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Discussion Starter #1
Is replacing this a fix for a delayed downshift into 1st gear, like the first left turn in the morning?

After the 1st one, it's fine, usually.

I have the new unit, but my mechanic thinks differently.

Should I try other things 1st?

The problem is, with the warm weather starting (eastern PA), it doesn't do it much, so it will be hard to tell if the new one has an effect.

But sometimes the downshift can take several seconds to happen, so I thought it might be a safety issue.

So least I can do is try it for safety's sake.

'98 Grand Voyager SE 3.3 flex fuel VIN G
 

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I wouldn't just replace parts without a diagnosis pointing to the sol pack as being the problem. It usually isn't and it doesn't sound like an electronic problem.
Any TCM fault codes? Any road test while watching a scan tool for the 'target' gear?
A TCM may require a more advanced scan tool than just an OBDII scan tool. The TCM may store 'Event Data' which can be read later to figure out what has happend.
Any filter/fluid/rebuild history?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No rebuild that I know of. Was purchased in 2007 w/ 71K miles. has about 120K now. Owner said he towed a small U-haul for kids college stuff, also changed the oil, but I don't know what kind he used (at dealer).

We changed the fluid twice within the last year or so with ATF+4, and I think the filter was also changed each time. I guess the metal pan debris was a lot, and one larger piece, sounded like the tip of a tooth.

Anyway, runs much better now, clunks are milder (much), and as I recall, it's only that downshift into 1st that clunks at all now. It's not my daily driver.

Specifically, we could be sitting at a light, and after a few seconds, there will be a mild clunk as it downs into 1st gear. Sometimes when we want to take off, it's not ready, and we have to wait a few seconds before it kicks in.

Mechanic is not Chrysler specific, but a good generalist. He said the solenoid usually throws a code if it's not functioning properly. Also said he's done a ton of them. He's only about 30.

"Any TCM fault codes? Any road test while watching a scan tool for the 'target' gear?
A TCM may require a more advanced scan tool than just an OBDII scan tool. The TCM may store 'Event Data' which can be read later to figure out what has happend."

He has never suggested any of this, and I usually try to stay a step ahead with maintenance, so all this was at my suggestion.

I heard about a TCM flash upgrade, couldn't find any stickers under the hood that suggested it was already done.

Don't know exactly what to expect, but can't put it all on mechanic. He works for a dealer, and then does work on his own time, but is allowed to use dealer's facility for some stuff.

I guess maybe I'll just hold onto the solenoid for now.

There is an article on allpar, a guy did the same thing I did, changed fluid twice, had a lot of metal pan debris, then had no other problems except the late downshift into 1st. He narrowed it down to the sol pack, and it only does it occasionally now.
 

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If he has access to a Chrysler dealer DRB III, then the next time he takes the van maybe he could check for the latest software (flash) being installed in the PCM and TCM. It can make a big difference in the whole feel of the vehicle. Sometimes stickers don't get put on and sometimes they fall off. The part # stored in each module can be read on the DRB to see if it is, in fact the latest and greatest version.
After checking that, a DRB 'quicklearn may help smooth the 'shift bump' into first on decel and other up/down shifts.
Debris in the pan indicates that some wear has taken place. The correct and clean fluid and new software shift-smoothing operation might help you get more miles out of it.
I have replaced sol packs for leaking ATF more than any other problem. Electro-mechanically they are fairly reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, the 1st time the fluid was changed, he used 4 qts of ATF+4; 2nd time, 4 1/2, plus I added almost all the rest shortly after the 2nd change.

Does the leak show up on the ground? And where?
 

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The sol pack is in the front and would drip rearward and underneath. The pan would likely be wet with drops hanging at the rear. It can blow back further onto the crossmember.
The cooler hoses were also common leak areas. Usually the clamps just need tightening.
Any ATF wetness under the transaxle or radiator should be addressed. Sometimes degreasing is necessary to find the source of the leak. Always clean up the area after a repair just to verify that the leak has stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
IC, thanks.

What I'm gonna do is, re-check the fluid level. I checked it in park last time, and it may need to be checked in neutral. My bad.

Mechanic said to check fluid 1st also.

So I'll do that, and maybe check around for leaks, etc.

Was researching, and didn't find anything specific to my symptoms.

Some say to change TCM and sol at same time. Others say change both I/O sensors at same time also.

So unless I have reason to think differently, I may hold onto the new sol for the time.

May also look up some independent trans shops to do some diags; not franchises :)

Also heard about checking ground straps, to TCM, trans, and alternator.

Thanks again.
 
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