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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post! Great forum by the way! Didn't find the answer I was looking for as mine was pretty specific so I thought I should rack some brains.


Long Story Short.

I bought my 02 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT in June 2011 from a friend.

When purchased it was a well maintained higher mileage vehicle. 300,000km (186k Miles)

Whenever I buy a new (to me) vehicle my first priority is a Haynes Manual, adding zerk fittings anywhere I can and changing any fluid I see fit. Oil, power steering, brakes etc....

Without even thinking about it or even referring to the repair manual I changed the transmission fluid. Dropped the pan, replaced the sump screen, replaced the secondary internal filer and gasket. Filled her with Dexron III :doh:

Since the change (310,000km) I have put on just shy of 8,000km. Towed two skidoo's 3000km return loaded with guys and gear for ice fishing.

After this long trip I decided it was time to change the rear differential/front differential, 4x4 transfer case fluid and change the oil.

That's when I realized reading through the Haynes Manual I obviously put in the wrong transmission fluid. Should have been ATF +4 or equivalent.

After my realization I started to piece together a glitch I've had since the change. Unless the truck is up to normal operating temperature final overdrive did not activate. Once she was warm (some city driving) I would easily find final overdrive and sit comfortably at 2,000 rpm at 100kph. Otherwise at a cold start and run I would sit at 2500rpm until she was warm. Once she was warm the gear would activate. The shift was so subtle you wouldn't even know she shifted (So it's not like it was shifting hard or banging into gear).

This Monday upon realizing what I had done, I immediately changed the fluid to ATF +4.

During the change I noticed NO abnormal wear, NO burned fluid, NO significant amount of metal build up or even a metal sheen in the fluid. It still had good consistency and was lubricated well. Only thing that threw me off was there was no scent in the dexron whatsoever.

This upcoming Monday I will be doing a secondary change, this time changing the sump, filter and gasket and of course changing the fluid again.

Did I get away with a major screw up? Have I shortened the life of my transmission? Do you think the final overdrive issue will resolve itself or is unrelated? Should I reset the computer after the final changes?

Just to head off any questions that may be simple ones. I had no warning lights, transmission temp was normal. I literally only had this final overdrive issue (Which was easily resolved by driving the truck to warm her up before highway use)

Yes, I know I'm an idiot for not referring to the manual before I did the work. Please don't remind me of that.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Screwbs
 

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I don't think you killed your transmission. The major difference between ATF+4® and Dexron III® is in the friction characteristics, so you may have noticed some difference in shift quality (smoothness) when using the wrong fluid. It's also possible you may have distressed some of the clutches (maybe burned them slightly because of too much slippage during shifts, until the TCM adapted to the different characteristics), but if the old oil had no burned smell then you're probably OK.

By the way, the no-shift-into-OD-when-cold issue is normal. You'll get no torque converter clutch (TCC) engagement, and no 4-5 shift, until the trans sump temp warms up enough (I'm thinking the requirement is 80°F on your truck, but I'm not sure about that). So you will notice this on cold starts (on cold mornings) until you've driven a few miles.
 

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yep my 01 dakota with the 4speed (47re?) would not go into OD until the tranny was 70* or higher (as told by the dealership). Which sucked leaving high school back in the day the road out front was 50mph so I would be cruising at a gas guzzling 2500rpm until the temp came up and OD kicked in
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Really appreciated the input fellas. Puts my mind a little more at ease. I think that I really lucked out in this case.

Again, you've got a great forum here and I hope I can also offer some assistance in the future.
 

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Now, go write down the info on the proper fluid.

Glad to hear everyone thinks your transmission will survive!
 

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Bah, you probably toasted the entire drivetrain, no sense in even trying to keep the thing going. Sell it right now before anyone knows better.... I offer $3K for it, doing you a favor :gy:

Welcome to the site from Calgary, and glad to hear that there shouldn't be any permanent damage.
 

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2017 Ram Rebel 5.7L Flame Red
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Bah, you probably toasted the entire drivetrain, no sense in even trying to keep the thing going. Sell it right now before anyone knows better.... I offer $3K for it, doing you a favor :gy:

Welcome to the site from Calgary, and glad to hear that there shouldn't be any permanent damage.
LOL CdnoilRAM you are such a great guy making that sacrifice for a fellow forum member. See this is why Canadians are so well liked they are always trying to help out.
 
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