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Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems

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  • i have a 1991 dodge dakota 3.9 automatic transmission, i was driving one day and the tranny just quit. I changed the filter/fluid and it still wont go into gear. there weren't any metal shavings in the pan so i believe it didnt "go out" I tried rocking the vehicle to see if it would go into gear. It just seems like it's stuck in neutral. I was wondering if the linkage could come loose internally and if so where and how. linkage is intact and working on the outside so thats why i'm wondering about maybe it coming apart on the inside and if so were?
  • 1991 is a very old transmission. Not sure where to begin..but if you are
    saying that it "just quit on you", there could be a number of possibilties.

    a)The transmission fluid (oil) pump inside isn't building up pressure to operate the clutches and bands necessary for gear changes.

    b) valve body (the control part of the transmission) has a serious fluid leak
    internally and possibly one of the shift valves (1-2) or (2-3), park to neutral, neutral to drive, are no longer functioning.

    c) Transmission internal damage..could be anything, even if there were
    no tell tale metal parts showing up in the pan.

    d) Park/neutral switch on transmission?

    Time to take it in and replaced.
  • sheastersheaster Posts: 6
    edited November 2011
    What would cause my 2005 Dodge Dakota to have these symptoms? Upon accelerating, at 10 mph, the transmission seems to make a "thunk" noise, I feel a mild jolt, and the shifting hesitates and then grabs. It has consistently been doing this for 2 weeks,and only at 10 mph. A transmission place said no codes came up when tested. They rebuilt the transmission at a huge cost. I just got it back 2 days ago, and the symptoms are coming back, though not as prominent. What could it be??????
  • If this symptom existed before the transmission was rebuilt, it would appear the problem was not accurately diagnosed. Automatic transmissions will behave in a similar way if the fluid is low. There may be blockage keeping the fluid from flowing. Check the heat exchanger and related hoses.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited November 2011
    This is a delayed shift from 1st to 2nd? What is the rpm when the shift
    finally occurs?
    And they rebuilt the transmission? What exactly did they do to it?

    The Dodge automatic is a complex transmission, with a oil pump,
    2 planetary gear sets, a set of clutches, a set of bands and the servos
    to operate them as well as a valve control body, a pressure governor,
    variable force solenoid and sensor, and various shift valves inside
    the valve control body of the transmission, so it's hard to give an
    answer without observing operation on a hoist and monitoring transmission rpm and fluid pressure at the test ports.

    For 1-2 shifting to take place in D, there are several components of the
    transmission involved..
    transmission fluid pump,
    governor pressure is a variable pressure input to the valve body and is one
    of the signals that a shift is necessary.
    Different sets of clutches and bands are operated or released.
    There is also a TCC (torque convertor clutch solenoid on the valve body,
    but I don't think this is involved yet,
    in the 1-2 shifts which involve:
    25 to 70psi being available at the valve body
    1-2 shift valve, 1-2 shift control valve, 1-2 shift regulator valve.
    Lockup valve and lockup solenoid
    lockup timing valve.

    If you are experiencing harsh shifts 1-2, or 2-3 or 3-4, it could be
    attributed to a lockup solenoid malfunction. Did they do pressure test
    at the test ports on the transmission?

    If it's due to a solenoid malfunction which is in the valve body, the pan
    has to come off and the valve body removed to replace the solenoid
    assembly.

    The transmission shift points are controlled by the PCM based on a
    appropriate rpm, and transmission fluid pressure feedback to the PCM.

    It operates a variable force solenoid, TCC solenoid, and 3-4 shift (O/D
    solenoid).

    The variable force solenoid is operated by the PCM in D when it receives
    the appropriate transmission output shaft rpm (TSS) sensor and the appropriate pressure in the transmission pressure sensor to facilitate PCM gear shifting for you.

    If the PCM shift points are not happening, then fluid pressure
    will build up and hard shift, (rather than a softer modulated electronic solenoid shift) will occur.

    The TSS (transmission speed sensor on the transmission sends transmission output shaft rpm to the PCM which will control the
    shift program points.

    It could also be a sensor or a solenoid acting up and not generating a
    code. I had a similar harsh shifting problem/high shift rpm until I
    replaced the TSS. Transmission shifting returned to normal after
    it was changed, and that was all that was done to my transmission.
  • I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota SLT Quad cab with the 4.7 V8.

    The problem I've been having is when I drive off either first thing in the morning (or whenever the truck has been sitting for about 10 mins or longer) it seems the truck is sluggish driving down the street for a block or two and it makes it sound like the engine is "louder" then usual (compared to when I first got the truck) once I've driven for that amount of distance or so, the louder "engine" sound smooths out to a normal sound and all is good afterwards. This problem persists longer, the longer the truck has sat, or the temperature outside. I thought that maybe I needed the tranny filter changed, did that several months ago, then I decided to get the tranny flushed, and for the hell of it, changed the filter again. (200$)

    The first time I had the filter changed I could notice a little bit of difference, it was still doing it, but not as bad, but it progressively got back to where it was again. Just had the tranny flushed and filter changed, but it has made no difference as far as I can tell. The guy who did the tranny flush looked at the fluid and didn't see anything in it showing any catastrophic problems but obviously I need to get the problem fixed, because I'm figuring (I'm no car guy if you haven't figured it out) that its not pumping my tranny fluid right or something and eventually I'm going to have a really really expensive problem. I've noticed other guys on the forums have had their computer's read, I haven't had this done, I have had a engine light on, but the last time I checked it was for a damn gas cap sensor (changed gas cap, still would come on), I guess I should have it checked again.

    Any input would be appreciated guys, thanks.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Sounds like the transmission is staying in 1st longer than it should? Nothing specific to offer, but my 2005 (same engine as yours) does the same thing, but usually only when cold. The tranny operates normally after the first up shift, usually within a block or so.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited November 2011
    The louder sound which smooths out, after the truck has travelled a little
    distance is more than likely the thermostatic viscous clutched fan. It will
    turn faster initially (when cold)and make more noise, until the viscous fluid decouples
    the fan from the fan pulley and the fan starts to freewheel.

    The only way you can tell if it's an actual transmission problem is watching
    the RPM at the shift points (1->2) and (2->3) on the tach.
    If the shift points (set by the PCM) appear to be within a normal range,
    then more than likely the transmission is shifting gears. If the RPMs
    shoot way up in 1st gear or 2nd gear, then you would have something
    to be concerned about.

    If that happens you would get hard shifts which are very noticible.
    In those cases, it's either the TSS (tranmission speed sensor) or
    possibly the TPS (throttle position sensor).
  • My 98 dakota does the same thing ,,Just wondering if you ever found out what caused your problem ! Only left hand turns !
  • I have a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 . The transmissions is acting up . Its shifts into higher gears too soon . When under 45 , I have to keep the overdrive off . Sometimes when it does thyere is a little chatter , but seems because the shift was way to early and the engine rpm's are to low . When it does shift tho it is a smooth shift . Any ideas or will this be a complete rebild ?
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited December 2011
    " Its shifts into higher gears too soon . When under 45 , I have to keep the overdrive off . Sometimes when it does there is a little chatter , but seems because the shift was way to early and the engine rpm's are too low "

    By "shift's into higher gears too soon"..I would presume that the PCM
    electronic shifts are taking place, rather than higher pressure induced
    "hard shifts" done at higher rpms.

    There is a TPS throttle position sensor located on the LEFT (driver's)side of the throttle body.
    It connects to the throttle shaft (butterfly valves) and feeds back
    information to the PCM on what the throttle is doing at the time.

    The second sensor associated with shifting gears, is the Governor pressor
    sensor located on the transmission itself. This sensor tells the PCM (computer)
    what the fluid pressure is in the valve body (the part of the transmission that
    has the fluid activated shift valves to operate the clutches and bands for
    the dual planetary gear set and the separate overdrive unit.

    The third sensor is the TSS, which tells the PCM the rpm of the o/p shaft of
    the transmission itself.

    The shift program is learned by the PCM from your driving habits and feedback
    from these sensors..which need to be checked out first before considering
    an expensive transmission rebuild.

    The "chatter" you are referring to..could be the engine "shuddering" because
    of the higher gear loading on the engine is too much for the rpm and torque
    of the engine at the time....or an actual internal clutch inside the Dodge
    transmission chattering because it is slipping on it's friction plates..or
    low fluid pressure being delivered by the transmission fluid pump.

    There are test ports for determining transmission fluid pressure that a transmission shop can do (with the vehicle running on a hoist) to see
    if it's fluid pressure, or worn clutches...or even a bad sensor.

    Generally speaking, the transmission should shift from 1st gear to second
    gear electronically around 2200 rpm..if everything, including the sensors
    mentioned are working correctly.
    Shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear is about the same or slightly lower rpm
    (1800 to 2000 rpm)

    Shifting from 3rd gear to the O/D (4th gear) is around 1800 and then once
    in O/D,the engine rpm drops down to about 1500..if you are under 50mph.
    The rpm will increase with speed.
  • Carverman,
    I suppose I am not good at explaining. But here today it did it once again. I will try and explain todays actions. It is cludy and 40 degrees today. I left for lunch and got onto the highway and it accelerated to 45 MPH at 3700 rpm. When I released the gas pedal it downshifted and felt like "rear end" locked up. Once again as previously noted it might not have locked the rearend up but thats how it feels. Almost like a chevy drive shaftclanks when u-joints going out. That abript kind of feel. So I gave it the gas again so to not get run over from behind and the RPMs climbed up once again and would only go about 50 mph. It bucked and bronced on me and then the engine light came on. I took it by the Ford house, where I bought it used and the mechanic ran a generic test on it and it showed that the MAF/MAP sensor was faulty. He suggested I go by the Dodge house to have them run a diagnostic test on it. They quoted me(Dodge) 130.00 to test the problem. I did NOT get it done as for it is too close to the holidays and well 130.00 is alot. I stopped by the local Auto Parts store and they pulled a TPS sensor code. I went ahead and bought one since its only 20.00. Have yet to install it.When I got BACK in the truck and headed back to work I noticed the engine light was OFF and then the cruise button stopped working. This also happened last year around the wreck. SO in short I think it may have something to do with the transmission ie the case aluminum may be so cold that something is sticking in it until it reaches a warmer temp?? That is just a educated guess on my end. I DO like the info you gave me and I am sorry I did not explain well enough the last go round. See what this info throws your way.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited December 2011
    "accelerated to 45 MPH at 3700 rpm. When I released the gas pedal it downshifted and felt like "rear end" locked up."

    3700 rpm is definitely too high for 45mph. It appears that the PCM is no
    longer involved with shifting the gear ranges, and it's the hydraulic fluid pump
    pressure building up, operating the shift valves in the transmission's
    control valve body.
    The rear end feeling like it is locking up is another indication of ABRUPT SHIFTING taking place..in this case, it could be down to 1st gear ... that is very hard on the transmission components!

    The Ford house diagnostic is a red herring. The MAF/MAP sensor is used to
    adjust the fuel/air ratio by the PCM and nothing to do with your transmission
    erratic/abrupt shifting problem.

    The Auto Parts pulling a TPS sensor code, MAY have something to do with it,
    but I had a similar case not too long ago..hard shifts and it turned out
    to be the TSS Transmission output shaft speed sensor ). It had a low o/p and
    the PCM could not read it, so it decided not to bother shifting for me and
    all the shifts were HARD shifts at high rpms where the Tach just climbed way
    up there... before it finally shifted.
    I bought a new TPS sensor, also thinking it was the cause of the problem. Unfortunately the on-line auto parts place sent me a BAD replacement sensor..so I had to put the original back on and tested it.

    BTW you can test the TPS sensor still on the vehicle with a Digital voltmeter back probe the 3 wires on the sensor, ignition on but not started, and move the throttle by hand. A good TPS sensor will read 0.5v to +4.5v.... as these are 5 volt sensors.

    In my case there was NOTHING WRONG with my OEM TPS sensor and it
    is still on my truck shifting properly...my problem turned out to be the TSS
    (located on the transmission itself) and eventually the sensor " finally died"
    and I pulled a P-0720 code (Low output speed sensor at RPM above 15mph)
    "Output shaft speed DETECTED is LESS THAN 60MPH with VEHICLE SPEED
    MORE THAN 15MPH."

    On the electronically shifted Dodge transmissions, the PCM does the
    shifting at the correct "learned" rpm detected by your driving habits.
    it uses the input from ALL these following sensors, to calculate and determine
    the proper gear shift points:

    1. gas pedal-throttle valve position (TPS)

    2. TSS ( Transmission o/p shaft speed sensor) tells the PCM what gear the transmission is SUPPOSED TO BE IN ALREADY when in Drive)

    3. VSS (vehicle speed sensor..located in the rear differential housing) the pulses
    from this one are used to a)calculate your speed on the speedometer,
    and b)tell the ABS controller (controller anti-lock rear wheel brakes or all wheel
    antilock brakes) what is happening with the rpm on the rear differential gears

    4. Transmission fluid pressure governor sensor (this sensor feeds back information to the PCM of what the instantaneous internal control shift valve
    body's fluid pressure is..to determine the correct shift points as well.

    5. Transmission temperature sensor (tells the PCM when the transmission is
    warm enough to go into 4th gear (Overdrive) or when the transmission is
    overheating..sets the Trans Temp indicator on the dash.

    So as you can see there are several electronic sensors involved with shifting
    the gears electronically/automatically for you on the Dodge 44RE transmission.

    BTW (44 RE) 4= (4 WHEEL), 4= (transmission torque handling capability)
    R=(rear wheel drive) E = (electronically shifted..by the PCM)

    Not having a handheld OBDII code reader, you are at the mercy of the
    "stealerships" to plug in and read off the code(s) for you... at $130 a pop!

    If you want to keep the diagnostic costs down, you need the basic owner's
    tools in your tool kit:
    1. A Haynes or Chilton manual for your truck year ($30)
    2. A cheap DVM (digital voltmeter) around $15-$25
    3. A handheld OBD (on board diagnostics) code reader that will scan the
    PCM and give you the P-codes (problem codes) when you plug it into
    the diagnostic connector located under the steering column.
    These are very easy to use, come with a manual explaining the codes
    and cost under $60 now.

    So for the price of that $130 dealer scan..you can equip yourself with some
    very capable tools of your own..and learn how to diagnose your truck's
    problems as time goes on.

    AND..
    "happened around the time of the wreck"
    Do you mean this truck was involved in a serious accident last year?
    Please provide more details on that.
  • smithj92smithj92 Posts: 1
    edited December 2011
    I have a 96 Dakota 4x4 quad cab and its problems started out as the transmission would get hot and wouldn't shift passed 2 gear so I took it to the shop and they said that I needed a new one that rebuilding it would cost more so then the next day I started it up and went to put it in any gear my truck would stall right away what would cause this anyone know?? Please help !!
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited December 2011
    It's hard to say what would cause the stall. Does it seem to start up ok while in
    park? When you move it into D..does it drop in rpm first and then stall..or
    stall immediately as you move the gear shift? Have you tried moving it from
    park to neutral..what does it do in neutral?

    There are many reasons for it to stall..something in the transmission is telling
    the PCM to operated the ASD (Automatic Shutdown Relay) or the extra
    load on the engine (in the transmission may be causing it to stall
    because the gear selection isn't right. )

    Are there any check engine codes coming on when it happens?
  • My 2003 V6 is doing the same thing. Only during a left turn. Fluid level is correct.
    I'll be calling a few transmission people and see what they have to say.
  • What indications are there that the transmission is slipping on left turns only?
    Using that convention, does that mean that the transmission DOES NOT SLIP
    on right turns or when travelling straight?

    It doesn't make a lot of sense, since the engine is driving the torque convertor
    inside the transmission wheter you go straight or make turns.
    On a turn the power steering pump works harder to operate the steering box
    and the steering linkage to turn the wheels, but that shouldn't really have
    any effect on transmission operation...unless the g-forces in a left turn act on the fluid levels inside the valve body in the transmission in one direction and not the other..
  • Sounds like the fluid pickup in the pan is uncovered in the turn.
  • sparky153sparky153 Posts: 2
    edited December 2011
    Has anyone ever had problem with this switch ? I can not get my 4 wheel drive to engage. Is the problem in the switch or somewhere else ?
  • Mine ("93") doesnt engage simple because of a missing link between the shift control panel and the transfer case.
  • Thanks, mkfarnam, all the mechical parts are in place, I thought there was an electrical problem somewhere ??
  • I have a 2000 Dakota 4x4, 4.7L V8, 8.25 rear end, 132K mileage. I had a "rrrr" sound that seemed to be at the speed of the differential, or wheels. I had the dealer check it out, they said all OK. I then took it to my tire dealer, they found considerable play in the rear axle. Back to the dealership, they agreed the differential was the problem, they replaced the entire rear end, including the case. It took three shipments before the the dealership was satisfied it was the correct differential. The replacement was covered under vehicle maintenance plan. I also had the U-joints replaced, as there was some play in them.

    The noise persists. It is most noticeable when driving up the curvey, steep hill to my house, and when my wheels are turning to the left. I could live with it if I knew it wasn't parts wearing away.
    I'd appreciate any advice on how to troubleshoot this problem.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Wheel bearings? If worn, they could make different sound depending on whether the truck is going straight or in a turn as the load on them changes.
  • I have the same truck and have heard the noise you speak of for the last 5 years, I have had tires, wheel bearing replaced, tie rods, and nothing has caused the problem to go away. All of the work I had done was needed but it still never stopped making the "rrrrrr" noise when I turn left. Any solutions you find would be appreciated.
  • mkfarnammkfarnam Posts: 6
    edited December 2011
    From what I'm hearing here about slipping only when making a left turn, It's sounds as if it could be related to the noise I heard only on a right turn.
    I have a "93" Dodge Dakota, 4x4, 5 sp Tran, For some time I was heard this pounding noise( sometimes light some heavy) The sound was heard mostly during a right turn.
    skip..
    You all need to check for loose, worn or damage Trans, mounts or/and mounting bracket.
    Due to worn mounts and broken bracket bolts
    My Trans,ad shifted over causing the U=Joints to make the noise.
  • I appreciate the responses to the noise issue. Here is an update:

    My tire/wheel dealership (Les Schwab) road tested the vehicle, they actually had a guy ride in the bed with the canopy on, they rode up the (steep) hill that leads to my house. He said he could definitely hear the noise coming from the right rear. I took those findings to the Dodge dealership that replaced the rear end (including housing, axles, wheel bearings). They didn't want to deal with the issue any more, used petty reasons ("we never got paid by the maintenance contract company for all the work we did," "it must not be a bad problem if it only does it when going up the hill to your house," "you should take the truck back to {the dealer you purchased it from]."

    I purchased the Dakota "as is" with no warranty, the [repair] dealership knows that. I only know once the repair dealer replaced the rear end, I have to deal with him, or I'm not going to get any followup results. The service contractor supplied the original rear end, so I can't see involving him any more. And, I'd have trouble getting another repair facility to get involved. It's not my fault if the dealer wasn't fully paid for their rear end work, and they shouldn't try to use that as fodder for failing to check out the repair work they did less than six months ago. I recall asking the service manager if they were reimbursed for their work, and he told me they were, so go figure.

    I managed to get the dealer to agree to test drive the vehicle in early January. I know I have to use diplomacy if I hope to get them to check the vehicle out again. I haven't had to go over the head of the service department so far, and I'm willing to negotiate the cost of any additional repairs (I did take some time to report the continuing problem) IF THEY CAN JUST FIX THE NOISE!
    To be continued... :cry: :cry: :cry: whine
  • My problem is, acually I have 2, when starting my truck it wants to start hard but if I turn it over a couple of time shut it off and restart it's fine, idles rough for a minute but smoothes out, my second problem is when getting on the HWY, it seems like it's not going into that last gear, like a 5th gear or hwy gear, seems like it's stuck in 4th, but on city streets it's fine. It's a 4.7 rearwheel drive w/ 150,000 miles, I have changed the TPS, and the Crankshaft position sensor awhile back for other problems, and that worked for those problems but now I have these to deal with, I have had the Battery checked so that's not the problem, and changed plugs, oil, and air filter, during the summer. I feel like it's another sensor but I don't want to take it to a garage and get raped for a 30.00 dollar sensor. If anyone has an idea as to what might be wrong Please help!!!
  • What weight of oil are you using?
  • I have a 2001 dakota and I have problem with it not wanting to come out of park. It feels locked up and shifter wont move. I pulled the truck backwards the other morning and it unlocked then but wont now. I do not know what the problem is.. I was also told it might be a electric switch locking it in park. Any ideas and where is this switch located? Thanks John
    Sorry this is a 2 wheel drive truck
  • Could be the prindle switch p-r-n-d not shure where it's at though.
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