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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have taking my 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan to a transmission shop well known here in Memphis. They have told me it's not the transmission but possibly the rev limiter.
I have also taken it to a shop that I trust and they tell me it's a transmission issue that is failing eternally.
Here is what the van is doing, around 40 miles per hour it has a slight kick to it. It also is a bit sluggish but runs and shifts fine most of the time except when I'm in reverse and I'm trying to back up a hill or a sloped driveway, it almost doesn't want to back up. On level ground it backs up just fine. There are no codes present and the transmission shop thinks it's an engine performance issue. So my thought is to go get a third diagnostics and opinion. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
 

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Gator, gator...

I am a fourth gen guy, BUT is the problem you are researching really a driveability issue or is it more of an anomaly that you believe should not be there...

When I got my first minivan, that electronic computer controlled transmission sure did some funny things that certainly did not seem right to me.

With some research, I come to find out that the computer is adaptive to driving style and that the transmission was used to the other drivers 'style' and when I got to horsing on it, it was 'freaking out' as it was confused as to what gear it should anticipate being in.

For my 2002 41TE transmission system, I found a 're-learn' procedure that seems to have either A) fixed the situation or B) I got used to its quirky shifting that I don't feel, hear, or see it happening anymore.

Aside, my fiancé is convinced that her 2010 Hyundai Sante Fe is having a transmission problem but it only happens when she is driving it. She has some abnormal driving habit of something like feathering the gas pedal at a float speed when making a rolling left turn and when she straightens out and lightly steps on the pedal, it is like the transmission is confused which gear it should be in... I certainly feel it when in the passenger seat but I can't replicate it from the drivers seat.

Oh, and I definitely looked to see if she is trying to drive with two feet...

I'm going to follow this thread, Please return and let us know what you find out and what you end up doing about it.
Cheers
 

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Aside, my fiancé is convinced that her 2010 Hyundai Sante Fe is having a transmission problem but it only happens when she is driving it. She has some abnormal driving habit of something like feathering the gas pedal at a float speed when making a rolling left turn and when she straightens out and lightly steps on the pedal, it is like the transmission is confused which gear it should be in... I certainly feel it when in the passenger seat but I can't replicate it from the drivers seat.
I had a VW Golf R32 DSG tranny put me into a wall in a left hand race track turn, same type scenario (shifted gears in the middle of the apex).

These automatics are not trustworthy.
 

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Is it shuddering when trying to back up going uphill in reverse? That's indicative of wear. My 2000 van 41TE does it (215,000 miles), and now our 2011 Sienna (160,000 miles) is doing it. Either learn to live with it by getting a run on flat ground to go backwards uphill, or tear into the transmission to replace worn parts.
 
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First question, when was it's last transmission fluid/filter change?

Strangely enough, dirty fluid and a plugged filter from lack of proper maintenance will cause every issue you're having.
 

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You will get a little shifting (rpm will change) at around 40 mph (country road driving, up and down terrain) as the transmission decides on which gear to use or to use lockup. Happens in ECON mode as well as regular mode. With a little foot work, the rpm can be kept down around 1000 most times, jumping to 1200 or 1500 rpm as it shifts fairly often in response to load.

Slippage on slope, or when cold, usually indicates low fluid level. What's the level in your transmission, after an overnight sit, engine not running ("cold turkey")? This give a quick and easy reference point. For my 2016, it's around 95 mm. More on that here and in other Threads.

Proper fluid and proper fluid level are key factors with electronic transmissions, no matter who makes them.

Reverse gear is a different animal as is explained somewhat here:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is it shuddering when trying to back up going uphill in reverse? That's indicative of wear. My 2000 van 41TE does it (215,000 miles), and now our 2011 Sienna (160,000 miles) is doing it. Either learn to live with it by getting a run on flat ground to go backwards uphill, or tear into the transmission to replace worn parts.
Yes that's exactly what it's doing.so most likely it is the transmission.
 

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Changing fluid/filter, may fix your problem. Ask the tranny co. to do a flush, change filter, use real ATF+4 (not a universal fluid) and see what happens after 50 miles of driving.
Na, why do maintenance that can solve my issue when I can just replace the whole transmission instead? 🤦‍♂️
 

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Shudder during backing up a slight incline is known on these, are you sure it has ATF+4 chrysler rated fluid? There is an anti shudder additive in that. Mine will still do that on occasion, even with a new tranny. The shift around 40 mph usually has to do with the compounder (I believe) as that's where it switches from the "low range" gears to the "high range", mine has a noticeable rumble at that point, especially when accelerating slowly uphill.
 

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Changing fluid/filter, may fix your problem. Ask the tranny co. to do a flush, change filter, use real ATF+4 (not a universal fluid) and see what happens after 50 miles of driving.
Pan drop and fluid filter change?

Flush and filter change done at a Shop using a flushing machine (introduces a chemical flushing agent and shudder guard)?

Flush and filter change using only ATF+4 as flushing agent, no chemicals added, using transmission's pump (Special Order or DIY)?

What are you recommending?

 

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Another vote for at least a pan drop, filter change and refill.
However the reverse lurching up a slight incline has been present on my GC since brand new. It’s still here to this day, so I don’t think that part is anything abnormal, but it sure feels like it.

I would also disconnect the battery after the pan drop to reset the adaptive logic in both ECM and TCM, it may help.
 

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Pan drop and fluid filter change?

Flush and filter change done at a Shop using a flushing machine (introduces a chemical flushing agent and shutter guard)?

Flush and filter change using only ATF+4 as flushing agent, no chemicals added, using transmission's pump (Special Order or DIY)?

What are you recommending?
Using a flush agent may leave residual of agent in the system that adversely affects future oil mix.

I would recommend the tranny shop do it with just ATF+4, no flushing agents (they have machine or know how to do it right, maybe, hopefully).

If he wants to do it himself (like I did), then figure out which line is the cooler out line, and disconnect that at the tranny and drop to a pan, and run the motor until the line stops flowing (no machines needed- passive drain). Then drop the main pan and drain and clean that, with a filter change. Replace with ATF+4..

I used one unit of this: https://smile.amazon.com/Lubegard-19610-Tranny-Instant-Shudder/dp/B00337DUEU/ref=sr_1_11?crid=TFIVETRRT6TS&keywords=transmission+fix&qid=1662136877&sprefix=transmission+fix,aps,107&sr=8-11#:~:text=to zoom in-,Lubegard 19610 Dr. Tranny Instant Shudder Fixx 2 Ounce 2 Pack,-Visit the Lubegard

My symptoms of reverse shudder went away after the process above. It takes about a week of driving afterwards to notice how much smoother it is.
 

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I have seen the "shudder fix" stuff work as well, it was in a red bottle if I remember right , yup, just checked, thats the same stuff. I did use it in the previous transmission, have not used it in the new one.
 

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Can't go wrong with a pan drop and filter change if it's never been done. When I did that to our Sienna, I discovered the factory forgot to put in the two magnets!! :mad: Fluid was black, and with 154,000 miles it still had the original filter. A new filter, two magnets added, and running about 14 quarts of new approved fluid through it and the fluid became a dark raspberry color. We took a 5,000 mile trip with it pulling a small 4x6 box trailer down to the southwest and mountain ranges. During the trip I had to disconnect the battery at night because the van alarm randomly goes off when locked (hotel guests complained). That would have reset the computer. Then I noticed it would start slipping in reverse sometimes. Great, it never did that before. So even with all the deferred maintenance done, it has a problem. Dropping the pan may give you insight as to how bad the wear is, and what to decide from there.

I assumed the proper maintenance had been done on our van, since it included all of the maintenance records since new (got it at 85,000 miles). After checking them over, the transmission fluid service was never done like it should have been, probably because the OG owners were using an independent shop. I found this out too late. Might not have been a problem if the magnets had been installed in the trans pan like they should have been. Apparently Toyota quality slipped between 2011-2017 or so.

Thanks for the "shudder fix" comments, as I may have to resort to it in the future. If I would have had enough time before the trip to prepare, I would have added a transmission fluid cooler (only has the lower radiator tank cooler). Our trailer was light so I thought it would be okay, but with the desert temps around 110* and hills, who knows? I did manually shift to keep the engine revving in lower gears to climb. Will have to wait and see if the slipping continues. Might end up getting rid of the van later, as it was a lemon initially (no pan magnets).
 
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Anti shudder = friction modifier

What's in it? What's the magic?

Viscosity changer?

Test results?

Project Farm did a test on Lucas Transmission Fix.

According to Car Bibles:

Quoting a learned member on this Forum: "I may have to resort to it in the future ". :)

Why not today if it's so good? :)
 

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When I did a pan drop and filter change on my 2008 T&C about two years ago, the magnet was fuzzy like the picture posted above. I didn’t see any shavings or anything. Filter didn’t look clogged.

I could’ve sworn that the carfax history showed one or two trans services before I got the van at 112k miles. But I can’t find those records anymore. Anyways, I did a service myself at around 163k miles. Never noticed a reverse shudder on that van but I never had to reverse up a steep hill or driveway.

I recently got a 2017 DGC and it has 104k miles. The carfax shows that the trans was replaced by a dodge dealer a couple years ago at 44k miles. That means that the new trans has 60k miles on it. It does shudder when reversing up a certain driveway (that I never reversed up in the ‘08). It doesn’t shudder when reversing up a slight incline like the street I live on. The street is not steep enough to cause a clunk (hard shift) when shifting out of park but the specific driveway will cause a clunk if you don’t use the parking brake. Besides this, the transmission shifts smoothly and does not clunk into gear or anything. I did a pan drop and filter change but it left me kind of concerned.

The filter looked rather dirty, like there was a lot of gunk that it was holding. The magnet didn’t have as much fine fizz as my ‘08 but there was still some present. What I saw was small metal flakes. They didn’t look like chunks or large shavings. I can describe them as thin, small flakes. I wish I took a picture of the findings but my hands were covered in oil.

Based off this, I might do another pan drop and filter change in another couple thousand miles. Hopefully I don’t see anymore of those flakes. I wonder if these flakes are because the transmission fluid was not changed after being broken in. The 08 van was potentially serviced a couple times so maybe that’s why I didn’t see any flakes. If anyone did a low mileage fluid change, let me know what you found.
 
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