Dodge Differential Questions

I have a 1999 Dodge Stratus Base with a 2.4L and an automatic transmission. The differential in this transmission has been howling for a while now and I had a mechanic look at it. He told me that there are a few teeth missing from one of the ring gears. I have a transmission from a 1997 Stratus in my shed that has a good differential in it. I know that the two transmissions themselves are not interchangeable but I have been wondering if the differential hard parts are interchangeable? Does anyone have an idea if this is even possible?


I really doubt it, the diff is part of the transmission. Any chips from the ring gear probably damaged other parts of the transmission. Also swapping out the parts probably is very involved. It would be much simpler and maybe cheaper to get a correct used transmission from someplace like

The diff/spider is under a removable casting on almost fwd trans axles. But dodge like to use a longitudinally mounted engine and they package their trans axles differently. I do not know if this car is like that. If it was a GM fwd trans, it might be easy to remove diff. But than easy is relative.

Thanks guys for the replies. The mechanic that I had taken this car to told me he had removed the differential and cleaned the housing of all foreign material and also the differential itself. Then he greased the differential up really well and re-installed it. This leads me to believe that it is possible to remove the differential without removing and changing out the entire trans-axle. That is what prompted me to ask the question if the differentials were inter-changable. I cannot find any information on this subject anywhere. After all, I was told that a 2.4L out of a 1997 Stratus would not work in a 1999 and that has been proven wrong because I have already done it with this car. Is there any transmission rebuild manuals that address this sort of issue? Or that may be used for comparison or identification of the two different differentials and their similarities? Or not?


I have a few questions

What is the ratio of your differential?

Bear in mind, the donor differential must have the same ratio

What condition is your car in?

What would it be worth in good condition?

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I would imagine a 1999 Stratus can’t be worth a lot

Am I to understand that your 1999 Stratus is already on its second engine?

I am not sure of the ratios in the differentials. That information should be able to be learned. I will take a look and see if I can determine what they are. I believe they are the same transmission just different electronic hookups etc. Hard parts are hard parts and they can sometimes be inter-changable. I consider it no different than changing out the alternator when it goes bad. Pull the old part and install the new one, problem solved.

That being said, this car was bought used at a very low price ($300) because the original owner had blown the engine. It had a very bad knock from a spun bearing. I had an engine from a 97 Stratus that had been totaled in an accident, so I pulled it out and installed it into this car for my daughter. The car itself is in great condition. Everything works and the body is in excellent condition. The trans problems, I believe, are from the same treatment the previous owner had subjected it to. (no maintenance, abuse etc.)

As far as the value of this car, I have never looked at what a car is worth in dollars before considering if I should repair it or not. That kind of thinking annoys me. If the body is still sound and it runs well for the most part, I will drive a car until I cannot find parts for it any longer. That is why I have a few that have clocked almost 300,000 miles and are still ticking. After all, it is far better to do little repairs while they remain little then to wait until they become big repairs. Even with a new car you will have to make repairs whilst making that huge monthly payment and full coverage insurance to boot.

Transmissions aren’t the massive money suckers that mechanics would lead you to believe. I worked in a transmission shop years ago and although transmissions have come a long way since then they are still a mechanical part that can be repaired if the need arises. I rebuilt a couple of Chevy transmissions in my garage for under $300.00 out the door with all new competition clutches, steels, bushings, seals, gaskets, shift kit and convertor. If you know what you’re doing it isn’t all that bad. You just have to remember to put everything back the way you took it apart.

The question that comes to my mind is the mechanical ability some folks have. Are they going to do the repair, or send it out to have it done for them. I say, if you have the ability to do it, then do it, and save some money. On the other hand, if you don’t have the ability to change your own tire when it goes flat then you probably shouldn’t attempt to do anything but put gas in and turn the key. If it starts and drives you have tempted fate enough and should leave the repairing to folks that have the ability to do so. I hope that they have deep pockets or a trust fund to fall back on.

For me, I have the ability to do the repairs myself. I sometimes just lack the technical data needed and go in search of answers to my questions for instance like posting on this forum.

So, in answer to you your comment db4690, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I would imagine a 1999 Stratus can’t be worth a lot” You are correct, it isn’t worth a lot. But when it is your only mode of transportation and you are disabled and cannot afford a new(er) car, it is worth a million dollars to you.

If it’s “howling”, it sounds like wear, possibly from being run low on lube or the wrong lube being used. I find it hard to believe that teeth are missing–if they were, it’d be making a lot worse noises than that, I think. If the howling isn’t really loud and there’s no vibration or other symptoms, I’d probably just make sure it was full of good gear oil and drive it until it fails.

If it’s that easy to replace then I guess there’s not much to lose. I’d get the replacement one out of the other transmission and see if it’s in good shape, and if it’s laid out identically to the bad one. You can figure out the ratios by counting the ring and pinion gear teeth on both units.

The gear ratio on both transmission is 2.69:1.
The part number for the ring gear is the same on both; 4659175 and the differential case (carrier) is the same; 4659500.

They are both the same transmission, 41TE with minor changes each year. The differentials should be interchangable.

BTW I have a 1996 Stratus, I think it’s worth $240 a ton but I see no reason to sell it.