Used vs rebuilt tranny

#1

I have a '98 caravan w/128K miles and need a transmission. Should I go with one from a junkyard or an Aamco rebuilt? The van is still in decent shape, but will need a few other repairs and I am tight on funds!

#2

Before we answer that, why do you think you need a transmission?

What has happened to it?

#3

Are you already involved with Aamco? I don’t recommend you do business with them.

How long do you plan to keep the vehicle? If it is just for a short while, go used. If you want to keep it for a long time, go with a rebuild, but not from Aamco.

#4

I would only put in a used tranny in this vehicle. Finding one is the hardest part that has fairly low mileage. I replaced an Acura tranny with a used that I picked out at the used engine shop…Had about 40K on it (Japanese export a lot of used low mileage engines and trannies due to environmental and economic regs). It was cheap and I only paid $450 for it without the differential. Original had bad clutch packs which was common failure on early Legends. Rebuilts are mostly prone to fail, they have already ONCE. and a rebuilt with cost 2-3x times even including installation of used.

#5

Lost all but 1st gear while driving on highway. Had it checked out by trusted mechanic who found a used tranny, but the miles seem a bit high (80k). The used thru this mechanic will only have a 30 day warranty. Aamco offers 1yr/12,000 mile warranty.

#6

Doing business with any “trusted local mechanic” is far superior to trusting Aamco. If you chose the latter, you’re a riskier gambler than most of the contributors on this forum are.

#7

Given the higher failure rate of Caravan tranny’s and the labor involved with replacing.

I would opt for a rebuilt from a reputable place.

#8

A very reputable mechanic I have known for years and has worked on a number of projects for me and works for a Dodge dealer and repairs Dodge trannys told me when my wife’s caravan was having a similar problem, I only needed a very inexpensive switch. Sadly, I was told a number of “tranny shops” won’t disclose this to you and convince you to rebuild your tranny. This switch is very accessable like near the neutral/park switch. Hope this helps.

#9

You are experiencing “limp home mode,” which gives you only second and reverse gears. There are many possible causes for this, some of which don’t involve replacing or rebuilding the transaxle. For example, dirty electrical contacts, faulty solenoids, etc. Did the mechanic scan the TCM (transmission control module) for error codes and CVI values? Have the fluid and filter been changed? These units, like all modern transaxles, is very sensitive to the type of fluid they can tolerate. Yours requires ATF+4 ONLY!

I will echo the caution to avoid AAMCO. Most of their shops, for example, use a generic fluid and an additive instead of the proper fluid. This results in damaged clutches, usually just about the time the warranty expires.

#10

Thanks, that was my feeling also, my Dad has owned several caravans and
failure rate of tranny for this vehicle seems to be an issue.

#11

Have heard much that supports your point, Thanks.