DODGE RAM, DURANGO & JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE TRANSMISSION ISSUES - REPAIRS - REPLACEMENT INFORMATION
The Dodge Ram, Durango, and Pickup and the Jeep Grand Cherokee utilize the A500 and A518 transmissions. The A518 transmission is a heavier duty transmission. The choice of transmissions varies depending on the vehicle, engine size, and model year. An exception is 2000 through 2002 Durango with the 4.7L engine, which has the 45RFE transmission. Others are the 2003-2007 Durango with the 4.7L and 5.7L engines which use the 5-45RFE, and the 2004-2007 Durango with the 3.7L engine with the 42RLE transmission. These Dodge transmissions are of a completely different variety.
Dodge and Jeep Solenoid and Sensor Code
The Dodge and Jeep A500 and A518 transmissions share 3 common failure areas that often produce a solenoid or sensor code. The first and the least expensive problem we will discuss is the failure of the Governor Pressure Solenoid and/or the Governor Pressure Sensor. The failure of either of these components will result in a failure to shift properly. These problems can be inconsistent in nature and can occur when cold (The vehicle hasn’t been driven for at least a couple hours), hot, or both. Often the failure does not create a solenoid or sensor code, but it can be verified if driven by a qualified technician using a real-time diagnostic scanner. If a problem is found, the solenoids and sensors are usually replaced as a set, with the repair usually not exceeding $550.00.
Dodge and Jeep Torque Converter Clutch
Another area is the Torque Converter Clutch. The switching circuit that controls the application and release of the Torque Converter Clutch is deficient in its operational abilities. Over time, this can lead to failure. When rebuilding the transmission, we replace the Torque Converter Clutch valve with a newly redesigned valve, manufactured by Sonnax. This new valve prevents failure and provides proper operation, even under rigorous use.
Transmission Cooler and Lube System on Trucks
The next area of concern is the lubrication system. To lubricate the internal rotating components of the transmission, fluid is pumped out of the transmission, through a one-way check valve, through a transmission cooler in the engine radiator, and sometimes through another cooler, external of the engine radiator. It is then routed back to the rear of the transmission where it is pumped into the Intermediate Shaft. The fluid travels throughout this shaft and exits at crucial locations to lubricate gears and other components. Research has found that fluid flow is not adequate and this issue can overheat and destroy Planetary Gears, particularly the Overdrive Planetary Gear Set. Insufficient lube flow can also destroy the Low Drum.
Transmission Cooler Lines
The two bottlenecks in the lube system are the one-way check valve and the Intermediate Shaft. The check valve prevents Torque Converter drain back, which causes very sluggish performance after the vehicle has been sitting for many hours (we call it morning sickness), but only lasts for about 20 seconds. This condition plagued Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler owners since the original Torqueflight transmissions were introduced in the sixties, but the issue does not harm the transmissions, and for this reason, wasn’t addressed until the 1990s. For over 25 years, TransGo has supplied a redesigned valve to correct this issue. It worked superbly on the old Torqueflights and it works just as well on the new overdrives. By installing this internal valve, we can eliminate the check valve in the cooler lines without causing drain back. The omission of this check valve improves fluid flow considerably. The Intermediate Shafts on the Jeep Cherokee and the Dodge Durango have small lube holes that can restrict fluid flow. The shafts on heavier Dodge Ram trucks, especially diesel, have larger lube holes. All shafts are now available with large lube holes that improve flow and eliminate failure. These are used on all Suburban Transmission overhauls.
Caravan, Voyager, Town & Country Automatic Transmission Service
This transmission has 5 design flaws that commonly lead to failure. The use of the term OEM refers to a Dodge, Plymouth, or Chrysler manufacturer or authorized rebuilder. The Torque Converter commonly fails due to design flaws in the hydraulic systems that control the Torque Converter Clutch application. We install a redesigned valve manufactured by Sonnax that produces proper application under all conditions.
Planetary Gear Carrier Set
604 transmissions are unusually hard on the Front Planetary Gear Carrier. The torque wears the carrier splines as well as the Pinion Gear Bearings. Even at 80,000 miles, the original carrier can show considerable wear. We install a new OEM dealer carrier package on all transmissions. The latest gear sets have hardened splines to eliminate wear and the package also includes a new hub with hardened splines. This prevents the wear from happening at such a quick pace.
A rubber seal in the Input Clutch Housing is susceptible to wear from the Clutch Piston. This can cause leakage at the seal and subsequent clutch failure. We install a Teflon sealing ring in place of the rubber seal. The Teflon ring, made by TransGo, has a redesigned shape and cannot be worn by the Clutch Piston.
The bearing located between the rear carrier and Sun gear is prone to failure, which leads to total gear set failure. An upgraded bearing is included in the bearing kit that we install in all of our transmissions.
Differential Carrier Pin
The Carrier Pin that supports the Spider Gears in the Differential Carrier has a tendency to sheer its roll pin. If this occurs, the Carrier Pin can slide out of position during operation and crack the transmission housing (case). This usually results in a lack of movement and a substantial loss of transmission fluid. This problem can be prevented by bolting on retaining brackets, which we utilize on all our A604 transmissions.
Broken Transmission Case Housing Core Charge
It is important to note that if your transmission housing is broken, many transmission remanufacturers and installers, including the OEM dealer, will charge you an additional Core charge. This charge covers the cost of acquiring a replacement housing. If you suspect your transmission housing is damaged, make sure you mention it when inquiring about a price for repair or replacement, otherwise, the repair facility may surprise you with a $300.00-$600.00 core charge. Because we carry an extensive supply of transmission housings, we can usually save you this core expense if your housing is cracked.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission
There are different types of transmission for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, so it is important to know the engine size. The next step is to properly diagnose the problem because it could be something as simple as a failed sensor that is putting the transmission into failsafe. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram utilize some of the same transmissions, so there is useful information listed for those trucks and SUVs also.
The models with a 4.0L six-cylinder engine have the A500 transmission, which Jeep began using in 1994. The A500 is a four-speed overdrive transmission based on the Chrysler Torqueflight 904, which was developed in the 1960s. It is electronically controlled, but retains much of the old-school engineering, except that it has no governor. The governor has been replaced with solenoids that simulate governor pressure, based on signals from the computerized electronic control module. To remanufacture this transmission, using original equipment Jeep (Chrysler) parts, would run you $2877 (worst case), including all parts, labor, fluid, taxes, and upgrades. All our transmissions carry a full 4 year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Jeep Cherokee with Dodge 5-45RFE 5 Speed Automatic
The 3.7L V-6 and the 4.7L V-8 models utilize a five-speed automatic transmission called the 5-45RFE. It is based on 1990s technology and has far fewer problems than the A500. The most common problem is a cracked plate on the valve body, which retains the accumulator pistons. When this plate breaks it causes shifting errors. Replacing this plate and upgrading the valve body would run you approximately $680. The plate that we would install is a hardened steel upgrade that will never break. If you have this transmission, you want to have somebody you can trust pull the pan and inspect the plate to see if it is broken. In our experience, most dealerships do not do this; they only install replacement transmissions. To remanufacture this transmission, using original equipment Chrysler parts, would run you $3177.00 (worst case), including all parts, labor, fluid, taxes, and upgrades, including an upgraded plate, even if it isn’t currently broken. It would also carry a full 3 year, 100,000-mile warranty. As you can see, the difference in price is significant. Therefore, it is always best to check the plate.
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