Dodge Durango Transmission Problems


Dodge Durango transmissions are generally trouble-free, providing owners with hundreds of thousands of miles without major repairs or costly overhauls. The primary causes of transmission failure are low fluid levels and burned transmission oil due to overheating. The key to a smooth running transmission is to keep regularly scheduled maintenance by an authorized Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer.


  • The Durango made its debut in 1998 and came equipped with two basic automatic transmissions: the venerable three-speed TorqueFlite, which originated in 1956, and the four-speed 42LE, introduced in 2003. The difference between the TorqueFlite and 42LE is more of a name change to model number that identifies the torque rating and gear ratio of the transmission.

Cup Plug

  • The 2006 Durango's 42LE transmission may have an improperly installed cup plug that keeps the park pawl anchor shaft aligned. The improperly installed cup plug may misalign the park pawl anchor shaft and prevent the vehicle from moving into Park. Chrysler LLC issued a recall notice on the defect and will install a bracket to keep the park pawl anchor shaft in place.

Shift Interlock System

  • Chrysler LLC issued a recall notice on the 2002 Durango for a faulty ignition and park shift interlock system that allows the transmission to be shifted out of Park after the ignition key is removed. The defect could cause the vehicle to roll away. Chrysler will replace the gearshift block and install a new bracket assembly.

Sometimes It's Normal

  • Often Dodge Durangos will not immediately shift to second gear, delaying the shift up to 2/10ths of a mile after the first start-up of the day. Chrysler designed the Durango automatic to delay shifting into second to allow the engine to operate at higher rpms to more quickly heat up the vehicle's catalytic converter, which must reach 800 degrees F to clean exhaust gases. It only occurs in cold weather or the first start-up of the day after sitting all night.

Wrong Fluid

  • Chrysler is a stickler for servicing its automatic transmissions with the correct fluid. By filling a Durango automatic with a 4WD transfer case with a non-Chrysler fluid, the vehicle may lose power or fail to shift into second gear. If the wrong fluid was used, it should be flushed and replaced with Chrysler's ATF+3 fluid.


  • Chrysler LLC, the parent company for Dodge, issued recall notice in October 2005 for 2007 models in which a computer program inadvertently causes momentary lockup of the wheels at speeds over 40 mph, with the transmission shifting from drive to neutral and then returning to drive. The transmission should be reprogrammed to ensure powertrain control.


  • Older Durangos may experience stalling, loss of power and difficult shifting when performing heavy-duty work such as snow plowing. This is usually due to the torque converter clutch not engaging properly. Chrysler issued a bulletin for 2000 models that new computer software should be installed to improve engine torque and reduce friction of the transmission's internal components.

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