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Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems



  • 4th update: took my Dak to the dealer and had it tested. Result: no fault codes; trans clutch is locking up with scanner. After discussing it with the tech, decided to have the TCM reset, since its adaptive learning mode may have retained some bad parameters. $114. Now, the trans operates perfectly, no problems with lockup now! Thank God! (The CEL did light on the way to dealer! It was a catalytic converter problem, and I will soon replace the cat.)
    I suggest that anyone with this trans who has strange problems with no codes, try a TCM reset.
    Thanks dasboot for your suggestions, they were very helpful.
  • gagergager Posts: 2
    Hi, I saw several posts by DustyK made re Dodge Dakota transmissions. My wife's 2005 Dakota has developed a harsh downshift at exactly 25 MPH. When it downshifts it mades the entire truck shudder. I have had the transmission serviced, dealer can't come up with any suggestions on what the problem is. I saw many similar problems associated with the TPS, do you think I should replace the TPS, it is the org. that came on the truck. She has recently had a problem where engine stalls at idle also.

    Thanks, Gager
  • 5th update: 2001 dodge dakota/5.9/46re: the lockup converter has returned to its old habit and won't lockup at highway speeds. I suspect it is the catalytic converter causing the problem (CEL relit; lastly it was the cat). Cat is rattling; I will replace it. Asked the Dodge tech about the TPS: would it cause a TC problem if the TPS did not set a code; he said no. So, about the only thing left is the cat.
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    I have just now read your last 2 posts. I am a Chrysler trans tech and have been for 15 years. When they said they reset the pcm I was like 'what?' You do not have a fully electronic transmission where you can 'reset' the pcm/tcm. Now if you had a 4.7L and a 45RFE then a quick learn will sometimes alleviate shift issues. There is nothing for the tech to reset on your truck. And a faulty TPS will not always set a code if the problem is too quick for the PCM to realize its a problem.
  • thanks for checking in, dasboot! The tech told me he reset the parameters via his scan device. Whatever he did really corrected the problem with the lockup for at least 50 - 70 miles of driving. Then, the lockup failure at highway speed returned, and the CEL was relit (haven't checked that new code, but I suspect it is the same one he found, which is the catalytic converter). So, what did he do? BTW, he did test drive the truck with the scan device (at least that's what I understood he did) and said that the lockup was functioning normally. He was a nice guy, but I did have to be pretty clear that the trans was actually NOT locking up. He did find that the cooling fan clutch had failed, and I replaced that immediately.
    Now, are you saying that the TPS can cause this steady, non- lockup condition at highway speed without setting a code? Should I simply replace the TPS just to be sure? How big a impact on the lockup mode of the trans does the catalytic converter have? And lastly, how good is the "adaptive learning" of the TCM/PCM? If there is a parameter caused by some sensor that leads to a highway speed non-lockup condition, then the problem that causes the sensor to record a out of range condition is corrected, will the computer go back to "good" operation? Does that question make sense?
    Your input is greatly appreciated. I'm really guessing now about the problem...
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    On your CEL and catalytic converter codes...

    What specifically was it? Was it something about catalytic converter efficiency low, or something like that? Worn out O2 sensors can sometimes mislead the emissions diagnostic system and lead it to think the cat is bad. Depending on the code, I would replace the rear (first) and front (second) O2 sensors first, and see if that clears up the problem. That's less than $300 for 2 or 3 O2 sensors vs $1500 or more for a cat.
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    First, the RE series of transmissions does not have any kind of adaptive learning. Your engine has adaptive learning for fuel trim via the PCM. I would fix any known issues first (Cat Converter). One way of finding a TPS prob is to grab the connector at the TPS with the engine running at idle and give it a good wiggle. If your RRM's change you have a TPS / TPS connector issue. What the tech was looking at while driving was the Governor Pressure and RPM. You can also adjust your throttle pressure cable to make your shifts quicker or later also effecting the TCC.
  • dasboot, the converter is rattling. Tech said that was evidence that the converter was bad. I'll follow your advice.
  • Dasboot, I changed the TPS and did a test drive: no change. At least the TPS is now out of the equation! I had the code read: P0432 - downstream O2 sensor out of range. The cat is rattling, too. So, I suppose this points to a bad cat.

    On the test drive, I noticed that torque converter lockup (which is the primary problem) was fine up to about 60 - 65 MPH, then tended to unlock. Also, if I accelerated (like to pass), the converter unlocked as expected, BUT it would not relock once normal driving resumed. I could slow down to say 50 MPH, and the converter would relock, and I could slowly reaccelerate to 60 - 65 in lockup. Now, what do you think of this explanation: if the cat is bad, then emissions increase as speed/acceleration increase, up to the point where the emissions get out of range, and the computer signals the torque converter to unlock. Is this how the system works?

    So, I'm going to replace the cat. It needs it anyhow. If you have any other suggestions, I'd appreciate them.
  • I have a 2002 dodge dakota slt 4.7 4x4 with 90 k. Today i took the truck off road a little bit but didnt even do anything extreme like mudding, just went to a little pond in the woods. I also parked the truck on kind of an incline and pulled the parking break. when i got back on the hard road i noticed it was slugish, then it shifted from 1st and 2nd fine but would not shift into 3rd and just stayed inbetween 3000 and 4000 rpms. also when i slowed it would not down shift right away. and when i was going down the road you could hear a loud rattling noise. I recently just changed my tranny fluid atf 4 valaline and changed the filters. any advice would be helpful. thanks
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    for sure fix the fauly Cat Con but you should try to play with the throttle pressure cable adjustment and see if you can get the truck to do what you want it to. At the throttle body the Throttle Pressure cable has a white clip that can be raised to release the cable in its bracket for adjustment. Try playing around with that. The PCM will only inhibit TCC lockip during an overheat event, and of course in the event of 30% + throttle angle, a brake switch going on, or a certain amount of calculated engine load. The odge tech should of varified the correct lockup fuction during his test drive. That is why I say maybe you need to tweek the throttle pressure cable for your own liking. Just use a small screwdriver to lift up that white clip and be careful not to break it.
  • I have a 2003 Dak w/v6, 4 speed auto. When cold, shift into reverse causes engine to shudder and shut down. If I apply a little pressure to the accel, it will clear up. Second, when hot, a shift into overdrive causes a shudder & the tach goes crazy. No codes come up! ANY help would be great. Thanks
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    What V6 do you have, the 3.9L or the 3.7L. That makes a difference as to what trans you have which makes all the difference in the world when diagnosingthem. YYou will either have a 3.9L with a 44RE or a 3.7L with a 45RFE. Let me know.
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    OK, the 3.9 means you have a 44RE Trans. The condition you are describing with the cold stall is almost certaintly a problem with the reaction shaft (part of the front pump). I have seen this problem numerous times and many of those times it was inflicted by a hack mechanic during an engine replacement. If you try to force the engine onto the mounts you could bend the shaft causing this exact problem. The other issue is electrical and could be caused by a number of things.
  • kerton4kerton4 Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota with a 5 speed manual transmission while trying to check the trans fluid level I removed a bolt on the drivers side of transmission somthing inside slipped down,How do I replace this bolt?
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Well first of all, what slipped down? I would not close things back up until you have fished out whatever it was that dropped.
  • kerton4kerton4 Posts: 2
    I don't know what slipped .i didn't open up the transmission I was only rying to check fluid obviously I removed a bolt I shouldn't have.Now I can't get the bolt to thread back in.
  • mauboujrmauboujr Posts: 1
    i have a 99 durango with 11000 trany has been great till now. the other day i noticed a whining noise when driving. i did not pay attention to it figured it was some thing simple and i would checkit out when i had time. ha now the truck will not shift out of first gear. it is not low on oil. i dont think its shot because the oil does not smell does any one have any ideas on what my problem is?
  • So this has a V6 with the auto trans. When it starts out in D, it feels like it starts in 2nd being a little sluggish, and will work its way thru the gears or you can step on it and it will downshift to first and take off just fine and continue to shift htru the gears just fine. Any ideas? Thanks
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    Need to know what trans you have. If it's an RE series trans you almost certainly have a faulty governor pressure solonoid/ Governor pressure transducer. If its an RFE series trans that would be a whole different thing completely.
  • Its a 42re and the year I was misstaken is a 2002. Thanks for your help
  • gagergager Posts: 2
    Update, I replaced the TPS, no change in clunk when transmisssion downshifts at 25 MPH. Anybody got a suggestion on where to go next?
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    Obviously the only way to diag properly is with a scan tool that can read Gov pressure but without that data what you are describing is almost certainly Gov issues. Need any more info?
  • If you were to guess, what part would most likely need replacing?
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    Replace the Governor pressure transducer and Governor pressure solonoid. Both are mounted on a small boss attached to the valve body.
  • donisysdonisys Posts: 7
    I have swapped the tps on my 1999 Dakota. Unfortunately, the transmission is still acting strange. New fluid and filter now. Tranny is not OEM. Someone swapped it for an older tranny with adjustable bands. It will shift into 2nd but rarely third and OD. At idle it will go in and out of gear. If I take my foot off of gas at 45ish, it will complete shifting and lock convertor.
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    All RE transmissions have adjustable bands so I'm not sure what you mean by that. Is it that it has a badly delayed 2-3 upshift, and maybe will seem like getting the rpm's up to the high end and letting off the gas will get it to shift? If so you almost certainly have a worn front clutch piston seal which is the most common seal to wear on the RE series trans. Repairing this obviously requires trans removal.
  • donisysdonisys Posts: 7
    The filter I had to purchase was for a Chrysler 1977-1990 tranny.
  • dasboot72dasboot72 Posts: 115
    In other words you have a paper filter as opposed to a plastic encased filter. The paper filter was used up until 1997. You have to have an RE trans as opposed to an RH (RE has electronic governor, RH has hydraulic governor) because your check engine light would be on due to the connector at the trans that would have no where to go. RH transmissions were used up until about 1994 or so. Anyway, my point is you have to have RE trans and you need to make sure that you do have the right filter because if a paper filter has been incorrectly installed on a valve body that requires a plastic filter you can have issues. If the filter doesn't fit nice and flat to the bottom of the valve body its not right.
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