2007 Stratus

Tiny
STRATUSINKS
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 DODGE STRATUS
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 121 MILES
2007 dodge stratus 2.7L v6 auto transmission will sometimes***** into gear when you slow down and/ or almost stop and then quickly go from the brake to the gas. Dealer said that's normal. The car had about 40k miles it when I took it to the dealer, it now has 121k. It still does it if I'm not careful to wait a second or so to go back to the gas. Any ideas?
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Friday, February 18th, 2011 AT 4:07 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That's called "bump shift". My '93 Dynasty does that too because it has the same computer-controlled transmission. My computer was replaced with an updated one that allowed the software to be updated and it didn't make any difference. It is the "nature of the beast" and you aren't going to change it. The computer constantly updates shift schedules to overcome the normal clutch plate wear so you always get nice crisp shifts, ... Until the day when it can't update enough to make up for the wear. The problem is you don't have the normal year and tens of thousands of miles of warning that the transmission is showing its age and will need to be rebuilt. Even if the software is reinstalled, the computer will start to relearn the shift characteristics as soon as you start to drive it. You MIGHT feel a little difference for the first few miles but then it will be right back to what you have now. Disconnecting the battery will also erase that learned shifting characteristics.
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Friday, February 18th, 2011 AT 4:19 AM
Tiny
STRATUSINKS
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So are you saying rebuilding the trans. Should fix it or is this "bump shift" a perminant characteristic of this car. Is disconnecting the battery just a temperary fix? My car started doing this just after I got it at 25k-30k miles. When does this usually start, or do new dodges do the same thing? It sounds like I bought a piece of crap. Because it also has brakes that shake the car when you are slowing down from the highway. (New rotors helped some but it's that problem is coming back). It was a rental car and must of been abused. And when it rains the brakes grab and groan for the first few miles.I've never had a car do that before unless they sit for months. And I just had the tires re-balanced and rotated and the car now makes noises like a bearing is starting to get worn(at least it's not shaking unless I got my foot on the brake). I though car quality was getting better the last several years but I'm thinking maybe I should just get rid of this car. Are toyota and hondas the only reliable cars made?
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Friday, February 18th, 2011 AT 5:18 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
No need to rebuild the transmission. It's doing what they do. It might have acted differently right after you bought it because the battery was likely disconnected to replace it or perform some other service. The computer defaults to the factory pre-programmed shift characteristics, then updates based on your driving habits and to match the amount of wear in the clutch packs. A lot of Fords have a very irritating characteristic where the Engine Computer reduces engine power every time the transmission upshifts, presumably to reduce the stress on the transmission because it's so weak, it can't handle normal engine power. I've heard other manufacturers are doing the same thing but I haven't driven any of those. That makes it feel like the engine is stalling.

I get the impression you haven't bought a newer car for a while. It's true we do have the ability to build very high quality cars because we have better metal alloys and very precise robotic assemblers, but common sense has gone out the window with ALL brands because customers demand a lot of "toys" and the manufacturers have convinced us we need that stuff. My '88 Grand Caravan is still my daily driver. It was really cool when it was new because it had all kinds of neat stuff like power windows and electric side mirrors. Today people consider those things to be necessities along with remote starters and seat warmers. The difference is to make dome lights that slowly dim out or to have heaters that make her two degrees warmer over there than him over here requires computer modules. They are extremely unreliable, complicated, and expensive to replace but every manufacturer uses them. That is the single reason I will never buy another new car.

In the 1960s and 70s, even in the 1980s we would never dream of complaining about wind turbulence from windshield wiper arms. Today a car is considered to be of poor quality if you can hear the wind going over the side mirror. The late '90s Caravans were thought to be low quality because of the trouble they had with their turn signal switches. What people didn't realize was there were three different part numbers on the part. One was the Chrysler number and one was the Toyota number. Owners will overlook a problem if it's on a Toyota but condemn the whole brand if that same part has a problem on a Chrysler.

If we would use today's manufacturing techniques and computer-aided design to build a 1970s model car, there would probably not be a single breakdown in the first 100,000 miles. You would not have power windows, locks, or mirrors. The heater would blow 100 percent of the air onto the windshield or your feet, and maybe half and half, but certainly not 20 percent on the windshield, 20 percent on your face, 50 percent on your feet, and 10 percent on the side windows, all at the same time. Your but t would be cold for the first few seconds after sitting on the vinyl seats because, after all, it's winter outside and you expect to be cold. No doors that lock by themselves because we're to stupid to push a button when WE want the doors to lock. Today's cars are much cleaner out the tail pipe, and I doubt many people want to go back to the old days, but my 1980 Volare consistently gets 28.3 mpg. That's a 4400 pound car with chrome steel bumpers. At half the weight today, a little Neon with styrofoam bumpers, (that is not sarcasm), can only get 33 mpg. I'll win in a crash! Why is it that a 1968 Buick Wildcat was so huge, you needed binoculars to look in the mirror to see the tail lights, but they got 23 mpg, in comfort?

You must also remember that labor costs and benefits to build a car are much higher than in the past. Here the government and businesses are adversaries. In Japan the government's attitude is "how can we help you be more competitive"? Management people in Japan earn about twice that of an assembly line worker, not millions of dollars in salary. Something has to be done here to cut the cost of producing a car. In the case of GM, that means becoming proficient at separating money from the car owners after the sale. I can write entire pages on their business practices that surprise customers after the sale. They didn't have many customers anymore until the silly "cash-for-clunkers" law brought in a whole new crop of unsuspecting buyers.

GM builds about 80 percent of the parts that go into their cars. Chrysler only builds about 20 percent of their own parts. To save costs, they have to squeeze their suppliers. "Do whatever it takes to build that 50-dollar part for $5.00 instead of $5.05". Sounds silly at first, but Ford did that in the 1970s. They saved 20 cents per car by leaving off four grease fittings. Multiply that by a million cars and you can see why they do it.

To add to the quality story, Chrysler has more trouble with starters and alternators than they ever did in the 70s and 80s. Those parts typically lasted the life of the car. The newer parts that give more trouble are made by Nippendenso in Japan and are the same parts that are used on Toyotas. Nobody snivels about quality when the starter doesn't work on a Toyota.

So, enough of my rant on your time. Keep in mind that for every complaint you have, someone else is making the same complaint about a different brand of car. There are just as many good and bad things to say about every brand.

Now, to address your other comments, rental cars are usually very well taken care of and are often driven by business people who know how to respect them. When you see someone driving stupidly, do you say "there goes a rental car"?

The brakes do squeal on a lot of newer cars since the mid 1990s. That is actually a result of using higher quality brake linings. They are relatively hard and will squeal when they are still cold and in high humidity conditions. There are some tricks that can be done to reduce the noise.

Pulsing brakes is not normal but it can keep coming back until the root cause is found. Some people blame cheap Chinese replacement parts because they don't understand the cause. Cast iron parts made in the U.S. Are set aside for 90 days to "age" before their final machining. The Chinese cast the parts, machine them, then ship them right away. They age on your car and often warp during that time. That's one cause of a pulsing brake pedal. After another machining to true them up, they are usually fine.

It is also possible for some dirt or rust to break off during a brake job and get stuck behind a rotor. That will make it wobble. I've also had a few that I set up incorrectly on the lathe when I machined them during a routine brake job. Because we use high-temperature lubricants to help the calipers move freely, and that grease can wear off, the wobble might not show up or be felt right away.

I hope that helps a little. I'm not happy with any newer cars since the mid 90s, but as long as very few people complain, and they keep buying them, nothing is going to change.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, February 18th, 2011 AT 8:36 AM
Tiny
STRATUSINKS
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So basicly there's nothing wrong with my transmission. Nothing to even reduce this bump shift? And it's normal for some newer cars to almost throw you thru the windshield when you barely touch the brake just after a rain? Thanks. I will go ahead and have my rotors turned again. Thanks again.
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Saturday, February 19th, 2011 AT 3:43 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. The transmission is normal. The computer will detect slippage in one of the clutch packs before you will feel it, and it will detect sensor and other electrical problems. Any of those things will put it in "limp-in" mode where it stays in second gear. That allows you to drive it slowly to a repair shop without needing a tow truck. If it's not in limp-in, everything is working correctly.

Chrysler had a problem in the late '90s with brake rotors warping on the Intrepids. Their policy is that any repair under warranty must not reduce the original life expectancy of any part. There is a minimum legal thickness that must be maintained, and since rotors are made so close to that minimum already to save weight, there isn't much metal that can be removed to true them up. To adhere to their policy, they required warped rotors under warranty to be replaced with new ones. In a few months those would warp too and you would have the same problem of pulsing brakes. Finally, to reduce the number of complaints about the repeat problem, they said it would be acceptable to machine the warped rotors rather than replace them. That pretty much ended the problem except for the people who complained at the very first hint of a pulsing brake pedal. The rotors hadn't finished warping yet but the customers insisted on a repair because, after all, they weren't paying for it. Later, when the rotors finished warping, the brake pedal was pulsing again and the rotors had to be machined a second time. Chrysler would not pay for that second service under warranty. Since it was a repeat of an earlier problem, they demanded that new rotors be installed, then guess what. Those too would warp after a few months. The less-demanding customers actually had fewer problems because by the time they complained about the pulsing pedal, the rotors had finished warping and a single machining was the permanent fix.

One of the characteristics of disc brakes is the linings are always in contact with the rotors. That causes them to squeegee off any rain water which reduces the brake fade that was real common in the 1960s with drum brakes. Most cars still have drum brakes on the rear and their effectiveness is often reduced when it's raining. That leaves just the front brakes which normally do about 80 percent of the stopping anyway. You aren't likely to notice the slight temporary loss of braking, but if the rotors are warped, there are points where it will appear to be thicker than in other spots. As it rotates with the wheel and tire, those thicker spots try to push the pistons back into the calipers. That forces brake fluid back up to the master cylinder which pushes the pedal back against your foot. That's where the pulsing pedal comes from. Those thicker spots on the rotors tend to wedge themselves between the brake pads, in effect, applying those brakes with more force than you intended. Machining the rotors should eliminate that hard grabbing too.

As a side note, the service advisers should warn you that your brakes will be much less effective right after the rotors are machined. That includes machining them as a normal part of any brake job. Rotors always develop large grooves that can be felt and microscopic grooves that can't even be seen. The brake linings wear to match those grooves so there is 100 percent contact between those old parts. Machining the rotors changes the shape of grooves that are left behind. Installing new brake pads that are relatively rough means their surfaces don't match the grooves in the rotors either. The final part of a conscientious brake job is the test drive. During that drive, the mechanic will apply the brakes pretty hard a few times to "seat" the new linings, that is to help them wear in just a little so they will match the grooves in the rotors. They are trying to accomplish what would normally take about 100 miles of driving. Even with that done, your braking power will continue to increase over time until there is 100 percent contact between the pads and rotors. If you do a real lot of higher speed city driving, such as in stop-and-go traffic on 35 mph roads, the brakes can overheat and lead to brake fade. Since the linings aren't making full contact yet, you have to press harder than normal on the pedal to stop the car. That causes the linings to get hot and lose their friction characteristics. When they cool down they will be fine. That can take as little as ten minutes on a cool day. This is very rare today because we understand the importance of the mechanic's initial test drive. Regardless, just understand that you must take it easy for the first couple of hundred miles. Most likely you will not notice any loss in braking power but if you find the car taking considerably long than normal to stop, give the brakes some time to cool down. Shopping is always a good alternative!

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, February 19th, 2011 AT 7:13 PM

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