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Chrysler Repair/94 Dodge Spirit W/ a 2.5 Transmission Problem


QUESTION: Hi Roland. A recent cold spell has apparently been hard on my 94 Dodge Spirit w/a 2.5 three speed automatic trans-axle. This problem started out with my muffler falling off (rust). I suspect these two separate problems aren't linked in any way, but thought I should mention it to be safe. Very shortly after the muffler, the transmission started acting up. It seems to start out fine, shifting as it should. Then after warming up, the transmission slips out of gear on its own. The strangest thing is, sometimes I can manually shift it up to neutral, then right back in the gear that was slipping and it immediately engages,if only for a short while, only to start slipping again.

I have just changed the fluid and filter in the transmission, and still the same thing. I unplugged and plugged back in the only two wire connections I seen leading to the transmission in hopes of cleaning up a corroded connection (they looked fine). Sprayed what I'm guessing is the kick-down linkage (a rod with a spring) with WD40 as it does look rusty. I have not replaced the muffler yet as I would prefer to have a shop do it, but I can do that repair myself if needed. And also involving the muffler on this particular car, would you know if the lack of back pressure is causing any damage to my valves? I know on some cars it can.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER: Hi Eric,
Rather than slipping out of gear, the transmission may be slipping while it is in gear. If it were slipping out of gear then I would check the adjustment of the linkage by  putting it park, then disconnect the adjuster at the trans and move the lever to the park position and then note whether the adjuster meshes properly with the lever and if not then adjust the length of the cable.
If it is slipping but still in gear, the non-rebuild requiring causes could be:
hydraulic pressure too low (pump bad?), valve body malfunction or leakage. The manual is about 65 pages in length, and shows how to check the hydraulic pressures, and to adjust the low-reverse band and the kickdown band, and how to do a rebuild. I could photocopy for 10 cents a side plug the postage to mail it to you.
I suspect that the valves would not be harmed due to a lack of muffler.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Greatly appreciate your very quick response Roland. I maybe mistaken, but you apparently have the thanks and the "rate answer options" turned off? If so, I can just give you thanks through my post and possibly annoying followup question.

You mentioned the band adjustments, of which I was going to attempt to try (as far as I know it has never been done).. but was unsure of the  exact location of the adjustment screws. I will certainly check the linkage when it stops raining & most likely attempt the band adjustment as I have seen a little clearer illustrations on the locations of those adjustment screws on line, than my Hanes manual provided. I would appreciate those copies, but I'm unsure of your meaning of photocopies (do you mean a fax which I do have)? or the method of how I would repay you, for I would willingly pay for the copies if I knew the total cost involved, which I am assuming is $6.50?

A few things I probably should have mentioned before, is that the car has shown two codes for a while, 32 and 21. One to do with the EGR and other with the oxygen sensor from my understanding, but they only show up  occasionally and have had no effect on how the car runs. And that the car has almost 160,000 on it. I realize these not before mentioned facts would probably have very little to do with your final diagnosis,which I was not wanting to hear but accept :)... but was just hoping. And finally... do all of the problems you mentioned (not to do with shift linkage) just normally happen when the car and transmission are fully warmed up, or at all times?

Thanks again Roland

Hi Eric,
Thanks for the response and mention of the 'thank/rate' option. I decided temporarily to drop out of the rate/nomination option, but have activated it once more. So feel free to do that for me. Thanks.
On the trans, the copies would be photo (Xerox) as I don't have fax. I can go to a cheaper shop that may charge only 5 cents a side, and with postage it may be around $5. I can do the copying and mailing and then you can either do a Paypal or mail me back postage stamps totaling to the same amount.
I don't have any experience with the problem you describe as my A-413 hasn't had that problem, in fact has had no problems at 125k on my '89 2.5L LeBaron coupe.
On the egr, that I suspect is simply a matter of spraying some WD-40 on the stem of the valve where it enters the valve body and then moving the stem up and down to loosen up the 'action' which is probably what caused the code. If it sticks ajar it may prevent the car from idling.
The heated oxygen sensor probably needs to be replaced.
Let me know your address if you want me to do the copying.

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

Awards and Honors
"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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