The Dodge Grand Caravan is a long-wheelbase family minivan that was in production between 1984 and 2020. Since it came out, the Grand Caravan spawned five different generations, but only two of them took place after the year 2000. In this article, we will focus on all the transmission problems with the newer Dodge Grand Caravan, which means going through the last 20 years of its production. A quick recap first!
The fifth-generation 6-speed Dodge Grand Caravan transmission suffers from a whining and then failing transmission pump, while the fifth-gen 4-speed Dodge Grand Caravan transmission suffers from being harsh and lazy to shift. The 4-speed transmission in the fourth-gen Grand Caravan is prone to PCM issues, while the 3-speed unit is known to shift erratically, which is often associated with the speedometer going crazy.
Now it’s time to dwell deep into all of these problems in greater detail. We will include all the relevant technical service bulletins, potential recalls, and notable NHTSA complaints. Lastly, we will also try and tell you how you can approach fixing these.
Common Dodge Grand Caravan Transmission Problems
As mentioned in the introduction, the Dodge Grand Caravan debuted back in the mid-1980s, but most people interested in buying the Grand Caravan will likely consider the two latest generations. If you want a broad assessment of all the common problems the Grand Caravan suffers from, not just in the transmission realm, be sure to read our 10 Frustrating Problems Of A Dodge Grand Caravan article.
Fifth Generation Of The Dodge Grand Caravan (2008-2020)
The fifth generation of the Dodge Grand Caravan has been around for a better part of 12 years which is quite a long time for a singular model, but the Grand Caravan did get a mid-cycle refresh in 2011, which did update it a little bit.
The fifth generation of the Dodge Caravan uses two different transmissions:
- 6-speed 62TE Automatic Transmission (2.8L diesel, 3.6L V6, 3.8L V6, 4.0L V6 engines)
- 4-speed 41TE Automatic Transmission (3.3L V6 engine only)
6-speed 62TE Automatic Transmission
The fifth generation of the Dodge Grand Caravan almost managed to dodge all recalls associated with the transmission, except the one that took place back in June 2016 (16V461000). This recall was issued due to problems with the transmission pump failing, which could even lead to an accident. It is said that when this pump fails, the car might lose motive power. We also need to mention that there have been many reports about the transmission pump whining before it eventually fails.
The official recall acknowledgment states: “Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan vehicles manufactured July 31, 2015, to April 18, 2016, 2016 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured August 17, 2015, to January 29, 2016, and 2016 RAM ProMaster vehicles manufactured August 15, 2016, to April 15, 2016.”
4-speed 41TE Automatic Transmission
The 4-speed 41TE automatic transmission is comparably a lot older than the 6-speed, which means that it is a bit more difficult to assess its reliability, specifically in the 5th gen Grand Caravan, especially because only a handful of Grand Caravans are actually relying on the 41TE. However, there were quite a few reports of it being lazy or harsh, especially while selecting gears. It is said that this problem is likely due to the retainer not being able to separate the TCC accumulator valve and the lockup control valve.
One owner described the problem like this:
When restarting, there is a 5-20 second delay in drive engagement, where it drops harshly into gear. If you go into reverse first, then drive, it shifts as it normally should. Also, after the delayed engagement, if I take it back out of drive and put it back in, it engages as it normally should and you cannot feel it shift into gear. And today for the first time the engagement was so rough and severe, that it stalled out the engine. Fluid and filter change has not solved this problem. What could be wrong???Source
Fourth Generation Of The Dodge Grand Caravan (2001-2007)
The fourth generation of the Dodge Grand Caravan is still fairly common across North America and there is quite a bit of interest for these in the 2nd hand market. The fourth-gen Grand Caravan did get a few styling upgrades over the years, but nothing mechanical was ever really changed.
The fourth generation of the Dodge Grand Caravan uses two different transmissions:
- 4-speed 41TE Automatic Transmission (3.3L V6, 3.8L V6 engine)
- 3-speed 31TH Automatic Transmission (2.4 EDZ engine)
4-speed 41TE Automatic Transmission
The 41TE automatic transmission in the fourth generation of the Dodge Grand Caravan has had more reported problems than the 41TE in the fifth gen. This is likely since the 41TE was the main transmission for the 4th generation model. The most common problems with the 41TE in the 4th gen Grand Caravan are associated with PCM (Powertrain Control Module) problems which caused the transmission to shift harshly.
The Manufacturer Communication Number: 2101807 mentioned this problem for 2005-2006 models, while the 18-042-14 TSB outlined the reprogramming process of the PCM to solve the issue. However, some owners did experience these problems repeatedly, even after the PCM was reprogrammed. One owner said the problem was due to a faulty transmission speed sensor. He summed it up like this:
NHTSA ID Number: 10188175
3-speed 31TH Automatic Transmission
What the 41TE is to the fifth generation of the Grand Caravan, the 31TH (also known as A670) is to the fourth generation Caravan, which means that it is a fairly old transmission carried over from the previous (3rd in this case) generation. The 31TH seems to be a decently reliable transmission for the most part. Still, there have been many complaints about it shifting erratically and is typically associated with the speedometer going crazy- something we’ve seen in other vehicles like Chevy’s Silverado 2500 or the Cadillac Escalade.
One owner of a 31TH Grand Caravan summed it up like this:
1) Engine/transmission surges and wants to shift gears (usually up) when at normal cruising speed (no problem when starting out at stop light, etc.).
2) Speedometer goes haywire (way up to 100 mph) even if traveling at 40, 50 or 60 mph.
3) Transmission is brand new Chrysler OEM that has about 20,000 miles on it since last Spring. But the sensors were not replaced at the time. I thought the answer was to replace both the input and output speed sensors after doing some research last night. But then read schematics posted here on this thread and realize that this transmission only has one speed sensor. Any suggestions for me?
The solve the issue, you will have to replace the transmission speed sensor and the plastic gears at the end of the sensor.
How Long Does A Dodge Grand Caravan Transmission Last?
A properly taken care of Dodge Grand Caravan is known to last a decent amount of time, but it’s not that simple when it comes to transmission longevity. The general consensus seems to be that the transmissions on the last two generations of the Grand Caravan ought to be able to last between 130,000 and 180,000 miles.
The older 31TH (A670) transmission seems to be holding up even after this sort of mileage, but only if they have been maintained perfectly. The 41TE is also a fairly robust unit, and with proper care and a conscious owner, it should be able to do the same. Finally, we come to the 6-speed unit, which is a bit more complicated as there are instances in which the 62TE lasts upwards of 200,000 miles, but it can also fail before reaching half that.
It’s probably all down to how you approach maintaining these transmissions, especially when it comes to your driving style and transmission fluid replacements.
How Much Does A Dodge Grand Caravan Transmission Cost?
|Model||New Price||Used Price|
|31TH 3-Speed Automatic||$995||$499|
|41TE 4-Speed Automatic||$1,895||$300|
|62TE 6-Speed Automatic||$2,714 $2,395||$500|
Marko´s interest in cars runs in the family. His father was a car trader and regularly took him to car dealerships when he was younger.
These days, when he isn´t watching Drivetribe or Doug DeMuro videos, he´s building up quite a resume as an automotive writer since he´s also a regular contributor on Cararc.com, Tirehungry.com, and Luxurycarsa2z.com.