1997 Dodge Avenger Trans dropping out of OD to 2nd gear

Tiny
JLHOLDEN
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE AVENGER
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 160,000 MILES
My Avenger occasionally drops out of 4th/OD to 2nd gear, and the check engine light comes on & stays on.

The codes that show up are:
P0700 Transmission Control System Malfunction
P0750 Shift Solenoid A Malfunction

This problem has happened a total of 3 times so far, with two of those times happening just before Christmas, and the other just today.

I did a trans fluid & filter change using the +4 fluid, after the first incident, and changed the Solenoid pack after the second time.

When this happens, I can turn the car off while rolling (or stopped) & restart, and the trans will shift normal - even with the check engine light on solid.

The solenoid pack is a new part from Borg Warner, and since it is doing the exact same thing, I have to say the problem is somewhere else. I just ordered a TPS for the car on the off chance that there might be a dead spot on the film, (very small possibility as this type of sensor tests into the 1 million cycle range - but still possible).

I figured for $30.00, it was worth a shot. The only other part I can think of that could be causing this is the computer, which is $300 for a rebuilt unit.

Have you run into this before? Any ideas as to what might be causing it?

This is currently my daily driver, and it goes about 80 miles a day - 5 days, so I need it to be reliable. It has been great for over a year. Trying to get it to go some more.

Ironically, I used to work at a transmission shop in Flint, Michigan, but that was before all the electronic shift solenoids came into the picture. Worst electrical issue we dealt with - LU solenoids crapping out - no big deal.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.
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Monday, January 28th, 2008 AT 10:12 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Does it still give the same codes? Could very well need a new controller, the bad solenoid might have damaged it
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Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 AT 8:03 AM
Tiny
JLHOLDEN
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply. Sorry I have not had time to come back up & respond until now.

Can the controller be repaired/checked manually?

Reason is. The "rebuilt" one through the parts stores is $400+ dollars!

I don't like the idea of buying a used one on eBay or salvage yard, but I may have to do that.

I have tons of tools - have wrenched for most of my life (39 years old) and have also done industrial electrical work too.

Let me know what can possibly be done short of buying another one.

Thanks for your help.

JLHOLDEN
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Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 AT 9:02 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
As far as manually making the trans do things..... try going here

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/mitchell1eautorepair-car-repair-manuals

In there you will find where and how to go about a full electrical diagnosis of your transmission. Othrewise a trans shop will have a "breakout" box which is designed for this
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Monday, February 4th, 2008 AT 7:17 AM
Tiny
JLHOLDEN
  • MEMBER
Hello Jack,

I found another 1997 Avenger owner with the same exact problem, and he wrote that the input and output sensors fixed the problem. He also stated that he has had to replace them at almost yearly intervals, but other than that, the car was solid.

Since the dealer had both in stock (you know what that means) and they were only $20 each, I bought them & installed tonight. I also installed a new TPS as I have noticed a slight hesitation when using the cruise and hitting the gas manually around 65-80 mph.

Since putting the sensors in, I have noticed an improvement in the harshness of the shift into forward/reverse - it is much better. Also, there has always been a "stacked shift" immediately after shifting to 3rd - much like an LU engagement right after 4th.

This has stretched out quite a bit now, and power is up substantially. It shifts much smoother now as well. Time and miles will tell the real tale over the next few weeks.

I will post here again with the results. If anyone out there would like to try this possible solution, the Dodge part numbers are: 4800878, 400879. They are known as "Transmission Input Sensor" and "Transmission Output Sensor". Both are located on the front of the trans, and all you have to remove is the air box.

Hope this does the trick.

Talk to you again soon.

Jlholden
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Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 AT 10:27 PM

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