Chrysler Repair/'95 Lebaron electronic transaxle: car won't move
QUESTION: Hey Roland, I had messaged you before and you were rather helpful. Hoping you can help me out again. I've got a 95 Lebaron with an a604 3L combo in it (in other words the American version). A couple of weeks ago I broke the driver side half-shaft pulling out of a buddy's house. No biggy, high miles, had been crackin' and popping for months...no surprise. Came back to his place replaced it the following day all was well...for about 30 miles then the new one broke. Understandably concerned now, I called another buddy of mine. He looked, discovered that I had apparently destroyed a motor mount and we figured this was causing the issue so for the second time that day I went and bought another new half shaft. Install went fine despite the 8:30 PM install in the dark. Got in the car, started it up, put it in drive and nope! Will not shift out of park. If the engine is running it acts like its still in park even in neutral. When the engine is off, neutral acts as it should (first thing that makes me think perhaps electrical issue). Thus far I've replaced the neutral safety switch and this evening will be replacing the prndl switch (assuming the parts place ordered the correct one this time)...I'm not feeling like this is gonna get me going though. Really hoping you have some suggestions other than a trip to the trans shop (I'm already $250 in the hole on this after the tow bill, two half shafts, and two sensors and my last experience with a trans shop left my wallet hurting for months)?
ANSWER: Hi Shaun,
Are you sure it is an A604 as I believe the name changed by '94 to be a 41TE. The '94 manual shows there to be a P/N switch(black) and a range switch (white) next to oneanother, just above the oil pan.
The '95 manual doesn't have a chapter about the electronic trans, instead referencing to the '94 manual.
I wonder whether this is an elecrical issue rather than an hydaulic/solenoid pack/mechanical issue. There is a blue socket under the dash to attach a DRB II code reader to see if the trans controller has a fault code that would explain what is going on particularly if it hydraulic in nature.
If by 'still being in park' you mean that the car will not roll forward or back and feels as though it is locked in Park, then I would believe this is a mechanical issue as there is Park position mechanism inside the transmission which is controlled by the vertical shift rod on the trans which in turn is controlled by the cable/shift lever in the cabin. Have you checked to see if the vertical shift rod is moving when you change the position of the shift lever in the cabin?
The Park mechanism (described as 'park sprag rollers' inside the trans is located on the bottom side of the 'internals' so if that is the problem you may well be able to service that mechanism by dropping the oil pan and you would find it immediately. I can copy a page from a manual that shows that mechaniam and email it to you as an 'attachment. Let me know your email address in a 'follow-up question', but don't use the @ symbol instead us 'at' or the address is automatically erased.
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QUESTION: Hey Roland, thanks for the response, and sorry for the delay in my re-response...been a crazy week.
It is indeed the 41te, I always forget the change over as the bodies remained pretty much unchanged. A trip to the local yard proved useless for finding a second solenoid pack to test that with, so I'm hoping to track down a code reader. You mentioned a blue socket under the dash...I'm not seeing it. I've got a black 8 pin...not finding a blue one any where connected or open.
To update with further detail, when I move the shifter, the shift rod moves (can still put it into neutral and move it around when the engine is off, and had a buddy watch for me just in case). The engine tone changes for a second like it knows the trans is suppose to be shifting, but nothing happens (when I say the tone changes, the RPM doesn't change much, its just one of those nuances you pick up on when you have a car for 200k miles and pour a couple of weeks into rebuilding the engine by your onesies...). Just for the sake of adding further detail. When the shaft broke, it pulled about an inch away from the trans (or at least the half of it that was still attached to the trans) and I lost about 2-3 quarts of fluid. After installing the new one, I didn't think anything about the 2-3 quarts that were now on the ground so I fired it right up. Ran it for about a minute and a half before it dawned on me that it was rather low. At first assumed that was why it wasn't shifting. Ran across the road and picked up the fluid and topped it off. Obviously no change, but figured I'd toss it out there as a more detail to go off of sort of thing.
That data link connector for the code reader is supposed to be near the fuse box, blue in color, and has 6 pin-sockets arranged rectangularly 2 x 3. Try to get any fault codes to start with.
Again, when you say it appears to be in Park, do you mean that you can't move the car in either direction by hand? That may mean that the Park mechanism is jammed up, which you can access first, after you drop the pans and remove the filter as part of the process of inspecting for debris and if none then removing the valve body.
The manual for the 41te says that if the fluid is at the correct level, if you hear no abnormal noises, and if the half shafts don't turn, then remove all three oil pans, inspect for debris, and determine if half-shafts are properly installed.
If no debris then remove the valve body, disassemble, clean and inspect all parts, reassemble, install and check the pressures (at the several test ports) and see if it operates. To remove the valve body, take off the filter, remove the 18 bolts that secure the valve body, push park rod rollers from park sprag guide bracket, and then the valve body and vertical shifter rod will come down (watching as you go for the position of various parts that will also drop down to see where they came from). I can copy the 14-page procedure for opening up and dissassembling/assembling the valve body from an '04 manual I have on a CD. Let me know an email address if you want the '04 pages as attachments to an email. But don't use the @ symbol, rather use 'at' or the address will be erased.
If debris is present then the trans has to be removed and disassembled and parts replaced, etc.
Thanks for the rating and nomination. You can do both again if this answer merits that. I would be most appreciative for your support.