I bought a 1998 Durango with 37K miles about 7 months ago. Last week the transmission failed completely. The vehicle only has 42K miles. I didn't have the extended warranty so it cost me $2100. The guy at the shop told me that Dodge is aware of the transmission problems on the 98 and 99 models and they modified it on the 2000 model. A person should expect a transmission to last past 42K miles, especially if they spend between $20K and $30K for it. I sent a letter to Dodge customer service to complain about this and they sent a reply back stating that they were sorry for my inconvenience but since the vehicle was out of warranty, it was my problem. I don't believe that Daimler-Chrysler cares about its customers at all. I doubt I'll ever buy another Daimler-Chrysler product after the response I got from them.
Can't say I agree with the mechanic. There are very few reported tranny problems on the Durango that amount to anything serious, and the 46RE is based on the 727 which is still in great use in racing. Also, the tranny for the 5.9 did not change in any way AFAIK. The tranny change you are refering to was based on the new 4.7 engine, not because of "transmission problems on the 98 and 99".
Since you bought your vehicle used, though, did you have any idea of its history, and any abuse that the tranny may have undertaken? Most of the time it's lack of maintenance and heat that kills a tranny. Next time, before you buy, have the tranny inspected by a mechanic and have the fluid analyzed. I would also suggest that you switch to a high-quality synthetic tranny fluid such as Redline if you plan to keep this D.
#545 of 1712 rcarboni: Durango transmission
May 18, 2001 (12:45 pm)
Hey, I'm crossing over from the synth board. Maybe you could answer a question for me. I've got a '98 Durango with the 44RE. One thing I've noticed is that the torque converter locks up normally in 4th gear (overdrive) and disengages when the throttle is released, but doesn't disengage when throttle is applied. If the speed drops below 40 mph, then the lockup disengages as it should, so I know the lockup solenoid is venting properly and the problem doesn't appear to be in the valve body. Could this be a PCM problem?
If it is a PCM problem, then I'll have it taken care of because it affects driveability by requiring a 4-3 downshift on steeper grades instead of releasing the torque converter lockup and utilizing more power from a higher rpm range. The PCM is covered under federal emmisions warranty of 100,000mi. If it is internal to the transmission, then I'll just live with it until I can afford to do something about it.
I think the problem you are describing is SOP. Probably in an effort to squeeze every last foot of MPG, the TC stays locked under light throttle once in overdrive. I've found that when I'm driving in hilly terrain, or heavy traffic between 35-45mph, I just turn off overdrive. Once back to smooth cruising, the o/d goes back on. I've tried to find some way to adjust the MPH under which the o/d engages, but have been unsuccessful. It appears that the PCM would have to be reprogrammed. Not worth $400+ to custom flash the PCM for a little better shifting when you can do it manually.
BTW, I also have installed a shift kit on my '98 46RE. If you want your tranny to wake up, this is the ticket. Unfortunately, it has no effect on the TC and/or overdrive.
Anyone know if Dodge is going to redo the durango yet? theyve had the same model since 98 and it could use a facelift. Has anyone else heard that Dodge will add a new larger SUV to the lineup once their Van is out? I herd it will compete with the Expedition or Suburban.
Unless she's going to be carrying 7 passengers around everyday, towing 7000lbs, or going off-roading, I wouldn't advise it. My 5.9L get about 10.5-12MPG city driving. I spend about $200 in gas a month, using it as my daily driver. If I didn't go off-roading or have a boat & ATVs to tow, I'd have gotten rid of it a long time ago.
Go ahead and get it if she wants it. I use mine as a daily driver and love it. I have the 4.7 engine and I have no complaints. Sure it does drink more gas than a VW but it is mine, I love it and will continue to drive it and enjoy it.