Common Problems: Cummins 47RE

January 2018 Tech Corner, Feature Colin Peterson

If you own a 1994-2002 12- or 24-valve Cummins-powered RAM truck and have had automatic transmission problems, you’re most definitely not alone. The 47RE transmission in these trucks is not a favored transmission among Cummins owners. Some of the most common problems with this transmission involve being stuck in a gear, failure of the torque converter to lock, or hard shifts. These problems are known to make successful mods to this transmission nearly impossible. That is largely due to the small size of the transmission’s shafts, clutches, and converter; they’re all considerably smaller than those on the competing GM (Allison) and Ford Super Duty transmissions. The 47RE also uses an older design on its components that existed before the transmission was introduced. That’s not like Ford and GM transmissions, which had entirely new designs implemented. The 47RE uses bands to shift gears as opposed to clutch packs.

To get a stronger idea of the common problems in this transmission, we talked with Brent Willsey, owner of PowerTech Diesel, located in our home base of Idaho Falls, Idaho. We also interviewed William Terry of Cedar City, Utah-based performance transmission shop Power Driven Diesel. According to Willsey, “All of the components are just really out of date for the stuff this transmission is meant to do.”

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