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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why can't Dodge put a 4-speed auto tranny in their 1/2 ton trucks thats worth a damn? Two weeks ago, I towed my RC to Moab and back with my '99 Ram (that has never towed before in its life!) and now it looks like I'll probabaly be rebuilding the tranny this week! &*%@!#$!!!

I'm just furious that a truck rated to tow 7800 lbs, will fry the tranny towing a 6500 lb trailer. I did everything right, kept OD turned off, had the right fluid in the tranny, and even had it flushed back in May!

I took it to West Motors in Preston yesterday. I talked to the service manager last night. He said they still have a few more diagnostics to do, but he said so far, everything on the outside of the tranny is fine, so they're headed inside (read: rebuild).

:mad: POS, I knew I should a bought a 3/4 ton Cummins.
 

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That sucks!
Just out of curiosity, does it have a tranny cooler? Do you have 3.55's or 3.92's?, Did the bands get adjusted?
I'm just curious because I've heard a lot of people have had bad luck with theirs too, I just wondered if the 3.55's and no cooler are a factor. I have a 2000 with 52,000 mi on it, 3.92's and a cooler, no trouble yet (knock on wood). I had a 96 Dakota that 95,000 mi. on it when I traded it, no problems. I just wonder if I'm lucky.
I think I would have got 3/4 ton for that much weight even though yours is rated to tow it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, it looks they may have fixed it, for merely 1/4 the price of a rebuilt tranny. :-X Just some sensor and pressure regulator I guess.

My truck has 55,000 miles and does have a tranny cooler, part of the factory tow package I believe. But, 3.92 gears would help a lot, I only have the 3.55s, but its still rated to tow 7800 lbs. Oh well, learned a lesson here, never tow with a 1/2 ton (first, and last, 1/2 ton I've ever owned) and I'll live on PB&J for a few months to catch back up. :-\
 

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tv_larsen said:
Well, it looks they may have fixed it, for merely 1/4 the price of a rebuilt tranny. :-X Just some sensor and pressure regulator I guess.
I guess thats kind of good news, considering the alternative. I'm going to guess 3:55's with 33's probably didn't help things.
Bet it doesn't go very fast with that load.
P.S. I'm going to Moab this weekend, can't wait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
KThaxton said:
I'm going to guess 3:55's with 33's probably didn't help things.
Bet it doesn't go very fast with that load.
Well, it wasn't bad, the 33's are only 5% taller than the stock 265s that were on it. On the flat, I could run 75mph, but it got squirrely, so I usually ran about 65mph. But it was 45mph to get over Sardine and Soldier Summit.

KThaxton said:
P.S. I'm going to Moab this weekend, can't wait.
Have fun, and take pictures! {cool}
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
RCC_SaMiaM said:
Yes, get a cummins! Don't get the auto tranny though, unless you find an allisson auto in one.
I will get a Cummins, and I won't get an auto. LOL

Actually, I'd take the auto if its a 727, but not one of these OD pieces of junk. One of my buddies has a '91 Cummins with a 727 that has been dynoed at something like 250hp and 600 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheels. He tows 15,000 lb trailers almost weekly, and it's his daily driver. He's had almost 200,000 miles so far and no problem with the tranny.
 

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Some possible aids in trans life....
I have heard a lot on another site that a Trans-go shift kit will firm up the shifts AND help the trans live longer, have also heard that turning up the line pressure up to 3 turns will help, but not as much as the shift kit, the adjustment is free though.
Both of these things were recommended by a Dodge tech, and verified by several people. I was also told the same things would work on a 727. I did the line pressure adjustment on my 727 (RC), I didn't really notice firmer shifts, but I'm told its a good thing to do. In the next couple of weeks, I'll do the adjustment on my 2000 when I do the trans service again.

I'll take pictures, but..... I'm taking my Dune buggy not my RC. I usually take the buggy on day rides because its more fun, cheaper to fix, and not my daily commuter. On the week long off road trips (the Maze in Canyonlands) I usually take the RC because we have to camp in it. Last May we went down there for a week and did 200 miles OFF road, about 80 miles of it was pretty difficult stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
KThaxton said:
have also heard that turning up the line pressure up to 3 turns will help, but not as much as the shift kit, the adjustment is free though.
Now, my neighbor keeps telling me this, but I don't know what it means. I'm familiar with 727's, but I don't even understand how this would relate to them. I'll be interested in the pics when you do it.
 

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I meant pics of Moab.
Anyway, I'm no tranny guru but the line pressure determines how tightly the clutch packs will engage. Tighter=less slippage=less heat. That is how I understand it. The newer trannies are basically 727's but have OD, solenoids and other electronic gizmos added, but the line pressure adjustment is done the same way. If you have a FSM for anything with a 727 in it, it should be same. There is a section in the tranny chaper about line pressure adjustments and you can use the picture to find where the adjusting bolt is. Its a Allen head bolt that sticks out from the side of the valve body. On my RC and on my 77 motorhome, the bolt was so close to the side of the housing I had to cut an allen wrench to fit in between. I havent done the 2000 yet but the picture in the FSM looks identicle to the others. Anyway, you turn the bolt up to 3 turns (I'm told any more will set a code, on newer trucks) COUNTER-clockwise. If you don't have an FSM I can explain it better after I look at mine when I do it (I can't remember which side of the vavle body its on).
 

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tv, if your still interested,
I did the trans service and line pressure adjustment on the 2000 Sunday. The allen head adjusting bolt is towards the front, on the drivers side facing the frame (on the side of the valve body). The bolt goes through a plate and has a spring on the other side of the plate. It is identical to the 727, you need to cut an allen wrench so it will fit between the housing and the bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the info. It's working so well right now, I'm just going to leave it be.

How was Moab? Where did you ride? And where's the pics? ;D
 

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Moab was awsome, as usual, except I had a few "issues"
Like I stated before, I usually use my fiberglass dune buggy down there. Anyway, we got there at about 1:00 pm on Sat. got camp set up, and said "hey lets do a quick ride, I know of one that is close to here and we can just go out and back" So, I told my buddy that there was one hard spot that we may not want to do. The trail was Gold Bar Rim (aka the way out of Golden Spike) We got to that spot, and we were having so much fun we didn't want to turn around yet, so my buddy said he'd go down that rock step and see if he could make it back up (we had to come out the same way), he did so we went down it and went to the rim for a while and then headed back. Well we got to that spot and I went first, on my 2nd attempt I heard a loud SNAP!. I got out to look, I broke my f#*%ken spring plate and ruined my shock and CV boot. I don't know if your faminliar with VW's but think of it as breaking a leaf spring (read, nothing supporting the axle) Anyway, had to leave it on the trail overnight, went to a VW junkyard (museum as the owner calls it) got the spring plate and fixed on the trail, not realizing that the OTHER spring plate was bent, so went to the J/Y again. So to sum this novel up, we spent day 2 and part of day 3 fixing my buggy. We did get a good ride in on day 3 on 7 Mile Rim with a few handicaps on my buggy, but at least we weren't done on the first day like I had thought.
Sorry, I didn't have a digital camera with me, maybe I can scan the photo's sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
KThaxton said:
tv, if your still interested,
I did the trans service and line pressure adjustment on the 2000 Sunday. The allen head adjusting bolt is towards the front, on the drivers side facing the frame (on the side of the valve body). The bolt goes through a plate and has a spring on the other side of the plate. It is identical to the 727, you need to cut an allen wrench so it will fit between the housing and the bolt.
Alright, I'm going to have to give this a try. The tranny shifts are definetly slower than they used to be. And now its starting up some of the same garbage as it was doing before. Argh! I'll change the filter, adjust the bands, and turn up the line pressure to see if it helps. If I have to rebuild this whore.... anyone want to buy a '91 Arctic Cat 700? :-\
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
2 years no payment, no intrest? you got a deal!!
Uh, no thanks. ;)

You may want to check this out too... http://www.jcj.net/dodgeram/trans_adjustment.htm
I don't see any need to adjust my TV cable. My down shifts seem just fine. But thanks anyways.

What kind of "garbage"? Of course if its acting really bad, these things won't fix it.
Also, what kind of tranny fluid have you been using?
I know this may not fix it, but anything is possible. I have been using ATF+3, I'm well aware of the perils of the wrong fluids.

Ever since I got the truck back a month ago from the previous tranny repairs, the shifts have felt slower. Not slow enough to alarm me, but slow enough to be a little uncomfortable. Probably around 1-1.5 seconds to complete a shift, at least 2-3 times longer than I prefer.

Then, starting a few days ago, just like before, when I left a stop sign from a dead stop, the tranny stayed in 2nd gear (not everytine however). Sometimes when I leave a stop its in 2nd gear, but right after I get rolling it abruptly shifts to first. And sometimes when sitting in gear at a stop, the tranny feels like it shifts back and forth once or twice.

One month ago, it did all of this for a few days, then "just" started from every stop in 2nd gear. Nothing else. I could manually shift it to first, and it would stay there. Or, once rolling, I could step on it, and it would downshift to first. So it really was working perfect, it was just staying in 2nd gear after rolling to a stop.
 

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Are you getting any codes from the computer?
On my old Dakota, I had similar, but slightly different problems after I changed the fluid/filter, it would stay in 2nd and other things that I can't remember right now, turns out I had pulled an electrical connection apart (on the valve body) while trying to squeeze the pan around the exhaust. It sounds like you have something else going though, that a band adjustment etc. wouldn't fix. See what codes you can get.
Also, that TV adjustment affects more than just downshifts, it changes the shifting points, although just slightly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
KThaxton said:
Are you getting any codes from the computer?
I wouldn't know. There is no way to pull codes w/o a reader on this.

On my old Dakota, I had similar, but slightly different problems after I changed the fluid/filter, it would stay in 2nd and other things that I can't remember right now, turns out I had pulled an electrical connection apart (on the valve body) while trying to squeeze the pan around the exhaust.
Yeah, that doesn't sound like the issue with mine.

It sounds like you have something else going though, that a band adjustment etc. wouldn't fix. See what codes you can get.
I don't thing the band adjusment will help either, but it's free. Its a long shot, but possible that increasing the line pressure may help. Its one of those, "spend $20 to see if it helps before I dump several hundred in it" sort of deals.

Also, that TV adjustment affects more than just downshifts, it changes the shifting points, although just slightly.
Well still, my shift points are fine, the kick down points are fine, its just not shifting to first at the stop. I don't think this is TV related at all as this all started when I got the tranny hot when towing.

Talking to Jay, I found out that Dodge lowered the line pressure way down on the OD autos to reduce internal drag and increase economy. They countered this by using a variable displacment pump in the tranny. It is supposed to supply fluid "on-demand". This is fine in theory, but doesn't work too well when the tranny develops a little, normal, internal wear which allows the clutches and bands to slip. So by increasing the line pressure, you're actually just raising it back up to 3-speed 727 levels.

This may help me, but it may also be too late.

I also found this page that may interest you. If I have to rebuild the tranny, I will install a Transgo shift kit.
http://www.dakotart.com/faqarticles/transgo_shift_kit_install/page1.htm
 

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I agree, try the cheap/free stuff first, but I am a pessimist, for me when I have problems, they're never easy!
I have heard nothing but GOOD things about the Trans-go kit, might be worth a try.
I'm not sure how it is on a 99, but if you have the digital odometer, you just do the key on-off thing 3 times and it will give you the code in the display (i.e. P65)
If it doesn't have the digital odometer, I think you should still be able to do it the old fasioned way, key on-off 3 times, then count how many times the "check engine" light flashes. I could be wrong on this, but it worked on my 96 Dakota.
You probably already know all of this, but it would seam odd that for just a few years, Dodge made it impossible to get codes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
KThaxton said:
I'm not sure how it is on a 99, but if you have the digital odometer, you just do the key on-off thing 3 times and it will give you the code in the display (i.e. P65)
If it doesn't have the digital odometer, I think you should still be able to do it the old fasioned way, key on-off 3 times, then count how many times the "check engine" light flashes. I could be wrong on this, but it worked on my 96 Dakota.
You probably already know all of this, but it would seam odd that for just a few years, Dodge made it impossible to get codes.
From what I read, Dodge switched to the OBDII computer, initially they made it so you could get the codes out that way through the digital odometer (I don't think a check engine light could flash the OBDII codes). But, for some reason, after '98, you can't, you need a code reader. So I've never tried it, I just assumed the info I read was correct. Maybe I'll try for kicks.

I too am not getting my hopes up, but I do have to try the easy stuff first. And yes, Transgo is the way to go, I put one in my '75's tranny and I love it.
 
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