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ram charger trans ?

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by murphy4trees, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. murphy4trees

    murphy4trees Member
    Messages: 62

    I think I smoked the trans on my 87 ram charger last big storm... ran it 24 hard hours straight.... It shifts fine, but the fluid is burnt and it lost power... A LOT of power.. it's almost like driving with the parking brake slightly engaged... I have to push everything in 4 lo now, and downshift manually going up even slight inclines... I have an '89 ram charger that is now a back up truck with the same problem... a mechanic ran the diagnostics on that one a few years back and i think it was something like a problem with the torque converter... that truck would actually get stuck after sitting a while, and I'd have to "break it free" with a big clunk before it loosened up a bit...

    Anyhow I had just put a plow on the '87 and now it's my main plow truck.... Great for tight drives and small lots, which is all I do... I Am planning on rebuilding or replacing the trans after the winter and of course install a trans cooler at that time.... I think I found a decent shop to do the work... but should i change the fluid ASAP or just wait out the season? Also anyone familiar with the problem? Suggestions?... it's also using trans fluid now, which it never did before...

    I'll need the truck to pull a 4200 lb trailer later this year... Which it did acceptably well before...

  2. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    You may already have damaged the transmission to the point where it's only a matter of time now before it completely fails, but you should absolutely change the fluid right away if you plan to continue driving it. You should take it to a reliable transmission shop in your area and have it checked out. You may get lucky and a flushing out, new fluid and filter may be all you need. Maybe a band or cable adjustment too.

    I start the season with a fresh tranny service and I check the fluid after every storm. So far so good, but the first time I see any signs of the fluid looking or smelling burnt I'd have it changed. I'll have it changed at the end of the season anyway. I also plow in 4L when practical, I realize it's really not an option for doing most lots or big areas but it's less heat for the tranny. Heat's the enemy and if you don't have an aux tranny cooler you should install one. A trans temp gauge is a good idea too. Then, you'll know when it's time to let her rest before damage is done.

    I hope it's not too late for you.
  3. 440trk

    440trk Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I agree with JohnTwist above.
    I also plow in 4-Low, have a trans cooler and a temp guage. This last snow we got was kinda' heavy....which adds more heat to the trans. My trans temp ran higher than usual by about 10º-15º...but well within safe limits.
    If your trans does not have a cooler...I'm guessing you toasted the trans fluid pretty good. Change it, have the trans serviced (band adjustments, etc) and plow in 4 low. Also plan on installing a cooler and a temp guage in the near future (especially if you tow also). We're up for another snow storm over the next couple of days...hope the Ramcharger holds up for ya.
  4. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Could also be a solonoid gone bad or a boost valve broken/stuck.
    The boost valve retainer snapped in mine earlier in the fall, the broken part dropped onto the solonoid power feeds and shorted smoking the main wiring harness (still trying to correctly fix it but anyway) With the valve inoperative the transmission had NO power- and was basically stuck in second gear.

    If a valve or solonoid is inoperative you could have basically the same result- driving it will only make it worse (it could very well be too late already) requiring a complete rebuild instead of a repair. I can imagine the transmission valving fighting itself to shift from reverse to forward because of a malfunctioning valve causing it to be "stuck" and release hard (line pressure winning in a given direction).
    Change the fluid and look in the pan for stuff- might give you an idea of if it's metallic or paper dust in the pan.