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Transmission Delay & Hard Shift Into Reverse When Cold Only

11-23-2008, 11:59 PM
Hi All
I'm driving a 1998 Caravan 3.0L engine with the two-speed transmission.
A new problem has just come up since the weather has turned colder. When starting the vehicle for the first time in the morning and shifting into Reverse after start-up in this colder weather, there is about a 10 second delay then it shifts into Reverse hard with a thump. If I shift into Drive first and then into Reverse it shifts OK. After I have driven the vehicle and then it shift into Reverse it works just fine. I have changed the A/T fluid and filter this summer and the fluid level is normal. Any ideas what's going wrong?
Thanks for any help

11-24-2008, 01:17 PM
When you did the fluid/filte4r change, did you use ATF +3 or +4 ,or standard DEXRON or MERCON fluid?

11-25-2008, 07:08 PM
Hi There
Thanks for the quick answer.
I used Chevron Dextron 3

11-26-2008, 04:50 PM
If ATF+3/4 (MS 7176) is specified for your transmission (the four speeds require it) I think you have the wrong fluid. You need to check that out and if it is the wrong fluid, I would drain her and go to the proper ATF. Granted you may not get all of the old stuff out, but probably enough to solve the problem. The MS for the fluid is 7176 and that is not the MS for what you are using. Grandson has a 2001 Hyundai Elantra and he used the wrong fluid and had the issues you now have, changing to the correct fluid solved his problem.

11-28-2008, 12:27 AM
What is MS 7176?
Latest Information
On the first cold morning I let the vehicle warm up to "normal operating temperature" befoire shifting and it shifted fine.
On the next cold morning I left the vehicle warm up five minutes (needle not off "cold" peg) but the vehicle shifted fine.
So, the problem has something to do with the fluid at colder temeratures.

11-28-2008, 10:43 AM
MS is Manufacturers Specification, all fluids have specific MS designations. If you go to Pennzoil website and check the MS for the fluid you used it will show a different MS number than 7176, and, yes, the viscosity of the fluid will directly affect how the transmission reacts at various temperatures and ATF +4 (the now current replacement for ATF+3) is a full synthetic and I really believe the fluid in your transmission is the culprit.

11-28-2008, 11:11 PM
Thanks Bear
I'll follow your lead.
Thanks again

11-29-2008, 10:50 AM
Until you get the problem resolved you should back the van into the driveway at the end of the day. Avoiding the hard shift into reverse when it's cold might save the tranny a bit longer.:smile:

11-29-2008, 11:04 AM
my brother had the same problem...i put in a treatment ..lucas transmission treatment..because its have to mix it with tranny fluid...might have to drain some out...the reverse band is slipping..for some reason thats a problem with older chrysler transmissions..the reverse is always the 1st to might be able to prolong your tranny by putting in a worked on my brothers no longer slips and bangs into reverse and still is going strong at 249k

12-05-2008, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the help.
Here's what I've done so far.
1. Checked for correct fluid - shop manual states use Dextron III for my tranny, so fluid correct.
2. A friend dropped the pan, saw that the fluid was no longer cherry red but dull red. Checked pan, magnet and drained out fluid for any metal, nothing found.
3. Checked the new filter - OK not plugged.
4. Replaced the drained out fluid with new fluid, added a trans additive, and told me to drive it for several miles.
To early to tell if it is corrected. I don't want to try again cold.
In any case I'll warm up the A/T before I shift into revese.

12-06-2008, 06:06 AM
whos shop manual says dextron3? it is a well known fact chrysler trans take atf +3or +4.

12-06-2008, 07:48 AM
Just rechecked my HAYNES manual and it states MOPAR ATF+ for all of the automatic transmissions, 1996 and newer

12-09-2008, 09:00 AM
Just rechecked my HAYNES manual and it states MOPAR ATF+ for all of the automatic transmissions, 1996 and newer You can get Mopar ATF4 oil at Walmart. Same thing you get from Deal. Black bottle for about $4.50, Dealer about $6 .

01-02-2009, 08:56 PM
Shifting repair update
"Works Great"
All I did was change the ATF fluid in pan (it was a little discoulored after the first change) a second time.
Thanks again for the help

01-04-2009, 09:50 PM
Please tell us you used ATF +4 (or ATF +3, which is very hard to come by now.) Dexron anything is a baaaad thing for the transmission. It may work for a while, but the consensus seems to be that the friction characteristics are different, and it destroys the clutches. The very best thing you can do is install a transmission fluid cooler, and change the fluid and filter about every 30k miles. Dexron III is not in any way the same as ATF +3 (or +4.)

01-04-2009, 09:53 PM
Oh, and some of the early literature, and even the dipsticks, said Dexron III. BIIIIG mistake on MOPAR's part.

01-04-2009, 09:58 PM
So, I'm unable to edit my posts -- but the 3 speed transmissions without the lock up torque converter can survive on Dexron III, but yours with the lock up requires atf +3 at a minimum.

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