A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I Shall Sleep the Sleep of the Victorious

I hate automatic transmissions. Always have. They are for simpletons who do not enjoy driving.

I enjoy driving and I greatly enjoy choosing which gear to use at any given time while I'm enjoying driving.

Unfortunately, 90% of the american populace does not agree with me, so it is getting more and more difficult to find any decent vehicle with a manual transmission. As it is, I own several vehicles with auto-tragics. Additionally, I am a MOPAR fan, so that puts be at a greater disadvantage because their autos have a history of grand suckage.

In 2006, we purchased a brand new 2wd Hemi Durango. It is equipped with a Chrysler 545RFE transmission. (Actually not too terrible as it traces its distant lineage to the old 727 torque-flight.) It is a weird, transmission, though. It is considered a 5-speed automatic. It only ever uses four of the gears though as it is equipped with a pair of disparate ratio second gears. One for normal driving and the other for towing and kick-downs. )I said it was strange.)

The D has been very reliable as in 127,000 miles, the only thing that has failed is the EGR valve. It cost $60 and I changed it myself as even though it was still under warranty, it was easier than allowing the dealer to frig with it for a day and a half.

I religiously maintain this vehicle and have changed the transmission filters and fluid twice as recommended in the manual.

Yesterday, when Mona was leaving the neighborhood, the tranny went "CLANK", lit up the dash with warning lights and went into limp mode. Mona made it home and parked it.

The last time I was in the trans, it was immaculate, and that was only about 2 months ago, so I speculated it was probably electrical rather than disastrous. I hooked my code reader to it and pulled the codes. They were all trans related and one called out a failed pressure sensor/switches. I stumbled around on the various dodge forums I belong to and found out what the codes were talking about and called around. Our local dealer had the part so I ran out to get it.

Prior to this, I erased the codes and tested the vehicle. It didn't throw any new codes, but it would not move well without revving the crap out of the engine. (That is bad, if you're wondering.)

The part that was suspect is a large solenoid.switch pack that mounts on the top side of the valve body and allows the TCU to control all of the electrical weirdness of this unit. So, after returning home, I set about draining the pan.

The first thing I did, as I am sick of working on things without proper drains, is locate and drill a hole in the transmission pan to drain it. ( Plus, the $12/quart fluid is brand new and I really didn't want to waste it.




The hole will be plugged with this to make the next time much easier:


I caught most of the clean fluid in a nice clean bucket and prepped it to sit:


The reason I did that was because the proper procedure for draining the trans pan on this thing is to loosen all the fasteners, hammer and putty knife into the seam and promptly dump the entire contents of the transmission on your face. I actually think that's how it is described in the shop manual.

I then started removing parts:





After replacing the switch pack, I replaced everything and refilled the trans.



The D is now back to doing proper burnouts and shifts brilliantly like it did when it was new.

Not too bad for $400 and an afternoon.


Anonymous Perry Rose said...

Another brilliant piece of trouble shooting. Good job.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Brian Gallimore said...

nice work!

8:46 AM  

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