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Dodge Ram Transmission Problems



  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,796
    For those of you who own Dodge trucks with a four speed automatic, and as a former 1993 Dodge Dakota owner, I would like to share what I have learned.

    The four speed unit is loosely based on the 727 three speed unit that was pretty stout and lived with the 426 hemi, the 383, the 426 wedge, and the 440. Chrysler in their infinite wisdom spliced on an overdrive unit to the back of the transmission. That worked pretty well provided you did not tow or work the unit to hard.

    Chrysler had two different variations of each transmission, a junior version and a senior version. The junior version ended up in Dakotas and the 150/1500 while the senior version was placed in the larger trucks including those with the diesel. They were, as I mentioned earlier, adequate provided you treated them gently.

    The trans in my 1993 Dakota was rebuilt after 98K miles. What the shop mechanic taught me was that the differences between the senior and junior versions were few. The senior version had a bigger torque converter and some of the shafts were stouter but that was about it. What is notable about the four speed units is that they leak internally and usually not enough lubricant gets back to the overdrive unit and the pressure within the unit is marginal.

    Here are some of the solutions I applied.

    1. External trans cooler. Definitely a must whether you tow or not. I installed a medium sized one and found the trans to be quieter and smoother even in 90+ degree heat.
    2. Trans fluid. Get a synthetic. ATF+4 is a straight synthetic and will work well in transmissions requiring ATF+3 and ATF+2.
    3. Get a Shift Correction Kit from Transgo. Be sure it is a Shift Correction Kit. This kit remedies the internal leakage issue, sends tons more fluid to the overdrive unit and depending on how you set it up, you can vary the firmness of the shift. I chose the middle setting and that was sweet. The shift was very quick but not overly firm. If I locked out the overdrive and played, it was not unusual for the rear tires to leave patches (some up to two feet long) of rubber on the road.
    4. Get a deeper sump. I did and added about two and one-half quarts more ATF than stock. Again that helped with heat control.
    5. Get clutch packs with better friction material and get cast iron drums instead of the aluminum drums for improved durability.

    Just one additional item for those of you with the 5.2L and 5.9L engines. They are good engines but they are sludge formers. They need very frequent oil changes otherwise the front one-third of the valve cover fills with sludge. The remedy for that is to use a good synthetic oil. I had a 5.2L in my Dakota and used a good synthetic oil. Had a valve cover gasket replaced at 80K miles. The valve train was factory clean.
  • mike1411mike1411 Posts: 1
    If I start the truck and let it idle it starts making a loud sucking air noise from the throttle body. I'll drive it and when its cold it dosn't want to shift from second to third unti it gets to 40 mph. Once it warms up it drives fine. Until I shut it off for a while.
  • 4xford34xford3 Posts: 1
    had same problem replace kick down band and drum on 2001 diesel
  • bobmc7bobmc7 Posts: 1
    I am having a similar problem on my 2007 Dodge 2500 diesel. The temp light comes on and goes off almost immediately. The O/D light briefly lights. This usually only happens when I am driving in town within 10 minutes of starting the engine. I have checked the temp by hand and it was not even hot. I figure it must be wiring or a sensor.

    Can I troubleshoot this easily?
  • Hello All

    I have a 2008 3500 with the 6.7 and a 6 speed auto. It has been shifting ok, maybe a little hard and a small delay into 5 and 6 when cold. Yesterday I drove about 40 miles and it did fine. After slowing and going through a large puddle of water the transmission began slipping, over the next few blocks it got worse and worse. then it caught 4th gear and I was able to get it home. It has plenty of fluid, maybe excess fluid. It seems to work better in first gear and gets worse up to three. no issue with reverse. Fluid smells a bit burnt but not badly. Trans temp never exceed 160. Tuner shows several codes. Like trans fluid pressure high, and several improper gear ratios. I cleared the codes and drove again this morning. No change in transmission action, but the only code I have is improper 3 ratio. I have no history on the truck as I just bought it a month ago. Any advise would be appreciated. :cry:
  • did you find out where this should be? I have the same part in mine
  • Hello txbigbadwolf,

    Sorry to hear you are having a concern with your 2008 Dodge Ram 3500.

    I checked for Technical Service Bulletins but could not find anything related to the transmission concern you described.

    You may want to consider having the vehicle diagnosed by your local authorized Dodge Service Department or a trusted mechanic.

    Customer Care
    Chrysler Group LLC
  • edk63edk63 Posts: 1
    edited October 2012
    When starting out from a stop, truck doesn't want to move. Once underway no shift problems. Shifts fine from 1st to 2nd and so on. Had fluid changed/flushed with no change in problem (automatic tranny). Any advise would be appreciated.
  • I hope you can help, here's my issue. I have a 1995 Dodge Ram with the 318. It belonged to my nephew and he was several hours away and ask me to come get him and bring a trailer that his transmission had gone out. I did and parked the truck at my house where it had sat for about 1 1/2 years. He finally told me I could have it that he wasn't going to fix it so I put on a new battery and it ran fine for about a day. Then it started acting up like the transmission was going out but I'm not sure thats it. It will crank and idle fine shifts into gears fine but if I go down the road it will start to lunge at about 10-20 MPH and about 30 is tops. It revs up like i'm going 100MPH but still about 30 is tops (on level ground), it will slow down going up hill. It lunges in drive or reverse. I have been told torque converter by some but others said if it was fine for a day than that wouldn't be it and I would be able to hear it while it was idling. Any ideas?
  • I know your post is old, but I have a 1996 Dodge Ram Truck, 1500 Series (only 126,725 on it) and I go down the road it acts like it slips into Neutral, I see the Tach Meter go up, but no power. Pull off the side of road, turn off, restart, fine, go about two miles down the road and it does the same thing. Did you ever get your problem fixed and if so, what was it?
  • The truck has 127,526 on it, we baby it and I swear it acts like the Transmission is slipping. Go down the road, it acts like it slips into Neutral (I can watch the tach meter go way up, but no power, no engine stall, it is like NO Power to drive). Pull over, turn off wait about 5 minutes, restart, put in drive, go about 1 or 2 miles and it does the same thing? Is this a transmission slipping or another possible item? Again we baby this truck and have never had a problem until tonight, no warning, no nothing.
  • I had a problem similar to yours, but mine was shifting strange, I had to let up on the gas to get it to shift. But what I did was I got in touch with these people. You can Email them or call, They new just what I needed to fix mine and it runs like new. Here is a copy of what I put in mine........Along with a video of how to install it at the bottom of the page................................................................
    Product Information
    Product Name Part No. Quantity Item Price Total Price
    Governor Housing Base Gasket 12328B 1 $6.88 $6.88
    47RE Governor Solenoid Borg 12432AB 1 $56.88 $56.88
    47RE Pressure Sensor 96-99 12415B 1 $59.88 $59.88
    Universal Drain Plug Kit 3020S 1 $14.88 $14.88
    47RH / RE Filter Kit (R) 88-97 22011GR 1 $16.88 $16.88

    Subtotal: $155.40
    Shipping & Handling: $0.00
    Tax: $0.00


    Order Total: $155.40
  • I have a 2010 Ram 1500 with less than 20k miles. I feel and hear a bump when it shifts from 1st to 2nd. The dealer says this is normal and nothing is wrong. The bump is intermittent and is sometimes more noticeable than other times. Any direction you could provide that I could share with the dealer would be helpful.
  • You might want to check the post just above yours. About the Cascade Trasmission Parts. post number 1983..............The Governor Solenoid in the factory trasmission gets week and doesn't push enough pressure for the trasmission to work right. This is what I installed.The 47RE Governor Solenoid Borg 12432AB 1 $56.88 $56.88
  • 2001 dodge ram 1500, only 78000 miles on it. Just bought it!!!! Od shuts off and after 10-20 miles the Trams temp light comes on. hit the button to turn od on and nothing happens. Took it back to where i bought it. they put it on a code reader and nothing. driving it back home, i stopped at stop sign and it wont move. i reved up motor and tranny banged and i headed down the road. Whats goin on. only drove it 300 miles and now this! HELP!
  • I have a 2005 Ram with a 5.9 and 93.000 milles with a automatic transmission problem. Can someone help?
    When i put it in drive and pres the accelerator thruck starts in first then into second but if there is any kind of load or a slight incline on the road it jumps back to first and won't come out untill i let off the pedal. I doesn't slip or lose power just wont come out of first . Any one know what might be the problem.
  • Hello Guythunder
    My 2001 Dodge deisel is shifting funny ever since I got it rebuilt a year ago. It keeps jumping beck and forth from 3rd to 4th. You just move the gas pedal slightly and it goes back and forth. The shop I took it to cant figure it out., but sounds like you had the same problem. Jeff ( Hopsmaster )
  • doc41doc41 Posts: 4
    For what it is worth,my 97 dodge ram with 5.9 gas had the trans rebuilt
    I paid 1800.00 for the work. Did not get home till it quit. I put it back in the shop and they put governors in it .
    It still did not work right. I finally got half the money back and took it to another place
    They rebuilt the trans and from that day forward it would downshift at lower speeds 55 or so and down
    We took it back and this guy has done everything he could think of including going and buying a trans and installing it.
    I have put over 150,000 miles plus on this transmission and it still down shifts
    I have had it at two Dodge dealers and they do not have a clue.
    I replaced the ECM,throttle control,power valve and several other items
    It runs fine never stalls and will stay in high at highway speeds ,just down shifts at lower speed if you press the gas pedal to hard
  • Yep that's the same problem I had and the parts that I put in stopped all of my problems. The parts didn't cost much and they aren't hard to install. Did you check out the video I posted along with the parts.?
  • doc41doc41 Posts: 4
    GuyThunder,Thanks for asking. I had this done with the first trans overhaul
    when they towed it back to the shop. I took it to another shop and this guy rebuilt the trans and it continued,He replaced the parts you mention and said that the ones in it did appear to be new and did seem to work but wanted to be sure.
    He gave me the receipt. He went to another trans place and purchased another new rebuilt instead of rebuilding mine or using one from his shop. It still did the same thing. He then took it to two dodge dealers I have receipts for and still same problem.
    I use this guy only,he not only absorbed the bill on all the work on mine he even refunded everything I paid. I have sent him a lot of customers over the last few years . I do think the guy was really stumped on what is causing mine
    We have 4 sons and three have dodges and the parts you mention did fix theirs .
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