It’s funny you mention it, I just had and solved this problem on one of my vans this weekend. I will give you a condensed version.
It is unlikely to be the fluid or filter. Too few miles. Unless you have a leak and it’s low, or someone put the wrong fluid in recently.
The fix will be a new solenoid pack, which is like 70% of everything the trans is and does. The pack does all the shifting, all the electronics, among other things. I had one fail at 280k, and another fail last week on a different van at 420k miles.
The good news is that the pack is about $225, and I was able to change it myself in a couple hours.
Here’s where it gets tricky. If you go to a dealer (dont!) they will first misdiagnose it, and then attempt to sell you a new trans for $6000.
If you go to a tranny shop they will also attempt to sell you a $3000 rebuild. That’s what they do, after all.
Watch the whole video. It’s not so difficult.
I just noticed the recently bought part of your post. Using wrong fluid can definitly cause that. Use ONLY atf+4 that carries ms-9602. O’reily’s has it, autozone doesnt, walmart does. You’ll need 6-8 qts.
that solenoid pack repair seems pretty beyond what i'm willing to diy. so, question becomes: do i just tow it to another shop and ask 'em to replace the fluid, filter and check on the solenoid pack? otherwise, if i just tell 'em it's a trans issue they're more likely to try and soak me for a full trans replacement?
I guess the best thing is to just find an independant shop that you trust. Explain that you can tow it to him (I assume it’s in limp mode, 2nd gear only, and the light is on), he will read the codes. Explain to him that everything that can cause the codes is in the solenoid pack, and to look up labor for that. If he’s any good, he’ll remember “oh yeah. I did a hundred of these back in the 2000s on 41te fwd chryslers and 62te minivans.” Then he will quote you a total price, which should be under or near $1000 all in.
Not the best news, but a lot better than a whole new transmission and labor to put it in.
yeah, i took it to the dealer since they'd replaced a couple of factory recall issues back in october. they claim it's current issue (switching itself from drive to neutral) is unrelated though I'm pretty skeptical since it's the exact symptom of the sensor cluster recall:
hopefully i can get a more honest take from the trans shop i just had it towed to. i've already shelled out over $350 just towing the thing around. i wonder if it'd be worth lawyering up.
towed it to another trans shop. let 'em know about the recall circumstances. they too claim it's an internal to the trans issue. yadda yadda trouble shifting, metal shavings in the fluid. they wanna replace for $4500 w/ a remanufactured trans. they say it's as good as new (which they'd have trouble sourcing) and arguably better since it's been updated. anyone know more about remanufactured transmissions?
If this is solely about money, you’re in a tricky spot. A lightly used junkyard trans is $2500 and $1000 or so to install it (maybe less). So dude’s estimate for installing a rebuilt is actually fairly reasonable.
I maintain what I said about the solenoid pack above.
Helpful advice might be to ask how dude knows there’s metal in the pan, unless he’s removed the pan. Has he, in fact, removed the pan?