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Dodge transmission fluid change: This procedure is demonstrated on a 2019 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi with an 8-speed transmission.
However, these Ram 1500 transmission fluid and filter procedures also apply to the following Ram models:
- 2013 – 2022 Ram 1500 5.7L 16V with 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
- 2013 – 2022 Ram 1500 3.6L 24V V6 with Automatic Transmission 8-Speed
- 2014 – 2022 Ram 1500 3.0L 24V V6 Diesel with 8-Speed Automatic Transmission (EcoDiesel)
The Ram 1500 8-speed transmission is manufactured by ZF. This style of ZF 8-speed transmission was also used in various other Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep models. Depending on the exact model you are performing this service on, there will be slight visual differences around the drive tray areas. However, the general steps and procedures for changing the transmission fluid, filter, fluid fill, and leveling process or sequence will still apply to these other models with 8-speed transmissions.
Ram 1500 Automatic Transmission Fluid Change Interval
How often should the Ram 1500 transmission fluid be changed? The recommended service interval for changing Ram 1500 transmission fluid in 8-speed transmissions is every 60,000 miles. This includes the transmission fluid and filter.
Ram 1500 models that experience more aggressive driving styles or are used in the commercial delivery industry and contractor trades are typically subjected to heavy city traffic or trailer towing that generates extreme heat on the transmission. Owners who subject their vehicles to these types of severe driving conditions should consider replacing the transmission fluid and filter more frequently, such as every 40,000 miles or 50,000 miles.
Why should I change the automatic transmission fluid in the Ram 1500?
Why change the ATF and transmission filter on your Ram 1500? Your transmission has hundreds of moving components. Over time, these internal components mesh with each other, begin to wear down, and create fine metal particles. These fine metallic particles contaminate your vehicle’s transmission fluid and clog the transmission filter. This contamination affects your transmission’s efficiency and long-term performance, causing more friction and wear on transmission components.
Having regular Ram 1500 transmission fluid and filter service intervals will easily extend the life of your transmission. With clean ATF and a new transmission filter, it will provide clean lubrication and proper filtration for your transmission. This critical maintenance interval will support a long-lasting, well-lubricated and protected transmission, minimizing the chances for costly transmission repairs and problems.
Ram 1500 ATF 8-Speed Type and Specifications The
- recommended Ram 1500 transmission fluid type compatible with the Ram 8-speed transmission requires specification 68218925AA.
- RAVENOL and Eurol 8HP fluids meet or exceed original Ram 1500 transmission fluid part numbers 68218925AA, 68157995AB; 68339073AA, 68157995AA, 68157995AB used on 8 speed transmission.
8 Speed Automatic Transmission Fluid Capacity
- Ram 1500 transmission fluid dry fill capacity is 8.3 quarts (8.5 liters
- 2013-2022 transmission fluid fill and drain capacity is 6, 4.5 quarts (0 liters)
Tools Needed to Change Ram 1500 Automatic Transmission Fluid
- 10mm Hex Bit and Wrench
- T-40 Torx Socket and Ratchet
- 16mm Socket and Torque Wrench
- Fill Pump Tool Transmission Fluid
- Protective Rubber Gloves
- (Optional) Diagnostic Scan Tool to measure transmission temperature, can also use Vehicle Information System within Digital Instrument
Cluster BLAU Ram 1500 Fluid Filter Change Kits automatic transmission
Our BLAU transmission fluid change kits include everything necessary for this transmission fluid and filter change. Kits include a transmission pan with a built-in filter and gasket, hardware, and the correct amount of premium ATF that meets the required ZF 8-speed transmission fluid specifications. Plus a cost effective fluid pump for transmission side fill.
- 1 Automatic Transmission Oil Pan, Gasket and Filter Unit (unit includes 2 built-in magnets and a filter for the valve body seal)
- 6 liters of Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) developed and designed specifically for transmissions of 8 speed used on this vehicle. Fluid meets or exceeds the 68218925AA ATF specification required for this vehicle. Original color ATF tinted green.
- 13 Transmission Pan Mounting Bolts
- 1 Fill Plug with O-Ring Seal
- 1 Polypropylene Transfer Pump Dispenser (manually operated with a clear dispense hose used to transfer transmission fluid. This cost-effective tool fits you can use instead of expensive special transmission pumping tools). Ram 1500 8-Speed Automatic Transmission Fill Port)
Step-by-Step Instructions for Changing Ram 1500 Transmission Fluid
How To Step 1
Begin by confirming that the transmission temperature is below 86°F. Transmission temperature can be monitored using the digital instrument cluster by accessing the vehicle information system or by using a diagnostic scan tool. If the transmission is above 86°F, allow the transmission to cool before beginning the fluid change.
If you start when the ambient temperature is above 90°F, when performing the subsequent leveling and filling procedures for the transmission fluid, it is likely that the maximum fluid level of 122°F will be exceeded.
How To Step 2
To properly change the transmission fluid in the Ram 1500, the vehicle must be off the ground and on a LEVEL . We recommend lifting the truck using an SAE approved automotive lift. This is necessary to access the underside of the transmission and perform the correct steps of the leveling and fluid fill procedure.
To confirm that you are lifting the vehicle correctly, you can refer to your factory owner’s manual for proper vehicle jacking point locations and safety procedures.
How to Step 3
Locate and loosen the transmission fluid fill plug. It is located on the passenger side, to the rear right of the transmission and above the exhaust.
Before draining the transmission fluid from the Ram 1500, loosen and remove the fill plug counterclockwise using an 8mm hex socket and ratchet. This will confirm that you will have a way to refill the transmission with fluid if the fill plug is stuck or cannot be removed.
Using a 10-millimeter hex key and a wrench, loosen and remove the drain plug from the transmission pan in a counter-clockwise direction. The Ram 1500 drain plug is located at the rear of the tray. The hex bit and wrench concept works well due to exhaust clearance issues. As you remove the drain plug, drain the old transmission fluid into a suitable used oil drain pan.
Note: Some newer Ram transmission pans may not include a drain plug, depending on the exact year. If this applies to your model, you can drain the fluid during a later procedure (Step 6).
How to Step 5
Once the fluid drains are complete, reinstall and hand-tighten the drain plug, turning it clockwise. Using a rag, wipe any excess fluid from the exhaust and drain plug area. This will minimize fluid dripping while working under the Ram 1500 transmission pan area.
Using a T-40 Torx socket and ratchet, evenly loosen the 13 transmission pan mounting bolts. Working towards the back of the pan.
The three rear transmission pan bolts are best removed using a 5- to 6-inch long Torx T-40 socket. This allows for better tool angle and clearance around the drive crossmember.
Remove all but two transmission pan mounting hardware, leaving one on each side of the pan hand tight to hold the pan until it is removed.
Note: If your model does not have a transmission fluid drain plug, as mentioned in step 4, you will need to allow the transmission fluid to drain slowly over the rim of the pan during this process. You will want a suitable waste oil drain pan in place and ready while you perform transmission pan removal.
Most Ram 1500 models have a deeper transmission pan, which requires the rear of the transmission to be raised about 1 inch to allow more clearance between the pan and the exhaust. This allows the pan to clear the valve body as it is removed. Some models may have a shallow pan and do not require the transmission to be raised to remove the pan. You will need to confirm your tray type and proceed as necessary.
For this article and as shown in the video above, to gain access we raised the rear of the transmission by first loosening and removing the three transmission mounting nuts located on the underside of the crossmember.
Using a 16mm socket, loosen and remove the three nuts in a counter-clockwise direction.
Using a certified stand under the hoist, begin raising the transmission by lifting the steel area of the Ram 1500 transmission mounting bracket. Lift until about 1-inch clearance is visible between the transmission mount and the crossmember.
Loosen and remove the last two bolts holding the transmission pan in place. Tilt the front side of the tray down, allowing the strainer to disengage from the valve body.
You can slide the pan off, allowing any remaining fluid to drain into a suitable used oil drain pan.
Using a lint-free rag, clean the Ram 1500 transmission pan gasket mounting surface of all oil residue, debris and corrosion that could adversely affect seal quality.
How to Step 9
Due to torque wrench clearance issues with the exhaust, confirm that the transmission drain plug is tightened to 8 newton torque specification before installation.
Lubricate the new transmission filter o-ring with fresh new Ram 1500 transmission fluid. This will minimize damage to the o-ring during installation and ensure it seals properly to the valve body.
What is a transmission fluid change or flush?
Changing the transmission fluid is the proven process specified in your owner’s manual when you request transmission service. Your mechanic drains the fluid from the transmission, replaces the filter, and then refills the transmission with fresh, new fluid. Changing the transmission fluid allows your mechanic to get a close look at the transmission pan and filter. This can reveal the presence of metal particles or other debris, which can indicate a larger problem that needs to be fixed before it gets worse. This makes changing the fluid an ideal preventative maintenance procedure.
The transmission flush process uses a machine to replace the fluid in an automatic transmission. Many auto repair shops own these expensive machines. Old fluid, dirt and sludge are forced out under pressure and replaced with fresh fluid. Flushing usually costs much more than a fluid change, due to the cost of the machine. Many shops tend to price the procedure for high profits.
What should I get, a transmission fluid change or a flush?
The flushing process does not require the tray to be removed or the filter to be changed, thus the diagnostic and preventative benefits of seeing what is in the tray and changing the filter are lost. Additionally, many vehicle manufacturers do not recommend or require transmission cleaning to be included as part of their vehicles’ recommended maintenance schedule. So why do it? Follow with the transmission fluid change specified in your owner’s manual.
However, if your maintenance schedule specifically calls for a flush, or your transmission fluid has been ignored for too long and has picked up metal particles or other contaminants, a flush is the way to go.
What are the symptoms related to transmission fluid problems?
If your transmission fluid or filter becomes clogged, you may notice the engine revving when you are not accelerating the vehicle; this is called transmission slippage. If you notice this, have your car serviced immediately as the damage will only get worse.
Changing the transmission fluid (and filter, if equipped) is generally a maintenance item and should be done on a regular schedule. In some vehicles, flushing the transmission is part of the maintenance schedule; otherwise, a flush is only needed if debris is detected in the fluid.
Can I drive with a transmission fluid problem?
In general, it is not recommended to drive a vehicle that has passed the manufacturer’s specified service interval. The vehicle is safe to drive, but skipping maintenance can cost you much more in the long run. If you’ve gone over your scheduled maintenance mileage, you should get your car checked out as soon as possible.
If the vehicle has a transmission problem that is causing drivability problems, or any of the symptoms listed here, the vehicle should be towed to a repair center for diagnosis.
How often should transmission fluids be replaced?
Changing the transmission fluid is usually a scheduled maintenance item. Still, transmission problems can occur at any time. It is more common to see high mileage vehicles in poor condition due to lack of maintenance. Performing factory maintenance on time is the best way to help prevent transmission failure.
Should Your Mechanic Flush Transmission Fluid?
First, it’s helpful to understand the role transmission fluid plays in the operation of a car. Transmission fluid helps keep mechanical components cool and lubricated, whether the gearbox is automatic or manual. Over time, internal transmission components wear and tiny particles contaminate the fluid. This could potentially lead to damage.
Getting rid of this dirty liquid makes sense, right? If it is stated in the service manual, go ahead and let your mechanic do the work.
“This shouldn’t happen often, as a well-functioning gearbox wouldn’t have metal shavings contaminating the fluid for a short period of time,” says Ibbotson. “If that’s the case, it’s likely a sign of a bigger, more complicated problem.”
“There’s also a distinction between simply draining and refilling a transmission versus purging the system with power,” he says. “In a high-mileage car, flushing the transmission fluid can dislodge sludge and other particles, leading to clogs even after you’ve added the clean fluid.”
Again, the best advice is to research your vehicle and know exactly when it is recommended to drain (or flush) your transmission. Doing either option too often is a waste of time and money.
Does a manual transmission need fluid too?
Yes, even a manual needs transmission fluid. However, the type of fluid can vary from car to car. Some manuals require conventional motor oil, and others work better with automatic transmission fluid. So make sure you put the specified fluid for your car. Failing to do so can quickly affect your performance and the longevity of the gearbox.
CVT car owners will also want to pay special attention to the needs of their vehicle. Unlike a traditional automatic transmission that has a set number of gears, a CVT often relies on a belt or pulley system to operate an infinite number of gear ratios. Be sure to use a CVT-specific fluid or you’ll risk major headaches (and repair bills) down the road.
How do you know if the transmission fluid needs to be changed?
Checking transmission fluid isn’t always easy. In many cases, it is necessary to have a mechanic put your car on a lift to examine it. Some cars have a transmission dipstick or reservoir in the engine compartment, so check under the hood first.
While the fluid levels may appear correct, it may be more difficult to tell if there are contaminants or small metal particles in the fluid. “If your car needs routine maintenance, have your mechanic check your transmission fluid,” says Ibbotson.
Separating transmission maintenance from breakdowns is more complicated. In a malfunctioning automatic transmission, gear changes can become more abrupt and occur at awkward intervals. For a car with a manual gearbox, the feel and action of the gear stick can become stiffer and more difficult in normal daily operation. These types of problems probably indicate a problem with the gearbox. If you experience any of them, tell your mechanic right away.
Is changing transmission fluid an easy DIY job?
It can be a complicated and messy task for the average car owner. “Access to the transmission requires ramps, jack stands, or a lift,” says Ibbotson. “Even then, getting to the filler cap may require a greater degree of patience and dexterity than is required for a typical engine oil change.”
Many modern cars have transmissions that are basically hermetically sealed or require a dealer service computer to read temperature or other parameters, making them nearly impossible to work on for the average DIYer.
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