Stratus-phere mystery guest

Grab that cup of coffee and please hang in there with me for the journey below:

Desperately seeking solution for my newly acquired ?95 Dodge Stratus, gifted September 2010 with 68k miles, single owner previous, very nice condition; all appeared to be just fine.

A few tweaks were necessary. The entire coolant system had to be replaced: water the color of Utah?s desert was pulsing (?) through its system. The brakes had some rust buffed off. It got new tires, and then the games began. (. . .maybe should not have ?given baby new shoes?. . .)

Going down the highway, taking an off ramp, letting the car slow on its own with only a light break, and the whole car heaves; I am suddenly in a much lower gear, to stay there for the rest of the ride. Imagine cruising down the highway at a screamin 40 mph, not really my style. This condition has occurred, very randomly, probably 12 times since September. Sometimes I?ll just be on a city street without any major or minor transitions to take and there it goes again. I make it home; it sits overnight, and the car runs just fine as if nothing was wrong.

I have taken it to five different locations to get a reading on just what is going on ? the same response: unless we can hook up our computer sensors to the car at the time of this condition, we can?t help you. The last straw was a week ago, going up a small grade, the car with no notice, cuts out. I start it twice again, making it to park. No engine light to warn me, nothing, just went to sleep on me. I just picked my car up from the latest shop and it?s driving just fine, thank you very much. But, IT will be back, at the most unsuspected time, I know.

Here comes the hook: I live in San Francisco, have a small business, non profit, a vibrant family of four grown kids and seven grandkids ? need a vehicle! I have been over a year without my own car. My perfectly fine Nissan Sentra got squashed between a parking tour bus van and a parked industrial strength bumpered pickup in front of me. Yes, I was parked also - the result: a van all up in my trunk and a hood that quickly took on the appearance of an A-frame tent.

Enter my youngest daughter and my 60?something birthday, and this wonderful surprise birthday gift of a fine looking car with an all systems go attitude.



Sounds Like the transmission is going into limp-home mode. Here is a link that may have some helpful info

BTW I own a 95 Stratus with about 175,000 miles on it, it however has a manual transmission.

Another Link Stratusphere forum

Sounds like the transmission is going into second gear “limp mode” as americar said. Mopar transmissions around this year had some troubles. A proper rebuild with beefed up parts makes them as reliable as anything else out there however. If the coolant looked like mud, it’s likely the tranny fluid was never changed either.

Another problem common to those years was the speed sensors on the transmission. This is a pretty cheap fix and definitely what I’d check/replace first. Basically what happens is the failing sensor produces an erratic (or no) signal, which doesn’t agree with what the transmission computer expects, so the computer panics and puts the transmission in limp mode to protect it and allow you to slowly drive it home. Restarting the vehicle ‘reboots’ the transmission computer and allows normal operation again until the anomaly reoccurs.

Great info! Thanks - taking it to the bank and hoping for stellar returns. Much appreciated.