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2000 Dodge Caravan Transmission Problems

Bought a 2000 dodge caravan from brother-in-law (I know, FIRST mistake :slight_smile: in April of this year. Had 67,000 miles. It was his wife’s. Driven on 1-2 300+ mile trips a year then daily 10-30 miles. I drive 80+ a day. Last week had SUDDEN transmission failure. Noticed a little whine then 30 miles later, slipping and no go. Day after failure went to try to get it, it drove 10-15 miles before whining/slipping. Seems to be fine when cold, but after a shortening distance, whining/slipping.

Also notice that when the dipstick is pulled it appears overfilled, but I DID NOT OVER FILL IT!?!?!

Could the filter be clogged causing a backup of fluid that shows on the dipstick? Then when it sets, fluid settles?

Any thoughts? Im goint to try a filter replacement myself in the next few days.

Thanks for the email regarding solenoids, will check those too. specializes in Chrysler Corp. vehicles and has a minivan forum. You will find a lot of discussion of transmissions there. Input sensor and output sensor, and the necessity of using only ATF-4 fluid, are involved in many of these discussions.

It sounds like the converter is coming apart. This is common in these transmissions. The biggest problem here is when the converter comes apart trash gets into the cooler and blocks it up greatly reducing fluid flow. If not taken care of during overhaul you will destroy the new trans. This has nothing to do with solenoids.


Can the converter be replaced by itself or is it one of those things that you should just do both? Wife just lost job, so this needs done being very cash-conservative.

Since the cooler is internal to the radiator, whats the fix for this? External cooler?

AS already mentioned you should use only ATF+4 in these transmissions. The fluid should only reach the full mark when hot- 10 miles of driving or more. If the transmission fluid is milky that means the transmission cooler in the radiator is leaking antifreeze into the transmission. That would mean replacing both.

Unfortunately you just cant replace the converter here. Reason being is when these converters start coming apart, the converter clutch material gets deposited throughout the transmission and the cooler. You will have this trash in the pump, valve body, pan just to name a few things. As far as the cooler goes, it is next to impossible to get all that trash out of the cooler, the flow is reduced and the transmission runs so hot it will actually start to melt the internal hard parts. I have seen planetary gearsets start to melt from the heat produced. The transmission is going to need to be rebuilt/replaced. You MIGHT be able to save the cooler. What you do here is first flush the cooler real good then the cooler flow must be tested. A radiator shop can do this or you can do it by running the engine with the trans return line disconnected. You could also just install an external cooler depending on what kind of climate you live in.

This is not going to be a cheap fix.