One of 2 things. 1 the reverse gear is out on transmission or 2, the trasmissions on chrysler are bad about computer module in transmission going bad. either way you are looking at a transmission rebuild. i use to have alot of plymouths and dodge taxi cars and a rebuild was usually 1500.00 you can get a good low mileage trasmission from a auto salvage for alot less.
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if only the reverse is affected it will not be the converter,if you have no drive in any gears yes the converter drive splines may have stripped but when it happened on my 89 nissan skyline wagon a loud bang was heard when this occurred and i doubt you would have missed this,most likely a snapped reverse band
If it is a four wheel drive check your tail shaft or drive line by securing the vehicles front wheels jack up the rear tires and in park try to rotate the drive line if you can hear the transmission sound like it is going into gear the transfer case could be damaged! If not a four wheel drive pull the transmission dipstick and look to see if the fluid is dark red or metallic grayish color if so then you're clutch disks inside the tyranny have been worn out and it needs to be rebuilt!
Sounds to me that you might have lost your pressure plate or the throw out bearing. The only way to check is to pull your trans out and see if the presure plate is broke or the throw out bearing id gone. Sorry no quick fix on this one. It;s not a bad job to change the clutch assem. but it is time consuming.
the rod you mentioned is called linkage, yes it's posible, snow may have jammed up under the car and is stopping it from properly engageing, or the grinding could be internal in the transmition, jack the car up, put jack stands under the frame,block the tiers, and take a real good look at were the linckage conects to the tranny, good luck