One of the biggest problems facing diesel-pickup owners is the fact that over time, a truck's mechanical components eventually wear out. However, with proper maintenance and sensible driving, an engine, transmission, turbocharger etc., all can provide many years of service in a truck. But when the time comes, as it did for the 47RE four-speed automatic transmission in Matt Alesse's 2001 Dodge Ram 2500
, selecting the right replacement is important.
Matt's four-wheel-drive Dodge
was used as a work truck in Massachusetts before he bought it. The previous owner hauled tools and material to job sites each day, without much regard for proper maintenance. When Matt found the truck, the owner had abandoned it when the costs for necessary repairs were more than he wanted to invest in the rig.
| 001 Revmaxx Transmission Insrtall On 2001 Dodge Ram 2500
Matt saw the truck's potential and pulled it from the weeds with 215,000 miles on the odometer. After replacing almost every single body panel (due to excessive rust and damage) and making a few repairs to the stock 5.9L Cummins engine for reliability, the truck became his daily driver.
Since relocating to Southern California, Matt continues driving the stock Dodge every day, and on weekends he also travels around the state on many of its scenic back roads, which often include steep grades and mountain passes.
The aggressive hills and wear and tear of Southern California traffic started taking a toll on the Dodge Ram
's 280,000-mile stock 47RE four-speed automatic transmission. Matt noticed the transmission starting to act up, shifting oddly and slipping. He tried to be gentle with it and avoid grueling climbs in order to keep it functioning as long as possible. But age and hard use had taken its toll, and it wasn't getting any better.
| 002 Revmaxx Transmission Insrtall On 2001 Dodge Ram 2500
After some discussion with Fran Leverick of RevMax Performance Converters about any future plans for engine upgrades and how the truck will be used, they decided the RevMax 47RE Signature Series performance transmission with a billet Stage 5 triple-disc torque converter along with an upgraded billet input shaft and flexplate would be more than stout enough to meet Matt's needs and future plans for more power.
To help ensure longevity for the 47RE, we also selected Mishimoto's Dodge Ram 5.9L Cummins transmission cooler, which has a 116 percent larger core volume, a fluid capacity 141 percent bigger, and a fin surface area 134 percent greater than the stock unit. The new cooler fits in the stock location in front of the radiator and includes all of the necessary hoses, fittings, and clamps.
It should be noted that there are two transmission coolers on Matt's Dodge Ram. One is mounted to the side of the engine block and is a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger. The other (the one we are replacing) is an air-to-liquid-style cooler that's mounted in front of the radiator.
With all the parts collected, we took a drive up to 805 Diesel in Camarillo, California, for the installation of the RevMax transmission and the Mishimoto transmission cooler.
| With the truck secured on a twin-post hoist, Colton Lanquist jumps right into the project by getting the rear driveshaft out of the way.
Colton then turns his attention to removing the skidplate while Zack Funk takes out the front driveshaft. Colton then removes the skidplate crossmember to access the front driveshaft flange on the transfer case. Zack knocks the front driveshaft loose from the flange.
| Zack begins disconnecting the electrical, linkage, and lines to the transmission.
To separate the transmission from the engine, the torque converter must be unbolted from the flexplate. The engine is rotated in order to access the converter bolts. Colton uses a Cummins engine-barring tool (from OTC) to rotate the flexplate to the best position for removing the bolts.
| The upper bellhousing bolts are removed with a socket, wobble, long extension, and impact gun.
| Before going any further, the transmission pan is removed, and all the fluid is drained.
| Zack positions the transmission jack so the straps can be installed. If the transmission is not properly strapped to the jack, the weight of the transfer case can cause everything to shift and come crashing down.
Colton and Zack unbolt the transmission cross member then use a Porto-Power to spread the framerail so the crossmember can be removed. Crossmembers on Dodge Ram trucks of this era are wedged between the framerails, so spreading the frame is the easiest way to remove them.
| With everything unbolted and out of the way, Zack and Colton lower the transmission and transfer case.
| 018 Revmaxx Transmission Insrtall On 2001 Dodge Ram 2500
The transfer case is removed, and the transmission is then lifted off the jack.
| Here is a look at the RevMax 47RE Signature Series transmission. It comes neatly packaged and strapped to a pallet with the new billet Stage 5 triple-disc torque converter and flexplate.
| 023 Revmaxx Transmission Insrtall On 2001 Dodge Ram 2500
Zack removes the old flexplate and installs the new billet RevMax unit reusing the original bolts.
| While everything is apart, Colton uses an oil bowser, rag, and air nozzle to clear all the old transmission fluid from the coolers and lines.
Colton transfers all of the fittings, sensors, and linkage brackets onto the new transmission.
| Matt helps Colton lift the transmission onto the jack.
| Colton fills the torque converter with transmission fluid before installing.
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| Matt and Colton lift the transfer case into position while Zack secures it to the transmission.
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The transmission is bolted to the back of the engine, and all of the lines, electrical connectors, and linkages are secured.
| Once again, the barring tool is used for rotating the flexplate and aligning it with the bolt holes on the torque converter.
| The Porto-Power tool is again installed between the framerails to position the crossmember.
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| The crossmember and skidplate are reinstalled.
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| Colton bolts the front driveshaft in place.
| With the transmission in the truck and everything installed underneath, the truck is lowered to the ground for easy access to the transmission cooler.
| Zack unbolts and removes the front bumper so the cooler can be easily removed.
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| He then disconnects the lines before unbolting and removing the cooler.
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| With a side-by-side comparison, it's easy to see the size difference between the two coolers. The Mishimoto unit holds more fluid and has a lot more surface area for better heat dissipation.
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| The new cooler is bolted into position.
| Zack removes the stock cooler flex lines.
| The new hose included with the Mishimoto transmission cooler is temporarily installed so it can be cut to the proper length.
For a clean and simple installation, Zack uses new quick-connect fittings on the hose (not included) to mate it with the hard line running to the transmission.
| The hoses are then installed on the cooler and secured.
| Here is a look at Mishimoto's transmission cooler installed before the front of the truck is reassembled.
| Zack reinstalls the front bumper.
| The final task before taking the truck on a test drive is to fill the transmission with fluid.
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| After a quick trip around the block to make sure everything is working correctly, the transmission fluid is rechecked.
| Matt and his truck are ready to roll.