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Discussion Starter #1
Having problems again with my 97 Grand Caravan, again. 3.0L 3 speed auto. Just replace the transmission a few months ago with a used transmission. Went to Oklahoma (over 700 miles) over July 4th. Everything was fine on way. Got there and all of a sudden wouldn't shift from 1st to 2nd. Get up to 30 mph, let off gas and give gas again and it shifts into 3rd without any problems. Drove it all the way home - Over 700 miles without a problem other than no 2nd gear. It doesn't appear to slip in any of the other gears.

I've checked trouble codes and none are there. Once in a while I get a P0402, but I find that I just need to clear the code and tighten the gas cap tightly.

Is it time for another transmission or rebuild? Any other suggestions?

Thanks for reading!
Danny
 

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2nd gear relies on both the rear clutch and the kickdown band being applied in order to engage. Since 1st gear also relies on the rear clutch to work, we can assume that the rear clutch is OK and the problem is the kickdown band or its attending mechanical linkage or its hydraulics.
If the kickdown adjustment bolt on top of the transaxle hasn't managed to back off, then you may want to drop the pan for a look. It can be air tested with the valve body out. An air compressor and rubber-tipped blow gun is needed for this. You can hear the 'thunk' of the piston applying and watch the lever and band itself apply. Any hiss is a leak (a little hiss is normal).
If you don't already have a service manual, the 31TH is similar to the A670. Try this link:
http://downloads.bus...transaxle 2.pdf
31TH starts on page 40. Pressure test taps on page 53. Air test diagram on page 55 (you want kickdown servo on).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ImperialCrown,

Thanks for the info. Haven't had a chance to do anything until tonight. I started with what I thought was the easiest thing first, kickdown band adjustment. I now have 2nd gear again.

Thanks again!!!!!
Danny
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello

Have more problems. Didn't know if I should start a new topic or just continue with this one.

In September started having the same problem - no 2nd gear again. Removed the transmission pan and found 2 pieces that looked like pressed board like is on the back of a pad of a paper tablet. I took one of the to the local Dodge dealer. The mechanic told me it was part of the kickdown band.

My new question is - Is it possible to just change the kickdown band without removing the transmission and doing a complete rebuild since the transmission works so well. Other than no 2nd gear.

Danny
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A.j.,

No, an adjustment won't do it. The band has come apart. Need to replace it. Just wondering if I can do it without removing transmission.

Danny
 

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A.j.,

No, an adjustment won't do it. The band has come apart. Need to replace it. Just wondering if I can do it without removing transmission.

Danny
To change a band, you'll have to remove that tranny. Replace all the clutch discs and internal seals at the same time. You are basically looking at a rebuild. I lost my tranny (differential) at about 140,000 and just put in a Mopar reman unit. I've had 75,000 trouble free miles on the tranny since then. If the vehicle is going to be kept for a few years, I'd suggest getting a remanufactured unit. It was a bit expensive at the time, but I did the R&R and saved the $500+ labor costs. Since we also drive the van long distances, I wanted it to be reliable. It was a gamble that seemed to pay off. I basically have the same vehicle except mine is a 96.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
John,

Thanks for the info. I was afraid that was going to be the case. I was just hoping that I could just replace the band and not have to tear it all apart again.

Danny
 

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John, how much is the Mopar reman 3-speed? I had mine in the '96 rebuilt about 18 months ago and I'm hoping it'll last as long as the motor. Currently at 245k on the 3.0L.
 

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John, how much is the Mopar reman 3-speed? I had mine in the '96 rebuilt about 18 months ago and I'm hoping it'll last as long as the motor. Currently at 245k on the 3.0L.
Ray, this has been a few years back. I'm thinking I paid about $1300 with the discount. As you know, Mopar parts have gone up a lot in the past few years. I found a price list from 2008 online at: http://www.mopar-reman.com/transmissions.htm and it shows $1243. I'll bet today's price is at least in $1500 range.

I got my Mopar Reman at wholesalemopar.com which is in Lakeland. I picked it up to save on the shipping/core return, but had to pay 6% FL sales tax. I looked on their website and they no longer list the prices for older trannies. I tried to get a local dealer (Suncoast) to match their price, but they could only come within about $100 and the tax over here was 7%.
 

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Thanks John. I paid $1100 for the rebuild and it's pretty much OK. Occasionally (2-3 times a month) when you put it in gear, you have to give it a little throttle before it engages. Also, when it's cold it doesn't want to do the 2-3 shift at the normal range. After the first half mile or so, it's fine.
 

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I'd try a fluid and filter change, Ray. Unless you've already done that.
 
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