Replace the transmission or just dump my Durango 2000?

dodge
durango
transmissions

#1

My Durango 2000 (with 170K miles) needs a new transmission… we replaced the AC last month, and three months ago it was the main system belt… should we invest in fixing it, or just bite the bullet and get a new (used) car?


#2

Why do you think it needs a new transmission? Is it an auto or manual transmission.

[i] three months ago it was the main system belt... [/i]

 Timing belt?  If it was the timing belt, had it ever been replaced?  I certainly should have been replaced before this by either the time or mileage schedule.  In fact it may have been due for the second belt replacement.    Again if it was a timing belt, the replacement is not a repair (unless it damaged something because you let it go too long or whoever replaced it botched the job) it is maintenance. 

That leaves the transmission, so I will repeat myself, Why do you believe it needs to be replaced? Note: while it appears car manufacturers have stopped recommending regular automatic transmission fluid, You really will save yourself a lot of grief by replacing it and cleaning the internal filter at least every 50,000 miles.


#3

Hi…it’s automatic. And yes, it was the timing belt. It was probably replaced once before. We followed the maintenance schedule up to about 120K miles or so, then started pretty much reacting (aside from oil changes and such).
The problem with the belt was that one of the pulleys got stuck and that caused the belt to twisted and pull (and break) a couple of the pulleys.
As for the transmission, when accelerating suddenly (like when going onto the freeway), the transmission does not shift up, and the motor just revs up until I release the accelerator and try accelerating slowly. Our regular mechanic found slivers of metal and asbestus in the transmission oil, and recommended it be checked at a place that specializes in transmissions. Then my brother said it would probably need to be replaced. So we don’t really know for sure, but it sounds pretty bad…


#4

Good info; your brother may be right or wrong. I had the same thing happen to a Ford transmission years ago, and the transmission shop was able to repair it.

Whatever you do, stop driving the vehicle until you get it fixed; the problem will only get worse and more expensive if you keep driving. Go to a good in dependent transmission shop (not a chain like AAMCO, Cottman, etc.) and get them to test it. Chain shops will automatically (pardon the pun!) want to put in a rebuilt unit, many of which are of dubious quality.

If you need to replace the transmission, you have to decide how good the truck is, how much life is left in it to justify the fix. Any used vehicle you buy could be having the same problem shortly after you get it.

If the transmission fluid and filter have never been replaced (we recommend every 30,000-50,000 miles)you may indeed need a replacement transmission.

Good luck.


#5

Thanks! Our debate was pretty much how to know how much life is left in the Durango, and what else can go wrong…what else are we going to have to fix in, say, the next year? We have done a good number of repairs in the last 3 years. I wish there were like a table of the half life of different things so one could plan better.


#6

With Chrysler products there is no real predicted “half life”. These vehicles can have things go wrong anytime, or with luck last as long as in other vehicles.

You have not told us if you maintained the vehicle religiously by the book. If not, it’s probably time to dispose of it and buy something newer and more reliable.

A friend of my wife wanted an SUV and it was the very last thing I would have recommended. There are many better vehicles on the market. She bought a Durango anyway after owning a Plymouth Breeze, another one of Chrysler’s not so great creations.


#7

Are you sure it was a timing belt? Iknow that up to and including 1999 the engine was a 318 or 360 V8 and it had a timing chain. I thot they were all 360s but my son-in-law told me some were 318s.


#8

I just checked the Gates catalog and none of the 2000 Durango engines had a timing belt, therefore I assume the OP is referring to the serpentine belt which is not a big deal and I would not consider at all in whether or not to do this repair.


#9

Are you sure it was asbestos? I thought they all but banned that stuff.


#10

I see Docnick is not thrilled with Chrysler products. Kind of how I feel about most Fords…

If the vehicle is overall in good shape, and you like it, I’d consider replacing/rebuilding the transmission. You likely won’t get another vehicle for the cost of the rebuild that is in as good of shape, and you will be dealing with someone else’s vehicle with an unknown history and problems. If you feel it’s time to move on, then by all means do so. This vehicle has a V8 I think, and unless it’s been sorely mistreated, it will likely be running just fine when the rest of the vehicle is ready to be crushed. Small-block V8s from any of the big 3 (with a few exceptions) will run a very long time as long as they are not run out of oil or severely overheated. These engines have timing chains, not belts, so I’m guessing your serpentine belt is what failed previously.

Another option is to find a transmission from a junkyard (preferably from a low mileage wreck) and get that installed. You may be able to do this for half the price of a rebuild or less.


#11

Good advice; I agree that the Chrysler V8 engines are probably the best component of their vehicles. Have personally owned 2 of their cars, a 1965 Dodge Dart 273 V8(good, but a rustbucket) and a dismal 1957 Plymouth flathead 6.

Chrysler products did well after 1964 until they switched to front wheel drive, and the quality and design went downhill.

Consumer Reports will not recommend any Chrysler product in their latest car buying guide.


#12

I’ll keep that in mind as I continue to drive my 94, which has over 250K on it, and has given me less trouble than any other vehicle I’ve owned. (I have had the transmission rebuilt once)


#13

Congradulations! Just about everyone I know who owns a Chrysler product has had an excessive amount of trouble with them.

I don’t know what you drove before, or how you take care of your vehicles, but good luck is often a result of careful model selection and good care. Your transmission rebuild comes as no surprise.


#14

Maybe you should replace it with an early 2000’s Honda – they’re known for “wonderful” transmissions :slight_smile:


#15

No, it was not the timing belt!!


#16

I have had pretty good service from the several Dodge/Chrysler cars I have owned, however I never had any of the 80’ vehicles except an '83 pickup and it was a good truck. I now have a '96 2500 Van and I believe it has been a good vehicle. Only has 134K miles on it yet.