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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 23109
Experience:  Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans Specialist
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I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. 5.7L w/auto trans. 2 nights

Customer Question

I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. 5.7L w/auto trans. 2 nights ago, leaving a restaurant the shifter felt very sloppy. I shifted through from Park to first and back up twice. On the second attempt, the shifter stuck in first. I tried driving a short distance to see if it would free the shifter/linkage and allow me to shift into Drive. It wouldn't. I tried to force the shifter and consequently broke the shift cable at the column shifter connector. I replaced the cable and was able to (with more effort than should have been necessary) able to manually shift the transmission into Park. I reconnected the shift cable and was able to put the truck in reverse and get it backed into my garage. Once it was all back together, I pulled the truck out and drove it around the block. The transmission shifted fine and seems to be functioning properly. But the shifter itself still feels extremely sloppy. I can barely feel the 'clicks' from Park to Reverse-Neutral-drive- Etc. I've tried the procedure for adjusting the cable. It will start in park and Neutral and only in park and Neutral. I am afraid that something has broken inside the transmission itself. I found out that the shift cable is on National back order with more than 1000 on back order. I'm guessing this is a really common issue with this model.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Transmissions
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

The root cause of the problem is a broken detent arm on the valve body. The rooster comb with the detents for each gear moves back and forth with the shifter and the spring loaded arm has a roller on the end that engages the detents. What has happened is the roller broke off the arm. When you pulled the shifter into manual first and tried to force it out then the arm wedged against the rooster comb and the cable broke. I'm somewhat surprised you were able to get it back out of manual first without breaking another cable, but the reason it's loose now is because the roller isn't there to hold the rooster comb in the correct spot for each gear.

What you'll need to do is remove the valve body and inspect the arm, I'm sure you will find the roller has broken off.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've never torn into an automatic transmission. Is this something somebody with reasonable mechanical skills could do? Is the arm something that can be replaced individually or is it part of the valve body itself? I've seen the shift solenoid replaced on one of these and it didn't look terribly complicated but when it comes to transmissions I'm hesitant to try to tear it apart without some help. Thank u.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

The arm can be purchased without having to replace the valve body and it's held on by a single bolt.

Internal transmission work can be unforgiving and there is the possibility of catastrophic damage if something is done incorrectly, but as far as valve bodies go this one is about the easiest you'll find. You'd just have to remove the pan, unplug the solenoid connector on the outside, remove the filter, and remove the six 8mm bolts that hold the valve body to the case.