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Discussion Starter #1
2nd flywheel broke yesterday. Dropping at dealer today. First one went at around 19500 this one at 45000. I figure I'll need a third by Jan. I bought this because it had Chrysler power tran in it. Little did I know it was from a mini van. Can't wait to get ride of it. The fiat might be a good buy but they let Chrysler touch it and turned it to ****.
 

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It sounds like the broken flex-plate (flywheel) is the symptom, not the problem.

I once had a Jeep XJ (coincidentally a Chrysler product, but entirely different drivetrain) that would tear up transmission input-shaft bushings every 10k miles. Various shops kept rebuilding the transmission, and it quickly would go bad again. I finally took the transmission out myself because I wanted to have a look for myself. On a close inspection, I found that one of the two dowel pins that locate the transmission to the engine was pushed in too far, and was not serving to locate the transmission relative to the engine as intended.

I put in two somewhat longer dowel pins, and made sure they were only pushed in so far, replaced the transmission, and that same transmission is is still in the car over 100k later. So, my conclusion is that when assembled with the transmission input shaft and crankshaft not being properly in line with each other, tremendous side load was put on the input bushing.

I theorize that something similar is wrong with your ProMaster that is putting unusual stress on your flex-plate. If it were simply an issue of a bad design, others would be reporting this problem.

I suggest to get a district service manager to look at it when the technician has it apart again. Maybe he can see something that is being overlooked. Also, maybe you can get a lemon-law buy-back. It sucks that you have to deal with; ultimately, Chrysler/RAM should make you whole somehow.
 

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I've been very keen on your plight as well, just in case it is a design flaw.

So I did a little digging. Yes, it's true that the minivan had a common problem (pattern failure) with cracked flex plates. I only put about 10 minutes into researching it, but it seemed most common on 3.3 V6 vans from 2000-2003 or so. The problem was caused by an under-speced flywheel thickness. Once the problem was common, Chysler issued an uprated replacement flex plate, as did the aftermarket, and the problem went away.

One important thing is that the engine will still run and drive with a cracked flex plate. I've seen this personally. It will make a rattling noise like it's thrown a rod, but it will drive okay. From what I found, many people reported that the engine would throw codes because this knocking sound would actually confuse the cam position sensors or crank sensor. That's what made the problem even worse; it's hard to diagnose correctly and super easy to just say "you've got a bad rod/valve/cam lobe/chain link/ring so let's just junk it."

As I say, this happened to me personally on a 60s vehicle, and I know cracked flex plates was also a pattern failure on late 90s Chevy S10s and Blazers.

But what I also know is the pentastar is a very different engine than the minivan engines this happened too, and the trans isn't exactly the same either. So I searched to see if this was a problem on Jeeps since they have the Pentastar post 2011. Turns out Jeeps had a problem with it….in the late 80s. It's not a pattern failure on any Chrysler product (that I can find) with this engine, and that includes every Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep made since 2011 (except the Dart if you want to be picky).

Conclusions: this has happened to you twice now at suspiciously regular mileage intervals. Every 20k tells me the flex plate isn't the problem, it's the symptom. As an expediter (like me) you are driving under almost ideal conditions for this NOT to happen. 12 hour a day of lightly loaded highway is super-light duty on the drivetrain. So it isn't you, it's something else.

I'd also say you have an ideal buy-back/lemon law case. The first flex plate was under warranty I assume, which means the second is also, and you are under the 50k power train warranty anyway. If the dealer is dragging his feet, don't hesitate to call corporate or call a lawyer. You'll win either way. A smarmy lawyer will threaten to sue them for lost work money, and they'll cave immediately.

What were the exact symptoms of the problem, what exactly did the work order say the did the first time, and how did they make the same diagnosis this time?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for reply. The first plate was so bad it came out in two pieces. The center was completely broke out. The noise this time is the same as before. I'm going to call Chrysler in the morning and get another case number on it. I've had two case numbers already. The warranty on the power tran is 100,000 so I'm covered but not covered for down time. They did make a van payment last time but I was out of town. I think theyll make the same offer this time as well but it's not going to cut it this time. I think the crank is not true but then again the bell hosing may not be either. I'm going to push hard for them too change the trans and torque converter. If it breaks again that leaves the crank. I'm hoping the dealer gets it in Tuesday but he said probably wed or thur. Chrysler will speed that up a little. Funny thing is I bought this untested van because it had a tested and true power tran.
 

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You should push for a completely new engine/transaxle assembly. As someone else pointed out, it's not the flex plate that's the problem, that's ony the result of another more serious problem and they (you) will most likely be replacing them on a regular basis unless they can cure the real problem. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dealer called this am and said it was a bad repair from the first dealer. Saying the flex plate was not broke or cracked. The bolts are loose causing the noise. They did not however have the flex plate out yet but are confident that it will not occur again. they are replacing the bolts and the flex. I called Chrysler and they offered free oil changes for the next two years BS!. I'm going to want to see the flex plate when I pick it up but somehow I'm very sure it will have been shipped back already. Now I have to go up the chain I guess and see what I can get done about the down time. It's really no wonder why Chrysler cannot get in the top 3. Depending how you look at it Chevy and Ford are the top two or Ford and Chevy depending on world market but Chrysler is so far under both they'll never catch up. Toyota has a far bigger market than Chrysler. Sad really and I have no one to balme but me for putting my trust in a company thats been bankrupt twice. Won't happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Picked up the van Friday. The flex plate was cracked but the dealer says it was do to the bolts coming loose. Time will tell.
 

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I just got a call on my van today. I took it in last Monday 12/15/15. They finally looked at it on Friday 12/18/15 and thought it was a transmission issue but weren't sure and let me know that the specialist guy (either transmission or promaster specialist, I don't remember which they said) would be in on Monday. Today (Tuesday) they called to tell me it was the flex plate. History on my van - I bought it used from the dealership which used it for their parts department. It had 29k miles on it when I bought it. It now has 43K miles on it.

I found another thread on here where someone mentioned issues with their flex plate at 9k miles - their description of the problem is nearly identical to what I experienced - see post 4

http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27018
 

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I got my van back after having the flex plate fixed and still noticed a slight rattling coming from under the hood. Took it back in and they tell me I've got a bad transmission mount. Just curious of other peoples thoughts on relationship of those two issues. It's now been in the shop for 17 days just to get the transmission mount fixed which is a whole other story I don't feel like getting into.
 

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Sorry for the necro post, but I imagine there are still people having this problem. Mine has had the flex plate replaced 3 times, and it only has 42k miles on it. The last time the shop also replaced the transmission. One thing I noticed was that the old torque converter seemed like it was too high of a stall, so when taking off from lights it liked to rev up then snap, which was why I went through the original tires in 30k miles, and I wonder if it may have overstressed the stock flex plate. The new one engages much smoother at lower rpms. The shop thinks there was some misalignment or manufacturing defect in the bell housing bolt pattern, that caused the transmission to be out of alignment. Either way, it's been about 9k miles since it was replaced and so far it seems to be ok, knock on wood.
 

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How has it held up?

Picked up the van Friday. The flex plate was cracked but the dealer says it was do to the bolts coming loose. Time will tell.
Hi Pro3500 I think I've had a second flex plate going bad on my 3500. I will take it to an entirely different dealer. I will mention the bolts. How has yours held up since this most recent flex plate change? Thanks!
 
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