Dodge Ram with 8 speed

Allof75

Pathfinder
Wow. I have to wonder if the poster above just read the same thread I did.

I read Larry's excellent input as it's not new technology, it has been in use and failing in the class 8 market. The examples used to represent it's success were clearly identified as significantly different methods of shifting, one simply automating the manual functions, the other less successful method appears to be what is being attempted on the Ram 8 speed.

The transmission is not the issue, the method of shifting is the issue.

Reading comprehension; it's apparently not for everyone.....
Believe it or not, I actually did. My thinking is that it's a "wait and see" issue. There is a very strong likelihood that this setup has been refined from the Class 8 hardware equivalent, and obviously differs in every single piece. They may be performing the same actions, but that doesn't mean they're the same. Just as a Powerglide was a superior transmission to a Fordomatic in the drag racing world, despite relying on the same principles of hydraulics etc. Again, ZF makes a ton of transmissions these days, and I guarantee this isn't the (or their) first electrically-shifted unit. So a better reference would be another passenger car or light duty pickup using electrically controlled shifting.
 

Strivingfirst

New member
To the OP

I just purchased a 2014 ram 1500 outdoorsman w/pentastar and logged about 2,000 miles. I live in Washington state and have tested its off road prowess often and have been empressed every time. However, in its stock form the most limiting factor is its terrible approach/departure angle.
I am planning my build now and will be ready by summer 2014. Here's what I've come up with: pre-runner style front bumper with winch, 35" tires, bilstein levelling shocks, total chaos upper control arms, frame sliders and a shell of some sort.
I think this is a solid start for my needs and will adjust accordingly.
Please keep in mind that there are no front locker options so the factory anti spin is a must.
Gas mileage: I feel in stock form the pentastar is great; however, I expect to take a big hit on MPG once the rig is built. So the main question remains, will it still get better mileage than the hemi once the 35's are on and weight is in the back??
Only time will tell since I have yet to find anyone with a built ram sporting a pentastar.
I hope this helps and that your thread can get back on topic.
-Dom
 

Larry

Bigassgas Explorer
I have a few college alumni friends that work for Chrysler Group LLC and one who is a service rep mentioned a few reports of roll-aways with the 8 speed that are being investigated. Sounds like the either people are forgetting to turn the stupid knob to the Park position after turning off and exiting the vehicle or the park pawl isn’t being engaged by the shift encoder motor. I have a suspicion we’ll be reading more about that in the automotive news in the coming months.
I figured this day would come for the electric shift ZF transmission roll-aways. They claim only 159 trucks affected but I have my doubts. Love the RAM, love the 8 speed ZF but I HATE the electric shift. There is nothing wrong with a linkage or shift cable going from the shifter to the transmission selector shaft. It’s worked for over 50 years! Not sure why ZF and Chrysler want to make such a electronic complicated unreliable mess out of this something so simple. The electric shift ZF would be a deal breaker for me ever buying a RAM 1500 or any other vehicle using this same electric shift method.

Recall Alert: 2014 Ram 1500 Pickup
 

RoyJ

Adventurer
Funny only 159 trucks are affected - sounds like a Friday afternoon shift and the crew had a few too many cold ones at lunch! :D

My truck has a build date of Feb 2014, hope it's not part of it.

On the other hand, I have to say the ZF 8 spd is absolutely amazing. It makes an internal combustion engine as efficient has it can get, similar to a pro driver shifting a Fuller. Ease into the throttle, and the transmission will quickly upshift around 1800 rpm, dropping to 1400ish in the next gear, while the converter stays fully locked. I've never seen a 5600 lbs truck accelerate to 50 mph so effortlessly, all the while remaining under 2000 rpm.

With 3.21 rear end, I cruise at 1300 rpm @ 60. I thought it'll bog like mad, but amazingly, with VVT, the Hemi can pull most gentle grades (up to 3% or so) at 1500 rpm / 70 mph! Every downshift has a split of 400 rpm or so, like a truck should. 1st gear is still equivalent of the old 5/6 spd with a 5.029 rear end.
 

Larry

Bigassgas Explorer
I have a few college alumni friends that work for Chrysler Group LLC and one who is a service rep mentioned a few reports of roll-aways with the 8 speed that are being investigated. Sounds like the either people are forgetting to turn the stupid knob to the Park position after turning off and exiting the vehicle or the park pawl isn’t being engaged by the shift encoder motor. I have a suspicion we’ll be reading more about that in the automotive news in the coming months.

ZF is a great powertrain supplier that typically builds top shelf components. I personally love the way the ZF 8 speed shifts (only driven them in Chargers and Chrysler 300’s) but I have reservations with the electric shift. I have not seen the electric shift prove durable in any commercial application in the medium and heavy duty truck world so hearing about roll-aways was not a surprise to me. Pickup truck manufacturers can’t even get the electric shift transfercases to work reliably and now we are supposed to trust an electric shift transmission? Hmmm, not me! That would be a deal breaker for me with ever buying a RAM with an 8 speed.
I hate to be the one to say I told you so…..but, I told you all so 3 years ago :coffeedrink:

There are safety issues with these electric shifters!

NHTSA is investigating FCA shifters for roll-away accidents again, this time the rotary units a few months ago FCA issued a recall on the cars with the Momostable electric shifter.
 

jprovence

New member
So I actually own the vehicle in question. I have a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel 4x4 Outdoorsman. I've put over 55k in the last year on the truck. Highway during the week and I play on the weekends. I'm not afraid to drive that truck anywhere it can fit. The truck has a working curb weight around 6800-7000lbs.

The transmission on and off-road is completely transparent. I seldom feel it shift. I've had it on 40mph washboards , full throttle dunes, snow and ice, mud you name it. I've pulled stuck vehicles out of both sand and ice. The transmission never skips a beat. I use the shifter 20 to 30 times a day 7 days a week everyday, it hasn't ever malfunctioned on me. It still feels exactly like new and works as a brand new unit. I can put the truck in drive the second I turn the motor over. I love the knob shifter. Using it that many times a day, it becomes effortless and an unnoticed action. Ergonomics wins big with this one.

I get anywhere from 20-25mpg (depending heavily on speed) average with a rooftop tent on all the time and a 7000lb curb weight. I had 96 Cummins 5spd 4x4. I'd never go back to that truck.
 

JIMBO

Expedition Leader
:sombrero: My '08 JKUR/w 5.38 gears and the famous 42RLE -3spd auto---had a top speed(red line) of 5 mph, in 4lo/1st gear-enough torque to twist TITANIC props--

Now this 2016/1500/special edition/400hp/5.7l/8spd ZF/3.92 diff. gears has a top speed of 1 mph in 1st gear/4lo and it's like driving an ATV off-road, the only limit to off-road travel is BODY CLEARANCE--even the stock Goodyear Wranglers are OK with line care and throttle control--

It'll cruise at 70 mph and 1400 to 1800 rpm, depending on the OD choice of the ECU--it's capable of sub 7 second -0-60mph runs, that's with a 5900lb truck-

It really amazes me every time I drive it--

I've had great luck with Chrysler vehicles(4wd) and I'm not worried with this one !

Whatever

:costumed-smiley-007:wings: JIMBO
 

RedF

Adventurer
I just don't understand why they would replace something that worked so well and was so simple with something so complicated. Sounds like fixing a problem that didn't exist.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
I hate to be the one to say I told you so…..but, I told you all so 3 years ago :coffeedrink:

There are safety issues with these electric shifters!

NHTSA is investigating FCA shifters for roll-away accidents again, this time the rotary units a few months ago FCA issued a recall on the cars with the Momostable electric shifter.
Is it a simple thing of people not turning the dial, and not setting the parking brake? I know many people who drive automatics do not set the brake....kind of the opposite of manual trans drivers.

Kinda like the Toyota sticking throttle...turned out to be BS.
 
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Clutch

<---Pass
So I actually own the vehicle in question. I have a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel 4x4 Outdoorsman. I've put over 55k in the last year on the truck. Highway during the week and I play on the weekends. I'm not afraid to drive that truck anywhere it can fit. The truck has a working curb weight around 6800-7000lbs.

The transmission on and off-road is completely transparent. I seldom feel it shift. I've had it on 40mph washboards , full throttle dunes, snow and ice, mud you name it. I've pulled stuck vehicles out of both sand and ice. The transmission never skips a beat. I use the shifter 20 to 30 times a day 7 days a week everyday, it hasn't ever malfunctioned on me. It still feels exactly like new and works as a brand new unit. I can put the truck in drive the second I turn the motor over. I love the knob shifter. Using it that many times a day, it becomes effortless and an unnoticed action. Ergonomics wins big with this one.

I get anywhere from 20-25mpg (depending heavily on speed) average with a rooftop tent on all the time and a 7000lb curb weight. I had 96 Cummins 5spd 4x4. I'd never go back to that truck.
Good to hear.

Have been waiting see how well these trucks fair with 100-200K miles on them. Still a little too new to the market, to have any high mileage ones yet.
 
As long as these trucks get out and get driven, they are not going to deal with very many issues. The emissions systems have to be hot to work well. The EGR doesn't clog when the motor is under load and work. Tooling around too and from work like so many do does a disservice to modern diesels. They are meant to be worked, nothing less. Higher milage trucks are going to have fewer issues I predict. Also, I go nearly 10,000 miles on the DEF tank. More than any of us run on our trips.
 

Larry

Bigassgas Explorer
Like Jprovence and JIMBO said, the ZF 8-speed itself is a sweet rock solid transmission. The ones I’ve driven shifted very nice and solid without a whole lot of noticeable hunting like the GM 6L90’s do. ZF has always been known to be a top shelf high precision supplier of gear boxes, hydraulic pumps, etc. to the manufacturing world. We use a lot of ZF products on the vehicles my company builds where issues are practically unheard of.

After doing quite a bit of research in to the 8HP45 (Chrysler 845RE) over the past few weeks and found what posted back in 2013 in post 9 is not accurate as there wasn’t much information available when it first came out as to exactly how it worked. I mentioned the transmission used an Encoder motor on the side of the trans to shift the range selector shaft like how the electric 4x4 transfercases work. As it turns out, that is not the case. The 8 speed is truly fully electronic where it doesn’t have a mechanical range selector shaft with a mechanical park pawl like pretty much every other automatic in the world. The 8-speed park pawl is still throws a mechanical pin in a cog but it is spring loaded and electric actuated without any true mechanical linkage to the actual shifter. The lack of a truly mechanical linkage from the shifter to the safety devise (park pawl) is one major shortcoming of design of these 8 speeds in my opinion with potentially risky consequences as we are seeing take place now with FCA’s recent NHTSA investigations, lawsuits and recalls.

Many are quick to blame the user for these roll-aways and to certain degree that may be true, but there should be safety checks and balances in place to prevent issues if the operator doesn’t use the dial properly. To blame the driver for not using the Park Brake is ludicrous. The reality is most people do not use the park brake in automatic transmission equipped vehicles. I know I don't. Despite the questionable design of the ZF park pawls I’m also of the opinion there should be a FMVSS regulation to standardize the PRNDL operation instead off all these goofy dials, buttons and oddball shifters that Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Range Rover and so many are starting to use. When the manufacturers changed the operation of the transmission range shifting process some people have a hard time changing their subconscious routine from what they have known all their driving life. For that reason, Chrysler should have more safety checks and balances engineered into the system or better yet…use the same method of a truly mechanical linkage/cable operated park pawl like the industry has used for over 60 years.

Again, back in 2014 Chrysler voluntarily recalled a whopping 159 RAM 8 speed trucks for a problem with the park pawl pin where it wasn’t engaging which would cause roll aways. Given that they already acknowledged a previous issue (without placing blame on the driver) sure makes one wonder if the issue from 2014 wasn’t much broader than they first though or if there is an inherent design defect in that transmission. I feel it is all of above including some driver error but driver error alone shouldn’t be excuse. Then in April of 2015 they had to recall the Chrysler 200 with the same design for the same issue where the electronic park rod would bind also resulting in roll aways. No matter how you look at it, I feel there is a huge safety issue with the design of these ZF transmissions related to the park pawl operation. ZF is a great supplier but they are not perfect either and Chrysler has not done a good job of adding check and balances into the integration of the ZF park pawl design into their vehicles. Given Chrysler’s recent trend of roll away issues (200 ZF transaxle pins, 159 trucks in 2014, recent Jeep monostable shifter that killed the actor as well as other manufactures that use the ZF transmissions) and now this new investigation I would hate to be the compliance engineer at FCA and ZF trying to talk their way out of this mess with NHTSA. FCA cannot deny the RAM 8 speed roll away complaints started surfacing literally right after they hit the road. A media outlet commented on a potential issue back in a test truck before the launch but I can't remember which media outlet it was now.

BTW, I am not bashing on Chrysler or ZF. I am a huge Chrysler fan although I don’t own one at the moment but if I had a pile of money I would have a Power Wagon or AEV RAM in an instant.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
To blame the driver for not using the Park Brake is ludicrous. The reality is most people do not use the park brake in automatic transmission equipped vehicles.

Why? just about everyone I have ridden with an auto, have never seen them set the parking brake. Heck I get fussed at for doing by some "geez man, this is an auto you don't have to do that!"....maybe cause my main vehicle is a manual, always set the PB.

Would be curious of what the data is on people who set the brake or not. Since the shifter is now a dial, I can see people forgetting to turn it. Like blasting the radio on the way home...and forgetting to turn it down when you get back in....I have done that..."good lord! was i listening to it that loud!!?? no wonder I ma half deaf!" ;)
 

Larry

Bigassgas Explorer
Why?? Exactly what you said, “everyone I have ridden with an auto, have never seen them set the parking brake”. Most people do not use park brakes with autos...... Because it simply isn’t necessary to set a park brake with an automatic transmission equipped vehicle, especially when it is not loaded with a trailer, etc. I know on the truck side there is a compliance code that requires the park pawl to hold a certain amount of weight without assistance from the park brake. Usually the requirement is the vehicles GVWR. For example, back in the mid-90’s the 4L80E did not have a strong enough park pawl when used in the P-chassis RV applications above 16,000 lbs. GVWR (if I recall correctly) so those transmissions were built without a park pawl but had an automatic apply drum brake assembly on the tailshaft of the transmission in order to meet the certification. If the park pawl alone can’t be trusted to hold the GVWR of the vehicle there is a problem and it is a bigger problem if the park pawl can't be trusted to even work as in the case of the ZF
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Why?? Exactly what you said, &#8220;everyone I have ridden with an auto, have never seen them set the parking brake&#8221;. Most people do not use park brakes with autos...... Because it simply isn't necessary to set a park brake with an automatic transmission equipped vehicle, especially when it is not loaded with a trailer, etc. I know on the truck side there is a compliance code that requires the park pawl to hold a certain amount of weight without assistance from the park brake. Usually the requirement is the vehicles GVWR. For example, back in the mid-90's the 4L80E did not have a strong enough park pawl when used in the P-chassis RV applications above 16,000 lbs. GVWR (if I recall correctly) so those transmissions were built without a park pawl but had an automatic apply drum brake assembly on the tailshaft of the transmission in order to meet the certification. If the park pawl alone can't be trusted to hold the GVWR of the vehicle there is a problem and it is a bigger problem if the park pawl can't be trusted to even work as in the case of the ZF
Thanks for the info Larry.

I just don't drive autos enough to really know...blame driving manny's for the last 30 years. Wondered if they were leaving it drive...and it creeped...similar to leaving a manual in a high gear.
 

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