2018 Transmission Failure

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PWJouster
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2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:39 am

25k miles on the truck.

said it from the get-go...Transmission tuning is crap, shift logic is crap, lugging is crap, downshifts are crap.

Trans is out for the count.

Had it flushed around 20k miles. At 25k miles now.

The other day it had a hard downshift, almost felt like i got rear ended...
Then the next morning, truck had a harder downshift...this time i had that pit in stomach feeling of being hit, it was so harsh.

The next couple of days, it drove fine, trans temps never above 180 and everything was ok except some hard shifts here and there but not as bad as had happened the prior days.


Then woke up one morning and it sounded like trash, and almost sounded like something was being tossed around the trans pan, but only when in drive and foot on brake. Not in park or neutral.
Then drove it to dodge, had the tech test drive it for 30 minutes.
each and every shift got worse, and upon arriving back at the service isle...temp was 230 DEGREES.What?

I will update everyone shortly. This is trash. I was literally looking at the ATS bypass block a few weeks back. If this is what caused the failure, i wonder if the trans flush set it off? That would be against most logic but you never know.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by FordyceCreekTrail » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:13 pm

Isn't the transmission flushed at 100K plus? This is the kind of stuff that scares me on Rams. Mines has done some weird things, but performs normally most of the time.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:56 am

FordyceCreekTrail wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:13 pm
Isn't the transmission flushed at 100K plus? This is the kind of stuff that scares me on Rams. Mines has done some weird things, but performs normally most of the time.
i didnt have it flushed with a flushing system.

oil was drained and refilled.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by EasyDoesIt » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:14 pm

PWJouster wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:56 am
i didnt have it flushed with a flushing system.

oil was drained and refilled.
Why did you flush it? Was you fluid dark/black or was it due to operating characteristics? I get some clunking/hard shifts on mine but I chalk that up to normal with a 8k lb truck on heavy 37s and factory gears.

After reading your initial post I went and checked my trans fluid, level and color looked good.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:53 pm

Transfer case fluid was black, trans fluid color was dark but still translucent, but again, I had hard shifting and bad lugging from day one on stock tires. I had light 35s for most of its life.

I changed the fluids just as a precautionary measure to remove any material floating around from break in.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by olyelr » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:14 pm

Is the dealer still gonna look into this free of charge with the 37’s on there? Or did you swap out for stock size tires prior to taking it in?
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by cb1987 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:10 am

not to arm chair qauter back the situation but if the trans isnt working right, why keep driving it another 25k miles ? with a heavy foot, 37s and 4.10 gears, i can see the trans burning up. why the tcase oil is black still has me a bit stumped, but it must have seen extreme heat as well

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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:56 am

olyelr wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:14 pm
Is the dealer still gonna look into this free of charge with the 37’s on there? Or did you swap out for stock size tires prior to taking it in?
absolutely

Ive been complaining since stock. Which was quickly over. 20k miles on the 35s which are actually 33s.

Still wasnt happy on 35s.

to tell you the truth, and ive mentioned elsewhere, the 37s was an improvement for lugging and shifting patterns. It asked to be in the prior gear more often and it obliged in a completely healthy manor. The 4.10s and 37s is perfect for an 85MPH cruiser.

It just so happened to be that something internally was failing, causing harsher shifts at 25k miles, or something externally was failing(temp bypass valve)(It never ran hot but i never towed,it still could have been staving oil with a bottleneck,or leaking valve body)

we all know a billet valve body, performance Torque Converter, and better tuning this Trans should go 300k Miles untouched.


I wish FCA would at least let me try to upgrade internals, expand cooling capacity, and still warranty the engine, but thats hopeful.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:07 am

cb1987 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:10 am
not to arm chair qauter back the situation but if the trans isnt working right, why keep driving it another 25k miles ? with a heavy foot, 37s and 4.10 gears, i can see the trans burning up. why the tcase oil is black still has me a bit stumped, but it must have seen extreme heat as well
Im sorry, you mean spend $62k on a truck and not use it? With Real Estate being my income and needing a fullsize people carrier?

I wont lie, there is wear and tear on this truck. Im in Florida, you ever seen a south Florida Flood? it happens throughout hurricane season and i like to be on top of maintenance still, when no one typically cares.
Thats why im more prone to change oils then most people care for... i planned on keeping the ram for the long haul.

I was in the shop every 5k miles for oil changes, all i ever got from the dealer was if it fails, we will warranty it. Which is perfectly natural for a new vehicle dealer and purchase scenario.

BTW, did not purchase the truck at the dealer its now at if anyone thinks thats different. But ive been doing 1,000s of $$$$ of work with a really great tech i can trust there.

still no call, but i guess you can say im hopeful all will be well.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by FordyceCreekTrail » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:25 am

I have to admit, if my transmission goes out under 250K or so I would likely never buy a Ram again. Its just not normal on a modern truck.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by Colibri » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:06 am

There’s no real way for them to even tell you have an upgraded torque converter or billet valvebody without tearing down your transmission, and why would anyone ever do that in the first place if it’s the engine needing warranty work? A built transmission is really a non issue. If you have an aftermarket pcm, just swap to stock before you take it in.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by Bill2014 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:10 am

PWJouster wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:07 am
cb1987 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:10 am
not to arm chair qauter back the situation but if the trans isnt working right, why keep driving it another 25k miles ? with a heavy foot, 37s and 4.10 gears, i can see the trans burning up. why the tcase oil is black still has me a bit stumped, but it must have seen extreme heat as well
Im sorry, you mean spend $62k on a truck and not use it? With Real Estate being my income and needing a fullsize people carrier?

I wont lie, there is wear and tear on this truck. Im in Florida, you ever seen a south Florida Flood? it happens throughout hurricane season and i like to be on top of maintenance still, when no one typically cares.
Thats why im more prone to change oils then most people care for... i planned on keeping the ram for the long haul.

I was in the shop every 5k miles for oil changes, all i ever got from the dealer was if it fails, we will warranty it. Which is perfectly natural for a new vehicle dealer and purchase scenario.

BTW, did not purchase the truck at the dealer its now at if anyone thinks thats different. But ive been doing 1,000s of $$$$ of work with a really great tech i can trust there.

still no call, but i guess you can say im hopeful all will be well.
Didn't you do a tuner a while back? correcting for tire size / shift points / transmission / etc? Definitely don't share that with any dealer... :secret:

I wonder if something went wrong in that process and hastened your impending transmission failure... :excited:
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by Colibri » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:19 am

stock gears and 37’s is extremely hard on trans fluid and clutch packs if you drive aggressively, which I think he probably does. Resetting tire size in the pcm doesn’t really change that fact.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:41 am

Bill2014 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:10 am


Didn't you do a tuner a while back? correcting for tire size / shift points / transmission / etc? Definitely don't share that with any dealer... :secret:

I wonder if something went wrong in that process and hastened your impending transmission failure... :excited:
always wanted to do a new PCM tune but never got around to it. Diablo was saying they wont sell 2018 PCMs while i had it ordered with Hemifever.
so i canceled it and lived with it.

i have had the AEV procal tool to correct tire size and speedo.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:27 am

Colibri wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:19 am
stock gears and 37’s is extremely hard on trans fluid and clutch packs if you drive aggressively, which I think he probably does. Resetting tire size in the pcm doesn’t really change that fact.
again, 37s just went on 1k or so miles ago.

your going to tell me 37s caused a failure in a month or so of daily driving?

i actually hesitated with the 37s at first when i purchased 35s.

clearly i always wanted to go 37s but i was always concerned about the trans and gearing. so for 20k miles i Dealt with 35s. Clearly, i had no severe trans degradation so i jumped up to the 37s.
i drive the same, but am certainly more cautious about corners and curbs with 37s. Ive been taking it easy by all accounts...

I mean, how hard can i drive post MAS TLIF back surgery that i had in February? ive been recovering for months since that surgery, so its not like i can jump the truck or take corners very fast right now. ( or can i-Thuren/king)

Ive had a sahara and rubicon JKU...and stuck with 33s and 35s respectively...i know the issues with too large of a tire a
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by Colibri » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:14 pm

PWJouster wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:27 am
Colibri wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:19 am
stock gears and 37’s is extremely hard on trans fluid and clutch packs if you drive aggressively, which I think he probably does. Resetting tire size in the pcm doesn’t really change that fact.
again, 37s just went on 1k or so miles ago.

your going to tell me 37s caused a failure in a month or so of daily driving?

i actually hesitated with the 37s at first when i purchased 35s.

clearly i always wanted to go 37s but i was always concerned about the trans and gearing. so for 20k miles i Dealt with 35s. Clearly, i had no severe trans degradation so i jumped up to the 37s.
i drive the same, but am certainly more cautious about corners and curbs with 37s. Ive been taking it easy by all accounts...

I mean, how hard can i drive post MAS TLIF back surgery that i had in February? ive been recovering for months since that surgery, so its not like i can jump the truck or take corners very fast right now. ( or can i-Thuren/king)

Ive had a sahara and rubicon JKU...and stuck with 33s and 35s respectively...i know the issues with too large of a tire a


I was responding to Bill2014 not pointing a finger at you, I should have quoted him to avoid confusion.

No where did I say a month of driving on 37’s killed your transmission, I was clarifying that with 4.10’s and 37’s changing tire size in the pcm does not prevent excess wear and tear on the transmission.

It can be hard to tell a persons tone reading a comment on the internet, but for future reference, I only bother posting here if I feel I can help or add value/information to our little community. I regard this place as an extended family of sorts, I don’t shit on people here.

Most likely, as you’ve said yourself, your transmission problem is due to a combination of the faulty solenoid pack that has been screwing with the newer rams and the actual programming/shift timing itself as well as environmental and use factors. Honestly it’s an issue ram needs to address more seriously.

The RFE series of transmissions are unique in that they were the first or at least one of the firsts to not use sprag/one way clutches to mechanically aid the hydraulic circuit in shifting. That requires exact timing of hydraulic circuits to apply and release in concert and to be able to compensate for clutch wear over the life on the transmission Chrysler had to develop the CVI system. Clutch volume index- how much fluid it takes to compress a clutch pack over a given time to accomplish a shift. This and pwm technology are what allows for the adaptive learning.

The problem, in my opinion aside from the recent faulty solenoid packs is that to optimize comfortable shifts that don’t jar the whole vehicle they have to allow slippage of the applying and releasing clutch packs during overlap. They erred on the side of comfort to attempt to give a sedan like driving experience to owners of 3/4 ton solid front axle trucks. This leads to premature wear and excess heat. Alter the shift parameters and it’s likely to live a long time even under very hard use. Mechanically speaking they’re very robust units.

Sorry for your troubles.
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Carli 3” coils deaver leafs 3” kings with 4 tube bypass rear and fr/rr hydro bumps
Howe steering pump and gear with hydraulic ram assist
Custom tube bumpers and white knuckle sliders
Creative fab trussed axle. rem polished and cryoed 5.13 gears with arb lockers fr/rr
Sharadon stage 2 545rfe with 3000 stall edge converter
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by PWJouster » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:36 am

hey man sorry lol trust me when i say, ive valued each of your posts, whether response to me or others.

my response was an obligatory stance rebuttal as when anyone reads it, they will know my thoughts to any comments that may have already been brought up. Reading my post, didnt mean to respond with vengeance.

i just think the lighter 37s and Non Beadlocks that im using, shouldnt even be considered. Everyone does it!

On the other hand to your comments, when i drive alone, which is 80% of the time, im 99% of the time in TOW/HAUL.
Which speeds up shifts, higher RPM, more Force/less slippage?
The trans had a very good shot at shifting like my driving " Style" needed, and it would not have ended this way.

Again, its the MPG tuning that shoots us in the foot. I bet a TCM tune day one and the factory components would probably last.
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by Bill2014 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:47 am

I wasn't sure whether you, PWJouster, actually ran a tuner or not... (I now know you didn't) :wink:

I've used performance tuners on other vehicles with some great success - but that was because I made all the other required mods to enable the extra power. In the case of our 6.4 "truck" engines, the tuners aren't really adding much in the way of power... I brought up the tuner, because the changes to the transmission settings are what you typically feel - not the increased HP at WOT that the tuners deliver. These "special transmission tuning settings" can definitely impact the life of a transmission - look at all the disclaimers associated with the tuners. Fiat is on the hook for our powertrain warranty, so you can be sure that the factory transmission settings are geared more toward longevity than anything else.

Since you didn't use a turner - your transmission woes are likely due to faulty parts or fluid from the git-go. Your trans fluid discoloration is a big concern. I believe everything you have shared but the transfer case fluid discoloration on top of all this suggests there is more to this story...
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Re: 2018 Transmission Failure

Post by waldo » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:06 am

I wasn't impressed with the 66RFE in my 16. Had the solenoid pack changed twice. Traded it on a 19 with the ZF. Completely different animal.

Surprisingly, the 545RFE in the 07 chugs right along.
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