Hard first to second gear shift - what to check



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Thread: Hard first to second gear shift - what to check

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    Hard first to second gear shift - what to check

    My 1998 Caravan Sport has started to shift hard from first to second after it's warmed up, but only under light load. If I give it a little gas and let it shift around 3500 - 4000 rpm, it shifts fine. I've changed the fluid every 30k miles since I bought it new. Could it just be a worn clutch? These 41TE/A604 trannies have a solenoid pack. Can that wear out? I'm trying to keep this thing alive for a few more years so my teenagers have something to drive.

    It has the 3.3 liter engine (flex fuel), 201,000 miles and everything works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robk46 View Post
    My 1998 Caravan Sport has started to shift hard from first to second after it's warmed up, but only under light load. If I give it a little gas and let it shift around 3500 - 4000 rpm, it shifts fine. I've changed the fluid every 30k miles since I bought it new. Could it just be a worn clutch? These 41TE/A604 trannies have a solenoid pack. Can that wear out? I'm trying to keep this thing alive for a few more years so my teenagers have something to drive.

    It has the 3.3 liter engine (flex fuel), 201,000 miles and everything works.
    The solenoid packs are known to wear and cause shifting issues. If the trans is original to the van, I would say it is a safe bet to replace the pack for $100.

    The problem I foresee is teenagers driving the van. Any boys in that group? I just turned 20 and have been driving my van since I was 15. It is a good vehicle to learn on, but if one beats on it (like guys are known to do) it will go to crap very quickly. My van is in poor shape mostly because of me.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

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    My van did the same thing. A rough shift into second.(and also 4th). I took my chances and replaced the solenoid pack. It shifts smoothly through all the gears now. I can't promise you that it will help yours, but like andy said, with that many miles it wouldn't hurt, and it helped mine.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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    The trans is original. My son has been driving it since he wrecked his car. He doesn't beat on it since he knows it's the only wheels he has until he fixes his car. He works at an auto parts store, so we may just give the solenoid pack a try (20% discount). Is it hard to replace? If I remember right, it's right there when you pull the pan. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by robk46 View Post
    The trans is original. My son has been driving it since he wrecked his car. He doesn't beat on it since he knows it's the only wheels he has until he fixes his car. He works at an auto parts store, so we may just give the solenoid pack a try (20% discount). Is it hard to replace? If I remember right, it's right there when you pull the pan. . .
    The valve body is what is under the pan when you pull it. The solenoid pack is on the front of the transmission. It's the big black square on the front.




    Here is a thread I started when I changed mine. Lots of info and pics on it:
    http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php?t=14810

    It's very simple to change. 3 bolts and remove the input speed sensor (i think) as it's in the way. Be sure to spray around the solenoid pack with a water hose or something to clean the dirt from around it so it doesn't get into the transmission when you remove the solenoid. When you remove the old one there will be a seperator plate between the solenoid and transmission. Be sure it comes off. Mine was stuck to the transmission and I hardly noticed it. You won't need it with the new on.

    The new pack will have 3 studs that will seem to be in the way but once you get the 3 bolts threaded and started they will push into the solenoid pack as you tighten them. It will come with a new gasket as well and you will not need to reuse the rubber cover that is on it. The plug on the top has a bolt in it that will need to be removed to unplug it from the pack.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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    Wow, that looks easy. Much better than working on my 200r4 or th350.

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    I think mine might be just worn clutches, since it only does it when the fluid is warm. I'm going to go to the salvage yard tomorrow and get one off a recently wrecked '06 caravan. Looks pretty easy to swap. . .

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    Just an FYI that sometime around '98 or '99 they switched from a pin-style to a spade-style electrical connector on the solenoid pack. If the new one you get has a different style connector, you've got a wiring job ahead of you

    - G
    1998 Grand Voyager @266,000mi, 3.3L FFV V6

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    Quote Originally Posted by robk46 View Post
    I think mine might be just worn clutches, since it only does it when the fluid is warm. I'm going to go to the salvage yard tomorrow and get one off a recently wrecked '06 caravan. Looks pretty easy to swap. . .
    That would make since if I had paid attention as the fluid is thicker when it's cold but once it warms it thins and reveals the worn clutches.

    As for the solenoid pack plug. I believe the plugs are all the same on all A604/41TE's no matter what the year. A 2007 solenoid pack will be interchangeable with a 1997.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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    I changed the fluid an filter about 10k miles ago when I replaced the front tranny mount, so I don;t think it's the fluid. Won't hurt to do it again though. . .I'm guessing the solenoid pack regulates fluid pressure, so if mine has 200+ thousand miles on it, it could be borderline bad. I'm sure I can get one cheap, so why not try it? I may just buy the whole tranny out of the '06 if they're interchangeable. Then I have a spare when the original finally gives up.

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