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ducsingle
08-13-2013, 08:24 AM
Background
2005 118 wheelbase cargo with about 127k miles. I had the transmission serviced (fluid/filter change with the expensive Chrysler fluid) at 60k miles fluid when I bought it. I performed the same service at about 110k miles using the transmission service kit from europarts-sd.com and checking the fluid level with the factory dip-stick. I didn't see anything weird at the 110k service.

Symptoms
The transmission will intermittently decide not to shift gears while in Drive, and tiptronic shifting doesn't work either. Stopping, turning off the key, waiting for a minute or so, and re-starting clears up the problem. I typically notice it while driving around town where the transmission will be stuck in a high gear at a stop-light resulting in poor acceleration. However, it has also gotten stuck in second gear from initial start-up. As an experiment I have driven it around in tiptronic mode, essentially shifting it like a manual transmission, and I didn't experience any problems.

History
I experienced this problem maybe (3) times between 70k and 120k and didn't think much of it. Unfortunately, it has happened more frequently the past few thousand miles - - - including (3) or (4) times the past 1000 miles.

Analysis
I'm guessing this is some sort of electrical problem due to the intermittent symptoms and the fact that the transmission shifts fine manually. But that's about as far as I have thought things through. I spent more than an hour searching the archives, and it sounds like a few others have experienced similar issues, but I couldn't find anyone who discovered a root cause.

Thoughts?:thinking:

NelsonSprinter
08-13-2013, 04:06 PM
It sounds like a temporary Limp Home Mode from the ECU computer receiving an unacceptable sensor signal from the many engine components, and saving the engine from harm. It may not be transmission related. It could be a loose wire connection, a component starting to go bad or is dirty.
You'll need a complete engine analysis with a DAD, DRBiii or Sprinter engine code reading tool like at a Sprinter repair shop to find the problem easily. What area are you located?

hkpierce
08-13-2013, 04:09 PM
Check your brake switch recently?

autostaretx
08-13-2013, 04:37 PM
Yes, you're seeing the "transmission" flavor of LHM.
Tranny LHM does:
(a) keeps you in whatever gear you were in when the fault was sensed (that's why you're still in 5th at a traffic light)
(b) once you shift to N,R or P and back to D, it will then only use 2nd for forward motion.

When you turn off the engine, "simple" faults are ignored ...IF they're not seen when you turn it back on.
Since you get "normal shifting" your problem is an intermittent (so far).

Another possible cause is transmission oil "wicking up" the cable from the transmission to the TCM (transmission control module) located beneath the driver's seat ... there is can corrode contacts, contaminate the module, etc etc.
All of which can cause intermittent (at the beginning) to permanent (replace TCM) faults.

..and checking the brake switch is a good idea, too.
--dick

ducsingle
08-17-2013, 05:18 AM
Thanks for the responses. I live on the San Francisco peninsula.

I've been meaning to check the TCM.

What specifically is the brake switch?

jcweller1
08-17-2013, 12:19 PM
I have had to replace my brake light switch twice. It is located under the dash and is operated by pressure from the brake pedal. Not a blast to replace. As well, I have had the blue relay under the front of the drivers seat go bad causing the same condition you are describing.
The relay is a 25.00 part from the local Dodge dealer. I diagnosed mine when the shifter wouldn't operate by tapping the relay and having the shifter start to work. replaced the relay and have had no problems since. But the relay is an easy repair compared to the brake light switch. The next time the shifter won't work, slide the drivers seat back as far as you can, looking down under the front edge of the seat you will see a row of relays. The blue TCM relay will be on the left side. With a device that you feel you can get to the relay, start tapping on it and try the shifter. If the shifter starts to work the relay is bad.
Good luck.

autostaretx
08-17-2013, 11:08 PM
What specifically is the brake switch?
As jcweller says, it's the thing your brake pedal actuates to turn on the brake lights and to simultaneously inform the Sprinter electronics that you're stepping on the pedal (to do stuff like turn off cruise control).
It has two internal switches: one for the lights, the other for everything else.

Sometimes brake-switch-related things can be fixed by "resetting" the switch actuator arm.
To do: crawl under dash and press the brake pedal a bit by hand or other means.
Reach up (you're gonna get greasy) near the return spring near the pivot and feel just forward and above the pivot. An arm of the pedal's metal is pulling away from a small post.
That's the switch.
The switch's post/stick/actuator points towards the rear of the Sprinter, and is released as soon as the pedal's metal arm starts to move away from it.

While it's released (pedal pushed), push the pin in (forward) a bit, then pull it out.

That's it.

--dick
p.s. you can download a 2006 service manual from http://aie-services-2.net/Sprinter/
Info such as switch/module locations is in the rear of section 8w

ducsingle
08-18-2013, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the clarification on the brake switch.

Why would a flaky brake switch cause the intermittent shifting problem I described in my original post?

vanven
08-19-2013, 01:38 AM
Background
2005 118 wheelbase cargo with about 127k miles. I had the transmission serviced (fluid/filter change with the expensive Chrysler fluid) at 60k miles fluid when I bought it. I performed the same service at about 110k miles using the transmission service kit from europarts-sd.com and checking the fluid level with the factory dip-stick. I didn't see anything weird at the 110k service.

Symptoms
The transmission will intermittently decide not to shift gears while in Drive, and tiptronic shifting doesn't work either. Stopping, turning off the key, waiting for a minute or so, and re-starting clears up the problem. I typically notice it while driving around town where the transmission will be stuck in a high gear at a stop-light resulting in poor acceleration. However, it has also gotten stuck in second gear from initial start-up. As an experiment I have driven it around in tiptronic mode, essentially shifting it like a manual transmission, and I didn't experience any problems.

History
I experienced this problem maybe (3) times between 70k and 120k and didn't think much of it. Unfortunately, it has happened more frequently the past few thousand miles - - - including (3) or (4) times the past 1000 miles.

Analysis
I'm guessing this is some sort of electrical problem due to the intermittent symptoms and the fact that the transmission shifts fine manually. But that's about as far as I have thought things through. I spent more than an hour searching the archives, and it sounds like a few others have experienced similar issues, but I couldn't find anyone who discovered a root cause.

Thoughts?:thinking:

I has a similar problem with my 03. Code indicated a speed sensor failure on trans conductor plate. I replaced the plate and all is well.

jcweller1
08-19-2013, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the clarification on the brake switch.

Why would a flaky brake switch cause the intermittent shifting problem I described in my original post?

The brake light switch has to be depressed Via the brake pedal for the shifter to be put into gear. If the brake light switch is not giving the tcm proper feedback it will lock the shifter and not allow it to be shifted into gear. I still am swinging towards the tcm relay. If that relay fails other shifting issues may occur. As I recall when the tcm relay went bad on my van I had to manually trigger the shifter via the trip hole at the bottom of the gear selector to get the van into gear. I had it stick in second gear a couple of times. Wouldn't up shift. Had to pull over and cycle the ignition and start over.

Jim

larry8061
08-19-2013, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the clarification on the brake switch.

Why would a flaky brake switch cause the intermittent shifting problem I described in my original post?

Because 4th graders engineered the vehicle?

Larry

riskydnb
08-20-2013, 04:39 AM
I have any parts you need to fix this issue. My mechanic rebuilds around 50 trannys for me a year. It would help to put a DAD program on the truck to see whats going on. I have a used TCM, new brake switches and rebuilt transmissions w/ warranty cheaper than anyone else online. Call or text Randy @ 760-622-0148 if interested.