I've been having some issues with a local transmission shop. Basically, I had my transmission rebuilt and it has failed on me twice since. My vehicle is a 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD. My model has the 545RFE transmission, which is the same as a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. It should be a pretty tough transmission.

The first time I went to the shop I had my top 3 gears slipping. I had engine codes for gears 3, 4 and 5 speed mismatch. When driving on the highway I would be almost redlined at 100km/h, I basically topped out at 3rd gear. It was driving fine at low speeds. I did some research and thought it might be the solenoid pack. I don't know much about transmissions so I brought it to a local transmission shop for a diagnosis.

I left the Jeep there and the next day the said they found some weird plastic stuff in the tranny oil filter. I came down to take a look. It seemed odd to me, the mechanic didn't know what it was either. He said they'd have to pull the tranny to figure out what was going on. This came with a huge bill but I trusted their expertise so I said: "go ahead".

They found that some of my bands were "burned". They replaced the bands and installed new clutches, a torque converter and an improved shift kit. This all cost me $3,300. That's a lot but I expected the work to keep my transmission in good shape for years to come.

About a month later I was on a road trip. Over 1000km each way. On the trip, I had the same symptoms again. I lost the top couple gears. I pulled over and stopped the engine. It was OK for a while after that. On the way back from the trip the roads were pretty bad with snow and ice so I had it in 4x4. About 300km from home, my transmission suddenly lost all the gears. I couldn't even put it in park. I had to get towed all the way home.

The transmission shop has a "nationwide warranty" so I figured they'd fix it no problem since it was rebuilt a month prior. When I called the shop, the owner immediately said that it was low on fluid (without looking at it or anything). I asked how he knew that. I had checked it during the trip and the fluid was fine. He said that I was supposed to come for a check-up in order for the warranty to be valid. Anyway, I brought it in.

He kept repeating the "low fluid" story to try to get out of the warranty even though I knew that was a lie. I called the corporate office and explained the story, he called me back soon after and changed the story. Now he said the torque converter that they installed had failed. The warranty would cover the repairs. When I came to pick up the Jeep he wouldn't tell me what they did to fix the problem. He didn't charge me for the repairs at least.

About 10 days after the second repair I was on a road trip on some dirt roads. Camping and doing some hikes. During the trip, my transmission temp light came on the dash. I could smell transmission fluid inside the cab, it smelled like it was cooking/burning. I shut down the engine and let it cool. We drove a little further to reach our destination. I checked the fluid and the level was OK, the color changed a bit, it was less pink than before.

When I returned to paved roads it seemed OK. For the next few days it drove OK but every time I'd come to a stop the engine would stall. Like if you leave a manual in gear and it stalls. This problem got progressively worse. I went back to the shop and got them to take it for a test drive. They concluded that the torque converter failed again. They fixed it again under warranty.

I just picked up my Jeep today. It was rebuilt again with a new torque converter and clutches, etc. The shop owner said he won't fix it again under warranty. He said that I caused the problem by "driver abuse" and that if it beaks again I have to pay for it. I asked what I could have done to cause two torque converters to fail catastrophically. All he could say is 4x4ing. We both know that's bullshit.

This is a tough tranny that can handle a hemi, and is made for off-road use. Besides I didn't do anything other than drive on dirt roads and snow. That's what the Jeep is made for.

Here's a summary.

First visit: Lost gears 3, 4 and 5

Second visit: Torque converter failed catastrophically. In the mechanic's words "ripped the rivets off".

Third visit: Torque converter failed in a less catastrophic way. Mechanic says it was overheated and "cooked blue". He said they flushed the cooler, and didn't find that as a cause.

I had no torque converter issues prior to visiting the shop, they only replaced it since it was getting rebuilt. I had done more aggressive 4x4ing in the past but not since I visited the shop the first time. So, I'm asking what could cause two torque converters to fail like that? It wasn't "driver abuse".

TL;DR Went to a mechanic for transmission repair. Had to get rebuilt two more times, the mechanic is lying to me.

  • Blue converter failure is due to extreme heat caused by extreme towing or fluid is not flowing through the TC for some reason, which is usually is an internal problem. – Moab Feb 1 '19 at 23:51

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