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So for about the third time when my wife and I left the house this morning the truck flared when shifting from 2-3 gear. This was the worst so far this morning, RPM's jumping about 400 or so before it shifted. It only happens during the first shift when cold, but seems to be just fine after that when the car is warmed up a little. I had done a complete tune up on my Durango except changing the tranny fluid and adjusting the bands, the one thing I probably should have done first......So anyways its pretty straight forward with a Haynes manual, just follow the directions and make sure you use an IN. LB. torque wrench, not a FT. Lb.!!!! The hardest part was trying to fit a wratchet/wrench up above the pan to get to the front band adjusting screw lock nut. Finally found something that worked. This was done on a 99' Durango/5.2L/4wd/44re trans with 82k on it.


Tools Required:

  • **INCH-LB** 1/4" Torque Wrench. It is INCREDIBLY important that you do not use a FT-LB wrench. You will snap the bands!
  • 1/4" Universal Joint
  • 1/4"-3/8" Adapter
  • 3/8" Drive T-40 Torx Bit
  • 1/2" Breaker Bar
  • 2" Extension
  • 3/4" Socket or Crowfoot
  • 1/4" Driver Handle
  • 1/4" Drive 1/4" Socket
  • 9/16" Open-End Wrench
[CLICK PICTURES TO ENLARGE!]

Here are the tools I used to loosen the lock nut and tighten the adjusting screw. No extensions would work with a ratchet as you have very little room to get in there. I finally found that a 1/2" breaker bar (my breaker bar is also bent and has a swivel head which made things easier) with a 2 inch extension and regular 3/4" socket (not a deep socket) fit perfectly in there and was long enough and had enough umph to break the lock nut as mine was very tight. For the adjusting screw I used my 1/4", inch lb. torque wrench with a swivel extension, and a 1/4" to 3/8" extension, to a 3/8" Torx bit (the kind that are fixed to a socket), I believe T40 but I don't remember sorry.

FrontBandTools.jpg


The Rear Band locknut and screw are different sizes/types than the front band. The rear lock nut is 9/16" and I just used an open ended wrench for it, and the adjusting screw is that oddball square head bolt. I was told you had to have an 8point socket for it or the square head socket, but turns out a 1/4" 6point socket fit just perfect. This was so much easier as I put the 1/4" socket on a screwdriver and was able to hold the adjusting screw while I tightened the lock nut with the open ended wrench. Also I just marked the bottom of my screwdriver, instead of the screw like I did on the front, and used that to count while backing it out the required turns, much much easier.

RearBandTools.jpg


So here is the Front Band Adjusting Screw and Lock Nut. Its located on the drivers side of the transmission casing above the transmission pan. I simply removed that spring from the right side to gain easier access to it. You want to loosen the Lock nut about 4-5 turns, then tighten the adjusting screw to 72in. lbs. Then you back out the adjusting screw 2 1/4 turns, and then tighten the lock nut.

FrontBandScrew.jpg

**Note: I was not able to hold the adjusting screw while tightening the lock nut as I used a socket to tighten the nut, so I just winged it and watched my mark I made with paint on the screw and it only moved about 1/8-maybe 1/4 turn or so while tightening the lock nut so I am not going to worry about it. Next time I will back it out an extra 1/4-1/2 turn and then by the time its tightened it should be just right. You could also use a "Crowfoot wrench" to hold the locknut.



The rear band was much easier, you have to remove the transmission pan and drain the fluid for this one as it is located on the valve body. You also have to remove the Transmission filter so this is a good time to throw a new filter on (filter is held on with 2 small Torx bit screws). It is located on the rear passenger side of the valve body, its the nut/screw on the black thing (I am not transmission expert by far....) there in the corner. Same thing with the rear band, loosen the lock nut 4-5 turns, tighten the adjusting screw to 72in. lbs., then you back it out 4 turns and hold it with the Driver handle, and then tighten your lock nut.

RearBandScrew.jpg

This was the first time I have adjusted bands and it has always scared me, but in fact is a very very simple standard procedure you should be doing as routine maintence while changing your transmission fluid/filter. Hopefully this thread will help some people in the future as you can just go and grab the tools you need instead of trying 50 different socket and extension combinations like I did. The shifts seem smoother to me already, but we will have to see tomorrow morning when its cold to see if it really helped.
 

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Did you notice any difference after doing these adjustments?
I'm experiencing slipping from 1-2 in my truck,hoping this could clear it up.
 

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Unfortunately this is more of a preventative maintenance, not a fix... Because there is so little friction material on the bands, if it gets to the point of slipping - unless you catch it immediately - by the time you do the adjustment it's too late. The friction material burns off very quickly from the heat created by slipping, so if its been slipping for weeks (or even just days) you may already be too late.

Couldn't hurt to try though.
 

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Ah,well I thought Id ask,thanks for the tip though.
Wondering if I should just take it to a trans shop and have them diagnose it.Its been doing it since I bought the truck a few months ago..
 

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Lol diagnosis.. Save your money. Guaranteed they're gonna tell you that you need a new trans, because for the most part only two things cause slipping.. Bands and clutches. Both require the trans to be torn down and rebuilt (except the kickdown band, that's right in the front and requires minimal tear down to get at - it could very well be your issue but most shops wouldn't tell you this since they want to sell you a new trans or a total rebuild). Of course there are other causes but none that don't require a major overhaul or replacement.

I can tell you that if you are willing to get your hands dirty and can follow directions, a Torqueflite trans rebuild is relatively straightforward and rather easy. You just have to work neatly and patiently. But you will be rewarded with thousands of dollars that you didn't spend. You're looking at maybe $500-600 in materials and maybe 10-12 hours of slow work time (my first one took about 8 hours, second about 6), versus $2000-3000 at the shop. Its something most mechanically oriented people could easy do over a weekend.

I will be very honest, as easy as it is compared to a full rebuild, I would not just replace the front band, because if that is toast, the other one (the one you have to tear the whole trans apart to get at) is probably not far behind - and all the work and/or money you put into the front band will have been wasted when you lose first and reverse. Just do the whole thing and use heavy duty parts and Kevlar bands.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Did you notice any difference after doing these adjustments?
I'm experiencing slipping from 1-2 in my truck,hoping this could clear it up.
Good info from Taz there above. All though the trans felt much better this did not fix my issue. I ended up swapping the valve bodies for a remanned one which did solve my issue. I put a new valve body in an explorer I used to have which solved the same issue, so for $250 I figured it was worth a shot as opposed to a rebuild.
 

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Thanks Hoodlum. I've been digging through your posts as I'm having similar tranny issues with my Dakota. I've been wanting to see if the Band Adjustment has actually fixed anyone's issues with slip. It just looks too easy and would still be a $60~100 DIY fix. That ATF+4 ain't cheap! Local junkyard wants $400 for trans....just so I can practice rebuilding one....yeah, that's not gonna happen!
 

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the trans was acting funny in mine (chattering in 4th shifting funny) pulled the pan and it was ok. there was no ugly stuff in the pan... tnk god ... so i just put 2 turns on the pump spring and a filter. .... now she shifts fine and no chatter when cold. I think the pump has been set to the low side from the factory on all dodge trucks and is the death of most. It has worked on every dodge i have had. 727 518 and so on. But if ya don't know what ur doing i DO NOT recemend messing with the pump, the valve body or the bands. You can turn a minor thing into big $$$$$$$$ real fast wth a 1mm mistake .....
 

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the ajustment is in the very front left corner of the VB .... modified allen wrench is needed. diferent trans use difernt line feed (IE 1ton 1/2 ton and so forth). there is a spacific meserment from the spring plate and the VB for each. turning the bolt counter clockwise will shortin this and raise the pump pressure to a point .... go to far eatherway and ur boned . the best way is to put a guage inline with the cooler and see where ur at at idle and 3k. ajusting the pump will raise the static without changeing the shift points. remember ur TV cable will also raise ur pump pressure to so ya got to take that into account as well. Im not saying that this will cure all ur ills with a trans problum. whats in the pan when you drop it will tell ya if you got problums or not. and i do not recamend doing this to a trans that already has 200k on it and slipery 1-2 or 2-3 shift . its to late by then. i got lucky and all was well inside it was just that it had never been serviced and i got to it in time. i learned the hard way ..... 5 - 518s i one year in my 94 ram untill i got it where it liked to be. pressure and cooling was the key... 3k worth of trans inturnals and 12 pounds of boost ain't worth a hill of limas without it.
 
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