Dodge Truck 1-2 Shift Problem
Dodge Pickup trucks with the 46/47/48 series transmissions are known to have a problem with losing 2nd gear or a soft shift in 2nd gear after 70,xxx to 100,xxx miles. Some describe it has shifting weird & that they don't know exactly what's wrong but they know it's not right. The driver will try & count the gears as the transmission shifts thru all the gears up to highway speed. They count a total of 4, but they don't realize 3 ONLY have 3 gears +the Lockup Torque converter. This page will show you how to tell if you have lost 2nd gear by driving the truck & what to look for if you have the pan off your transmission.
1st off, let's take the truck for a drive on a side road or back road where we don't have to deal with much traffic if that's possible in your area. If that's not possible find a large parking lot to use for our test. Pull the shifter down to man 1st gear & proceed to accelerate to aprox 15mph. Move the shifter to Man 2nd. Do you feel the transmission shift gears? If you are in doubt if it shifted or not, pull the shifter back down to Low. If your Transmission does not shift, proceed to the next step after the transmission cools down. Hot ATF is no fun so be careful.
Once the ATF has cooled down so that you don't get burnt. Drop the transmission pan for a closer inspection of the problem. Once the pan is removed, locate the front servo apply arm in the upper passenger side of the transmission case. As pictured below.
Pull down on the band apply arm (as pictured below) with your fingers. If you have more than 1/4" of movement, your band is a gone/damaged. This measurement works for both gas & diesel applications. Do not think that you can just re-adjust band & go on your merry way because it doesn't work like that.
You have found your problem now. You need to pull the transmission out of the vehicle and do a good overhaul with the upgrades/improvements and a transmission that works better than it ever did. Never re-use the OE band, no matter what it looks like. The rivets that hold the band anchors on are known to come loose, which messes up the band adjustment & damages the band which is your 2nd gear. The long band strut is known for bending also so I always install Superior's HD band strut. The Superior HD Front Band Strut is shown on the right side of your picture below & factory stock is pictured on the left side. As you can see, there is no comparison between the 2 of them when it comes to thickness, reinforcement & type of steel they are made from for years of service. This part & several others are mentioned in our Heavy Haulers section to help correct known problem area's in the Dodge Pickup truck transmissions. The band strut pictured below (stock strut is on left side of picture) is subjected to more than 2000 ft lbs. of pressure with a completely stock valve body. The stock strut is marginal at best but then you turn up the pressure for increased horsepower & torque by enlarging the feed holes or by installing various valve body kits thru the use of stronger springs makes this HD strut a requirement.
Picture below shows the HD band strut installed into the transmission with the valve body removed so you can see it better.