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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1997 SLT, V6 4WD. Recent purchase, new to me truck, looks to be in excellent condition 98K miles. Zero rust, the frame is black and the brake lines are beautiful, the engine is clean, and the bottom side of the truck looks like its never even seen rain. I'm amazed at the overall condition for a 25 year old truck.
But heres the deal, the transmission shifts like a 2nd gen Camaro with a stage 2 shift kit. It has a towing package and electric trailer brakes, and the original owner might have used it to tow a small boat. It shifts hard like it has a shift kit. And sometimes it hunts for the correct gear. This can't be normal.
My rustbucket '00 V8 quad cab Sport does not shift the same way at all. And I had an '88 V6 and it didn't shift this way either, even though that one wasn't a 4x4..
Any ideas?
 

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I will copy and paste instructions for checking and adjusting from an '03 FSM that I put on another site. I am not saying for sure that this is your problem, and I have never actually done this myself, but my understanding is just being SLIGHTLY out of adjustment causes a major variation from the way it is intended to shift:

There's probably some you-tubes out there for this, but from the book (with paraphrasing), to check: turn key to off/remove aircleaner/verify that lever on TB is at curb idle then verify that transmission throttle lever is also at idle (full fwd) position /slide cable off attachment stud on TB lever/cable end & attachment stud should be aligned (or centered on one another) within 1 mm (0.039 inch) in either direction.

with the above steps already performed,
pry the T.V. cable lock into the UP position. This will unlock the cable & allow for adjustment.
Apply just enough tension on the T.V. cable to remove any slack in the cable.
Pulling too tight will cause the T.V. lever on the transmission to move out of idle position which will result in an incorrect T.V. cable adjustment.
Slide the sheath of the T.V. cable back & forth until the center-lines of the T.V. cable end & the throttle bell crank lever are aligned w/in 1 mm.
While holding the T.V. cable lock in the set position, push the T.V. cable lock into the down position. This will lock the present T.V. cable adjustment.

note: be sure that as the cable is pulled forward & centered on the TB lever stud, the cable housing moves smoothly with the cable. Due to the angle at which the cable housing enters the spring housing, the cable housing may bind slightly & create an incorrect adjustment.

Reconnect the T.V. cable to the throttle bell-crank lever.
Check cable adjustment. Verify that transmission throttle lever & lever on TB move simultaneously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will copy and paste instructions for checking and adjusting from an '03 FSM that I put on another site. I am not saying for sure that this is your problem, and I have never actually done this myself, but my understanding is just being SLIGHTLY out of adjustment causes a major variation from the way it is intended to shift:

There's probably some you-tubes out there for this, but from the book (with paraphrasing), to check: turn key to off/remove aircleaner/verify that lever on TB is at curb idle then verify that transmission throttle lever is also at idle (full fwd) position /slide cable off attachment stud on TB lever/cable end & attachment stud should be aligned (or centered on one another) within 1 mm (0.039 inch) in either direction.

with the above steps already performed,
pry the T.V. cable lock into the UP position. This will unlock the cable & allow for adjustment.
Apply just enough tension on the T.V. cable to remove any slack in the cable.
Pulling too tight will cause the T.V. lever on the transmission to move out of idle position which will result in an incorrect T.V. cable adjustment.
Slide the sheath of the T.V. cable back & forth until the center-lines of the T.V. cable end & the throttle bell crank lever are aligned w/in 1 mm.
While holding the T.V. cable lock in the set position, push the T.V. cable lock into the down position. This will lock the present T.V. cable adjustment.

note: be sure that as the cable is pulled forward & centered on the TB lever stud, the cable housing moves smoothly with the cable. Due to the angle at which the cable housing enters the spring housing, the cable housing may bind slightly & create an incorrect adjustment.

Reconnect the T.V. cable to the throttle bell-crank lever.
Check cable adjustment. Verify that transmission throttle lever & lever on TB move simultaneously.
Thank you! I'm going to give this a try. I checked the transmission fluid level today while it was hot, and it appears overfilled. Its up to just past the "S" bend on the dipstick, the "MAX" line is below the "S" bend. Maybe a quart overfilled?
 

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Thank you! I'm going to give this a try. I checked the transmission fluid level today while it was hot, and it appears overfilled. Its up to just past the "S" bend on the dipstick, the "MAX" line is below the "S" bend. Maybe a quart overfilled?
Well, maybe overfilled, but I am thinking probably not your shifting issue. (Although I think the book always lists improper fluid level as one of the first things to check for almost anything tranny related.)
And I assume you are aware that since this is a Dodge you need to check the fluid level while running in neutral? (I only ask because once upon a time I didn't know that about Dodges.) Also, if you ever do have to add, NOT Dex/Merc but ATF+4.
 

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This is from the '03 FSM re 42RE: tranny:
"shifts delayed or erratic (shifts also harsh at times)"

1)transmission fluid level low or high
2)filter clogged
3)throttle linkage misadjusted
4)throttle linkage binding
5)gearshift linkage/cable misadjusted.
6)clutch or servo failure
7)governor circuit electrical fault
8)front band misadjusted
9)pump suction passage leak

"Delayed 3-4 upshift
(slow to engage)"

fluid level low
throttle valve cable misadjusted
Overdrive clutch pack worn/burnt
TPS faulty
Overdrive clutch bleed orifice plugged
Overdrive solenoid or wiring shorted/open
Overdrive excess clearance
O/D check valve missing or stuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
(And I had been assuming this was a 3.9 with a 42RE, but was I wrong & is this a 3.7?)
42RE transmission. Sticker in glove box says 4-speed auto, its a 3 speed with OD in reality (D-2-1 w/OD button). Should be the 3.9, but the sticker under the hood is gone. No engine identification anywhere.
Yes, I'm versed on how to check the fluid level. Hot, level surface, engine running in park or neutral. I personally haven't put any fluid in it. I can only assume it has the ATF+4 fluid in it.
I've noticed when its not warmed up, it seems to hunt between 1-2. I've also turned off the OD and it seems to behave better. 1-2 shifts are quick. 2-3 shifts are noticeably hard all the time.
I ordered a pump from Amazon to remove some of the fluid thru the dipstick. It should be here tomorrow. I am going to remove enough the get it to the proper level, then take 4 more quarts out and replace with ATF+4. I'll see if that helps.

Thank you for your help!
 

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42RE transmission. Sticker in glove box says 4-speed auto, its a 3 speed with OD in reality (D-2-1 w/OD button). Should be the 3.9, but the sticker under the hood is gone. No engine identification anywhere.
Yes, I'm versed on how to check the fluid level. Hot, level surface, engine running in park or neutral. I personally haven't put any fluid in it. I can only assume it has the ATF+4 fluid in it.
I've noticed when its not warmed up, it seems to hunt between 1-2. I've also turned off the OD and it seems to behave better. 1-2 shifts are quick. 2-3 shifts are noticeably hard all the time.
I ordered a pump from Amazon to remove some of the fluid thru the dipstick. It should be here tomorrow. I am going to remove enough the get it to the proper level, then take 4 more quarts out and replace with ATF+4. I'll see if that helps.

Thank you for your help!

Okay, sorry that I wasn't more clear on one thing: do not check the tranny fluid in park, check it in neutral. Unlike every other AT I have had, my understanding is that the pump in these Dodge trannys is not pumping in park, and therefore, you will get an erroneous reading in park. As a matter of fact, I think it will read high in P.

If you have a distributor, it is the 3.9. The 3.7 is coil over plug.

As far as the front band (I noted that was listed in the FSM for delayed or harsh shifting, although my understanding was that the front band is 2cond gear only) on the 46RE, the adjustment is on the drivers side of the tranny (the 1st/reverse band adjustment is accessed by pulling the pan). I am assuming the adjustment is in the same place on the 42RE,. If you think you want to adjust that band and you need the 42RE instructions, let me know & I'll post them for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, I'll recheck tomorrow in hot and in neutral.
Yes, there is a distributer fed by a single coil on the passenger front of the engine. Must be in fact a 3.9
I saw the band adjustment procedure on youtube. About 7 ft/lbs then back it off 2 turns. Or 2 1/2, have to rewatch it, but also shows the other adjustment when the pan is removed.
And there are some other things to replace or look at under the pan from some other youtube videos I saw. I have 98,000 miles, but 25 year old components.
If it gets to pulling the pan, I'm gonna replace and adjust everything I can before sending it to a shop. AND buy the oil pan from Summit that has a freakin drain plug, haha.
But hoping I can fix this without sending it off to a shop.
 

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A pan with a drain plug is nice to have. My GMC came with that OEM (which is nice because you have to maneuver that particular pan to get it down), and the last time I did filter & fluid on my Dakota I got a pan with a drain plug for it from Rock Auto (although that pan comes straight down without having to screw around with it).

Anyway, on the bands: I have two Dakota Haynes books and a 2003 Dakota FSM and all three of them are saying to torque both of the band adjusting screws to 72 INCH pounds (which is 6 foot pounds, but for a torque that low I would use an inch pound torque wrench) before backing them off the required number of turns.

Now this is interesting, because as far as the required number of turns: to back the front band adjusting screw off:
my Haynes for '97 through '99 Dakota (which should be applicable to yours) for the 42RE says to back off the front band adjusting screw 3 and 5/8 turns.

However: My 2003 Dakota FSM and my Haynes for 2000 through 2004 Dakota says for the 42RE front band adjusting screw to back it off 3 turns.


SO I am not sure what to tell you on this? Did they make some changes related to the front band adjustment on the 42RE from those years I listed, or did Haynes make a typo? I don't know. I will only say that I don't take Haynes as gospel while I am inclined to accept the word of the FSM. And I will also throw out that: all three of the manuals I listed AGREE on backing off the rear band adjusting screw 4 turns.

So on this I would say that probably the best thing to do (if you want to do this yourself) would be to get a hold of a '97 Dakota FSM or find some one who has one. I will also add that the rear band is easy to adjust and torque the lock nut, but the location of the front band makes it a bit trickier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A pan with a drain plug is nice to have. My GMC came with that OEM (which is nice because you have to maneuver that particular pan to get it down), and the last time I did filter & fluid on my Dakota I got a pan with a drain plug for it from Rock Auto (although that pan comes straight down without having to screw around with it).

Anyway, on the bands: I have two Dakota Haynes books and a 2003 Dakota FSM and all three of them are saying to torque both of the band adjusting screws to 72 INCH pounds (which is 6 foot pounds, but for a torque that low I would use an inch pound torque wrench) before backing them off the required number of turns.

Now this is interesting, because as far as the required number of turns: to back the front band adjusting screw off:
my Haynes for '97 through '99 Dakota (which should be applicable to yours) for the 42RE says to back off the front band adjusting screw 3 and 5/8 turns.

However: My 2003 Dakota FSM and my Haynes for 2000 through 2004 Dakota says for the 42RE front band adjusting screw to back it off 3 turns.


SO I am not sure what to tell you on this? Did they make some changes related to the front band adjustment on the 42RE from those years I listed, or did Haynes make a typo? I don't know. I will only say that I don't take Haynes as gospel while I am inclined to accept the word of the FSM. And I will also throw out that: all three of the manuals I listed AGREE on backing off the rear band adjusting screw 4 turns.

So on this I would say that probably the best thing to do (if you want to do this yourself) would be to get a hold of a '97 Dakota FSM or find some one who has one. I will also add that the rear band is easy to adjust and torque the lock nut, but the location of the front band makes it a bit trickier.
OK, I checked the fluid level, hot in neutral. I'll be darned, it DOES show different in neutral and in park! In neutral it shows the level right at the top of the max line. In park its way over the line as I said before. So it is not overfilled.
As far as TV cable adjustment, it must be different on the 97's. I see no way to adjust it. I can get the cable out of its mount on the throttle body, but I don't see how its adjustable.
I'm gonna have to get a freaking FSM for this '97.
 

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As far as TV cable adjustment, it must be different on the 97's. I see no way to adjust it. I can get the cable out of its mount on the throttle body, but I don't see how its adjustable.
I'm gonna have to get a freaking FSM for this '97.
I just took a look in my '97 through '99 Haynes, and unbelievably, it includes instructions for adjusting the TV cable. I am surprised.

But first,
cable end & attachment stud should be aligned (or centered on one another) within 1 mm (0.039 inch) in either direction.
How close are you on that as it stands right now? And I want to note that the '97 Hayes says you are alllowed 1/32" in either direction (which is 0.031, but I don't think I'd sweat 0.008 of an inch). .

Okay, so the picture in the Haynes shows a plastic looking piece they are calling the cable adjuster on the TV cable very close to where the TV cable attaches to the TB. It says to use a small common screwdriver to disengage the retaining clip from the cable adjuster and to remove it. It shows the clip being pried off at the top of the cable adjuster.

Then it says to move the cable casing in-or-out within the adjuster as necessary, and to center the cable end on the attachment stud of the TB to within 1/32 of an inch.

Then, while holding the cable casing in this position, reinstall the retaining clip in this position.

Reconnect the cable end to the stud on the throttle lever.

Check the cable adjustment.

And the stuff about FIRST verifying that the lever on the TB is resting against its stop and that the TV lever on the transmission is resting against its stop before you start adjusting still applies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just took a look in my '97 through '99 Haynes, and unbelievably, it includes instructions for adjusting the TV cable. I am surprised.

But first,
cable end & attachment stud should be aligned (or centered on one another) within 1 mm (0.039 inch) in either direction.
How close are you on that as it stands right now? And I want to note that the '97 Hayes says you are alllowed 1/32" in either direction (which is 0.031, but I don't think I'd sweat 0.008 of an inch). .

Okay, so the picture in the Haynes shows a plastic looking piece they are calling the cable adjuster on the TV cable very close to where the TV cable attaches to the TB. It says to use a small common screwdriver to disengage the retaining clip from the cable adjuster and to remove it. It shows the clip being pried off at the top of the cable adjuster.

Then it says to move the cable casing in-or-out within the adjuster as necessary, and to center the cable end on the attachment stud of the TB to within 1/32 of an inch.

Then, while holding the cable casing in this position, reinstall the retaining clip in this position.

Reconnect the cable end to the stud on the throttle lever.

Check the cable adjustment.

And the stuff about FIRST verifying that the lever on the TB is resting against its stop and that the TV lever on the transmission is resting against its stop before you start adjusting still applies.
I removed the cable and checked the operation, it moves freely. I then marked the cable in its fully retracted position and then reattached it. The the cable pulls out past the mark 1 or 2 mm when its hooked back onto the bellcrank. I think its a bit short. I just took another look at it after dinner, and now I see the clip! It doesn't slide off sideways, it slides off backwards. And the clip is gloss black and the cable housing is gloss black. Totally missed it. I'll have another go at it tomorrow if I have time or this weekend.
I just ordered the 1997 FSM and Body diagnostics books on eBay. 50 bucks for both, be here in week. I need em' anyway. I plan on keeping this truck for a long time and those books are good investments.
 

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Good deal on the FSM! For $50 for both of those books, you didn't go wrong.

On that TV cable, I do not know which way (short or long) makes the tranny shift soft or hard--just that I have read that it doesn't take much of a deviation from parameters to have a significant effect on shift points.

Anyway, let us know how adjusting that cable works out; stuff like that is good for the knowledge base.

On edit: I said a few posts ago that you took ATF+4; actually the Haynes for that year says that was back in the ATF+3 days. But I am assuming that Chrystler ATFs are like the Dex-Mercs--that you can go up in grade and be compatible but not backwards. (I took a quick look on Amazon and couldn't even find ATF+3, so I don't think that they even make it anymore.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Good deal on the FSM! For $50 for both of those books, you didn't go wrong.

On that TV cable, I do not know which way (short or long) makes the tranny shift soft or hard--just that I have read that it doesn't take much of a deviation from parameters to have a significant effect on shift points.

Anyway, let us know how adjusting that cable works out; stuff like that is good for the knowledge base.

On edit: I said a few posts ago that you took ATF+4; actually the Haynes for that year says that was back in the ATF+3 days. But I am assuming that Chrystler ATFs are like the Dex-Mercs--that you can go up in grade and be compatible but not backwards. (I took a quick look on Amazon and couldn't even find ATF+3, so I don't think that they even make it anymore.)
Ohhhhh lets not open another can of worms with +3 vs +4. LOL
I think the optimal way its to be adjusted is no slack and no tension. The cable needs to be in its fully retracted position with the TB in its fully retracted position. Zero slack either way. At least thats the way I'm seeing how it works.1mm tolerance.
 

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Yeah, I don't think there is a can of worms to be opened on that, ha ha; I believe you'd have to go a few extra miles (or more) to even find +3 now a days. I have no doubt in my mind that +4 is compatible with +3 trannys. But I am interested to know which direction on the cable adjustment causes either hard or soft shifting.

And: if you think about it, when you get your FSM in the mail, could you look up and post how many turns it says to back off your front band adjusting screw? I am curious to know whether or not the instructions in my '97 through '99 Haynes are accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I don't think there is a can of worms to be opened on that, ha ha; I believe you'd have to go a few extra miles (or more) to even find +3 now a days. I have no doubt in my mind that +4 is compatible with +3 trannys. But I am interested to know which direction on the cable adjustment causes either hard or soft shifting.

And: if you think about it, when you get your FSM in the mail, could you look up and post how many turns it says to back off your front band adjusting screw? I am curious to know whether or not the instructions in my '97 through '99 Haynes are accurate.
I'm curious about the cable adjustment direction also, of course. I might stop in at the local tranny shop and ask them.
Yeah, I'll post back on the band thing. But that could have also been updated by '99. Big changes at the '00 model year so all thats off the table.
But there might be TSBs out there. A friend works in parts at the local Chrysler dealership, he can find out for sure.
 
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