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.