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Old 06-08-2006, 10:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thinking about making the switch.

Short version: I want a dodge CTD dually in place of my tow rig/dd, how bad do the trans really suck?




I'm thinking about trading my vehicles for a CTD. Something basically like this:

but! I know very little about Dodges.

Right now i have a daily driver ('00 Sierra 1500) and a tow rig ('87 chevy dually). I'm happy with both vehicles but it is frustrating having to swap out tool boxes, floor jacks, etc. every time i use the tow rig. Also, the 454 only gets about 6 mpg on the interstate. I have had enough of that, esp. on longer trips. Im ready to go with one vehicle that can do both.

I would like a duramax/Allison but I can't afford any payments right now so i would basically like to break even on trading/selling both my vehicles. This limits me to '95-'98 (ish) year model duallys.

So, I chose to go with a dodge for a couple of reasons.
The cummins > 6.5!
I am tired of getting stuck in wet grass so it must be a SFA 4x4.
From what i can tell there seems to be more Dodge reg cab dually's in that year range them GMC/Chevy's (at least in this area).
I don't like Fords.

However, i know very little about Dodges other than the water pump isn't fun to change.
The little bit of homework ive done, well, ok, i looked at this thread:
/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/478586-96-dodge-cummins-4x4.html
Has given me a good idea of what to look for but, didn't Allison put some of their transmissions in this BS dually's? Or was that only behind the V10's?

I havent done any searching yet, but, a cummins swap in place of a duramax seems to be common. Are the bolt patterns the same?
I spent ALOT of money building up the 4L60e in my 1500. The last thing i want to do is have to build/swap another transmission any time soon.

What does everyone think? Would it be wise to make the switch?
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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To my knowledge, there were never any Allison transmissions installed in a Dodge truck in the modern era. Everything so far has been either a New Venture or Getrag manual or Chrysler designed auto. Also the CTD in the years you are looking at is a 5.9L. The 2007 Chassis Cabs can be had with a new 6.7L Cummins.

And this really should be posted in the Tow Rig forum.
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Elwenil
And this really should be posted in the Tow Rig forum.
My bad, i was wondering what all was good/bad about the dodges in those years, not just the CTD.

Mods- move it for me please.

I thought some of the V10's had an allison in them?? I guess i knew even less than i thought.

So did any of the Dodges in those years have a "good" trans, or did they all have problems?
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Old 06-08-2006, 03:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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IMHO, they aren't nearly as bad as most people claim they are. They just have gotten a bad reputation that I don't feel is really deserved. The Ford 4r100 trannys seem to fail more frequently and at lower mileage and the GM/Allison trannys don't last much longer from reports I have heard.

My personal pickup has over 160k miles on it and has towed goosenecks its whole life. It doesn't have any problems (yet) and it doesn't even have a tranny cooler on it. This isn't the only dodge I have owned either, and none of the others ever had any issues.

I think that most of the problems come from when people try to push things too far. When this happens, things are bound to break.
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Old 06-08-2006, 03:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Personally I would steer clear of the autos and go with a manual trans if you are going to be towing with it. The auto trannies in the 95-98 Rams arent really up to the task of holding up to the power of the CTD especially if you start modding it. I have a couple friends that say they regret ever buying an auto. Hell I have problems with the auto tranny in my 00' 2500 and its only got the V8.

Dodge has never used Allison transmisions.
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The newer dodge auto trannys are not that bad IMO, compaired with all the other pos's crysler made for the gas engines. But i am biased from owning an automaic CTD. The gas engines and the diesel trannys have alot of stuff diffrent on the insides, but one common problem from our tranny builder is the pump is almost maxed out at factory pressures. He recommends to replace the tranny pump with a aftermarket one that produces double the pressure. I bit the bullet and went kinda crazy when i blew up my tranmission, spent 1900 in parts alone. With the low stall converter and all the goodies its quicker than anything around here, up to 30 mph or so.
Other problems in those years are generally a low pocket book from all the power adding goodies that are avalible! But thats a good problem right?
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Also, my 93 CTD which has the old fuel system and the unlocked torque convertor, and a totally diffrent tranmission in it than the 94+, got 14mpg towing my 64 impala, in the snow, in 4x4 to wyoming and back. down the freeway on trips i get from 16-18. around town im in the single digits from racing the rice rockets and winning. but the newer CTD get better milage.
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarvisjeep
The newer dodge auto trannys are not that bad IMO, compaired with all the other pos's crysler made for the gas engines. But i am biased from owning an automaic CTD. The gas engines and the diesel trannys have alot of stuff diffrent on the insides, but one common problem from our tranny builder is the pump is almost maxed out at factory pressures. He recommends to replace the tranny pump with a aftermarket one that produces double the pressure. I bit the bullet and went kinda crazy when i blew up my tranmission, spent 1900 in parts alone. With the low stall converter and all the goodies its quicker than anything around here, up to 30 mph or so.
Other problems in those years are generally a low pocket book from all the power adding goodies that are avalible! But thats a good problem right?

So if the gasser trannys are so bad, how do you explain mine living through hell for 160k miles so far with no tranny cooler?
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You must be lucky! I am a service writer at a large repair shop so I only see the broken ones. And the broken ones I have seen are ether from clutch weat or due to the pump problem. A few of our customers with the higher milage v-8 dodge 2500's(three come to mind right away) have a problem where you first accelerate it feel just like if you put larger tires on a rig with out changing the gear ratio. 2 of the 3 also had a tcc problem. On one of them we installed a diffrent sized orifice plate for the tcc and did some valve body work out tranny builder reccomend but a very small bit of the take off feeling was still occuring. He took if for and verified the condition and told us about the pump problem. A tranmission builder can tell you more about the specifics than me as i dont build them every day.
Other than that I have not seen other common problems here but normal wear. If you have 160k on a crysler tranny thats awsome! lots better than what most of our customers get(and me too). I dont know why yours lasted longer than the ones i see in here, other than luck i guess? And your truck should have a cooler installed in the radiator.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It has a cooler in the radiator, but I highly doubt that is truly enough of a cooler to cool a tranny pulling 8k+ goosenecks its whole life. I know the history behind the truck as well, and I know it isn't rebuilt either.

I know there are people who aren't having as good of luck with their trannys, but I just can't understand why. One thing to remember is that cars last much longer than they used to, so to me it seems more like the cars are outlasting the trannys.

I think a better question to ask would be to compare the dodge trannys to the ford and gm ones. These guys have their problems too, but it sure seems like the dodge guys whine the most about the problems that they may have.
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have a 94 Cummins with the 46RE auto transmission. The truck has almost 200k miles on it. The transmission has never been touched. It has a shake that comes in around 42mph, but that, I believe, is a problem with the transmission module and not the transmission. You can turn off O/D and it goes away -- or just don't travel at 42mph. It is a $500 dealer fix (buy the newer module for $480 and then pay the dealer for an hour shop time to spend 5 minutes installing and programming it to work with the older transmission).

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Old 06-09-2006, 04:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Ready
Dodge has never used Allison transmisions.
I'm nitpicking but actually Dodge has used Allison transmissions in the past. A few of the Dodge medium and heavy duty trucks came down the line with them, as well as a lot of motorcoach chassis. None in a light duty truck though.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The auto trans is the weak link with the CTD IMHO. The '94 truck where the trans "has never been touched" would certainly be the exception and would probably be stock power (180 hp), without towing, has to have had regular service and never had the cooler lines fail (or it got the upgrade in time) and been babied. In a 3500 is is more likely that it has had a hard working life than with a 2500.

The transmissions can be made to work well but be prepared to spend money, plan on $3K min, if you are going to add any power, which you probably will, or tow anything, which you know you will.

I realize that a stick can be a PITA in heavy traffic but if you can live with one that would be the more durable way to go. If the chutch wears out (or if you add more power than it can handle) it would be more like $1K for the HD parts. There is sometimes a problem with the 5th gear nut coming loose (on the 5 speeds, not 6 speeds) and then the truck doesn't have 5th until it is repaired but still nowhere near the cost of an auto.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggy Daddy
The transmissions can be made to work well but be prepared to spend money, plan on $3K min, if you are going to add any power, which you probably will, or tow anything, which you know you will.
I've already spent close to $2K this year on beefing up one transmission. I will not and can not afford to put more money into another trans for a while.
Especially since i will be doing a little bit of work to it to get some more "umph" out of it.

A standard is out of the question. I am not comfortable enough with one to want to drive one everyday nor do i want to have to worry about shifting gears for a 8 hour road trip while hauling 7K lbs.

I thank everyone for their input.

Another newb Q- it was in '00 when mercedes started building trans for them, correct? Was that only for the half tons?
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coonbottom
I've already spent close to $2K this year on beefing up one transmission. I will not and can not afford to put more money into another trans for a while.
Especially since i will be doing a little bit of work to it to get some more "umph" out of it.

So why don't you just rebuild the tranny yourself then? You'll save a lot of money doing that.

Honestly, I don't think you will find what you are looking for with any of the big 3's automatic transmissions. The DMax/Allison is probably the best automatic in stock form, but these also have problems when power output is increased too. According to allison's specs on the 1000 series trannys GM is already on the very edge (if not over the edge) of horsepower and torque figures that allison claims that the 1000 will handle. The Ford 4r100 trannys are junk too and seem to have a life span of about 100k miles. I would place the dodge trannys between the ford and gm for durability.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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After having worked the heck out of all the trannies, I will put them as follows:

Best -- GM 4l80/85E & NVG 5600
Allison 1000
Ford 5R110
ZF-6 / ZF-5 (Ford, never drove a chevy with one)
GM4l60E
Worst: Dodge 47RE, Ford 4R100, Dodge 46rE

Now the 4l60e won't stand up to the loads that the 47RE or 4r100 but in stock vehicles loaded to stock ratings the 4l60E will have a slightly longer life. The 46RE in my Ram 1500 last 15000 miles with no towing before th valve body failed, the TCC, pump etc died at 50 000 miles, rebuild has done well though.

I have yet to see a 4L80/85 die, and I have abused some of them more severe then most. We killed a few Allison 1000s at work. ZF-6 in F-350 are decent to 100 000 miles consistently but not much past that. (Maybe 150). The 5R110 are holding up really well though. Can't recall how many 4R100s and 47REs I have seen on the shop floor, but more then I care to count.
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Old 06-10-2006, 08:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Another newb Q- it was in '00 when mercedes started building trans for them, correct? Was that only for the half tons?

I don't follow the changes in the half tons and so can't say about those. On the CTD they went to the NV5600 as an option in '99 (hard to get) and then pretty much standard manual trans on the 2000s. I say pretty much because if you lived somewhere that you could get or had to get the low output engine (like CA), then the standard manual trans was still the NV4500 5 speed.

On the 2006 they have gone back to Getrag for manual transmissions. The 5 speeds in the First Gen trucks('88-'93) were mostly Getrag and they had some problems. The new 6 speed is a complete redesign and time will tell how they hold up. I heard a rumor that New Venture Gear is out of business but have not seen it in print.



What I have seen completely agrees with ramv's list. The shop where I work does not repair transmissions, we buy from a couple major rebuilders and then do the R&R. In the trucks we see (almost all Diesel) the Dodges have the most auto trans problems, even when compared to similar power Fords (I am not saying Fords are better trucks, they have other issues). The 6.5 GM simply does not make enough power to kill a reasonabley strong trans. I would guess that the big block gasser is probably harder on it. Right now only 2 Allison problems come to mind; one was fluid leakage from the front inside the bell housing and the other was mechanical failure on a truck with major HP increase. We seen to get relatively few D'maxes and so my sample is fairly small. We do see a lot of pusher motorhomes with Allisons (different models, though) and failures are pretty rare.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You know, you're right, the only way that transmission could have made it to 200k and still be okay is if it were babied, but I bought the truck used with 140k miles on it. It was set up for for a slide-in camper and had a very heavily used hitch. The truck came from Quartzsite, a very popular snowbird destination in Arizona. Snowbirds like to travel around so I figured the truck got a workout. It sounds like I got really lucky!
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:56 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The way to extend the transmission life is simply not to over load it! That means don't exceed the mfg. weight ratings (gvw & gcvw) just because someone says "they can take it", and don't double the power just bacause you can. I've got 160K on my 92 CTD with a weak Getrag and no problems, still has the orginal clutch.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggy Daddy

I realize that a stick can be a PITA in heavy traffic but if you can live with one that would be the more durable way to go. If the chutch wears out (or if you add more power than it can handle) it would be more like $1K for the HD parts. There is sometimes a problem with the 5th gear nut coming loose (on the 5 speeds, not 6 speeds) and then the truck doesn't have 5th until it is repaired but still nowhere near the cost of an auto.
I read somewhere guys swapping in the 6 speed in place of the 5. How big a job is that? Or is there nothin' to it?

Also, a stick can be a PITA in traffic...but these things have so much damn torque, I don't see shifting being a problem. Should be silky smooth. If you were talking a Civic with 65 ft-lbs, then yeah...major PITA.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:54 AM   #21 (permalink)
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The 46RE in my Ram 1500 last 15000 miles with no towing before th valve body failed, the TCC, pump etc died at 50 000 miles, rebuild has done well though.
Hmmm...this is why I signed up for this forum! Great insight...I owned a Dak R/T with the 46RE and thought it was fantastic with just a VB swap. I had the truck going high 12s in the 1/4 N/A...putting down around 330horse and 400ft-lbs out of that 360. Never had any issues with it, even with slicks. But hell, torque kills trannies!

The more you guys talk about this, the more I want to find a manual. hehe.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:30 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The dodge transmissions behind the cummins' are kind of weak. Mine lived for 170000 miles. 125000 is where I started modifying it. I have a 96 with the 47re trans, 35s, and 3.54 gears.

these are my trans mods- low stall torque converter with a single disc clutch from TCS in canada, 650.00 with shipping, and core never returned.

-transgo TFOD-DIESEL shift kit set up according to the guy that made the trans for the cummins truck that won on pinks. $75.00 I still remember how to set it up, if you want any help. you will also need a higher first gear spring.

-fresh rebuild at 172000 by me in my friend's shop. $190.00

-cooler hot line made from a tractor hydraulic hose, and some fittings from a farm supply store $20.00

I tow with it once in a while. I towed my 73 chevy k20 from san diego to montana over some big mountain passes with the cruise control set at 80. a stock cummins and trans won't do it, but I have put less than 2 grand into modding that truck, and it will tow anything I want reliably. Last night I smoked the 35s with a rear lsd. The speedo said 55 mph, and that is actually about 65 tire speed. I let off (the brake), and it smoked them for about a quarter of a block. you won't do that in any gasser, or one of them pos electronically controlled diesels with injection pumps made from egg shells. if you want a truck that can smoke them into third gear without dropping your kids' college savings, or your real 4x4 money, get a 96-98 12 valve cummins. those are the best years

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Old 06-11-2006, 02:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
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The way to extend the transmission life is simply not to over load it! That means don't exceed the mfg. weight ratings (gvw & gcvw) just because someone says "they can take it", and don't double the power just bacause you can. I've got 160K on my 92 CTD with a weak Getrag and no problems, still has the orginal clutch.
My experience with 2nd gen Dodges is even staying well below the mfg ratings the trannys won't hold up. Maybe if you live and stay at sea level, but not if running mtn passes every day, even with an empty truck is in your game plan.
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Old 06-11-2006, 04:49 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramv
My experience with 2nd gen Dodges is even staying well below the mfg ratings the trannys won't hold up. Maybe if you live and stay at sea level, but not if running mtn passes every day, even with an empty truck is in your game plan.

You know, this could be part of the reason why I haven't seen as many issues with the trannys. I don't live at sea level, but I do live in the flat land. It is much easier to tow things here with a truck that would be considered marginal elsewhere.

I really think your rating of the trannys on that list a few posts up was pretty good. My experience with dodge trannys has been pretty good so far, but I do know others have problems with them.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:26 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I read somewhere guys swapping in the 6 speed in place of the 5. How big a job is that? Or is there nothin' to it?
Not a real big deal, just a matter of getting all the parts. Clutch is different and I think the drivelines are different lengths. If you had access to a wrecked truck it would be a piece of cake.
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