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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had amazing luck with my '97 Sport Caravan. Bought new and now have 171K with original trans/engine/ac. Problems have been relatively minor over the years. Done lots of cross country road trips, but lots of city driving also. Who else has had a similar experience with the 4 speed electronic tranny?
 

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I "had" a 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE that I recently sold with 121,xxx miles on it, all with original tranny/engine/ac. Very reliable vehicle with the only unexpected big ticket expense being the replacement of the body control module at around 85,000 miles.

Everybody (except my mechanic) told me NOT to buy it because the tranny would surely self-destruct prematurely. My mechanic was the one who told me about using ONLY Chrysler ATF in the tranny. Lucky for me, the previous owner (I bought it used) serviced and repaired the van exclusively at the dealer.
 

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tranny

Had a 96 Voyager with 125000 when I got rid of it but then again that had the 3 speed auto in so I wasn't surprised . That 3 speed shifted a lot better than either our 2004 or my 2007 4 speed .
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Chrysler ATF

auto_mran said:
I "had" a 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE that I recently sold with 121,xxx miles on it, all with original tranny/engine/ac. Very reliable vehicle with the only unexpected big ticket expense being the replacement of the body control module at around 85,000 miles.

Everybody (except my mechanic) told me NOT to buy it because the tranny would surely self-destruct prematurely. My mechanic was the one who told me about using ONLY Chrysler ATF in the tranny. Lucky for me, the previous owner (I bought it used) serviced and repaired the van exclusively at the dealer.
I have used the dealer exclusively for my transmission servicing. They only do a pan drop and filter change which only replaces part of the fluid, but I can't argue with success. I read that you should stick with Mopar and stay away from Jiffy Lube et al. I change the oil myself and use a variety of brands, but have pretty much stuck with Fram filters. What I read about Fram is not too encouraging, so I'll probably switch to another brand. Surprisingly, Walmart filters are rated pretty well against major brands and at half the price.
So, with 171K, should I drive it to from Texas to Chicago next month???

'97 Sport Caravan Short
 

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i've been told that the super tech 2000 filters sold at wal-mart are made by purolator, who also makes hastings, and wix which are all top of the line filters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Supertech filters

bngreenchev said:
i've been told that the super tech 2000 filters sold at wal-mart are made by purolator, who also makes hastings, and wix which are all top of the line filters.
From the Dodge Dakota discussion group:

"Walmart Supertech - Manufactured by Bosch / Champion Labs. Wal-Mart buys in such quantities, that they can negotiate good prices with their suppliers. For approximately $2, the Supertech filter is very well constructed. "

I've read other filter comparison articles that Champion Labs makes the Supertech filter. For the price, it's supposed to be pretty good.
 

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I've got nearly 140,000 on my '97 Caravan SE. I bought it used about two years ago with just over 100,000 on it for $1,500 which I thought was a pretty good price. It is the original engine and trans. It was slipping a bit, especially in reverse when I first got it, and would shudder often at highway speeds. I figured that the trans was a goner, and started saving up to replace it, thinking that even if I put $2000 or so into a transmission, I was still getting a pretty good deal. Before I got the money together to replace the trans, I broke a drive axle 160 miles from home during my summer vacation. The tow truck operator suggested a nearby transmission shop, as he knew that they were reliable, and reasonably priced. Since I was going to have to leave it there for a week, and come back for it, I told them to open up the trans while they were working on it. They pulled the pan, adjusted bands, and replaced something while they were in there, new filter, gasket, and proper Chrysler fluid. That was a year ago, and it has worked perfectly since.
 

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I just sold my 96 Chrysler T&C with 352,000 miles on it two months ago.

The transmission gave up the ghost at 198,000, but that only happened because I bought the line that you could substitute other fluids for ATF+3. The second time the transmission went out, it was at 252,000, and the problem was the solenoid pack. No rebuild needed. The shop botched the programming, though, and it would sometimes downshift hard from 4 to 3 after that.

In revisiting that shop to have him get it right, he left a wheel loose one day, and it came off while my wife was driving down the highway at 70 mph with three kids and the dog inside. My wife, who earns title to the nickname "Andretti", got it safely to the roadside despite a flat-spotted rotor and messed up tie-rod end. A lawsuit ensued, and we were eventually recompensed for repairs and costs, but the hard 4-3 downshifts persisted for the next 100,000 miles right up until the day I sold it for $500.

Over its life, the thing visited 28 states and I used it as a delivery vehicle for a coffee service I ran for a while. I sold it because the body had taken some abuse in recent years (hit a deer, had someone back into it while parked twice) and it was due for a full slate of maintenance stuff (tires, brakes, struts), and when I added up the bills, I figured I could find something newer and nicer with less miles for the same money.

Selling it was like losing an arm. But I replaced it with an '01 GC that is treating me well so far.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awesome story!

gas28man said:
I just sold my 96 Chrysler T&C with 352,000 miles on it two months ago.

The transmission gave up the ghost at 198,000, but that only happened because I bought the line that you could substitute other fluids for ATF+3. The second time the transmission went out, it was at 252,000, and the problem was the solenoid pack. No rebuild needed. The shop botched the programming, though, and it would sometimes downshift hard from 4 to 3 after that.

In revisiting that shop to have him get it right, he left a wheel loose one day, and it came off while my wife was driving down the highway at 70 mph with three kids and the dog inside. My wife, who earns title to the nickname "Andretti", got it safely to the roadside despite a flat-spotted rotor and messed up tie-rod end. A lawsuit ensued, and we were eventually recompensed for repairs and costs, but the hard 4-3 downshifts persisted for the next 100,000 miles right up until the day I sold it for $500.

Over its life, the thing visited 28 states and I used it as a delivery vehicle for a coffee service I ran for a while. I sold it because the body had taken some abuse in recent years (hit a deer, had someone back into it while parked twice) and it was due for a full slate of maintenance stuff (tires, brakes, struts), and when I added up the bills, I figured I could find something newer and nicer with less miles for the same money.

Selling it was like losing an arm. But I replaced it with an '01 GC that is treating me well so far.

Rick
This is an awesome story! I still have faith in my Teal '97 Sport SWB, but I'm thinking hard about taking it to Chicago this Xmas (2400 mi. round trip). All is serviced and ready to go, but that darn tranny...trust it or not??? Terrain is fairly flat from Austin.
 

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Bought my '96 3.0L in January '07 with 159K, now has 167K. AFAIK the transmission is original. Has developed a problem with reverse, slips a lot, so I try to avoid situations where backing up is needed.

GlennH
 

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Bought my 98 grand new in 12/97. Have 127k miles now with no trans problems. Had a leaky trans solenoid pack replaced under warranty at 70k miles. I have the trans serviced by the dealer every 35 to 40k and haven't had any shifting problems. I would never ler anyone flush the trans. Leaky rear wheel cylinders, a defective Mopar serp. belt ( kept coming off in the rain) and 1 power window motor have been the only major repairs. I was going to replace leaking valve cover gaskets, but changing a clogged PCV valve and hose cured the leak. I would consider new 2008 if they still made the swb version. My kids are out of the home now and I don't need the extra space or weight.
 

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Glenn_H, I would have the bands adjusted on that transmission. Mine was slipping pretty significantly in reverse before I had it serviced, and it is perfect now. My total bill was right around $600, but that also included parts / labor for replacing the drive axle as well, so just the fluid / filter change and adjustment probably would have been no more than $400.

I also had a leaky valve cover gasket, and was considering changing them. I noticed it as soon as I bought the van. Of course, just after buying it, I went through some normal maintenance, including air filter, oil change, and I did the PCV valve while I was at it (as well as the hose that it connects to, since the old one broke when I tried to remove it) and that cured the problem with the oil leak.
 
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