Having Problems With Your A604 Automatic Transmission? You’re Not Alone!
Posted by Regis on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Chrysler Corporation first came out with the A604 transmission in the 1989 Dodge Voyagers and it is still made to this day. It is also referred to as the 41TE or the Ultradrive. The A604 is a 4 speed automatic transmission that, while revolutionary for it time, was plagued with problems.
It was one of the first automatic transmissions that were electronically controlled. It was also one of the first transmissions that used adaptive shifting. Adaptive shifting is the process where the transmission “learns” how you drive and adapts its shift specs based on what the computer thinks is best for your type of driving. Adaptive shifting is now widely used in almost all newer automatic transmissions.
Among the many problems that affected the A604, the issue of going into limp-home mode was probably the most annoying. When the computer sensed a faulty reading from the different sensors it was connected to it would put the transmission in a second gear-only mode. This gave the owner the ability to still drive it to a service shop for repairs without risking more damage. Many times there was no problem with the transmission, but with the computer or sensors.
Another wide spread problem has to do with the wording on what type of transmission fluid to use in the transmission. The transmission was designed to use Type 7176 fluid, but owner’s manual stated that use of Dexron fluid could be used as a substitute. It has been shown that use of the Dexron fluid leads to many transmission failures. In some cases, the problems that the Dexron fluid caused were reversible by switching back to the correct fluid.
Over the years Chrysler has made many changed and upgrades to the A604. The newest of the A604 transmissions are very different from the first ones produced.
After many complaints from consumers, the US Center For Auto Safety, and others, Chrysler made the unprecedented move of waiving the $100 warranty deductible. They also agreed to buy back any car equipped with the A604 that could not be fixed easily. In the end Chrysler tried to make things right by going out of their way to locate owners of the A604 equipped vehicles and notify them of the issues and offered to fix them. It was a noble attempt by Chrysler but by then the reputation of the A604 transmission had been sealed.
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