- Learn about common Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problems
- Everything you need to know when shopping for a Dodge Ram 1500 transmission for sale
- How and when to buy a remanufactured Dodge Ram 1500 transmission
Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems & Solutions
For decades, the Dodge Ram had languished in the shadow of the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado. It was just another workhorse until the boffins at Dodge decided to release a ‘big rig’ inspired version for 1994. This stylish pickup sparked a revolution in the fullsize truck market, and the Dodge Ram 1500 became an instant sales leader. To keep it on the cutting edge, the 46RE transmission was released for the 1999 model year, followed by the even more advanced 545RFE in 2002. Both of these gearboxes are ideally suited for truck duty, but they can develop problems over time. So let’s look at some of the most common Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problems and see what you can do about them.
Common Dodge Ram 1500 46RE Transmission Problems
Transmission fluid is designed to absorb heat as it passes over the moving parts. The heat is then expelled as the ATF is pumped through a special cooling chamber in the bottom of the radiator. Friction is what generates the heat, and it can increase when the transmission has to shift a lot, or its under the strain of a heavy trailer/load. If the ATF can’t cool itself fast enough, the transmission itself will overheat. This will cause all sorts of 46RE problems, including ruptured seals, failed transmission bands, clutches, and a warped valve body. To keep this from happening, every Street Smart Transmission remanufactured 46RE transmission is shipped with an external transmission cooler.
Severe Slipping and/or No Gear Engagement
One of the most common Dodge Ram 46RE problems is slipping between the gears, or a complete failure to engage forward or reverse gears. This can be caused by a number of OE design flaws that can lead to valve body issues, and pump issues. To correct these shortcomings, every SST remanufactured 46RE transmission comes with some crucial upgrades, like a modified valve body with an upgrade pressure regulator valve, manual valve, throttle valve, and 4-spool switch valve. There’s an oversized Low/Reverse brake band strut to stop drum slippage and failed reverse engagement. And the pump is completely remanufactured to prevent slippage and delayed gear engagement
Common Dodge Ram 1500 545RFE Transmission Problems
With no transmission bands, the electronically controlled Dodge Ram 1500 545RFE relies on a solenoid switch pack to direct fluid to the correct clutch pack for gear engagement. If the solenoid pack goes bad, you’ll experience no gear engagement, engine stalling, ‘limp mode’, or failure to engage overdrive. To correct this condition, every SST remanufactured 545RFE transmission receives a solenoid pack with an updated design, which tested separately prior to installation, to verify proper function and pressure control.
Slipping and Delayed Gear Engagement
The transmission pump has a little valve mechanism inside it, which controls the fluid pressure being transferred from the torque converter. If it goes bad, you’ll have delayed gear engagement, transmission/torque converter overheating, stalling, slipping, and reduced fuel economy. That’s why each SST remanufactured 545RFE transmission receives an upgraded TCC limit valve and accumulator.
How to Solve Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems
Solution A: Buy a Used Dodge Ram 1500 46RE / 545RFE transmission
The quickest way to solve most Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problems, is to buy a used 46RE transmission or a used 545RFE transmission. They’re relatively inexpensive, and they come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, most junk yards don’t have the capability to test the functionality of the transmission components, and that warranty won’t cover labor charges if you have to install a replacement transmission.
Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Dodge Ram 1500 46RE / 545RFE transmission
If you don’t want to risk buying a used transmission, then you could shell out for a rebuilt 46RE transmission or a rebuilt 545RFE transmission. These are typically rebuilt with a bunch of new parts, and they often come with a 1-2 year warranty. The down-side is, the durability of said gearbox depends on the skills of the mechanic working on it, and the quality of the parts used. And the rebuilder’s warranty may only be honored by certain shops, in a certain area.
Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Dodge Ram 1500 46RE / 545RFE transmission
The most permanent solution to any Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problem is to buy a remanufactured 46RE transmission or a remanufactured 545RFE transmission. These are created in a factory, where the quality will exceed OEM specifications. To achieve this, each component of a remanufactured Dodge Ram 1500 transmission is thoroughly inspected, and anything that doesn’t meet spec, is discarded and replaced. Next, all of the systems are completely remanufactured, new and upgraded parts are installed, then the entire transmission is hot/cold dyno tested prior to delivery. Each Street Smart Transmission is also issued a 3-year/Unlimited Mile (18-months/100,000 miles for commercial and heavy duty applications) Warranty, which pays for parts and labor at any licensed repair shop in the country. It’s also tied to your Ram’s VIN number, so you can pass the protection to a new owner if you sell the truck. Aside from buying a brand new truck, a remanufactured Street Smart Transmission is the only way to get a reliable transmission with a nationwide warranty. To learn more, give us a call at 1-866-812-7560. Or you can click here to check on the price and availability of a remanufactured Dodge Ram 1500 transmission.