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#4808129 - 07/08/18 07:17 AM Caravan and transmissions
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 12160
Loc: 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, 163k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 144k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 185k, his

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#4808132 - 07/08/18 07:22 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32772
Loc: 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.

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#4808135 - 07/08/18 07:24 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
caprice_2nv Offline


Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 578
Loc: 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

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#4808136 - 07/08/18 07:25 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: eljefino]
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 12160
Loc: 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, 163k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 144k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 185k, his

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#4808148 - 07/08/18 07:35 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
NHGUY Offline


Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 5062
Loc: 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.

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#4808151 - 07/08/18 07:39 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
supton Online   content


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 12160
Loc: 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, 163k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 144k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 185k, his

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#4808156 - 07/08/18 07:47 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
dogememe Offline


Registered: 04/15/17
Posts: 704
Loc: SF BAY AREA, CA
Get an Astro van?
_________________________
1997 Suburban 5.7 ~214K Miles, VWB 5W-30, VO-55, Personal.
2007 Crown Vic P71 4.6 ~124K Miles, VAS 5W-30, RP 20-820, Personal.
2010 Escape 2.5 ~73K Miles, VAS 5W-30, Wix 51348, Rented on Turo.

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#4808166 - 07/08/18 08:04 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
vwmaniaman Offline


Registered: 04/18/13
Posts: 144
Loc: 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.

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#4808167 - 07/08/18 08:06 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21347
Loc: Orlando, FL
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).

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#4808195 - 07/08/18 08:58 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
JamesBond Online   content


Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 862
Loc: 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?

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#4808205 - 07/08/18 09:10 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21347
Loc: Orlando, FL
** correction **

Buy used, Not new.

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#4808214 - 07/08/18 09:24 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
WobblyElvis Offline


Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 1384
Loc: 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.

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#4808242 - 07/08/18 10:17 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1174
Loc: 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.
_________________________
I like Chevy and Valvoline.

'13 Cruze, 1.4T, 113K
'85 GMC C3500, 454, 130K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 169K
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K

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#4808254 - 07/08/18 10:40 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
sloinker Offline


Registered: 08/13/17
Posts: 111
Loc: 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.

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#4808260 - 07/08/18 10:55 AM Re: Caravan and transmissions [Re: supton]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10653
Loc: 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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