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To repair, or not to repair? 1997 Plymouth Voyager transmission

sept. 2007 we purchased a used 97 plymouth voyager after our second daughter was born. We got them down about $1000 on the asking price, but then had a repair to make soon after that was just a few hundred dollars, not too bad.

December 2008 - just over a year later. I biffed into a snowbank when the roads were bad, and ended up doing some damage that required a new piece to be located and installed in the front, by the axel. This ran us about $2500. WOW. But…Not really an issue with the car, that was user error.

February 2009…Got the car back in January from the last issue, and now the transmission is done, needs to be rebuilt.

What the heck??? So…that wouldn’t hurt so much had we not just shelled out the $2000 a month or so ago for the repairs from the accident.

We cannot afford a new (used) car, nor can we afford car payments on another vehicle right now.

My question is: Do we shell out the $1500 (that we’d have to make payment arrangements with the garage to pay for) to have the trans rebuilt, or do we become a one car family until we can save enough for another junker?

We have a fantastic mechanic who we adore and trust very much, and feel like we’re good in his capable hands if we go with the repair route. He’s left the decision in our hands, but thinks that we need the two cars and if we can swing it, we should proceed with the repair.


PS The van is the car I tool around in with our 2 kids all day, every day, while my husband takes his car to work. Just having the one car for about a week has been making us nuts with driving him to work, little one to school, home, and then do all over in afternoon/evening.

The devil you know is usually better than the devil you don’t.

The first thing that needs to be determined is the accuracy of the diagnosis. General mechanics are often quick to declare the transmissions in these vehicles DOA, but it is often not the case. A good, independent transmission shop can scan the transmission control module for trouble codes, if your mechanic doesn’t have the proper equipment.

Thanks, NYBo…My guy has his transmission guys, should I ask him to make sure that they run a diagnostic to be sure that it isn’t something repairable without a full rebuild? Should I ask who his guys are and if I can go there to check out the diagnostic?

Whats the transmission doing or not doing?? Why is the mechanic condemning it?? What are the exact symptoms??


Transman -

Last Thursday I was driving and heard a DING sound - almost like I hit a big rock. No cars around me reacted or flinched, and I felt like it was okay, and then it was riding odd, so I pulled into a parking lot and did a perimeter check - tires were fine, nothing was dragging, no dent or ding from a rock.
Go to hop back into the car, and it won’t start. Radio is on, air is blowing (not warm), but engine won’t turn. Husband comes to get us, my guy goes to tow it for me, comes back.
Under the car, where something is supposed to spin, it couldn’t because there was a metal…something metal wedged in. I’m fuzzy on details at this point, but he couldn’t get that unwedged, and therefore couldn’t get the engine to turn/run to see if the engine seemed okay or what. Then he said that the trans would have to be done, but that he got the metal piece out (this was later in the day) and the engine sounds fine, but the trans will have to be rebuilt/replaced/whatever. he wanted to make sure the engine was okay so that it wasn’t a matter of replacing/rebuilding the transmission only to find other issues once it was out. (If that makes sense)

Wow… If it caused the engine to lock up it sounds like something jammed itself up into the bellhousing area. If you can find out what exactly it was, I am very curious to know. Please post back and let us know.