electrical problem causing my transmission to not want to shift from 3rd gear to 4th gear.

Kev Carson

Asked by Feb 24, 2014 at 03:48 PM about the 1997 Chrysler Town & Country

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

sometimes the car goes into a failsafe mode and will go into overdrive but sometimes it won't shift out of 3rd gear and you can't drive the car faster than 40 miles an hour or you risk burning up the transmission, please help if any answers known for this problem.

16 Answers


is the check engine light on, most common issues are the input and output speed sensors or the solenoid pack, ( worst case ) - if a battery has leaked acid there are two wire harness connectors under the battery that get corroded .

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.
Joshua Sulwer

I'm dealing with the same thing. I'll post solutions when found, please do too. I've been working on this for a bit now. mine all of a sudden wont go into 3rd or 4th and goes into neutral instead of those gears. If I turn overdrive off it will at least stay in second and I can go 40-50 without going over 4000 RPM's but thats not reasonable driving conditions for my line of life, put some trans tune in and drove around a bit and it started catching 3rd a little. I'm going to add the other have pt and see. I'm working on a 05 crown vic. Going to review the codes that came up, I agree with other post that it could be shift solenoids for higher gears gumming up and the trans tune by seafoam might fix yours easier than mine being that you can still go into the higher gears sometimes :) I also have a 02 dodge stratus that I just bought thats in 3rd gear limp mode code said replace speed sensors, but that didn't fully work, may of bought a faulty sensor or 2. trying another tomorrow morning then going to try (ELECTRONIC) shift solenoid replacement for 3rd and 4th if I can find the service manual pdf to know if I have enough time to dedicate to completeing the process before going back to work.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
Joshua Sulwer

btw chrystler and dodge and something else are in the same umbrella company meaning same parts and systems and problems and solutions. give more details of your problem. My speedometer was 20 30 mph faster than I was going and in 3rd gear limp mode (fail safe mode)

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
William Bell

Was anyone able to see what the issue/solution was? I am experiencing similar with my 2003 T&C. When putting the vehicle in Drive, the engine shakes hard and does not change thru the gears.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

Hi my is HARLEY I have the same exact problem with my 97 town and country nd im going crazy, it takes 1&2nd but slips back into 2nd nd stays like that,nd I can't go faster than 40mph I change the input&output speed sensors nd still the same change the transmission nd still the same...please somebody help...

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
Bill Roberds

I replaced a power steering reservoir and I accidentally broke the vacuum line then mine started to not go into overdrive

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

I just finished fixing my 2009 T&C transmission by rewiring the electrical connector. If you look at where the wires enter into the silicone boots you may notice that the insulation on the wire seems to get thinner. This is characteristic of a broken wire inside the insulation often caused by the strain relief being too tight. I have seen this happen in a number of circumstances on various wiring harnesses and it it often very difficult to trouble shoot since it will first present as an intermittent problem that never seems to happen while at the mechanics garage. The codes that result will make it look like a sensor problem, I even got an invalid gear ration code, but it's just that the computer can't measure the proper signals from those sensors.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.

I will go with the wire harness, that tip help me find my problem...thank you guys. ...much appreciated.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Kevin Martin

It could be the output speed sensor and Torque converter might be going out.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Arthur Klein

I found that if your speedometer is off, you should change the output sensor. My G.V. will only shift into first and second and I replaced both Transmission Control Modules (input and output - this ran about $40 and took about 1 1/2 hours). I will follow the wires next and confirm that they are good. If they are then I'm stuck again.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Don Davis

Our 2010 T&C recently began doing the "limp home" bit. I replaced the output speed sensor. This cleared the idiot light. When I disconnect the battery for 10-15 monutes, the car will drive normally for some time, on the highway, about 90 miles. When you stop and take off, limp mode again. Repeat battery deal, it clears, again... I'm thinking electrical over mechanical. Perhaps solenoid pack... I ordered a DVD service manual, yet to see it.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Don Davis

Update on this. My ODBII reader was showing voltages of between 13.6 and 13.7. At one point when driving, the computer showed a battery symbol, and alarmed. OK, I bought a new battery, and the problems are gone now. Don't know if this will help anyone, but this solved our problems.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I had this problem about 6 months ago with my '98 Plymouth Grand Voyager and while googling finally found a solution that helped me. There is a solder joint on the circuit board behind the instrument cluster that will crack with time and thus intermittently lose connection. The description of how to fix it is on the allpar site http://www.allpar.com/model/m/repairs/3G-cluster.html. I tried this and think I overheated the connection with my bad soldering iron. I went to the wrecking yard to get a new (different) instrument cluster. I pulled 6-7 out and every single one had the same cracked solder joint. I finally bought one, re-soldered the joint and it fixed my problem! My van was good for 4-5 months but just started having periodic shifting problems into high gears again. I assume it is the same issue so I'll try to re-solder again. It could be something else this time, but I'm almost certain it is an electrical connection somewhere.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Charlene Blake

I have replaced the TCM, speed sensors, the shift module and solenoid, and the instrument cluster on my 2000 Dodge Caravan and still it will not shift out of sleep mode because my speedometer will not work. When speedometer works it shifts. What can I check now?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

My 2000 Caravan goes into limp mode at times. When the car is turned off then back on it fixes, but the error light stays until cleared. And, I have the instrument panel problem; that the power disconnects, but with a bash of the hand it reconnects, The soldier joint crack seams to be the culprit. Thanks

Cindie W


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