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)

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.

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.

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′)

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

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.

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.

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

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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22 thoughts on “Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. 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.

    • Hello Levi,

      I have a 2007 Ram1500 V6 3.7 and my truck does the same thing as yours, mileage is about 96,000 miles and my rpm will go way over 3000 to 4000. As you mentioned this happens when im traveling over 60 miles or more but recently its been happening more and more when im even going 30 miles per hour. It pulls erratically when shifting. Did you ever get any responses as to what was causing it? Thanks

  2. 2010 4.7 v8 4wd transmission seams to slips every once in a while. I’ll step on the gas and it take a few seconds for it to actually engage slamming it in to the gear and sometimes even squealing tires

  3. I had a 2009 Ram Laramie which my family love. Unfortunately I was driving in a residentveveial area at about 45mph when it flip on a straight way. I was very very fortunate that I didn’t get hurt even the airbag didn’t deploy. I was told by an manager at fiat Chrysler that it only deploy in straight hits. I miss this. Truck that my family love. But was to change manufacturer. This truck was paid for cash with my savings. Thanks for the time with fiat Chrysler.
    Ps. Still considering.

  4. I have a 2001 Dodge RAM 1500 2wd 5.2L. Reverse would sometimes not function and other times it would just fine. I paid for a rebuild and major tune up and now reverse works but it has a whine on accelerating that it did not have before. It also seems to have trouble when going slow and giving it a little gas …like it wants to stall but is ok if I give it more gas.

  5. I have big horn 2013, dodge ram, 4×4 5.7l hemi, six speed, mileage 133000km. Ever since i bought this new i noticed every winter time especially when temp. goes as low as – 25 degrees celcius in below the 3rd gear or a speed of 40- 50kph always fails to shift so you can see the rpm going as high as 2200rpm instead at normal to only 1100rpm. i brought this issue to the dealer but said that’s just normal maybe normal to dodge cars but not to other car brands, cause my other cars shifts normally unlike this. Are there alternative remedies regards this issue? Can i avail of thge powertrain warranty.

  6. 2010 1500 5.7 Hemi
    Truck started to go into 4th gear by itself. I would tun the truck off and restart it and put into drive and everything would be fine. overtime it became worse. it first seemed like it was a temperature thing at 104f. transmission temp. now it doesn’t matter what time, temp outside temp. it goes into fourth gear anytime it wants and can stay there for days. I have researched and found that its a transmission solenoid… my brother-in-law has a 2009 2500 diesel and had the same issues… I have 80,000 miles on this truck

  7. I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, 4.7l with about 175,000 miles. I was driving a few days back, I braked suddenly to avoid going through a red light. It was a hard brake, a hard a loud bang, the ABS and BRAKE lights came on and thereafter the truck won’t move forward or get into reverse.
    I towed the truck home. Please help.

  8. i have a 2006 2wd ram 1500 with a 5.7 hemi and a 4 speed auto. when i let off the gas the trans mission has this howl to it that is getting noticeable worse as time goes on. i know its the transmission cause when i put it into neutral it make no difference until i rev it up then it gets louder. any ideas? it still shifts fine


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