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2021 1500 Limited 3.0L Ecodiesel Transmission Failure at 700 miles

Misanthropic

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My first Ram experience is not starting out as I had hoped. I fell in love with the new Ram and decided to buy both a 2021 Limited 1500 and a 2021 Power Wagon. After three weeks of owning the 1500 with no signs of any issues from the transmission I was headed on a 440 mile road trip to pick up a small car hauler trailer for my side by side that I won at auction. Halfway through the trip (220 miles exactly) I pulled off the highway to get some snacks, and as I was coming down the off ramp the transmission downshifted hard twice. As I slowed to under 25 miles an hour if felt like the brakes were being applied, and I could feel the transmission holding back the truck. I managed to get it parked, and as soon as it came to a stop all the engine warnings came on, and it would no longer move, unless I gave is a serious amount of fuel. Long story short I got the vehicle towed to a nearby Dealer, and they were able to look at it immediately. The transmission fluid was black, but their transmission guy wasn't there to further diagnose.
Props to the service lead Michael Starks at Martin Swanty CDJ dealer in Kingman, AZ, who called around and got me a rental car to continue my trip. I had to get a fried to meet me and tow the trailer as I only had until 4PM to pick it up due to it being an auction.

There were no signs of any transmission issues up to this point, and the vehicle had only been on a couple road trips at this point and had not towed or carried anything other than my family.

Now I am in limbo with a 70K paperweight, a rental car that is costing me $11 a day (really not bad, but just insult to injury), a trailer I will need to make another 880 mile round trip to get, and a truck I will have to make a 440 mile round trip to get once they get it repaired.

On the positive, Ram roadside assistance was easy to work with, I broke down less than a mile from the only Ram dealer within 80 miles, and the dealer did everything they could even though I didn't buy from them.
 
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stronbl

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Very sorry to hear about this, especially on a trip - that's the worse feeling. Also glad to hear the positive response from the dealer to help you. There doesn't seem to be many of those type stories.

Please keep us informed about the transmission issue and fix - I also have an ecodiesel but it's a 2020. Best of luck.
 

Misanthropic

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*Update #1*

Ram is replacing the whole transmission due to an undefined failure on the power side of the unit. I will try to get more information from the service team in 3-4 weeks when the truck is ready. Zero of the transmissions in stock, so I get to enjoy the rental for another month.
 

Fatherof3

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*Update #1*

Ram is replacing the whole transmission due to an undefined failure on the power side of the unit. I will try to get more information from the service team in 3-4 weeks when the truck is ready. Zero of the transmissions in stock, so I get to enjoy the rental for another month.
Thank you for the update , sorry you‘re dealing with that . Nothing is perfect but these transmissions are pretty close to it . You obviously got One of the few bad ones . Welcome to the forum btw .
 

mikeru82

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Sorry to hear that happened to you. The transmissions on these trucks have been almost bullet-proof, but failures on every system are bound to happen. It's good to hear that the dealership in AZ is treating you right. Although I'm wondering why you're footing the bill for the rental and not Stellantis. I haven't ever had to deal with something this serious, so maybe it's just me not understanding how it works. But you shouldn't have to keep paying for a car because there aren't replacement parts available for your truck.

Keep us updated on how it works out for you, and welcome to the forum.
 

stronbl

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Thanks for the update ... glad to hear they are covering you without too much hassle other than a month or so rental.
 

AdamChandler

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I want to start by saying I'm not minimizing your experience. You seem level-headed at least in your writing here. I'd be pissed. I just wanted to add a data point, the transmission in your truck is used all around the world - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission

..and car reviewers, journalists and OEMs seem relatively happy with this transmission enough to put it in Audi, Aston Martins and even Lamborghini. I haven't heard of many ZF 8 speed fails but safe to say that if it is just the transmission, this was an unlucky situation and I'm pretty sure won't happen again. I hope it was just the transmission failure and not something else.

good luck..a month is a long time to wait.
 

mikeru82

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How come the dealer never mentioned that the Manual Specifically States do not tow within the first 500 miles? See Page 221 of your Owner's Manual under 'Towing Requirements'

"Do not tow a trailer at all during the first 500 miles (805 km) the new vehicle is driven. The engine, axle or other parts could be damaged.

"Then, during the first 500 miles (805 km) that a trailer is towed, do not drive over 50 mph (80 km/h) and do not make starts at full throttle. This helps the engine and other parts of the vehicle wear in at the heavier loads."

Catastrophic failure of a Transmission seems improbable for a Transmission while under break-in, but not impossible. That is, if the towing was done within that limit. Obviously 500+220 is 720 but towing that early still seems a lil risky to me.
If I'm understanding his first post, his truck was at 700 miles when the trans failed, and he had yet to pick up the trailer. And he also said:
"There were no signs of any transmission issues up to this point, and the vehicle had only been on a couple road trips at this point and had not towed or carried anything other that my family."
Leading me to believe that he hadn't yet towed anything with it.
 

Royalist_Ram

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If I'm understanding his first post, his truck was at 700 miles when the trans failed, and he had yet to pick up the trailer. And he also said:
"There were no signs of any transmission issues up to this point, and the vehicle had only been on a couple road trips at this point and had not towed or carried anything other that my family."
Leading me to believe that he hadn't yet towed anything with it.
Yeah you're right my bad, I deleted the post. I was reading too fast and thought he said he was towing a small car, not picking up the trailer itself. Thanks for that. Break-In's are still a thing though.
 

Mchurch52

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I want to start by saying I'm not minimizing your experience. You seem level-headed at least in your writing here. I'd be pissed. I just wanted to add a data point, the transmission in your truck is used all around the world - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission

..and car reviewers, journalists and OEMs seem relatively happy with this transmission enough to put it in Audi, Aston Martins and even Lamborghini. I haven't heard of many ZF 8 speed fails but safe to say that if it is just the transmission, this was an unlucky situation and I'm pretty sure won't happen again. I hope it was just the transmission failure and not something else.

good luck..a month is a long time to wait.
One side note from the Wiki article, even though Chrysler now manufactures the ZF transmission in its South Carolina plant, the 8HP75 used in our EcoDiesels is still sourced form Germany. Not sure why, I assume it is because the engine is also sourced from Europe. Anyway, pretty cool that this transmission is used in so many high end European performance cars.
 

Buz

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Ram damn well better put that truck on a flatbed and deliver it to your front door when it’s fixed.
 

Misanthropic

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Sorry to hear that happened to you. The transmissions on these trucks have been almost bullet-proof, but failures on every system are bound to happen. It's good to hear that the dealership in AZ is treating you right. Although I'm wondering why you're footing the bill for the rental and not Stellantis. I haven't ever had to deal with something this serious, so maybe it's just me not understanding how it works. But you shouldn't have to keep paying for a car because there aren't replacement parts available for your truck.

Keep us updated on how it works out for you, and welcome to the forum.
Thank you for the welcome! I was initially covering the cost of the delta between their agreed contract rate and the cost of the vehicle rental. Since we have moved to weekly rental rates they are now covering the whole cost of the rental.
 

Misanthropic

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*25 Day Since Failure Update*

Reached out to the dealer, and they still don't have an ETA on the transmission. Made the round trip to get my trailer with the Power Wagon and all went well besides the expected abysmal Power Wagon fuel economy. On a positive note fuel economy wasn't dramatically affected by towing the trailer, so that's a plus.

If anyone has a friend at the German 8HP75 factory, ask them to work a little OT and get me a transmission headed this way please!
 

IvoryHemi

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One side note from the Wiki article, even though Chrysler now manufactures the ZF transmission in its South Carolina plant, the 8HP75 used in our EcoDiesels is still sourced form Germany. Not sure why, I assume it is because the engine is also sourced from Europe. Anyway, pretty cool that this transmission is used in so many high end European performance cars.

Chrysler only manufacturers the 850RE in their Kokomo, Indiana plant

ZF builds the 8HP75 in both their Gray Court, Sourh Carolina and Friedrichshafen, Germany plants.
 

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