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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone. I just joined. I purchased a 2001 Town and Country 3.3 L from a neighbor back in 2008-ran great and I think they had taken good care of it. It ran great for me until 2014 when at 142K miles, the transmission started to have problems. I don't know if I noticed anything until one day (if my memory serves me well) the van seemed to lose power. I pulled into a parking lot near my home, waited for a few minutes. When I restarted the car and tried to back out, I noticed I had no reverse. A couple of men pushed me backwards and I was able to drive to a nearby store. I was advised to get some transmission fluid to add, which I did. (I know more about that now--I am not even sure it was properly checked.) I drove it home and again, may have improperly added more fluid. Now it is overfull and I know how to remove the excess fluid, which I will do. I let the van sit for the past 8 years! When I looked at it a few days ago, I checked all fluids and that's when I noticed it was overfull on the ATF. I was able to start the van after installing a new battery and cleaning the battery cables, and the engine sounds really good. When I put it into gear, the reverse does not engage, sometimes makes no sound and sometimes maybe a very soft grinding noise. I did not have the space to move but I was able to put it into Drive and move it forward a couple of inches. I have read a great deal online, I am not trained in automotive but I have actually worked on my other working vehicle a few times. A good friend of mine who noticed the malfunctions believed the problem may be in the solenoid. I never dropped the pan or changed the filter and I am inclined to do that--and also considering changing the solenoid with a kit. I believe I can do that in my driveway. After researching on the internet, it seems some mechanics seem to lean towards getting rid of the transmission whereas others seem to think that changing the fluid, filter, and maybe the solenoid, too, can have dramatic improvements in the function of the transmission. Before I order the solenoid, I will try to check the electrical connections for that. I looked under the van, and if I was not mistaken, it appears that trans pan and solenoid are covered in oil. What I was hoping for is for someone could interpret the codes TOGETHER as they relate to different features and to answer the $64,000 question: If I do the fixes/maintenance I am quite willing to do--is there a decent chance I can take my van for a nice ride or will I have to junk it. I am not willing to rebuild the transmission. Thank you in advance.
 

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fix it if you can
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Welcome,
If you want to get the van back on the road, drop the pan and see what's on the magnet first - if you find shrapnel, it needs transmission replaced (if it's fine you can try the solenoid pack)
You should pull TCM relay and see if you get Limp Home mode 2dn and reverse - if you get no reverse chances of solenoid solving it are pretty slim.

P0601 is a TCM failure code, if you peel back the splash shield in front of front driver's side wheel you can see TCM - it's probably corroding through case...

If you just want to get rid of the van, sell it as is and let someone else deal with it. You can spend a lot of time and money on it for nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome,
If you want to get the van back on the road, drop the pan and see what's on the magnet first - if you find shrapnel, it needs transmission replaced (if it's fine you can try the solenoid pack)
You should pull TCM relay and see if you get Limp Home mode 2dn and reverse - if you get no reverse chances of solenoid solving it are pretty slim.

P0601 is a TCM failure code, if you peel back the splash shield in front of front driver's side wheel you can see TCM - it's probably corroding through case...

If you just want to get rid of the van, sell it as is and let someone else deal with it. You can spend a lot of time and money on it for nothing.
Thank you--I will follow through on your advice tomorrow. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you--I will follow through on your advice tomorrow. Much appreciated.
Well, I decided to start with the removal of the TCM relay first as it would be the fastest--I thought. I could not find a relay named that, even after going online for a couple of hours. Finally, I found a comment that the EATX SAFETY SHUTDOWN RELAY was the same as a TCM relay. It didn't sound like a TCM relay to me, but I removed it and started the van and it did change some things which I was hoping might mean something. I could no longer see the green square around the gears on the dashboard as I shifted. It was as if the green box was there permanently. Plus, reverse did not work/grab/engage and made a bit more noise without the relay. Also, it made a lot more noise, like grinding, when I put it into the forward gears even thought it did not seem to engage. It made no noise in Neutral. I then replugged the EATX relay, and restarted. Now, again the reverse did not work but it wasn't very noisy, maybe a soft noise. Also the dash lights were correct again with the letters and the green box only around the gear it was in. And when I put it in D, I could feel it engage without any noise. Did this tell you any more about the solenoid pack function. (I will now get under the van and do the fun part of dropping the pan in 90 degrees and checking for metal shavings..)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I decided to start with the removal of the TCM relay first as it would be the fastest--I thought. I could not find a relay named that, even after going online for a couple of hours. Finally, I found a comment that the EATX SAFETY SHUTDOWN RELAY was the same as a TCM relay. It didn't sound like a TCM relay to me, but I removed it and started the van and it did change some things which I was hoping might mean something. I could no longer see the green square around the gears on the dashboard as I shifted. It was as if the green box was there permanently. Plus, reverse did not work/grab/engage and made a bit more noise without the relay. Also, it made a lot more noise, like grinding, when I put it into the forward gears even thought it did not seem to engage. It made no noise in Neutral. I then replugged the EATX relay, and restarted. Now, again the reverse did not work but it wasn't very noisy, maybe a soft noise. Also the dash lights were correct again with the letters and the green box only around the gear it was in. And when I put it in D, I could feel it engage without any noise. Did this tell you any more about the solenoid pack function. (I will now get under the van and do the fun part of dropping the pan in 90 degrees and checking for metal shavings..)
I finally finished taking off the transmission pan. The transmission oil was very dirty, sludge and metal shavings and fragments. I have seen several posts where filthy transmission fluid will cause a lot of problems so since I have the pan off I am leaning towards replacing the filter and gasket and refilling it. I will be happy if I can just get it to drive forward as I have read lots of drivers who live with "no reverse". I will sell it like that (as I have my other working van.) If I can salvage the reverse I will be ecstatic.
 

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Can you post a video so we can hear some noise? (can you show us the "fragments" you found)

Perhaps some fresh fluid may make it better or it may make it worse...
How many miles on the van?\
How long have you known the vans history?
Has the fluid/filter ever been changed?

BUT, a real possibility depending on what you (we) are hearing and what you saw of fragments may be a broken retaining ring and if that is the case parts could be still stuck up within the clutches and gears and haven't made it down into the pan yet. So there is that.

Sometimes on a old high mileage transmission the drain and changing of 1/3 of the oil capacity (holds 13 qts and you'll change 4 qts with a pan/filter) so you are really only diluting and NOT changing old dirty fluid for new, clean.
Then, the new oil may dissolve and dislodge old sediment that has tacked itself into corners and crannies where it may stay had you not changed the oil.'

Lucas transmission rebuild in a can is very rarely going to fix anything for any real amount of time.

Is it still a nice van with a well maintained engine, body, interior and frame?
These guys here talked me through rebuilding my own transmission after Amazon sold me the wrong rebuilt one. I already had it pulled out for the swap when I discovered the Amazon mailed me the wrong unit. So I cracked mine open and changed all the wear parts and seals. I documented it here on the old server... Still works great and I had a life experience.
 
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