1990 Dodge Caravan

Tiny
KRUSEJJ
  • MEMBER
  • 1990 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 19,000 MILES
Hello
The transmission stays in 2nd gear. I can turn the engine off and restart. I have a 50/50 change that it will work property. I changed the speed sensors and it worked fine for two days and started to do the same thing again. I seen on your site a fellow that had the same problem but with a new transmission. My transmission has many miles and does the same thing.

I hope you guys can come up with something. I have been doing my own vehicle maintenance for many years and can not come up with an answer
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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 AT 10:25 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi krusejj. Welcome to the forum. Second gear is default or "limp-in" mode to allow you to drive it to a repair shop. As you noticed, it will stay there until you reset the Electronic Automatic Transmission Controller (EATX) by cycling the ignition switch off and back on. Besides the sensors, the computer looks for slippage in the clutch packs. When it detects slippage, (usually during an upshift under load), it defaults to limp-in. Part of the problem is the computer learns how many ccs of fluid it takes to apply each clutch, and as the plates wear over time, it applies one clutch just a little sooner before releasing the previous one to maintain a nice solid feel to the shift. The disadvantage to this is you have no warning the wear is taking place until it can't update the shift timing enough and the symptoms you described occur. Years ago, the same wear would result in engine rpm flare-up during shifts. Often the slippage was so minimal, we never noticed it. Unfortunately, the computer does.

One thing that might help you narrow it down is noticing when the default occurs. If you start the engine and it is already in second gear when you start to move, it is generally sensor-related or an electrical problem. If you start out in first gear, like normal, then it defaults to second gear during an upshift, it is generally clutch slippage. If it always occurs when upshifting into the same gear, you can overcome the problem by accelerating a little harder than normal, then letting off the gas at about the time it's ready to upshift into that gear. That will remove the torque on that clutch pack so it won't slip. Once it's solidly in that higher gear, you can drive like normal.

The way you described it, I'm guessing it's clutch slippage that is just getting bad enough for the computer to detect. That's why it shifts properly some days. It's often less expensive to install a remanufactured transmission because there have been a pile of updated and improved parts developed for it that will be included. To rebuild your old transmission will likely be more expensive if you have to buy all those parts. If you do go that route, you might be able to assist the rebuilder by observing which gears affect the default when the shifts occur and if it happens in more than one gear.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 AT 11:42 PM
Tiny
KRUSEJJ
  • MEMBER
Hello caradiodoc
Thanks for the info, it helps a lot. I through the were might be a problem with the slipage, but did not want to admit it.

The car stars off in frist gear then makes a quick shift in to second gear and then stays there. I guss I will have to look for a good transmission shop. I will look into that
remanufactured You wouldnt know of a good shop near Vancouver Washington?

Thanks for all the good information
Krusejj
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Friday, April 23rd, 2010 AT 11:32 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Can't help you with a good shop. Due to the age and mileage, your transmission might have been replaced or rebuilt once already. If so, it might already have many of the updated parts so it might cost a little less to rebuild it now if it just needs clutch plates and seals. Unless you know the history, there's no way to tell until someone peeks inside.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, April 24th, 2010 AT 1:50 AM

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