Transmission not shifting into overdrive?

Tiny
EFC1968
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 3.6L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 224,000 MILES
The overdrive does not engage. The button on the shifter works. It was working fine fluid is full. When it gets to third gear and passing gear still works, but does not go into overdrive.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 8:13 AM

31 Replies

Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
Hi and thanks for using 2CarPros.com.

There are a few things which can cause this, sensors, actuators, solenoids. Often times, the overdrive solenoid fails and overdrive is lost. I attached a picture of the solenoid. It is inside the transmission. However, I would not arbitrarily replace it without confirming it is bad.

What I suggest first is to scan the computer for trouble codes. If the check engine light is on, there will be codes. Here is a video that shows how to check:

https://youtu.be/b2IJGfImVvw

If you do not have access to a scanner, most parts stores will do it for free. We need to start there. If the problem is related to the transmission control module or there is an electrical issue such as a bad overdrive solenoid, it will most likely set a trouble code.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 6:44 PM
Tiny
EFC1968
  • MEMBER
Sure will. Thank you Joe.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
You are very welcome. I will watch for your reply.

Take care,
Joe
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Sunday, September 30th, 2018 AT 6:53 PM
Tiny
NDC
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE DAKOTA
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 105,000 MILES
I have a problem with my truck kicking out of over drive once I hit a speed of about 50 mph. It will give a sudden jerk and kick out. If I were to shut the truck off and restart it it will go back into overdrive but reappear at around 50 mph again until it has warmed up. I changed the fluid/filter didn't fix it I think it could be a sensor but not sure.
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RANDY B
  • EXPERT
I'm not a tranny expert, but two things it looks at are the throttle position sensor and the brake switch. The lockup torque converter unlocks when you tap the brake pedal or hit wide-open-throttle. Pitted contacts in the brake switch, or a switch that is misadjusted can make it look like you pressed the brake pedal when you hit a bump.

A bad spot in the throttle position sensor will make it default to a pre-defined defective state to set a fault code in the computer. This will cause the lockup converter to disengage too.

When the converter unlocks, (which it must do at a stop sign so it doesn't snub off the engine), you can hear and feel the engine pick up a little speed but it shouldn't jerk or be harsh. To see if this is what's happening, hold the gas pedal steady while traveling around 55 mph on a level road. Without moving the gas pedal, slowly press the brake pedal about an inch, then release it. You will hear the engine pick up speed, then the converter will re-engage in about one or two seconds. You can see this on the tachometer too if you have one. This should not cause it to drop out of overdrive.

If the brake pedal test feels different than what you've been feeling, it probably IS dropping into 3rd gear. The change in engine rpm is a lot more noticeable than an unlocking torque converter. One thing to look for is a sticking throttle cable that goes from the throttle body down to the transmission. They might have done away with this and gone to computer controls by 2002, but sticking cables were common in the 1990s. The symptom though was a little different. They usually had delayed upshifts that occurred at too high a speed. Once cruising at a steady speed, it shouldn't downshift.

One other possibility that could occur after replacing the transmission or cable is a misadjusted cable. What can happen is you hit, ... Oh, 45 mph for example. The transmission shifts into overdrive and engine rpm drops below 1400 rpm. At this low engine speed, the transmission downshifts to 3rd gear, as designed, but then rpm goes up again and it meets one of the conditions to go into overdrive. This usually makes it go back and forth in and out of overdrive. I suppose a sticking cable could cause this too, but again, you might not have that cable anymore.

I believe there is also a temperature sensor somewhere. I can't remember if an intermittent problem with the sensor causes it to unlock the converter or go to 3rd gear. Also, a misadjusted PRNDL sensor can cause unusual problems. It's a sensor now, not a simple switch like years ago.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BETHCARMONA
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 180,000 MILES
Hard Shifting, Overdrive off light comes on and off, not shifting, high rpms
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
Has the check engine light come on?
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BETHCARMONA
  • MEMBER
No the check engine light is still off. I am now having problems with the gears not shifting. At best it will shift into third and then slip back into first.
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
W_HOWARD316
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 76,000 MILES
My 1999 Dodge Dakota turns OD off usually after driving a while. The OD OFF light comes on and it wont shift into Overdrive until I turn the truck off and start it again. I haven't ever seen this kind of problem what could be causing this?
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
THETOOLMAN
  • MEMBER
Sounds like a loose connection. Check your wires on your OD switch and make sure they are tight. If so it could be the solenoid that would be a little more involved. Just try to check all of your wiring associated with the OD circuit.

Good Luck.
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JEFFJB
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 3.9L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 235,000 MILES
Recently the truck quit charging and quit shifting into overdrive. At first I thought that these were two separate problems and I took off the alternator and got it tested as well as the battery but both of them tested fine. I am not getting any codes from the truck. Upon doing some research I found that these problems could actually be connected by the transmission relay or the PCM. Do you have any suggestions on where to check next before I go throwing a $500.00 PCM at a problem that I am not sure about?
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • MEMBER
Check to see if transmission relay is working or not, it does connect to charging system. also, make sure belt and tensioner are working okay. it is the dark/green/black wire at alternator. if you have a like relay just replace with that one or go to this link it tells how to check relay.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-an-electrical-relay-and-wiring-control-circuit
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JEFFJB
  • MEMBER
Yea tried swapping relays and checked continuity between the relay and alternator and have continuity but not to the pcm on plug 3 number 25 dg/b wire
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • MEMBER
If no continuity then check for a broken wire or a bad connection if not that it may be a pcm.
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LEENSTACY2002
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 DODGE DAKOTA
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 197,000 MILES
I have replaced the Throttle Position Sensor and something on the botton of the transmission. I took it to a shop and they looked at it and the cable on top had come loose, I was getting all kinds of codes. They hooked that up and stated that was all there was. I drove it and it would not shift into od still. When I let off the gas, the rpm's go to idle, press the gas and it catches up again. It has never shifted into od since I bought it. The tranny shop looked at it again and decided it needed the transmission rebuilt at $1400.I am hoping that there might be something easier and less expensive that I might could try. When I plugged in the computer checker, it stated 3-4 shift. Thanks for any help anyone can offer. Lee
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
Has the 3-4 shift solenoid been replaced?
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LEENSTACY2002
  • MEMBER
No, I have not replaced that. Is that inside the transmission? That is the code that came up. Will I be able to change that myself or will I need to take it to a shop. I appreciate all the help you can give. I will make a donation when I am ahead enough. Right now, it is week to week. Thanks again. Lee
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JHDOMINATOR
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 3.9L
  • V6
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
My transmission wont shift into overdrive but my overdrive button works could it be because the fluid needs to be changed
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HOMER1967
  • MEMBER
It could be possible, could also be a mechanical or electrical issue. If the fluid looks dirty or smells burnt, then I would change it anyway and see if it helps. Any check engine light on?
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JHDOMINATOR
  • MEMBER
No the check engine light don't come on the truck sat up for 5 years without running but when it was parked everything worked.
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020 AT 12:46 PM (Merged)

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