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  #1  
Old 12-02-2011, 12:52 AM
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Default Tranny acts like granny

When the weather gets colder it takes a bit for the truck to move as if the transmission is slipping. I let it run for a minute and it takes off okay. Is this normal? This is my first Dodge and I service the transmission every 50,000. The last service I had the filters and fluid replaced back in April.
mileage is 101,000
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:08 AM
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I would not consider that normal, with the following caviet(s)-

1) Your in Texas, so to the best of my knowledge, it never actually gets cold. It may feel that way, but cold 'Starts' at -20deg.

2) This morning (-22deg), I was running late, so my truck got about 10sec of warmup. The transmission shifted like it does in the summer.

3) I only have about 18,000 miles on my truck

4) You have a 4.7 which IMO, is not powerful enough to hurt the trans.


It may be a good idea to get the opinion of a transmission specialist. If there is something amiss, it's better to get it dealt as soon as possible, as a complete trans rebuild can get expensive.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:40 AM
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A trans specialist is who I pay to service it. Dealers tell people it's normal and I can't accept that, period. The past Chevy's and Fords I've owned never did this and I can't believe that Dodge would consider this acceptable.
Lets say you just purchased a new Dodge and the salesman tells you, "Sir, When you start your truck you will need to wait a minute or two before driving off".
You know as well as I do that you would run anyone off and people would start demanding a better product.

I know people will say that because it's an 07 that I just need to accept it but I don't see me sitting idly by and waiting for my trans to trash out.

I found some info about the torque converter fluid leaking out and back into the trans and the pump does not move fluid unless it's in neutral. I've also read something about an o-ring or gasket on one of the filters (sump) that can crack or leak if not replaced and installed correctly.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:54 AM
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Just as a test, try starting it cold, and immediately shift to neutral for about 1 sec, then into gear. If it shifts into gear right away and drives away normally, you may be on to something with the seal/gasket/o-ring idea.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:12 AM
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I think what you're describing is converter drainback, where some of the fluid in the converter drains back into the trans sump when the vehicle is shut off for an extended period (overnight). When this happens, it feels like the trans "oozes" into gear (that's the best way I can describe it). That's because air (in the converter) can't transmit any torque, so although the trans actually goes into gear normally (immediately), you get much less engine torque (than normal) transmitted through the converter. Once you start it up, the converter will refill, and the torque slowly increases as the fluid level in the converter increases. That's why you get the slow ramp-up of torque that feels like the trans is slipping. It's not really the trans - it's too little torque coming through the converter.

The spin-on (cooler return) filter inside the trans has an internal diaphragm that is designed to prevent converter drainback. Unfortunately, some filters (typically aftermarket filters - even if they are "brand name" filters) have diaphragms that don't work well enough, and you get drainback. So if you used an aftermarket spin-on trans filter, that is likely the cause of your issue. The fix is to install a Mopar cooler return filter (05179267AC, $18.70 list last time I checked). That should correct it.

Oh, and by the way, this problem will NOT hurt your trans or converter, so it's not something you have to fix right away. Only if it's too much of an annoyance.

If you let it run for a few seconds, the converter will refill and everything will feel normal. Your trans (545RFE) does fill the converter in ALL gear positions (including Park), so you don't have to shift to Neutral for it to refill. "Won't refill in Park" was on the old RE-series transmissions (46RE, 47RE, 48RE).
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:31 PM
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Its torque convertor drainback. Older Chrysler transmissions (60s-80s A904 and A727 plus the 90s-2000s 4xRH/4xRE series that are based on the 60s A-727) often did that, and just starting the car in neutral to let the TC pump back full of fluid would get rid of the "problem."

I've read that on your 545RFE transmission, a specific batch of the cooler return filters (the canister filter in the pan in addition to the usual filter) had a flaw that causes drainback. You can just let it idle ~20-30 seconds before shifting into gear until you do a fluid/filter change to mask the problem (its harmless anyway), or you can do a fluid/filter change now and replace that canister filter with a new one without the defect.

Last edited by 440Magnum; 12-05-2011 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:12 PM
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How many filters total? 3?


Gentlemen, I want to thank you all for contributing to my dilemma. I feel more at ease knowing I will not be replacing the tranny...
Thanks

Last edited by dksram; 12-05-2011 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksram View Post
How many filters total? 3?
No, there are two filters in the RFE transmissions. One is the main sump filter (a flat filter that sits underneath the main valve body, with a plastic snout that sticks up into a bore in the pump housing). The other is the spin-on cooler return filter, that looks like a spin-on engine oil filter. It is also inside the oil pan, at the right front corner, and mounts vertically to the trans case face.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:14 PM
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Here's a picture that shows the two filters


The one that looks like a small silver oil filter is the cooler return filter that has the drainback flaw. The larger flat-ish 7-sided one with the fluid pickup tube pointing down is the sump filter. While the pan's off both should be replaced.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:07 PM
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Awesome......Thanks

Now I'm glad I didn't pay them to flush and clean the system. Looks like that would have caused more issues than what it would have solved.
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