10.0

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,500
Average Mileage:
123,700 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new transmission design (2 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
1994 Dodge Caravan transmission problems

transmission problem

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1994 Dodge Caravan Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 122004

Caravan 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,954 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

the 3l is a great motor but the transmissions are lousy. 3 transmissions went in one year..

- Randy V., Waterloo, Ontario, canada

problem #2

Nov 252010

Caravan 2.5L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I was leaving a small parking lot. When I turned the wheel to turn left the front end made a popping noise and the van ground to a stop. I tried backing up (in case I'd ran something over that was stuck under me) and it would lurch forward about and inch and lock up (in reverse). It would move forward a little but wouldn't reverse. I tried applying the parking brake and releasing it a few times (in case of a stuck cable or sticking rear drum parts) but it didn't work.I put it in neutral and tried pushing it backwards and it wouldn't budge. I called a wrecker and he tried to pull it backward (at this point in trying to move the van, I was up against a curb) and it wouldn't roll backward. He had to attach tow chains and drag my van backward. It was as if the parking brake was on but only the front wheels were locked up. I was able to drive it home but it was stuck in 2nd gear, no up or down shift. When I got it home, I raised the front wheels to see if I noticed anything weird. In a normal trans, when you turn one wheel, the other rotates in the opposite direction due to the differential. If you slide under the vehicle and roll both tires in the same direction, they will turn but with some resistance as long as the trans is in any gear other than park. My wheels would roll forward but not backwards, indicating a mechanical failure. I took down the trans and broke it down. I found that the first gear/reverse gear planetary set had come apart at the welds. ALL the welds. The pins and retainers had come apart and the needle bearings and planet gears got tangled up in, jammed and damaged the sun gear. Thus, no first or reverse gear. The parts are relatively cheap to replace but on one of the MANY forums dedicated to Dodge's crappy transmissions, I learned that it was a VERY common problem. Apparently, Dodge redesigned the planetary gearset and made it stronger but it wasn't offered as part of a recall or even offered for free even with me doing my own labor.

I've lost faith in the whole "Made in the USA" thing. If they do a better job overseas, they'll get my business. It's about quality, people, not where it comes from. Another issue these and other dodge transmissions have is a tendency to throw the differential pin through the case. They can't even accept your core (old transmission) if you have a rebuilt installed because of the crater the pin leaves as it exits your differential. The design flaw is that it uses a retaining pin that is staked to keep it in. The problem is two-fold: first, the pin doesn't get to rotate, causing all the wear to remain in the same place, eventually causing spider gear pin failure, and second, when in a tire-spinning situation (ie. getting out of a snow-covered parking spot), the retaining pin fails and centrifugal force blasts the spider gear pin through the diff case. There is a bracket sold to prevent this which prevents the pin from coming out of either end AND allows the pin to rotate freely but again, it isn't something Dodge is willing to cover or even reimburse for. Its like watching a kid throwing rocks, accidentally breaking your window and telling you it wasn't him.

- superjulimaximo, Kingston, NY, USA

problem #1

May 122007

(reported on)

Caravan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I am a single mom on fixed income. Taking my daughter to birthday 25 miles from home. Couldn't get the van to go into reverse. Then it wouldn't even go into drive. Had to leave it for a week before I could afford to tow it to town. Now they tell me it is going to be $2500 to fix! (I live on Kodiak Island, Alaska -shipping/freight costs). I can't afford this! It went out 3 years ago and I had it rebuilt. Now I'm looking at only being able to afford and OLDER vehicle. Couldn't believe how many people out there have/had same problems with Caravan Transmissions! This is ridiculous! Other than this I LOVED my van which surprised me because I have always driven 4WD trucks.

- kathiejl, Kodiak, AK, USA

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