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Thread: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

  1. #1
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    90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    As the title says 1990 chrysler lebaron 3.0 v6 with 4 speed auto transmission.

    Worked fine up until Friday evening coming home from work (20 mile drive), Both highway and regular city streets. Came off the highway and was doing about 35 - 40 and then trans started surging as it came up to where it should shift into overdrive.

    pulled the battery cable and tried to reset the computer that way and still same problem. bought new input and output speed sensors for the trans and had the battery out while changing those. Still same issue. 1-2-3 shift fine, just when the overdrive is supposed to go, it bumps three times and then stays in third.

    The only thing done on Friday was that I had the ac charged with freon. The trans fluid has been changed by me as well as the filter and yes I used the correct synthetic fluid.

    Looking for suggestions and will be happy to answer any questions.

    Jim

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    You said you used the correctly fluid... ATF +4?

    You sure it is going into 3rd and not 2nd? It *should* be going into limp mode, which is 2nd.

    It could be as simple as the solenoid pack being bad. Could be as bad as the snap ring broke and it needs a rebuild. Try to get it to a transmission shop and have them scan it, too.

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    Quote Originally Posted by Reaper1 View Post
    You said you used the correctly fluid... ATF +4?

    You sure it is going into 3rd and not 2nd? It *should* be going into limp mode, which is 2nd.

    It could be as simple as the solenoid pack being bad. Could be as bad as the snap ring broke and it needs a rebuild. Try to get it to a transmission shop and have them scan it, too.

    Yes I did use the ATF + 4. The trans shop I took it to said the overdrive clutches were at 120 or so. Basically they were past the tolerance level. I'm not sure where they should be but they aren't where they need to be. Any ideas other than the $2000.00 rebuild. I'm not sure it's worth it to sink that in this case.

    its unfortunate because the rest of the car is in pretty good shape.

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    Quote Originally Posted by jimfj View Post
    Yes I did use the ATF + 4. The trans shop I took it to said the overdrive clutches were at 120 or so. Basically they were past the tolerance level. I'm not sure where they should be but they aren't where they need to be. Any ideas other than the $2000.00 rebuild. I'm not sure it's worth it to sink that in this case.

    its unfortunate because the rest of the car is in pretty good shape.
    If the clutches are worn out, then the only choice is a rebuild or replace the unit with a rebuilt unit. That's an early transmission and if it's never been rebuilt, it needs a number of upgrades. Once it's done, it will last a LONG time.

    The other choices are, A670 3-speed swap, or a 5-speed manual swap if you don't want to junk the car or let it go for a fraction of what it's really worth. Unfortunately with a bad transmission, it's not worth much.

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    Quote Originally Posted by Reaper1 View Post
    If the clutches are worn out, then the only choice is a rebuild or replace the unit with a rebuilt unit. That's an early transmission and if it's never been rebuilt, it needs a number of upgrades. Once it's done, it will last a LONG time.

    The other choices are, A670 3-speed swap, or a 5-speed manual swap if you don't want to junk the car or let it go for a fraction of what it's really worth. Unfortunately with a bad transmission, it's not worth much.

    Thanks for the reply, I have never had any indication that it wouldn't go into overdrive before. Is this just a "it happens one day" thing normally or is the norm you would feel slipping or some other clue that these were going bad? Just seems to have happened very quickly. So to that end, I'm struggling with throwing $2000.00 at at rebuild and then wondering what the next problem may be? We like the car but there is the feeling of throwing good money after bad going on. I'm guessing that maybe the car would be worth $3000.00 to $3500.00 with the rebuilt transmission. Am I in the ball park?

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    Failure can be sudden but normally there will be a fair amount of warning before things let go.

    Without knowing the history of the unit anything we suggest here is throwing darts into a black hole. Anything could be possible but I would think highly unlikely that the transmission is all original from 1990 and has never been opened up. It may still have many of the original crap parts inside though.

    The first 2-3 years of the 4 speed those things had so many failures. A mixture of hard part failures mostly in the input drum assembly that resulted in many rolling changes and as later figured out a very high majority of the actual 'clutch failures' were a result of sloppy assembly line practices. Clutch clearance tolerances in this transmission are critical. Clutch volume index values are important and provide insight but I would not put everything into what they are reading at any one given time. Periodically taking a reading and averaging the values out over a period of time provides a more meaningful health diagnostic of where things stand.

    If the car is exceptionally clean, engine runs well, no smoke show or leaking from every gasket/seal, no rust crunch underneath, paint is all there, interior is intact and not all sun burned out. With a fresh transmission you might see $2500-3k if there is an actual written warranty on the transmission that meaningfully covers it. Value is a hard thing to place on these cars, they were cheap economy cruisers when new. Repairs really do not add any value because of the age and odometer mileage most of them have by now.

    When you go from park to R or D and vice versa does the solenoid make a nice solid buzzz-tick sound ? You should easily be able to hear it over the engine running. Going down the rat hole of $$$ chasing 'could be's' but a solenoid pack is around $100 via Rockauto and rather easily changed on the 604/41TE since it is right on the front and externally mounted.
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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    The buzz tick isn't every time. It is probably the last think i'm going to try. I ordered one from rock auto and will give it a shot. It seems that it sounds that way more so when the fluid is cold. After the car warms up it isn't as loud. I changed the fluid and filter during the past winter because there was a shudder from 1st to second. Best way to describe that because it wasn't really a slip.

    The car isn't perfect but its not in any way a beater. I will try and get a few pictures so maybe someone that knows more than I can weigh in.
    Last edited by jimfj; 06-23-2021 at 03:38 PM. Reason: more info

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    Re: 90 chrysler lebaron 3.0 wont go into overdive

    The shudder was a well known issue for the early transmissions and was addressed using a combination of hard parts inside and TCM tuning. Depending on the TCM, it *might* be able to be flashed, BUT you have to find a dealer that can/will still do it!

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