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Hi all,

I'm a long time owner of the Generation 2 Caravan, but my spider gears inside the trans of my trusty but rusty original one let go rather spectacularly so I've been shopping for a "new" one.

I found a 109,000 mile example in Kansas City with virtually no rust, a little-old-lady backstory and very mint condition inside and out. The only problem is I'm told the transmission "slips" from 35 to 40 mph, but the van drives normally otherwise. The current owner says he drives it, but after a few miles of highway driving it will start slipping if he stops and has to return to highway speeds.

$900, so I'm buying it whether it needs a trans or not. I'm picking it up next week.

At this point I'm not sure if it is actual slippage, or converter lockup issues, or what. I have a 660 mile drive to get it home, so I'd like some advice:

1. If it is actually slipping as it makes the 2/3 or 3/4 shift, is there a driving style (for example, holding the car in 1st/2nd for as long as possible, then backing off and letting it shift straight to overdrive) that would minimize damage during the drive home?

2. Do you recommend I do a cold-boot (removing the negative battery cable) before starting the long drive? I've been told this can help a marginal transmission relearn shift points, etc.

3. Is there any method to determine if the correct +4 transmission fluid is currently in the van? If necessary, I can have the fluid flushed/filter changed before departure, but I don't want to waste my money if not necessary.
 

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'Slipping' is a vague diagnosis. Try to get a better description or diagnostic history from the owner. It may be more than what he is willing to put into it, but if it is the only issue this could make a decent minivan.
You could come prepared with basic hand tools, drain pan, ATF+4 and filter. Even if it isn't necessary or doesn't fix the problem, dropping the pan might be a good way to start diagnosis of any potential internal wear or damage. If it is slipping or has been slipping it may be beyond driving home and you would want to consider towing or flatbedding it the 660 miles home. This is up to you.
Any slipping clutches will put it in limp-in (2nd gear default). It would be a long drive home in 2nd, but I have driven transaxles in limp-in a 100 miles home before. Just keep speeds reasonable. You can do 55 mph well under redline and if the cooling system is OK, there should be no danger of overheating. If it slips in 2nd, it may fail completely and strand you. In that case it would have to be delivered to your town and a rebuild/reman estimate made.
The TCM will store fault codes until a battery disconnect, but you would need a special scan tool to read them. If disconnecting the battery doesn't help reset the problem, then the fault is real and active.
 
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