Tips and tricks for Chrysler switch valve plug testing - Transmission Digest

Tips and tricks for Chrysler switch valve plug testing

As technicians, we are often faced with build issues that can sometimes be frustrating at first. But with a little ingenuity, these frustrations can be turned around and made simple.

In 1989, Dodge came out with the first fully hydraulic electronic-solenoid shifting transmission, the A604 (no shift valves), which later became the 41TE. Originally, there were several issues that had to be worked through, but we now have entered an age in which most late-model transmissions are shifted through electronics.

Still, there are two different methods of controlling the shift, which are:

  1. Solenoids that control clutch feed oil being directed through the solenoid passageways seating switches — whether that takes the form of controlled switching from a checkball, or in the case of this discussion, separation of switch plugs.
  2. Solenoids that direct oil to a shifting “switch” valve (such as a valve or plug named 1-2 or 2-3 etc.) that directs the oil to the clutch it controls.

In this family of Dodge transmissions, switch plugs leaking can lead to issues ranging from pressure switch rationality codes—which are monitored through electronics—to burnt clutch assemblies that are being partially applied and smoking the clutches. Testing the bore fit of these plugs can sometimes be frustrating and often result in false answers when using conventional vacuum test procedures with a test plate (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

A good friend, fellow builder and coworker recommended that this article be titled “Don’t get stiffed by the switch.” So, let’s make this simple!

An easy, effective solution is to make your own test tools (like those in Figure 2) using an OE (standard-size) plug as well as the oversized version of the plug (a larger aftermarket part installed after bore reaming to repair wear).

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Keep in mind that there are two different sizes of switch plugs used with these units: .420-in. and .453-in. You’ll need to have one of each size OE valve handy. Here is a full list of everything needed to make test tools:

  • One standard .420” diameter OE switch plug.
  • One standard .453” dia. OE switch plug.
  • One oversized replacement switch plug being used. The one used here measures .473-in. dia. after ream.
  • A 1/8-in. quick-connect test fitting.
  • Measure the OE valve large spool diameter shown to verify which one you have (see Figure 3).

Here is the process:

  1. Using an OE plug (either a used one or a new direct replacement valve), drill a hole with a #21 drill or a drill that measures around 0.174-in. down the middle of the valve.
  2. Tap the newly drilled hole with a 10-32 thread tap to allow the use of the quick-connect test fitting (see Figure 4).
  3. Drill four holes in the oil grove at 12-, three-, six- and nine-o’clock positions in the valve using a 0.050-in. drill or smaller (see Figure 5). It is important to clean off the burrs from the drilling. It is not recommended to file the burrs; instead, use a simple scraping method (see Figure 6).
  4. Plug the open end of the center hole that was drilled and tapped by using a suitable plug or a cut end of a 10-32 screw (seal or glue the end of this tool shut). If silicone is used, be careful that it is in the open area of tool not blocking any of the four access holes. Make sure you have time to let the tool set and the silicone harden before use.
  5. Now, use the tool shown in Figure 7 to vacuum test the switch valve bore. It’s a simple way to get a very accurate test before and after every repair.
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
Figure 6.
Figure 6.
Figure 7.
Figure 7.

Thinking outside the box, you can be creative making homemade tools to ease testing as well as assembly issues. Truthfully, in my travels and teaching, I have not met any technician who doesn’t have an arsenal of homemade tools.

This article is just a simple example of making a tool that makes testing many Chrysler units a breeze. Always think, “how can I make this test easier?” Typically, you will do the rest!

Read more columns from the TASC Force Tips series here.

Randall Schroeder is a Sonnax technical support training specialist. He is a member of the Sonnax TASC Force (Technical Automotive Specialties Committee), a group of recognized industry technical specialists, transmission rebuilders and Sonnax technicians.

You May Also Like

GM 6T70/75 slips and delays in first

A 2015 Chevrolet Equinox equipped with the 3.6-liter engine and 6T75 transmission has complaints of a delayed engagement into drive and slips in first gear.


The complaint

A 2015 Chevrolet Equinox equipped with the 3.6-liter engine and GM 6T75 transmission has complaints of a delayed engagement into drive and slips in first gear.

The cause

A generation one 1-2-3-4 Clutch Apply Piston was installed into a generation two transmission. The generation two 1-2-3-4 Clutch Apply Piston apply fingers are .147 in. taller than the generation one piston. This created too much clutch clearance for the clutch pack to effectively hold.

How to fix GM 6T70/Ford 6F50 rattling noise with transmission in gear

A rattling noise is coming from the transmission whenever the engine is running and the transmission is in gear.

The importance of the follow-up road test after transmission replacement

A 2002 Lexus RX300 equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and U140F transmission was brought into our facility with a few concerns. The customer said that “it has a leak, a grinding noise when taking off from a stop, and it just doesn’t seem to shift right.” Related Articles – Sonnax introduces Sure Cure Kit

RR Tech Feature Oct
GM 8L90 #7 Check-ball: The overheat that saved the day

Beginning in October of 2015, GM removed the #7 Check-ball from the solenoid valve control body in the 8L90 transmission (see Figure 1). This was done in conjunction with the elimination of the Lube Override Enable Valve from the upper valve body as shown in Figure 2. Related Articles – Shift Pointers: Nissan’s no throttle

Shift Pointers: Nissan’s no throttle response

Nissan vehicles using continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are notorious for defaulting to a no throttle response when the vehicle is engaged into gear. There are several malfunctions that can cause this protective failsafe feature to be initiated. A brake switch (stop lamp switch) stuck on, a double-footed driver, blown or incorrect brake bulbs, and wheel

Other Posts

RatioTek introduces new tuner kit for Ram trucks

RatioTek has announced a new transmission tuner kit for the AS69RC transmission, a six-speed automatic transmission that was made for Dodge by the Japanese gearbox manufacturer Aisin Seiki. Related Articles – Raybestos introduces 10R80 conical torque converter wafers – 13 BorgWarner OEM/S solenoids move to Rostra – Gray Tools releases insulated socket sets The kit

Sonnax highlights GM 4L heavy-duty input shafts

Sonnax highlights its line of heavy-duty input shafts for GM 4L transmissions. The company touts the torsional design that allows energy to be absorbed, reducing peak loads to critical areas. Related Articles – GFX introduces Ford, GM steel packs – Sonnax introduces Ford 6R140 bypass blocker valve kit – GFX introduces two new filters, two

Sonnax introduces Ford 6R140 bypass blocker valve kit

Sonnax has introduced a new bypass blocker valve kit for Ford 6R140 transmissions, model years 2011 to 2016. The company says this kit is made to replace the faulty thermal element lineup in these transmissions to prevent the potential of overheating. The kit (part no. 126740-26K) includes a drop-in Zip Valve for installation. Related Articles

Sonnax introduces new five-inch splined stub and sleeve kit

Sonnax has introduced a new aluminum splined stub and sleeve kit designed for 1350 series u-joints. Sonnax says this kit is designed for Ford trucks, including the Super Duty, among others, and allows users to raise the torque capacity of the driveshaft. The kit is part no. T35-125-500-KIT. Related Articles – Raybestos offers high carbon