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Dodge Ram Transmission Problems



  • 96dak96dak Posts: 4
    Hi guys, I need some advice. My 1996 Dodge Dakota 4x4 won't shift out of 1st gear. Transmission has about 40000 miles on it. I replaced the transmission control relay, topped off the fluid level(was about a quart low), still have the same issue. I also cleaned the battery terminals this morning, took it for a spin, was able to shift into 2nd, but only after it reached about 3000 RPM. But it was only temporary, as it will not shift out of 1st again. The fluid does look good, doesn't smell burnt. I put my code scanner on it, no codes. I'm looking for any other ideas before I pull the pan. Thank you in advance.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Yep. That's correct. You must check the fluid level in neutral or you might get a false reading.

    WARNING: Do not use Dexron-Mercon in any Dodge truck transmission. Using Dexron-Mercon will damage the transmission. Use only ATF+3 (older trucks) or ATF+4 automatic transmission fluid.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    if this is only happening on turns it indicates the fluid is low. You are either not checking the fluid level when hot enough in neutral, or you have an incorrect transmission dip stick. Another possibility is the Anti-drain Back valve or cooling lines are clogged with gunk, slowing down fluid flow. This is very common on older Dodge trucks that did not receive adequate transmission maintenance.

    By the way, 47REs got a number of upgrades and all of the retrofits in '98. The primary problem with the earlier builds was lack of lubrication to the overdrive unit, which caused material loss and overheating, which cause premature fluid oxidation and increased contamination. This would often lead to clogged anti-drainback valves and valve bodies.

    I've seen many properly maintained 47REs go the full distance. In fact, if properly maintained these are hearty transmissions and I would bet a GM 4L60 or 4L80 would shear a sun gear or lose a sprag before a 47RE quits.

    Oh, and never, never, never use Dexron-Mercon in a Dodge truck transmission. Use only ATF+3 or ATF+4. Dexron will kill a Dodge tranny.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931

    First, just to verify, you have a 1996 Dakota with the 318 engine?

    The transmission was rebuilt or replaced 40,000 miles ago?

    When you added fluid, you used Dexron-Mercon or ATF+3 or ATF+4?

    I have a candidate already, but please respond back first.

    Best regards,
  • 96dak96dak Posts: 4
    Dakota has a 318, tranny was rebuilt 40000 miles ago, and ATF+4 has only been used. I'm in the process of looking for the transmission plug that supplies power to the solenoids.....maybe that might be the issue.
  • I have a 2006 3/4 ton dodge put it four low today. now it will not go back to 2wd. the light on dash keeps blinking 4lo. This is a auto transaxle. Any ideas
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Here is my list of suspects based on what I typically see or hear regarding your vehicle type, age, mileage and symptom:

    * Sticking, binding, disconnected, or broken Transmission Throttle Valve Position Cable (goes from the throttle body linkage to a pivot shaft on the left side of the transmission). Check operation of this cable at both ends. The cable should follow the return of the throttle linkage as the throttle is moved from the full throttle position to the idle position. The pivot shaft on the transmission must follow as well. Any signs of sticking and this is probably your problem. NOTE: Do not lubricate the cable or the linkage.

    *Broken or missing Throttle Valve Position Cable return spring (returns the Throttle Valve Position pivot linkage to the closed throttle position).

    *Transmission Throttle Valve Position Cable out of adjustment. Check for a broken or missing clip at the cable end that attaches to the throttle body linkage. Follow the adjustment precisely in the Dodge service manual.

    *Corroded electrical wires at the Transmission Solenoid Connector. This is the connector for the shift circuits that input to the Shift Solenoids. Common on older vehicles, especially as old as yours.

    *Binding Gearshift Selector Cable. Yep. And this fools a lot of people. Have you ever put the gearshift in Neutral and it was actually in Drive or Reverse? Your current symptom could be the result of the transmission thinking you've selected Low.

    *Defective Transmission Range Selector Switch Assembly. Located on the left side of this transmission just adjacent to the solenoid connector. If the transmission gear indicator on the instrument panel changes consistently relative to the movement of the gearshift after repeated tests, it's probably okay. Only a DRB3 test can actually determine a fault if it's intermittent. Check the electrical connections at this device for signs of corrosion. Common problem.

    *Sticking, binding, or intermittent 1-2 shift solenoid. Original factory versions of these vintage solenoids were prone to magnetizing the plunger cores after many repeated shift operations and over time. Dirty fluid or contamination build up can also cause the shift position valves to bind or stick in the Valve Body Assembly.

    *Sticking 1-2 shift valve or governor plug. Badly scored or worn 1-2 shift valve bore in the Throttle Body Assembly usually causes this. Often seen on high mileage RH and RE series (not 545RFEs). Warped valve bodies are also seen on this series. Hopefully at last rebuild this was checked, or if a real quality job was done, a new valve body was installed. Keep the fluid cleaned with periodic fluid changes and this probably will not happen, regardless of the miles.

    *Loose Govenor Plug Cover causing pressure loss in the 1-2 shift valve cylinder. I've never heard of anyone seeing this on an untouched transmission, but after rebuilds this seems to pop up. Rebuilders sometimes do not torque the cover screws down enough, or worse, strip out the threads in the valve body.

    You could also have a damaged Front Servo or Kickdown band, but this would cause you to permanently have first and reverse only. I think you indicated this was intermittent or temperature related. A damaged or out of adjustment Front Band can cause this symptom, but hopefully unlikely since there was a rebuild not to long ago, and/or you have not abused this transmission.

    You could have a Powertrain Control Module (computer) problem, but PCM failures are very rare, especially on Dodges. Allowing your dealer to run diagnostics on this vehicle would likely uncover a PCM fault.

    That's all I can think of for the moment. Check back and keep us statused on your results.

    Best regards,
  • check the fluid level in your transfer case it could be low.
  • 96dak96dak Posts: 4
    Well, we're making some progress here. I unplugged the electrical connector at the Transmission Solenoid Connector, vacuumed out the plug end and the electrical port on the tranny, plugged it in, and went for a drive. Shifted good into 2nd and 3rd like it did before. Stopped at a light, started moving again, wouldn't shift out of 1st. I started shifting through the gears manually, was able to get 2nd and 3rd again. Turned the truck around, and it would not come out of 1st again. Tried manually shifting it, wouldn't cooperate. Got it back into my subdivision, drove around a bit more, and sometimes manually selecting the gears would do it, sometimes it wouldn't. I know I do need to replace my TV cable, so I'll see if I can find one at a scrapyard tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. Thank you!
  • I just got of the highway traveling from Houston to Fortstockton TX. I was trucking along about 85 mph in cruise control, when I noticed I was about to run out of gas. I stepped it up a notch, still in cruise contol, when my tranny slipped out of O/D. It would not turn back on. I stoped to get gas, restarted my truck, and everything was fine. Again I was in cruise mode running around 85mph and got a lead foot aftter running at 90-95 mph for a few min, O/D slipped off again. I pulled to the side of the road turn my truck off, restarted O/D was all was fine, again.... took off go to 80 mph, with cruise on, turned O/D off myself it turned off turned it back on, then it slip off by itself again. Pulled over turned truck off, restarted took off again set cruise at 80mph and left it there and all was fine.... does anyone have any idea what was going on?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    Good test!

    Positive manual shift results indicate that all major drive components are okay.

    I would highly recoomend you replace the Throttle Position Valve Cable with a new one. This is a common problem. There is either moisture in the cable or it has become kinked or frayed internally. You might save a few dollars getting one from a boneyard, but I don't think it's worth it.

    Keep us posted.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,931
    First, how many miles on the vehicle and what engine?

    Did the OD indicator lamp switch on when it came out of overdrive?

    How many miles did you drive before the OD switched off?

    By any chance did you get a transmission over temperature indicator illumination?

    Best regards,
  • hey i need sum help i have a 1997 dodge 1500 4x4 auto with a 318 eng it takes awhile for it to go in rev all gears work fine but when i put in in rev it dount grind it just make a wineing nose and then it takes gear. i drove it for about 15 miles got back home an put it in rev and it does it again wineing and then it takes gear. need sum help thanks
  • My dad's 97 Ram had to have the transmission rebuilt at 160k, and he didn't have anymore problems. My uncle on the other hand has a 96 Ram with 230k on it and he has had the transmission rebuilt twice. But with my uncle, he never services the transmission. He only changes the oil every 20k, so it is really amazing that the truck has lasted as long as it has. But, when I went to buy my Ram, I bought a 2003 Ram with the 5-speed. I have had it for 5 years with 80k on it and the transmission shifts like new.
  • I have been having shifting problems with my truck, Also the check engine light is on which has given a code 37and 32, I called the local Dealer and they said it was the shift solenoid. So I replaced all electrical components in the tranny but to no avail, It is doing the same thing! Sometimes the tranny shifts like a new one dowshift to first gear and all, But seems like when the check engine light comes on is when it starts shifting funny! When it is not shifting normal it will not downshift to first gear and feels like it is in park until you manually downshift to first but when its shifting from first to sec. its like it lags to get into second, and sometimes the motor revs high and I have to let off the gas for it to shift to the upper gears, Then sometimes I have to really wind out the motor for it to shift. I have unhooked the battery cables to reset the comp and soon after I hook them back up and go to leave, It shifts beautiful until the dang light comes on. Can anyone please give me an idea as to what could be the problem(Besides being a Dodge) Thanks alot.
  • 96dak96dak Posts: 4
    Well, I replaced the TV cable because I broke the plastic end off at the throttle body 5-6 months ago and made a new end for it. I had to do the junkyard route, because I am absolutely broke right now. Now, with the tranny in Drive, it will shift through all the gears, but shifts at 3500-4000 RPM. Manually shifting it works good. I'm going to do some research to see if the TV cable is adjustable, 'cause I'm pretty sure thats all thats wrong with it now. I really appreciate your responses guys, it potentially saved me a couple hundred bucks at least.
  • I am literally goin nuts trying to figure out whats the deal with my truck! I love my truck and want to fix it but cant find out a darn thing! The check engine light comes on giving a code 32 & 37, 37 being the shift solenoid which I replaced, Also replaced the speed sensor. When the temp hand starts to move is when the light comes on and the tranny starts shifting funny, Sometimes its fine next time funny shifting again. When it decides to dowshift into 1st gear it will go through all gears perfect but soon as you pull to a stop and it wont downshift its like its hung between gears until you manually downshift into first, Then when you pull out the tranny lags to shift between the upper gears. I dont think the tranny has a mechanical problem because it shifts too perfect when it wants to, So Dusty do you or anyone else have any advice on my problem? Thanks a bunch!!!
  • Hi-

    Looking for any advice on an issue I just had with my 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4. I bought it about 2 months ago, had 145,000 highway miles on it, and I don't believe it has towed anything in it's life. Recently when I went to pass someone on the highway, there was an abrupt jerk/pause when it downshifted. I was at about 50-55 mph, I kicked it down pretty solidly and it was fine at the initial downshift. When it dropped down one gear lower (into 3rd I think) there was the abrupt jerk. I then letoff a bit and it came back up through 4th and into 5th without a problem. The next 100 miles or so I thought it seemed a little odd feeling, but I may have just been paranoid at that point. Does anyone have any idea what may have caused that and what I should do at this point? Thank you for your time.
  • I have just over 94000 miles on the truck, it has a 5.9l engine. Yes, the lamp did swith on when it came out of overdrive. I had driven around to 400 miles (give or take) when this happen, it has only happened twice both while running at high speeds with cruise control on. And no there was not a trans tremp indicator, I checked the trans fluid and level was normal, and there were no leaks present. I had a "drain and fill" with a filter change around 20000 miles ago. This issue has not presented itself again.

  • Dusty, where is the throttle position valve cable located? I am also having a couple of issues with my tranny and this may be the cure.
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