My 2003 Ram diesel automatic has had this problem before and under
warranty they "fixed" it (don't know what they did/didn't document it.)
Now we're way out of warranty and it has started again. I'll be
driving down the freeway, whether at 65 or 85mph, and I'll feel the
truck suck back power for a split second then the whole thing lunches,
jarringly slows down with crazy revs going on, it red lines the tach
and I'm in 2nd gear! Along with this problem is the fact that I feel
the truck has lost a bit of oomph. I feel it sucking back when I step
on the accelerator; it feels like a pressure build up and you can hear
the engine revving higher, but it doesn't go a lot faster like it used
to. And it feels like it's going to slam into 2nd gear. Have also
lost a bit of towing power too. WTF?
I initially thought it was the transmission, but it really isn't.
Tranny works fine. Could it be the PCM or the MAP? Would any of this
be covered under the "Powertrain" portion of the warranty (which is
more extensive/longer than the standard portion)?
Anyone have this problem? Or is it just my doomed truck? (I've had
EXTENSIVE problems of EVERY sort with my truck.)
Regardless of the problem (mechanical in the transmission, or electrical
with the PCM or related sensors), it should all be covered under the 7/70
Something's causing the front band to apply, and that's putting you into 2nd
gear (actually, most likely a hybrid of a gear somewhere between 2nd and 3rd
in ratio, because the OD is probably still engaged). It could be something
mechanical, as in a leak in the valve body that's allowing pressure to flow
to the front servo - or it could be electrical, as in a bad governor
pressure solenoid that's not keeping the governor pressure up where it needs
Thank you so much for your time. I remember them mentioning something
the first time (when they "fixed" it) mentioning the word 'pressure' so
I am going to hand the dealer mechanics a list of things to look over.
May sound silly, but it took 5 (five) trips to the dealer mechanic in 2
months before they "fixed" it. They kept just sending me home with a
note "could not duplicate problem".
So both of these suggestions are going on the list. And I KNOW they
are going to try and charge me and claim it's out of warranty. So
that's why I wanted to know if you guys felt it was to still be covered
under my 7/70. Seeing that we feel it should I can go in there with
both guns blazing when they hand me a big fat bill.
Just a note of caution. Just because some well meaning folks in this
newsgroup "feel" that your problem is covered under the 7/70 powertrain
warranty doesn't make it necessarily so. After all, no one here can be
certain of what the problem truly is. The final arbiter of whether warranty
coverage applies to your repair is DaimlerChrysler, not the dealer. You
should advise the dealer of the problem with the vehicle and ask that you be
called with a diagnosis and estimate of repairs before any work is
commenced. Be advised, that if the repair is covered under the warranty,
then the diagnostic charges will be covered also less your applicable
deductible. If on the other hand the repairs are not covered under the D/C
warranty, then you are obligated to pay the dealers reasonable diagnostic
charges to ascertain the problem. You should be advised by the dealer what
the diagnostic charges will be before the work is started. Make sure you
ask what the charges might be if the dealer fails to do this.
If after the diagnosis, the dealer determines that the repair is not covered
under the warranty, ask the dealer to do a VIP inquiry for warranty
coverage. This report from D/C advises the dealer if the repair is covered
or not. If it is not covered as outlined in the report, there is nothing
the dealer can do, he does not make the warranty decisions, only D/C can do
So there is no need to go in "with guns blazing", that will get you nowhere.
As an educated consumer, you should be aware that anytime you ask someone to
perform a service for you, there will be charges that have to be paid by
someone. Always determine in advance, who that someone may be.
Hope this helps!
Chryco Service Manager
Thanks for the help, all!
Yup, the actual gear lever is physically down into 2nd. Don't know how
it gets there, but when I'm freaking out on the freeway and I reach
down to change it back to "D" I am able to do so and all is well again
(till it decides to do it again). So it may be mechanical, but there
has also been a noticeable loss of power/acceleration in the truck too.
So I'm taking it in tomorrow morning and see what that gets me. The
key code thing is a bit odd, too. Yet something else for them to look
"So there is no need to go in "with guns blazing", that will get you
Oh, yes there is. It's amazing how much better the service got when I
stopped being the nice, understanding girl and turned into a flaming
bitch. I only turned into a flaming bitch when the sevice advisor
became so patronizing that it went beyond rude and became insulting.
They would NEVER have spoken to a man that way. After I opened my can
of whoop ass, they pulled out all the stops. I finally got to deal
with the service manager who took me seriously, actually contacted D/C
with my truck concerns, got answers from D/C, actually fixed said
problem AND detailled my truck & gave me a free rental. So being an
educated, reasonable person doesn't work at this place. Once they
became customer service oriented & reasonable with me, then I was able
to put away the flaming bitch.
But I'll definintely make note to have them contact D/C regarding the
VIP inquiry for warranty coverage and get the prices up front for any
Sounds almost exactly like what I experienced when the APPS went a bit
haywire. Check for codes. If its really the trans, it'll either show as
governor codes, or no codes, indicating a hydraulic problem.
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor. If it's shifting from 4th to 3rd (ie.
same result as if you hit the O/D off button, or floored the accelerator),
this is a likely source of the problem. But if it's really dumping into 2nd
gear at those speeds, it's not because of a flakey APPS.
At 85MPH, with a 3.73 axle ratio, dropping into 3rd would put your engine
RPMs at about 3400. Dropping into 2nd gear would have them at almost
When this happens at 85MPH, do the RPMs go over 4,000?
No, it is truly dumping into 2nd gear. I know this because I have to
reach down to the gear lever and bring it back into D from 2nd gear.
As for how many RPMs it hits in 2nd gear at 85mph, I can't tell you as
I am so freaked out when it happens that my first line of business is
to keep the truck from getting suddenly rear ended from behind (because
of the sudden lurching & deceleration), and then it's to pop it back
into D. I never thought to look at the RPMs, but they are through the
roof by the sound of the poor truck.
The APPS is the diesel equivalent to the throttle position sensor.
You don't mention if you got any codes. On the 03, turning the key on and
off three times, then back on, will cause all diagnostic codes to be
displayed on the odometer. If you are in possession of these, its more
ammunition when you talk to the service manager.
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
I didn't know about this code business, but I will check it out today.
Thanks for that. I need as much help as possible there. They really
do talk to me like I'm a total moron, or patronize me and all but pat
me on the head and send me on my way with a lollipop. And I don't know
how they can't duplicate the problem as it happens to me everyday with
others having been in the truck with me to witness it.
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