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Thank you for reading this. I own a 2000 dodge grand caravan automatic 3.0L V6 OHV 12V FFV. Lately, sometimes whether starting cold or warmed up, mostly if im stopped or sometimes if im driving verry slowly at a slow speed with my foot off the gas, something goes wrong where ill hit the gas to go and my van will act like its in nuetral and have zerooo drive.. once i give it gas for a few seconds the gear will reingage and ill be on my merry way. im very careful to only feather the gas until it engages because whatever rpms im running will translate into the drive gear whenever it engages. Im asking for insight, advice, cost estimates, etc. Please help if you can. Thank you to those who do.
 

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My 1999 Caravan (not Grand but that's irrelevant) started doing that a few months ago. I posted the question on Scotty Kilmer's (YouTuber w/51 yrs experience as a mechanic) website (ScottyKilmer.com) and he replied that's a sign of the tranny going out. Need to replace tranny (~$2500 and up), sell it if you can, drive it til the wheels fall off (or the tranny falls out), or junk it. Rebuilding tranny wasn't an option.
 

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Kilmer doesn't know everything, and he hates Chryslers. Hooking up a scanner and watching what the line pressure does would be a first step. Low line pressure could be a symptom of bad wear in the pump assembly, or a bad vlp solenoid. Salvage transmissions are widely available for these vans for a few hundred bucks.
 

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Cool! Where are you and how soon can you get to NOLA? I can do some things myself, but I have limitations. My son can do some things and/or help me, but his degrees-in-progress are in computer stuff. He's def not a car guy, not built for it, not trained in it, but he does try for my sake. No real mechanic will install a tranny I buy (warranty issues), so that doubles (or triples) the overall cost of parts, then add labor. See where this is going?

Also, what I didn't mention about my tranny issues, since OP didn't mention having these issues, are: First sign of trouble was the column shifter kept getting stuck and I'd have to try a few times to get it in gear. Next, once I got it in R or D, it would act like it was in N. Again I'd have to try a few times to make it go. Finally, it started doing what OP's van's doing.

It's a 21 y/o van with 95k mi on it. Oil changes were always paramount; didn't miss those. I also changed sensors, gaskets, other standard maintenance things over the years. Then things started breaking down too quickly for me to keep up. The p.s. fluid began leaking from the rack (no quick, cheap fix on that; needs a new r & p assembly), followed by dying p.s. pump (oh the cringe-worthy sound it makes). The last thing I did on it was replace the master cylinder (corrosion led to leaking led to mushy brakes), but the bleeder screws are properly stuck (yes, I drowned them in WD-40, but didn't try heating them), so I can't bleed the brakes. Physically defeated and out of money, I cried, but that didn't help at all. Alas, Frankenvan now just sits sadly in place. Don't even have a battery in him. I got 6 years out of a "5-yr" Interstate battery, but it was quite corroded and very dead so I returned it to Firestone for disposal. Didn't buy a new one. What's the point?
 

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I assume people asking for help here might be attempting repairs themselves, and the first step in that process is diagnosing the problem. What you are describing could be multiple problems. If you're not able to engage gears correctly from the shifter, you could have a bad range switch, or some defective linkage. You could very well have a defective solenoid pack. If you have positive but delayed gear engagement without noticeable slippage, it could be a solenoid or line pressure issue. If you've got slippage it's time for a new transmission. If temperature seems to affect it this might point to wear in the valve body, or a weak servo seal. There is no simple answer, because transmissions are not simple things. Are you sure it's actually the steering rack that's leaking and not one of the lines? Either way, it's not an easy repair, the steering rack is one of the harder things to get at on these vehicles, and getting the fittings off and on again requires special tools and significant dexterity while working directly under the vehicle. You'll also need to have it realigned once you're done. If your bleeder screws are stuck, you should just replace the wheel cylinders or calipers, they're not expensive and it's not worth fighting with them.
Without sounding like a wiseass, if you're lacking the motivation or ability to do repairs on a 20 year old vehicle which is going to continue to corrode and have mechanical issues due to the laws of entropy if nothing else, it might be time for something somewhat newer and less well-used.

I don't mean to disrespect Scotty Kilmer, either, he's a fount of wisdom, certainly, but he tends to talk down to his audience, speak in absolutes, and pushes Toyotas as the end all-be all vehicle brand. I've known a number of people who've had relatively bad experiences with Toyotas, so they're not god-cars by any means. Ask someone whose pickup broke in half what they think of Toyota "quality". Some of the things I've seen him do in his videos I've found questionable as well. Like a lot of mechanics his knowledge of electrical issues is suspect, (in my opinion).
 

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"he tends to talk down to his audience" -- which is exactly what you're doing to me.

OP's question has been up since Dec. 2018 -- over 6 mos! -- with no replies. Since you know so much, you should have replied to OP before I gave him as much info as I have on trannies. I'm a motivated DIYer, but I, like OP, ran into something we can't diagnose so we ask others more knowledgeable. Before I asked Scotty, I reached out to some relatively trustworthy mechanics who told me that there are few mechanics in my area who will so much as touch a tranny issue. They merely refer them to a garage that specializes in trannies, because "transmissions are not simple things."

Furthermore, I've done more on my van than a lot of DIYers would have, because I'm my father's daughter. He was a car man. Unfortunately, he died 40 years ago, when I was 17. I'm now 57 and still DIY-ing car stuff. I do not shy away from a job just b/c someone tells me it's "gonna be really hard" to get to or to do. That actually motivates me even more. BTW, yes, I am certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that the rack is where the p.s. fluid is leaking. It's primarily b/c these relatively expensive parts (r & p assembly, p.s. pump, and potentially tranny) started going rotten, and keep getting worse, nearly simultaneously that makes DIY-ing them a problem for me. I also live in an apartment complex which allows only 24 hours to complete vehicle repair or maintenance.

Finally, never ASS-u-me is a great rule of thumb to follow......no matter what the situation.
 

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Seriously? I have no idea what posts are up here or not, since I don't browse here on a daily basis. I've got more things on my plate than spending hours on the internet gratis trying to help people fix their cars who typically don't have a clue and don't appreciate the time involved. When I get a notification about trending posts that might be of interest, I'll take a look. Whether or not I take the time to answer a post depends on whether I think I have something to contribute. How did I talk down to you? I told you exactly what I thought, realistically. The vehicle has a bunch of hard, tedious, and probably expensive (even if you provide the labor yourself) work that needs to be done. The cost probably exceeds the value of the van. If you can't do it, you might as well scrap it. That's just reality, not talking down to you.

Kilmer spends his time these days doing short videos where he basically yells at you to buy this or that product, buy a Toyota, don't buy a BMW, blah, blah, blah. He never really shows you how to fix anything, because that defeats the point of you paying him to do it (if he feels like it). If you want to see how to do things, watch South Main Auto's channel, or pay attention to those of us who actually have fixed these things ourselves.
 
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