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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had my truck for about a month or so (very well used 188K) and the transmission has been acting funky from day one. The seller told me he just put in a new cooler and that the transmission has about 30K on it. It would slip in some gears randomly, jump in and out of OD, etc. Since this is my third RAM, I figured the guy lied since my last two RAMs had transmissions crap out at about 180K. So I'm looking online for the cost of parts to rebuild the thing...when for giggles I thought 'hey, MORON, why don't you check the fluid and see what it looks like?'
I pulled the dipstick and...

NOTHING.
Not a DROP showing.

So I put in 2qts and let it idle for 10 minutes or so. Still NOTHING. 5qts total later, it's where it should be and SHAAAAZAM! It drives lovely (about 500 miles since then an no leaks either, suspect when he changed the cooler he never filled it up properly).

So, in a nutshell, no matter what prior experiences you might have had or heard from others...don't forget the simple stuff.
 

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I swap all fluids on any vehicle I buy used, you just never know what the last owner used or did/didn't do to the thing.
i agree, bought mine used and went right to work with it, flushed tranny fluid, change oil with mobil 1 and did complete coolant flush and also powerstering flush, when i do the struts and shocks in a few weeks time for diff. fluid change and transfer case, then plugs next oil change.
 

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This Dodge is the first time I've ever skipped my usual thing of swapping all fluids, and filters as well as the radiator and water pump. As you can tell that's worked out real well for me. You may ask why radiator and water pump, well I live in Phoenix, and our summers are hot. Even a slight overheating problem can be magnified when the temps are above 120ºF
 

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I swap all fluids on any vehicle I buy used, you just never know what the last owner used or did/didn't do to the thing.
I'm the same way! It makes sense to know your baseline!:smiley_thumbs_up:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know. Thing that really kills me is I know better. I just didn't think.
 

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My uncle bought his 04 Ram with 5 speed manual almost 2 years ago. From the first drive in it he was banking on having to replace the transmission at some point as it would not go into 1st gear from a stop, and would pop out of 1st and 3rd gear when you let off the clutch if you didn't hold your hand on the shifter. He did replace the clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing to no avail. It has been steadily getting worse and recently he lost 2nd gear. The thing was almost undrivable. He asked me to look for a transmission for him while we coordinated our schedules to do the swap.

During that conversation, the fluid was mentioned. He said he never checked it, so I crawled under there and climbed back out to hunt for a 17mm hex (how silly btw, Dodge could have easily put a square head on there like everyone else). Long(er) story short, there wasn't a drop of fluid in there. He's been driving it with barely any fluid in it for 2 years! All we had on hand was ATF+4 so we put 2 quarts of that in there until we could get our hands on som synchromesh figuring it was better then what he had in there. Almost instantly it started shifting like it should, except for 3rd still poping out of gear when the clutch was let out.

We ended up changing the ATF out a week later for the proper synchromesh, and all is well 4 days later, again except for 3rd. We will drain it again in another couple months as the ATF came out looking like glitter (surprise huh? Lol). So I guess he's back at square one just biding time on this transmission. Just goes to show you 2 things:
A: How tough Dodges NV3500 is.
B: a little lube counts for a lot. (This can also be true of many other things in life as well)
 

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I swap all fluids on any vehicle I buy used, you just never know what the last owner used or did/didn't do to the thing.
I do this as well....well within reason. I always change the oil and filter. Sometimes trans fluid, or if not then I do it at the next 50,000 mile interval (50k, 100k, 150k, etc...), and I at least check all the other fluids and if anything looks bad I change it. I'll also check/replace the plugs/wires/air filter as needed when I first purchase a vehicle. Spend a few bucks up front but will save you running issues and help mpg.

I didn't do this to my buell when I bought it initially and was fighting with it constantly, so finally changed all fluids, plugs, etc... and did some other things like TPS reset, etc. and it ran much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
HHHmmmm Better question yet is where did all that fluid go? Oil in an engine sure you can burn it but a tranny?Check your seals.
Found it. I thought it was cuz the PO didn't fill it up when he replaced the cooler. Last night it started acting up again. Checked the fluid, none showing on dipstick. #@$!$. Quick look of the driveway didn't show any stains at all. Hrm. Was too dark and late last night to climb under it but I did this morning. Now, I had picked up a faint cooked oil smell since I filled it but wrote it off to about 1/2 quart not making it into the funnel and onto the exhaust manifold. I work from home and have only been using it for quick trips to the store about a mile away, rarely more than 5-10 minutes so figured it just was taking some time to burn off. NOPE. Looking underneath, it's leaking from where the return line (I think) goes into the side of the transmission from the cooler. Has one of those crappy plastic dohickies instead of a nice compression fitting. No puddles because the driver's side dual runs right under it, also explaining the smell. Guess l need to look into replacing it...
Hopefully it warms up soon, its a balmy 6F today.
 
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