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1st Gen Durango 1998 - 2003 Durango's

Shifter problems

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Old 12-15-2010, 11:25 PM
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Default Shifter problems

Hey everyone,

I recently got a '99 Durango running, back from the dead. I rebuilt the 5.9L engine for it and just dropped it in. I have never had a Durango and need some help with a shifter issue now. I know the Dakota well, had a 1995 and have a 2001.

The Durango shifter first off doesn't lock in place in position, in other words I can push it out of drive without pulling it towards me to release it, it just slides up and down freely. Second, the orange indicator bar doesn't line up with the gear positions. Third, when I shift into various gears, say reverse or drive, it slams a little. I am guessing all three of these may be due to the shifter on the steering column.

Any advice is welcomed. And if I do need to swap out this shifter, how bad of a job we looking at?
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:11 AM
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1. I don't think they ever placed the locks in them in 1998-1999. My 1998 Durango did not lock and my 1999 Ram does not lock as well.

2. Here is how to adjust the orange indicator: http://dodgeforum.com/forum/1st-gen-...dont-work.html

3. Could be a backlash out of adjustment on the rear differential. Open and inspect.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:31 AM
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on the first two points hydra is dead on (i believe my 98 dak only locked into park, but im not even sure on that anymore) and i have no blue about that its a driveline issue, hydra and master tech are the guys to talk to about that
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:48 AM
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My '00 D doesn't even lock in park. I can pull out of park into whatever gear without my foot on the brake. My '00 3500 is the same way.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:47 PM
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Really surprised that they don't lock in position, at least enough for you to need to pull back on the shifter to shift gears. My '01 Quad Cab Dakota locks, I can push upand down on the shifter and unless I pull it towards myself it won't shift out of drive. BUT I am glad that I might not need to replace the shifter. So you could theoretically fall out of drive f you bumped the shifter while moving huh?

I am going to adjust the orange indicator per your referenced thread, thanks.

As far as the backlash, would that make the truck slam, or move slightly, by just shifting without taking my foot off the brake? That makes sense if the differential gears are making contact and the trans moves slightly when shifting. I think this is going to be my big problem.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:59 PM
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Well, I've noticed there is a little bit of a "pop" into gear so enough to where it won't slide out into another gear while you're driving. I would highly advise to use the brake while shifting to avoid rear diff grinding or wore transmission problems.

I definitely wouldn't doubt the fact that it's possible to fall into another gear with a little more than a slight nudge to the shifter. I know in the Chevy work van I drive you have to apply the brakes to pull it out of park and have to pull on it quite a bit in order for it to get in any other gear. Not sure why it's like this though...
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:00 PM
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If you hear a "thunk" then most likely it a quick adjustment on the backlash of the ring and pinion because of normal ware.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:56 PM
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Just curious here, how would an improper backlash allow the truck to move or slam when shifting through gears if not in motion yet?

Not at all saying it isn't due to the backlash, but the engineer in me wants to understand it.

I also always thought that backlash should be adjusted by somone who knows how to do it properly, I am a good driveway mechanic, having swapped engines and such but never messed with the differential adjustments.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:22 PM
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i dont understand that either, id like to hear an explanation, i would also look into worn u-joints, if they have slop in them they could allow the engine/trans to start spinning and then catch the driveshaft or rear differential which is not moving (bc you are on the breaks) might be just enough force to cause the truck to lurch a little bit (i hope im making sense)
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:51 PM
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Well, if there is play in the gears then the gears don't have pressure on them "yet".

Explanation,
the truck is parked. You start the truck and as you press the brake and take the trans out of park, the gears are now at a point that there is no pressure on them. You simply set into gear. Now if the gears have enough play in them (backlash) well the truck hasn't moved right (your foot is on the brake), but you placed it in gear so the torque from the motor is turning, thru the transmission and runs down through the T-case (if equipped) and finally down into the rear gearing. Well there it finds the gears backlash (gap on the gears) with open "slop" and the torque then engages the gears. When the gears engage the pinion gear moves forward (or reverse) into the ring gear (talking about a Hypoid style gear here) and this is the "bang" you hear. It is merely the slop between the gearing when it is engaged and the gears smash together.

Most likely I bet if you remove the diff cover and use a Dial Indicator your going to come up with about .020 backlash (way out of spec's). This is due to ware offer the life of the gears and most likely not replacing the lubricant every 30k miles (15 if heavily towing).

The Durango axle whether 8.25 or 9.25 both have a threaded cap internal right next to the carrier bearings that sets the backlash on the pinion/ring gears. It slides the rear carrier left or right (by loosening one side and tightening the other) and thus setting the backlash (slop between gears).
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Last edited by hydrashocker; 12-18-2010 at 11:54 PM..
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