Dodge Omni/Horizon/Rampage 1978-1989 Repair Guide

Automatic Transaxle Differential



On 1978-82 models, the automatic transaxle and differential are contained in the same housing, but the units are sealed from each other. The 1983 and later automatic transaxles are filled as one unit. The transaxle does not have a conventional filler tube, but is filled through a die-cast opening in the case.

The filler hole is plugged during operation by the transaxle dipstick.

The fluid level should be checked every 6 months when the engine and transaxle fluid are warmed to normal operating temperature.

  1. Position the car on a level surface.
  3. Idle the engine and engage the parking brake.
  5. Shift the lever through each gear momentarily and return the lever to PARK.
  7. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean.
  9. Reinsert the dipstick and remove it again. The level should be between the ADD and FULL marks on the dipstick. If necessary, add DEXRON®II or it's superseding type automatic transaxle fluid. Do not overfill.

While you are checking the fluid level, check the condition of the fluid. The condition of the fluid will often reveal potential problems.

If the fluid level is consistently low, suspect a leak. The easiest way is to slip a piece of clean newspaper under the car overnight, but this is not always an accurate indication, since some leaks will occur only when the transaxle is operating.

Other leaks can be located by driving the car. Wipe the underside of the transaxle clean and drive the car for several miles/kilometers to bring the fluid temperature to normal. Stop the car, shut off the engine and look for leakage, but remember, that where the fluid is located may not be the source of the leak. Airflow around the transaxle while the car is moving may carry the fluid to other parts of the car.