Power loss in reverse while backing out of my driveway - 2022 Dodge Durango GT Plus AWD - Pentastar V6 - 850RE

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I have a 2022 Dodge Durango GT Plus AWD (the vehicle in my signature). The incident I'm about to describe happened to me three times during the past month and a half.

This morning, I started the vehicle and got my kids to take them to daycare. I figured it was enough time for the vehicle to run and warm up while strapping the children into their car seats. Then I get into the driver's seat, put my seat belt on, and put the vehicle in Reverse. I did not rush anything. As I lift my foot off the brake pedal, the vehicle usually starts going backward, but not today. So I give it a little gas, and it moves reluctantly. Then I press the gas pedal some more, and instead of getting more power, the engine wants to die. I can see the tachometer repeatedly dip below 500 RPM. Every time it dipped, I didn't have any more throttle control and felt how the vehicle was losing power. Because Stellantis, in their infinite wisdom, programmed these vehicles to go into Park automatically if the engine dies, I hit the brakes every time the vehicle lost power. Then I tried to go back two more times, and the same thing happened. I put the vehicle into Neutral and revved the engine to 3000 rpm. Everything was fine. I put it in Drive, and it moved forward without even touching the gas pedal. Then I put it back into Reverse, and it did the same thing: the engine dipped below 500 RPM and lost power, and when I hit the brakes, the engine recovered. I barely made it out of my driveway. As soon as I did, I headed to the daycare. The vehicle did not exhibit this behavior again today.

The first time this happened was in mid-April, on a Friday. It happened precisely like the incident I described above.

The second time it happened was on Saturday, right after the first incident. I came home from Walmart around 12:45 PM to get my eldest son and take him to church camp. I stopped the engine, went into the house to get him and his backpack, strapped him into the car seat, started the car, and lost power again while backing up.

This was when I learned, the hard way, that when the engine dies, the computer automatically places the transmission into Park. So while rolling backward out of my driveway, I lost power completely, the engine died, and the vehicle stopped with a mild and slow clunk as the parking pawl engaged. I put my left foot on the brake, moved the shifter lever to Neutral, and started the engine. The "N" LED was flashing on the lever, meaning that it was not in Neutral. I moved the lever to Drive, and I could feel and hear how the parking pawl was released. I moved forward, then put it into Reverse, and just like that, I was able to back out of the driveway with

On Sunday, I filed two NHTSA reports regarding these incidents, which probably won't matter anyway, and on Monday morning, I went to the dealership where I purchased the vehicle. They kept it for the entire day, and at 5:00 PM, they called me to tell me that they couldn't find anything wrong with it. There were no computer codes, nothing to diagnose, and they couldn't reproduce the issue. They wanted one of their techs to drive it home and back to see if it happened again, but I wasn't okay with that, given the complications that could result from said tech getting involved in an accident while driving my vehicle.

Back at home, I put the vehicle up on ramps and front and rear axles. I took a powerful LED flashlight and inspected everything. I couldn't find anything loose. I did not see any loose, corroded, chewed through, burned, or otherwise out of place wiring. Everything is nice and tidy under my Durango.

The battery is also fine, and the alternator is charging it consistently.

Between the first two incidents and today, I ran a full gas tank with Liqui Moly Pro-Line Fuel System Cleaner and two more with Red Line Si2 System Cleaner, thinking that maybe I purchased some bad gasoline at one point. Well, apparently, that's not the case.

The Durango has 2900 miles on it.

I don't know what else to do here. I defer to you, BITOG, for your input. Like many of you, I have my day filled with work and family, so problems with a brand new vehicle were one of the last things I needed right now, as the point of buying a new vehicle was to have some peace of mind, at least for a few years. I take excellent care of our vehicles, and I don't put off any maintenance or repairs. Given how expensive transportation has become, I make it a priority to care for our tiny fleet.

Lastly, I scoured the Internet for answers, and even subscribed to Tech Authority, but couldn't find any service bulletins or recalls regarding this issue. The Dodge and Jeep forums (same powertrains) were not much help either.

Thank you.

durangogt.jpg

 

Rod Knock

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Brand new,, take it to the dealer. I have had new vehicles that were trouble free for 20 years and I have had some new vehicles that had some bugs and once fixed were trouble free and some new vehicles that were nothing but trouble all the time..
Unfortunately, the dealer wasn't any help. I highlighted the part in my post where I took it to the dealer, and they couldn't reproduce the issue. Thank you.
 
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Next time it happens take a video. The onus is on the dealer here. This is a brand new vehicle.

My initial guesses are that it’s the transmission or the shifting mechanism or it’s the parking brake not releasing.
 

Rod Knock

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Next time it happens take a video. The onus is on the dealer here. This is a brand new vehicle.
I tried filming it for a while, but then I got tired of doing it every time I left the house. I got it on video this morning, but all it shows is how the RPMs keep going down. I can't capture how it feels when the vehicle loses power. Plus, the dealer wants to reproduce the issue, so there is that.

My initial guesses are that it’s the transmission or the shifting mechanism or it’s the parking brake not releasing.
It's an old-school left-foot parking brake with a cable to the rear drums. Well, the drums are part of the rotors. The parking brake isn't the issue. I verified that.
 

Rod Knock

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Torque converter clutch engaging lugging the engine. Just a guess. Does it happen in reverse always?
Torque converter lugging the engine was my fear as well. It doesn't always happen; I went for weeks without an incident. It's very much random. You might be onto something here.

Were you trying to go straight back, or turning?
I was going straight back.
 
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Unfortunately, the dealer wasn't any help. I highlighted the part in my post where I took it to the dealer, and they couldn't reproduce the issue. Thank you.
Been there done that.. What else besides what you have done can you do . The dealer trips are needed to build a case.
 
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Let the dealer keep it for a few days and let them have their technician take it home so he can attempt to reproduce it in the mornings. If he has an accident while it is in the dealership's possession for repair, they the dealership's insurance and the technician's insurance would cover your car.

If that does not work, then call the Dodge Customer Service people at the factory and fill them in.

I have had a to leave vehicles for several days at a time in order for the dealership's technicians to be able to duplicate the problem. Since it is a brand new vehicle, the dealership should provide you with a loaner car. If they do not mention it, ask. If they say they do not have any loaner cars available, ask them for a rental car - believe me, they have arrangements with car rental outfits.
 

Rod Knock

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Been there done that.. No data?
No data. There was a code set for power loss that I was told about right when I pulled in the vehicle, and they hooked up the OBD II and their tablet, but that was it. I got to look at the tech's actual paperwork (the one they don't show to the customer), and there was nothing there. No additional codes, nothing.
 
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I tried filming it for a while, but then I got tired of doing it every time I left the house. I got it on video this morning, but all it shows is how the RPMs keep going down. I can't capture how it feels when the vehicle loses power. Plus, the dealer wants to reproduce the issue, so there is that.
Sounds like you need to let the dealer tech take it home.
For however long it takes.
In a vehicle with less than 3000 miles on it.

Thanks Stellantis!!!
 

MolaKule

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Nice looking vehicle. Maybe member Clinebarger can help but this appears to be a dealer issue with that few miles and under warranty.

Have you by chance checked the AT fluid level?

The reason I asked was we had a neighbor that bought a new Chevy Traverse and was having mis-shifts.

I checked the fluid level and it was about two quarts low, so I followed her back to the dealer for some service dept. education and a new fluid exchange.
 
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Rod Knock

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Nice looking vehicle. Maybe member Clinebarger can help but this appears to be a dealer issue with that few miles and under warranty.
Thank you, and thank you, I will reach out to @clinebarger and ask for advice. I wanted to ask here for help first to go back to the dealership armed with some knowledge.

Have you by chance checked the AT fluid level?
I did not because I did not have a single shift issue. ****s are perfect every time. No slipping, no shudder, nothing. It just works perfectly. The issue I described above is the only one I have.

It's a ZF 8HP50 or 850RE (IIRC they are the same thing), so checking the fluid level involves getting underneath the vehicle with the engine running and the rear lifted about a foot off the ground. Then the fill plug has to be removed while the engine is running. I did a large-capacity oil pan upgrade on the RAM 1500 with the 8HP70, so I got the entire procedure engraved in my mind as I did three drains and fills with AMSOIL ATL. Also, these particular transmissions are filled before they are assembled into the vehicle, and they are considered sealed units by the dealership. The pan on the 850RE in the Durango doesn't even have a drain plug. I plan on upgrading to a PPE aluminum pan soon and HPL Green ATF. I doubt, however, that the fluid level is off. I appreciate the suggestion as it is very much valid.

Sidenote: supposedly, the fill plug is torqued to 35NM. When I took it off the 8HP70 in the RAM 1500, I used a 3/8" ratchet with a two feet piece of copper pipe as an extension, and I still had to use a lot of leverage to loosen it. It was on there like Hercules himself installed it. When they sealed and "filled for life," I guess they mean it.

The reason I asked was we had a neighbor that bought a new Chevy Traverse and was having mis-shifts.

I checked the fluid level and it was about two quarts low, so I followed her back to the dealer for some service dept. education and a new fluid exchange.
I believe it. However, as far as I know, GM manufactures their transmissions in-house, while Stellantis buys them from ZF. If fact, most of my vehicle is made by ZF, including the front and rear diffs and the braking system.

The bottom line is that I will get to the transmission soon when I upgrade the oil pan. The dealership doesn't touch the transmission. I asked about fluid changes, and I was told, and I quote: "that unit is not serviceable."

Going back to what @PontiacHO said, my gut feeling tells me that sometimes, the torque converter clutch is not disengaged when I turn off the vehicle. It's just an assumption based on the fact that these ZF 8HP transmissions are programmed to disengage it at the very last split-second when you come to a full stop. At least in Stellantis vehicles they are this way. The RAM 1500 kicks almost whenever you downcoast from second to first gear and then stop. They even have a service bulletin about that and I downloaded it from Tech Authority. If anyone is interested please send me a message, or I will publish it if that's okay.

If it happens again, I will try and turn off the engine and turn it back on, and see what happens. I will update this thread, of course.
 
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Shot in the dark: Could be a loose electrical connection, or maybe a bad sensor. The intermittent nature says "electrical" to me.


This part of the original write up seems to point in that direction.


“ I put my left foot on the brake, moved the shifter lever to Neutral, and started the engine. The "N" LED was flashing on the lever, meaning that it was not in Neutral. I moved the lever to Drive, and I could feel and hear how the parking pawl was released. I moved forward, then put it into Reverse, and just like that, I was able to back out of the driveway”
 
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Usually when this happens the convertor clutch is coming on due to a restriction in the cooler lines or the cooler itself. If the trans failed before it usually plugs the cooler in the radiator with crap causing this. The reason it does it in reverse is because the oil pressure is higher in the tranny in reverse, causing the convertor clutch to come on.Take the lines off the radiator and hook them together and try it again if it dont stall blow out the cooler or replace the radiator.

Found this in a Durango forum. The poster said he was right tranny shop replaced tranny cooler and all was well. Another guy who had issue had bad battery connections meaning loose.
 

Rod Knock

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Found this in a Durango forum. The poster said he was right tranny shop replaced tranny cooler and all was well. Another guy who had issue had bad battery connections meaning loose.
Thank you so much. If possible, please send the links to me via private message. I'll check the battery connections first. I only verified battery charging and voltage via the EVIC.
 
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