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07 Grand Caravan (3.3L), 14 Dart SXT (2.0L)
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Discussion Starter #1
After driving into town going 65mph at 2k rpm for about 15 miles the engine gets fully warmed up and is driving fine. On my way back the engine always gets like this hesitation or surge back and forth when accelerating in the 2k - 3k range. If I floor it or go above 3k it's fine. Also, there isn't any hesitation. As soon as I hit the gas it takes off, but once I get to 2k it starts this subtle surge. What comes to mind?
Changed the spark plugs, wires, coil, fuel injectors...

A while back I made a post about my A/C... haven't got to fix that yet but the problem is just like it only not so violent.
If I have my A/C running the problem gets exaggerated to the point of 100-200 rpm dancing when I try to accelerate( thought my A/C is overfilled so I'm leaving it off for now).

The problem started way before this but I thought I would include that a month back or so in city rush traffic trying to get somewhere fast my transmission started smoking... was accelerating to 3k, brakes, 3k, brakes, going 0-30 and 0-30 and 0-30mph for about 15 mins... then while I was stopped I smelt burning trans fluid and saw smoking from the hood so I pulled over, popped the hood and saw smoke from the top of the transmission. Couldn't find any fluid anywhere so I waited for the smoke to stop and I drove slowly the rest of the way back with no issues.

Could this be a transmission problem or an engine problem? Could my transmission be overheating for some reason? How bad is it to use Lucas Transmission Fix? I put some in but then quickly done a fluid change(twice) after reading how these transmissions need ATF+4 only. Could it be I need to change it a couple more times to get it all flushed out?
 

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How bad is it to use Lucas Transmission Fix?
really really bad, don't do that

if you already flushed it once leave it be

if you're worried about the transmission temperature just monitor it through the DRB thru OBD app, you can also see a lot more about what the transmission is doing with it to rule it out
 

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Throttle was stuck open on a 1995 Dodge Caravan with 41TE transmission (there's more to the story) so the brakes were constantly applied for several miles. The transmission heated up and spilled fluid out the dipstick tube. That could explain your transmission smoke.
Hesitation could be the shifting, torque converter lockup that goes on around 45 MPH. The shift pattern is different when transmission is not warmed up. Takes about 15 minutes of driving to warm up the transmission.
What's your transmission fluid type and level? Do you know how to properly check the level? Your Manual tells you that.
 
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07 Grand Caravan (3.3L), 14 Dart SXT (2.0L)
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Discussion Starter #4
Throttle was stuck open on a 1995 Dodge Caravan with 41TE transmission (there's more to the story) so the brakes were constantly applied for several miles. The transmission heated up and spilled fluid out the dipstick tube. That could explain your transmission smoke.
Hesitation could be the shifting, torque converter lockup that goes on around 45 MPH. The shift pattern is different when transmission is not warmed up. Takes about 15 minutes of driving to warm up the transmission.
What's your transmission fluid type and level? Do you know how to properly check the level? Your Manual tells you that.
Mopar ATF+4 and I check it exactly the way the manual says to and it's at the upper end of the HOT marking. It seems like it starts happening around 25-50 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
really really bad, don't do that

if you already flushed it once leave it be

if you're worried about the transmission temperature just monitor it through the DRB thru OBD app, you can also see a lot more about what the transmission is doing with it to rule it out
I'll check if my cheap OBDII reader can scan for that. If so I'll definitely monitor it while I go for my next drive.
 

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didn't see the part about the smoke

i'd definitely look at its temperature now, make sure your transmission cooler is clean and not full of gunk

one of the biggest killers of any automatic transmission is heat

i've only ever had a transmission emit smoke once, and it was postmortem...


i'll never forget that awful smell as long as i live
 

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Discussion Starter #7
didn't see the part about the smoke

i'd definitely look at its temperature now, make sure your transmission cooler is clean and not full of gunk

one of the biggest killers of any automatic transmission is heat

i've only ever had a transmission emit smoke once, and it was postmortem...


i'll never forget that awful smell as long as i live
Next time I go for a drive I'll check the transmission temp! But in order to do so I need to input a custom sensor into my app. I tried setting like this forum post but at idle it says 0 degrees. I'll go for a drive and see if its working or not.
 

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The Torque App Pro software costs $5 and can monitor and record AFR, long and short term fuel trim, coolant temp, and a bunch of other things. Drive around with unit installed, record as much as you can that you think is relevant, and watch for what changes after 15 minutes.

Report results to Jeepman.

Finally, I doubt if you have a trans problem, unless the trans cooler is clogged.
 

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I'd also say to report results to Levy, but .............

Also, if you report to Jeepman, make sure to convert units to metric.
 

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I'd also say to report results to Levy, but .............

Also, if you report to Jeepman, make sure to convert units to metric.
Has to be in Imperial, none of that US gallon stuff. :)

The US has a metric highway. What's up with no more metric, too much of a good thing? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
use this

Thanks! The free version says it can read all the data correctly so I'll buy the full version soon.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE! Thanks to the ChryslerDRBeThree app that Baron recommended and my cheapo OBDII scanner I was able to read my transaxle temp and a BUNCH of other things which let me see that the car has no problems at all(great app)! My transaxle temp got to 144F max with a mix of city and highway driving(25 miles) going all the way past 3k rpm on each acceleration.

What I felt was a slight "hesitation" was just the torque converter locking as I got up to 40 mph(this app is awesome). As I accelerated it would lock which made my RPM go down and appear to me as hesitation. It appeared to me that it only happened when the car was warmed up; the reason being that on my way back from town I accelerate to 40mph a lot faster(compared to going into town), making me notice the torque converter lockup.

Thanks for the answers!
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I'm pretty sure my transmission did overheat that one time I said it was smoking in the OP. Reason being because I was pushing pretty hard with my acceleration(and stop n go) through town and it was packed traffic due to evacuation orders for Laura.
 

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I'm pretty sure my transmission did overheat that one time I said it was smoking in the OP. Reason being because I was pushing pretty hard with my acceleration(and stop n go) through town and it was packed traffic due to evacuation orders for Laura.
Does the van still have surging then?

The UltraDrive transmission is a fussy one. Much of the problems went away with the 4th gen vans. BUT, should certain conditions happen, a quirk could arrive. Much of it has to deal with the solenoid pack. From the sounds of things, yours could be acting up.

Check out the AllPar page here:
Chrysler automatic transmission repair: solenoid pack rebuilding

I have the same setup. 3.3L with the ultradrive. It had the same issue of hesitation.

You could do 1 or 2 things for a simple correction. Option-1. Find a pull-a-part, find a 3.3L with the ultra drive of a 2006 or 2007 (I do not trust a 2005 as that year had bad electrical gremlins.) Pull the solenoid pack, buy the replacement gasket and do a swap. Option-2. Get a 3.8L TB swap on the 3.3L. I did option 2. It has worked out so well, that the Ultradrive responds and behaves like it should. The van operates and shifts smoother, gentler, surge and hesitation 100% gone, the engine feels like it has life to it. The downshifting on expressway overpasses stopped and I can pass another vehicle without getting white knuckles. Also when pressing the pedal right to the floor, there is no delayed reaction anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does the van still have surging then?

The UltraDrive transmission is a fussy one. Much of the problems went away with the 4th gen vans. BUT, should certain conditions happen, a quirk could arrive. Much of it has to deal with the solenoid pack. From the sounds of things, yours could be acting up.

Check out the AllPar page here:
Chrysler automatic transmission repair: solenoid pack rebuilding

I have the same setup. 3.3L with the ultradrive. It had the same issue of hesitation.

You could do 1 or 2 things for a simple correction. Option-1. Find a pull-a-part, find a 3.3L with the ultra drive of a 2006 or 2007 (I do not trust a 2005 as that year had bad electrical gremlins.) Pull the solenoid pack, buy the replacement gasket and do a swap. Option-2. Get a 3.8L TB swap on the 3.3L. I did option 2. It has worked out so well, that the Ultradrive responds and behaves like it should. The van operates and shifts smoother, gentler, surge and hesitation 100% gone, the engine feels like it has life to it. The downshifting on expressway overpasses stopped and I can pass another vehicle without getting white knuckles. Also when pressing the pedal right to the floor, there is no delayed reaction anymore.
I do get the "Bzzzz-tick" when I shift into gear, is that normal? wanted to do the 3.8 TB upgrade anyway so I'll probably do that first.
 

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I do get the "Bzzzz-tick" when I shift into gear, is that normal? wanted to do the 3.8 TB upgrade anyway so I'll probably do that first.
Is the bzzzz-tick happening from placing your foot on the brake and moving from park "P" into drive "D" ? If the answer is yes, then it's the BTSI solenoid. BTSI = Brake/Transmission Shift Interlock.

There is an old thread here that is helpful.
How to remove BTSI?

Unless the problem gets worse, you can deal with the bzzzz-tick. BUT, should the solenoid fail, read the owners manual first on how to manually work it to start the van and drive it.

Here's the actual step-by-step method to change it with diagrams. (English version)
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Is the bzzzz-tick happening from placing your foot on the brake and moving from park "P" into drive "D" ? If the answer is yes, then it's the BTSI solenoid. BTSI = Brake/Transmission Shift Interlock.

There is an old thread here that is helpful.
How to remove BTSI?

Unless the problem gets worse, you can deal with the bzzzz-tick. BUT, should the solenoid fail, read the owners manual first on how to manually work it to start the van and drive it.

Here's the actual step-by-step method to change it with diagrams. (English version)
Yes, it happens if I go from P to D/R, or from any forward gear into R or R into any forward gear. It's had the bzzz-tick since we bought it (80k I think??) and now we're at 165k miles so I don't think its gonna break just was wondering if it maybe had some problem.
 

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Yes, it happens if I go from P to D/R, or from any forward gear into R or R into any forward gear. It's had the bzzz-tick since we bought it (80k I think??) and now we're at 165k miles so I don't think its gonna break just was wondering if it maybe had some problem.
Sounds like the BTSI is loud. A solenoid has a wire wound spool. Placing a metal rod to float inside makes it move when power is energized. The bzzz sound is the coil being energized, the tick is when the rod moves and latches into home position. Now, it's possible the diode at the base of the wire wound spool failed. Having gone the miles you have with the van, it shows to be functioning. Dormeyer is the OE manufacture for about 60% of the industry.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sounds like the BTSI is loud. A solenoid has a wire wound spool. Placing a metal rod to float inside makes it move when power is energized. The bzzz sound is the coil being energized, the tick is when the rod moves and latches into home position. Now, it's possible the diode at the base of the wire wound spool failed. Having gone the miles you have with the van, it shows to be functioning. Dormeyer is the OE manufacture for about 60% of the industry.
It's pretty loud but I wouldn't worry about it. So the next mod is gonna be that 3.8 TB.
 
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