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Discussion Starter #1
I just hit 3000 miles on my new Charger R/T and plan to do most of the scheuled maintenance myself. I plan to follow the Schedule B maint.(as advised by my dealer) . I just changed the oil and filter, ok now step 2, check transmission fluid.............
As we all know there IS NO dipstick. So how is it checked? There IS a way. The dealer can do it. My service manager told me they use a "special tool". I said great, sell me one of those. He told me they dont sell them, but wouldnt tell me how to check it. I'm concerned because I bought the extended warranty (yeah, maybe a waste of $) and if anything does go wrong, Dodge may be able to say 'since you didnt follow the scheduled maintenance, the warrany doesnt apply.......'. I dont want to give them an "out".
Dodge doesnt have proprietary rights to maintaining their cars. Any certified shop can do maintenance on my vehicle provided they keep up with training and equipment. As long as the service is documented and done correctly, they have to honor it.

Can anyone explain how to check the transmission fluid?
 

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the trans dipstick is a special tool not available to the general public because they dont want people messing with the trans. the new MB's dont even come with engine dipsticks anymore. basically, unless its your job to be under that hood, they really dont want you there.

my question is, if you want all your service's documented, why are you doing it yourself?

also, those trans's are sealed units. lifetime fill. there should really be no reason to worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So I'm not ALLOWED to do my own maintenance????
If the transmission is not checked every 3000 miles, as the maintenance schedule states, and something goes wrong with the transmission (especially in the extended warranty time) and it can be suspected or proven to be caused by fluid level or quality, they will most likely refuse to cover under the warranty because it was improperly maintanied. Believe me, if they can get out of covering a high cost repair, they will. Am I paranoid? Maybe. Have I been screwed by fine print before? Youbetcha. So it might be said that just taking it to the dealer for service is just the safer way to go. True. I dont want to pay for what I can easily do myself (except trans fluid checking). I think its B.S. that I'm now almost forced to take it in every 3000 miles just remain under warranty.
I am documenting what I do myself including every receipt for parts and fluids, mileage and work performed. Is that not good enough documentation for a dealer? Must I now be ASE cetified for oil changes, tire rotations etc.?
 

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well, to put it bluntly.....no. you're not allowed. unless you have been properly trained. thats how the manufacturers want it. heh, i didnt make it that way. its not so much a maintenance issue as it is a tampering issue. they just plain dont want people nosing around in areas they have no expertise in. im not saying you, personally, arent more than fully capable to do a simple fluid level check, but the general public at large probably isnt. believe me, you're getting off easy. at least this trans has a dipstick tube you can cry over. the new benz trans's dont even have that. you need to jump through 3 flaming rings AND do a backflip out a 2nd story window to check trans fluid level on those trans's.

i have a question though. i havent seen the dipstick tube on this trans. is there a little cover over it with a red (or black) lock tab that needs to be snapped off in order to remove the cover? if so, that tamper-proof seal alone is proof enough to them that you did your part in not tampering with the trans and would be enough to qualify for warranty coverage should anything go wrong. but, in all honsty, the tech working on the car probably wouldnt even give it a second thought and just replace the trans as long as its within the warranty time.
 

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I'm not sure on the Hemi, but on the V6, there is a small tube at the back of the engine that says something like "for dealer use only." I believe that that's for the transmission (I guess I could go read my manual again to be sure :embarrese )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is anyone else doing their own scheduled maintenance on their Charger?

For those that aren't doing it themselves, are you having the trans fluid checked every 3000?
 

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I'm a Magnum owner & came over to visit because of the commonality with the Charger. I rented a Charger this past week for a business trip. The view from the driver's seat is virtually identical. Were it not for the rearview and subtle ride differences I'd hardly noticed I wasn't in my Magnum.

The tool, P/N 9336, is just a wire/rod with graduations in mm from the end. It slides in the tube till it hits the bottom of the trans pan. You remove it and read the fluid depth in mm.

Here's the catch: The correct level is dependent on the fluid temp which has to be read via Starscan. The Magnum service manual has curves to match the depth to temp for the two transmissions.

My problem with the procedure is that there is not a acceptable range specified; it's a line with a specific depth for every temp. There's no way it'd ever be filled that exactly and it leaves it to a subjective decision as to whether it's close enough.

Now my trans, the 42RLE, has been and I believe still is furnished in other vehicles with a tranny dip stick. My opinion is that could you find a dipstick that fits properly with range markings for typical hot temps you'd be plenty good enough.

I'm toying with the concept of finding a dodge dip stick that fits and adding a trans temp gauge. This would fill one hole in the pillar gauge mount that's coming out. I'd put the sensor in the "hot" trans cooler line.

All that said & assuming the fluid was right from the factory, if you don't see any fluid leaks why would you be concerned. I've never had a problem with tranny fluid disappearing without an associated leak.

Has anyone really confirmed a dealer actually checking the fluid? I'd bet they look for leaks and wouldn't actually use the service procedure unless you insisted.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I like the idea of taking it in to the dealer every 3000 miles complaining of transmission noise. In order to fulfill their warranty, checking the trans fluid is part of the diagnostic and is required. Now I have documentation and a clean bill of health from the dealer for my transmission and it doesnt cost me a thing. Problem solved.
 
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