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1999 Chrysler (Dodge) Stratus 604 transmission

HI, I live in Uruguay - South America and I own a 1999 Chrysler Stratus (Dodge in USA) with a 604 automatic autostick transmission.

I worked fine till one day it disengages, I stopped the car, put it in park, tried various stick positions till it worked again… for a block or two. This happened 5 or 6 times till I had to call the car-service truck transport and get it to my place.

The transmission fluid is very expensive in my country so I’m trying no to open the bottom of the case very often.
I replaced the filter, cleaned the entirely valve body and the solenoid package, both of them seem to be in good condition internally, no mud, no metal detected in fluid, clean filters.
I didn’t get the transmission out of the car.

Any suggestions would be accepted.
Best regards,
Ernesto Silva.

you will need to get it to someone who can read the transmission codes to have any idea what’s going on .

Hi vipergg, I didn’t have much time to spent on my Stratus, I tryed a couple of domestic scanners but none of them seems to access de TCM.
On the other hand we tested the car for an hour or so and it seems to work fine. I’m steel driving my 2001 Chevrolet Vectra but I plan to switch to my Stratus since saturday (shop playground time…)

One more question, do you know a cheap scanner to read the TCM and the other modules?

Best regards,

You’ll need a Chrysler/Dodge scan tool or equivalent to read the transmission codes probably. Is the check engine light on?

In general when an automatic transmission won’t shift from neutral into gear, or only does so when it feels like it, that’s an indication either the transmission fluid pressure is too low, or there’s too much wear on the clutches and bands for the actuators tp move the internal parts into position to engage the gears. A shop would start by making sure the transmission was getting all its inputs, and measuring the transmission fluid pressure. That is assuming there wasn’t something obviously wrong by visual inspection and a test drive. Advice for the diy’er here is usually to try a proper transmission service, but it sounds like you’ve already done that.

Hi George_San_Jose1, thanks for your advice. The engine light if off.
The stratus is a very rare car in my country, I bought it because I really like it’s design and because I usually do all repairs by myself, I’m not a mechanic but an enthusiast and normally I get to solve all the problems with manuals, forums like this, etc.
I have disassembled the entire valve body, cleaned it and reassembled, the same with the solenoid pack, no problems nor worn parts/seals/etc seen there.
Take the car to a “proper transmission service” will cost me at least 1000 dollars and I won’t know what the problem is, I’m very stubborn!!! :smile:

Do you know any reasonably priced scanner for this vehicle? The “real” ones will cost me like 3000 dollars, too much for a single car.

Again, thank you for your comment

If you removed and cleaned the valve body you’d already done a proper service, and beyond. That should have solved most of any problems that existed involving seal leaks in the valve body. I suppose you could have a sketchy transmission pump though, but seem unlikely. The problem most likely is either some input signal the transmission requires isn’t being received, or there’s so much wear on the clutches and bands that increasing the fluid pressure is no longer enough.

Sorry, just a diy’er, no experience with Chrysler scan tools, oem or aftermarket. Are you able to take the car to a dealership and have them connect up their oem scan tool. That will get you the codes without having to buy a Chrysler scan tool. While there they could measure the transmission fluid pressures at the test ports. That info would be very diagnostic also.

This link may be helpful for some general guidance about diagnosing AT problems

You are right, I must try to find a dealership to have the car scanned, I’m not sure if I can find one in Uruguay - South America, maybe in Argentine or Brazil but I must drive like 500 miles at least.

I can try to measure the pressures by myself connecting some gauge in the test ports at the solenoid pack, next saturday labor on the car!!!
I’ll get back next week with more info.

Best regards,

For the US version Stratus there’s several pressures that have to be measured, from 6 different taps, ranging from 5 psi to nearly 300 psi, depending on the test port and the test set-up. The taps provided are : overdrive clutch, torque converter off, low reverse clutch, underdrive clutch, reverse clutch, and 2/4 clutch. 300 psi is a potentially dangerous pressure to measure, so take appropriate precautions.

This transmission requires ATF+3 or ATF+4 only. If that’s not what you have in there, the clutches will burn themselves out.

Yeah, I know, that is the fluid I use. Thanks NYBo for de warning.
Best regards,

Zucchino Motors in Montevideo.

Hi, I know Zucchino Motors, I’m not a fan of them, but… I’ll call them tomorrow. I’m also trying to find another one. In this country an “official service agent” is not as reliable as in USA.