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Dodge Dakota Transmission Problems



  • I noticed this little problem at the end of last winter. I did a tranny flush and it went away until this slight cold spell. Now here's the problem.

    At crank up when cold the transmission seems like it slips in 2nd and 3rd gears.
    75% of the time I can turn off and on the OD and it will engaged into gear.
    All this happens only when it is cold. When it the tranny warms up about 2 or 3
    miles it shifts fine from there on out.

    If anyone has eny ideas, any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Sorry if this is a former question.

    Thanks Chad
  • I have a Dak '02 that has about 100K miles. Last night the truck would not shift into park. I can turn the truck of and on, shift into reverse and drive and it works. I had noticed in last several weeks the shifter handle had lots of "play" when in drive. Meaning, I could move the lever up and down a inch or so before it would hit another gear such as D1 or Neutral. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :confuse:
  • i have 02dak they sent me a recall paper talking there have been some 02 dak shifting out of park into neutral might wont check local dealer to see if it covers the recall
  • my 02 dak wont shift out of first until it hits 5000 rpms and im not sure if it starts out in first sometimes it has 12000 miles my cousin had it first and he had the same prom.but he changed the fluid and filters and it worked fine for a while but now it is acting up again .i dont know much about it i know it my have some censors on it but i dont know were some told me it could be a censor.if someone could tell me i would appreciate it
  • I have a 1997 Dodge Dakota Sport 4x4 with the 3.9L V6 engine and auto transmission. In the last week the truck has been losing power and doesn't want to pull up hills now. At first, it wasn't too bad, but now it basically comes to a complete stop when going up a decent sized hill, and even struggles on level ground. The codes came back for the torque converter, shift solenoid A, O2 sensor, and Pres Cntrl Sol A.

    I'm not sure where to start, as I have had the truck to a couple mechanics already and they tell me to take it somewhere else because they aren't sure where to start to pinpoint the problem either. The problem is that I'm not sure the truck can make it to where I need to take it, and I can't really afford to have it towed plus get the repairs done. I have read several threads about Dakota tranny problems and can't really find the info I need.

    The transmission linkage is loose, and has been for a while now, but the truck still ran fine. I just have to start it in neutral and shift first to second to drive on takeoff. But now as soon as I put it in first it starts sputtering and doesn't want to pull. Out on the road every now and then, it does pretty well once it gets to about 40 mph. But it runs smoother in first gear than in drive, still not good in any gear, but better in first. The truck idles fine in park or neutral.

    Sorry for the long thread, but I just wanted to try to give all the necessary info. Any help, tips, or suggestions would be much appreciated. I am just trying to pinpoint the problem as best I can without unnecessarily spending money on parts or repairs which may not be needed. Thanks to all who can help.

    BTW, the error codes I received were: P0743, P0753, P0132, P0748.
  • I have a 1994 Dakota that has the 3.9 V-6 with automatic transmission... Can anyone tell me what other Dodge "years" or other Dodge vehicles that the transmissions will interchange in my Dakota? I guess mind is shot and I am wanting to go to the salvage yard and pull one, but don't know what other years or vehicles will interchange. Does anyone know?
  • Hey,

    I have a 1995 Dodge Dakota Auto with 145,000 miles. I have gotten the tranny flushed ever 30,000 miles since I bought it with 32,000 miles. I recently, only in cold weather ~45-50 degrees have been having a hard time getting it to shift into 2nd and 3rd gear. I just had it flushed with no resolve. What should I do?
  • I have a 1996 Dodge Dakota with a 3.9L V-6. Up to this point, I've had no problems. A while back I had a problem starting my truck. I turned the key and nothing, just silence. I was baffled. Somehow or another I took the truck out of park into neutral and then put it back into park and it started right up. I was thinking my Transmission might be slipping.
    The Other day, I pulled into work and put the truck in park and went to reach over to get my gym bag and the truck took off in reverse almost hitting a car behind me. Scared sensless and thinking I had mistakenly put it in reverse I drove back to my spot and put the truck in park again. Took my foot off of the break and it again took off in reverse.
    I pulled back forward, put the truck in park, shut it off and put the E brake on.
    The indicator that shows what gear I'm in (P-R-N-D-2-1) is now off by a half a mark, ie. Neutral now shows as reverse, etc. The truck is still driveable right now but will not shift into Park. Any help would be appreciated. :confuse:
  • I saw that someone else had this problem but I never saw a response to his particular problem. I have a 1996 Dodge Dakota with a 3.9L V-6. Up to this point, I've had no problems. A while back I had a problem starting my truck. I turned the key and nothing, just silence. I was baffled. Somehow or another I took the truck out of park into neutral and then put it back into park and it started right up. I was thinking my Transmission might be slipping.
    The Other day, I pulled into work and put the truck in park and went to reach over to get my gym bag and the truck took off in reverse almost hitting a car behind me. Scared sensless and thinking I had mistakenly put it in reverse I drove back to my spot and put the truck in park again. Took my foot off of the break and it again took off in reverse.
    I pulled back forward, put the truck in park, shut it off and put the E brake on.
    The indicator that shows what gear I'm in (P-R-N-D-2-1) is now off by a half a mark, ie. Neutral now shows as reverse, etc. The truck is still driveable right now but will not shift into Park. Any help would be appreciated.
  • Your linkage is out of adjustment. possibly caused by worn out parts in the mechanical linkages on the transmission or in your steering column. Your transmission will be damaged if you do not have the problem repaired as the selector in the transmission itself will be between gear selections and cause internal transmission problems and damage. Even though your selector says D your transmission could be locked between N and D and really wreck your day. That's why it won't start for you or only starts when you move the gear selector.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    A sticky or binding Throttle Position Cable can easily cause this symptom, and a strong suspect since the problem started to occur in the cold weather.

    Another possible cause could be the Throttle Position Sensor, especially in that high mileage of a vehicle.

    Best regards,
  • I have a 1998 Dakota Sport with a 5.2, Auto. I just bought it 5 days ago and now the transmission is gone. It just barely moves in reverse and will not shift out of first gear. I love the truck and want to get it going again ASAP.

    I have a friend who has a 1995 Dakota 5.2, 5sp that I can get REAL cheap. What I want to know is does this truck have everything I would need for a trans swap??? Or are the clutch/brake pedal assembly, slave cylinder/clutch master cyl set up, crossmember, mounts, and so on different

    Or am I just better off getting another auto from the junkyard(though after reading all these posts and based on my own experiences im not sure I want another auto.

    Any help and info would be appreciated.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Look. I may sound like a voice in the wilderness to you, but Dodge automatic truck transmisions are pretty sound, durable, and reliable units despite what anyone says. If you maintain the vehicle properly and don't abuse it, the RH or RE series Mopar tranny will out live a 4L60 or 4R75 any day.

    If your symptom is as described, the likely problem is severe loss of pump pressure. In my experience this is caused by a clogged Anti-Drain Back Valve, Transmission Filter, or clogged cooling lines. The problem is that insufficient fluid flow may have caused burned clutches or overdrive unit. However, there are other possible causes that may may not require a complete overhaul.

    I will bet this vehicle's transmission was not properly maintained. Unfortunately, you are likely stuck with the problem now. I would have the transmission overhauled and rebuild by a reputable transmission technician that will ensure that all of the updates have been performed (there are a number of them). Once this is done and you change fluid and filters regularly per the scheduled service interval, you should be able to have a reliable transmission for at least 100,000 miles.

  • What you speak is the truth, When I got the truck the first thing I did was change all of the fluids, brakes and so on. When I dropped the trans pan the first thing I found that really dissapointed me about the previous owner(yes it was a one owner truck with 308,000km on it) was that it had the original filter from the factory and the magnet in the pan looked like a nice big donut there was so much debris on it. I had a good indication at this point I was going to be needing a trans soon, just didnt think it was going to be this soon.

    I bought another trans from a local yard(it was alot cheaper than an over haul, and im on a VERY strict budget) I also ordered a Transgo shift kit for it, which I hope as their site says will remedy the problems that cause trans failure. I will take care of this new trans like it is my son, I love my truck and it kills me to see it just sitting in my driveway.

    Thanks again Dusty, after spending a night reading EVERY post in this section I was hoping you would be the one who responded to me.
  • Well don't feel bad friend, I've asked two questions on here and haven't gotten an answer yet.. I'm beginning to think that no one on here knows the answers... Although my problem wasn't the same as yours, I didn't get an answer either... Good luck...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'm glad to have been helpful. I'm honored by your comments.

    One thing I'd like to add is the importance of flushing the cooling lines after a rebuilt or a swap. The way you describe the magnet, I am worried that the cooling lines are restricted. This is a VERY common problem, and not just on Mopars.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, this is a common symptom on older Dakotas.

    The Shift Cable is binding or is badly out of adjustment. You could have a problem with the Transmission Range Sensor, but this is very rare and equally doubtful.

    I suggest taking it to the dealer for repair.

    Best regards,
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    If you look on the side of the transmission housing, there should be either an "RH" or "RE" in raised letters cast into the housing. You should be able to use any RH downwards to '89. The RE series is a little more complicated since there could be a computer-to-transmission compatibility issue.

    You can't use an "RH" to replace a "RE," and vice-versa.

    Swaping transmissions from different years is not an approach I recommend, since there are often changes and differences (axle ratio, for example) that will have a bearing on transmission performance, reliability, and sometimes suitability.

    Good luck,
  • What you are describing sounds a lot like a catalytic converter problem. Had the same symptoms on two different trucks and the catalytic converter was clogged up on both. After putting a new one in (not inexpensive) they worked great. that may explain why the o2 sensor was appearing. Good luck.
  • dge330dge330 Posts: 10
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    This needs problem needs to start with a pressure check. Could be a locked torque converter, broken planetary gearset, a stuck or dragging clutch, stuck valve body, there are too many things that might cause this.

  • dge330dge330 Posts: 10
    the truck had a rod knocking and it sat for 2 years before we had the motor rebuilt .andn this is the problem we had after we installed new motor .i am going to replace both solenoids in the trans plus filter and fluid
  • dge330dge330 Posts: 10
    added seafoam trans tune about 25 miles ago to try to free stuck vales if any
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Here's my opinion on using transmission additives. The types that are advertised for curing worn, dried, or cracked seals and gaskets rarely work. If a seal is bad there is no chemical known to man that can repair it. A seal that has a tear will not become whole again with any chemical additive.

    Some of the so-called "tune up" additives contain chemicals designed to loosen gum, varnish and debris deposits formed by loose clutch or other internal materials. There are two problems with these types of products.

    One. They sometimes work! Yes, they can soften debris materials but then this material is circulating around in the system where it often moves on to other areas that were not previously affected. This can be acute in older, high mileage or poorly maintained transmission where there may be a lot of debris material built up over time. Softened debris will then be re-entered into the fluid flow as loose particles increasing component wear and cause blockage in another area or stop fluid flows altogether.

    This can be especially acute in Chrysler transmissions because they all use a Anti-Drain Back Valve to prevent siphoning of the torque converter at cool-down. The anti-drainback valves used in most Chrysler automatics are susceptible to becoming clogged, the lone exception is the 545RFE which uses an internal anti-drainback valve and has a coolant return filter just in front of it.

    If you have ever seen transmission cooling lines that were literally packed solid of debris you'd understand that just adding something to the fluid to "loosen things up" could have grave repercussions. In fact, in the transmission service and rebuilding industry system flushing is highly controversial for this very reason. There is a point when deposits inside the transmission are so great that the only correct way to ensure that the system is completely clean is to tear it down and bench clean.

    Two. They de-stabilize ATF, especially ATF+. Chrysler's ATF+ series is a very specialized lubricant/hydraulic fluid. It contains a number of additives that lower the pour-point, raise the operating temperature (viscosity index), make the fluid resistant to moisture build-up, prevent foaming and oxidation, and most importantly...give the fluid a specific friction quality to match the design of the transmission clutches and other internal components to ensure design shift operation.

    ATF+3 and ATF+4 are the easiest to de-stabilize because they are a much more complex fluid than Dexron or Type F. One quart of Dexron-Mercon will kill a Chrysler tranny in just a few thousand miles. Additives are even worse, in my opinion. When they are used you now have committed yourself to the complete removal of the additive to the transmission, which means you must flush the entire system at the very least.

    My advice is if you think you need to put an additive in the transmission, what you really need is to have the transmission correctly diagnosed and serviced. Many times this will be less costly and time consuming.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out.

  • Had the dreaded "Stuck in Park" :cry: happen on my 2001 Dakota Sport Club Cab AWD yesterday. Happened in a friends driveway ... had to crawl under it a disconnect shift cable and manually shift it into neutral and push it out of the driveway. Have read all posts re this issue. Looks like lubricating the sliding and rotating parts on the locking pawl mechanism is the only fix??? Only way out was to push the locking pawl in with my finger, then it started working again, didn't have to step on the brake pedal. This morning after sitting all night in a warm garage it did the same thing... had to push the pawl in with my finger ... then it released again just using the key. Looks like this is going to be a real pain. :mad: Any permanent fixes for this that anyone has come up with??
  • ok I am looking for an aftermarket transmission so i can do away with this piece of stuff dodge is calling a transmission if anyone can help me it would be appreciated
  • Went mudding and after two days, my auto transmission started to slip. Checked the dip stick and it had water on it. I had the trans flushed out but it still slips. it is a 2004 dakota with a 4.7 v-8. Before i spend 2000.00 on a rebuilt one, is there anything else i can try. What about replacing the transmission filter and fluid?

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I'm not sure what "lubricating the sliding and rotating parts on the locking pawl mechanism" means to you. Although it can happen on a transmission that has a damaged parking pawl or sprag, this is very rare.

    This problem is usually the result of an out-of-adjustment Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) mechanism that's located in the steering column, or a damaged or improperly lubricated shift cable that connects to it.

    Remove the trim on the steering column and watch the movement as you move the gearshift lever. If the lever is moved but you see no corresponding movement in the cable, its a binding problem. Lubrication mat resolve the issue if it's not an adjustment or damaged shift cable problem. There's a special grease that must be used available from your Dodge dealer. Do not use axle or bearing grease.

    There is a adjustment procedure, but I recommend having your dealer check this out. This is a common symptom on older or high mileage vehicles. It shouldn't take a tech. too long to fix this if there are no parts required.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    You have a 545RFE transmission. 545RFEs are pretty sophisticated. They are not only fully electronic but also fully adaptive, meaning they constantly adjust for driver input and operating conditions. If you've done a full flush of the system, you should've replaced both transmission filters (Yes, there are two in a 545RFE). If you haven't replaced the filters, you may have packed either one, especially the Coolant Return Filter, with water. This will block fluid flow.

    First, can you please describe how you flushed this transmission?

    Second, what fluid did you use when the flush was done? If you didn't use ATF+4 you may be in trouble!

    Possibilities. You may not have flushed all of the water out of this system. In addition, if mud has gotten into the system a flush may not be adequate enough to remove all debris.

    545RFEs compensate for clutch slippage over time by counting Clutch Volume Indexes (CVI) and internally adjusting clutch pressure. When the transmission was slipping, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) may now believe there is so much slippage that the CVI has overshot. This may possibly be corrected by disconnecting the battery for one minute and allowing the PCM to reset.

    Personally, I would recommend taking this to a Dodge dealer and having them diagnose the problem. These trannys are really tough and near bulletproof. Tear downs and rebuilds are extremely rare, and usually unnecessary.

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