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Transmission Problems

Hi. This is my first post. I just bought a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 (Magnum Series); 5.9l, 2WD, 8cyl. After 2 months the transmission went out. I bought a used transmission and had a shop install it. When I picked it up (10-3-14) the mechanic pointed out the shifter is one notch off (ie. in R position its in Park, in N position its in Reverse, etc). In addition it no longer has D1 nor D2 (putting the shift in D-D2 position results in Drive only, no power gears). The mechanic said it was something in the steering column causing the shift display to be off and had no explanation to why there were no power gears.

To make matters worse, the ignition switch no longer reverts to the Off position; the key can be removed but the switch stays On, warning alarm for key being in ignition comes On etc. I admit the ignition switch was old and the switch would sometimes not turn over before the transmission was replaced. He blamed something in the column again.

So, Q1-Is the mechanic correct there is something wrong in the column and not a misalignment he caused when he installed the replacement transmission causing the shifter to be misaligned?

Q2-Why doesn’t the truck have D1-D2 gears? Do some transmissions not have these or am I missing something?

Q3-Is the most likely problem to the ignition the ignition switch or solenoid? Or could he have damaged something during the transmission installation? (I ask the latter because he took a panel off under the steering column while installing the replacement transmission.)

Thanks for any help!

Q1- Could be but I think the shift linkage needs to be readjusted.
Q2- Yes it should be able to access D1 and D2, See Q1.
Q3- Could be related to shifter not going to the park position.

IMHO all this could have been avoided if the “mechanic” (And I use the term very loosely) correctly installed the trans to begin with. Having the shifter correct is part of doing the job. Maybe he was just pissed you brought your own trans, who knows?

I’d find a new mechanic to address this. If this guy knows how to replace a tranny, he should know how to adjust the shift linkage.
I doubt any mechanic’s here would let you drive out of their shop without this adjusted properly.


Sounds like a simple linkage adjustment to me. I agree with the others.

Thanks PvtPublic, Yosemite, & My 2 Cents. I will find someone else to adjust the linkage. The guy who did the work was the one who suggested I get the tranny elsewhere and he told me up front it was $300 for the labor to replace. However, he did keep the truck a whole week due to bolts being seized and other problems. I really wondered if the $300 was too cheap and he might have left the linkage unadjusted to charge me more when I returned.

I think a complete inspection and adjustment of shift linkage from the steering column down to the transmission will correct all your problems. I think you got what you paid for. $300 is 3 hours of labor time, not nearly enough to properly install a transmission.

Is this a DIY project? I have a Haynes manual on my truck and I’m fairly competent with mechanical issues.

With my wife changing gears I was able to find the linkage. I researched online and found a little info on adjusting it. Not sure if I try this or leave it to a pro.

The shift cable itself may have to be adjusted
The shift indicator may need to be adjusted
The neutral safety/range selector switch may need to be adjusted

Lots of possibilities

A Haynes manual might help you out

Be very careful when working near the steering column. Don’t mess with any wires, which have anything to do with the airbag