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Caravan and transmissions #4808129
07/08/18 07:17 AM
07/08/18 07:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
supton Offline OP
supton  Offline OP

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
What is the cost to remove and replace a 42TE vs a 62TE? I tried google and I get the impression that it's $2k vs $4k but I don't know if those are good numbers.

So I'm working on getting a minivan, but I want to make sure I understand all the costs going in. Automatics have lousy reps for long life, minivans moreso, and Caravans especially. Since I'm after TCO I'm toying with a 3.3L/4AT instead of the much better 3.6/6AT on that premise--cheaper to buy & cheaper to repair. What I don't know is actual repair cost.

I did a bit of watching on youtube and realized that I probably could rebuild a 42TE, lots of parts but outside of some snap ring pliers it doesn't look bad. Just need space and a clean one at that. But removing the transmission is beyond my ability and means I think. Ergo, if I go this route then I need to be prepared for this contingency. And yes, I know, not all fail at low miles.

Oh: I watched a few vids on spark plugs. It looks like pre-2000 is harder to work on the rear of the engine than 2000 & newer? Both have removable cowls but it looks like the intake manifold is in the way on older engines? The 3.6 does require intake manifold removal, FWIW.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 179k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 147k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 203k, his
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808132
07/08/18 07:22 AM
07/08/18 07:22 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,077
ME
eljefino Online content
eljefino  Online Content

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,077
ME
Don't do it, man. These vans also have electrical gremlins from the no-lead solder, and decomposing harnesses. The computers are VIN-tied so you can't just get junkyard ones.

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808135
07/08/18 07:24 AM
07/08/18 07:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 834
Ontario Canada
caprice_2nv Offline
caprice_2nv  Offline

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 834
Ontario Canada
From what I saw it seemed like somewhere in the early 2000s was much improved and sometimes they go 300k miles on the original transmission. I would also pick the 3.3 over the newer 3.6 for reliability. The 3.6 isn't proven yet and there have been some issues with cylinder heads. How common the issues are in not really sure. The 3.3 sometimes leaks at the intake manifold or timing cover but probably only due to lack of coolant changes. The aluminum seems to corrode. Other than that they're an amazing engine.


84 Olds Cutlass - 350 Olds
83 Chevy Caprice - 305 Sbc
79 Honda CX500
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: eljefino] #4808136
07/08/18 07:25 AM
07/08/18 07:25 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
supton Offline OP
supton  Offline OP

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Don't do it, man. These vans also have electrical gremlins from the no-lead solder, and decomposing harnesses. The computers are VIN-tied so you can't just get junkyard ones.


I'm thinking pre-2000, avoid any title issues, even if it's harder to work on. I thought the leadfree was 2001 and newer?


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 179k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 147k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 203k, his
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808148
07/08/18 07:35 AM
07/08/18 07:35 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,091
USA
NHGUY Offline
NHGUY  Offline

Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,091
USA
2001-2002 area.After then Daimler cheapened them by removing the wiper heaters and one of the 2 cargo/tailgate lamp.The tranny is a lightweight 41TE not 42TE.The "1" being the lowest of the torque ratings.These are heavy vans,and need a heavier duty tranny that Chrysler never gave them.I blame though the electronic tranny controls for most of the problems.The programming is very shaky on shift times and don't even mention downshift quality.What mainly happens is torque converter clutch material winds up blocking the screens on the solenoid pack and it unable to fill the clutches fully,leading to slippage ("incorrect gear ratio" error code)and trans failure.If you buy one,change out the fluid and REPLACE THE SOLENOID PACK immediately.Flush the trans cooler too.

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808151
07/08/18 07:39 AM
07/08/18 07:39 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
supton Offline OP
supton  Offline OP

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 13,169
NH
Ah, thank you, keep forgetting there is a 41 in there too. A604, 41, 42 ... Figured I'd be changing fluids like any good bitog'er, and probably install a trans cooler.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 179k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 147k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 203k, his
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808156
07/08/18 07:47 AM
07/08/18 07:47 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,805
San Rafael, CA
dogememe Offline
dogememe  Offline

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,805
San Rafael, CA
Get an Astro van?


2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~94K Miles: Royal Purple 5W-30 + Wix 51348
2008 Ford Crown Vic P71 4.6 ~167K Miles: AMSOIL SS 0W-30 + Wix 51372
1995 Chevy Silverado 5.7 ~277K Miles: Delo 10W-30 + ACDelco PF52
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808166
07/08/18 08:04 AM
07/08/18 08:04 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 204
Kevil,Ky
vwmaniaman Offline
vwmaniaman  Offline

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 204
Kevil,Ky
I had company provided Chrysler and Dodge minivans. All had the 3.3L. Never any issues with motors or transmissions. Had out of 3 vans 2005-2008, one fuel pump, one window motor, one egr valve. All were driven over 135K. My 2006 Chrysler T&C had 186K when turned in. Great vans as for me. Before we had Ford Windstars. My first one had brake issues that put my van under the rear wheels of a semi on the ice. Next one lost the tranny at 9K miles and the next one had the tranny go at 21K. Stay away from those. They rode terrible compared to the Dodge too.


Don't waste your time on a slipshod repair.
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808167
07/08/18 08:06 AM
07/08/18 08:06 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 22,369
Central Florida
Mr Nice Offline
Mr Nice  Offline

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 22,369
Central Florida
Why not just buy a new Honda , Mazda or Toyota to transport the family ?
No way Id buy a vehicle with so many known problems.

Id buy a CX-5 sport model (base).

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808195
07/08/18 08:58 AM
07/08/18 08:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,024
midwest
JamesBond Offline
JamesBond  Offline

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,024
midwest
I don't see too many pre 2000 minivans driving around that look like they would be worth rebuilding the transmission in. Minivans tend to get used up all over in addition to their transmission. What purpose do you want to use this vehicle for?

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808205
07/08/18 09:10 AM
07/08/18 09:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 22,369
Central Florida
Mr Nice Offline
Mr Nice  Offline

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 22,369
Central Florida
** correction **

Buy used, Not new.

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808214
07/08/18 09:24 AM
07/08/18 09:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,565
Toronto Canada
WobblyElvis Offline
WobblyElvis  Offline

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,565
Toronto Canada
I've had a 96 Caravan, 98, 99 Sport and I still have a 99 SE Caravan. I didn't plan it this way but friends practically gave me their old vans. They have been the most reliable vehicles I have ever had and I love them. Never had a lick of trouble with the transmissions but the 96 and 98 had the transmissions replaced before I got them. I drive them very easy.

I cannot see any way you are going to get a 1999 Caravan that isn't rusted and or worn out. Pay attention to the front strut towers. They rust to the point the struts pop up through the hood.

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808242
07/08/18 10:17 AM
07/08/18 10:17 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,202
Campbellsville, KY
Alex_V Offline
Alex_V  Offline

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,202
Campbellsville, KY
FWIW, among my regular customers I have at least 10 '06-14 Caravans, both 3.3/3.8 and Pentastar powered with both transmissions, and I've yet to deal with a transmission or deep electrical issue. A few of them have had the transmissions replaced, but that's the way of all automatics of that age and mileage.

The 3.8 is a tough engine, albeit can burn oil, but I think the benefits of the 3.6/6-speed are enough that I'd go for that combo. Just be prepared to do the oil cooler assy. and the transmission cooler lines may leak before their time, too. Transmission fluid changes every 30-50K? and it should last a good while.


To quote a friend, "Synthetics, man."

'85 GMC C3500, 454, 132K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 173K (totaled 2018, in rehab)
'85 Mercedes 300TD, OM617 turbo, 217K (wife's)
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K
Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808254
07/08/18 10:40 AM
07/08/18 10:40 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 494
WY
sloinker Online shocked
sloinker  Online Shocked

Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 494
WY
The 3.6 has been around long enough so that many have reached 200k miles. Seem to be a pretty good engine. It also seems the 6 speed tranny got the bugs worked out over the first couple model years. Many of these vans have their original trannys well past 100k miles. I recommend 2012 to present 3.6L. I know a handful of Toyota Sienna owners that have had to replace transmissions before 100k miles. This is a $5000 bill on the awd's.

Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton] #4808260
07/08/18 10:55 AM
07/08/18 10:55 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,238
Buffalo, NY
JTK Online content
JTK  Online Content

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,238
Buffalo, NY
To me, the engine and transmission would be the least of my concern on an ~18yr/old Caravan. Like said, rust, electrical components, HVAC problems, etc are much more trouble potential than general engine or trans work.

But on that topic, given the numbers of Pentastar and 62TEs that are out there now in all sorts of applications vs the number of problems you hear about them? I'd say it's a well proven drive train.

Much of your general under the hood maintenance like spark plug changeouts has been a pain since the inception of the V6 powered FWD minivan.


2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
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