Question about 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan

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1999 Dodge Gr. Caravan downshifts in D. Works fine in D3

Mechanic says problems are unrelated but here's the history. Speedometer stopped working. Gear display didn't highlight current gear. Mechanic replaced speed sensor - didn't fix problem. Took to transmission place and they replaced the computer and the sensor within the transmission. $1000 later, fixed problem. A few days later van wouldn't stay in gear while in Drive. It downshifts to lower gear irratically, jerking the vehicle. It drives fine in D3. Mechanic thought the speed sensor they replaced went bad and replaced it again. Test drove fine. Took it home with him to put on more miles. Drove fine. Test drove it again the next day - problem returned. I'm being told the problem is with the overdrive gear within the transmission - rebuild only option to fix it. Told the gear probably broke after other repair was done - problems are unrelated. No codes are showing up.

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  • vanHelga May 20, 2009

    Thanks thundergod. By an "internal problem" do you mean it may involve a rebuild? A rebuild would cost more than the van is worth at this point. If you think it could be something less expensive to fix, a second opinion would be warranted. Does this new problem sound like something that would be related to them "fixing" the computer and internal sensor? I want to be sure that they are not abdicating their responsibility to redo their work under warranty.

  • Richard Scordino May 11, 2010

    Something here does not sound right but not being there, I can't tell you what it is. It could be an unfortunate string of events, as that can happen (once did an oil change on a customers car and the timing chain let go backing out of the shop) but stuff like that is very rare. It sounds more like the problem you had first, may be unrelated to the second two problems, but both of those sound like the trans has an internal problem that was not addressed twice.(generally this throws a code for improper gear ratio) since no codes are present, I'd suggest finding a better trans shop and having them give you a second opinion.

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Perhaps I'm crazy, but when I ran a shop, the vehicle did not go home 'till the problem was solved and I never charged for items that did not fix the vehicle...( I had the silly idea that the customer should not pay for my mistakes .therefore in my world they already have abdicated.)
The problem may be beyond the skill level of anyone in the shop...therefore doing the same thing over and over will give you the same results. You need a fresh "eye" on the situation. Only then will you get a different result. There are "flight tests" and other diagnostics that can be done that should give you an idea what is going on.
If the repair is going to cost more than what the vehicles value is, then it's your decision about what to do. You can have the repair done, buy a different car and/or you may have some legal means of recovering all or part of what you spent not fixing the problem.These are decisions you need to make, but decide after you have the facts in front of you.

Posted on May 20, 2009

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