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My automatic transmission only has reverse…What’s up?

May 27th, 2009

We received this question, since it is a popular question in the transmission world, here is the answer.

Question: I have a 99 dodge 1500 4×4 with a gas v-8, at first you had to put it into 1st and shift up, now it thinks that every gear is reverse. have checked fuses and relays, I think that it is a 46 transmission not for shure seems a lot of people are having trouble with these. What do you recomend? Thanks Rick

BTW, it is a 46RE transmission or more commonly called a TF-518…

Without getting too detailed, you have a transmission failure. It is an educated guess though. It is mandatory to have your transmission diagnosed to prove it. Taking someones word over the phone or Internet is risky and you can get ripped real easily or get into parts changing battle until you find the problem.

I’ll cut to the point. What has happened is through a lack of maintenance, overheating the engine and transmission or the using wrong transmission fluid, a situation has occurred where the reverse clutch pack has literally welded itself together. Generally from being overheated or overworked. With the reverse clutches locked up, it can’t go forward and most likely has no neutral and pulls or tugs in park.

It is possible the reverse band, which works with the reverse clutches, has become dislodged and wedged on, so it can not get any gear but reverse.

I say this from much experience. It can happen to any vehicle that uses clutch plates in an automatic transmission. Which is at leat 99 percent of the automatic transmissions in use.

Once you get it checked by a specialist, if you have to replace your Dodge transmission, you will need a strategy. I would recommend a heavy duty 46RE Dodge rebuilt transnission and add an auxiliary external transmission cooler and use genuine Mopar/Chrysler/Dodge transmission fluid. No substitutes or additives.

I hope this is helpful, sorry for a less than pleasant answer. We have more articles on the GotTransmiisions.com blog that may be of help. Please enjoy.

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