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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I posted on here a few times years back as I drove my beloved 1994 AWD GC, but now I'm here to get serious. That first '94 blew the spider gears inside the transaxle and due to severe rust I regretfully sent it to the junkyard.



I then bought another 1994 for $1000, identical except for the AWD, from an older guy who had service records from 1997 on. Runs and drives perfect, a little rust... BUT



This week I found a 1994 (also GREEN?!?) Grand Caravan AWD with only 109,000 miles, little old lady story, mint condition in and out, no rust anywhere... for $900. So I'm jumping the greyhound friday next week to go pick it up and drive it 660 miles home.

This one I just bought slips in 3rd gear (but not OD he claims) between 35 and 40 mph. The owner still drives it regularly on the highway 1 hour each way to work. He hasn't done anything to it for the trans as his mechanic quoted him 2K for a replacement right off the bat.

So anyway, I'm trying to decide if I should try all the external trans fixes first (+4 fluid change, mopar filter, solenoid pack, PCM update) or just put a reman in now. My price on a reman is $1300.

Here is my question. Under the circumstances, do you think I should bite the bullet and swap the transmission out right away, or should I spend a few hundred trying new fluid, solenoid pack, etc. ??
 

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Has the TCM been scanned for stored codes??? Do this first before throwing money at the tranny. Just my $0.02.

FredB
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'd love to do this before hitting the road as if the trans goes into limp-home I'll have to do a ground-off reset while travelling.

Is this something I can do myself using the key-blink check engine light process, or will I have to get a special tester to perform this on the TCM?
 

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Has to be done at the dealer or tranny shop with the proper scanner. Be sure to ask for the CVI's (Clutch Volume Index). Will tell you about clutch wear. Just my $0.02.

FredB
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think I'm going to head home with it as-is at an unhurried pace, make a journey out of it.

Once I get home I'll make a final decision, but my inclination is to get a fresh rebuild right away and begin with a clean slate - that way I can concentrate on maintaining the paint, interior and other systems as needed.

I'm afraid if I start wishful thinking about the transmission I'll waste several hundred dollars on diagnose and fluid change, only to have to replace it anyway. With a reman I'm pretty confident I can pull another 100,000 miles out of this van, which isn't a bad deal for what will be about a $2500 total investment. I only drive about 3-5000 miles a year, so with luck this will be the last van I ever need to buy.
 

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I would suggest at least having the codes pulled and getting the CVIs. Hate to see you replace the trans if it just needs a speed sensor or a broken wire?
 

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Hi all,

I posted on here a few times years back as I drove my beloved 1994 AWD GC, but now I'm here to get serious. That first '94 blew the spider gears inside the transaxle and due to severe rust I regretfully sent it to the junkyard.

I then bought another 1994 for $1000, identical except for the AWD, from an older guy who had service records from 1997 on. Runs and drives perfect, a little rust... BUT

This week I found a 1994 (also GREEN?!?) Grand Caravan AWD with only 109,000 miles, little old lady story, mint condition in and out, no rust anywhere... for $900. So I'm jumping the greyhound friday next week to go pick it up and drive it 660 miles home.

This one I just bought slips in 3rd gear (but not OD he claims) between 35 and 40 mph. The owner still drives it regularly on the highway 1 hour each way to work. He hasn't done anything to it for the trans as his mechanic quoted him 2K for a replacement right off the bat.

So anyway, I'm trying to decide if I should try all the external trans fixes first (+4 fluid change, mopar filter, solenoid pack, PCM update) or just put a reman in now. My price on a reman is $1300.

Here is my question. Under the circumstances, do you think I should bite the bullet and swap the transmission out right away, or should I spend a few hundred trying new fluid, solenoid pack, etc. ??
Green .... could mean that you are Irish. :)

What does he mean by "slips in 3rd gear"? a bump? a high revving engine? What actually happens? Has the fluid level been checked? How old is the fluid, is it ATF+4? Perhaps it has worn out the frictional properties of the fluid. Quick quotes by a Mechanic without having the transmission scanned by a transmission shop means diddly-squat.
 

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Hey!

I changed all the sensors, fluid, filter, wire harness , AMCO -- no luck. Turns out, the tranny computer covers are not making contact with the output transistor black heat bars, causing them to distort. Easy to check. If the bees-wax is bubbled along these heat sinks, there's your problem. Junkyard purchase, just open them up first. No bubbles, It will probably work. Mine did! Shame on you Chrysler.
Also, Type F works so much better than +4. So much smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I picked up this "bad transmission" AWD van from Kansas City, and we drove it 1100 miles home.

The fellow that owned it lived in the hill country west of town, and he didn't have an owner's manual. Transmission worked perfectly if you knew how to work the gear lever and the overdrive button as described in the manual.

It did have a fairly noticeable torque converter shudder, + the TCM was original and unflashed, so it tried to shift into 3rd below 40mph.

Today I went to our local Chrysler dealer (small town Indiana) and had a complete trans flush and fill, the power output and rear differential serviced, and new clutch fluid for the torque splitter.

The van.drives.perfect.

Here's a photo - the best $900 vehicle in history. Not a spot of rust, and the interior is perfect. I'll be painting the cladding as it is beat up from stone roads. Thanks for all the help with this guys!

Oh and BTW - 24 mpg on the road, I even got 22 mpg with a full sized couch tied to the roof.

 
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