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Old 02-26-2014, 02:32 PM   #197
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Sounds like progress and a hotline connection to the GM, that can be pretty important.

Good luck and hopefully a swift satisfactory solution.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:41 PM   #198
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There may be other ways to see if it was a lemon law buy back also. If it is, it sounds like the dealer is in violation of DMV requirements to notify you.

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Old 02-26-2014, 03:23 PM   #199
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I had a 1989 Chrysler Grand Caravan that I bought new and used to tow my popup all over the western US. Went through 2 transmissions and 30K into the third one before selling the vehicle at about 100k and shortly after the warranty expired. The transmissions seems to have a life of about 35k. Chrysler honored the warranty replacement every time. Other than the transmission issue we really liked the van.

I suggest keeping the car for at least another 20K to 30K and see how things go. Sounds like the problem is pretty well focused to the heads, and since those will now be fixed you're out of the woods (for a while at least).
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:26 PM   #200
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I had a 1989 Chrysler Grand Caravan that I bought new and used to tow my popup all over the western US. Went through 2 transmissions and 30K into the third one before selling the vehicle at about 100k and shortly after the warranty expired. The transmissions seems to have a life of about 35k. Chrysler honored the warranty replacement every time. Other than the transmission issue we really liked the van.

I suggest keeping the car for at least another 20K to 30K and see how things go. Sounds like the problem is pretty well focused to the heads, and since those will now be fixed you're out of the woods (for a while at least).
A side note, before comments on whether that '89 transmission was designed to tow... lots of people who never towed anything chewed through a transmission or two on that vintage of Caravan/T&C. Lots of AC compressors too, as I recall.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:46 PM   #201
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A side note, before comments on whether that '89 transmission was designed to tow... lots of people who never towed anything chewed through a transmission or two on that vintage of Caravan/T&C. Lots of AC compressors too, as I recall.
I have a buddy who works for Chrysler as a tech rep and he claims that they still have issues with their mini van transmissions... You are correct though both the original 3 speed and later 4 speed transmissions in those vehicles were notoriously bad!
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:52 PM   #202
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:53 PM   #203
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And before this thread turns into a Chrysler transmission bashing fest.....we can probably admit that while it's true they have had plenty of fail prone automatics, the other manufacturers have suffered through the same at times. Automatics have always been somewhat problematic, possibly more so, or at least more expensive to repair once they went electronic control.

Could be that Chyrsler is hoping to solve this issue by going to this ZF box. From what I read, the car in question in this thread has the version that is rated for up to 330 ft-lb. So hopefully it will be a good one.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:22 PM   #204
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And before this thread turns into a Chrysler transmission bashing fest.....we can probably admit that while it's true they have had plenty of fail prone automatics, the other manufacturers have suffered through the same at times. Automatics have always been somewhat problematic, possibly more so, or at least more expensive to repair once they went electronic control.

Could be that Chyrsler is hoping to solve this issue by going to this ZF box. From what I read, the car in question in this thread has the version that is rated for up to 330 ft-lb. So hopefully it will be a good one.
I certainly did not mean my comment to be interpreted as a general statement about Chrysler automatics. The Torqueflite B was at least as good as the legendary THM (look how many drag racers use a 727). Their more recent minivans have MUCH better transmissions than the late 80s/early 90s ones, and I wouldn't have a first-gen Odyssey on a bet even though Hondas are generally super reliable. It's all about the model in question, not the brand as a whole. My statement was mostly to point out that the '89 Grand Caravan mentioned earlier isn't representative of the current product, and the failures of those late '80s transmissions weren't necessarily related to heavy use.

If that ZF 8-speed is a bad transmission in some basic way it's going to be a disaster for the auto industry as a whole. The design is licensed by lots of different companies, who then put their own software/tuning/etc. on it.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:35 PM   #205
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I know you're swamped with advice on this thing mstephens, you're probably not in need of more. But I will add that since the vehicle is still under warranty, any recalls or warranty claims on the vehicle from the previous owner will be readily available to your dealer's service department, regardless of which dealer did them, since they would have been paid for by Chrysler Corp. You have every right to see them.

I agree with some previous posters who stated that it is important that you see these records before you make a decision re: the future of this car.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:35 PM   #206
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^^^^^^ DKB.......sorry if my comments implied that I was slamming Chrysler A/T's. My comments were only intended to point out that many of the majors have suffered at times with various A/T series.
Agree, the ZF is being used by a lot of car companies, and by most accounts I have read, is a good one.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:00 PM   #207
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When a dealer doesn't want to disclose previous warranty claim information, it is often due to privacy rules. They can't identify a previous owner, where the vehicle was, etc, and so often have policies in place that forbid revealing any details. One solution to that is to develop a relationship with a dealer service employee and explain that you don't want the warranty service history, you want to know if there is anything in there that can help you maintain this particular vehicle better. For example, was there a previous warranty claim related to overheating. That approach has worked in the past. Worth a try.

On the transmission issue, I don't believe this is exactly the same ZF 8 speed transmission that is installed in many other vehicles, although it is closely related. Chrysler designed and built their own version, they didn't buy the ZF version for this model. There are reports of different clutches and so on, not just software.

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Old 02-26-2014, 06:07 PM   #208
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I may be wrong on this, so take it for what it's worth, but the way I have read it is that Chrysler was buying two different versions of the trans from ZF, and then subsequently bought the rights to produce the transmission in their own plant in the USA.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:06 PM   #209
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I have a version of the ZF in my SRT Grand Cherokee, 470lbs torque & 470hp - the tranny shifts like my PDK dual clutch in another car, shifts with uncanny logic both up and down through the gears and is a dream...

Maserati, Bently, Rolls-Royce, Audi, Mercedes, etc. all use this tranny as well as the Ram 1500's and diesel Grand Cherokee.

So far it's during its multi- year existence has been bullet proof.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:41 PM   #210
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Reason I brought up my old 1989 van wasn't to rag on the transmission, but was to illustrate how my family chose to move forward with the van we otherwise really liked. We noted that there's lots of Chrysler warranty service centers across the country if needed. Fortunately for us the transmissions failed going to the grocery store or close to home so, in the big scheme of thing, not a big deal. My memories of the van are generally positive. I suspect your car will ultimately serve you well here forward.
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