Trucks are known to have their fair share of transmission issues, and it may be due to their increased use for activities such as moving, hauling, and towing. Some truck transmissions are simply used more heavily than others. Due to excessive use, your transmission may need a repair sooner than anticipated. The most common truck transmission repair issues include fluid leaks, clutch, torque converter, and solenoid problems. Most of these issues require a professional transmission repair technician to diagnose and treat the problem to prevent further damage.
General Motors (GMC and Chevrolet)
There is common transmission history between numerous vehicles of the GM family including the Chevy Silverado, Chevy 1500, Chevy Trailblazer, Chevy Express, GMC Sierra, GMC Savannah and other rear or 4-wheel drive vehicles from those manufacturers. The initial transmission used in certain of these models dating back to 1982 was the 700R4. A common trend in the 1990s was the electrification of the transmission. Related to that trend, the 700R4 evolved to the 4L60E in 1992 and continues to be used today for numerous GM vehicles. Common problems with this transmission include an inability to reverse and loss of 3rd and 4th gear. Often codes will appear in a vehicles dash that identify symptoms of a larger underlying internal transmission problem. One common code is “p1870 – Trans Component Slipping” which can be triggered by various part deficiencies or malfunctions.
Trucks and vans from Ford have a similar transmission history to GM. The F-150, Econoline, and most light-duty trucks relied on the AOD transmission which came into service in 1980 models. By 1992 the AODE was introduced which reflects the industry trend towards electrification. The electrification trend occurred simultaneously to vehicles being increasingly computerized. Eventually, this transmission evolved to the 4R70W/4R75W, showcasing added monitoring and sensory capabilities. Nevertheless, this transmission also has various shortfalls. Clutch burnout is typical as is gear loss in 3rd and 4th gears. Moreover, subtle and then more distinct from the noise occurs which often can be associated to planetary gear and bearing issues.
Chrysler (Dodge, Ram, Jeep)
The Chrysler family of vehicles also share common transmission ancestry. Trucks such as the Dodge RAM (since 2010 RAM operates under its own brand name), Dodge Durango and Dodge Dakota are part of this story. In 1960 the 3-speed 727 transmission was put into use and was eventually upgraded to the 46RH/47RH/48RH models; these versions had unique hydraulic capabilities and were widely used. The electrification trend led to the 46RE/47RE/48RE models yet by the mid-2000s a complete redesign brought about the 48RE/48RFE/68RFE versions. This was a positive development as these transmissions were a step up in quality from the prior models used. Still, certain problems persisted. Electrical issues are challenging to diagnose and occur with some frequency for this model. Also, a common error code for the RE series is the “p1763: Governor Pressure Sensor” that can be caused by numerous internal transmission problems.
It is important to note for all the previously described makes and models of vehicles, transmission have been designed to be resilient even when there is clear internal damage. Often truck will go into “limp mode” which allows the vehicle to drive yet the ability to change gears is deactivated. In these situations, immediate professional attention is required. Also, transmissions are adaptive and can adjust to minor wear and tear, yet if a driver is hearing noises and has difficulty shifting, it often indicates the transmission has adjusted to its maximum capabilities and now the damage must be addressed immediately.
Low or Leaking Fluid Levels
Fluid levels are easy to check but can be difficult to maintain if there is a leak in your transmission. A leak is an indication of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Leaks are the most common issue so they’re usually the easiest to diagnose and remedy. The seals on your transmission are one of the first places we check for signs of leakage. Under strenuous use or hot conditions, those seals can harden and ultimately allow a dangerous leak. It is also possible your fluid is contaminated from coolant in your radiator. Old or contaminated fluid needs to be changed or you may need an entire transmission flush and service. Symptoms of low or leaky fluid levels may include slow or shaky shifting or gear slippage.
As part of the torque converter, the clutch can become jammed and prevent your transmission from running smoothly. Clutch issues may present symptoms similar to low fluid levels but will also cause violent shaking and high heat levels in the transmission. When the clutch is jammed, the fluid in the torque converter may not be calculated correctly and can cause serious damage to your entire transmission.
Torque Converter Problems
Needle bearings are just a small part of the torque converter, but they can produce a strange noise when shifting if they are worn. This noise can sound like a brushing or a grinding sound. If this problem isn’t addressed quickly, it can be detrimental to your transmission. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when dealing with the health of your vehicle and your safety.
Your transmission solenoid controls the flow of fluid through the transmission during gear shifting. Without the proper amount of fluid to flow through, your transmission cannot function properly. Low fluid levels and electronic issues are two of the most likely causes of solenoid problems. If you hear your transmission slipping but there isn’t sign of fluid leakage, be sure to have your solenoid checked by a transmission technician.
Truck transmission repair technicians at Advanced Transmission Center solve these common problems and many others on a daily basis. With years of qualified experience across all makes and models including GMC, Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge just to name a few, we diagnose and resolve all types of transmission issues with ease, efficiency, and the highest quality customer care. We take immense pride in our three decades of high standards as is reflected in our customer reviews. Get in touch today!