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Discussion Starter #1
I need some help in figuring out what is wrong with my sick Dakota.

This will probably be long but I want to provide as much info as possible. I have 197K miles on the truck. The last time I changed the filters and oil was in 09 which was about 60K miles ago.

The problem started last winter with the torque converter not staying locked while at a constant speed on the freeway. @ 75mpg the tach will jump between 2000 and 2300 rpm. During the spring, summer and fall the issue went away. Now it has come back again and now a new issue.

When the weather is cold (in the 30s and below) the transmission will not shift into 3rd and 4th gear. When I am trying to accelerate (even very gradually) the rpms will go as high as 5 to 6k. The curious detail is that if I can get above 35pmh I can turn on the cruise and then keep hitting the accel button the truck will get up to 70 or so and the only issue is the TC staying locked.

This morning my wife was only able to get up to 60 or so on the freeway but this evening when the temp was up to 45 it was much better.

I am trying to get another 3 years out of the truck hope this can be fixed fairly easily.

What really confuses me is that it acts up when it is cold. It also seems to shift alot better with the cruise on vs driving it with the pedal. This seems to point toward an electrical issue and not necessarily a trans issue.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions and help anyone could provide.

Thanks,
Dave
 

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Prime culprit is the throttle position sensor. It often gets 'dead spots' that cause the engine to surge, which causes the TC to unlock and the trans not to shift right (if the engine surges like you have jammed on the gas, the trans thinks you want it to kick down). Your trans is fully electronic with no physical link between the throttle and trans, and the only input the trans has of what the nut behind the wheel is doing is the engine sensors.. So when the engine ain't happy, the trans ain't happy.. :)

As for cold, wire-wound sensors like the TPS do often show more symptoms when cold because if the wire wrap breaks, cold causes wire to contract opening a gap. When it warms up, the wire expands and temporarily remakes the connection.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
TazRango,

Thanks for the pointer. I changed the TPS this afternoon. Right now it seems a lot better but the temps here were in the 40's. We will have to see how well it works when the temps drop back down. This is great news as $32 is a lot better than what ever a transmission shop would try to stick me with.

I will update once the weather cools.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update:

The weather has now cooled here in Michigan and the transmission is back to working as it should. We will be taking a longer drive on the freeway this weekend so hopefully the TC surging is gone also.
 

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Good to hear!
 
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