicles more often and FYI just because something has a tow package doesn't mean it's designed to tow stuff!! Considering a minivan usually has the same motor as the cars that company manufactures. The van was probably bagged to sh$& before you got it.
56.flag stk Comment
Dear "Joker" - Your argument is very compelling. Using a lack of punctuation, improper capitalization, along with name-calling, you've clearly demonstrated that you possess a much higher intellect than I and are undoubtedly, an expert on Chrysler cars. LMFAO!

Firstly, comments from people that are afraid to use their real names are immediately suspect. Secondly, your suggestion that "[I] should service [my] vehicles more often" only confirms a problem with Chrysler-manufactured vehicles, because I serviced our mini-van following the Chrysler's own guidelines. Thirdly, to suggest that our car was "bagged to sh$& before [we] got it" is (a) not true and (b) irrelevant, considering that we paid for and installed a "Genuine Mopar" transmission (which was new to our vechicle and which failed - independently - within less than 20,000 miles).

Sorry "Joker", the joke's on you, since my argument withstands your illogical, name-calling onslaught. I'm a real person who experienced the misfortune of purchasing a Chrysler mini-van that contained a horribly-engineered transmission. I'll never buy a Chrysler manufactured vehicle again and I recommend anyone even remotely thinking of purchasing a Chrysler (Jeep, Dodge or Plymouth) car, truck, SUV or mini-van ... NOT TO DO SO! Chrysler continues to have the worst ranked models and reputation among all manufacturers. Save yourself the headache and spend your hard-earned money on a better car, built by a different manufacturer!
57.flag CraplerNoMore Comment
So get this, it's not bad enough that these Chrysler d-bags could never make a reliable 4 speed transmission (we had trouble with our '89 Grand Caravan transmission and everything else), but now these tools want to make 8 speeds. I guess they want to corner the market for bad 8 speeds too. Have you seen their commercial for the 300 with the 70's music. Come on Crapler. They are horrible. service is horrible, and parts are garbage. Oh and why does it take an 8 speed transmission to only make 31 much for the great fuel economy they claim. Never by Crapler! Buy American doesn't mean buy mediocrity. Just my 2 cents.
58.flag John0132 Comment
Not to be a party-pooper, but I could take all of these Chrysler complaints and substitute the word Volkswagon. I bought my first (used) Volkswagon Vanagon POS in 1985. Not learning my lesson, I bought my new 1987 VW Vanagon in 1988. To be fair, the VW's didn't have tranny, the problem was different each year. I spent almost a $1,000 a year solving one problem after the other.

What does this have to do with Chrysler? I traded in my 1987 VW POS in 1996 pending an $800 repair for a new Dodge Caravan. Put 70K on it and all I replaced was a $100 Crankshaft Position Sensor. Trouble-free van. I traded it on a 2001 Caravan with the 2.4L 3-speed. It has 78,000 miles, and I have replaced one(1) part, a $400 alternator. It's still running fine.

Both of my Dodges were/are trouble-free, get good mileage for their size (24 MPG), and have performed virtually flawlessly. They were a breath of fresh air from the nightmare of my Volkswagon ownership.

I can't speak to the problems others have had although I have heard the reports of bad transmission. Nonetheless, I have been and remain pleased with the performance of these vehicles.

P.S. my Daughter owned a Neon which was totaled in an accident, then a Cirrus which she later traded on a new car, and my Son owns a 2004 Stratus. These vehicles performed as expected for used cars. yes, they have needed repairs from time to time, but no more so than any other make or model.
59.flag stk Comment
CraplerNoMore - I'll echo those sentiments! Never buy Crapler!

John0132 - No problem! Poop away! (It's a free world and we welcome all sides to the argument. Edited your comment to fix the correction too, BTW).

I can't really speak to buying *new*, as ours was used, but I can say that the mechanic that replaced our failed transmission did indicate that about 70k is what you can expect (plus or minus) out of these poorly engineered Chrysler transmissions. Perhaps you got lucky on your '96 Dodge Caravan, since you sold it precisely at 70k miles? (Apparently, we didn't, as our "Genuine Mopar Replacement" transmission failed around 20k) :(

Glad you weren't burned, but although I did buy a 1967 VW Camper van (in 1982) and drove it for a few years (it was fun, but did require loads of attention). I've generally steered clear of VW products, as your experience isn't isolated (i.e., Volkswagen doesn't rate really "high" on the reliability portion of the customer satisfaction chart posted at the bottom of the article) ;)
60.flag PCmedic Comment
My 2008 Grand Caravan's Transmission died this week with about 70,000 miles. The dealer informed me that the unlimited drive train warranty (now 5/100,000 transferable) was not valid since the car was sold to me by my parents. They have a complete log of servicing and had all the recalls (breaks, and air bags) taken care of.
61.flag Lena Comment
Well.... I worked for Chrysler for 13 years, Chev for 3 years and Ford for 2. I've owned Fords, Chevs a Dodge truck and 3 Chrysler vans (currently own a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 and a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country). There are issues with ALL manufacturers, foreign or domestic. There are tranny, engine and whatever else problems in ALL manufacturers. The problem that you had with a USED van that you honestly have no idea of how it was driven (even though it looked in great shape) and did you have it checked out BEFORE you bought it??? There is NO manufacturer who would have stepped up to the plate for you. Were you a loyal customer? Did you have your maintenance performed at a certain dealership? Or, did you only contact them when you had a problem? Why should they put forward any effort to help you if you hadn't been loyal to them?
62.flag stk Comment
Lena - It is interesting to see perspective from someone who has worked for a variety of automobile manufacturers. However, I believe you've missed the point.

For sure, all manufactured vehicles will have a variety of mechanical issues. However, as the graphs indicate above, Chrysler has - consistently - been ranked as one of the most unreliable of brands. That's a fact.

The focus of our discontent is not the replacement of the first transmission. As you point out, it may likely have failed by the way the previous owner drove and/or maintained the vehicle. We're on about the Genuine Mopar replacement transmission, for which we paid a premium price, which failed with less than 20,000 miles on it and for which Chrysler refused to warranty.

Admittedly, the warranty time period had expired by four months, so yes ... technically they were no longer bound by the warranty. I recognize that. However, and I think most people would agree, that 20,000 miles between transmission replacements is not a hallmark of excellence in engineering.

Only loyal customers deserve help? That's a ridiculous notion. Companies that go above-and-beyond will win my loyalty ... I should not be required to prove to a company that I have demonstrated loyalty prior to such help. (And since you admit you've "owned Fords, Chevs, a Dodge truck and 3 Chrysler vans" ... I'm wondering where you think your loyalties lie?)

Regarding maintenance ... what maintenance should a transmission require? Of all of the vehicles that I have ever driven, not one required transmission maintenance. I perform most of the maintenance work on vehicles I own and I take umbrage with the concept that automobile dealerships somehow provide "superior" maintenance. In my experience, they do not.

Although the warranty period was up, we appealed to Chrysler by suggesting that a manufacturer should stand by their products (rather than hiding behind black-and-white contract language). You will note however, this was not our chief complaint with Chrysler (a contract is a contract, eh?).

No ... it was the poor treatment we received from customer service when, right after we bought the Mopar replacement transmission, we sought to verify that the U.S. warranty would be honored at a Canadian dealership (should warranty work be needed). THAT ... plus the fact that the Chrysler Mopar transmission ... ergo the drive-train of our mini-van ... ergo the entire vehicle ... is CRAP. It was poorly engineered and failed ... repeatedly.

Why should people spend their hard-earned money on a vehicle that requires a new transmission every 20,000 or so miles? Answer - they shouldn't! There's loads of better automobile manufacturers out there. Buy from them! That's our message. ;-)
63.flag Lena Comment
Mike... That's AWESOME!! :D 300,700+ MILES!! I love your sense of humour ;)

One of our customers, while I was at Chrysler, had over 500,000 kms 312,500 miles on her 1984 Chrysler van when if finally kicked the bucket. Did she buy another Chrysler?? You betcha!! And she still has not had a problem with her new vehicle in 10+ years and 200,000 kms later.
64.flag Charlie~Girl Comment
I realize this page started years ago and I have not read thru the comments and really it's neither here nor there now that you no longer have the minivan, but for other Caravan/T&C/Voyager minivan owners note: BEFORE YOU SPEND THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON A NEW OR REBUILT TRANSMISSION, CHECK THE TRANSMISSION SENSORS FIRST!!! I had a '93 Caravan and I currently have '96 Caravan. I believe there are three (3) sensors for the transmission on these vans and those are more likely to fail first and if a shady mechanic can get you for a new or rebuilt tranny and just change the sensors, then he's making bank folks!! Lived & learned with the honest mechanic, my boyfriend!
65.flag Charlie~Girl Comment
Oh and on an added note: the '93 Caravan had over 318,000 miles on it when we sold it. The '96 Caravan has over 226,000 miles on and it still runs great. Although I agree, Chrysler definitely needs to own up to their defective products, I basically think these are good running vans. One of my bigger complaints is the serpentine belt always falls off after a storm if I hit a puddle on the passengers side! (being in sunny Calif., I tend to forget occassionally!)
66.flag Charlie~Girl Comment
I decided I would like to suscribe to receive new comments since I don't see any other mention of the transmission sensors, so I guess I need to submit another post to do so. (apologies)
67.flag Tony Comment
I purchased a second hand 1995 Chrysler Voyager in 2006 here in Switzerland. It already had 170,000 km on it (106,000 miles). Now I had already owned one Plymouth Voyager in Canada and had the transmission fail at 135,000 km. I also had occasional brake problems and little annoying things, but I was able to live with the problems of my first Voyager.

When I had the opportunity to buy the second used Voyager I realized that if it was still running, it had probably already had a replaced transmission.... if not, then I did not have a lemon. I thought, well it is very cheap and very comfortable and therefore it is a devil that I know.

Since 2006 I have rebuilt springs, had to replace the front steering link... it has had constant electrical gremlins and brake fluid lines. However, the annual costs have not been to high. Now I have reached 256,000 km (160,000 miles) and I am having transmission problems. But they are related to the transmission coooler and (most probably) the input / output speed sensors. Have purchased new sensors for very little money... mechanically the Automat i still working... my last problem was a ruptured Transmission Fluid line... anyway, what is my point?

These are incredibly comfortable cars. When they work they are lovely. And my present car has served me nearly 60,000 miles. I must agree with the advocates of regular servicing... this is a very good idea if you have a new car. I feel sorry for those of you who have bought new Chryslers and your warantees are over or not honored. I would never EVER buy a new Chrysler vehical again. That said, a used Chrysler Van can normally be purchased very inexpensively becasue of their very poor reputation. If you take your van to a local knowledgeable mecanic, and not a Chrysler dealership, you can maintain this car for years at not exhorbidant costs. It is a very, very old design now, and all the gremlins and solutions are available to be read online... so even lay persons have a good chance of identifying and arranging relativley inexpensive repairs.

Still, I must admit, I am not sure I will be able to master the current Transmisson problems, and I will be faced with purchasing a replacement.

The replacement will most probably be a Chrysler Voyager 2.4 year 1996-2001 with manual transmission. They are comfortable, easy to fix and very inexpensive to purchase second hand and to insure.

I only use the van for vacations when I must drive a long way with a good air conditioning, on highways. For day to day driving I use my Opel Vectra, a good GM product built here in Europe.

Moral of this storey: I cannot ever recommend purchasing a new Chrysler Voyager. Secondly, a second hand Voyager may in the long run not be as expensive and difficult to manage as most people here have experienced. Stick to knowledgeable and trustworthy local mechanics instead of Chrysler Dealerships. Their flexible ideas of repairs may be more effective than the stard ones from Chrysler.
68.flag Chris Comment
I have had 3 mini vans and one jeep from chrysler. my jeep was a nightmare. first the AC goes with only 20,000 miles on it. the jeep made it to 130,000 miles before the transmission died. first was the same model as you, but a 1991. the plymoth AWD was my first. like you i bought it used (117,000 miles on it). other than the transfer case needing to be replaced, i never needed to do more than maintain it. it was a great car up to 210,000 miles. my second was a 94 plymoth front wheel drive. it made it all the way to 89,000 miles and then the transmission died. everything on the van was in "like new" condition. ALL services have been done on time for this van. i was the second owner (got it from my uncle). couldnt believe the difference between the quality of my first and my second. so stupid me buys another one. this time a town and country AWD. again used, with 100,000 miles on it (i was thinking that it would be as good as my first one since it was the"top of the line" for that year. 2 month later the transfer case goes. $1,200 later, rebuilt transfer case. now upto 110,000 miles on it and the transmission is starting to go. im still driving it, but only close to home. friends of mine have 3 honda accords, each with OVER 200,000 miles on them. i think i know what my next car will be...
69.flag Matthew K Comment
Just to let everyone know , found a true gem at work the other day...1994 Grand Voyager... original owner.. 595,000 miles....
...scariest part... original transmission... :)
70.flag TC Comment
I own a 2012 jeep with gears grinding and rarely popping out. Took me 4 weeks to hear back from Chrysler and the BS they can come up with while telling me that I'm a valued customer ... it's unbelievable.
71.flag JIM ANDERSEN Comment
72.flag Bill Comment
Chrysler has been plagued with problems for decades. Their transmissions are notoriously unreliable, and their engines are even worse. Nevermind the various other components that several times before the transmission does, which adds up quickly.

I wasted so much money on these pieces of junk... 1. a 2000 Dodge Intrepid with 30,000 miles bought in 2002, needed a new transmission in 2005, then an alternator, then a fuel pump, then another transmission in 2006. Junked it and bought a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 146,000 miles on it, drove it until 2007 when the head gasket went, then bought a new 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 which needed a new transmission in 2011 (covered by warranty), then a new engine in 2012 (not covered by warranty). Also had to replace oil pump and master cylinder. Last I saw that heap, it was being towed off to a junk yard with only 68,000 miles on it.

O, and by the way, before the loyalist morons start with me, I take EXCELLENT care of my cars. All scheduled maintenance is performed on time with top quality parts by an ASE Certified Master Auto Technician with 18 years of experience (my brother).

Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler are just junk. They are unreliable. I came to my senses after that Charger fiasco and bought a 2006 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG with 96,000 miles on it. I still drive it today, have never had a single issue with it, and it has 118,000 miles on it.

I will never buy another Chrysler POS ever again.
73.flag Michael Comment
those are possibly some of the worst transmissions ever built. they've been problematic for many decades and probably since the very beginning. My uncle had a '91 LeBaron and it went through like 3 transmissions (all under warranty though) and a lot of other things. In the end the fuel line broke and the car caught fire just after thanksgiving of '98, and that was the end of that car.
I might advise that next time you purchase a vehicle, do some research on the overall mechanical quality of the vehicle before you buy it, and if a transmission or engine ever does fail like this, get rid of it! don't even bother fixing it because you're much better off spending your money on a new and better car.
74.flag stk Comment
Michael - Seriously. I am surprised they're still in business. Lord knows I've done my best to help with their demise. Bottom line - Chrysler sucks.