Transmission Repair Questions

green_rt10

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Hello,

I have a semi-involved transmission repair question. Well, a few of them. I bought my ~60k-mile 95 RT/10 just over a year ago, and I ended up rebuilding the transmission in April due to worn synchros (first evidenced by reverse popping out). During the work, they told me it looked like it had been previously rebuilt already. The shop that worked on the car are the local Viper gurus. Anyone in my area (which I'm keeping vague) would likely know their name. And, the shop was—and continues to be—awesome.

Since then, I've driven it about 700 miles or so. Only around town and on country roads, and not aggressively. I'm still a little nervous about crashing. : )

Anyway, about a month or two ago, reverse started popping out again. I brought the car back to the shop, and they had their transmission partner remove it. He said he couldn't believe the car had only been driven 700 miles. The shop told me it is trashed--synchros are toast, etc. Upon further inspection, I have been told that the tolerances are off somewhere (I need to clarify whether the block or the transmission housing are off). Apparently, because the fit was just slightly off, the transmission has been rocking slightly under load, wearing everything down prematurely. For what it's worth, the shop said they have never encountered this situation before. So, my Viper is broken in a very particular way, I guess.

Anyway, they are going to rebuild it again (under warranty) but are going to fit it with new guide dowels and some sort of transmission adapter to make sure it fits perfectly.

My questions are:
—Does this sound rickety to you? I know modified cars are fitted with transmission adapters, but it feels like such a bummer to have an OEM engine and the factory transmission held together with an adapter. Again, no diss on the shop—they are working with what they have. It sounds like this is the best that they—or anyone—could do. Given that the transmission looks to have already been rebuilt, this has been an ongoing issue.
—If the factory truly bungled this, am I stuck with a bad car? Is this Viper worth keeping, or do you see this being an ongoing problem. Having the car wear through a T56 in just 700 miles of cruising (not racing) is very alarming.
—Are there any other questions I should be asking?

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!
 
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GTS Dean

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If the bellhousing is not correctly centered on the pilot bearing, it can put an eccentric load on the input shaft and bearing. If the gear stack is not shimmed with the proper preload it will lead to increased internal wear. Not all synchro rings are happy with different lubes.
 

Steve M

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Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Or in this case, your Viper because of the transmission.

But I also wouldn't recommend blindly throwing parts and labor at a potentially complex problem like this one without thoroughly understanding the underlying cause. The transmission case and/or bellhousing could be re-machined, but that should only be done if absolutely necessary, and to do it properly would require some pretty specialized tools. An "adapter" sounds a bit odd, but I don't rebuild transmissions for a living.

It might be worth looking into a second opinion. Where specifically in the Midwest are you located? The reason I ask is because I've personally used John Donato to rebuild the transmission in my '08, and I was impressed with his wealth of knowledge. He knew just by the feel of my input shaft that it was shimmed incorrectly, and found a few other issues while he was in there. He's in the Detroit area, which is about a 3.5 hour 1-way drive for me, and it was well worth the trip. After seeing the pallets of Viper transmissions he had laying there in his shop, there are many that also trust him, and not just for stock rebuilds. Rebuilding transmissions isn't his full time job, but he specializes in it, and has the resources at his disposal (including good contacts in the automotive industry) to do it right.
 
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green_rt10

green_rt10

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Thanks, Steve and Dean! I appreciate the thoughts. I'm going to mention these ideas to the shop. Unfortunately, the car's sans its transmission right now, so I can't drive it away to solicit another opinion directly. But, it may not be a bad idea to ask another Viper shop what they think is going on.

I really appreciate your guidance!
 

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