The one I would stay away from is the four speed computer-controlled automatic. Chrysler was the first company to invent and use it in 1989 but only on the 3.3L V-6. They had a lot of trouble the first years. That's why it's better to rebuild what you have than get one from a salvage yard. Installing it is too much work to find out it's no good. I have a 1989 Grand Voyager that had that transmission rebuilt a year before I bought the van. Also have a '95 Grand Caravan that had a rebuilt one installed at the dealership I worked for. My mother bought it a week later and had to have another transmission put in a few years after that. I don't trust that transmission any further than I'm willing to walk back home. I have a '93 Dynasty with that transmission too, but that car only has 4,000 miles so it should last a while.
I would rebuild that transmission myself only because of the high cost of a used one and the high cost of having someone else rebuild it. I use my '88 Grand Caravan to pull a huge trailer but that has the older three speed transmission like your car has. The four speed would explode with its tongue hanging out before I got to the end of my driveway if I tried to pull a trailer that big.
By the way, one easy way to tell if you have the four-speed is there will be a circle around the letter "D" on the shift indicator on the dash or on the floor. Now that I think of it, there were some Daytonas that came with a V-6 but that was the 3.0L Mitsubishi engine. I don't think they had the four-speed with that engine yet in '89.
If you go searching for a transmission in the salvage yard, look at the front and sides of the pan where it is glued to the case. If it is wet in those areas, someone may have recently worked on it in hopes of solving a problem. Pull-A-Part doesn't buy smashed cars so anything you find there is likely to have engine or transmission trouble. That's typically when people junk them, but you never know for sure. Sometimes they just can't figure out why they don't run right, or there can be elusive electrical problems and people just give up trying to solve them. I'd say you stand only a five percent chance of getting a good four-speed transmission, but there's a 95 percent chance of getting a good three-speed for your car. The chances of getting a good one of either transmission is higher at the more expensive yards where they dismantle everything because sometimes they know the history and won't sell a part that is known to be bad, and if the car was in a crash, chances are the engine and transmission were working fine the day before.
Saturday, April 9th, 2011 AT 9:44 PM