97 Ram 1500 -no engagement

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MODEL:Ram 1500
DESCRIBE ISSUE.... Check engine light came on. Code said torque converter solenoid. I replaced the solinoids/sensor in the pan, the sensor located at the rear of the tranny, new filter, and synthetic plus 4 fluid.
Truck ran and shifted fine, for 1/2 mile, then no gears whatsoever.
No 1,2,3, or reverse. However, if I shut the truck off, and let it cool for 5 minutes, everything works normally, for a few minutes, and then no transmission again.
If just turn off the ignition, then start it back up, it does not respond. It must cool down for a few minutes. However, I should add that, if while having no movement while in gear, and I leave it in drive, idling,, wait a few minutes, then very gently feather the throttle, it may engage briefly, only to again lose any propulsion.
I am clueless.
I should add that this is a 3 speed automatic, with overdrive.
Thank you.
first thoughts
confirm fluid - check level After it goes into the no movement mode.
Codes - scan for codes - yes even if light is off.

Do you have a scanner - live data and transmission capable?
I will check the fluid level in the morning, after warming to the point of failure. I should add that fluid level was checked warming the rig up, and confirmed to be just a hair below the full line. However, I then shut it down, and didn't drive it until later. I do not have a scanner. I used one in the NAPA parking lot, both to diagnose, and clear. The Check Engine light gcame on moments before it went gunny sack, the second time, (right after the repairs).
ok first off you need to check fluid in nuetral not park ok second thought is a possable seal problem by adding new fluid which is thinner the seals onced warmed up cant seal off or it could be the sprag in the converter i have a dodge p/u and my tranny did the same thing it took me over a hour to get to my shop wich is 12 miles from my house it was the converter i was at 165320 miles
Yeah, I checked the fluid while in neutral, and warmed up. What is a "sprag? and where is it located? How would I go about checking it?
Please bear with me, as I am not a mechanic, and not a single shop here in Juneau will touch a tranny.


Staff member
A "sprag-clutch" allows torque to be transferred in one direction only; kind of like a mechanical check-valve or diode/rectifier. It is like the ratchet on a common socket-wrench handle, but with much finer increments.

Not to get you out in the weeds, but the thread below has a good description of how the sprag-clutch principle
is used in/with the torque converter. Sprags are also used in other areas of an auto trans, but the TC one is what I think BP is suspecting.



Staff member
Next, we ask if there are some pressure readings that can be helpful, I think that Chrysler trans does have a couple of test ports. I also wonder if this trans has a "limp mode" that can be invoked by disconnecting all electrical wires to it. The goal there would be to tell if there is some electrical problem, external to the trans, that can cause a loss of all gears; or if this has to be a mechanical problem inside the trans. And, if the pan is pulled and the valve-body removed, are there air-checks and visual checks that can be made inside? Obviously, if you pull the pan and bits of metal are down in there, you know the trans is very sick. As you can probably tell, I am no expert on this (or any other auto trans); I just hoping we can get you a systematic procedure requiring the least effort and "parts swapping".

What are the specific code numbers that have been set? Be sure you get it scanned for all codes/flags, especially the manufacturer-specific trans ones.
yes bill but the problem is if the sprag isnt holding then it wont help also i dont think it is electrical most likely the converter is going out or tranny in general but i have to ask what was in the pan when he had it off
Surprisingly, the pan looked pretty good, to my un-trained eye. No pieces or "chunks". There was a bit of very fine metallic film on the magnet. There was no burnt odor with the fluid, either.
And all this happened quite suddenly. Really no slipping or odd noises.
The only "warning" I got that something was amiss was 2-3 months ago while driving down our "highway", while merging the transmission stayed a bit longer than usual in 2nd gear, (maybe all the way up to 3000 RPM's, before dropping to 3'rd, and then O.D. That was when the check engine light came on, and got the code indicating the TC solenoid. However, in never acted up again, and after clearing the light, all was well until losing all gears.


Staff member
Is that particular sprag inside the converter, so that *only* the converter would need to be replaced? That would be a fairly practical DIY job. Any sprags inside the trans itself... not-so-much. I was asking about some of the other stuff to eliminate as much as possible before having to even drop the pan.


Wrench. I help when I can
Well, I am late in this and probably will be of no help.

First I would like to say hi to Juneau Alaska from Schefferville Quebec. We just 30cm of snow. Yeah! Not.

As for sprags, the torque has one and the only other sprags I know of is the park sprag and rear sprag rollers for the 4 speed.

As Billr, this is not my area of speciality, I get by.

Most call it a over run clutch or a one way clutch. Maybe my french gets in the way here. But yes, they do call it a stator sprag and yours should looklike this.


What is bothering me is the fact that after sitting for awhile, it will regain gear, for a while.

If the stator sprag is shpt and generating a ton of heat, those clutches could not have held for long.

The torque is equipped with thrust washers and hardly ever fail there.
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Wrench. I help when I can
My logic is telling me, it is not a transfer case issue, not a plugged filter or a low fluid level or a badly adjustage shift cable or other such easy stuff to check out.

So what really is left, internal damage to tranny, a bad oil pump or a stuck park sprag not realeasing. (but that is where I get iffy as you state you let it rest and regain motion).

Deffinatly could be a bad TC and possibly a valve body plugged up since the fluid change etc. As BP said, could also be pressure seeping through seals as the fluid is thinner and plunging apply pressure. Line pressure should be 54 to 60 psi throttle closed.

I know we are not there yet, but the line and throttle pressure are adjustable on this trans.