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My automatic transmission is noisy in 1st and 2nd gears

I just bought a 1993 Plymouth Voyager recently and the transmission is making a sort of howling sound in low and second gears. It seems to be shifting fine and the sound stops once you get going but I am concerned because the sound is slowly increasing. The fluid looks real old but is still
fairly red. A little bit darker than what it should be with a little bit of brown, but not super bad. I am wondering if maybe someone put in the wrong kind of fluid or maybe the filter is old or clogged, is the pumps system wearing out or bad bearings or what.
I know that I need to change the fluid and clean or replace the filter but am I probably looking at something significantly hard to fix or expensive.
I can get a free diagnosis at a shop, but I am looking to try and get this fixed myself if possible as I am fairly mechanically inclined and have lots of free time. I am just wondering if changing the fluid and filter will make much of a difference in the life of this transmission. I paid $600 for this car and it runs fairly good but is not in good enough shape overall to justify a major transmission repair. So what is making this sound and is it something not too complicated that can be fixed without a major effort. Is there something fairly easy and cheap to do besides the fluid or do I just drive it.

Uh, we’ll, ur 20 yr old, $600 van might not have been a wise purchase. But since I cannot see it, I can’t really comment further.

Drop the pan, clean it out, clean the screen, replace filter, and refill with the proper ATF. If that takes care of the noise, great. If not, drive on and see how many miles you can get from the tranny. New fluid and a clean out can only help.

I would not flush this transmission.

Sorry, but now you know why the previous owners were selling it…

Plymouth/Dodge minivans are (in my experience anyway,) pretty notorious for crummy transmissions. Not sure I’ve ever seen one last more than 100,000 miles.

Well, Stoveguyy, the OP didn’t say how long he has had the van. $600 is only equal to about 2 car payments. So if it has lasted 3 months, he isn’t hurt much. I bought a '93 Caravan new and drove it 77K and a '90 Voyager with 154 K and drove it to around 200k, wit out any problems. I now have an '09 Caravan with 62K. It is the slickest tranny I have ever had. I HOPE it lasts for many more miles.

I don’t know where Transman is but transmissions do have bearings in them. Problem is there is no way to replace this stuff without overhauling the transmission. If you’re really handy, might want to line up a used transmission that you could put in yourself in preparation. I do agree with the dropping the pan and servicing and no flush but can’t see how that’s going to take care of a bad bearing.

But those early dodge vans were as ugly as a mud fence. E n worse choice with a 4 cyl motor. Talk about under powered, noisy, rattle traps.

Well, the '85 thru '90 weren’t pretty but I thot the '91 thru '07 were nice looking. I agree about the 4 cylinder motors. However I have never liked 4 cylinder motors.