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Richard, Dodge Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 4141
Experience:  Over 26 years of experience as lead tech and shop foreman.
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2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Van: rebuilt..all the seals..torque converter

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I just rebuilt the 46RE transmission in my 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Van 2WD. I replaced the bands, clutches and all the seals, as well as the pump and torque converter. I thoroughly back-flushed the cooler lines too. I was having some issues, so I took it into a tranny shop to trouble shoot. They replaced the governor pressure sensor and solenoid. It didn't help. Following are the issues I am having:

1) When cold there is sometimes a long delay going into 1st gear (reverse seems to engage fine). If you wait for the engine to warm or move the gear shifter back and forth between reverse and drive a few times, it will finally engage and go.

2) When cold it hesitates shifting from 1st to 2nd when in drive. The rpm fluctuates rapidly up and down about 400 rpm or so like it is switching back and forth between 1st and 2nd. It only seems to do this at lower throttle settings, not when you push hard on the accelerator.

3) Under wide open throttle the transmission will not shift from 1st to 2nd at all. The rpm goes up until the rev limiter comes on. If you back off on the throttle a bit it will shift.

Trouble shooting I have already done myself:

1) I put a computer on it and showed no codes whatsoever.

2) I went through most of the pressure testing procedures in the Dodge shop manual. I was not able to test the forward solenoid pressure because the port is too close to the exhaust pipe.

In the pressure test, everything checked out ok except for a couple of things:

1) The pressure at the overdrive port is low by about 10 psi at 0 throttle and 20 to 30 psi at higher throttle settings. I'm getting about 50 psi at 0 throttle and about 85 psi at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle.

2) The governor pressure increases from 0 to about 30 psi going from 0 to 30 mph. However, the pressure fluctuates rapidly up and down about +/- 10 psi. The computer shows this same fluctuation as my manual pressure gauge hooked up to the port.

I also have checked the shift linkage and throttle linkage and all of the wiring and they all seem fine.

Any pointers on what I should check next?

Hello and welcome to Just Answer!

I am not sure what you mean when you said "forward solenoid pressure". There is no such thing on a 46re transmission.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears are hydraulically controlled and the upshifts are controlled by the electronic governor solenoid.

If you can't get it to engage into drive, you either have a valve body issue or a leak in the forward clutch circuit. A leak in the circuit will usually show up more when the transmission is warm instead of cold.

The governor pressure is fluctuating way to much and the most common cause is the solenoid. I have had new faulty solenoids before and I started using Borg Warner solenoids now because I have seen to much trouble with the Dodge ones. The Borg Warner doesn't have a permanent magnet in them, so they won't attract metal filings like the oem one.


Did you completely disassemble the valve body when you overhauled it?


What was it doing before you rebuilt the transmission? Are any of the problems that were there before still there?




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I'm sorry, I meant the "front servo" test port, but said "front solenoid". I completely disassembled the valve body as part of the overhaul. I found some metal fillings in some of the valves. The transmission overdrive clutch pack burned up and the pan was full of metal and clutch fragments prior to rebuild. Prior to rebuild the transmission seemed to work fine until one day it started slipping going up a hill and then wouldn't go at all.

How can I check for a leak in the foward clutch circuit?

The third test in the service manual will test both front and rear(forward) clutch circuits.

Do you still have the service manual?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, I still have the service manual, but I can't get anything hooked up to the front servo pressure test port because of the exhaust pipe covering up the port. Do you know where I can get a pressure gauge which could fit in this tight spot?
All you need to do is find a 1/8" pipe thread elbow(90°)and you should be able to connect your gauge to the elbow.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It's in a really awkward spot I can't get at even with an elbow. The elbow can only tighten up in one direction where I can get my gauge on it. 15 degrees either way and it won't work. Unfortunately, the elbow tightens up 180 degrees away from where it needs to for connection of a pressure gauge. 180 degrees back it is too loose and leaks tranny fluid all over the place. Any thougths?
I think you should be able to tighten the elbow up more to allow you to get your gauge on. Have you used a pair of pliers or small pipe wrench to tighten it or just finger pressure?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I used a wrench to tighten it. I'll give it another try tomorrow. Wouldn't a leak in the forward clutch circuit show up in reduced pressure in reverse as well as D3 (that's what the manual said)? I have all kinds of pressure at the rear servo port in reverse (Test 4).
The forward(rear) clutch is only applied in forward gears. A leak in this circuit will have no affect on reverse because this isn't applied in reverse. The front clutch is applied in third, fourth and reverse.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, I was getting confused by your terminology. Wouldn't I have low pressure on the accumulator port for the first three tests in the shop manual if I had leakage in the foward(rear) clutch area? I still plan to try the front servo port again tomorrow.

Yes, you should have low pressure at the accumulator port if the forward clutch was leaking. You shouldn't need to check the front servo to test for leakage in the forward clutch. If you went through the first three tests and your forward clutch was leaking, you should have been able to tell by the pressure reading.


I do think you have a valve body issue and will need to pull it out and go through it again, or have it tested. There are some transmission shops that have a valve body tester and they can test valve bodies before installing them.


I have overhauled a ton of these valve bodies and even I sometimes can overlook or miss something during the overhaul.

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