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2004 Chrysler Pacifica Transmission

  • 4 speed autostick trans.

    - Issue below only happens during the first 60 seconds of driving and has happened the last 4 times I’ve driven the car from a cold engine/transmission.

    - The car will begin from 1st or Reverse as normal. When shifting to 2nd, the transmission goes out of 1st gear, but won’t move into 2nd. (It basically goes into Neutral). Even if I try to use the autostick and go back to 1st or up to 2nd it won’t. After about 15-20 seconds the car just moves into 2nd gear.

    Any ideas?

How many miles on this transmission? After the engine is warmed up; the ignition switch shut off; and engine restarted, does the transmission operate normally? Does the transmission ever get past 2nd gear and/or operate normally? Is the OD or CEL light continuously ‘on’ or flashing? Post back with this information.

These transmissions are computer controlled so the TCM can be scanned for fault codes. If fault codes are not present, the sensor data and clutch volumes can be read to look for problems. The dealer or transmission technician will have to do this. Also the line pressure should be measured when this is happening to see if there is a hydraulic problem.

Good luck on this. Give us feedback on the progress of the repair. TNX

That sounds like the 2-4 clutch has some issues, like a leaky seal. What I would do first is to have a trans shop scan the TCM. I would check the CVI value first to see whether it is in spec. The 2-4 clutch should read 20-77. I would also check the computer command of 2nd gear. If it is neutraling it IS probably commanding 2nd but I would still check it. Let me know what you find out…


TNX and Transman - Thank you for the very helpful reply!

69,000 miles on the trans (and vehicle). I have tried to warm it up first (to no avale), but haven’t tried shutting off and restarting. Will do tonight after work. The trans does get past 2nd gear and works normally after the initial issue, which is over after it slips the one time. There is no engine or dashlights that appear. Not sure what OD or CEL is (guessing overdrive…), but no lights or dings are present.

I’m not a car guy, but it seems you guys could be right on with one of those issues. I can’t believe it’s a rebuild or new trans problem since it’s not that a gear(s) doesn’t not work at all or there is any grinding going on.

I spoke to a local trans shop, AAMCO in Troy, MI. I am dropping the vehicle off tonight so they can look at it tomorrow with a cold engine and hopefully determine/fix the issue. I’m sure the sooner I get it in the better. Anyways they will do a complete eval free of charge, which is a nice service.

I will report back.

I would take AAMCO’s advice with a whole shaker of salt.

Did you check the fluid level?

AAMCO told me that the fluid level was 4 quarts low. I’m miffed. I’ve never experienced a leak, nor do I see anywhere on the pan/engine/etc. of a leak (AAMCO confirmed). The engine and underbody are basically as clean as the day it rolled off the lot. I replaced the fluid a few weeks ago, but measured and replaced the exact amount I removed. I removed by using a liquivac pump. I didn’t want to get into replacing the filter and read that it wasn’t necessary at this mileage.

AAMCO would’ve replaced the 4 qts. for $19 and some change. I asked them to just replace the filter as well and got out for $71 and change. No issues in the last 3 days. There was some leaking of trans fluid for the first two days, but it has stopped. I thought may the gasket didn’t seal up, but notice there is a small tube that hangs near the pan and next to a small unit that had “ATF” stamped on it (must be something for the trans system). I’m guessing this tube is an overfill tube of some sort. Anyways, it has leaked out in the last 48 hours.

Thank you for your responses it’s nice to know this site has great people who offer help.

AAMCO has a nasty habit of using so-called “universal ATF” and adds an additive to make it “just like” the ATF+4 your car absolutely, positively requires. Not. If this is what they did, you need to get that fluid out of there, pronto. The first sign of trouble will be shifting problems, followed by premature clutch failure.

I’ve had no issues since the fluid/filter replacement. I called back to AAMCO and they assured me that they did use straight ATF+4. Thanks for the advice.

What’s written on your repaiir bill. the time I had scAAMCO change the oil and Filter, the used (and wrote on the receipt) DEXTRON, ie DEXRON. it started shuddering about 3 months later, returned, not their fault they insisted, it was the TCM… eventually it failed to the sound of clutches screaming like a banshee in a blender, one gearbox later and with more miles on it than the original box the “failed TCM” is still functioning well.
So be warned, ATF4 ONLY… and the correct amount… and stay away from AAMCO.

A real garage can perform a test to determine if the clutches are worn, essentially checking the time and pressure build up in the clutch cylinders. It’s called the “CVI” test.