JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- Last summer (06), the transmission on my dakota r/t bit the dust, a band strut broke off, and the bands got abused pretty bad. Needed a rebuild, no question about that.
At first I told them to pack it back up, I'm taking it somewhere else- I wasn't impressed at all with the demeanor of the 'man at the desk'. I spent some time there, and went in back to talk to the mechanics that will actually have their hands on my true love. They seemed to prove that they knew what they were doing, and didn't like the dude up front either- so, I left it there for a rebuild. Before I left, we agreed on what was to be done- I actually told him I don't care what it costs, or how long its in for repair, but when I get it back- I want it perfect. About a week later I pick it up, and am nice to it for about a day. Giving it a little break in period. Day two comes the real test- full throttle.
I semi-regularly race the truck at the drag strip, and drive it like I stole it. I told them to build me a transmission to take the abuse- of course with me understanding, things do break eventually if ya rag on them. No problem there, I don't live in fantasy world. Anyway--- on day two of having this rebuilt tranny, I go off to a country road to see how she performs from stop to top so-to-speak. Big problem. At wot (wide open throttle) she won't shift out of 1st. She'll just hang in gear and bounce off the msd 6400 rpm limiter. So of course, I start to get furious about this $2300 check I wrote a day earlier. How am I supposed to enjoy my truck for what I built it for, if she won't get out of 1st?? I go back, and I get a little upset at all the head scratching the guys at mr transmission are doing. I belong to a very decent online group that deals specifically with the dakota r/t.. I know someone in the group will know what to do. I'm told by them that the shift kit the shop installed doesn't jive well with the trucks pcm, and I need to tear apart a wiring harness and solder in a resistor inline with the governor pressure sensor. Lucky me- they were right. Problem solved- but why the heck doesn't a transmission shop know this? Water under the bridge, and I don't go back. Truck is fixed, shifts perfectly, and am so far very happy with it. I continue to drive it about 100 miles a week back and forth to work. This goes on for about 2500 miles. Took it to the race track twice, and still works flawlessly. I put it on a flatbed trailer when I moved back to WI, and a couple days later load it up to go to the r/t national meet in st. Louis. Halfway there, cruising down the highway I start to lose overdrive. Knowing the truck pretty well, and being associated with many people that share my passion, I'm pretty sure I know what's going on right away. I'm losing tranny fluid. I pull over at the next stop and sho-nuff.. The tailgate and entire underside of my truck is doused with transmission fluid, its bleeding all over the place. So here I am, 200 miles from home, and 200 miles from my destination. Being I'm going to the r/t nationals- I decide its better to be in the company of gearheads, than turn around and go home and be at the mercy of whatever scam shop I May find. I stop in autozone, buy $100 worth of fluid, and keep dumping it in for the remainder of my trip. After all- if ya keep fluid in it faster than it leaks, keep the temperature down, the only thing its going to hurt is the wallet by keep buying fluid. I get down to st louis, and find the rear seal had failed. Fixed it that day in the parking lot. Still leaked, but not nearly as bad as before. Skip a couple days- and I drive it home, nice and easy 400 mile trip at 55mph, continuing to dump fluid in it all the way.
Come to find out through some more research- that a bushing in the overdrive case is loose and inches its way back, rubs on the seal, and causes it to fail immediately. The only cause of this is a bad overdrive case, not holding the bushing properly.
The transmissions only got about 3000 miles on it, its sitting in my garage on jackstands, awaiting what's going to amount to about another grand in parts and labor. New od case, yoke, driveshaft balance, bushing, seal, etc..). There is no mr. Transmission in this area, and I'm not going 1300 miles back to nc to take it in. Even if there was a franchise in this area- I still would not take it back to that company. So I'm stuck.
Thank you very much mr. Transmission for using a piece of crap od housing on your rebuild job. For what it costs to do the job, I could have rode a taxi wherever I needed to go for 6 months, and broke even.