Non-Ford Issue - Durango R/T - Longish Read

Grabber

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Hey Guys,

Want some opinions on what you would do in this scenario. Maybe @13COBRA can chime in with some advice.

Bought my R/T new in 16' with a bit under 300 miles on it. First year was great. No problems. Second year, I noticed that every time I come to a stop, there is a hard downshift from 5-4 and then 2-1. So, did some digging, get on a durango forum, find out it is a common issue and most have the dealer look at it. This is when the long process starts.

First time in, I leave the car for a couple of days, they drive it around and tell me they cannot replicate the issue and that they did an update and the problem (according to them "if" there was one, is fixed). Fast forward a week, issue is back, and slightly more noticeable. I call back, explain it and get a tech to do a ride along. This is now visit # 2. I'm driving and make sure I can get up to speed to slow down enough from 5th gear. The tech notices the "surges" every time the car downshifts from 5th to 4th and then coming to a complete stop where the car jumps forward an inch or two (from what it feels like) and this is from 2-1. They do another update, reset the parameters on the shift points and the next day I pick the car up.

A few months pass and this is going into my 3rd year of ownership. The issue is back. I try to deal with it for a few more months and eventually cave. This time, I send an email to the service department explaining the situation from start to finish in writing so nothing is lost in translation. I get a call from the General Mgr. of the dealer and he is frustrated my issue hasn't been fixed and assures me they will make it right. I then start to work with the Customer Service Mgr. and he said he is having his best tech diagnose it. So, I'm game at this point.

I meet with the master tech, explain everything, we go for a ride. He notices the issues immediately. He also says he knows exactly what to do and that he will have to contact "STAR" for support. The plan was for him to drive the car to and from work (about 70 miles round trip) daily as he troubleshoots the issue. About a week later, they call and advise the car is perfect. They did a complete relearn on the ECU, PCM, TB and the Transmission. They also reset all of the shift points and manually configured them and reset the pedal sensor as well. So, I'm stoked it's finished and the issue is gone. Get it back, drive it around. After about a month, the issue comes back. This is when I kind of throw in the towel. Then COVID hit, the dealer closed for a while and I gave up.

Now, when you drive the car, not only does it have the rough 5-4 downshift and 2-1 when you come to a stop, but if you're doing 30-40 MPH and floor it, the car will actually jump and it feels like you just got rear ended and it won't go anywhere for a second and then it finally shifts and goes. This is pretty consistent. Now I'm at the point where I am tired of this thing. The dealer has put hundreds of miles on my car, gone through more than a tank of gas troubleshooting it and made several attempts to fix the car. Others I've talked to that had the exact same issue, their dealer replaced the transmission and no further issues occurred.

It's been over a year since I had the car back. What would you guys do? My warranty expires in a year and I don't want to be stuck with a paper weight since the transmission is over $4,000.

Sorry for the long read. I've gone back and forth with many people on Mopar FB groups, dodge forums, etc. My wife thinks I should call and tell them to flat out replace the transmission since all of the electronic work they do does absolutely nothing and the problem is only getting worse. Or I find another dealer, but then I feel like they are going to start from scratch and do exactly what the previous dealer did. Now, management with that dealer I've been going to has changed and all of the staff that worked on my car, including the big bosses have been replaced.

The car is now 5 years old and barely has over 30K miles.

One thing I can say, is the car isn't going anywhere. It will be paid off next year and I do love this thing so much. I just hate the constant shifting issues and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth about the car. So, I won't be selling or trading for something better as I don't want a payment for another 6 years. LOL.
Thanks folks
-Chris
 

13COBRA

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I am not super well versed on the transmission they use in that platform, but it sounds like it could be one of those adaptive/learning TCMs.
 

Blk04L

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It's a ZF transmission 8HP70 fwiw.

Odd, I had no issues with any of the ZF trans on my vehicles
(Ram, SRT Jeep, Durango RT)
Buttery smooth unless it was in sport or track mode(SRT)

Is there another dealer nearby? Wonder if the TCM is just bad and they won't replace it.
 

Grabber

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Yeah, your guesses are as good as mine.

I would still keep it for sure if it was fixed. I'll end up keeping it if it isn't since I've invested a lot of time and money into and it is super low miles.

@Blk04L - In sport mode, the issue kind of goes away. In eco or non-eco/standard mode, the issue is always there.

There are about 3-4 Dodge dealers within 10 miles of me. I just dread starting from scratching and doing this whole dance again and not making any headway.

It is adaptive learning per the master tech and it adjusts to how I drive. I drive normal, but have some fun. Either way, the car shouldn't surge at rolling speeds and knock like it does or downshift so aggressively in 5-4 and 2-1.

My main worry is the transmission goes after my warranty since they are not doing anything about it and I'm stuck with a rather large bill at the end.

I'd love an SRT but I think I'd get dogshit for my R/T on trade.
 

DSG2003Mach1

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Yeah, your guesses are as good as mine.

I would still keep it for sure if it was fixed. I'll end up keeping it if it isn't since I've invested a lot of time and money into and it is super low miles.

@Blk04L - In sport mode, the issue kind of goes away. In eco or non-eco/standard mode, the issue is always there.

There are about 3-4 Dodge dealers within 10 miles of me. I just dread starting from scratching and doing this whole dance again and not making any headway.

It is adaptive learning per the master tech and it adjusts to how I drive. I drive normal, but have some fun. Either way, the car shouldn't surge at rolling speeds and knock like it does or downshift so aggressively in 5-4 and 2-1.

My main worry is the transmission goes after my warranty since they are not doing anything about it and I'm stuck with a rather large bill at the end.

I'd love an SRT but I think I'd get dogshit for my R/T on trade.

I admittedly skimmed - does Dodge have a contact like Ford does to escalate issues? I think I contacted one of the Ford reps over on an F150 forum when my dealer said the slip bump repair wasn't under warranty. They called the dealer and straightened it out. If not I'd stop into a couple of those Dodge dealers and explain what's going on, see which one seems most interested in helping you solve the issue and try again.
 

Grabber

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That type of group is called "STAR" and they are the ones that authorize major repairs on these cars. Guess dealers can't wipe their ass without approval from them and from what I've been told, STAR are kind of a-holes and don't generally replace/repair anything unless it escalates over and over and over. lol.
 

13COBRA

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That type of group is called "STAR" and they are the ones that authorize major repairs on these cars. Guess dealers can't wipe their ass without approval from them and from what I've been told, STAR are kind of a-holes and don't generally replace/repair anything unless it escalates over and over and over. lol.

STAR is just like upper Ford field techs.

It's their job to minimize loss. If your transmission can be fixed for $800 rather than $4000, yes, they are going to do that. They will exhaust all efforts to minimize the financial damage to the manufacturer before replacing the entire system.
 

Grabber

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STAR is just like upper Ford field techs.

It's their job to minimize loss. If your transmission can be fixed for $800 rather than $4000, yes, they are going to do that. They will exhaust all efforts to minimize the financial damage to the manufacturer before replacing the entire system.

I guess based on this, how much do you think they've already spent? Couple thousand in labor/diagnosing and it still hasn't been fixed?

Understand ya though.
 

13COBRA

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I guess based on this, how much do you think they've already spent? Couple thousand in labor/diagnosing and it still hasn't been fixed?

Understand ya though.

Doesn't matter.

Say a transmission is $4,500.

They'll spend: $800 the first time, $1400 the second time, $1100 the third time, $900 the 4th time, $1800 the 5th time, $2200 the 6th time.... then on the 7th time if it's in the neighborhood of $3,500, they'd consider replacing it for $4,500.

Doesn't matter they had spent $8,200 up to that point.

They look at everything on a grander scale, not a case by case issue.
 

13COBRA

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Man, these guys have their finances up their asses, lol.

Oh well.

Not really.

Say they were able to fix it for $800 the first time. They saved $3,700.

If they fixed it for $1,400 the second time, they save $2,300 overall and $3,100 this trip.

If they fixed it for $1,100 the third time, they saved $1,200 overall, and $3,400 this trip.

If they fixed it for $900 the 4th time, they saved $300 overall and $3,600 this trip.

If they fixed it for $1,800 the 5th time, it cost them $1,500 overall, but saved them $2,700 this trip.

If they fixed it for $2,200 the 6th time, it cost them $3,700 overall, but saved them $2,300 this trip.

....and so on.


Not ever car with your issues would take a transmission, so it's their job to go through the steps of corrections in order to come up with the least cost for the manufacturer. Does it always work out in the consumer or manufacturer's best interest, no...but the majority of the time it does, which allows them to do it this way. Kinda like house insurance. If everyone had a $50k claim this year, all insurance companies would be broke...but they're banking on people having a wide variety of issues and some with none at all.
 

Grabber

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Fair points.

I as a consumer think it is silly. I guess time and effort by the consumer with the problem are not factored into that cost.

There are only so many programming options available. The rest is mechanical and even taking the transmission out is several hundred dollars right off the bat. Rebuild, couple thousand. May not fix the issue.

What would happen if they removed the trans, replaced a few synchros and clutches which would be a few grand let's say, only to find the consumer is back knocking again on their door with issues and this time, they are forking out 3-4K on a trans. Now they've lost a ton of money. Kind of goes both ways IMO.
 

13COBRA

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Fair points.

I as a consumer think it is silly. I guess time and effort by the consumer with the problem are not factored into that cost.

There are only so many programming options available. The rest is mechanical and even taking the transmission out is several hundred dollars right off the bat. Rebuild, couple thousand. May not fix the issue.

What would happen if they removed the trans, replaced a few synchros and clutches which would be a few grand let's say, only to find the consumer is back knocking again on their door with issues and this time, they are forking out 3-4K on a trans. Now they've lost a ton of money. Kind of goes both ways IMO.

You're 100% right, but again you're only looking at your vehicle.

Say there are 100 vehicles all have the same issue, and 25 of them needed a transmission to fix the issue for $4,500, and 75 needed a rebuild for $2,000.

By narrowing it down to the 25 and 75, they spend $262,500....if they replace all the transmissions, it would cost the $450,000.
 

Grabber

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Now that makes more sense on a grander scale.

Based on this, if you were in my shoes, what would you honestly do? Sorry for putting you on the spot, haha.

Thanks Mr. Nick
 

svtfocus2cobra

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These are the kinds of issues with FCA vehicles that I harp on all the time. These types of issues or gremlins are so common with FCA vehicles that it leads shops to stop working on them altogether. The FCA dealers we worked with would often tell me of similar or same horror stories they deal with on the regular, and that's what separates their issues from other manufacturers. Of all of the Durangos, Rams, Grand Cherokees, and so on that plagued us with issues and stumped us to the point where we just had to send them out to the dealer to be sorted out, we never received them back fixed, and it was never even close. The only other brand of cars we had to send to dealerships were only sent their for basic tuning procedures that we didn't have the software to do ourselves.

I can tell you from my experience that with that type of issue you are having and with the dealer not being able to sort it out that I wouldn't anticipate it ever being fixed and their is always going to be an issue. I would get rid of the car now to save yourself a world of frustration.
 

svtfocus2cobra

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^^ What other options are there in a V8 Platform SUV with decent HP that doesn't cost over 65K? Curious.

Lightly used X5? My former boss has a 2020 X5 M50i with a tune so it is supposed to be making around 670hp iirc, but what I can say is that car is fast as hell and it isn't even the top of the line X5M with 617hp from the factory.
 

HISSMAN

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I constantly chased problems with every For and GM I've owned, except for the 2014 GT500, probably because I didn't have it that long. My 2019 Wrangler and 2016 Durango RT have been flawless. We have almost 70k on the Durango, and 47k on the Wrangler 2.0 Turbo.
 

HISSMAN

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Lightly used X5? My former boss has a 2020 X5 M50i with a tune so it is supposed to be making around 670hp iirc, but what I can say is that car is fast as hell and it isn't even the top of the line X5M with 617hp from the factory.
Yeah, because BMW's are known for not having issues..lol.
 

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