For sometime now I can be driving for sometime and van will be working fine. Then I will stop and shut off van run my errand come back start van and it will not shift to second and third. Fluid is fine. Not leaking and right amount. Then I will stop and shut it off and turn it on and then it shift fine. Today after shutting not shifting and stopping and turning it off and then on it would not shift into second or third no matter how many times I shut it off or turned it back on.I live on a fixed income of 634.00 a month and think this will cost a lot to find out what is wrong and a lot to fix. Do you know this answer.1996 plymouth voyger van. Thanks Yvonne
When the Transmission Computer detects a problem, it goes to "limp-in" mode where it stays in second gear. That is designed to let you drive it slowly to the repair shop without needing a tow truck.
As a general rule, if it starts out in first gear like normal, then upshifts to higher gears, then suddenly goes back to second gear, internal slippage of the clutch packs is the most likely cause. That requires the transmission to be rebuilt or replaced.
If you find it starts out in second gear right away, (it will have lower than normal power when leaving a stop sign, and you won't feel any shifts), it is more likely to be caused by a sensor problem. Those are relatively inexpensive repairs. You'll need to find a mechanic with a scanner that can access the Transmission Computer to read the stored diagnostic fault codes. The code(s) will lead to the circuit or system with the problem, not necessarily the defective part.
January, 20, 2011 AT 10:46 PM
Thanks so much for your reply. It is a little confusing because of what the vehicle is doing. It has down shifted a few times but that does not seem to be the usual. It will shift to second but not third now. So do you think it is the speed sensor. My speedometer still works and there is no hesitation when shifting which I see in many of the answers.I can drive at 45mph. And the RPMs are only at 3 or so. Also one more thing.I had just fueled up and after driving less than twenty miles the fuel gage was at already at the 3/4 mark. Do you think this is related. The issue was at the same time.I really appreciate your input and time. Thanks Yvonne
January, 20, 2011 AT 11:09 PM
3,000 rpm at 45 mph sounds like it's stuck in second gear, (limp-in mode). The engine should be going about half that fast at that speed. That will kill your fuel mileage. When it's working correctly, you will feel it upshift three times.
There are two speed sensors in the transmission. There's the input speed sensor, (engine speed) and an output speed sensor, (wheel speed). I can't remember for sure, but it seems to me both sensors have to work for the speedometer to work. The wheel speed sensor doesn't run the speedometer directly. The Transmission Computer uses information from both sensors to calculate road speed, then sends that information to the instrument cluster.