Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems



  • cmyawncmyawn Posts: 36
    I have a 2001 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 with the 4.7L V-8. Typically when I start the truck, even in warm weather, for the first couple of hundred yards the automatic transmission seems to slip a bit. The engine has a loud roaring sound as it revs without the tranny doing much. After a couple of hundred yards it seels like the tranny "catches up" with the engine and everything runs fine after that.

    The truck only has 52,000 miles.

    Any ideas?
  • jt8manjt8man Posts: 5
    Took the truck to the tranny shop, no codes came up, dropped the pan and found one of the bands worn out, rebuilt the tranny, put a shift kit and it is just fine now. also found worn clutch plates and broken spring of some kind. Oh well, I guess it was crying out for help.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    You have a 545RFE transmission. These are typically rugged and trouble free, so this is kind of unusual:

    *Low fluid level

    * Fluid level too high

    *Defective or clogged transmission cooler return filter; clogged cooler or transmission cooling lines;low hydraulic pressure.

    NOTE: Some Cooler Return Filters were defective for a period of time. Symptoms generally manifest themselves as slow initial gear engagement from park, or over engine revving (flair) on shifts.

    *Defective Throttle Position Sensor.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,081
    If you had used the SEARCH function in the Dakota forums, you would not have even had to ask that question. (NOT the search at the bottom of this page!)

    Yours is a very common misconception... the xmission is NOT the issue at all. Instead, the sound you hear is the belt-driven fan. Under some ambient tempartures, the silicone-clutch on the fan will make the fan "roar" for 2-5 minutes when you first start a cold engine. After awhile, the silicone will 'loosen up' and allow the fan to freewheel as it is suppsed to. The "roar" goes away at that point.

    Even my MANUAL xmission 4.7L semi-hemi will make that "roaring" sound under the right conditions... I KNOW that my xmission is not the problem.

    This "roar" sound is a VERY common complaint especially after a summer of not hearing it and the mornings start to be about 40F. (40F is the temp where the "roar" seems to happen the most.)

    Try this, the next time you start the engine cold, gently rev the engine.... you will hear that "roaring" sound even when the xmssion is in Park. This proves the "roaring" is not the xmission at all.

    Another way you can tell it is not the xmission is to look at your Tachometer... it will not show you any unusually high RPMs when the "roaring" is happening.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Bpeebles, good work.

    After re-reading the original post, I have to conclude that your diagnosis is probably correct. Unfortunately, I was reacting to the poster's conclusion, and not the symptom. I should've known. I haven't seen a bad 545RFE yet!

    How are the temps up there? Last week I had a 2 degree reading on my thermometer at about 5:00 AM one morning. Coldest day so far. How about you?

  • dursdurs Posts: 1
    Evening All,

    I have a 2001 Dakota Quad Cab w/202k miles on it. When traveling down the thruway the RPM's surg from the normal 2000 up to approx. 24-27000 and then settle back into the normal range. This seems to occur more often when the road is bumpy (I know how silly that sounds, I typed it), and less often when I am going up an incline. At it's worse, this occurs every 20-30 seconds, then it won't happen for 1/2 an hour.
    I bought the truck new, and have always let Dorshel work on it and do what they recommend, up until 2 years ago. Then I went to work 40 miles East and have had it serviced by a local garage when it acted up (brakes, inspections,ect). I have had NO tranny problems, the fluid is not burnt smelling and is in the normal range, and even still has that red color to it. I travel 30,000+ miles /year, mostly highway, and would really like to get another year or two out of this w/o a major expense.
    Any suggestions as to what might be wrong?? I have been told by several folks to bring it someplace now, before it breaks, or it will be much more expensive....but these same people say it could run as is for another 20-25,000 miles. Is there a reasonable service I could get done that would buy me some time??


  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,081
    Hi Dusty, We had -20F at my house... -42Fwas seen north of me.

    My 2000 Dak with 4.7L semi-hemi still starts at those temps USING THE ORIGINAL BATTERY which was installed in September 1999. (That is when I bought by Dak. freshly orderd from the factory.)
  • morganvmorganv Posts: 49
    My daughters boyfriend has a 99 dakota with 170k miles on it. recently the transmission started to not shift sometimes and wanted to start out in 2nd gear sometimes. it seemed worst in cold weather. we took it to shop #1 and they test drove it. when they came back they said the trans needed a complete rebuild around $2500. they said dodge tranies were junk. my husband decided to get another opinion and shop 2 pulled the trans pan off, looked inside and said it needed to come apart. they said it could cost anywhere from 1800 to 3000 (ouch. my husband went to shop 3 where the guy pluged in the diagnostic tool and said it probably needed a new torque converter and some other stuff. he did say that hed do a flush, that dodges "get really dirty sometimes" and if that didn't cure the problem he'd credit us the flush. we were discussing this at home the next day and look at all of the posts in here. my husband is mechanically incline so he started checking things out himself. they found that the "lever on the side of the trans" seemed stuck in one position. and when they touched it it moved back on its own. my husband things its the thing dusty calls the "throttle position valve". after fiddling with it for a while they test drove it and the trans shifted perfectly for 5 days, then started doing it again. they looked at the "lever" again and found it was stuck again. now they think the cable going to the lever is the problem but anyway it sure doesnt need a rebuilt trans, thats for sure! anyway it pays to check things out on your own. thanks dusty for all the info!!!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Which engine do you have?

    Have you ever serviced the transmission?

    Are you in the Rochester, New York area?

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931

    It sounds like you've discovered the item Chrysler refers to as the Throttle Valve, or sometimes the Throttle Position Valve used on A, RE, RH, and T-series transmissions. RFE series do not have this valve. The internal Throttle Valve is moved by a lever on the outside of the transmission case. The Throttle Valve controls shift speed, shift quality, part-throttle shift sensitivity, and is highly critical to transmission operation. If the transmission throttle valve is not working correctly or is out of adjustment, early shifts, long (delayed) shifts, no shift (usually 2-3 or 3-4), flair (slippage between shifts), or over sensitive downshifts may occur.

    The transmission throttle valve basically controls hydraulic pressure to the Kickdown Valve, Regulator Valve, and the 1-2 and 2-3 Shift Control Valves in the transmission valve body. Transmission Throttle Valve operation is controlled by the position of the Throttle linkage at the engine Throttlebody via a cable. The adjustment is made at the engine end of the cable.

    Unfortunately for Mopar owners, irratic operation of this particular part in the transmission is probably responsible for 20-40% of unnecessary rebuilds on Mopar trannies. Sometimes the the lever shaft that goes through the transmission case to operate the internal throttle valve becomes sticky or gets bound. Older transmissions had a small return spring mounted to this lever and a bracket on the side of the transmission case. I've seen these springs missing completely because they broke from fatigue or rusted.

    The cable that operates the transmission throttle valve sometimes gets kinked or damaged, but more often gets moisture inside of it that causes it to rust, or stick in cold weather. If a Mopar tranny starts to develop trouble on cold occasions, this is a very likely suspect. Problems with the linkage at the throttlebody is often a problem, too. Throttle linkage should be solvent clean, completely dry and never lubricated.

    It sounds like you have found a common cause to a common symptom. However, I would still recommend that this transmission get some maintenance once you get this fixed. At that mileage, I'd check the band adjustment as well. Also, I'm sure you know, but you should only use ATF+3 or ATF+4. Never use Dexron-Mercon, even with an auxiliary friction modifier!!!!

    Good luck,
  • dusty. looks lke we resolved the transmision issue. the boys replaced the cable going to the transmission and a spring and they removed the pan and changed the filter. my husband said the inside was heavy coated with gunk and he was very concerned about the condition of the transmission. he said there was a lot of gray silty goop.he decided to pull the transmission lines off and found they were packed with this gray stuff also the tank inside the radiator was full of it to, they cleaned out everything and replaced the antidrain back valve. my daughters boyfriend bought this truck when it had 9000 miles on it and now it has 171,000 miles and hes never done anything to the transmission. for that matter he said he hasn't done much to the engine either. so far the tranmission shifts like new for the last 2 weeks, even in the subzero temps. my hsband wants to know what the prognois is will this last for a while? my daughters boyfriend is not working right now and can't affford a transmission jon right now. Advice???????????? Thanks for your help1
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Well, its hard to say. If there's no indication of slipping between shifts (flair) and no other problems, you could be okay. I have to say your cleaning the cooling lines and radiator cooler, and I assume the pan, was a good decision. Based on your description it doesn't sound like you flushed the entire system and replenished it with fresh fluid.

    If so, there's still a lot of grud in the system because the remaining ATF is contaminated. I would recommend a complete system flush, or at least do a repeat of filter change every few thousand miles for at least three times, more if you have the patience. At that mileage the old fluid is probably oxidized and contains a lot of moisture, besides solid particles.

    If the silty stuff you saw was gray in color, that's friction material that has worn off the clutches. It is normal to see an amount of this material when a pan is removed. However, it sounds like you transmission had quite a bit, probably because the fluid had never been changed and the fluid had degraded friction modifier component. Usually when trannies get this dirty it clogs the valve body and causes all kinds of other problems. This is definitely not a candidate for a force flush.

    Hard to say what the prognosis is. Keep us posted.

    Best regards,
  • Dusty. well theyve driven driven the dakota around for better than a week and things seem fine. my husband says they're going to pull the pan down in another week about 300 more miles, and see how things are doing. since my daughter's boyfriend now has a job hes wondering what he can do to make sure this transmission will last as long as it there something we can use to flush out the transmision? Also the engine hes says it doesnt' use ant oil but it runs rough when its cold. the spark plugs were replaced about 4 years ago. sounds like this truck has not received much attention. thanks again for your help1 Morgan
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    The problem with solvents or chemical additives to cleanse the transmission is that there is a huge potential that the solvent will work too well, loosening excessive amounts of material that can clog servos and passages in the shift body. When high mileage trannies get very dirty from lack of maintenance, I would recommend a displacement or bladder flush. This process uses the pumping pressure of the transmission itself to "displace" ATF stored in a rubber reservoir, thus allowing a relatively low pressure flush.

    ATF+3 contains detergents that will scrub out material, and a suspension catalyst that will hold and carry the unwanted material out when drained or flushed. ATF+4 actually has an improved detergent and catalyst package that does an even better job. The detergents in ATF+ will act upon dirt much more slowly than a force flush and prevent huge amounts of material from flooding the system all at once.

    Unfortunately, this means that dirt in an elevated dirt environment will be present for a much longer duration, requiring more frequent and shortened filter and fluid change intervals. The best way to avoid problems is regular, scheduled maintenance. Despite a reputation that is not correctly deserved, I've seen hundreds of Mopar trannies 150,000 miles and more without repair or rebuild that had routine maintenance. And by the way, this goes for other makers transmissions, too. The majority of transmissions that develop a problem or fail are due to lack of maintenance.

    As far as engine performance, submit another post in the engine or other area and we can comment there.

    Best regards,
  • theres a metal gasket under the intake manifold thats goes bad, i would start there, mine cost around 650 to get replaced.
  • im stumped, and i dont know where to turn and i need help, my tranny is bout to go its slipping really bad and shifting hard, and fluid is really gritty too, i would like a manuel tranny but dont know what kind will work, i dont want to rebuil the automatic either, i have a dakota r/t with the 5.9 360 please i need help im stumped!!!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,081
    Just to be specific... the ol' 1960s-based "LA" small-block V8s (318CI and 360CI) would fail in such a way that the intake-manifold gasket would leak and "suck oil" into the intake.

    It is usually easy to see if your engine has this issue by looking down thru the throttlebody into the intake plenum. (use a flashlight) If you see oil "puddles" in that area... you have the problem described above by (extremustang).

    Unfortunately, the labor to replace the $8 gasket is over $600 because the entire top of the engine must be dismantled.
  • Ok here it is, first it was not wanting to go from 2nd into 3rd once it was warmed up. It shifted fine when it was still cold. Then reverse started making wierd noise and not having any power like it is slipping bad. I changed the filter and fluid with the correct fluid. Now it shifts right through pretty good in forward gears but reverse is getting worse by the day. What do I do or try next? I don't have money to throw away and the truck was cheap to start with. Also if this has 1st, 2nd and drive why does it sound like it shifts 5 times when going down the road just easy cruzing along.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    A New mean, New Venture NV3500 is the manual transmission used in a Dakota. Finding one shouldn't be a problem and the tranny will fit right up. But I'm not sure about driveshaft lengths, the PCM is much different and so is the electrical wiring. You'll need to hang a clutch pedal and I think you'll find a plethora of small little things that are different enough to possibly frustrate you.

    Rebuilding a 46RH or 46RE is not a big deal. If you properly maintain an automatic you shouldn't have problems with it, even at high mileage.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931

    Your hearing five events because there are five events in a normal shift sequence. Dodge truck transmissions of that vintage (either 42RH/RE or 46RH/RE) are four speed automatics. The fifth event you are hearing is the torque converter locking. At very light acceleration the torque converter should lock around 42 MPH.

    Unfortunately, I fear that your filter and fluid change came too late. While it appears to have fixed the shifting problem going forward, you might have a worn Direct Clutch, a bad Overdrive Thrust Bearing, or a broken Direct Clutch Spring.

    A loose Rear Band will cause slipping, but they generally don't make any weird noises.

    Can you describe what kind of debris you found in the pan when you changed the filter? How many miles on the vehicle? What engine?

Sign In or Register to comment.