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Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems



  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    Automatics these days are complicated animals because the shifting is
    electronically controlled by the engine computer, or in the Dakotas, the
    PCM (powertrain control module).

    By hanging in first gear, you must mean a "delayed shift" where the engine
    rpm on the tach goes way up above the normal 1-2 shift range and finally
    excessive fluid pressure build up in the transmission pressure governor
    (which controls the shift valves in the control valve body) forces a hard shift.

    It could be that the temperature of the transmission is not reached yet
    at the beginning because the engine (and transmission) is still cold.
    A transmission temperature sensor feeds back the temperature range
    to the PCM, but this may only be needed for 3-4 (overdrive) shifts, I
    don't know if it is used for 1-2 or 2-3 shifts.

    The governor solenoid (PCM controlled shift solenoid on the transmission)
    the springs involved and the governor pressure sensor all play a critical
    part in shifting the transmission at the correct engine rpm.

    My 2000 Ram shop manual (46re transmission type) states that for
    delayed or erratic shifts, also harsh at times:

    1. Fluid level too low or too high.
    ( Fluid level on chrysler automatics needs
    to be check in NEUTRAL with the parking brake on. In park the torque
    convertor is not completely filled. It is only when the shift column is
    moved from P through N to D that the torque convertor fills up completely.)
    2. Fluid filter clogged
    3. Throttle linkage misadjusted
    4. Throttle linkage binding somewhere
    5. Gearshift cable/linkage misadjusted
    6. Clutch or servo failure
    (the chrysler transmission has several fluid pressure activated clutches,
    with two bands. The servos operate the two bands.

    7. Governor circuit electrical fault (Governor pressure solenoid)
    8. Front band misadjusted
    9. Transmission fluid pump suction passage leak
    This last one would be indicated by foam on the transmission dipstick

    So as you can see, there are just too many things that can cause delayed
    or erratic shifting,

    The PCM (in it's flash memory) has a stored program of shift points learned
    from your driving habits. It depends on the the TSS (transmission speed
    sensor data and governor pressure sensor to determine shift points.
    It also gets data from the transmission temperature sensor to determine
    when to shift..but this is a simple thermistor type and rarely if ever goes
  • Ok that tells my problem to a t. what did you do , it seems tranny shop is my next stop.
  • I have a 05 dakota with a automatic V8. I bought it used last year around March. In Nov. I drove to Illinois, Im in south, and noticed on my trip it started down shifting hard from od to 3rd. Once I noticed it I pulled over and checked fluids. They were fine. Then as I proceeded on it would race up in rpms like around 4500 when I would left off the pedal it would down shift HARD. I took it out of od and continued on(I was 8 hours into trip). It was cooler weather and when I topped a hill with cruise on it raised up in rpms again and then when it down shifted at the top of the hill it locked up the rear wheels and threw me into a gaurd rail. Had to leave the truck up north to get the whole drivers side repaired and when I spoke of the tranny they found no codes. Now here it is Oct the next year and I am starting to get the same shift problem again. Today was the first day I noticed it. Any suggestions on why this would only occur during certain months and or the weather? I will admit its scary to drive when it shifts like that back into 3rd. All other gears and such seem great. btw the truck has 100k on it and was last looked over 2 months ago and tech said the fluids in everything look fine.
  • I have a 1993 Dodge Dakota, 4x4, LE 3.9 eng, 4sp std transmission(w/OD)

    I need to know the proper size (tread pitch and length) of the bolts that hold the transmission mounting bracket directly to the transmission. NOT the insulator or tansmission mount bolts.

    Just the bolts holding the mounting bracket to the Trans.

    Thank You.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited November 2011
    That is very strange to have an erratic downshift on top of a hill climb that
    forced a downshift like that from 0/D to 3rd. With no codes available and
    the truck disabled and the diagnostic connector hooked up afterwards,
    any codes that might have been there maybe were gone?

    The only thing I can think of on that kind of hard downshift from o/D to
    3rd is that the transmission temperature sensor reported a high temperature condition in the transmission and the PCM forced a downshift
    on you automatically. This will happen if the temperature exceeds 260F
    (126C) and the the PCM forces the downshift to engage the convertor clutch
    and the rpms go up to allow the fan to turn faster to allow more cooling
    through the rad. The PCM will not allow re-engaging o/D until the temperature goes back down to 230F (110C).

    If this occured, then no codes would probably be stored.
  • carvermancarverman Posts: 101
    edited November 2011
    I thought it some more about your transmission problem, and there has to
    be more to this story than what you have described here.
    The transmission downshifting from O/D to 3rd is a normal occurrance and
    should not lock up the rear wheels as you have described, causing you
    to lose control.

    The transmission has electro-mechanical as well as pressure controls to
    facilitate up and down shifting. The upshifting is done by the PCM when
    the appropriate TRANMISSION RPM, VEHICLE SPEED and transmission pressure regulator sensor feed back information to the PCM to allow it
    to shift. The shift from 3rd to 4th (O/D) is controlled entirely by the
    PCM, but you send in a manual request (via the O/D switch on the stalk)
    to disable O/D and if you hit it again, enable O/D.

    The gear ratios for a 46re automatic transmission are as follows:
    1st 2.45 : 1 (engine crankshaft rotates 2.45 times to 1 rotation of
    the driveshaft).
    2nd 1.45 : 1
    3rd 1.0 :1
    O/D (4th) 0.69:1

    In overdrive the crankshaft turns more slowly than the o/p shaft of
    the transmission in order to lower rpms and save on fuel on
    Level Roads. Once you start to climb some steep hills, the O/D should
    be switched off manually, or the PCM may disengage it on you to protect
    the engine.

    This has a lot to do with throttle position, engine rpm and the transmission
    throttle cable that goes from the throttle body down to the transmission.

    If the TPS sensor is malfunctioning or the TSS (transmission speed sensor)
    is malfunctioning, shifting will be erratic forces hard shifts with engine
    rpm climbing much higher than normal when the PCM sets the shift points.

    For the rear wheels to lock up like that, either there was a temporary
    malfunction in the throttle position (sensor) or you pressed down on
    the accelerator so hard that the throttle position cable FORCED the
    downshifts into 2nd or even 1st gear..if that occurred, then the rear
    wheels would "lock up" because of the abrupt huge gear ratio change at
    speed and the engine torque delivered to the rear wheels at the lower
    gear ratio while the vehicle was still moving forward from the higher
    gear ratio selected before it happened.

    In other words, if you are moving at 60mph and all of a sudden you get
    an abnormal downshift to 2nd or even 1st..the engine RPM will shoot up to 4500rpm from a normal 1800 to 2200 rpm, and that corresponding horsepower will deliver a solid punch to the driving wheels at a lower
    gear ratio, causing them to lockup, vehicle skid and loss of control.
  • shrowe69shrowe69 Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    I recently had a problom with my dodge dakota that was in first gear and reverse I had no power, it acted like I was pulling a heavy trailer. I took it to a mechanic and they checked the trans, compression, cat, timing, O2 senser and few other thingsand they could not figure it out and gave me my money back. I took it to the dealer and it tured out that the timing chain was streched. My main reason for posting this is to maybe help some so they dont spend 4 days without a car and not being able to work.
  • You didn't mention the year of your Dakota or the mileage, but yes
    with older vehicles or high mileage vehicles, the timing chain does
    stretch and throw off the timing. Even though it's inside the engine, it
    is a wear and tear item and people don't realize that. The timing chain
    is very critical to maintaining absolute timing between the valves and
    the pistons. If the timing chain gets stretched, the engine timing is
    incorrect for producing the rated power of the engine because the
    valves are not bring in a fresh charge of fuel-air mixture or allowing
    the exhaust to be scavenged out by the piston on the exhaust stroke,
    so less fuel air mixture can be drawn into the cylinder on the INTAKE
    stroke because the valve opens too early or too late and conversely
    on the exhaust stroke of the piston where the exhaust valve is
    opening too soon or too late.

    The PCM can only adjust ignition timing a degree or two either way, it
    cannot compensate for a stretched timing chain where the relationship
    between each cylinder's intake and exhaust valve and piston position is
    off. That's why aftermarker ROLLER chains are preferred over the old fashioned link chains.

    You have to replace the complete set of crankshaft gear, camshaft gear when using a double link roller timing chain. (These come with the chain).
  • I have a 2005 Dakota SLT 2 wheel drive with V6 Magnum engine. The first time that it shifts from 1st to 2nd it shifts fine. Then the next, and all other times, it shifts hard. Also, has a little delay between shift. It shifts into 3rd gear fine. The problem is only from 1st to 2nd. Had the filter and fluid change, but this didn't help.
  • The delay is because it needs to build up fluid pressure in the control valve body to do
    the hard shift OR the clutch inside the transmission responsible for shifts between 1st
    and 2nd is worn or doesn't have enough fluid pressure.

    What does it do in the manual gear ranges?

    Here's what the 2000 Dodger Ram shop manual has to say about it (46re transmission)

    Slips in low gear (D) only, but not in manual 1 position.

    Overrunning clutch faulty. Replace overrunning clutch.

    In D 1st the only two clutches used are:

    To go to D 2nd, it needs the FRONT BAND and the REAR CLUTCH to function at
    the correct rpm. The PCM does an electronic shift using a solenoid valve
    (governor valve) in the transmission electronic control part of the valve body,
    which is responsible for operating the bands and clutches on the two stage
    planetary gear sets.
  • 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

    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

    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 ?
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