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Old 10-10-2005, 04:54 PM   #1
manofpeas
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Transmission buzzing when put into drive and reverse.

O.K., weird question, I hope other Dodge/Chrysler owners have heard something like this or of it before.

I just bought a 1999 Avenger Sport 6 cyl with auto trans. The transmission is Chrysler, from what I've heard. It has 58000 miles on it. When I shift into Drive or Reverse, the car shifts fine, but there is a loud buzzing for a second. Hard to describe, it sounds like a huge, lower-pitched novelty buzzer and it goes for as long as the transmission is shifting from one gear to the new one. The car buzzes when your foot is on the brake and you go from Park to Drive to Reverse and between any gear and Drive and Reverse. Also, when coming to a stop at lights, it does the buzz for a moment right before the vehicle comes to a complete stop. As the car starts moving again, it buzzes briefly.

I took the car to a mechanic, who looked at it, said he'd seen Chrysler transmissions buzz like this before, and people drove them for years with no problems shifting. He advised me to leave it and not worry about it until the tranny stops shifting. However, it's actually kind of embarassing to have this SUPER loud buzzing every time I shift into gear or stop at a light. Finally, I don't like the thought of driving a car that's making loud noises, as my hunch is that I'm doing more serious damage to it and fixing it now would be preferable to fixing it later.

Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about and how to fix it? Any help is GREATLY appreciated.

P.S. ALSO, THERE DO NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY FLUID LEAKS. THE TRANSMISSION FLUID LEVEL IS FINE, AND THE FLUID IS NOT BURNT OR OTHERWISE ABNORMAL. THE PLASTIC COVER ON THE SHIFT HOUSING IN THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT DOES SEEM A LITTLE WARM TO THE TOUCH, WHICH IS DISCONCERTING, BUT OTHERWISE, IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE RUNNING ALL THAT HOT. AGAIN, ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED, I JUST HOPE I CAN FIND SOMEONE WHO KNOWS EVEN A LITTLE ABOUT THESE TRANSMISSIONS.
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Old 10-10-2005, 07:56 PM   #2
KManiac
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The buzzing noise you describe is normal for Chrysler's electronic, 4-speed automatic, orginially referred to as the "Ultradrive" transmission. This transmission was first introduced in the 1989 model year. We had a 1989 Caravan and currently have a 1998 Town & Country van. Both vans had this type of transmission and both buzzed the same way. The buzz occurs when you shift into either forward or reverse from either Park or Neutral, and when the transmission downshifts into first when you stop the vehicle. I don't know the mechanics behind this noise, but it is normal for the beast.

This transmission is also a "smart" transmission. It will monitor your driving habits and adjust the transmission's shift points to match your driving style. I have heard of instances where someone with calm driving habits has suddenly, and only once, punched the throttle from a dead stop and ran their car through the gears that way. Then, the transmission started to shift "funny" to them, holding up shift points to higher speed and shifting abruptly. It would continue this way for a while until it reprogrammed itself back to where is was before.

The electronics also continuously monitor the transmission's performance and will tell you when an anomoly occurs. It does this by shifting into "limp mode". When the transmission detects a significant anomoly, it will shift into and hold the transmission in second gear. This is "limp mode". It will take you by surprise, should you ever encounter this. Now, there is a way to clear "limp mode". Simply pull to the side of the road, put the car in Park and turn it off. When you restart, the transmission will shift normally again, unless it detects another anomoly. The first time I experienced this was in the 1989 van. It was a rainy day with a significant downpour. The transmission downshifted and held the lower gear while I was cruising at about 35 miles per hour. I pulled over, stopped and restarted the van, and it worked normally. We drove the car another three years before selling it and it never dropped into limp mode again. I have never experienced limp mode in the 1998 van. We have owned this van for six years and it has 83,000 miles. The only other time I experienced limp mode was in a 1992 Caravan I was test driving once. During the half hour test drive, it dropped into limp mode twice. Needless to say, I passed on that van.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Chrysler and happy motoring.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:32 PM   #3
manofpeas
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Re: Transmission buzzing when put into drive and reverse.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate the response. It's nice to hear from someone who knows about these cars.

Amazing, I guess I just couldn't believe a car company would put out a transmission that sounds like such garbage. It's embarassing, people look at you at stop lights like your car is a heap of junk.

Is there a way to quiet it down to a dull roar, at least?

I've got to say, this certainly is illustrative to me why the company was in such trouble for so long.
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Old 10-17-2005, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: Transmission buzzing when put into drive and reverse.

I have the similar issue with my 99 Lexus RX300 recently. The car was fine until last week, it starts making the buzz noise when I stop or switch gear.
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