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Cruise control & the passing gear

Discussion in 'Ram, pickups, new Wagoneer, commercial trucks' started by Scrounge, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    1999 Dodge 1500 Laramie, 318, 46RE. Since I bought the truck, the cruise control generally maintained its speed on flat surfaces and going downhill, and maintained RPMs while going uphill, losing up to 5 mph. But something I did in Michigan changed that; now, when the truck goes uphill with the cruise control on, the transmission goes into passing gear to maintain the speed. The first time it did so was somewhat alarming; at 70 mph, it cruises at just below 2000 RPM, but it suddenly went up to 4500 RPM, and the red-line is 5000 RPM. Milder upgrades now engage the passing gear up to 3000 RPM, but that's still a lot touchier than it was. Also, with the cruise control off, passing gear engages much sooner than it previously did.

    While up north, I made several changes to the truck, including:

    Replaced the upstream oxygen sensor. More details on that in the P0133 thread in the Repairs & Maintenance forum. Mileage didn't improve, probably because passing gear uses more gas.

    Replaced the top of the air cleaner housing with one from a junkyard (the original was cracked, and I'd put some duct tape on it).

    Replaced the vacuum lines between the firewall and the intake manifold for the HVAC (I'd plugged the old one after it broke, but it was brittle, and probably cracked elsewhere). Something else is wrong there: now, the fan won't come on in any setting.

    Changed transmission pan, fluid, filter and gasket. The older filter kit for the 727 works on the 46RE, though it takes a third screw to fasten the filter. At the parts store where I bought it, the Wix kit for the 727 cost half as much as the one that the 46RE calls for. The old filter was darker than the new one, but I didn't see any metal shavings in it, or in the pan.

    Cleaned off some dirt around the transmission mount, and sprayed some carb cleaner in that general area.

    Wrapped some of the wires near the transmission with black plastic conduit (I first sprayed a few of them with the carb cleaner).

    Maybe I actually corrected a problem, but I'd rather it wouldn't be so touchy. On older mechanical units, where the passing gear engages can be adjusted, but this transmission is electronically controlled, and I don't know how, or even if, this setting can be changed.
     
  2. Best Answer:
    Post #2 by AllanC, Aug 5, 2020
  3. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    I would suspect that the throttle valve cable between the throttle body and transmission needs to be adjusted. Too short or too long cable length can cause problems. Link to Y T discussion and video for adjustment.

    Throttle Valve Cable Adjustment Dodge Ram 1998-2001 (at https://www.autopartsrepairs.com/throttle-valve-cable-adjustment-dodge-ram-1998-2001/ )

    From documentation that I have read the major difference between the 46RE and the 46RH is that the governor pressure is electronically controlled in the 46RE versus mechanical, hydraulic control in the 46RH. Everything else in the transmission is identical to the 46RH so it does not have as much electronic control as you think. The 46RH is just a variation of the venerable 727 3 speed torqueflite automatic with an overdrive unit attached at the rear tail shaft. The 46RE still has an adjustable front band and rear band. The front band has a set screw adjuster on the side of the transmission and the rear band is adjusted with the transmission pan removed.

    Also the TPS (throttle position sensor) must be outputting correct values as to throttle position. A problem with this sensor could cause the transmission to downshift from 4th gear / overdrive to 3rd gear / direct drive.

    Get the throttle cable adjusted properly as mentioned above. Then if there are still shifting problems with the transmission, investigate fluid pressure at various ports on the transmission to see if they are in valid ranges.
     
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  4. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    My 2011 Chrysler 200 with 6-speed auto will kick down on slight upgrades when cruise is set, but not as much when cruise is off. Also, with cruise on, it will downshift on slight downgrades to maintain speed, even if only a few mph over the setting. Putting it in manual AutoStick mode prevents that.
    It sounds like you are using the wrong filter just because it may physically fit and is cheaper. I would use only the filter specified. The fact that it has a different fastener suggests that it might not be attached properly, or that the fluid flow is either going around the filter, or not through it at the same rate.
     
  5. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    Thanks, I'll try this first.
     
  6. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    If you do an internet search the transmission filter for 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 with 5.2 liter V8, all will show a filter kit with 3 holes in the filter element. And the kit will have 2 transmission pan gaskets. One gasket for the lighter duty A904 based A500, 42RE, 44RE transmission and one gasket for the heavier duty 727, A518, 46RE transmission.

    I believe the filter you removed will fit but was for the A500, 42RE, 44RE and has 2 mounting holes. So an incorrect filter was installed sometime in the past but it still would function properly. Sometime Chrysler changed the filter mounting but left the dimensions of the filter element the same. So I think you do have the correct filter and that is not causing the shifting issue. Supplying a kit with multiple gaskets to fit various applications is a common occurrence and helps lower auto parts stocking issues with slight differences in parts.
     
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  7. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    The throttle valve cable wasn't off by much, if any. I pulled it out maybe 1/4", but don't plan to drive out of town until the weekend. I'll report after I test it. I'm wondering if where the cable connects near the transmission was sticking, and perhaps my cleaning freed it.

    This is the filter kit I bought and installed:

    WIX Filters Transmission Filters 58707 (at https://www.summitracing.com/parts/wix-58707?seid=srese1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzc7a_bKF6wIVEIrICh02qQ0oEAQYASABEgK8GfD_BwE )

    I paid $9.99, plus tax. Yes, it had 2 gaskets, which was common for decades, as the filter was the same for the 727 and 904 transmissions, but the pans, and therefore the gaskets, were different. I bought the same kit shortly after buying the truck, as it was listed somewhere as fitting it. The filter on the truck when I bought it looked like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/WIX-Filters-Automatic-Transmission-Filter/dp/B000C9WLEW
     
  8. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    1/4" is a lot on that rod.
     
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  9. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Wix filter 58613 is the filter for the Chrysler A500, 42RE, 44RE transmission. Your truck has the 46RE transmission which uses Wix filter 58707 as does its predecessor A518. You have the correct filter installed.
     
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  10. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    On an out-of-town drive yesterday, the cruise control pretty much didn't engage the passing gear on mild inclines. It did kick down up to 4500 RPM twice on steeper hills, but not for as long as it did before. While the throttle cable adjustment seems to have worked, I intend to pull it out maybe another 1/8". Allan provided the best answer; thanks to all who replied.

    Good to know. The parts store I bought from had the 58613 kit listed for mine, but I think other parts stores showed both to be valid. And I think the more expensive one would probably work, but I can see the condition of the 58707 filter when I remove the pan.
     
  11. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    Some speed controls will hold the set speed "no matter what". This can get annoying as I don't mind gaining or losing a few MPH in hilly country, but the software doesn't know that. I like a 'fuzzy' logic speed control that will forgive a few MPH in load changes.
    The EATX vehicles can downshift going downhill to use engine braking to hold the set speed.
    In hilly country or in icy weather, I sometimes just turn the speed control off and drive by throttle.
    The Caliber with the CVT was the least intrusive speed control I ever had. The only indication of ratio change was the tach needle moving slightly up or down. No abrupt shifting or engine noise.
    I have not yet experienced a vehicle with "adaptive" speed control and "forward control warning" (ACC/FCW) radar on the highway.
     
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  12. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    Definitely off in icy or snowy weather, though I tend not to drive in it. Also off in the rain. Otherwise, it's a relief to rest my right leg for long stretches on a long trip.

    My previous '92 Dakota also downshifted a lot going up hills, but my '84 D100 before that didn't. I thought the difference was the Dakota's V6 vs. the larger truck's V8, but apparently not with this V8.
     
  13. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    In June I rented a Camry with this feature. Not exactly fond of it. It will adapt to the speed of the vehicle in front when you are within about 5-6 car lengths. I learned to try to change lanes when I got within 7-8 car lengths. Became irritating after a while. I'd be cruising at 75 mph and the next thing I knew speed was at 70 due to the car in front. I learned after my trip the radar can be overridden and normal cruise set by holding the set button for three seconds.
     
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