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2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
First off, welcome to the truck world. Second, realize that NO body got into vehicle repair with total knowledge and ability, we all busted knuckles, screwed things up, etc. This is one hobby that NOT asking questions is way dumb, and expensive. You really need to learn as much as your mechanical ability will allow you in order to save a ton of money.
Transmissions in our Dodge's have gotten a lot of bad press for failure. However, I have never had a problem with mine (except the software deal) and I have 103000 on it. This tranny has pulled 8000 lbs+ over mountains and in 100+ degree heat w/o a hitch. I have a couple friends back in Illinois who also have had the same experience. We all do one simple thing - change fluid and filter, and adjust the bands every 12K - 14K. I have always done my own, but one of those friends took his to a dealer the first time - it cost him $275 and that was 6 years ago. I taught him how to do it. He then kept about $240 in his pocket. It is not difficult.
Go to Autozone, or wherever, and get a drain plug kit (about $8) before the first change. If you do that the first change will be your messy one. The filter from CarQuest is identical to Mopar's but around $10 less. Always use a high quality fluid (I have used Amsoil ATF for over 75K miles). Most important, keep your hands and tools CLEAN! Dirt inside automatic transmissions means early tranny death.
Be patient with yourself, and go slow. I'm sure you have a cell phone with camera, use it BEFORE you remove things. The pix are wonderful to refresh yourself when you ar eready to put things back together. Do NOT force a part off or on (unless it broke in a major failure). Especially screws and bolts. They should go back in place smoothly.
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