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Overriding The Transmission for Emergency Towing - 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,281
edited April 2015 in Ram
imageOverriding The Transmission for Emergency Towing - 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

There's a way to put the 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel's electronically-controlled transmission in neutral if the truck won't start and needs to be towed.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Member Posts: 863
    Pretty scary stuff all the way around. Shouldn't happen on ANY vehicle with less than 200k on it - certainly not a 2014. I still shutter everytime I see that towing picture. Maybe its "acceptable" in short distances, but I haven't seen a lift tow truck used for anything other than junk cars or for repos (so they can get them an go). I can't believe you even allowed them to tow it - you should've demanded that they sent a flatbed - imagine if it had made things worse. Even my 15 year old cars (both FWD and RWD) have had the luxury of a flatbed when a tow was needed.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    Why would the electronic shifter be disabled with the engine off, ignition on?

    And most people in this kind of situation will be kinda flustered...making them go through this kind of song and dance is idiotic. When this truck stalled, you were in the driving lane...but on a little-used road, and you were able to restart it and move it to the curb, and then had 53 minutes to figure out this Rube Goldberg setup. So basically you lucked out. What if you had been on a major road, say, waiting for a green light, when it stalled, and you could not restart it - now it just sits there with traffic whizzing around it (hopefully not INTO it) while you peruse page 665 of the manual - hopefully from the shoulder of the road rather than the driver's seat? And what if the tow truck arrived to pull you out of the driving lane in 5 minutes, before you figured out this strap and lever arrangement?

    And finally...why are you even saying in this post that you could not restart it - you clearly state in the original February 19 post that you were able to restart it, get it to the curb and shut it down. And since it restarted for the dealer, I imagine you probably would have been able to restart it after the tow truck arrived, if that is indeed required for the shift into neutral.

    Too much of what you're saying here does not square with what you said in the earlier post.
  • banhughbanhugh Member Posts: 315
    Oh god, what year is it? I started reading this article in 2015!
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Member Posts: 471
    @kirkhilles - I mentioned this in the original RAM breakdown post, but it must be a regional thing. Here in L.A., a flatbed is a rare sight -- I would say about 70% of tow trucks on the road are hook/lift trucks. I assume because that is the fastest way to get a disabled car out of everyone else's way. There may be literally 50000 people stuck behind you who don't care about your sensitive drivetrain...the extra time of loading a car onto a flatbed can actually impact the local economy. :P

    But you're right, Dan could have refused the tow and demanded that they send a flatbed instead.
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Member Posts: 878
    If the engine can't be started but there is still electrical power why can't you simply turn the knob to neutral? Also, since the Acura TLX also has a ZF supplied auto transmission with similar electronic gear selector does it also have some secret manual override? The TLX 8 speed DCT has a simple old school console gear selector. That alone would be why I pick the 4 cylinder over the V6.
  • agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893
    Many vehicles with electronic parking brakes and/or gear shifters have emergency release methods more complicated than launching a nuclear attack. However, the questions must be asked : 1) Why if the driver was expecting a tow did he put it in Park, rather than just putting it in Neutral with the parking brake on. 2) Does the Dodge AUTOMATICALLY go into Park when the ignition is turned off.
  • rwatsonrwatson Member Posts: 144
    BURNING QUESTION ALERT: What was wrong with the regular mechanical linkage shift lever again?
  • grijongrijon Member Posts: 147
    Thanks for the post, Dan!
  • chol92594chol92594 Member Posts: 208
    rwatson said:

    BURNING QUESTION ALERT: What was wrong with the regular mechanical linkage shift lever again?

    Totally agree. I'm all for innovation and technological advancement, but there's a point where innovation turns into over-complication. Plus, considering Chrysler's historical problems with electrical systems and reliability as a whole, I would rather have things stay relatively uncomplicated.
  • nomercy346nomercy346 Member Posts: 69
    edited May 2015
    What I don't get is that it was towed with the rear wheels on the ground with only the transmission in neutral. Thats the only way you'll hurt the trans.

    You could have the front wheels down and the rears lifted up (steering wheel has to be secured in some way) in 2WD with no damage, or you could just put the t-case in neutral and tow it in whatever position you please. But engine off means the oil pump in the transmission is off as well, with the wheels now turning your transmission with no oil pressure inside.
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