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Posted: 2/24/2009 8:52:42 PM EDT
My spousal unit took her 2003 Caravan to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...

1.  Is her transmission pretty much a gonner?

2.  Should we leave it alone or let them do the full service?

Thanks
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 8:53:43 PM EDT
[#1]
Total myth.

Changing the tranny fluid will NOT hurt anything by itself.

If you already have metal shavings, it's probably already screwed... but changing the fluid won't hurt anything.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:01:45 PM EDT
[#2]
The new fluid doesn't cause a problem - it's how the fluid is changed.

[former lube shop grease monkey]

Most of the lube shop places will hook your transmission lines up to a machine. It's the type of the machine that's important!

In the most basic of terms, there are two types:

Type #1: this machine uses it's own power to force new fluid in your transmission lines pushing your old fluid out. Machines that have a powered motor may run the fluid through your transmission at a higher pressure than your factory transmission fluid pump. The excess pressure may dislodge things and possibly screw up your solenoids, plug lines, trans filter, etc. This machines are BAD do not use them under any circumstance!

Type #2: this machine uses the power of your transmission pump. This machine is full of WIN!! and will cycle new fluid in through your transmission lines pushing out your old fluid. Since this machine strictly uses your own transmission pump to cycle the fluid, you are running the new fluid in at the same pressure your transmission is used to. ONLY use this type of machine.

[/former lube shop grease monkey]


ETA I would recommend dropping your transmission pan and changing out the filter. Fill back up with new fluid, drive for a few days, drain fluid, refill. Do this 3 or 4 more times over the course of a month. Drop transmission pan again, change filter. Check for excess metal shavings. Fill up with new fluid.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:05:00 PM EDT
[#3]
Welcome to Dodge.  Their trannys are shit.  My Durango blew out at 65K.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:06:56 PM EDT
[#4]
Dodge Caravans were built as if transmissions should be changed like oil. That said you're probably already fucked. I'd change the fluid out professionally though to stop the wear if you can. And don't be suprised if they come back and tell you "sorry, it's toast".

Dodge Caravan, the most expensive $20k van ever.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:07:36 PM EDT
[#5]
Take it to a dealer and have the do oil samples if you are concerened.

I have a hunch they were just trying to make some extra $ from your wife.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:36:41 PM EDT
[#6]
I would want to SEE the metal shavings.  



I would first ask how they got them, since IIRC a 41TE Trans does not have a drain plug.  To see metal shavings, you would have to remove the trans pan.




Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:40:07 PM EDT
[#7]
Any transmission auto or manual sheds some amount of metal.  Someone who looks at this stuff will know if it's bad metal or normal metal.

A fluid change won't do any harm.

If it was driving and shifting fine before it probably is nothing to worry about.

Be sure you check the fluid level according to the owners manual afterwards.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:43:04 PM EDT
[#8]
It's a Dodge.  When you get the transmission rebuilt, have them build you up a spare and keep it in the back with your name on it.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:48:00 PM EDT
[#9]
Everyone goes on and on about dodge transmissions..





I have an 01 dodge ram - 170k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.





I also have an 02 ram - 105k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.



Pops has a 96 ram (with the V10) - ~215k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.





Maybe we got the only 3 good trannys dodge ever built.

 
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:51:01 PM EDT
[#10]
AJTurner1234's post is full of win.

Aside from replacing the filter at least one time, I'd also be considering installing an aftermarket filter in the high-pressure side of the ATF cooler line. Perma-Cool makes a decent one that uses a standard spin-on oil filter - It'll trap a tremendous amount of debris before the bypass valve finally opens. Very cheap insurance.

Link Posted: 2/24/2009 9:59:17 PM EDT
[#11]
Quoted:
My spousal unit took her 2003 Caravan to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...

1.  Is her transmission pretty much a gonner?

2.  Should we leave it alone or let them do the full service?

Thanks


Welcome to the wonderful world of Dodge Ownership!  I've taken out a few myself, welcome to the club. (mine were strictly due to abuse though..)

What did the shavings look like?  Large slivers would indicate that a fluid flush probably won't fix it, and might cut the mean time between failure from "Maybe next week" to "Fuck! Now it won't back out of the service bay!".  If its just super fine metal particles a fluid flush is all you need, most of these will wind up on a magnet on the bottom of the transaxle oil pan, clean the magnet while you change the filter, and you'll be good to go.

If you're one of those guys who doesn't work on his vehicles then the lube place may be yanking your chain, if this problem was serious enough for one of their lackeys to find it just by checking the fluid from the dipstick, you can too.  The fine metal particles that are usually caught on the magnet at the bottom of the pan usually do not make it on the dipstick.

ATF will be red when new, as it is used it will turn brown.  Fluid that will need to be changed will have a gritty feel to it, and may smell burned.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 10:12:28 PM EDT
[#12]
Quoted:
The new fluid doesn't cause a problem - it's how the fluid is changed.

[former lube shop grease monkey]

Most of the lube shop places will hook your transmission lines up to a machine. It's the type of the machine that's important!

In the most basic of terms, there are two types:

Type #1: this machine uses it's own power to force new fluid in your transmission lines pushing your old fluid out. Machines that have a powered motor may run the fluid through your transmission at a higher pressure than your factory transmission fluid pump. The excess pressure may dislodge things and possibly screw up your solenoids, plug lines, trans filter, etc. This machines are BAD do not use them under any circumstance!

Type #2: this machine uses the power of your transmission pump. This machine is full of WIN!! and will cycle new fluid in through your transmission lines pushing out your old fluid. Since this machine strictly uses your own transmission pump to cycle the fluid, you are running the new fluid in at the same pressure your transmission is used to. ONLY use this type of machine.

[/former lube shop grease monkey]


ETA I would recommend dropping your transmission pan and changing out the filter. Fill back up with new fluid, drive for a few days, drain fluid, refill. Do this 3 or 4 more times over the course of a month. Drop transmission pan again, change filter. Check for excess metal shavings. Fill up with new fluid.


This post wins for sure.

I used to use this flush machine at one of my old places of employment, It worked rather well. I would suggest looking for a shop that uses one similar to this.

Link Posted: 2/24/2009 10:22:52 PM EDT
[#13]
Bull crap.

The quick change guys were using a scare tactic to try to sell a transmission service.

If there's metal in there, you are so screwed.

First, take a look at the fluid yourself. see if you see metal. Next, take it to Dodge, and have them do the service. Ask them if there was unusual wear indicators.

How did they see that metal, was it floating metal that stuck to the transmission dispstick???
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 10:30:36 PM EDT
[#14]
Quoted:
My spousal unit took her Toyota Camry to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service replacement ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...I needed to be able to diagnose these things myself.. and I learned.

The tranny fluid was fine... they lied to her to try and get more service work .. I took them to task and flat made them look like assholes in front of God and everyone, thr rest of the cutomers there left...

Thanks


Link Posted: 2/24/2009 10:36:19 PM EDT
[#15]
Quoted:
My spousal unit took her 2003 Caravan to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...

1.  Is her transmission pretty much a gonner?

2.  Should we leave it alone or let them do the full service?

Thanks

Caravans/Voyagers/Town and Country Minivans are NOTORIOUS for bad Transmissions.  They've gotten better since about 2002, but they're still not 100%.  You need to check with someone who knows that particular type of vehicle and see if that's normal or not.  Let's face it, it's mechanical with gears smashing into each other all the time, there is GOING to be soem wear, hence Shavings..the question is what AMOUNT of shavings were found, and if that amount is normal or not.

Link Posted: 2/24/2009 11:03:10 PM EDT
[#16]
The so-called "myth" about a fluid change killing a transmission is actually 100% true...HOWEVER; it only applies to much older units, with EXTREMELY BURNT FLUID.
It has to do with the burnt up, paper clutches...not any of the metal parts.
Old Fords... (FMX, C6, and C4 transmissions) that had hundreds of thousands of miles on them were particulary prone to this.
When I was in the business, we would get calls from oil change places who were in a panic: "We changed the fluid on this old Ford...And now it won't move!!!".

NOW ...YOU have a front wheel drive transmission, that has the differential built right into it. (a transaxle).
Those Dodges ALWAYS have fine metal in the pan...from the differential gears.
If you drop the pan on a Dodge transaxle, you will find a magnet in the pan covered in dark metal shavings...perfectly normal.

If you find an excessive amount of metal, or ALUMINUM shavings... then you could have a problem.

The lube place does not know what they are talking about... OR they are just trying to get more $$ out of you.

BTW... You should tell them that if your transmission had enough METAL in the pan to indicate a problem, it would mean there was HARD PART damage, and a fluid change would not do shit to correct it.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 11:10:26 PM EDT
[#17]
Quoted:
Quoted:
The new fluid doesn't cause a problem - it's how the fluid is changed.

[former lube shop grease monkey]

Most of the lube shop places will hook your transmission lines up to a machine. It's the type of the machine that's important!

In the most basic of terms, there are two types:

Type #1: this machine uses it's own power to force new fluid in your transmission lines pushing your old fluid out. Machines that have a powered motor may run the fluid through your transmission at a higher pressure than your factory transmission fluid pump. The excess pressure may dislodge things and possibly screw up your solenoids, plug lines, trans filter, etc. This machines are BAD do not use them under any circumstance!

Type #2: this machine uses the power of your transmission pump. This machine is full of WIN!! and will cycle new fluid in through your transmission lines pushing out your old fluid. Since this machine strictly uses your own transmission pump to cycle the fluid, you are running the new fluid in at the same pressure your transmission is used to. ONLY use this type of machine.

[/former lube shop grease monkey]


ETA I would recommend dropping your transmission pan and changing out the filter. Fill back up with new fluid, drive for a few days, drain fluid, refill. Do this 3 or 4 more times over the course of a month. Drop transmission pan again, change filter. Check for excess metal shavings. Fill up with new fluid.


This post wins for sure.

I used to use this flush machine at one of my old places of employment, It worked rather well. I would suggest looking for a shop that uses one similar to this.

http://www.preauto.com/Pictures/Pf5.jpg


THIS, take it to a proper dealership and have them perform a BG transmission service.

But as was said, the Caravan transmission has been notorious for grenading.  Typically around 90k they are goners. The BG service may or may not help.  I believe its a Mitsubishi unit, not sure if they changed it on later models.  But older ones blew up like clockwork.
Link Posted: 2/24/2009 11:13:19 PM EDT
[#18]
Quoted:
Quoted:
My spousal unit took her 2003 Caravan to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...

1.  Is her transmission pretty much a gonner?

2.  Should we leave it alone or let them do the full service?

Thanks

Caravans/Voyagers/Town and Country Minivans are NOTORIOUS for bad Transmissions.  They've gotten better since about 2002, but they're still not 100%.  You need to check with someone who knows that particular type of vehicle and see if that's normal or not.  Let's face it, it's mechanical with gears smashing into each other all the time, there is GOING to be soem wear, hence Shavings..the question is what AMOUNT of shavings were found, and if that amount is normal or not.




if you have gears smashing into each other AT ALL in an automatic , you got serious problems , the kind even a standard rebuild ain't gonna fix.  Please tell me you don't work on these for a living .
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 12:11:49 AM EDT
[#19]
Quoted:
Any transmission auto or manual sheds some amount of metal.  Someone who looks at this stuff will know if it's bad metal or normal metal.

A fluid change won't do any harm.

If it was driving and shifting fine before it probably is nothing to worry about.

Be sure you check the fluid level according to the owners manual afterwards.



THIS


Change it and drive the damned thing.

I've always found fine metal filings at the bottom of the pan when I change the fluid.
I simply clean the pan out relly well...install a new filter, pan gasket and refill...

NEVER had a problem.
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 12:41:10 AM EDT
[#20]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
My spousal unit took her 2003 Caravan to the oil change place last week.  

They told her that they found metal shavings in the tranny fluid & recommended a full tranny service ASAP.

I remember when the old timers would say that sometimes this does more harm than good because of the detergent properties of the fresh fluid making things even worse...

1.  Is her transmission pretty much a gonner?

2.  Should we leave it alone or let them do the full service?

Thanks

Caravans/Voyagers/Town and Country Minivans are NOTORIOUS for bad Transmissions.  They've gotten better since about 2002, but they're still not 100%.  You need to check with someone who knows that particular type of vehicle and see if that's normal or not.  Let's face it, it's mechanical with gears smashing into each other all the time, there is GOING to be soem wear, hence Shavings..the question is what AMOUNT of shavings were found, and if that amount is normal or not.




if you have gears smashing into each other AT ALL in an automatic , you got serious problems , the kind even a standard rebuild ain't gonna fix.  Please tell me you don't work on these for a living .


Literary License, and while they dont Literally "Smash" they ARE engaging metal on metal at high speeds.  And no i'm not a mechanic, I didnt even stay at a Holiday inn Express last night.
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 4:32:33 AM EDT
[#21]
Quoted:
Everyone goes on and on about dodge transmissions..

I have an 01 dodge ram - 170k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.

I also have an 02 ram - 105k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.

Pops has a 96 ram (with the V10) - ~215k miles.  Original trans.  Works just fine.

Maybe we got the only 3 good trannys dodge ever built.  


So you're the one. I've had 2 bail on me. One at about 75K. No more Chryslers for me.

Link Posted: 2/25/2009 4:38:49 AM EDT
[#22]
Quoted:
Total myth.

Changing the tranny fluid will NOT hurt anything by itself.

If you already have metal shavings, it's probably already screwed... but changing the fluid won't hurt anything.


could be from break in
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 4:41:24 AM EDT
[#23]
Quoted:
The so-called "myth" about a fluid change killing a transmission is actually 100% true...HOWEVER; it only applies to much older units, with EXTREMELY BURNT FLUID.
It has to do with the burnt up, paper clutches...not any of the metal parts.
Old Fords... (FMX, C6, and C4 transmissions) that had hundreds of thousands of miles on them were particulary prone to this.
When I was in the business, we would get calls from oil change places who were in a panic: "We changed the fluid on this old Ford...And now it won't move!!!".

NOW ...YOU have a front wheel drive transmission, that has the differential built right into it. (a transaxle).
Those Dodges ALWAYS have fine metal in the pan...from the differential gears.
If you drop the pan on a Dodge transaxle, you will find a magnet in the pan covered in dark metal shavings...perfectly normal.

If you find an excessive amount of metal, or ALUMINUM shavings... then you could have a problem.

The lube place does not know what they are talking about... OR they are just trying to get more $$ out of you.

BTW... You should tell them that if your transmission had enough METAL in the pan to indicate a problem, it would mean there was HARD PART damage, and a fluid change would not do shit to correct it.




This is 100% correct.


Link Posted: 2/25/2009 4:50:03 AM EDT
[#24]
Quoted:
The so-called "myth" about a fluid change killing a transmission is actually 100% true...HOWEVER; it only applies to much older units, with EXTREMELY BURNT FLUID.
It has to do with the burnt up, paper clutches...not any of the metal parts.
Old Fords... (FMX, C6, and C4 transmissions) that had hundreds of thousands of miles on them were particulary prone to this.
When I was in the business, we would get calls from oil change places who were in a panic: "We changed the fluid on this old Ford...And now it won't move!!!".

NOW ...YOU have a front wheel drive transmission, that has the differential built right into it. (a transaxle).
Those Dodges ALWAYS have fine metal in the pan...from the differential gears.
If you drop the pan on a Dodge transaxle, you will find a magnet in the pan covered in dark metal shavings...perfectly normal.

If you find an excessive amount of metal, or ALUMINUM shavings... then you could have a problem.






The lube place does not know what they are talking about... OR they are just trying to get more $$ out of you.

BTW... You should tell them that if your transmission had enough METAL in the pan to indicate a problem, it would mean there was HARD PART damage, and a fluid change would not do shit to correct it.



^This.

That said, Caravans are well known for blowing the spider gears out of the final drive if you do much spinning of the tires on ice.  But those metal chunks usually won't come up on the stick.  Most don't realize they have a problem until trans oil starts leaking out of the bellhousing area when the spider pinion shaft breaks a hole through the trans case.
Link Posted: 2/25/2009 4:52:45 AM EDT
[#25]
Supposedly the problem with their transmissions is heat (too much stuff crammed around the transmission in front).  The minivan models with trans coolers (like towing package models) have much better transmission life.  Also get the fluid flushed as often as every 2 years.  Make sure to use the Chrysler specific transmission fluid.  

I asked one veteran mechanic about how risky it was to buy an 8-year old Chrysler minivan with 100,000 miles.  His answer was that every single one of them would have had at least one new transmission put into it before 100,000.
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