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Chrysler (JATCO) CVT transaxle service.

Discussion in 'Compacts: Renegade, Patriot, Compass, Caliber' started by ImperialCrown, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    The CVT is a continuously-variable ratio gearbox made by JATCO for Chrysler. They were used in the Caliber/Compass (PM) and the Patriot (MK).
    http://www.allpar.com/mopar/transmissions/CVT.html
    The supply contract between the two companies does not allow dealerships to rebuild these units. Basically the old one comes out and a new one goes in if there is a failure.
    Remans are probably not in the cards as there are not enough of these units failing out there to make a reman service worth their while.
    A fluid and filter service is not in the scheduled maintenance listed in the owners/service manuals. It is one of those 'filled for life' units. Granted it is a synthetic oil (use CVTF+4 or equivalent only) and should have no problem being a lifetime fill under normal driving conditions, but for harsh-duty and environments or plain peace-of-mind, you can service the transaxle yourself if you desire.
    It has 2 filters, one flat filter in the sump when the pan comes off and another cylindrical one up behind the oil-to-water cooler that is bolted to the drivers side of the case. It is the aluminum can with 4 hoses to it. The hoses can stay on while you change the filter inside the housing.
    There is a replaceable pan gasket (Mopar# 5189838AA) and 2 magnets in the pan.
    There is no dipstick, but you can use a flexible length of old speedometer cable (or equivalent) to shove down the tube to measure the level before beginning and again after the service. Listen for the 'clunk' at the pan bottom and go no further. The level for mine on level ground while sitting overnight was about 2 1/2" (6.3 cm). The fill for mine on level ground and sitting overnight was about 6 quarts (5.7 litres).
    After completing the service, put the shift lever through the ranges with the engine running and your foot on the brake. Then put it in Park, shut off the engine, recheck for leaks and proper level.
    The parts that you will need is fluid: CVTF+4 (Mopar# 5191184AA) or any fluid that meets Chrysler's MS-12106. Mopar or Valvoline makes CVT fluid that meets this spec. The fluid is dyed green, it is not your conventional red ATF. Castrol also had a CVT fluid, it covered Hondas specs, but did not mention MS-12106. Expect about $10 a quart.
    I retorqued the valve body bolts while the pan was off and to let it drip awhile. They are 70 inch/pounds (8 nm). I got about an 1/8 turn tighter on all of them.
    Mopar and many others have the pan filter (Mopar # 5191890AA). The 'generic' part # is FK-409. It may even come with the pan gasket.
    Mopar does not service the cooler filter, but I was able to buy that aftermarket. The 'generic' cooler filter # is FK-403. The cooler filter is shown in the factory service manual, but not the Mopar parts catalog.
    Chrysler has released upgraded software for engine/transaxle controllers over the years. Making sure that you are at the latest and greatest software release, will ensure best performance, shift quality and longevity. A TSB (18-031-07) is shown here. It is not a recall, but may be covered under an 8/80 extended emissions warranty if it affects the PCM portion of the controller:
    http://www.wkjeeps.com/misc/Caliber/TSB/Caliber_1803107.pdf
    There is also a TSB 21-010-11 for some newer CVTs. Ask your dealer if any apply to your vehicle.
     
    RonGD, link3721 and Cornupenuria like this.
  2. link3721

    link3721 Yes, This MK Goes Off-Road
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    Great info. I must fall under the harsh use category. I started getting a whine when under hard load and about 3500 RPM. Was really noticeable on a trip to Colorado. Got the fluid and filter service at about 60k miles, helped a lot. I'm starting to hear it again in certain instances at about 80k miles. Planning on doing the service again at 100k and every 50k after that. The software updates really help the feel (mostly helping lock the torque converter earlier I believe). Would do self maintenance but would like there to be no doubts on my lifetime powertrain warranty so I'll stick with the dealer.
     
  3. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    I found the corrugated paper cooler filter (FK-403) to be quite dirty in mine. It trapped some dark material. The pan filter, pan bottom and magnets weren't nearly as dirty.
    It is possible that the cooler filter may have been dirty enough to cause a fluid restriction? Pump whine is often caused by a restriction (or air bubbles from a suction-side leak, that may also be from a restriction). A restriction will load the pump and can cause noise.
     
    RonGD likes this.
  4. chcharlie

    chcharlie Member

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    have 2011 compass, 4x4; 34000 miles. absolutely no problems. cvt was worrisome when considering buying, didn't need to worry.
    as I work around the ZF 9 speed auto & pentastar v6 engines, I've seen quality practices I don't care for. considering a new vehicle. have decided to get another compass 4x4 with 6 speed (probably) & 2.4l engine. this 'baby' grand Cherokee did phenomenally well in very snowy conditions for a 80+ mile trip.
    with 2.4l engine, it takes a moment or 2 to get wound up, then runs very well. it ain't a muscle car but...
     
    ImperialCrown likes this.
  5. hemirunner426

    Level 2 Supporter

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    You always post very good information.You are a gift to Allpar readers.Thanks
     
    page2171, tomit and Doug D like this.

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