2012 T&C transmission performance



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Thread: 2012 T&C transmission performance

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    2012 T&C transmission performance

    Hi all,

    I bought my new 2012 T&C about a week and a half ago with 8 miles on it. We've got about 500 on it now and I'm curious to see if others are noting the same types of transmission response that I've observed.

    It seems that the transmission is somewhat indecisive - like it's always hunting for the right gears. From a dead stop, acceleration is great, but then it quickly upshifts before it's really used up the power band (it's being overly eager to save fuel, I'd wager). This results in an awkward dance where I'm not yet going fast enough before it upshifts, so I have to push the pedal harder, causing the transmission to downshift again to get any speed, then upshift again as soon as possible. It's really rather annoying to me.

    Once you're up to speed, the engine is quite powerful, but again, hampered by the indecisive tranny. If I'm going along at 50mph, then need to slow for a braking car, then need to get back up to speed, the transmission hesitates and then finally downshifts, causing a bit of whiplash effect to the passengers. Not really smooth at all. I'm not pushing the pedal hard and "gunning it" either -- I know how to drive smoothly, and with this van, it seems you've got to really baby the throttle and tell the tranny to stay put as long as possible, or else endure the jerks when it changes with any bit of pedal pushing at all.

    One last thing is especially weird... if I come to a quick, sudden stop, and it has to downshift all the way to get going again, there is a quick shaking/jerky feeling from the transmission, almost like it's cutting out or slipping for a second. It's not in my head, it doesn't do it all the time but in the last 500 miles it's happened about half a dozen times and it's a little disconcerting. There are no weird noises or other symptoms of problems, so I'm just chalking it up to a generally unrefined transmission.

    Hopefully I'll get used to it, but I just wanted to know if anyone else experiences this. Would be nice if there was some transmission computer reflash the dealer could do to make it stop rushing to upshift, because that's purely a programming thing. Econ mode helps even it out, actually, because it will at least hold a gear instead of bouncing up and down, but it castrates performance obviously.

    Anyway, just wanted to see if I'm nuts or what... thanks

    Jesse

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  3. #2
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    You have written the post I wanted to write about my companys 2012 Ram van. I never use the "Econ" mode, and the transmission behaves just like you describe. Way to eager to downshift, which causes vehicle to accelerate, you let up, it upshifts, it thinks it's lugging then downshifts again. Sometimes I keep it in 4 or 5, depending on grade and speed, just so it won't upshift only to downshift again. I was really spoiled by my previous work vehicle, 2007 Freestar 4.2 I know it wasn't a six speed but once it was in 4th, it stayed there unless I mashed the pedal or approached a very steep hill, even then the transmission was more composed. I certainly like the 2012 better, but the transmission is frustrating. I have 2450 miles, and I'm getting better at babying the throttle as you describe.

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    I tend to like to put it in Econ when driving a steady 40-50 mph to keep it in top gear and the TC locked. I agree that it is eager to downshift. I haven't experienced the downshift all the way to 1st that you talk about. I like Econ on the highway to keep the torque converter locked too. I hate it when I remove my foot from the gas pedal and it unlocks.
    Ours has 13,000 mi on it. It has 2 different primary drivers. I do find that it responds a bit better after a couple of sprints when I drive it after not doing so for awhile.
    It does skip gears in Econ, so I don't like using it if I am driving in stop and go. 1st to 3rd annoys me.
    Grant
    Mopars currently owned:
    2013 Chrysler Town and Country L
    1975 Dodge D-100 4x4 400

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    My 2012 GC is the same way. It is just like yours, the trans never seems to know what to do. Thr rough down shifting is usually when it's in a lower gear, 1-2-3 and around 1,500 down to 1,000 rpm's and feels like 3 small vibrations when slowing down to stop. Best described as a feeling of rumble strips, not every stop but most.

    I also feel on a shudder usually on the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts when slowly accelerating.

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    My problem is that the car is eager to upshift when it should hold the gear longer, which results in me pushing the pedal harder and downshifting hard. It is not eager to downshift per say, but that the torque converter is a little rough when it does downshift and it is not seemless.

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    This is a huge annoyance that is all too common among new cars these days in the name of better fuel economy. Fortunately I haven't experienced it quite as badly in my Town & Country, definitely not as bad as its sounding in your case. I'm not sure if there is a reset for the adaptive transmission we can do in these vans - but if there is one we can easily perform, try it. Doing this reset has helped these problems for me in the past with different vehicles (mostly when it starts adapting to a soft driving style so it would adapt by giving me laggy throttle and early upshifts, etc.)
    2011 Chrysler Town & Country Touring | 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid | 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 AWD | 2003 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic

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    Thanks for the replies all. Glad to know I'm not crazy

    I saw a reference to this recent service bulletin in another thread: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/tsbs/results.cfm

    That TSB is only about 3 months old, so it's possible my van didn't get this re-flash from the dealer when I bought it. I'll have to stop in and check.

    Has anyone else had their van re-flashed per that TSB who can comment on whether it improved their shift logic?

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    I don't believe I have the problems described in this thread, and I have had my computer re-flashed for shifting issues. Mine was slamming into forward after backing up, and something else I don't recall at this time... Anyway, a dealer re-flash solved my problems. I am actually quite happy with the performance of the transmission in mine - does pretty much everything I want it to.

    You are under warranty, take it to the dealer and let them know your concerns and ask them to be sure that it has the most recent updates to the transmission software (actually, ALL software as it changes quite often).

    If you are driving at lower speeds (less than say 50 mph) why not lock it down to 5th gear so it quits shifting so much? Or even 4th if you are driving slower? Vehicles are obviously designed to make maximum gas mileage and there are some quirks to deal with as a result of that... but luckily these can be limited as to what gear they shift up to to avoid those quirks.
    '11 Grand Caravan Crew 3.6 46k
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    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/smgussey/
    2011+ tow package info: http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/23413

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    That's true enough. I haven't played with the manual shift mode yet - at first I thought it was kind of a silly addition to a minivan, but it sounds like it might save my sanity after all. I do understand that it's trying to be fuel efficient, but that should not come at the expense of driveability and comfort. There are other vans on the market that can get the same mileage or better without having this kind of issue.

    I'll definitely be checking with the dealer about making sure it's re-flashed to the latest version.

    Thanks

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    Just to be clear, you can use the manual shift mode to simply limit what the top gear is. For instance, if you put it in 4 it will automatically shift from first through 4th.

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