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View Poll Results: How long did your original ('96 and newer) 4-speed tranny last?

191. You may not vote on this poll
  • Failed before 50,000mi

    8 4.19%
  • Failed between 50,000mi and 100,000mi

    24 12.57%
  • Failed between 100,000mi and 150,000mi

    13 6.81%
  • Failed between 150,000mi and 200,000mi

    7 3.66%
  • Failed after 200,000mi

    2 1.05%
  • Below 50,000mi and still going

    6 3.14%
  • Between 50,000mi and 100,000mi and still going

    37 19.37%
  • Between 100,000mi and 150,000mi and still going

    54 28.27%
  • Between 150,000mi and 200,000mi and still going

    34 17.80%
  • Over 200,000mi and still going

    12 6.28%
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Thread: How Long did your 4-spd Transmission Last ('96 and newer only)

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Niles Il.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart68 View Post
    There is no rime or reason to these things they just blow up when they want to.
    You got that right. lol

    My original trans was solid up until one day it decided to fill the pan with 2 hand fulls of shavings. I still drive it around for another week before I parked it for repairs.
    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

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  3. #62
    Join Date
    May 2011

    The 96 threw the diff pin at about 130K
    The 2000 was sold at over 250K with the original tranny
    The 2005 ate the convertor and main shaft bearings at about 140K

  4. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Thanked 69 Times in 53 Posts

    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    It has been two years; time for some stats updates on this poll.

    I sure wish we could change our answers to the poll. When I took the poll, my van had under 100,000 miles. Now it has over 223,000...

    Voters = 156
    Votes = 160

    Total: 45 (28%)
    Avg Age at Failure: 98,000 miles

    (note: this mathematically shouldn't be read as meaning "these transmissions typically last 98,000 miles". From the survey data, a typical transmission at that age only has a 13% chance of failing in the next 50,000 miles.)

    Total: 115 (72%)
    Avg Age of Original Working Transmission: 122,000 miles

    If your tranny has made it to a given mileage, what is the chance of a failure in the next 50,000 miles?
    000000 Miles: 4%
    050000 Miles: 13%
    100000 Miles: 13%
    150000 Miles: 13%
    200000 Miles: 25% **

    ** The 200K / 25% number may be inflated because it mathematically assumes 250000 is the life limit, which isn't true. The limited mileage ranges were due to limitations in the poll size. There is also insufficient data in the 200K + range to draw strong conclusions there.

    One inference we can make from this data is that you shouldn't be any more worried about a transmission failure with a 150K vehicle than you were with a 50K vehicle. Or, conversely, perhaps you should be just as worried with a 50K vehicle as you would be with a 150K vehicle!

    If the average cost of a transmission failure is $2500, then how much would the "average" person spend on transmission failures over a 50,000 mile interval, given an initial transmission age of ______, and assuming the replacement transmission does not fail in that timeframe (or is appropriately warranted)? Annualized amounts assume 15,000mi/year of driving.
    000000 Miles: $109 ($33/yr) (but likely under warranty!)
    050000 Miles: $321 ($96/yr)
    100000 Miles: $316 ($94/yr)
    150000 Miles: $321 ($96/yr)
    200000 Miles: $625 ($188/yr) (assumes 250000mi life limit, which isn't true)

    Loss expectancy, among other things, helps you decide what types of preventative maintenance are worth it. (For example, doing $200 of extra non-routine transmission service every year to help stave off a hypothesized failure would not be worth it, even if it were 100% effective at preventing failure.) It also helps you know how much you "should" put into savings, over any number of years of ownership. There are unknowns here, such as what the typical preventative maintenance was that the transmissions in the survey experienced.

    For cost comparison purposes, over 50,000 miles the "average owner" would spend $320 on transmission failure. During that time period, the owner may also spend over $9,000 on fuel, $1,700 on auto insurance, $375 on tires, and $250 on oil changes.

    Important Notes:
    1. The terms "Failed" and "Failure" were not defined by the survey. These failures may or may not include in addition to traditional transmission failures: inexpensive sensor-related failures, wrong-fluid-induced failures, circumstantial failures (e.g., the story about fluid loss due to impacting a deer), and unnecessary rebuilds done by overzealous transmission shops.
    2. Some owners of previously-owned minivans were not aware of whether their transmission was an original that had been functioning properly since vehicle manufacture, or whether the previous owner(s) had transmission trouble.
    3. The statistics above make some assumptions and mathematical simplifications. That, plus the method of survey, makes this entirely nonscientific. But I hope that it has been (and will continue to be) useful.
    4. As this website is often used as a help forum for those having trouble with their vans, as well as a discussion forum for van enthusiasts, the sampling of vans for this survey is likely not representative of all vans out there. Specifically, it may include a higher percentage of failed vehicles than the general population, and it may include a higher percentage of well-cared-for vehicles than the general population.

    - G
    1998 Grand Voyager @336,000mi, 3.3L FFV V6

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to greenlight For This Useful Post:

    JC1(09-10-2016), smgussey(04-21-2012)

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  7. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Niles Il.

    My unknown mileage trans from a junkyard has 32,000 miles from me on it so far. Still has the same slip under hard throttle in 1st gear it always had. I guess for a $175 trans, $250 total swap job, not too bad...
    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

  8. #65
    Join Date
    Apr 2016

    I've heard the 4 speed in 2001 and newer all the problems it had was fixed and the amounts of failure is lower then GM Ford and Toyota.

  9. #66
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Lincoln, Ne

    The tranny in the wife's '98 Voyager went out at about 175,000. The tranny in my '98 Grand Voyager is at 185,000 and still going.
    If the women don't find ya handsome, they should at least find ya handy! Red Green

  10. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2016

    On my 2005 I changed the fluid at 60,000 miles and at 150 its still smooth as silk.
    I belive by 2001 all the bugs had been fixed and its as strong if not stronger then the 4 speeds from GM and Toyota.

  11. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Thanked 69 Times in 53 Posts

    Our '98 original 41TE trans has 326,000 miles on it now; the only fix that has had to be done is the solenoid pack, which failed somewhere around 290,000 miles.

    I think the actual trans failures fall into three categories: 1) serious design flaws, 2) poor quality control, and 3) driving style issues. Most of (1) were corrected by 1996, but apparently they still have quality control issues since some of these units still fail very young and others last virtually forever, with a couple reports here of unrebuilt 41TE's lasting even longer than my current mileage (I think one person is at 350,000 miles and another at 400,000 miles on the original trans). One mechanic told me that the tolerances in the 41TE are just so tight that even slight variations in manufacturing and assembly can cause issues.

    As for driving style, these units are notorious for catastrophic diff failure when even moderately abused.

    The things we've done to prolong the life of the transmission are: 1) regular fluid and filter changes with ATF+4 only, 2) an additional external transmission cooler, and 3) minimizing heat generation by operating the trans to maximize the time the TC is in lockup (for one example, when climbing a steep hill, I pull the gearshift to [3] instead of [D] to allow quick TC lockup in 3rd -- otherwise after the automatic kickdown to 3rd it waits for some heat buildup before it locks up the TC in 3rd with the gearshift in [D]).

    GM had their own teething issues with their 4-speed automatic. Like the 41TE, though, it eventually did become a reasonably reliable unit. Honda also had very serious trouble with their minivan transmissions, which were also insanely expensive to fix; I'm unsure what degree of improvement they've seen.

    - G
    1998 Grand Voyager @336,000mi, 3.3L FFV V6

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