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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got in my truck today for a quick run for lunch. It ran fine on my way to Carls Jr. (about 3 miles) but on the way back it wasn't shifting right (barely at all). As I turned onto my street, the CEL came on. I scanned it when I got home and found P0700 (generic transmission fault) and P0732, P0733, and P0734 (gear ratio incorrect for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears)...

I came in and searched the forums and found out that this is sometimes a battery issue or a simple electrical fault. My batteries are less than 6 months old so I'm assumed that wasn't the case, and went out and cleared the codes just in case it was a simple electrical issue.

Drove it and it shifted fine.. for about 4 blocks. Then same problems. Turned around and came right home and checked codes again. This time it was P0700, P0731 and P0732 (gear ratio incorrect for 1st and 2nd gears)... Additionally, the transmission smells like burning rubber, and it is STRONG when you check the fluid. The fluid level is correct and the fluid is still pink, but it seems really thin to me.

Other related info: On Saturday I pulled 12k pounds about 200 miles over steep canyons. However, my Black Maxx NEVER showed a tranny temperature over 195 (I did defuel due to engine temp being 220 coming over the longest climb). Since I got home I've probably only driven the truck 20 miles around town, no issues at all until today.


Any thoughts? Is my tranny toast? Torque converter? Both? Or could it just be burnt fluid that needs a full flush?

Any help is appreciated.
 

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So I got in my truck today for a quick run for lunch. It ran fine on my way to Carls Jr. (about 3 miles) but on the way back it wasn't shifting right (barely at all). As I turned onto my street, the CEL came on. I scanned it when I got home and found P0700 (generic transmission fault) and P0732, P0733, and P0734 (gear ratio incorrect for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears)...

I came in and searched the forums and found out that this is sometimes a battery issue or a simple electrical fault. My batteries are less than 6 months old so I'm assumed that wasn't the case, and went out and cleared the codes just in case it was a simple electrical issue.

Drove it and it shifted fine.. for about 4 blocks. Then same problems. Turned around and came right home and checked codes again. This time it was P0700, P0731 and P0732 (gear ratio incorrect for 1st and 2nd gears)... Additionally, the transmission smells like burning rubber, and it is STRONG when you check the fluid. The fluid level is correct and the fluid is still pink, but it seems really thin to me.

Other related info: On Saturday I pulled 12k pounds about 200 miles over steep canyons. However, my Black Maxx NEVER showed a tranny temperature over 195 (I did defuel due to engine temp being 220 coming over the longest climb). Since I got home I've probably only driven the truck 20 miles around town, no issues at all until today.


Any thoughts? Is my tranny toast? Torque converter? Both? Or could it just be burnt fluid that needs a full flush?

Any help is appreciated.
sounds to me like you toasted the underdrive clutches. maybe transengineer will chime in and clear it up but i think you're looking at a rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sounds to me like you toasted the underdrive clutches. maybe transengineer will chime in and clear it up but i think you're looking at a rebuild.
Thanks for the input.. exactly what I didn't want to hear, but also what I expected to hear...

Is there an "easy" way to verify this? I'm assuming if I drop the pan I'll find debris, but exactly what should I be looking for?
 

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Dealer diagnostic will confirm with slipage codes.
 

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When you get the generic P0700 code, run a scan with your BM for tranny codes. It will help trying to narrow it down
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When you get the generic P0700 code, run a scan with your BM for tranny codes. It will help trying to narrow it down
Unfortunately, I just broke the OBDII dongle for my BM. Damned cord worked it's way in front of my e-brake pedal and that was that...

but my generic OBDII scanner kicked the codes mentioned above.. P0732, P0733, and P0734 the first check, then after I cleared it and drove another half mile or so, P0731 and P0732. All are gear ratio codes for the gears represented by the last # in the code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dealer diagnostic will confirm with slipage codes.
You mean further confirmation than my OBDII scanner? I'd really rather not take it to the dealer. If the trans is bad, I'm either going to a trans shop or ordering a pre-built unit from Suncoast, ATS, Revtech, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I'm coming to grips with the idea of needing to do a rebuild. I've been calling local trans shops for estimates because I really can't afford to drop 4k+ on a built tranny from ATS, Suncoast, etc... I found one guy who claims he rebuilds them with better than factory parts and that his transmissions are on par with ATS and Suncoast at a much lower price, but I smell BS, mostly because he's having trouble wrapping his head around the fact that it's a 68RFE. Perhaps that's because my truck is an 07, so he thinks I'm retarded and don't know what I have though...

I simply don't know enough about transmissions to know whether he's legit or not, and I definitely don't want to drop a bunch of cash on someone who doesn't know what he's doing and/or can't back up his claims.

Any chance someone who actually knows what they're talking about would be willing to give this guy a call and ask him "the right questions" to clue me into whether or not I should waste my time with him? I'd gladly compensate you for your time if necessary.
 

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Rebuilding a 68RFE is not for the faint of heart and even ATS and Suncoast took a lot of R&D and a lot of failures to get their trannies rebuilt properly. Call RevMax and talk to them, they are very helpful and the few on here who have dealt with them are very pleased with the results! A lot of the tranny builders will even tell you that you can buy their parts and get someone else to rebuild your tranny but it will cost more than buying one directly from them if that gives you any indication as to what is entailed with these trannies. Yes $4K-$6k is a hard swallow, but you won't need another tranny for the life of the truck (unless you're gonna play with the gods of power). Garmon, Revmax, DTT (I think), ATS and Suncoast are all rebuilding 68RFE trannies so call them all up and see what options and pricing you can nail down. I do love my ATS tranny. What sold me was the warranty and if you go on their website, they have a ton of videos with Clint explaining the upgrades they have done - sold me on it.
 

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So I'm coming to grips with the idea of needing to do a rebuild. I've been calling local trans shops for estimates because I really can't afford to drop 4k+ on a built tranny from ATS, Suncoast, etc... I found one guy who claims he rebuilds them with better than factory parts and that his transmissions are on par with ATS and Suncoast at a much lower price, but I smell BS, mostly because he's having trouble wrapping his head around the fact that it's a 68RFE. Perhaps that's because my truck is an 07, so he thinks I'm retarded and don't know what I have though...

I simply don't know enough about transmissions to know whether he's legit or not, and I definitely don't want to drop a bunch of cash on someone who doesn't know what he's doing and/or can't back up his claims.

Any chance someone who actually knows what they're talking about would be willing to give this guy a call and ask him "the right questions" to clue me into whether or not I should waste my time with him? I'd gladly compensate you for your time if necessary.
stay WAY away from that guy!!!!!! i smell a screwing coming from him.

revmax has some cheaper options for transmissions good to roughly 550hp. they're a sponsor on here and one of the latest to get somewhere with the 68RFE. i don't know many details on them and they are fairly new to the scene compared to suncoast or ATS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Rebuilding a 68RFE is not for the faint of heart and even ATS and Suncoast took a lot of R&D and a lot of failures to get their trannies rebuilt properly. Call RevMax and talk to them, they are very helpful and the few on here who have dealt with them are very pleased with the results! A lot of the tranny builders will even tell you that you can buy their parts and get someone else to rebuild your tranny but it will cost more than buying one directly from them if that gives you any indication as to what is entailed with these trannies. Yes $4K-$6k is a hard swallow, but you won't need another tranny for the life of the truck (unless you're gonna play with the gods of power). Garmon, Revmax, DTT (I think), ATS and Suncoast are all rebuilding 68RFE trannies so call them all up and see what options and pricing you can nail down. I do love my ATS tranny. What sold me was the warranty and if you go on their website, they have a ton of videos with Clint explaining the upgrades they have done - sold me on it.
Totally agreed, just don't really have the budget for it. This is a completely surprise expense and I might have no options beyond a rebuild of the factory tranny.

stay WAY away from that guy!!!!!! i smell a screwing coming from him.

revmax has some cheaper options for transmissions good to roughly 550hp. they're a sponsor on here and one of the latest to get somewhere with the 68RFE. i don't know many details on them and they are fairly new to the scene compared to suncoast or ATS.
Revmax's cheapest option is $4k (plus freight and installation) according to their site. Unless they give one hell of a forum discount, they're probably still out of my range. Everyone else's cheapest options are at least 5k plus freight and install...
 

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Maybe think of your purchase this way. You can get the OEM rebuild for about 75% of what a decent tranny is going to cost you but you still have the OEM tranny and all it's issues. Long term, a built tranny is going to save you money but that is only if you're going to keep the truck for a number of years after the purchase. I know these expenses suck big time when they pop up, I too wasn't too happy about dropping big money on a tranny but I had little choice if I wanted to be further ahead in the long run. I don't know your financial situation or how dire it is or is not, but perhaps a trip to the bank for a credit extension may be your best bet? If you're not going to keep the truck for very long, I would agree to just get it fixed and done with for now.
 

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I agree that it appears your UD clutch is fried (UD is on in 1st thru 4th gears). First step, though, should be to confirm whether your line pressure is OK. You can read line pressure with a scan tool. You (or your shop) should verify that the LP reading matches the Desired Line Pressure value (within a few psi). Dealers also have a special tool that allows them to plumb in a hard gauge (mechanical pressure gauge) along with the LP sensor. That way, they can also check the gauge reading to confirm whether the LP sensor is giving an accurate reading. It would also be a very good idea to do this.

You will need to pull the trans, inspect the clutches, and replace any that are distressed. You probably don't need an "overhaul" - just replace what's failed. The big hitter is the labor cost, of course. But the clutch packs are not super expensive. An input clutch kit (which includes the UD, OD, and Reverse clutch packs) lists for $209 from Mopar.

But (assuming the UD clutch is failed) the big question is: why did it fail? Unless you find (and fix) the root cause, you could end up with another fried UD clutch in short order. That's why it's important to check the line pressure (to confirm whether low line pressure, or a bad LP sensor, is the real problem). If LP is OK, then look for a cut or torn UD piston seal, damaged UD accumulator seal ring, etc. If you can't find any "smoking gun" that explains why UD failed, THEN you might want to replace the solenoid assy (assuming maybe the UD solenoid, which you can't really inspect, might be bad).

Actually, for an older truck like yours, it would be a good idea to replace the entire valve body assy (rather than just the solenoid, which is part of the VB assy). It is very common to have a worn valve (called the SSV) in the valve body, which leads to other problems (although typically, not the problem you have now). A new VB assy is RL033980AC, and lists for $510. A new solenoid assy (by itself) is 05170877AD and costs $337.

You can replace the VB assy later, if you're really strapped for cash (you don't have to pull the whole trans to replace it, just the oil pan). I can tell you how to check the SSV bore for size (to see if it's worn) if you'd like (let me know). But if there's any question as to whether the VB or solenoid might be bad, then replacing the VB assy would be wise.

By the way, if you find that your line pressure is running way low all the time, then you've probably got a stuck (or sticky) main regulator valve (which is in back half of the pump assy). Sometimes you can just clean the valve (getting it unstuck) and be OK. But usually, if the valve is stuck or sticky, it will still be sticky after cleaning, in which case you need to replace the pump assy. But if the main reg valve slides smoothly, and your line pressure is OK, then you probably do NOT need to replace the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I agree that it appears your UD clutch is fried (UD is on in 1st thru 4th gears). First step, though, should be to confirm whether your line pressure is OK. You can read line pressure with a scan tool. You (or your shop) should verify that the LP reading matches the Desired Line Pressure value (within a few psi). Dealers also have a special tool that allows them to plumb in a hard gauge (mechanical pressure gauge) along with the LP sensor. That way, they can also check the gauge reading to confirm whether the LP sensor is giving an accurate reading. It would also be a very good idea to do this.

You will need to pull the trans, inspect the clutches, and replace any that are distressed. You probably don't need an "overhaul" - just replace what's failed. The big hitter is the labor cost, of course. But the clutch packs are not super expensive. An input clutch kit (which includes the UD, OD, and Reverse clutch packs) lists for $209 from Mopar.

But (assuming the UD clutch is failed) the big question is: why did it fail? Unless you find (and fix) the root cause, you could end up with another fried UD clutch in short order. That's why it's important to check the line pressure (to confirm whether low line pressure, or a bad LP sensor, is the real problem). If LP is OK, then look for a cut or torn UD piston seal, damaged UD accumulator seal ring, etc. If you can't find any "smoking gun" that explains why UD failed, THEN you might want to replace the solenoid assy (assuming maybe the UD solenoid, which you can't really inspect, might be bad).

Actually, for an older truck like yours, it would be a good idea to replace the entire valve body assy (rather than just the solenoid, which is part of the VB assy). It is very common to have a worn valve (called the SSV) in the valve body, which leads to other problems (although typically, not the problem you have now). A new VB assy is RL033980AC, and lists for $510. A new solenoid assy (by itself) is 05170877AD and costs $337.

You can replace the VB assy later, if you're really strapped for cash (you don't have to pull the whole trans to replace it, just the oil pan). I can tell you how to check the SSV bore for size (to see if it's worn) if you'd like (let me know). But if there's any question as to whether the VB or solenoid might be bad, then replacing the VB assy would be wise.

By the way, if you find that your line pressure is running way low all the time, then you've probably got a stuck (or sticky) main regulator valve (which is in back half of the pump assy). Sometimes you can just clean the valve (getting it unstuck) and be OK. But usually, if the valve is stuck or sticky, it will still be sticky after cleaning, in which case you need to replace the pump assy. But if the main reg valve slides smoothly, and your line pressure is OK, then you probably do NOT need to replace the pump.
Man, I'm glad you responded. I've been anxiously awaiting your appearance for two days, so much so that I almost PM'ed you yesterday. Thanks so much. Your post basically reaffirms exactly what the transmission shop my diesel mechanic referred me to said. When I told him my symptoms, he said they didn't sound like a complete failure and it might be as simple as a stuck solenoid. He's the ONLY one who said that, so I was suspicious that he might be trying to get me into his shop with the promise of a cheap repair in order to hold me captive for the rebuild afterwards. Glad to hear that he wasn't just feeding me a line.

So if I'm reading you right, my cost to repair this should be the cost of the underdrive clutches, the cost to replace whatever went wrong, labor, and the cost of new fluid, gaskets, and filters, correct? Assuming we end up replacing the VB entirely (I'm not screwing around over $200 to replace just the solenoid), I'm assuming that should put the repair at around $1500 if my guesstimation is correct. Sound right?

The one thing you didn't mention is the cost of the pump assembly if it's bad. Got a # for me?

One last question: It sounds like this whole issue, if caused by line pressure, could have been caused by something as simple as dirty filters. Is that correct? I'm REALLY hoping not, because that's the one maintenance item I DIDN'T do when I bought the truck 6 months ago, simply because I couldn't do it myself and I kept procrastinating taking it to the tranny shop for a powerflush.. I went crazy overboard making sure I was starting with a clean slate since I didn't know the history, and I'm gonna hate myself for a while if my own procrastination is what killed me.
 

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I sure wish we were closer. In Redmond Oregon now. If you drove my truck with the ATS in it you would never ever consider just limping along with the OEM trans. It is night and day difference. Power gets to the ground, not put into heating the atmosphere.

Good luck on the rebuild. No matter who does it, you will be paying a lot of money. It will take many hours to fix and those hours don't come cheap nowadays.

I took my truck to Hinckley in Salt Lake to get my air fixed. The service is superb and they have a distribution point for chiseler parts. Everything in stock. I would trust them to give you a fair deal to fix the tranny.

Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM Dealer Salt Lake City, UT | New & Used Auto Dealer
 

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So if I'm reading you right, my cost to repair this should be the cost of the underdrive clutches, the cost to replace whatever went wrong, labor, and the cost of new fluid, gaskets, and filters, correct? Assuming we end up replacing the VB entirely (I'm not screwing around over $200 to replace just the solenoid), I'm assuming that should put the repair at around $1500 if my guesstimation is correct. Sound right?

The one thing you didn't mention is the cost of the pump assembly if it's bad. Got a # for me?

One last question: It sounds like this whole issue, if caused by line pressure, could have been caused by something as simple as dirty filters. Is that correct? I'm REALLY hoping not, because that's the one maintenance item I DIDN'T do when I bought the truck 6 months ago, simply because I couldn't do it myself and I kept procrastinating taking it to the tranny shop for a powerflush.. I went crazy overboard making sure I was starting with a clean slate since I didn't know the history, and I'm gonna hate myself for a while if my own procrastination is what killed me.
With a new VB at $510, and an IPC kit at $209, plus let's say 14 quarts of fluid at $5 per quart ($70), plus $12.50 for a new pump cover, plus $55 for both filters, you'd be looking at $856.50 for parts. Labor will be around 8-10 hours to pull the trans, tear it down, reassemble, and reinstall. So if the going rate is $80 per hour, you'll probably have $800 in labor. So maybe $1700 all together. A new pump assy is an additional $489 list.

I do NOT think a dirty filter would cause your problems (it would have to be REALLY bad!). And it would have been a slow deterioration over time. Yours was a sudden onset, which is why I'm thinking cracked filter, stuck main regulator valve, blown clutch piston seal, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I sure wish we were closer. In Redmond Oregon now. If you drove my truck with the ATS in it you would never ever consider just limping along with the OEM trans. It is night and day difference. Power gets to the ground, not put into heating the atmosphere.

Good luck on the rebuild. No matter who does it, you will be paying a lot of money. It will take many hours to fix and those hours don't come cheap nowadays.

I took my truck to Hinckley in Salt Lake to get my air fixed. The service is superb and they have a distribution point for chiseler parts. Everything in stock. I would trust them to give you a fair deal to fix the tranny.

Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM Dealer Salt Lake City, UT | New & Used Auto Dealer
Thanks for the post. I'd love to drive a truck with a built tranny because I want to feel the difference. I'd take the leap if I could afford it right now, but 5k is just too much of a stretch, especially when you consider another 1k or so in shipping and install costs, plus a temporary 2k core charge.

If I have no other option but a $3500 rebuild, I might have to figure out how to finance an ATS or similar unit, but I'm really hoping to avoid that, and by the time I find out for sure, I'll probably be into a tranny shop $500+ anyway.. bah! what a crappy deal.

Unrelated, I always liked Hinckley until this most recent purchase. I bought my last dodge (an 06 ram 1500 hemi) from them, but when I went looking at new trucks, they were unreasonable and amazingly typical in their sales attitude. As a result, I haven't gone back, even for service. I found another good local dealer in Ken Garff Dodge, and they've taken good care of me in the service department.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
With a new VB at $510, and an IPC kit at $209, plus let's say 14 quarts of fluid at $5 per quart ($70), plus $12.50 for a new pump cover, plus $55 for both filters, you'd be looking at $856.50 for parts. Labor will be around 8-10 hours to pull the trans, tear it down, reassemble, and reinstall. So if the going rate is $80 per hour, you'll probably have $800 in labor. So maybe $1700 all together. A new pump assy is an additional $489 list.

I do NOT think a dirty filter would cause your problems (it would have to be REALLY bad!). And it would have been a slow deterioration over time. Yours was a sudden onset, which is why I'm thinking cracked filter, stuck main regulator valve, blown clutch piston seal, etc.
Thanks for the specific info. Every thread I've seen you post in, I'm amazed by your knowledge and how specific and helpful you are. Keep it up.

And thanks for the reassurance about my not doing that maintenance. I never put too much worry into it because the fluid is still clear/pink. Glad to know that I didn't shoot myself in the foot there..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Argh, the guy my diesel mechanic recommended just told me he'd still recommend a complete rebuild if we're going to open it up for the underdrive clutch, and told me we'd be looking at $3500 as a starting point, going up from there if I wanted them to build it up with better than stock components. I asked him how much if I just wanted a repair on the underdrive clutches and the valve body and he told me I'd still be looking about $2500.

Sounds like the $1500-1800 repair is out the window for me. Argh!
 
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