Any ideas about what's going on with this "dropped" transmission?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a problem with my 1993 Dodge Dakota. When I shift into "D," the transmission does not engage. The problem is intermittent, and I have no way of making it happen. Each time this failure occurs, I shift back to "N" then back to "D" and everything is fine. I purchased the truck new and have 31,000 miles on it. This transmission engaging failure has been reported to the dealer numerous times, and the transmission has been dropped once for "repair." Any ideas?

TOM: Well, they probably shouldn't have dropped it, Joe. They should have taken it out carefully and set it down on the bench.

RAY: "Dropping the transmission" is a "garage" term for removing the transmission, as I'm sure you know, Joe. I would say there are two basic possibilities here. One is that your problem is internal, and the other is it's external.

TOM: External means linkage. The cable that connects the shifter on your steering column to the transmission itself may be out of adjustment, so that the transmission isn't actually going into "D" even though the lever is in "D."

RAY: So have your mechanic check the shifter linkage and make sure it's adjusted perfectly. And if you've lived a good, clean life, Joe, that'll solve your problem, in which case you can thank your lucky stars.

TOM: If you haven't lived a good, clean life, your problem will turn out to be inside the transmission, in which case you can also thank your lucky stars... that you opted for the 7/70 powertrain warranty.

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