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Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems

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  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,083
    On a related note... when I was going over the sales-broschure considering which options to order on my Dakota.... I decided AGAINST the automatic for several reasons

    1) It was over $800 added cost.
    2) It *requires* frequent PM (Preventive Maintenance) such as fluid-changes and filter changes.
    3) Significantly more complexatly and risk of failures.
    4) Lower MPG.

    Before ordering my Dak, I also went down to the service-area and asked about the COST of the frequent automatic xmission PMs. It became obvious to me that ordering the automatic xmission was not cost-effective over the life of the vehicle.

    Instead, I opted for the manual xmission which was zero added cost the the purchase-price. Over 95Kmiles, I have changed the fluid ONE TIME... and that was solely to 'upgrade' to RedLine synthetic which made the xmission shift like butter and never need another lube-change again.

    BOTTOM LINE: Unless you have some kind of physical impediment which keeps you from using a clutch.... a manual xmission is a MUCH better choice.

    The Manual xmission coupled with track-loc rear end, 4X4 and Semi-hemi V8 makes for a MEAN truck. I like the fact that I can "light up" both rear tires with my big toe. :shades:
  • rresarresa Posts: 4
    I have a 2001 Dodge Dakota (4.7L 4x4 w/ 545RFE) with 70K miles that I've owned since it was new. I routinely drive short distances to work (11 miles each way). On my last few "long" trips, I have encountered a recurring issue. After driving approximately 60 to 65 miles at freeway speeds, the transmission began to shift from overdrive to drive then back to overdrive, repeating continuously back and forth. This continues and the shifts get harder (larger fluctuations in the RPM gauge) as you continue. I stopped, let the vehicle rest for 20 minutes and started again. After another 20 minutes, the same thing happened again.

    Could this a simple TPS issue or could this be a more serious mechanical issue, such as a torque converter or solenoid. Also, when the vehicle is started in cold weather (less than 30 degrees), it won't shift into OD until the engine is warm. Don't know if the two issues are related or not. The fluid is full and clean, with no "burnt" smell.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    I would recommend a rebuild by a qualified and Mopar friendly technician. Off the shelf rebuilds often have an initial mortality if it's not a quality product. A rebuilder must make it right before they deliver the vehicle to you. If you buy one out-of-the-box and there's something wrong, you'll be the one saddled with taking back out and dealing with a delay.

    Another advantage of having a good rebuilder recondition your existing transmission, is you can do a number of upgrades to enhance durability and long term reliability. Dodge truck trannies are easy to work on and upgrade to stronger planetary gear sets that use more pinions, more and stronger clutch and steel sets, and even high performance valve body revisions, among other enhancements. These are very easy to upgrade this way. You can go as far as making a 46RE equivalent to a 48RE in terms of strength and durability if you want to.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    On a 545RFE, shifts to fifth gear are prevented until the automatic transmission fluid reaches 36 degrees F. Torque converter lock-up will not occur until the ATF reaches 80 degrees F.

    Have you replaced the battery recently? If this is the original battery it may be causing intermittent loss of PCM or TCM memory keep alive. You might need to reflash the PCM. In fact, since your 2001 was manufacturered, there have a few transmission flash updates issued.

    An open IOD fuse in the fuse panel (on the instrument panel) will cause irratic shifting problems.

    And, yes, a defective Throttle Position Sensor can and will cause irratic shifting issues as well. In fact, this is a fairly common problem on older Daks.

    Lastly, if you haven't done so yet, I would recommend that the transmission filters be changed. A partially clogged Cooler Return Filter may cause pressure loss after being driven for a while.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • hello all,,after reading thru all the dakota posts i'm going on a checkout mission before i tackle a change,,i have a 93 dakota extenda cab 4x4 withe a 3.9 auto,,it's been what seem like a slip shifting from2-3,,this started about 2 months ago and seems to be getting worse,,so i just took another trans outa a 93 dakota that had a 5.2 lt motor and have been told that it will work..but after reading all the post on problems i'm reluctant to get started,,alot of issues on these boards seem to deal with tps sensor and the throttle lever and spring and cableso now i'm gonna do some checking and see if one of these may have been causing my problems all along,,i do remember that early this summer my idle adjustment seemed to go down to the point that it would not idle and keep running at a stop sighn,,and i'm wandering if this might have been a sign of the tps going bad?well being a do it your selfer and having 30 yrs of tinkering with vehicles under my belt i adjusted the idle screw up a little and that cured the low idle at stop problem,,i bought this truck about a year ago and it runs like a top,,and the guy i got it from said he had changed the tranny fluid before i bought it,,well around october while driving it it started to feel like it was slipping,,when i got it to my driveway it quit completly,,had to push it in the driveway,,well i thought that was it for mr tranny but deceided to drop the pan and check it out,,the filter was sooo dirty it couldn't be blown thru with compressed air ,,so i changed it and replaced the fluid with atf4 it drove great after that for about a month and started to slip again while driving it will speed up and seem to slip between the 2-3 shifts if i manually shift to 2nd then to drive it will work but not if you apply alot of pedel in drive,,but if you drive it slow it seems to shift right on it's own,,so for the last couple months i've been driving it slow and staying close to home..out my way the cost of another transmission used is about 800 bucks and just cant afford that or the price of a rebuild job,,i found the transmission i got at a good friends yard in a truck that was wrecked and got it very cheap,,so i was about to undertake the change but after reading the posts i'm wandering if it's really whats wrong? so today i'll be checking the other issues,,any more pointers to look for??thanks for all the ideas ,,and i have my fingers crossed that it may be something i just overlooked
    thanks
    bigcfi
  • rresarresa Posts: 4
    Thank-you for the replay.

    The battery was replaced (2) years ago, so that should be fine. However, it is due for a tranmission fluid change so that may be a good place to start.

    With respect to the IOD fuse, I don't see one labeled as such.

    When I checked with Autozone, they said a defective TPS would only affect the idle and would not affect the transmission in any way. However, this is contrary to what you and many others have said, so I will give that a try.

    Thank-you for the input.

    Regards
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Battery issues will cause some pretty quirky problems in Dakotas, everything from losing the time on the clock or presets in the radio, random chimes, rough idle, and irratic transmission problems.

    The IOD fuse probably isn't labeled. It isn't on my 2003, either. It is a ten ampere fuse, usually, and on later Daks it's found in cavity 18. But check all of the fuses just to be sure.

    A defective TPS can most certainly cause irratic shifts on Mopars. The person at AutoZone obviously does not know how things work.

    Good Luck and best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    A number of things can cause a 2-3 flair on a 42RE, burnt clutches, sticky servo, bands out-of-adjustment, clogged valve body, or sticking shift solenoids, just to name a few. One thing that will certainly cause this problem is the throttle linkage being out of adjustment or sticking Throttle Valve Cable or Throttle Valve Shaft (pivot on the left side of the transmission case). The operation and adjustment of this valve is critical to correct shifts. If the cable adjustment is too loose the transmission will try to shift into the next higher gear too soon causing low hydraulic pressure and subsequent slipping (flair).

    If I read your message correctly, you are contemplating replacing the transmission in your 3.9 Dakota (a 42RR or RH) with one from a 318 equiped truck. The V8 is either a A518, 44RE/RH or a 46RE/RH. I know it will bolt up, but I'm not sure about the transmission length. I advise taking a length measurement before you yank the tranny out of your truck.

    Regards,
    Dusty
  • thanks dusty,,i've read your replys on all 53 pages and know you know what your talking about,,any good way to tell which tranny i got from the 318,,it came outa a 93 dakota extendta cab 4x4 just like mine...the only numbers on the case are 067-1 in 2 places... big looks like a welded on number and a number stamped by the chrysler logo on top thats 17904 other than those number thats all i can find ,,do any of those numbers sound right?
    also the dip stick is marked use dextron II on it ,,i know i should use mopar 4 fluid right?? but did they originally use dextron 2 in these years??
    i looked at the throttle cable today and it appeared to be a couple mm out of alignment ,,also when i first checked the movement of both throttle and cable it appeared the lever on the tranny was hanging up at first mabey at 1/3 of the travel ,,after i readjusted the cable i tried it again and it didn't seem to stick anymore but still seems sluggish between 2-3 shifts unless i let of the throttle ,,the spring is in place and seems ok ,,it will manually shift 1-2-and 3 with 3 being the most sluggish,,i have changed the filter twice now and there was sludge in the pans both times but no major chunks or peices,,tommorow i'll check the tps for voltage and let ya know what i find ,,thanks for your ideas ,,i really don't want to rip this one out if it could be solved with the trans in ,,\thanks again
    bigcfi
  • hello again,,well did some more checks today,,tps voltage from computer with key in on position is 4.8,,resistance with tps off vehicle read .4closed to1.9 wide open on 2k scale..readings increased and decreased evenly thru all positions,, so i beleive the tps is working ,,i'm not sure if the numbers are within tolerances i can't find any references to spec's in my haynes manual,,
    you mentioned there may be a lenght issue in changing the 6 tranny with the 5.2 ..i measured both ... the 5.2 i can say definatly is 32"L while the one still in the truck as best i can tell is 32+1/2"L but thats an estimate and kinda tuff to get exact measurements,,the 5.2 tranny part number is PK52118311-1742-2666 and i beleive thats a 46RH part number ,,the tork converter has a sticker on it marked high stall and i've been told to do the change over i need to use my 6cyl flexplate,,correct?,,thanks in advance
    bigcfi
  • ,,well did some more checks today,,tps voltage from computer with key in on position is 4.8,,resistance with tps off vehicle read .4closed to1.9 wide open on 2k scale..readings increased and decreased evenly thru all positions,, so i beleive the tps is working ,,i'm not sure if the numbers are within tolerances i can't find any references to spec's in my haynes manual,,
    you mentioned there may be a lenght issue in changing the 6 tranny with the 5.2 ..i measured both ... the 5.2 i can say definatly is 32"L while the one still in the truck as best i can tell is 32+1/2"L but thats an estimate and kinda tuff to get exact measurements,,the 5.2 tranny part number is PK52118311-1742-2666 and i beleive thats a 46RH part number ,,the tork converter has a sticker on it marked high stall and i've been told to do the change over i need to use my 6cyl flexplate,,correct?,, also i checked the codes stored in the computer,,i had 5 codes but never had the check engine light come on,,the codes were 12,,32,,24,,15,,17,,i cleared them and drove it to see if they came back and the only 2 that came back were 12 and 32 and the slipping seemd to stop but seems to have less power and i think that could be comming from the egr code ,,will replace that before i continue with the tranny issues ,, are the tps check readings ok and within limits?
    thanks in advance
    bigcfi
  • rresarresa Posts: 4
    Dusty,

    Thank-you for the updates as they are most helpful!!!

    I found the IOD fuse and it is good, so I will start will changing the TPS then get a trans fluid changed / flushed and get a new trans filter.

    One question on the TPS, do you need to reset the PCM and if so, can this be done by disconnecting the battery for a short time or is there more involved. Thanks!
  • ndcndc Posts: 5
    My 2002 dakota sport has 105000 miles on it I have the 545RFE trans. Problem is that when excelerating once I'm at 45 mph the transmission will jerk and seems to kick out of overdrive. If I were to stop shut the truck off and restart it I will have overdrive back. It doesn't happen all the time. If I keep it out of overdrive it runs just fine. The check engine light does come on but clears itself if it doesn't happen for a while. Just change fluid/filters. Still happening.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    No, you do not need to reset the PCM after replacing the TPS. However, if after replacing the TPS things are still not right, try disconnecting the battery for two minutes and try it again. Sometimes the Transmission Control Module (TCM) will keep compensating for a TPS problem (Throttle Position Out of Range) and run the computer adaptive algorithm all the way to the end of its value. This can give you irratic or strange shift sequences.

    You will lose all Priority 0 through 4 DTC stored faults and learned shift schedule. However, all Chrysler automatic transmissions are at least semi-adaptive (all RFE versions are fully adaptive) and after some drive time will relearn.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    I could give you some ideas, but they could all be wrong. Since the CHECK ENGINE lamp has been illuminating, it is going to set a fault code in the PCM. This discussion will benefit greatly by knowing what the faults are.

    In the meantime, have you performed any transmission maintenance on this vehicle in the past?

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Late model A-series and all RE & RH series transmission have their identification markings stamped onto the edge of the transmission pan flange on the left side of the transmission case. There are three sets of numbers: the first ten digits are the part number, the second four digits are the build date, and the last set of four are serial number of the case. A-series had the model welded on the side of the case. Newer versions rely on the stamped part number. (RFEs use a white label.)

    With the exception of the Aisin-Warner Jeep tranny, never use Dexron in a Mopar truck transmission. Never. Yes, Chrysler stamped the use of Dexron on to dipsticks for a number of years, and I can tell you they are real sorry now. They did this to indicate that Dexron could be used in very small quanity to bring the transmission fluid level to specification, however this was not approved in their service manuals. But, many people thought this implied that Dexron was approved for use, and it wasn't, especially in quanties more than one quart. As we know now, one quart of Dexron added to ATF+3 will cause accelerated degradation of the fluid.

    If thje Throttle Valve pivot on the transmission is still sluggish, you may need to replace the shaft. I've seen these get corroded on older transmissions, especially those that had a high moisture content in the fluid (another reason to change fluid regulary!).

    It sounds like you were reading TPS voltage with a digital meter. The voltages are within range, but you cannot determine a rough spot on the potentiometer wiper (resistive) surface with a digital meter. Here's where an old fashioned analog VOM will do a better job. However, I gave up on checking this after I found that I thought one was good after test, but it proved to be bad anyway. Because of the age and vintage, I would suggest just replacing it. They had a higher rate of defects in those years.

    I'm not into tranny swaps, so I do not consider myself qualified to comment on the flex plate issue. However, I'm pretty sure the flex plates are different between a 42 and 46RH.

    I think I answered all of your questions.

    Good luck and best regards,
    Dusty
  • ndcndc Posts: 5
    Dusty,

    I got the truck with 70000 miles on it and I changed the fluid/filters at 105000. I just went and checked the code its reading P0700. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Nate
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    "My 2002 dakota sport has 105000 miles on it I have the 545RFE trans. Problem is that when excelerating once I'm at 45 mph the transmission will jerk and seems to kick out of overdrive. If I were to stop shut the truck off and restart it I will have overdrive back. It doesn't happen all the time. If I keep it out of overdrive it runs just fine. The check engine light does come on but clears itself if it doesn't happen for a while. Just change fluid/filters. Still happening."

    P0700 = Transmission Control System Malfunction

    Unfortunately the P0700 code doesn't tell us much, but I have a suggestion on a couple of things to try before going to a dealer and having a DRB3 connected to it.

    1. Check all of the electrical connections at the transmission. Disconnect each connector and check for any signs of corrosion, moisture, or damaged pins. Check for damaged wiring. Perform the same checks at the Power Train Control Module (PCM) and Transmission Control Module (TCM). The TCM is part of the PCM and is mounted to the inside of the right fender.

    2. Replace the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS).

    3. Disconnect the battery for several minutes. This will erase the stored learned shift algorithm. Drive the vehicle and let the transmission relearn.

    If these recommendations don't work, I suggest having a Dodge tech. check this out. You might need a TCM reflash. A defective shift solenoid or dirty valve body could cause this problem, as well as a bad coolant temperature or transmission temperature sensor, or for that matter, a bad PCM/TCM.

    Best regards,
    Dusty
  • hey everyone newby here just wondering if anyone can help
    i've got a 2000 slt dakota 4.7 ltr 4x4 quad trans revs between shifts and seems to slip
    slow to go into drive but reverses right away also on highway seems to buck a little and if i throttle to pass its revs again
    fluid seems good no burnt smell nice red colour
    already replaced tps any help would be greatly appreciated
    thanks mike
  • Just curious if you ever got any response to your question...I am having the exact same problem with my 98 Dakota V6 3.9 ltr engine...EXACT same problem...fime after it warms up a bit....Transmission place wants $1350.00 to rebuild ( seals, torque converter? ann whatever else...
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