Mystery Trans problem

1992 Dodge Caravan SE. began 3/2008. Now and then, van not going into 3rd gear. Come to stop sign or signal or just accelerating from either, van will jerk slightly and then will not go into 3rd gear. I somehow figured that if I shut off van and then restart, works just fine. May do this a few times during several stops, and other times will go for several outing without a problem. On rare occasions as I come to stop, van jerks hard and engine cuts off but starts immediately. Van was rebuilt? 27K ago, in Dec 2002, but had to return several times within one year warranty and then I gave up. Had dealer change oil for 2nd time and filter, and they told me van will need rebuild within next year. No problems have shown up on the computer, So this has become a mystery that dealer can’t explain. HELP!

I assume that when you are referring to the “van” being rebuilt you are talking about the transmission - ?

It sounds like the transmission is going into limp mode. It will do this for any one of about 100 reasons. I doubt that this van is worth the trouble, but if you really want to pursue it, skip the dealer. Ask around among people that you know for your best locally owned, independent transmission shop. Someone will need to have the right kind of scanning equipment to tap into the goings on within the engine & transmission computers.

If you’re even slightly handy you can at least check out the main ground strap for the transmission. It is a very simple thing that has caused many a Caravan owner to pull her hair out.

When You Say, " Van was rebuilt? " And " . . . they told me van will need rebuild within next year."
Are You Talking About Just The Transmission When You Talk About Van Rebuilt/Rebuild ?


Transmission would need rebuild and dealer said from wear on parts they checked. Van should not have the transmission wear that they saw. I still believe that it has something to do with computer because this is not a persistent issue but it only happens intermittently. And my suspicion on computer is that when I turn off the engine and then turn key, I hear whirring sound of computer? and then when engine turns over and I accelerate transmission goes through all gears. And there are days when I have numerous stops and van is fine.

Sounds like the transmission is detecting a fault and going into “limp mode”

You need to have a reputable transmission shop (not AAMCO) put a scan tool on this and read the fault codes and other diagnostic information to have an idea what is doing on here.

The “whirring” sound you hear is likely the fuel pump pressurizing the fuel injection system and is completely unrelated to your transmission problem. Computers don’t make whirring sounds except in 1950s sci-fi movies.