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Delayed 41te drive engagement when hot

6661 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  95chryslercirrus
As summer continues to arrive and it gets hotter outside, a problem has arisen inside of my cloud car's transmission. Hooray. 1995 Chrysler Cirrus with 2.5 v6 and 104,500 (approximate) miles. Transmission shows signs of previous removal by bolt "ring scars" showing a different position on the transmission mounts.

It only happens when fully warmed up, and the car has been shut off. When restarting, there is a 5-20 second delay in drive engagement, where it drops harshly into gear. If you go into reverse first, then drive, it shifts as it normally should. Also, after the delayed engagement, if I take it back out of drive and put it back in, it engages as it normally should and you cannot feel it shift into gear. And today for the first time the engagement was so rough and severe, that it stalled out the engine.

Fluid and filter change has not solved this problem. I used ATF+4 and the same amount went in as came out. I am tired of handing this "rare computerized machine" to the dealer everytime something craps out on me for advanced diagnois. I am not sure if I can afford a rebuilt. What could be wrong???

Thanks everyone!
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· Super Moderator
1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
17,323 Posts
Probably not an electrical, but more a hydraulic issue. Were there bolt 'ring scars' at the valve body bolts also, like the transaxle has been apart?
I have found loose valve body bolts from a previous overhaul and snugging them took care of a delayed engagement. The filter o-ring seal must also seat properly in the valve body suction port for a good seal. Sometimes I have found 2 o-rings left in there that caused a pump suction leak.
ATF thins as it warms, pressure will drop especially if a leak of any kind is present.
The front pump could also be showing signs of wear. 1996 was the year of the big seal and software update, going from lip seals to 'D'-seals for many clutch applications.

· Registered
300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, exactly that. And it shows on the engine mounts too. This transaxle has been disassembled more than once I would say. There are signs of rigging in the wiring. Someone cut the blue/orange wire and fed a higher gauge of the same color to the throttle position sensor from the transmission plug. Same with a blue wire, but to the PCM.

When I did the filter and fluid I only found one o-ring which I replaced with what came in the filter kit to make sure it wasn't leaking. The valve body appeared to be snug, but I did not check. It was my first ever transmission fluid drop. There were no excessive or large size chunks of metal shavings on the magnet.

I wish there was a way to pull service records ever done on this vehicle. It would be nice to see if during previous disassembly that more updated parts had been installed according to Chrysler TSB such as the front pump seal. I called them and they have no records of transmission work in the system. So I know at least the transmission repairs were not done by them and could contain aftermarket parts.

I have also began leaking oil from the rear main seal after I had Chrysler change the oil. I figured I was because they used 5-20 instead 5-30 like the car manual states. Just in case that is relevant.

How hard is it to remove and disassemble one of these transaxles if it becomes worst case scenario? If I have to overhaul this, it is getting heavy duty cluthes and seals...

· Virginia Gentleman
8,737 Posts
Are you positive it's the original transmission? It's quite common to just replace the transmission with a reman (MoPar or Jasper).

I'm not a transmission expert - just a shade tree mechanic - but from what I've read, in addition to the various clutches, etc that need to be replaced in a rebuild, there also special tools (some are expensive) that are needed. And the 41TE is much more complex than the old 727 and 904's.

At any rate, I think it would be worth spending a little money to get an accurate diagnosis before doing anything. It might be a relatively simple fix compared to rebuilding it or installing a remanufactured transmission.

Now if it does need to be rebuilt/replaced, consider getting a used transmission from a junkyard - preferably one that came out of wrecked vehicle - at least you'd be reasonably sure it was operating at that point in time.

Back in the day, I got quite adept at having to drop the manual transmission on the '79 Monza I had at the time - for some reason it ate the clutch every 60K miles - but no way would I take on a FWD vehicle today.

· Registered
300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am not sure if it is a transmission that once fell off a cliff, to be honest lol. It just shows signs of removal.

Yeah, you have a point. It would probably be cheaper to have it rebuilt, or like you said, buy a used from a junked cloud car as it would be cheaper and more reliable than to buy my own tools, and risk screwing it up good and needing to buy another anyway. These transmissions were used for many years, I can imagine them being quite complex.

I could probably do a clutch replacement too, my only thing would be getting it off the car once disconnected, and getting it back in. The weight of the transmission... it flattens the face :D

On the positive side, I discovered that if I wait about 5 or so seconds after the idle stabilizes, about 10 or so seconds after startup, it doesn't drop into gear abnormally at all. It still only does it if you chose drive before reverse, and when it is started up after fully warmed up. This doesn't occur at all when it is a cold start.
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