Transmission troubles with the A604 “Ultradrive” transmission were traced to faultily-marked dipsticks and misprinted owners’ and service manuals directing people that they could use common Dexron OR the then-new “7176/+3” fluid.
What Chrysler meant to convey is that small quantitiesof Dexron (1qt. or less) wouldn’t hurt anything and were preferable to running the transmission low on
fluid. Apparently, there was a shortage of the 7176/+3 fluid in quart bottles in those early years of the A604.
Instead, the dipstick said simply “use either” and vaguely-worded manuals gave the impression that the cheaper and more readily available Dexron and 7176/+3 were pretty much interchangeable–which they weren’t. Even dealers did whole replacements of fluid with the wrong fluid–with disastrous results.
Some early 604 transmission “brain boxes” were responsible for erratic shifting,too.
The older -design 3-speed TorqueFlites are as reliable as the famous RWD versions built since the 1950s and have analog controls.
I’ve had seepages of engine oil out both front and rear seals of both 4 and V-6 engines on Chryslers,and early 4-cylinder models had “soft” motor mounts that allowed the engine to rock too much on acceleration/deceleration and rip AC hoses in the process, but generally Chryslers just need timely periodic maintenance and they’re good for 150K+ miles–no sweat. These comments apply to Chrysler engines only as I have no experience with the 3.0-litre and 2.6 litre Mitsu engines.
Hondas and Toyotas recommend premium fuel–a decided disadvantage-- and both also have you drag the spare tire out of a well in the midst of the passenger compartment rather than slinging the spare outdoors beneath the rear floor.
Honda engines also are of the “interference” type, meaning that if your timing belt breaks, the valves left open when it does will interfere with the travel of their associated pistons–a very costly “ouch”.
Japanese parts are ridiculously overpriced and more parts are dealer-exclusive on Japanese makes than on American makes, meaning you can’t try to beat the dealer down at O’Reilly, Kragen, or NAPA.
You can’t get short-wheelbase or 4-cylinder vans from the Japanese, Ford or GM.
These other manufacturers have aimed at the middle and higher ends of the market that Chrysler pioneered. Only Chrysler has vans from loss-leaders at about $16 K on up. Everybody else starts in the $22K range.
Chryslers don’t seem to rust very easily and the seats, though damned heavy and awkward to remove, are upholstered in heavy, durable fabrics.
I don’t know who Phil Edmonston is, but he sounds like he’s been regurgitating the same “Japanese wonderful/US evil” Consumer Reports garbage. I’ve had enough good fortune with enough cars “not recommended” by Consumer Reports
that I take a non-recommendation as an invitation to try out another underrated underpriced vehicle that’ll give me a good100-150K miles above what the last guy(s) got.
I’ve had no “brake problems” or “body problems galore”.No AC problems other than the hose problem caused by the early-design motor mounts ( not actually a "system failure " of the AC itself but collateral damage)in 300K+aggregate miles put on 2 Voyagers and a Caravan–all bought used. What are Phil’s credentials on the subject of Chryslers? does he even drive/own/work on cars or is he another geek with a computer who collates unsubstantiated crap he’s gleaned from the far corners of the Web?