2004 Dodge Ram 2500 2nd-3rd gear shifting issues

It’s late. I originally wrote this to email to the show. However, I’m going this route to respect their time for the presumable massive amount of email they receive. I have scanned what service techs have done to my truck, but I don’t see a place to attach a .pdf. Thanks for taking a look:

Hi. I have a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 crew cab pickup with an automatic transmission and about 186k miles on it (as far as I know, it has the original transmission). I am the 2nd owner of this truck and have had it since ~90k miles (10 years ago). While I occasionally pull a 24’ enclosed trailer, the truck is typically used to run around town without a trailer. The reason I am writing is that I continue to have some sort of issue with the transmission (I think). When it is cold out or when the truck has been sitting overnight, I can run around town and do errands without much trouble. However, after making a stop or two or driving slowly in traffic, the transmission seems to get stuck in 2nd gear and the RPM’s go up to around 2,500 or so and gets stuck until I get enough open road (or speed limit) to press down on the accelerator hard enough to force the truck up to about 3,000 RPM’s for 3-7 seconds when it will finally downshift. I can sometimes get it to snap out of it by taking my foot off the accelerator for a second or two and then apply it again and it will shift. However, when I get to another stop light or the truck is slowing due to traffic (shifting down out of 3rd gear) it seems to drop several gears and slow the truck way down.

This behavior seems to only happen when the truck’s transmission would be warm enough for something (a valve?) to get stuck and not want to allow the truck to shift to 3rd gear. I have no problem with this as I run down the highway, it only happens when I am driving slowly in town (think stop - start traffic) or driving slowly on country roads (probably no faster than 15-30 mph). This has been happening for almost the entirety of the time that I have owned the truck, but it seems to be getting worse as of late. For the most part, I have done the required maintenance on the truck’s transmission with fluid services. I have had the truck to numerous mechanics and even a very reputable local transmission shop. The mechanics have hooked up the truck for diagnostics and have never found an error code.

I have always been asked to try to bring the truck in when it’s behaving this way and this last time, I finally had the time and was near a shop where I could pull in. We hooked it up to some sort of mobile computer module and drove it around. They were able to see that something was happening, but I guess the readings were kind of all over the place and they didn’t know what to do with the results (almost as if the readings were having some sort of interference when it was stuck in-between 2nd and 3rd gears). As a best guess, we changed out 2 solenoids and things seemed to get better. However, a month later, I took a trip from NE down to AZ pulling a trailer and the problem came back again. It was hot in Tucson, AZ, and the problem happened during the entirety of my several month stay down there Aug through October (even when not pulling a trailer).

All I can figure out is that there is something getting stuck when the truck’s transmission has heated up enough to have something get stuck and not allow the truck to shift. I don’t know enough about the actual workings of the drivetrain / computer to fully understand and identify my problem. I’m now at the point of should I put in a new transmission (which might not solve the problem if it’s a computer problem) or send the truck down the road and buy something newer. I’m really at a loss. I love this truck and have taken good care of it. I’d like to be able to put another 75k miles on this truck. I don’t rod it around am extremely gentle on it driving around.

Thanks for considering answering my question. Any help you can provide would be sincerely appreciated.

Side note: It might be interesting to your listeners that I had purchased a lifetime drivetrain warranty on my truck at the time of my truck’s purchase. I looked in my vehicle history file tonight and did some research on the warranty I purchased back in 2008. The owner of the company that provided my warranty was eventually convicted of grand theft greater than $2,500. So, that’s fun. Thanks for hearing me out. I remember as a kid taking family trips listening to your program. Thanks for what you do.

I would not throw money in this truck.Drive it until it can no longer run and get something newer for a change.I had a vehicule that was acting up on me but I never found the cause…I learned to live with it.

The maximum I would put into this truck ins a transmission fluid and filter change.

Ross, writing to the show is kinda useless . There has not been any new ones for years . What you are hearing are compiled reruns and not many stations are even broadcasting those. Ray does still have a syndicated newspaper column .