Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems & Overview

For many decades, the fullsize Dodge truck struggled to compete against its rivals from GM and Ford. To bolster lagging sales, a ‘big rig’ bodystyle was adopted in the mid-90’s, and the Dodge Ram finally took off.
The fourth generation (2009-present) Dodge Ram 1500 offer a range of powerful and efficient Hemi & non-Hemi engines that have 4, 5 or 6-speed automatic transmissions.

Do you have a problem with your 1500?
Let’s look at some of the most common transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your truck back on the road.

Recalls & Known Problems

2004 Ram 1500 – Loose Fasteners on Transfer Case (03V503000)

Summary
Most likely due to a glitch on the assembly line, the attaching fasteners on some Dodge 4×4 trucks may not have been tightened properly, which could cause leaks between the transmission and the four-wheel drive transfer case.

Consequence
If this problem occurs, the propeller shaft could separate and damage critical fuel system components. This can lead to a fuel leak, and in the presence of an ignition source, an underbody fire. The loss of transmission fluid can also result in transmission/transfer case damage, an inoperable 4wd system, and a big red spot in your driveway.

Remedy
Dodge dealers were given the correct torque specs to use when tightening the transfer case to the transmission fasteners. A recall for this problem was issued in December 2003. Owners can contact Fiat-Chrysler at 1-800-992-1997, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall ’03V503000′)

We know a good transmission shop in your area.

2014 Ram 1500 – Improperly Machined Transmission Case/Rollaway (14V161000)

Summary
On 125 copies of the 2014 Ram 1500 4×4, built between January 24, 2014 and February 5, 2014, a manufacturing defect could cause the transmission to not fully engage Park, which can result in a rollaway situation.

Consequence
According to the recall, a handful of 8-speed automatic transfer cases weren’t properly machined, which prevented the Park prawl from fully engaging. In some situations, the truck can slip out of Park and cause serious injury or property damage.

Remedy
The official recall was issued in May 2014, and dealers were instructed to replace the entire transmission. Owners can contact Fiat-Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403 (refer to recall ‘p13′), or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall ’14V161000’)

Ram 1500 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

TSB 247853
A small number of 2008 Dodge Ram trucks were fitted with a defective shift cable that could loosen itself, preventing the driver from manually selecting low gears with the shift lever.

TSB 224763
The 2007 1500 came from the factory with transmission control software that could lead to harsh or erratic shifting. This TSB addressed the issue with a software patch that dealers could use to reprogram the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module).

TSB 138954
The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) on the 2003 model contained software errors that prevented it from detecting problems with the governor pressure sensor. To fix the problem, dealers were issued a software update for the PCM.

What Transmission Does a Ram 1500 Have?

YearEngineTrans TypeDrive
1990-1992V6 3.0L / V6 3.9L42RE4 SPD Auto 2/4WD
1993-2004V8 5.2L / 5.7L / 5.9L / 8.0LNV45005-SPD Manual 2/4WD
2003-2011V8 4.7L / V8 5.7L545RFE4 SPD Auto 2/4WD
1987-2003V6 3.9L / 4.7L / 5.2LNV35005-SPD Manual 2/4WD
2007-2012V6 3.7L42RLE4 SPD Auto 2/4WD
1995-2005V8 5.9LNV56006-SPD Manual 2/4WD
1995-2006V8 5.2L / V8 5.7L / V8 5.9L46RE4 SPD Auto 2/4WD
2005-2012V8 5.2L / 5.7L / 5.9L / 8.0LG565-SPD Manual 2/4WD
1995-2006V8 5.2L / V8 5.7L / V8 5.9L46RH4 SPD Auto 2/4WD

RFE
The RFE is an automatic transmission family from Chrysler. The name refers to its Rear wheel drive design and Four Wheel Drive Electronic control system.

  • 45RFE – 2002 Model (3.7L and 4.7)
  • 545RFE – 2003–2011 Model (3.7L, 4.7L, 5.7L Hemi)
  • 65RFE – 2012 Model (4.7L, 5.7L)

How to Diagnose & Fix

  1. Check the OBD Codes
  2. Check the fluid level
  3. Test fluid pressure
  4. Drop the pan
  5. Repair, replace or rebuild

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14 thoughts on “Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. 2010 Ram 1500 Hemi 2 or 4×4
    My truck seem to be dragging itself forward when I have it on the 4×4 position. There is no noise, no grinding, nothing other that it does not feel like it is running freely.
    I have very low KLM on the truck approx 67,000klm to 70,000klm.
    Also if I have it on 4×4 position and I cramp my front wheels completely to the right or to the left to turn the truck it seem like it would stall… is it normal.
    It is my first 4×4 truck I am pretty green in trucks
    Thanks!

  2. I did a test and it showed to replace the governor selonoid censor in the transmission so I did it took care of the shifting problem. But the check engine light came back on . 1998 5.9 Dodge four wheel drive. What to I need to do to get the check engine light to go off.

  3. Hello
    I have a 2007 Ram 1500 2×4 4.7L. There is currently just over 150,000 miles on it. I’ve noticed that lately when I’m traveling at 60mph my rpm will go from 1500 up to 2500 and it will do this repeatedly. I don’t notice this at any other speed. Also occasionally when I let off the accelerator to coast to a stop the truck will “jerk” a little bit. Never did this before. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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