Dodge B1500 Van Transmission Problems & Cost | A518 / 46RE | 545RFE

The Dodge B1500 van was equipped with the A518 (46RE) or the 545RFE transmission. But they aren’t without their problems though, so let’s look at some of the most common Dodge B1500 transmission problems, look at cost estimates and figure out what you can do about them.

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

Dodge B1500 Van Transmission Models

Dodge B1500 Transmission: A518 (46RE) Transmission
Dodge B1500 Transmission: 545RFE Transmission

Dodge B1500 Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate

Pricing varies by model. To be 100% sure on pricing, have your VIN# handy and use our Get An Estimate feature to look up your transmission by VIN#.

Replacement Dodge B1500 Transmission Prices:

TransmissionStreet Smart Transmission
46RE (A518)2053
545RFE2348

What are the DTC codes related to Dodge B1500 transmission problems?

Trouble CodeDescription
P0700Transmission Control System (MIL Request)
P0711Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
P0712Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Low Input
P0713Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit High Input
P0720Output Speed Sensor Circuit
P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio
P0731Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio
P0732Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio
P0733Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio
P0734Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio
P0735Gear 5 Incorrect Ratio
P0740Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Malfunction
P0743Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Electrical
P0748Pressure Control Solenoid 'A' Electrical
P0751Shift Solenoid 'A' Performance or Stuck Off
P0765Shift Solenoid 'D'
P07833-4 Shift
P0880TCM Power Input Signal
P0881TCM Power Input Signal Range/Performance
P0882TCM Power Input Signal Low
P0884TCM Power Input Signal Intermittent

Dodge B1500 Transmission Recalls

Recall 97V084000 – Transmission cooler lines
1994 – 1997 Dodge Ram pickups equipped with V6 or V8 gasoline engines and an automatic transmission
1995 – 1997 Dodge Ram pickups equipped with the V-10 gasoline engine and an automatic transmission
1996 – 1997 Dodge Ram Van and Ram Wagon equipped with an automatic transmission
Summary – In certain operating conditions, the transmission fluid temperature can cause the plastic retainers in the transmission cooler pressure line quick connect fittings to melt.
Consequence – If this occurs, the fitting may separate engine transmission fluid could spray onto the engine and exhaust system, potentially causing a fire.
Solution – In May 1997, Dodge dealers were instructed to replace the quick connect fittings with ones that incorporated a stainless steel retainer. Chances are, this problem has already been addressed in your vehicle. However, if you’re still concerned, you can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236

Dodge B1500 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

TSB 21-08-99 – Buzz, whining or moaning sound when reverse is selected
1996 – 1999 Dodge Ram Van – 1996 – 1999 Dodge Dakota – 1996 – 1999 Dodge Ram – 1998 – 1999 Dodge Durango – 1997 – 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ – 1996 – 1999 Jeep Cherokee – 1996 – 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ/WJ
Problem – An intermittent buzz, whining, or moaning sound may be noticed when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.
Solution – A new regulator valve may solve this problem. However, the issue can also be caused by a number of things, including a cracked pump housing, a torn pump gasket, low transmission fluid level, a dirty transmission filter, restricted transmission cooler flow, a worn valve inside of the valve body, or a worn valve body.

TSB 21-11-97 – Reverse buzz – 46RE Transmission
1996 – 1997 Dodge Ram Van/Ram Wagon – 1996 Dodge Dakota – 1996 – 1997 Dodge Ram
Problem – A buzz or moaning sound may be heard when shifting into reverse. This transmission problem may be more noticeable on cold vehicles – have been parked for several hours or overnight.
Solution – In order to repair this 46RE transmission problem, the rear band adjusting lever, reaction lever and strut, and the regulator valve pressure plug and sleeve will all have to be replaced.

TSB 21-11-00 – Check engine light with P1740 DTC for TCC or OD performance – 46RE transmission
2000 – 2001 Dodge Ram Van – 2000 – 2001 Dodge Dakota – 2000 – 2001 Dodge Ram – 2000 – 2001 Dodge Durango
Problem – There may be a check engine light illuminated, with a P1740 diagnostic trouble code for the torque converter clutch or overdrive performance.
Solution – A revised 46RE valve body pressure boost valve cover plate may need to be installed. To properly diagnose this condition, a technician will need to form a torque converter clutch stall test. If the TCC does not engage properly (the vehicle actually stalls), the following components may need to be considered: A cut or worn input shaft seals, a missing pump lockup circuit check ball, or a worn converter hub, input shaft, reaction shaft and/or pump rotor.

TSB 21-19-95A – Slips in reverse at mid throttle
1996 Dodge Ram – 1996 Dodge Ram Van/RamWagon – 1996 Dodge Dakota
Problem – Drivers may notice that the transmission slips in reverse, when they have applied mid/half throttle.
Solution – The 36RH or 46RE transmission regulator valve line pressure sleeve and plug will need to be replaced. The reverse drum, reverse band and rear servo assembly should also be inspected and possibly replaced if any damage is found.

Common Dodge B1500 Transmission Problems

Premature forward clutch failure – 46RE Transmission
Problem –
It’s not uncommon to experience premature forward clutch failure, which can prevent the vehicle being driven.
Solution – This can be caused by a number of issues including valve body failure, a worn stator bushing, a failed forward clutch piston seal, a failed forward drum assembly, the use of power programmers/chips to increase engine output, which can overwhelm a number of internal components.

Delayed and/or harsh 3-4 or 4-5 shifts – 545RFE Transmission
Problem – Owners may experience an unusually delayed or harsh 3-4 or 4-5 gear change, where the transmission doesn’t seem to want to go into that particular gear.
Solution – This issue is related to valve body problems where the material used to make one of the checkballs has broken down to the point that fluid is able to get past and engage the underdrive clutch during those shifts. An upgraded #2 checkball will be needed to solve the issue.

Lack of Response
Leaking Fluid
Low Fluid
Burning Smell
Grinding or Shaking
Whining, Clunking or Humming
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Torque Converter Issues
Valve Body Issues
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
Gears Slipping
No 3rd or 4th Gear
No 1st or 2nd Gear
No Reverse
Dragging Clutch
Trouble Codes / Check Engine Light

Can I drive with a transmission problem?

If your Dodge B1500 can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.

How often does a Dodge B1500 transmission need to be replaced?

The overall lifespan of a Dodge B1500 transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation, along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Dodge B1500 transmission last for between 130,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.

How are Dodge B1500 transmission issues diagnosed?

It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Dodge B1500 transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.

How is a Dodge B1500 transmission replaced?

In order to replace your Dodge B1500 transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.

Recommendations for Dodge B1500 transmission issues?

To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Dodge B1500 transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.

How to Solve Dodge B1500 Transmission Problems

Solution A: Buy a Used Dodge B1500 Transmission

The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.

Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Dodge B1500 Transmission

Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.

Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Dodge B1500 Transmission

Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

What Problem Does Your Dodge B1500 Have?

Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!

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