Transmission trouble

dodge
stratus

#1

The downshift is a hard shift. What should I do to get it back to smooth? Several weeks ago it was slow to engage and I found it low on fluid. I slowly added almost two quarts before it appeared to be in the right range. Now, on real cold mornings it is still slow to engage. Upshift is smooth. Downshift is a relatively hard clunk.


#2

Two quarts low on tranny fluid? Not good!

What color is the tranny fluid? And most important, what does it smell like?

Tester


#3

What kind of transmission fluid did you put in? How many miles on the vehicle? Has the transmission fluid ever been changed?


#4

What year is your Stratus?? Have the computer scanned for any trouble codes first. Also, inspect for any leaks. 2 quarts low on fluid is not good. I, too would like to know when it was serviced last and how many miles are on it now.

transman


#5

This is a 2001 Stratus, the mileage is 126,00. The transmission has probably never been serviced. When the problem first occurred, I added T-Fluid I got at the grocery store. I dont recall the designation, but I believe it was general T-Fluid from Pennzoil. Adding that got the fluid on the dipstick , but not to the correct level so I bought some fluid from the auto parts store - finding some reccomended for Dodge. Sounds like the first step would be to drain and change the fluid. Looking at the dipstick, I don’t see, or smell, anything unusual. Also, I don’t see any significant leakage under the car. Any bets on the likelyhood that a fluid change will fix the problem?


#6

This is a 2001 Stratus, the mileage is 126,00. The transmission has probably never been serviced. When the problem first occurred, I added T-Fluid I got at the grocery store. I dont recall the designation, but I believe it was general T-Fluid from Pennzoil. Adding that got the fluid on the dipstick , but not to the correct level so I bought some fluid from the auto parts store - finding some reccomended for Dodge. Sounds like the first step would be to drain and change the fluid. Looking at the dipstick, I don’t see, or smell, anything unusual. Also, I don’t see any significant leakage under the car. Any bets on the likelyhood that a fluid change will fix the problem?


#7

If I was you, I would buy a filter, and a new vacume valve and swap them out once I had drained all the fluid. Then I would put in all new fluid, and drive it to see if that fixed the problem. If it is still clunky, then you might need to have the bands adjusted. The smell of the fluid is important, because if it is burned, you have more problems than you really want to think about.


#8

Thanks - I’ll do that this afternoon. Hope it works - I’ll let you know if I run into some problems.


#9

You really need to take this to someone who knows transmissions. For one thing, whatever that trans fluid was that you put in has to come out. The only thing you want in your transmission is ATF+4. The other thing is that if you were truly 2 QUARTS (!) low then you have a leak that really needs attention. Are you sure you were checking it correctly? (Hot engine, engine running, in park, level surface).

Anyway, if you haven’t completely killed the thing yet, you need a full trans service and checkup from an experienced shop. Avoid the national chains (e.g. AAMCO) and find a local and independent transmission shop.


#10

Take it to a local auto parts store and have them scan the computer first. If they find any codes, write the code and the code description down and post them back here. If they find no codes, the pan will need to be dropped and checked for debris. Change out the filter and refill the trans using ONLY Chryslers ATF+4 fluid. You need to make sure your transmission gets serviced every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says. Also, dont bother looking for a vacuum modulator on this transmission because it doesnt have one, it also has NO bands in it to adjust. You can not adjust anything in this transmission. Take it and get the codes read first and post back.

transman


#11

Great advice. I purchased the filter replacement kit from NAPA, then when I got underneath, I found many indications of leaks. some from around the pan but some from the cooling lines. I decided it looked like too much work laying on my back on the garage floor, so I took it into a shop. They said the pan looked okay - no significant debris and no burnt smell etc., and they confirmed the leaks I saw, and also recommended replacement of the “solenoid pack.” They indicated there was some leakage around the solenoids, and that they are responsible for the “hard” downshifting. The totals about $1,000.


#12

Were there any codes stored in the computer?? Did they even scan it??

transman


#13

They tell me the computer codes indicated: 1. “Loss of prime”, and 2. “3rd Gear ratio off”.
They associated the 3rd gear problem with the solenoid pack.