The Dodge RFE series transmission has gone through some changes with the solenoid block and now changes with transmission range sensor (TRS) plate.
We’re going to look at the solenoid block change along with the TRS plate change. You’ll see how to identify which parts will interchange, so you won’t be confused about what to use and when.
BLACK-CONNECTOR SOLENOID BLOCKS
The first RFE transmission was the 45RFE, which appeared in 1999. The 45RFE was a four speed; in 2001, the computer controls were changed to make it a five speed, called the 545RFE. They both came with a black-connector solenoid block (figure 1), used in vehicles from 1999-2003.
That’s okay, because you should always update the black-connector solenoid block to the solenoid block with the white connector. We’ll look at what needs to change along with the solenoid block later.
The black-connector solenoid block came with a type-1 (figure 2) transmission range sensor plate (TRS). To identify the TRS plate, measure the pocket depth: It should be 0.118” (3.0mm) deep to fit the black-connector solenoid block.
The black-connector solenoid block has to match the base gasket (figure 3). Never try to use this base gasket with any other solenoid block.
WHITE-CONNECTOR SOLENOID BLOCKS
The white-connector solenoid block (figure 4) came out in 2004 with an updated (type 2) transmission range sensor plate (figure 5). You’ll see these solenoid blocks used with the 545RFE and 68RFE transmissions.
To identify the type-2 transmission range sensor plate, measure the pocket depth: It should be 0.156” (about 4.0mm) deep. Also measure the side of the plate to the manual valve slot: It should measure 0.260” (6.6mm) wide.
This type-2 plate works with vehicles that display shifter positions P R N D 2 1. What’s different are the manual 2 and manual 1 positions. This changed in later years; we’ll talk about that shortly.
The white-connector solenoid block base gasket (figure 6) is different from the black-connector solenoid block base gasket.
The white-connector solenoid block will replace all of the other types of solenoid blocks. You just have to make sure you use the correct transmission range sensor plate: Type 2 with cars that have manual 1 and manual 2 on the shifter, type 3 if it just has Drive on the shifter.
GRAY-CONNECTOR SOLENOID BLOCKS
The gray-connector solenoid block came out in 2009 (figure 7) and has one less solenoid than the white-connector solenoid. It uses the same base gasket as the white-connector solenoid block.
The transmission range sensor plate is where the confusion starts. From 2009 to around 2011, it’ll still use the type-2 transmission range sensor plate, which works with vehicles that have manual 1 and manual 2 positions on the shifter.
There’s no cutoff day on the change to the type-3 transmission range sensor plate. The type-3 transmission range sensor plate (figure 8) has a pocket depth of 0.158” (4.0mm) and the side of the manual valve slot will be 0.500” (12.7mm). This type-3 plate fits vehicles without manual 1 or manual 2 shifter positions.
You can replace the gray-connector solenoid block with a white-connector solenoid block, as long as you use the right transmission range sensor plate: Type 2 with cars that have manual 1 and manual 2 on the shifter, type 3 if it just has Drive on the shifter.
A little attention to the details will help you avoid confusion while working on an RFE transmission.