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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, as many of you know, I've been dealing with some transmissions issues since my trip to Woodward August 2015. Started out as notchy shifting, replaced the bushings that month, redid the fluid a little while later. Shifting wasn't as bad, but still rough, and then I started having the third gear "popout" about 6 months ago.

I've dealt with it, driving it gingerly when I shift to 3rd (which sucks, because 3rd is the gear where you pull on nearly everything haha).

Today, I was on the interstate doing about 70, dropped to 4th to get around a semi, and suddenly wouldn't shift to 5th. Left it in neutral (stick not engaged in any slot) and it sounded as though it was still in gear, 4th is what it sounded like, to be precise, I was at about 65 at that point, basing it on RPM's. Put it back into 5th, hard notchy shift, was able to get to my destination, drove it very easy.

On the way back home (bout a 20 mile drive) very notchy in every gear, at stoplights, with the clutch pushed in, no noise, but leave it in neutral with clutch OUT, and it sounded like a clunky rattling spinning hoise. Drove VERY easy all the way home.

Backing into the garage is up a slight incline for me, and the transmission seemed to be catching hard and releasing, there was no "easy gliding in" like I usually have when backing in, same clanky spinning noise with the clutch out. Thankfully I got the girl parked, but I'm not sure what to make of this.

I've done a little research before on the transmissions, but I highly doubt I have the expertise to actually do the repairs myself. I'm wondering if this is the linkage, that will obviously be my first check, always check the easiest stuff first. My next thought, is the main shaft bearing or countershaft going out, causing it to go up and down and catch partially?

The odd thing is that it was so sudden this morning, this wasn't something I was dealing with at all before, makes me feel as though something failed, or (hopefully) just the linkage releasing or needing adjusting.

Either way I've got to get this transmission out because I'll need to be dealing that the 3rd gear "popout", and while it is out I'll need to replace the clutch to prepare for the Mopar Stage 3 install, to something that can handle 400 hp (I'll be hopefully at about 350 but I aim higher with the clutch to be safe).

I wish I was better at understanding transmissions, but other than doing swap outs, I've never broken them down and actually worked on them, needless to say not my expertise area at all. I'll likely have to get a shop to do the work but I just don't trust them with the car itself, I'll probably pull the tranny on my own and have them do the work, then reinstall it myself.

I'll likely be asking more questions about the parts I'll need to purchase, I know there is some cold forged items that were recommended, can they still be bought? That, a clutch, just wondering what all I should replace when I pull this, I'd like to get this baby to shift like butter, but I know Dodges, you can generally make them tough and reliable, but it is difficult to get them to shift super smooth haha.

I'll be doing more searching tonite on this, forgive me for not doing more now, not a lot of time with lunch here and needing to get back to work, besides, you know I love you guys and you'll give me a break on that >:)

Let me know your thoughts, also, who is probably the best active user on here in terms of tranny knowledge? As you know I'm keeping this car forever so I'm going to be doing everything I can to do as permanent a fix as possible. This isn't going to be "good for 3 years" fix...
 

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I am no expert but based on what you said about the noise versus no noise, there is a chance that the clutch went bad.
I am going to assume since you did not mention it, that the master and slave are good.
I would consider the carbon blocker rings once you have it out. I would and did the same thing as you are considering and take it to a shop to get repaired.
You can ask them to inspect the synchros and that you want to see the parts that they say needs replacing. Then you could try getting those parts yourself, they just supply labour and know how.
Also get the bad parts back when the work is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, this happened today all of the sudden, there wasn't really a gradual "getting worse" to it, so it is hard to believe the master and/or slave would be bad, but I haven't really checked anything. Will start looking after work.

If anyone knows some of the tricks for figuring out what the actual problem is, just let me know.
 

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Something very similar happened to me with my old Acura RSX Type S - it ended up being the slave cylinder. I don't know how you can check it, but I wouldn't rule it out. It happened one shift to another with no warning.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, either way the transmission has to come out, I'm frustrated but hey, body work is so much worse lol. Hopefully get some other opinions on this and read some of the threads about where to get some parts to fix the issues :)
 

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I'd start by draining and catching the old fluid and inspect it. I won't say I'm an expert but I've torn down one before. 3rd gear popout is usually started with a worn synchro blocker, starts to dull the synchro and gear teeth and gets worse from there.

By the description, sounds like your 3rd gear fork (where the infamous shift tab lives) may be damaged bent or cracked. Reason being, it will use the same "notch" as shifting into 3rd as shifting out of 4th
 

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As far as what clutch, I can say I recently installed an act HDSS and wish I went with a southbend stg3 modular clutch. The act grabs and holds great on a maxed stock setup but it makes the Trans LOUD! You hear what sounds like chains slapping around at idle in neutral. This is because the clutch disc springs are twice the size and stiffness as the stock ones. The springs normally "dampen" the engine pulses and you dont hear the backlash inside the Trans gears/shafts/bearings. Of course act does quietly mention this when researching the topic , but it should be in bold letters of the description. Also note you'll have to upgrade the master cylinder rod to the dcr rod. The Rage-tech pivot upgrade only lasted like 3,000 miles
 

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I may have missed it, which clutch is in the car and how many miles? My immediately impression of the symptoms is that the clutch or clutch release components failed. For example, noise in neutral out of gear but going away when you push the clutch in would make me suspect throw-out (release) bearing.

First thing I'd do is a visual check on the master and slave cylinders and as much of the clutch release parts you can see after removing the dust cover to the slave cylinder on the front of the trans. Also check and make sure fluid level is still good and you didn't get a leak. Realistically you probably are looking at pulling the trans unless you get lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have the stock clutch on the vehicle, just under 80k miles. Didn't think about fluid level itself, I just changed it less than 6k miles ago so I was thinking it wouldn't be bad, but if it's somehow losing fluid that's a different story. As always thanks for the reply R/T
 

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At that mileage on a stock clutch, if the trans hasn't ben off I'd say almost certainly the clutch release components will be pretty worn even if the clutch disc itself has some life left. If you take the slave cylinder's dust cover off and there's a lot of play in the release fork I'd suspect with the other symptoms that would be a good starting point. If you end up pulling the trans you can also remove the shift select and take a look at that, check input shaft bearing play, etc. and some other freshening.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
With the 3rd gear "popout" I've got going on, and my intention of getting my stage 3 installed, I'm going to be pulling the transmission to replace the clutch anyway. I have to find a really good 400 hp clutch. I hope there is one that isn't all "clattery" when the clutch pedal is pushed in, seems like that is something I hear about all the time. I just wish I had more experience on transmissions. At least it's not an automatic haha.

I will check everything else before I pull the transmission though.

I need to find the best thread that discusses pulling the tranny and doing the work, I have the full manual downloaded, but without the photos on a lot of the threads on our forum, they are very difficult to follow. @*(*@U#$ing photobucket :(
 

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I have done a clutch change with the engine in the car. It took about 1.5 hours to get it out, have to be careful disconnecting stuff so nothing is ripped off. It took about 4-6 hours to get it back in, the alignment of the input shaft splines with the clutch pack was the big PITA.
This was with the use of a lift too.
Doing it from the floor in the garage will be a little more difficult for sure but there are a couple of tips from people that with experience have cut the time down to 2-3 hours. Use one of the articulating transmission jacks so you can tilt/angle to get the input shaft lined up. Make sure the flywheel/clutch pack is lined up to make it easier for the input shaft to slide in. Put a little bit of grease on the input shaft as well, very little.
The 2 top bolt holes, the ones on the block, use the extra long bolts from the other mount points to help you start 'pull' the transmission and engine together. This also helps to prevent the transmission from sliding back and you having to line everything up again. Then once everything is close enough to switch back to the shorter correct bolts, switch them one at a time and tighten everything evenly, using a X sequence similar to tightening wheels.
Hope this helps, good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm so wary of this, I've done fairly minor things, even though the cruise control install was a pain, it didn't require jacking the car up and taking large components out of the vehicle. Thankfully I've got a reasonable amount of experience with Neons in general, and that should help.

This is my baby, she's nearly as much a part of the family as my kids :) I think you always hope you won't ever have to do much of anything, but it is a car, and she is 12 years old now.

That would make her the oldest of my kids, and even with the work to be done, the least expensive haha.

I imagine I should probably be looking at some solid or semi-solid motor mounts at this point also. I was just realizing my H-brace and traction bars are probably going to have to come off too.
 

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If you're shooting for 400hp range it would be easy to be tempted by a four or six-puck ceramic disc. If you then add solid engine and trans mounts you're going to change the character of the car pretty dramatically. They engage like an on-off switch that requires a lot more revs to engage smoothly. Really solid rubber mounts like the common dog-bone style will also transmit tons of vibration into the chassis and make the car seem like it will rattle itself apart.

You could dial it back with an organic-based carbon-Kevlar type full surface disc and maybe install upper and lower torque strut mounts and leave the passenger frame rail and trans mounts stock (or fill them in with urethane so the torque strut mounts don't kill them as fast). That type of "street" capable clutch might not handle a massive spike of torque from a smaller frame turbo if you're not careful and run the car on slicks at the drag strip and you'd have to be careful not to slip and overheat it t high boost levels.

It's all very personal so maybe the more aggressive clutch and mounts won't bother you, but if you've never driven another SRT-4 with them I'd suggest prioritizing how you're using the car and what you'll be willing to live with.
 

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I'm so wary of this, I've done fairly minor things, even though the cruise control install was a pain, it didn't require jacking the car up and taking large components out of the vehicle. Thankfully I've got a reasonable amount of experience with Neons in general, and that should help.

This is my baby, she's nearly as much a part of the family as my kids :) I think you always hope you won't ever have to do much of anything, but it is a car, and she is 12 years old now.

That would make her the oldest of my kids, and even with the work to be done, the least expensive haha.

I imagine I should probably be looking at some solid or semi-solid motor mounts at this point also. I was just realizing my H-brace and traction bars are probably going to have to come off too.
True dat!

Yes, the H brace and traction bars because you will have to drop the tranny side to take it out.

Just thought of another thing that may help. When you have the engine and transmission supported by a jack under each, leave the centre motor and upper mounts on the passenger side bolted in, you may have to remove the lower brace too to allow it to tilt enough for the transmission to slide out. The transmission mount, pull the 4 bolts holding it to the transmission because of the tilt it will bind trying to get it out. Reverse that process when done mating both engine and transmission, put the mount up first, raise the transmission and then bolt the mount to the tranny.
As always BE SAFE when doing this as all that crap is HEAVY.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you're shooting for 400hp range it would be easy to be tempted by a four or six-puck ceramic disc. If you then add solid engine and trans mounts you're going to change the character of the car pretty dramatically. They engage like an on-off switch that requires a lot more revs to engage smoothly. Really solid rubber mounts like the common dog-bone style will also transmit tons of vibration into the chassis and make the car seem like it will rattle itself apart.

You could dial it back with an organic-based carbon-Kevlar type full surface disc and maybe install upper and lower torque strut mounts and leave the passenger frame rail and trans mounts stock (or fill them in with urethane so the torque strut mounts don't kill them as fast). That type of "street" capable clutch might not handle a massive spike of torque from a smaller frame turbo if you're not careful and run the car on slicks at the drag strip and you'd have to be careful not to slip and overheat it t high boost levels.

It's all very personal so maybe the more aggressive clutch and mounts won't bother you, but if you've never driven another SRT-4 with them I'd suggest prioritizing how you're using the car and what you'll be willing to live with.
Yah, I have to give it a lot of thought. I am not going to hit 400 hp, but more than likely short of 350, and while everyone says "you won't stop there", I actually will. My goal is just to have it look and feel as stock as possible, and use all the Mopar parts I can.
 

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Be sure to check the shifter bushings on both ends. A couple of months ago I had the shift lever suddenly not want to go into 5th, although the other gears had been okay. Really puzzled me as to what could be going on, until I finally pulled the shifter boot up to take a look, and the entire passenger-side bushing was gone, just crumbled into pieces. It still could be shifted (a little sloppily) in lower gears, but when you pushed the top of the lever right for 5th, the cable end came out of the "loop" at the bottom end. It just happened to go back into the loop as I was flailing the lever around, and then I was able to shift back into lower gears. Until I looked under the boot, I couldn't imagine what was happening to cause that behavior.

When I had the 3rd gear pop out problem years ago, it was a bent 3rd gear fork, as mentioned by System_Crash above. Also as mentioned above, at that mileage you probably need a new throwout bearing fork.

Aligning the clutch and input shaft when reassembling is a crap shoot. I've done it several times with my 2.2L cars, which are very similar. Half the time it slips together with about 20 minutes of fiddling, and the other half I wrestle with it for 2 or 3 hours before success. :-/
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I replaced mine with booger bushings not too long ago, I think just short of two years, but yes, that's my first item I want to check.

I am going to do this right, I don't know if you can ever get these babies to shift like butter, but from the threads I have read, the worn forks seem to be the main culprit causing a multitude of other issues with the transmission. It appears replacing the fork with a cold forged fork is the best approach for someone who wants to keep the car a LONG time and avoid these problems in the future.
 

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My personal opinion is that the stock shift forks aren't that big of a problem if you shift normally and don't abuse the trans. If you like to grab and bang gears really hard then they might be a weak point. The biggest problems with the T-850 after lack of normal maintenance is likely related to clutch release wear. If you wait until the fork (release lever) and other parts are worn down so much that it causes a noticeable degradation in shift quality there's a good chance you already have accelerated wear on the synchronizers and other internal parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My personal opinion is that the stock shift forks aren't that big of a problem if you shift normally and don't abuse the trans. If you like to grab and bang gears really hard then they might be a weak point. The biggest problems with the T-850 after lack of normal maintenance is likely related to clutch release wear. If you wait until the fork (release lever) and other parts are worn down so much that it causes a noticeable degradation in shift quality there's a good chance you already have accelerated wear on the synchronizers and other internal parts.
Yeah, I do believe it's the fork and clutch wear at this point, but I probably won't get to it after the 1st of the year. I've never been one to slam shift, so we'll see once I start getting her apart. I'm certainly not driving it anymore right now. If it needs to go somewhere, well, an Ecodiesel works very well for that :)
 
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