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Need a new transmission


dsimpson

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I have a 2008 Dodge RAM 3500 diesel with 117k miles and took it in for routine automatic transmission maintenance today. The pan was dropped and the tech showed me an accumulation of metal filings, maybe a teaspoon full or more, attached to a magnet in the pan designed to catch these filings. The tech suspects that most or all of these filings originated in the torque converter and many more may have found their way into the transmission. He recommended replacement of the torque converter which requires removal of the transmission. While the transmission is removed, he also recommended an overhaul. Total cost is $4,000. Another option is a new transmission, which includes a new torque converter. This cost $4,800 and comes with a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty. I have maintained the transmission according to the owner's manual. Is it unusual to have a Dodge transmission go bad after 117k miles? I remember about 10-15 years ago that Ford was having problems with their automatic transmissions. Did I miss something during routine maintenance? I tow a 16,000 lb fifthwheel, right at the GCWR. Is the Dodge tech overstating the significance of the metal filings and trying to sell me a transmission I don't need.

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It is not unusual to see that amount of of metal filings in a tranny pan. Almost all of the time, those small metal filings are from the clutch plates. Having said that, Dodges are known to have issues with guys using them as hot shot trucks hauling near the maximum like you are. Get a second opinion from someone other than a dealer as I think you are being scammed unless you were having other issues with the transmission (slipping, shudder, missed or hanging shifts, etc).

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First thing I would do is get a second opinion. Teaspoon of metal filings seems like a lot. Not unheard of that Transmission shop slips filings into pan.

 

I had a couple of transmission issues.

 

The second I took to my Dodge dealer and he said 3000 bucks to fix it. I said, I will let it fail first. So I drove for four years and it kept running.

 

Finally, I got ready to sell the truck so took it to a local transmission shop. Told him I was selling the truck just give me an estimate so the purchaser can know what he is getting into with the truck.

 

He asked me to leave the truck.....I listened to the answering machine in the afternoon. Said he fixed the transmission and I could pick up the truck. Well, I thought this will be interesting since I did not authorize any repairs. When I showed up to pick up the truck he gave me a bill for $10. That's right TEN DOLLARS. It was a loose bolt.

 

He explained that the $10 would help pay for the coffee fund. I showed up the next day with a large box of donuts. You can't have coffee without donuts in the morning!!

 

Get a second opinion.

 

Good luck in finding a reputable shop. They are out there.

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. . .an accumulation of metal filings, maybe a teaspoon full or more, attached to a magnet in the pan designed to catch these filings. . . .

Huh? It sounds like you're telling that Dodge has included a magnet in the pan?

If so. . . . .

Does that mean that Dodge expects metal shavings?

What does that mean?

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To the OP: Is there any chance the tech put the metal filings on the magnet? Did you watch the tech drop the pan and then show you the filings or did he just come out with the pan? Can you describe the metal filings? Are the filings metal slivers and look like they could poke into your finger if put up on point? Or are the filings very small, kind of like powder? If the filings are very small or powder like then it is just normal wear & tear of the clutches. How long has it been since the pan was dropped for inspection? If this is the first time for the pan to be dropped in 117K miles then absolutely, normal wear and tear.

 

I wonder why the tech would think the metal filings came from the torque converter. From my limited knowledge of transmissions there is nothing in the torque converter except the torque converter lockup to wear (well I guess there are bearings). The stuff in the transmission that will wear, gears, clutches and such are in the transmission not the torque converter. Kind of raises a red flag for a scam.

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Fine metal shavings are completely normal. Metal chips are a different story. I'm not sure what upgrades were done to an '08 Dodge transmission compared to an '06, which I have, but the weak point of the '06 was the torque converter. I've got 135,000 on mine so far, but only about 1/4 of that is hard towing. If you haven't added performance gear, and are operating within range, you shouldn't have a problem. Stock transmissions on Dodges primarily fail because the trucks are very popular with the high performance folks. The engines are built by the hot rodders beyond what the transmissions were designed to take.

 

If I were going to replace the torque converter I'd go aftermarket and get one of the over built ones. But I'd only do that if I had a failure, or an imminent failure. Personally, first I'd get on some of the Dodge groups and read a bit of what people have to say. I just had an issue with my transmission throwing a code, low transmission pressure. After a bit of research on the groups it was determined to be a couple of easily replaceable parts. $150 and a couple of hours under the truck I was good to go. I'd hate to think of what a transmission shop possibly would have charged me for the repairs. I usually do the repairs based on written instructions, but there were some superb youtube videos on the repairs by Cascade Transmission. Even if you are not the type to do the repairs, knowing what is going on in the transmission, and what the recommended repair should be, insures a fair repair by a qualified tech.

 

Line up a quality transmission, new or rebuilt, and torque converter fitting your needs. Have it priced and sourced so if you need it you can have it shipped out to be installed by a local shop. The worst case you'll be off the road for a week. That's my opinion. Until then, change the fluid and filter and keep on truckin'.

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Almost all of the time, those small metal filings are from the clutch plates.

 

This is an automatic transmission - no clutch

 

Any other issues, or just feel like blowing some cash? I'd drive it with an eye and an ear on it, unless it's already keeping you awake.

 

No other symptoms. But I am in Mesa, heading across country for Virginia

 

Is there any chance the tech put the metal filings on the magnet? Did you watch the tech drop the pan and then show you the filings or did he just come out with the pan? Can you describe the metal filings? Are the filings metal slivers and look like they could poke into your finger if put up on point? Or are the filings very small, kind of like powder? If the filings are very small or powder like then it is just normal wear & tear of the clutches. How long has it been since the pan was dropped for inspection? If this is the first time for the pan to be dropped in 117K miles then absolutely, normal wear and tear.

 

I had the work done at Superstition Springs Dodge in Mesa, AZ. I did not see the tech drop the pan. I was brought over after the transmission pan had been dropped and the tech showed me the filings which looked like the metal filings we saw as kids in science class when demonstrating the magnetic field of magnets.

 

My owner's manual requires that fluid and filters be replaced in the transmission every 60k miles if frequently towing a trailer , otherwise have it done at 120k miles. Since I frequently tow, I had it done at 60k and 116k.

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I took my jeep in for service and they told me the rear different needed an oil change as it had bad oil in it. I told them it had better not since I only had 6000 miles on it. Discount tire told me my tires were cupped on the sides and should consider new tires. I told them I thought they would be fine as they only had 3000 moles on them. There are many unscrupulous people out there. Just drive it

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I have found, based a number of data points with my transmission issues over the years, if you take it in to a shop or even call on the phone, you get this type of thing -

  • ya ....how many miles on it? (doesn't matter) ....sounds like you need a rebuild
  • bring it in and we will drop it and have a look
  • oh - sounds like the pump is bad
  • you need a new torque converter

The last two issues I had were - free wheeling in every gear except 1st. Drove it home

Got all the normal BS from the shops when I called....bring it in..... it will be about $2000.

After I dropped the pan.....the problem was a broken plastic servo piston. A new aluminum piston $25.....fixed it. Didn't even have to drop the valve body.

 

Second issue - everything was dead. No drive in any select position. Put a strap on the truck and pulled it home.

Fluid was full, no burned smell, nice and red in color.

Same BS on the phone....sounds like the pump.....bring it in $2000 to fix with a 36,000 mile warranty.

I dropped the pan and oh look ....the pump pickup tube that connects to the filter had dropped out of the transmission. It's held in with just an O ring squeeze pressure. Got a new filter kit from Rock Auto for $14 and put two O rings on the pickup tube. I put the old fluid back in. Ran great.....that was 4 years ago.

 

This is a TH400 in a gas CC Dually from the 80s.

 

best of luck with the fix

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This is an automatic transmission - no clutch

 

 

....

Doug,

 

I used to REBUILD auto Tranny's at my dad's garage. Your automatic DOES have clutches. The alternate with metal and fabric (sometimes Kevlar) clutches into a pack that is in a clutch drum. You have had some good advise on here...suggest you listen to it.

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Dodge (auto) trannys have had some problems over the years - not sure about your 2008.

 

The transmission shop *may* be correct.

 

However, for some additional (possibly better) opinions, take your question to one of the *dedicated* Dodge Diesel Forums.

 

Some very talented folks (and techs) there who may be able to cyber-diagnose your problem (or offer possibilities / suggestions)
AND/or - furnish you with the name of a reliable repair facility - wherever you are located.

 

Try:

Turbo Diesel Register

Diesel Truck Resource

Cummins Forum

 

Search the specific (year) sections for *your* transmission.

Also - most of those forums have a - *Help!* - section for folks in need of more immedaite assistance.

 

Good luck.

 

.

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Sorry to hear about your problems Doug. You might consider asking around with different Parts Stores in the city where you are and ask who they would suggest as the best transmission shops around. They are more than like to have a feel about how the different shops treat their customers.

 

I think that a second opinion is a very good idea, knowing that even the best shops can make a mistake, etc.

 

What does you GUT tell you? I mean, this seems to work for Gibbs and if I get a "bad" feeling about someone, I will back off and take a second, or even third look/thought. Good luck! Be Blessed!

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The 08 has a 68RFE 6spd and I've never heard of a failure. There are clutch packs and the first time I had the oil changed I insisted on watching the pan be dropped and looked at myself. They normal shavings were in the pan and filter... Clutch fibers and the typical small sharp metal pieces.

 

I pretty much consider the 68R bulletproof.

As for magnets I've seen them in about everything and if I didn't I'd be concerned. Did you ever notice the little magnets in drain plugs? Our racing Torqueflite tranny's had strip magnets glued in the pans...

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