545RFE Issues and Solutions: DIY Fixes

The Chrysler 545RFE transmission was installed in various Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles from 2001 to 2011. It is known for being a fairly reliable transmission that can stand up to a great deal of wear and tear. However, drivers of vehicles with a 545RFE transmission have noticed several common issues. The most well-known issues with the 545RFE transmission are its pump problems, but it may also have issues with harsh or delayed shifting, bad solenoid packs, malfunctioning pressure sensors, and overheating. Read on to learn more about the common issues with the Chrysler 545RFE transmission and what you can do to fix them. If you’re passed fixing your transmission and just need a quality replacement 545RFE, check out reman-transmission.com

Pump Issues

The best-known issues with the Chrysler 545RFE transmission are definitely problems with the transmission pump. Many drivers with pump issues have noticed that their vehicles either creep forward or won't move at all. The issue has been investigated thoroughly, and the culprit is the pump spacer plate. More specifically, the pump spacer plate had two screws that tended to come loose or fall out. When this happened, the pressure in the main line fell significantly. 

Fixing Pump Issues

This issue, like many of the issues with this vehicle, is difficult to fix on your own. If you have the skills and the equipment, you can replace the transmission with either a newer pump or a remanufactured pump. The newer transmission pumps were redesigned to deal with this issue by simply removing the screws and casting the holes shut. Most remanufactured 545RFE pumps will be modified to deal with this issue, as it is very well-known.

Harsh or Delayed Shifting Issues

Another common problem with the 545RFE transmission is harsh or delayed shifting, especially when shifting from third to fourth gear and from fourth gear to fifth gear. If your vehicle hesitates when making these shifts and then jerks into gear, your transmission likely has a problem with its valve body. These harsh shifts are usually caused by a worn checkball that allows fluid to get by and engage the underdrive clutch. 

Fixing Shifting Issues

You must replace the #2 checkball to solve this issue. This requires you to take the transmission apart and locate the checkball in the valve body. Once you have located the problem checkball, you can replace it fairly easily. The hard part of this job is taking apart and reassembling the transmission.

Bad Solenoid Packs

The 545RFE transmission is electronically controlled, so it doesn't have any transmission bands. It instead relies on a solenoid switch pack to send the fluid to the right clutch pack. If your transmission is old and has a lot of miles on it, the solenoid pack may go bad. If this happens, your vehicle may go into a safety mode that limits the vehicle to very slow speeds. It may even fail to engage gears entirely. If this happens, you have to replace the solenoid packs.

Replacing Bad Solenoid Packs

Thankfully, it is relatively simple to replace a bad solenoid pack. All you need to do is remove the fluid container, pop out the old solenoid, and pop in the new solenoid. Be sure to match the color-coded wires on your new solenoid to the wires on the old solenoid.

Pressure Sensor Problems

The 545RFE transmission occasionally has problems with the pressure sensor, which is mounted on the side of the transmission. If it is just starting to go bad, you may notice that your transmission takes too long to get into gear. If the pressure sensor has completely gone bad, the transmission may stall or overheat.

Replacing Bad Pressure Sensors

Replacing a bad pressure sensor is relatively easy on the 545RFE transmission, as the pressure sensors are located in an easily accessible location on the side of the transmission. To replace it, you have to disconnect the battery, jack the vehicle up, remove the wiring, pop out the old sensor, pop in the new sensor, and reconnect the wiring. If you are handy and have the right tools, you should be able to do this yourself.


The 545FE is resistant to overheating, but it can happen. Usually, the transmission overheats when towing heavy loads, driving in heavy traffic, or driving on mountain roads. It may also overheat if fluid levels drop too low.

Solution for Overheating Problems

First, you need to figure out what is causing the transmission to overheat. If you are towing a heavy load or driving on a mountain road, you need to stop and let the transmission cool off. If the transmission doesn't seem to be working hard but it is still overheating, check the fluid levels. You may simply need to drain out the old transmission fluid and fill up the reservoir with new fluid.

Final Best Practices for Avoiding Issues with your Chrysler 545RFE Transmission

Many of the issues listed above can be avoided by simply taking proper care of your transmission, you should make sure to change the fluid and the filters on-time as well as perform a transmission flush at least once. For a step by step guide on how to perform a transmission fluid flush, read this article. Performing the right maintenance for your gearbox will help your transmission last much longer and be more reliable. Also, you should not drive in an overly aggressive way, especially when you are towing a heavy load. Of course, you should keep in mind that towing heavy loads will cause your transmission to wear more quickly, even if you drive conservatively.

Leave a Comment: