I'm thinking for $17 I'll give that a shot before anything else. With it being a possible culprit in two seperate issues I'm having, it seems a logical place to start.
If that fails, I basically have two options: 1. Try to drive it home (30 miles with only 1st gear, that makes it a 3 hour drive, praying all the way that I don't blow the tranny completely in the process) and swap out the solenoid and transducer that mastertech mentioned, or 2. Drive it to a tranny shop (only a few miles from where it's sitting, but I can't really afford at the moment to pay tranny shop prices if a fairly inexpensive part swap will take care of it).
I know mastertech has a solid reputation around here, and I'm not ignoring his advice, I'm just going to try this first for the simple fact that it's cheap and quick, and seems to have half a chance of working.. My next step will be the parts he pointed out.
Would the transducer that mastertech mentioned be the pressure sensor that they refer to in the service manual? It's included in the same "removal and installation" section as the governor solenoid. Just want to make sure I pick up the right parts, and I don't see anything in the manual referred to as a "transducer". The swap looks easy enough, just need to figure out how to get it someplace where I can do the work. I can get away with doing the speed sensor where it sits, but removing the pan is more than the business where it is will allow me to do in their parking lot. (It's currently parked at the hotel where my wife is the general manager, so I know in excruciating detail what she can get away with letting me get away with. My limits are 20 to 30 minutes, and absolutely NO stains on the parking lot. Or even the risk of a stain. And she probably shouldn't even be letting me do that much there....)
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I would like you to try something before you replace or drop the pan. I want you to drive the durango in normal drive,Then stop ( make sure no one going to hit you from the rear).Put the shift lever in low and as you are driving move the lever up towards drive, Does the transmission up shift when you do this? Then the most likely cause is the governor. If it doesn't, Then you need a price on a valve body.
That was the first thing I tried. Stayed in 1st even while moving the lever up through the selections at plenty of rpms that it should have been shifting.
It then sat overnight in bitter cold, and when I got to it the next day it drove normally for about a mile. Came to a stop sign and it was stuck in 1st again. Pulled over, shut off the truck, and then it drove normally for a few miles again. Just gets stuck in 1st whenever I stop, but shutting off and starting back up lets it drive normally for a ways.
Except for the fact that when I do that the tranny temp warning light comes on from time to time.
Well, I just got a call from the shop I took it to. They're a general automotive shop, but claimed that they do transmission work.
I'm told that the computer had codes for the output speed sensor. They replaced that and test drove. Now they're claiming that it's not maintaining pressure on the shift from 2nd to 3rd. I haven't noticed a single problem with that shift, only with the shift from 1st to 2nd.
Their opinion is that the clutch packs are bad, but I do know that they haven't been inside of it to see anything for sure. They tell me that this requires changing the entire transmission. They want to get me a used one for $1150 (I can get one for $740) and charge me $300 to swap it. They said they can also get me a new tranny for $2100 (but now we're getting into the kind of money where I can just go buy a different Durango instead of a different tranny).
I'm thinking my next step is to drive it over to an actual tranny shop and see what they have to say before I make any decisions.
mastertech, any words of wisdom on how I proceed from here? (or anyone else who has valuable input, for that matter?)