Transmission Interchange Information For 3rd Generation [Archive] - The Chrysler Minivan Fan Club Forums

: Transmission Interchange Information For 3rd Generation



Working Plymouth
01-01-2010, 07:24 PM
Hello folks. I thought I would gather up and post all the information that I have regarding 3rd generation transmission swaps, as it seems to be a topic of frequent inquiry. I have done the 2004 Caravan 3.3L into a 1996 Voyager 3.3L, so I can vouch for these model years. I do not know if any of the newer 2005 and onwards will work.If anybody has anything to add, feel free.

General Information: Transmissions are interchangeable in these vans from 1996-2004 when dealing with the same engine to transmission combination within the same vehicle line (ex 2004 Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country 3.3L to 1996 Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country 3.3L). In mid 1998 a change from round pins to flat blades in the transmission range sensor connectors was made to increase the reliability of signals to the TCM. This necessitates an adapter or cutting off the old range sensor connector and soldering on the one from the salvage transmission when installing one of these newer transmissions in a 1996 to early 1998. If the transmission has already been pulled without it's connector, ask for it. Otherwise you will need to purchase an adapter from a transmission shop. Electrically, the connector pin outs are the same. Just the wire color coding and pin shape is different. Match the wire on the old connector pin to the same position pin on the new connector, then solder the new pin's wire to the wire on the vehicle harness with the color code that matches the old connector. It is also possible to swap the old transmission range sensor into the new transmission by dropping the oil pan and the valve body, negating the need for any soldering or an adapter BUT it will sit much lower in the transmission case. So much so that it will not seal properly as designed. I attempted this initially, but opted to switch back to the proper transmission range sensor and solder on the newer plug. Too much danger of water infiltration (very bad) into the transmission in my opinion.

Regarding physical installation, on the 1996-1997's the flexplate has one 'D' shaped hole. If you install a newer transmission in one of these years, this hole will need to be ground out to round like the other three or, you can get a newer flexplate. Either salvage or aftermarket will suffice. 3.0L transmission's have a custom bell housing that only mates with that engine. Watch out for dowel pins. Sometimes they fall out, other times they stick in the transmission. This is a problem when BOTH the transmission and engine have dowel pins in them! Pull the pins out of one or the other before installation, it doesn't matter which. Just be sure to only have one set of dowel pins to guide the engine and bell housing together. Fluid dipsticks usually need to be swapped out for the older ones when putting in a 2001 or newer transmission. Also, there is an extra bolt boss on the 2001 and newer transmissions. Just ignore it and use your old transmission mount. Now would be a good time to replace it if yours is deteriorated.

Internally, there are differences mainly between different carlines and engines(Stratus, Caravan, Intrepid, 3.3L vs 3.8L, etc) Mostly in the final drive ratios and things of that nature. Generally it is more work than it is worth, in my opinion, to change out with a different carline or engine. Your best bet is to stay with what you have. Not really a problem since the vans are popular and plentiful in salvage yards. But if you are really determined, knock yourself out!

Electrically, the only differences are in the TCM programming from year to year. Things like torque converter clutch modulation, shift points, etc. It is NOT necessary to reflash or replace the TCM module with the one from the salvage donor vehicle unless you want the transmission to shift with the same characteristics. In some cases, this could even cause problems. You can just leave the battery unplugged for a day or so to erase the old adaptive program for the previous transmission. All this means is that your newer transmission will be running an older shift program, with the attendant shift points and torque converter lockup clutch behavior as programmed in that model years' TCM. Yes, following installation you can Quick Learn the TCM Clutch Volume Indice's (CVI's)if you are so inclined and equipped (Chrysler DRB III, Chrysler Star Scan), but you don't have to do it. Otherwise, not Quick Learning means the transmission will shift oddly or a little rough for a while until the TCM is able to create a new adaptive profile for your driving style. Third generation TCM's are VERY adaptive, perhaps too much so, since Chrysler toned that down greatly in successive generations. But it WILL smooth out shortly, don't worry.

Other things to watch for include using ATF+4 or newer fluid ONLY. Change the old filter in the new transmission. Before installation is also a good time to change all the oil seals. Nothing like finding a leaking torque converter or CV shaft seal AFTER the transmission is installed. Oh what a feeling.

wookie0586
01-01-2010, 07:37 PM
I have been looking for this info for ages, you are the man. Thanks so much for posting this.

KillaGrn
01-01-2010, 09:41 PM
Nice work, Working...TY:beerchug:

andyg
01-02-2010, 12:30 AM
I was not aware the trans's in the 4th gens were the same connectors for the most part. If I ever have to do the swap again, I will try to find one from a 4th gen, as they seem to have done their best as the years went on to make them more reliable.

I put a 1996 trans in my 98 with no problems. Its been in there a year and 8k miles and going good. It does act a bit funky sometimes but it was a cheap way to get the van running.

cjw_89
10-11-2010, 09:55 AM
how about a 3spd trans in a 4 spd caravan 1999? what needs to be done fellas?

Chrysler1924
10-11-2010, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the information! The only thing I would care to add is that while you have the transmission out, instead of replacing the flex-plate with one from the bone-yard, I would highly recommend buying a **new** one to put in. These things are so prone to failure as it is, and it's such a pain in the arse when they fail, getting a new one is best. Chances are the ones in the bone yard are already half-worn out and will crack anyway just as if you were to keep the one you already have in the van. Save yourself time, aggravation and lots of yelling... and buy a new one. It's cheap, and worth it!

petet
10-11-2010, 11:42 AM
2000 was the las major update to these. They have the 5 pinion planitary, the metal tabs holding the pinion shaft and the larger pinion gears. When I rebuilt the one in my 97 I updated everything. I also used the TransGo shift kit, which really isn't a shift kit. It just fixes a few inherent problems like 2-1 bump shift. I highly recommend it.

So from 2000 on you have the best of everything.

As for the 3 speed, I wouldn't even try. It is a very light duty unit and I wouldn't think it would last with the torque of the 3.3-3.8. I also don't know if you could easily get around the 4 spd TCM. If the 41TE is built correctly and not severely abused it will last the life of your van. There are many out there with close to 200,000 miles. Most shops di not build these correctly. It takes too long. You need to get ALL clearances and stackups into factory specs. This isn't a quick trans to do. I used to build automatic transmissions for racing and this one by far takes the longest. Even considering the modifications that I have done to the old TH 350's, 400's, torqueflights and C4, C6's and FMC's to strengthen them.

IrishBrewer
10-11-2010, 01:03 PM
I was not aware the trans's in the 4th gens were the same connectors for the most part. If I ever have to do the swap again, I will try to find one from a 4th gen, as they seem to have done their best as the years went on to make them more reliable.

I put a 1996 trans in my 98 with no problems. Its been in there a year and 8k miles and going good. It does act a bit funky sometimes but it was a cheap way to get the van running.

andy,

How much clearance under the vehicle do you have to get to drop the tranny? Just wondering if my jack stands would be high enough to drop a tranny on a modifed floor jack and slide it out or whether I'd have to add some more blocking to get it to clear.

Also, what is it that makes the transmission removal so difficult (as compared to your GTO)?

andyg
10-11-2010, 03:20 PM
andy,

How much clearance under the vehicle do you have to get to drop the tranny? Just wondering if my jack stands would be high enough to drop a tranny on a modifed floor jack and slide it out or whether I'd have to add some more blocking to get it to clear.

I fit the trans out with the van on jack stands. You drop it onto a tarp and then can easily slide it out and back in.


Also, what is it that makes the transmission removal so difficult (as compared to your GTO)?

The gto is simply drop the exhaust, cross member, and take the driveshaft and shifter out. Takes no time at all.

The van requires undoing 3 of the 4 mounts, take the starter off, support the engine with a floor jack, have a cherry picker on the trans, wrestle the damn thing around trying to squeeze it out of a space that barely fits it in, you have to rotate the thing around to clear the engine cradle and other things.

Getting it in is another fun time as it requires trying to rotate the trans into the correct spot while having the engine and trans at the same line axis to put it on and clear the flex plate into the converter. I would up laying under the trans and doing my best to bench press it into place and then put a bolt in as soon as I could.

Fwd really should have never been invented lol.

deserteagle50
12-15-2010, 04:03 PM
[QUOTE=Working Plymouth;149238
Regarding physical installation, on the 1996-1997's the flexplate has one 'D' shaped hole. I am working on my mother's 1998 plymouth voyager 3.3L. It has the "D" shaped whole. I have a rebuilt transmission and torque converter sitting in the van because I can only get three of the torque converter bolts to line up.

jlourim
12-15-2010, 10:39 PM
General Information: Transmissions are interchangeable in these vans from 1996-2004 when dealing with the same engine to transmission combination within the same vehicle line (ex 2004 Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country 3.3L to 1996 Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country 3.3L).

Does this also mean a 2001-2004 T&C 3.8 transmission will work in a 1997 T&C 3.8 with the adaptations you explained?

lets blaze
01-03-2011, 01:11 AM
Thanks for the great info since I now get to tackle this job.

dun4now
01-03-2011, 02:36 PM
Thanks for the great info since I now get to tackle this job.
Be sure your pin outs are the same for the harness.:beerchug: