truck transmission diagnostics

Dodge 45RFE and 545 RFE Transmission information

Chrysler introduced the 45RFE transmission in model year 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokees with the 4.7 engine only and then in model year 2000 for the Dodge Ram trucks and Dodge Dakota trucks.

The 45RFE transmission is a five speed automatic transmission however when you drive the vehicle you will actually have 4 gears and lock up. the "5th gear" is only a different ratio achieved during a kick down shift to 2nd gear which is called 2nd prime. "Limp" mode will always be 2nd gear. the 45RFE was used into model year 2002 at which time they came out with the 545RFE transmission.

The 545RFE transmission was  simply the same basic transmission as the 45RFE except they added a 2nd overdrive gear, (5th gear) to the equation.  In 2007 they introduced the 68RFE for Dodge diesel applications but was replaced with the Aisin AS68RC transmission.

2012 has brought us the 65RFE and 68RFE which are 6 speed versions of the same design transmission


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Manually Retrieving trouble codes from Dodge/Jeep vehicles with OBD2 systems.
Dodge and Jeep vehicles have built in diagnostics and they are very easy to access and read stored trouble codes without the use of any scan-tool.
For trucks with digital odometers (up to 2005 model years)  Click key on and off and 3rd time leave key on, will then display codes in 4 digit manner in odometer readout area such as 1763 which would mean P1763 for governor. will go thru all one by one. if none are present will not display anything and or say "done".  This will not retrieve all transmission codes but will give you a P0700 which means you have transmission codes. then you may need scanner anyways to retrieve those codes. Trucks after 2006 this feature has been eliminated and you will need a scanner.
Complaint: Ringing noise or ping during park engagements or coming out of park coming from rear housing area, Dodge trucks.
Cause: Likely the spline on the park gear and or output shaft is worn and causing a noise going into park or out. You can take a center punch and peen the shaft splines in several areas so it will hold the park gear tighter.
Complaint: Dodge truck P1776 trouble code: solenoid switch latched in low reverse posistion.
Cause: This can be several issues, one simply being the switch is stuck, meaning you need to replace the solenoid assembly.(most common especially early model years 2000-2004) can be the switch valve in the valve body is stuck in the low reverse position, or the range sensor is malfunctioning, check shifter cable adjustment as manual valve out of alignment can create this code as well. Lastly it can be a  shorted wire from transmission to ECM, will have codes P1784 and or P0841 for wiring.
Complaint: Dodge 45RFE transmission slipping badly, limp, poss. No 3rd and 4th gears.
Cause: Common issue here is the accumulator cover on the valve body has come loose and broken causing pistons to come out too far and no 3rd or 4th. remove pan and you can see long steel cover with #25 Torx screws. there's several aftermarket fixes for this problem with an updated plate and screws. Accumulator and plate ID
Complaint: Dodge 45RFE transmission Bind up on 3-4 or 4-5 shifts.
Cause: The number 2 check ball has shrunk or come apart causing underdrive clutches to apply on 3-4 and or 4-5 up-shifts. remove valve body and check #2 check ball and replace as necc. (check ball ID)
Complaint: Delay into drive, reverse cold or hot Dodge 45RFE transmissions, P0944 Loss of prime.
Cause: May be the sump filter is cracked on the seam or the neck seal is loose or missing. allot of filters are splitting down the side of the seams. may or may not have trouble codes P0868, main pressure. P0868, loss of prime, P0731 ratio in 1st. P0736 ratio in rev. and other codes. may be only cold first time engagement issues, depends on severity of crack and seal issues etc. If filter was just changed check the seal and possibly new filter is cracked as well. (check your cooler spin on filter if you have the split sump filter if pt # 4799662AB this can be why your sump filter is split, During converter drain back you can get air in the system and when engine is restarted this filter has check valve issue that allows air to blow open the sump filter, replace spin on filter) Another possibility is the cooler filter (screw on cartridge type in pan) has the holes restricted by the seal. use Chrysler filter 04799662AC is best bet. check holes are not restricted if using aftermarket filters.
Complaint: Dodge truck engine stalls when put in drive. No codes.
Cause: The number 4 check ball may be missing or deteriorated, leaking causing tcc valve stroke thru O/D and L/R ckts. check for ball and replace as necc.
Complaint: Late or no shifts, limp mode with input or output speed sensor codes.
Cause: Very common to have failed speed sensor(s) replace both if one goes so you dont have to go back next week! You can have failed output and no upshift and no codes. If your speed sensor bolt breaks off in the case you can fashion a retainer from some scrap metal bracket etc and bolt onto case ear or bracket area so you don't need to try and get a small drill between the floor and case.
Complaint: 45RFE/545RFE pan gasket leaking. 45RFE Fluid.
Cause: First thing: if your unit has a pan gasket on it take it off and use the proper high temp silicone sealant. this transmission does not take a pan gasket and was never meant to have one. Like the Chrysler 413, 670, 604 transaxles its a structural part of the transmission to have pan sealed to case and with a gasket it will always chaff and always leak! We don't know why some fools ever came up with the idea of a gasket for these transmissions! If you get one with the filter do the world a favor and throw it away! or it will be back! Watch for Rust "Zits" on pan in rust belt states and replace before it rots thru and leaks like the engine oil pan does. Always use ATF+4. don not use regular Dexron or anything else as you will end up with problems.
Complaint: 2007 and up 68RFE no forward. Good reverse
Cause: There has been a problem with the underdrive molded pistons ripping apart. this may be related to an assembly issue and or drum surface condition. sometimes seen with very few miles on truck. Be sure to inspect the drum for wear or damage where piston seal surfaces meet and replace as necc.
Complaint: Truck wont move or very slow converter charge after rebuild or pump replacement/repairs.
Cause: When disassembling the pump pay attention to the two #25 Torx screws that hold the wear plate to the pump body. these must be installed and torque to 40 inch lbs or will create a  suction side leak in the pump and no or very slow converter charge condition which will create no movement conditions.
Complaint: 45RFE relearn after transmission replacement/repairs.
Whenever you change out transmission, rebuild /exchange etc you must do quick learn with scanner to reset shift adapts in the TCM or you can have hard or soft slippy shifts. Most scanners are capable of this function..
dodge 45rfe transmission