Transman! Ever Hear of This?

I had an owner bring in their 1996 Chrysler Cirrus with 75K for complaint about a noise anytime the vehicle is coasting or freewheeling. I test drove the vehicle and sure enough there’s a ratcheting noise anytime the vehicle coasts. But the noise disappears if the vehicle is accelerated or if the brakes are applied.

I put the vehicle on the lift to get the tires off the ground. Started the engine and put the transmission in drive. While the tires are tuning there’s no noise. But if you blip the throttle this ratcheting noise occurs for a moment and then stops. From what I can tell it appears to be coming from the differential portion of the transaxle for the left side axle.

Let me also add. The owner says this noise didn’t appear until after she had driven over the metal bridge approach that had heaved up from ice. She was doing about 65 MPH while in a slight right hand curve. And said it was quite a jolt when the approach was struck.

Ever hear of these transaxle differentials suffering damage from such an event?


Bump. I’d like to hear his resonse too.

Hey tester,

Pull the differential cover off and check the differential pin. On these transmissions (In the earlier units) the differential pins have a tendency to walk out and make contact with the case. It will tear a hole in the case then the trans will have to be replaced. There is a kit you can buy which will keep the pin from walking out. You need to get to this before it tears open the case. Let me know what you find out. Here’s a pic of the differential with the kit installed. The existing bolts hold the kit on.


I have a '96 Cirrus with 220,000 miles on. Thanks for the heads up. I use that Mopar ATF-4, but…

Thanks alot Transman. I’ll check it out.


You the man transman
Thank you

I pulled the diff cover off in the vehicle to do an inspection. Found that pin was still in place. But, as I removed the pan pieces of metal started falling out. Looks like the input gear to the ring gear is coming apart. Carrier bearings also have some slop. Looks like a replacement tranny. Too bad. The owner just lost her job.

Here’s some pics.