Chrysler is a car brand that seems to be not performing really well when it comes to their vehicles’ reliability ratings. Since 2016, many of their vehicles have been on the bottom half of numerous reliability lists. However, for the year 2021, it has been reported that Chrysler moved up a bit on the best car brand rankings. In the past, there have been some Chrysler transmission problems reported by many of its users, problems that might have contributed to its low reliability ratings. Chrysler transmission problems include harsh gear shifts, lurches, unexpected jerks, won’t stay in park, won’t get into park, and sudden transmission failure. Reports also say that there have been some transmission defects that caused issues with the gear system which lead to grinding and the inability to switch gears.
These Chrysler transmission problems are pretty apparent on their vehicles that are equipped with ZF 9HP 9-speed transmissions, A604 or 41TE transmissions, 62TE and 9HP48 transmissions such as the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler 200, and Chrysler 300. If you want to know more, continue reading. We’ll tell you everything that you need to know!
Chrysler Transmission Problems: Why Do Chrysler Transmissions Fail?
Although it’s been said that since 2016, Chrysler vehicles’ have been on the bottom half of most reliability lists, it does not necessarily mean that they produce bad cars. It’s just that other automakers are making cars that are much better. But like mentioned earlier, Chrysler now is starting to make some progress when it comes to their reliability rankings. They are moving up, which is a pretty good sign.
However, you can’t really blame the people for asking some questions regarding a car’s reliability or potential problems since buying a car is not cheap. It is understandable that people will ask and do some research since there have been some reports in the past about some Chrysler transmission problems.
People who have heard of the said Chrysler transmission problems might ask, why do Chrysler transmission fails? Before we answer this question, let us go through each of the transmissions Chrysler has through the years.
- The TorqueFlite Chrysler A904 and A727 transmissions (1960 to 2002)
These Chrysler transmissions were introduced in the early 1960s. They are known to be a three-speed automatic transmission that are described as sturdy, durable, and extremely reliable. They were so reliable that even after decades after it debuted, these transmissions were still found in the Jeep lineup. It was reported that the TorqueFlite A904 and A727 had very few Chrysler transmission problems.
- The A518 or 46RH/46RE transmissions (1980 to 2003)
In the 80s, Chrysler introduced the A518 or 46RH/46RE transmissions. This transmission was built like the A727 when it comes to its reliability and durability. However, there were several changes made to this transmission compared to the A series ones. It was given a fourth overdrive gear and at this time, Chrysler began using electronics in the valve body.
- The A604 transmission (1990 to 2010)
The 90s came and Chrysler introduced their A604 transmission and it was known as the transmission that had the most Chrysler transmission problems. This transmission was used in many cars, SUVs, and minivans. It is considered as a light duty transmission and known to have problems or failures.
Reports said that the Chrysler transmission problems usually occur when the vehicle hits over 100,000 miles but there are some that fail even before hitting that mark. There were a number of versions for this transmission and you may know it as the 41TE which is its most common model. It can be found equipped on SUVs, all-wheel drive minivans while the 40TE was usually used in 4-cylinder cars.
- The ZF 8 and 9 speed automatic transmissions (2010 to present)
The 8-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions are built by the ZF company. It is a company headquartered in Germany. They supply transmission to multiple auto manufacturers such as Chrysler, Dodge, Audi, BMW, Jeep, Jaguar, Maserati, Lamborghini, Toyota, Land Rover, and many more.
The current Chrysler transmissions are said to be well built and extremely reliable. Reports say that they are much more efficient compared to the other Chrysler transmissions built in the past. It is said that it can go 150,000 and more without experiencing any severe problem.
There might have been some Chrysler transmission problems reported on some of its transmissions, it does not mean that all of the Chrysler transmissions are bound to fail sooner. With the exception of the A604 and 41TE, the Chrysler transmissions are pretty reliable. Keep in mind that transmissions usually last for a long time if they are well-maintained.
A Chrysler transmission that is well-maintained, being serviced regularly with new transmission fluid and filter, can last for over 150,000 miles without any major problem. It is also said that you will experience Chrysler transmission problems if you don’t use the proper transmission fluid and follow the fluid change intervals. People tend to use cheaper fluids that don’t have the right characteristics or specification needed for the Chrysler transmissions. This can lead to a premature transmission failure.
To make sure that you don’t experience Chrysler transmission problems, you need to use the OEM Chrysler transmission fluid and not the cheap ones and other substitute products. Other fluids don’t have the characteristics needed for the clutches to apply and release in the way the TCM or transmission control module expects. This can lead to Chrysler transmission problems such as erratic shifting and hard shifts.
In some cases, the TCM might put the transmission in emergency home or limp in mode when it detects Chrysler transmission problems like hard shifts, delayed shifting, or high RPM shifting. This way, the TCM can reduce or limit further damage to the transmission.
Chrysler Transmission Problems: Does Chrysler Have Transmission Problems?
There have been reports made by Chrysler car owners claiming that they experienced Chrysler transmission problems on their vehicles. Some are so serious that there have been class action lawsuits filed against Chrysler. What Chrysler vehicles have Chrysler transmission problems? Let’s go through each of them.
- Chrysler Town & Country vehicles equipped with A604 or 41TE and 62TE transmissions.
The A604 or 41TE transmission is known to be the Chrysler transmission with most problems. Launched in 1989, it was used, along with its many variations until the six speed 62TE Chrysler transmission took over in 2008. Chrysler Town & Country was equipped with this transmission and it was far from perfect. This minivan was equipped with the A604 0r 41TE from 1990 to 2008 and after the 2008 model, it was then given the 62TE transmission. There were several Chrysler transmission problems reported. It includes:
- Delayed forward or reverse engagement that comes with a double bump feeling. Chrysler drivers might experience a delay when they shift into drive or reverse. They also reported that they feel a series of bumps when the selected gear engages. To fix the problem, you might have to replace the retainer that separates the lockup valve and the TCC accumulator valve.
- Faulty PRNDL lights. When the car is shifted into reverse, overdrive, drive, or low, the PRNDL lights in the gauge cluster may work properly. But when the car is shifted into park or neutral, the PRNDL lights can malfunction. If they check for diagnostic trouble codes to know what caused it, there was none nor any apparent Chrysler transmission problems. However, it was found out that it might be a problem with the ignition switch or maybe a short in the connections.
- There is a speedometer reading even when the car is not moving. There have been reports saying that Chrysler drivers have noticed their speedometer may jump to over 20 mph even while the car is stopped in gear. Aside from that, they also notice a jerking sensation that seems like a 1 to 2 shift. Rough gear changes may also be experienced. These Chrysler transmission problems are common on 41TE transmissions. It is said that a malfunctioning alternator is causing this problem. It also can be caused by some wiring problems related to the output shaft speed sensor OSS signal transmitted back to the transmission control module.
- When in drive or when coasting down, the engine stalls. One of the Chrysler transmission problems Chrysler drivers experience is engine stalling. This problem can happen when the drivers put the gear selector into drive. It can also be noticed that the engine begins to run excessively rough or stalls when their cars are coasting down to a stop. This problem usually happens on the 62TE transmission and it can be caused by some mechanical failures with the electronically modulated converter clutch variable force solenoid. When this happens, it can lead to your torque converter clutch to engage when it should not. The faulty EMCC solenoid replacement will be needed to correct the problem.
- The transmission will shift into neutral on the 1 to 2 shift. This problem can occur on vehicles with the 62TE transmission. Drivers reported that their cars shift into neutral on the 1 to 2 shift. This issue might result in your car to go in limp mode where the transmission will be locked in third gear. At times, the car won’t be able to move and will need the engine to be turned off and restarted so the limp mode will be activated. This problem is said to be caused by sealing ringlands that have worn out on the low clutch housing. Putting the housing and maybe the piston from the direct clutch can fix the problem.
- Chrysler 200 vehicles equipped with 62TE and 9HP48 transmissions.
There were also some reports about some Chrysler transmission problems found on Chrysler vehicles with 62TE and 9HP48 transmissions. 62TE transmissions are found on 2011 to 2015 Chrysler 200 while the 9HP48 transmissions are found on the 2015 to 2017 Chrysler 200. The reported Chrysler transmission problems include:
- Engine stalling when in drive gear or when coasting down.
- Transmission may shift into neutral on the 1 to 2 shift and cause the car to go into limp mode.
There have been some recalls of more than 25,000 vehicles worldwide because of a Chrysler transmission problem that causes the affected vehicles not being able to shift into park. Certain 2015 Chrysler 200 vehicles seem to have this problem. The drivers of this certain model have to activate the parking brake of the car before turning off the engine since the shifter may indicate that the car is in park when it is not.
- Chrysler 300 transmission problems.
The Chrysler 300 is a full-sized luxury car and is considered one of the best large sedans on the market today. It is equipped with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. However, as luxurious as it is said to be, it also has some Chrysler transmission problems which include:
- Rough shift engagement. There have been some reports that the Chrysler 300 has issues when it shifts through the gears from time to time. Instead of smoothly shifting into the next gear, it tends to hesitate and shake which can result in the RPMs to spike up. After that, it will engage the gear all of a sudden and with a clunk. Replacing a faulty cable gear or solenoid seems to fix the problem.
- Won’t shift into gear. This problem has been reported to occur in the 2012 Chrysler 300 with an automatic transmission. The problem begins after hitting about 30,000 miles. It does not shift at all but just pauses in neutral. It is said that this Chrysler transmission problem can be fixed with a software update. If it won’t fix it, a new transmission might be needed.
- Won’t stay in the park position. Many Chrysler owners have filed a class lawsuit against Chrysler because of this problem. The Chrysler 300 won’t stay in the park position even after putting the gear selector in park. This causes the car to roll away if you don’t put it on the emergency brake.
- Stuck in park position. The 2006 Chrysler 300 seems to have this problem. The shifters may get stuck in park gear instead of moving out of park. You just need to improvise and use a ballpoint pen to move the shifter mechanism to neutral or drive for it to be moved out of park. To correct the problem, you might need to replace the entire shift assembly.
The transmission is a very important component of a car since it carries power from the engine to the wheels, allowing you to drive at your desired speed. It is for this reason why you need to take good care of your transmission. If you experience Chrysler transmission problems, you need to address it immediately and not ignore it since it can lead to problems that can be very costly to repair.