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Old 09-15-2011, 11:40 PM
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snrusnak snrusnak is offline
Dodge Ram Forum Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Orlando
Age: 28
Posts: 13,558
Gender: Male
Vehicle: 2010 Dodge Ram 1500
Trim Level: SLT
Color: White
Engine: 2008-20?? 287ci (4.7L) PowerTech V8 310hp 330lb/ft
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Default 545RFE transmission service step by step

I performed a transmission service on my truck last weekend, and thought I'd give my step by step. For reference my truck is a 2010 4.7L 2wd. The transmission in my truck is a 545RFE. The same transmission casing is used on the 45RFE, 5-45RFE, and 68RFE, so I assume this procedure is the same for these transmission as well, but check part numbers and fluid capacities. The 4.7L and the 5.7L HEMI use the same transmission, so it should also be the same filter part numbers for both engines. There are 2 filters in this transmission, the main sump filter, and a cooler return line filter(looks like an oil filter). Both filters are accessed after the trans pan is dropped.

The main sump filter is different for 2wd and 4wd. The advanced auto 2wd part number is FK-330. The advanced auto 4wd part number is FK-319. This kit comes with a gasket and a round seal as well. I recommend not replacing the round seal, if not properly sealed, it will cause the transmission to burn up.



The cooler return line filter is the same part for both 2wd and 4wd trucks. The part number from advanced auto is FK-331.


Some transmissions do not use the gasket, they use RTV sealant(I believe you can use black or red/orange). Mine had black RTV from the factory, but I ended up just using the gasket for ease of cleaning in another 50k miles when I do the service again. The RTV should seal better I would think.

You will also need approximately 8 quarts of ATF 4+ transmission fluid. The converter plus transmission holds approximately 16 quarts(I think), but this service will change out about 6-8 quarts of the total. I used Castrol ATF 4+. There are many choices, and I have been told that basically all ATF 4+ trans fluid is the same. ATF 4+ transmission fluid is synthetic.

1) I jacked the front of my truck up about 6" or so using the crossmember under the engine, and also put two jack stands under that crossmember. I did this because my step bars hang low and I couldn't fit under them(too many beers in my belly). You may be able to do this without jacking up the truck if you don't have step bars(or don't drink beer). Make sure the parking brake is on and the wheels are blocked.
2) I laid a blanket under the transmission as there is no drain plug and it is messy to drain the fluid. Put a pan to catch the fluid under the transmission. Loosen all the transmission pan bolts(I think there are 15) the exhaust pipe was sort of in the way of two bolts on my truck, but with a wobble socket, wrench, and patience you can get them all. Do not completely remove the screws, just loosen them.
3) Use a large flat screwdriver or something similar to pry a corner of the pan loose, as soon as it comes loose the fluid will pour out, very messy. Drain the fluid this way, get as much as you can drained, then remove all the pan bolts and lower the pan down gently as there is still fluid in it.
4) At this point you can unscrew the cooler return line filter(can use an oil filter strap wrench) and install the new one. I got the new one as tight as I possibly could by hand.
5) The main sump filter is held on by a torx/star screw(can't remember what size). This was the hardest part for me as the exhaust pipe was directly in the was of the screw. I got the screw out by using a torx/star "bit" that goes in a drill and clamped it in some vice grips and was able to loosen the screw that way. After this screw is out, the filter is loose and just pulls out of the seal that it is pushed into. I recommend not replacing the seal, if you don't get it seated correctly it can burn up the transmission. Push the new filter into the seal(make sure it is pressed all the way in) then put back in the torx/star screw and make sure it is snug plus a half turn or so.
6) Use a clean lint free rag and possibly a flat head screwdriver or some sort of scraper to clean the gasket mating surface on the transmission. After this the transmission is ready to go.
7) Pull off the magnet out of the transmission pan(make not of it's location) and wipe it clean. Scrape/clean the gasket mating surface of the pan. I usually use some fine sand paper also afterwards to make sure it's clean. Clean the rest of the pan(can use brake parts cleaner). Reinstall the magnet.
8) If you are using the gasket, set it in place on the pan, and push the bolts through the pan and through the gasket, the gasket will hold them in place. You can then raise the pan into place and start threading each bolt. Get all the bolts hand tight then torque down in several steps going in a crisscross pattern. Torque to about 105 in lb.

If you are using RTV sealant, spread a bead of RTV around the entire pan and around all bolt holes then raise the pan into place and start threading each bolt. Get all the bolts snug then follow the directions on the RTV tube. They will probably say to let sit for so many minutes, then turn the bolts another turn or so, then wait so many hours to fill with fluid, then wait so many more hours to get hot.
9) Set the truck back on the ground and remove the wheel blocks. Add fluid until it shows up on the dipstick in the "safe" area. Start the engine and put into each gear, then into neutral(parking brake on tight). Check the fluid again, it will probably be low, keep adding fluid until it shows up in the safe area again. Run the transmission through R, N, D, P, and then back to N again, and keep repeating until the fluid level is correct.
10) Check for leaks, then take it for a drive. Check the fluid and for leaks often for a day or few days(check hot as is more accurate...just make note hot on the dipstick I think means 180 deg, my trans almost never gets that hot, so it never gets to that level on the dipstick...just read the dipstick it will have info on it on what temps "cold" and "hot" are referring.. I ended up using about 7 quarts I think.

Notes: Be careful tightening any bolts into aluminum. Aluminum strips pretty easily. The two hardest parts of this procedure are draining the fluid as there is no drain plug, and getting that torx/star screw out. I think the HEMI has a slightly different exhaust routing and the torx/star screw isn't an issue. This service cost me a total of about $75.00 (2011 pricing for future viewers). That includes both filter kits, fluid, and brake parts cleaner. This is a pretty easy job, all basic tools most people have. The only tool some may not have is the torx/star bit or whatever it is. I used advanced auto because they seemed to have the part numbers figured out. I like auto zone and always use them but their computer system had it all screwed up...I perform this service about every 50k miles on all my vehicles.

Also, I'm told by multiple mechanics that it is bad to flush your transmission like some shops like to do. For one, you do not change the filters when you do this, and do not clean out the pan/magnet. Also, there is some reason that was explained to me that something like the fluid that breaks down on the friction discs or clutches or something is needed after time, and if you flush it out it causes slipping....or something like that.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Breathing in and out is good enough for me.
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