Shift to P then Desired Gear - 2017 RAM 1500 Limited

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SwiFtEnRo

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Introduction:
Hello, my name is Zach. I'm new to this forum but I wanted a place to document my issues in case someone else has the same issues down the road. I also have made up two stories. One if you want to know what this thread is about and one explaining all the details about the problem at hand. I hope I can keep everyone updated and help someone else one day with the same issue.

Prerequisites:
- My truck is a 2017 RAM 1500 Limited with a 5.7L V8.
- My truck has about 110,000 miles on it.
- The transmission pan/ filter and fluids were replaced 06/2020.
- I replaced my battery about a month ago (Early Feb 2023).
- This is the first winter since owning the truck that I haven't parked in a heated garage.

Short story:
I replaced my battery and ever since then when it gets really cold outside (below 0°F) my check engine light turns on and when I put my truck into "drive" I got an error message that reads "Shift to P then Desired Gear".

Long story:
I live in MN where temperatures can dip pretty low and I park outside in the elements. About a month ago I went to go start my truck and it wouldn't turn over. I would press the button and nothing would happen. I then hooked up a portable jumper and got it going. Let it run for about 30 minutes before turning it off and walking away (thinking maybe the battery just needed to be charged). I came back the next day and the same issue occurred. I then again jumped my truck and drove to the auto parts store to purchase a battery (more specifically I drove to Advance Auto Parts and purchased a DieHard Platinum AGM Battery: H7; https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p...for-high-electrical-demands-h7-agm/10210826-P). When I was in the store I didn't turn off my truck thinking if I did it would die. Once I drove home I pushed the fiance's car out of the heated garage and started removing my old (original) battery from the truck.

As most of us are aware changing a car/ truck battery is easy. About 30 minutes later I had the new battery installed and ready to go. I started up my truck and all seemed well. This is where things started to get weird, when I turned my truck to drive immediately the check engine light turned on. I got an error message that read "Shift to P then Desired Gear". I had never seen this before so I did just that, shifted my truck into 'park' and then back into 'drive'. The same error message came back up. Frustrated I then did it another 5-10x with the same outcome every time. So next I just turned off the truck for 30 seconds and turned it back on. Still the same thing. Dumbfounded I went to the internet. I read a form that said sometimes the truck needs a full hour disconnected from the battery to reset whatever. So I said what the heck and did just that. I disconnected the battery and went inside. About an hour later I came back out to the truck and reconnected the battery. Got back in, said a little prayer, and started it back up. Same issue "Shift to P then Desired Gear". Frustrated I went back to the internet. I saw another form that said it could be transmission issues. Scared and with nothing left else to try I figured I'd let it run for 5-10 minutes to get everything up to operating temperature. After the transmission temperature read about 70°F I put it in drive and to my surprise, the truck started to move! Confused about why it was now working I went and did some close-to-home errands for about an hour. I did think to stop off at the auto parts store again to read the codes on my truck. I did get a transmission control module error code of "P1B14-00 - Park-By-Wire - Unintended Park Position". Strange, I tried to clear the code but it remained a "permanent code". I figured since my truck is running that maybe it would just go away on its own, and it did. The next morning when I went to start my truck no more code. Not a single issue came up after that so I figured it was just a glitch in the computer system and since forgot about the issue.

Flash forward to today. For the last two days, I haven't had to go anywhere. Leaving my truck out in the elements while temperatures dipped down to -11°F. I mean it was cold but not that cold. This morning I did the usual, I remotely started my truck for about 10 minutes. Not long enough for all systems to get to ideal operating temperatures but enough to get the cab warm for my drive to work. When I got into my truck that same old issue came up. I immediately noticed the check engine light was turned on. When I went to put my truck into "drive" I got an error message that read "Shift to P then Desired Gear". Remembering what worked before I let my truck run until the transmission temperature read >70°F. Sure enough, it moved again.

Plan:
Next week I have a scheduled appointment at a RAM dealership for them to diagnose the issue. In the meantime, I plan on letting my truck warm up to operational temperature before going anywhere.

What I believe could be the issue:
1. Transmission fluid is low. I did replace the transmission pan/ filter and fluids in 06/2020. Maybe I never filled the pan up enough? Maybe there is a leak? Maybe my truck is temperamental and doesn't like being cold?
2. The passenger side door latch sensor needs to be replaced. It doesn't indicate that the door is "open" on my dash but the door does have some issues. When you normally walk up to your truck with your keys in your pocket the door will unlock. Or say you again have your keys in your pocket and you press the little button on the door handle, it should lock. It doesn't do either of those. I do know that if your door is open the truck will get the same message. Maybe since replacing the battery it triggered something? Who knows.
3. The transmission parking pawl needs to be replaced since it's getting stuck in the park position.
4. Faulty Park Release Solenoid
5. Faulty Park Hold Solenoid
6. Park Hold Solenoid harness is open or shorted
7. Park Hold Solenoid circuit has a poor electrical connection
8. Faulty Transmission Control Module (TCM)
9. ECU needs to be reflashed

Below I attached some supporting files such as:
- 02_2023_ScanReport = The original scan report from when this issue first came up
- ShiftDashError = The error code that appears on my dash
 

Attachments

  • ShiftDashError.jpg
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  • 02_2023_ScanReport.pdf
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Last edited:

Spree

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I have the same truck but a big horn. I leave it outside all winter and have no problems. Waiting to see what you find out.
 

Shawn Burns

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I had similar issues after a fluid pan change. The aftermarket pan was interfering with the parking pawl to be able to shift between park and D. It cleared itself up once I put the old pan on. I did not have any issues when I did a recent PPE pan install.
 

KoboldTaco

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OP, welcome to the forum. I’m agreeing with @Shawn Burns as a suspect resolution to the overall issue; I’m also impressed with your home diagnosis and I only wish more new members would open with the level of detail that you provided.

Any chance you can swap the pan with the original before you take it to the dealer and confirm if Shawn is right? I’m somewhat new as far as a RAM owner is concerned, a year in June so I can’t give you my experience directly but I’m a fan of looking in the last place that was touched.

Do ensure you follow refill instructions for trans work in the future to the Letter of the law. Those darn things can be touchy.
 
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SwiFtEnRo

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OP, welcome to the forum. I’m agreeing with @Shawn Burns as a suspect resolution to the overall issue; I’m also impressed with your home diagnosis and I only wish more new members would open with the level of detail that you provided.

Any chance you can swap the pan with the original before you take it to the dealer and confirm if Shawn is right? I’m somewhat new as far as a RAM owner is concerned, a year in June so I can’t give you my experience directly but I’m a fan of looking in the last place that was touched.

Do ensure you follow refill instructions for trans work in the future to the Letter of the law. Those darn things can be touchy.
Kobold,
Unfortunately, since changing out my transmission pan/filter almost 18 months ago I no longer have the original pan to reinstall. I personally find it strange that I haven't had any issues up until this season. Even more strange I can't believe it only started after replacing the battery...
 
OP
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SwiFtEnRo

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Good afternoon fellow forum readers,

I just wanted to give a quick update before tomorrow's run-in with the dealership.

It's now been about two days since my last long post. Since then my truck has stayed outside in temperature ranges of 5°F - 25°F. For kicks, I figured I would go run another full diagnostic report with my BlueDriver OBDII scanner to see what type of codes I got in return. To my surprise, I started up my truck and it no longer has the "check engine" light on anymore (this is the same thing that happened last time and I figured it fixed itself). I still ran a diagnostic and saw still the same errors and a few new ones. The new codes mostly are due to the cold weather like the Park Assist Module having ice buildup or the normal air suspension control codes that I've seen before in other forms with cold temperatures.

I do like @Shawn Burns thought of it being an issue with the aftermarket transmission pan/filter. For those who don't know and are reading this post because they are having this same issue let me get you up to speed. It's recommended (per the user manual) to replace the transmission fluid every 90,000 miles. When I bought my truck back in May of 2020 it came with about 60,000 miles on it. Once I reached that 90,000 mark I changed my transmission fluid. I found out that this generation of RAM trucks has a sealed transmission. Meaning the "pan" is also the filter. So probably just like many other people, I replaced it when I replaced the fluids. More specifically the "Dorman OE Solutions Transmission Pan - 265-850" from O'Reilly (https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...-truck-2017-ram-1500?q=transmission+pan&pos=1). Along with the ~8 quarts of transmission fluid. If you are looking for a how-to on how to do this yourself this is the site I used "https://www.blauparts.com/blog/how-to-change-ram-1500-transmission-fluid-8-speed.html".

Now fast forward to today and to recap on my thoughts above, I find it weird that after 18 months of no issues now after changing the battery I'm having this "P1B14" code appear. Yes, I understand that it's cold out and this is the first year of it being outside but what a weird issue. Doing your own maintenance on your vehicle shouldn't take working together with the dealership.

With the "warmer" weather now the truck works as intended but I still plan on bringing it in to get fixed. I have read on other forms if not fixed that this problem can happen when you stop at a stoplight leaving you dead in the water and I don't need that. I'll keep you all updated and appreciate the "open arms" approach everyone on the form has given. I truly believe the documentation and experiences of past customer issues will help future DIYers in their future endeavors.

Below I attached a supporting file:
-
110304-2017RAM1500-022623 = The scan report from today (02/26/2023)
 

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  • 110304-2017RAM1500-022623.pdf
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KoboldTaco

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Kobold,
Unfortunately, since changing out my transmission pan/filter almost 18 months ago I no longer have the original pan to reinstall. I personally find it strange that I haven't had any issues up until this season. Even more strange I can't believe it only started after replacing the battery...
Don’t disagree at all. Good luck on the resolution!
 

RodRamCar

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Good afternoon fellow forum readers,

I just wanted to give a quick update before tomorrow's run-in with the dealership.

It's now been about two days since my last long post. Since then my truck has stayed outside in temperature ranges of 5°F - 25°F. For kicks, I figured I would go run another full diagnostic report with my BlueDriver OBDII scanner to see what type of codes I got in return. To my surprise, I started up my truck and it no longer has the "check engine" light on anymore (this is the same thing that happened last time and I figured it fixed itself). I still ran a diagnostic and saw still the same errors and a few new ones. The new codes mostly are due to the cold weather like the Park Assist Module having ice buildup or the normal air suspension control codes that I've seen before in other forms with cold temperatures.

I do like @Shawn Burns thought of it being an issue with the aftermarket transmission pan/filter. For those who don't know and are reading this post because they are having this same issue let me get you up to speed. It's recommended (per the user manual) to replace the transmission fluid every 90,000 miles. When I bought my truck back in May of 2020 it came with about 60,000 miles on it. Once I reached that 90,000 mark I changed my transmission fluid. I found out that this generation of RAM trucks has a sealed transmission. Meaning the "pan" is also the filter. So probably just like many other people, I replaced it when I replaced the fluids. More specifically the "Dorman OE Solutions Transmission Pan - 265-850" from O'Reilly (https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...-truck-2017-ram-1500?q=transmission+pan&pos=1). Along with the ~8 quarts of transmission fluid. If you are looking for a how-to on how to do this yourself this is the site I used "https://www.blauparts.com/blog/how-to-change-ram-1500-transmission-fluid-8-speed.html".

Now fast forward to today and to recap on my thoughts above, I find it weird that after 18 months of no issues now after changing the battery I'm having this "P1B14" code appear. Yes, I understand that it's cold out and this is the first year of it being outside but what a weird issue. Doing your own maintenance on your vehicle shouldn't take working together with the dealership.

With the "warmer" weather now the truck works as intended but I still plan on bringing it in to get fixed. I have read on other forms if not fixed that this problem can happen when you stop at a stoplight leaving you dead in the water and I don't need that. I'll keep you all updated and appreciate the "open arms" approach everyone on the form has given. I truly believe the documentation and experiences of past customer issues will help future DIYers in their future endeavors.

Below I attached a supporting file:
-
110304-2017RAM1500-022623 = The scan report from today (02/26/2023)
That was a great write up on the transmission fluid and pan R&R. The only thing they didn't mention that could help DIYers is that with the 4th gen trucks, a lift is actually not going to ensure a level fill properly. the rear of the truck usualy has to be lifted higher than the front to have the transmission be completely level. Is it enough to make that big of a difference? I am not too sure on that but if they're going to say the transmission needs to be level which can be tricky to see, to say the least, then a normal shop lift probably isn't a great idea.
 

EdGs

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Most of us have had to lift the rear of the truck 9-10 inches for the pan rail on the 8hp70 to be level.

The fill process is very specific, @Wild one has posted the green sheet instructions copiously throughout this site.

Follow them.
 

Wild one

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Just for the record,these are the instructions that come with a "brand new" 8 speed bought from the dealer. Cost me a few bucks to get them,lol
 

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Jeepwalker

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OP & WileOne ...thanks for sharing.
Really good info!
 

RodRamCar

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OP & WileOne ...thanks for sharing.
Really good info!
@Wild one what i don't get is where did the idea that the pan must be level come from when I don't believe I found that in that attachment you just shared yet it's commonly stated?
 

joesstripclub

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Yeah, disregard my blindness hahaha. Still it's hard for some reason to get that right when I tried doing that on my last refill so I just did my best.
No worries. I didn't get my transmission completely level and I haven't had any issues with it. I think there is a little room for error in the fill level but you need to at least get it close.
 

RodRamCar

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No worries. I didn't get my transmission completely level and I haven't had any issues with it. I think there is a little room for error in the fill level but you need to at least get it close.
I raised rear of my truck up about 8 inches I think and filled it according to @Wild one attachment. it's been fine but I have noticed that the truck has always had more noticeable cold running shifts and when its warm its smooth as butter. kinda weird and Ive heard that changing fluid won't affect that if the truck has always had it because it's more due to shift logic, not really how clean the fluid is. I would figure clean fluid would make a difference but maybe not? idk.
 

Wild one

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I raised rear of my truck up about 8 inches I think and filled it according to @Wild one attachment. it's been fine but I have noticed that the truck has always had more noticeable cold running shifts and when its warm its smooth as butter. kinda weird and Ive heard that changing fluid won't affect that if the truck has always had it because it's more due to shift logic, not really how clean the fluid is. I would figure clean fluid would make a difference but maybe not? idk.
The transmissions do seem to be very sensitive to their fill point.I've seen where guys have yelled about how they shift after doing a pan and service on the 8 speed,then they jack it up till the pan rail is level,and get maybe another 1/2 to 3/4's of a litre of fluid into the transmission,and it cures their ill shifting issues.
 
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SwiFtEnRo

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Good afternoon fellow forum readers I just got back from work and the dealership still has my truck tonight (now 48 hours total) but just because they didn't have all the oil in stock.

I just want to start out by saying @Wild one and @RodRamCar came up with the solutions to my problem.

Here is what the dealership told me. First, this morning I had the same issue and it wasn't even cold maybe 32°F, I started my truck remotely as normal for about 15 minutes and it wouldn't move, still the same, "Shift to P then Desired Gear". After restarting the truck it still had the check engine light but at least I was able to make it to the dealership. The first issue they called me to let me know about was the fluid that came out was red, they said it was supposed to be green. I was a bit confused since I thought isn't all transmission fluid red? They wanted me to tell them what fluid I had put in when I did my transmission fluid replacement. I called O'Riley where I bought the fluid and they were able to find out I purchased 5qts of Valvoline ATF+4. As mentioned by @Wild one green sheet says at the top of the sheet "This fluid is not compatible with ATF+4 or any other current Christler transmission fluid". So red flag #1 (no pun intended), but in my defense when I drained the transmission fluid from my truck it came out red so I didn't think anything of it. Someone must have replaced it before I even got to it.

The second issue they told me was I was about 1qt short of oil in my pan (as mentioned by @RodRamCar "a lift is actually not going to ensure a level fill properly. the rear of the truck usually has to be lifted higher than the front to have the transmission be completely level"). So when I filled the truck with oil I didn't add enough because it wasn't completely level.

I find it very strange that I never had a single issue for 18 months running ATF+4 fluid UNTIL I changed my battery. Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe when you replace the battery in these trucks it runs through a full diagnostic and the computer picked something up? The world may never know...

So what did I learn? That Mopar MZ is very expensive. I needed 9 quarts of it and after it was all said and done I had a bill of $550 (this included the diagnostic and the new gasket plus the mechanics time). I also learned why I was having this issue only when it was cold outside because ATF+4 is more viscous than the Mopar tears they call "MZ". Also, the reason why the 2017 RAM 1500 Limited doesn't have a dipstick is that its a fully sealed transmission and requires no maintenance (as referenced on pages 679 and 685 of the owner's manual http://owners.mopar.ca/en/manuals/2017/2017E-RAM-15_25_35-OM-4th.pdf).

So what can you do if you see a "Shift to P then Desired Gear" error come up on your RAM? Start with the basics, are your doors open? Next, what have you done to your transmission? If you are like me did you add the wrong oil?

P.S. the dealership did mention this may have caused a bigger issue but they won't know until after getting the oil tomorrow and test-driving the truck. So if any further issues come up I will for sure let everyone know.

Again thank you for everyone's input and I hope you don't ever have this issue but if you do hopefully this forum will be able to give you some insights into how to fix it yourself.
 

Wild one

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Good afternoon fellow forum readers I just got back from work and the dealership still has my truck tonight (now 48 hours total) but just because they didn't have all the oil in stock.

I just want to start out by saying @Wild one and @RodRamCar came up with the solutions to my problem.

Here is what the dealership told me. First, this morning I had the same issue and it wasn't even cold maybe 32°F, I started my truck remotely as normal for about 15 minutes and it wouldn't move, still the same, "Shift to P then Desired Gear". After restarting the truck it still had the check engine light but at least I was able to make it to the dealership. The first issue they called me to let me know about was the fluid that came out was red, they said it was supposed to be green. I was a bit confused since I thought isn't all transmission fluid red? They wanted me to tell them what fluid I had put in when I did my transmission fluid replacement. I called O'Riley where I bought the fluid and they were able to find out I purchased 5qts of Valvoline ATF+4. As mentioned by @Wild one green sheet says at the top of the sheet "This fluid is not compatible with ATF+4 or any other current Christler transmission fluid". So red flag #1 (no pun intended), but in my defense when I drained the transmission fluid from my truck it came out red so I didn't think anything of it. Someone must have replaced it before I even got to it.

The second issue they told me was I was about 1qt short of oil in my pan (as mentioned by @RodRamCar "a lift is actually not going to ensure a level fill properly. the rear of the truck usually has to be lifted higher than the front to have the transmission be completely level"). So when I filled the truck with oil I didn't add enough because it wasn't completely level.

I find it very strange that I never had a single issue for 18 months running ATF+4 fluid UNTIL I changed my battery. Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe when you replace the battery in these trucks it runs through a full diagnostic and the computer picked something up? The world may never know...

So what did I learn? That Mopar MZ is very expensive. I needed 9 quarts of it and after it was all said and done I had a bill of $550 (this included the diagnostic and the new gasket plus the mechanics time). I also learned why I was having this issue only when it was cold outside because ATF+4 is more viscous than the Mopar tears they call "MZ". Also, the reason why the 2017 RAM 1500 Limited doesn't have a dipstick is that its a fully sealed transmission and requires no maintenance (as referenced on pages 679 and 685 of the owner's manual http://owners.mopar.ca/en/manuals/2017/2017E-RAM-15_25_35-OM-4th.pdf).

So what can you do if you see a "Shift to P then Desired Gear" error come up on your RAM? Start with the basics, are your doors open? Next, what have you done to your transmission? If you are like me did you add the wrong oil?

P.S. the dealership did mention this may have caused a bigger issue but they won't know until after getting the oil tomorrow and test-driving the truck. So if any further issues come up I will for sure let everyone know.

Again thank you for everyone's input and I hope you don't ever have this issue but if you do hopefully this forum will be able to give you some insights into how to fix it yourself.
I think Valvolene MaxLife is Red,and quite a few guys use it instead of the overpriced ZF fluid.
 

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