Lately I have been experiencing hard shifts from 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and downshifting between the same gears. I never had it before, just started intermittently and slowly encroaching it’s way in to my shifting to the point that every other time I drive the car it is rough shifting. I have read countless threads on Challenger, Chrysler, and Dodge forums on the issue. Evidently Chrysler is aware of the problem and has a technical service bulletin on it, but only for 2009 and 2010 vehicles! The issue is that there is a lubricant on the input shaft that doesn’t really lubricate. It instead gums up the works and does not properly allow the clutch to disengage from the flywheel. Weeks of research led me to discover a few things:
1.) The Challenger uses the Tremec TR-6060 Transmission, which is the same transmission used in the Viper (which I already knew). What I didn’t know is that Dodge is using the same lube on the input shaft of the Challenger as they do the Viper, which on the surface makes sense because they are the same transmission. However, the Viper is configured differently and the transmission area runs a lot hotter than the Challenger. The lube has such a high viscosity that the Challenger just does not get hot enough to actually make the lube do its job.
2.) Star Case # K38556860. This is Chryslers internal tech bulletin network number. It was a known issue on the 2009 and some 2010 Challengers. So Chrysler/Dodge wrote this:
Case Verification; Vehicle affected is the LC Challenger equipped with a manual
transmission. It may be difficult to shift in and out of gear.
Recommendation ;Repair this condition by removing the transmission, cleaning the
transmission input shaft splines and the clutch hub splines, re-greasing,
and putting all the same parts back together. No parts need to be replaced because clutch disc wear or shaft/hub spline wear are not contributing factors.
The clutch should be removed from the flywheel to properly clean
the clutch splines, because it is not possible to thoroughly clean
the clutch splines otherwise. Do not use harsh spray solvents
(brake clean, etc.) on the clutch discs… care must be taken to
keep cleaning solvents away from the clutch friction material.
Mineral spirits or similar will get the job done. Both of the clutch
hub splines and transmission input shaft splines must be
carefully cleaned. When applying the grease for reassembly, the
entire exposed length of the clutch hub splines (both discs) and
the entire length of the input shaft should be lightly coated with
the P/N 05083150AA grease, spread evenly on all splines
without excess. The flywheel does not need to be removed for
this repair. New clutch pressure plate to flywheel bolts P/N
06508880AA (quantity 6) must be used.
3.) This problem is only supposed to apply to 2009 and 2010 Challenger 6 speeds. In 2011 they changed the input shaft splines and supposedly used a new lube. However, 6 speed owners in 2011’s and 2012’s are also starting to have the issue.
The good news: I called the nearest Dodge Dealership, talked to a service rep who is an owner of a 2013 6 speed, had him look up the case number and he said that he is absolutely sure the powertrain warranty will cover the work. He also said he has been experiencing rough shifting between the first three gears and may have the techs look at his too!
The bad news: If it can’t be fixed under the warranty it will be around $900.00. Also, the nearest Dodge Dealership is two hours away. They said that basically never having done this before they want my Challenger for at least two days…and they don’t work weekends. So working around that, work schedule and the holidays, I can’t take my car in until January 29th. At that point I may have a local shop do it just so I don’t have to go out of town.
In the meantime, I am going to have my transmission fluid serviced this Friday (differential too) at a local shop. If that takes care of it, then I don’t have to make the trip or wait over a month for a fix! If not, the fluid needed to be serviced anyway, so I am really not out anything.