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Q: Transmission Issues. What do I do? How bad is it? on 2001 Dodge Ram 1500

2001 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 SLT 5.9L Automatic.
Transmission light on, smoke, a high temperature, and a proper and clean and fluid level. Manually shifted 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Drive, to get it to move and get it home. Could it be the transmission sensors? Could it be clogged transmission cooler lines? Will replacement of filter and fluid solve issue? Or do I have to replace the entire transmission?
What seems to make the problem better or worse? Only drove it to get it home. Did not want to make it worse.
How long have you had this problem? Happened when pulling a loaded horse trailer on Friday. Limped it home on Saturday.
transmission, dodge, ram 1500
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I'm sorry you're having the problem with your automatic transmission, and I know the direction to go in seems a little difficult to ascertain. However, diagnostic testing is really the only way forward to determine what has failed and what needs repaired. Yes, the fluid could use changing perhaps, but it may be too little, too late where that is concerned. If you are able to manually select gears, you could have some kind of issue within the valve body or shift solenoids. You could have an electronic or a hydraulic problem. Can't really tell until having the diagnostic testing performed.

In truth, because you have been using your truck to it's full capability, it's likely that the transmission was running at a very high temperature, and that internal damage related to this could have occurred. Again, too hard to tell, and a diagnostic test is required to find out what is going on.
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