The NV5600 Transmission was developed for Dodge’s 1999 to 2005 5.9L Ram 2500 and 3500 series. It replaced the five-speed NV4500 and was the first six-speed unit to serve the Ram Turbo Diesels. Almost double the weight of the NV4500, it handled more torque and was known for its superior gear spread and durability.
The unit became much better after a redesign of the transmission in 2001 that addressed some issues that had plagued it. Units manufactured between 1998 and 2000 were infamous for synchronizer malfunctions and a fragile input shaft.
The NV5600 got an improved clutch, polished-up synchro design, and reinforced input shaft. Let’s learn more about NV5600 transmission rebuild cost analysis.
NV5600 Transmission Rebuild Cost Analysis
Like any model, the NV5600 came with a host of common and unique indicators of malfunction.
Some of the most common and important ones to know about include:
- Acceleration and deceleration noise: Usually, problems with the input bearing, pocket bearing impairment, failure of sixth gear, or even pilot bearing present themselves as noises when both increasing and decreasing speed.
- Hard shifts: Unfortunately, this was a common issue with the NV5600 6-speed manual transmission. Much like transmission meant for larger vehicles such as trailers, the key to resolving this issue is double clutching in the right RPM range. Replacement of clutch hydraulic elements may also be necessary.
- Shift failure/will not shift: Sap-like resin accumulation on and around the shift rail bushing will make this much worse. This is a signal that it has been too long since your transmission went in for maintenance. The fix is to simply take it in for maintenance and develop a regular schedule for periodical touch-ups and maintenance.
- Grinding when gears are shifting: Here it is indicative that one or two things need replacing; the synchro rings and/or the bearings.
- Leaping out of gear: This is a sign of overall extreme wear. Normally, the synchro sliders, synchro rings, bearings, and gears are worn down.
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Different Nuances for Different Versions of Transmission
It is no secret the NV5600 came with a host of issues, but it was widely loved for its superior gear ratio and ability to handle high amounts of torque.
A common issue is a seizure of the rear bearing resulting in the cracking of the gear case. This will essentially make the core unusable to rebuilders. Overfilling with 25% to 75% more lubricant has been stated to increase rear bearing durability.
This is a correction to a problem that was discovered to plague the NV5600 in terms of oil feed and distribution.
In 2001, this was one of the issues that were addressed with the redesign by adding a reservoir and fluid retention system that solved any oil distribution and rear bearing lubrication deficiencies.
The input shaft was also taken from 1-1/4” to 1-3/8” after a road test failure by Chrysler engineering.
For this model of transmission, the major changes happened in 2001. The other significantly differentiated model was the 2003 new housing style with an altered length of the tower stub.
The most notable operational differences between the NV4500 and the NV5600 would have to be that the NV4500 was much lighter and had better shifting.
The two have very different designs with little to no matching parts. It is also a common belief that the NV5600 is a German design forged under a local license.
It is much easier to get parts for the post-2001 versions, although past 2005, when they stopped making parts, it was almost impossible to get new ones. The parts situation has improved, but unfortunately, for models from 1999 to 2000, the only option for most people is to retrofit with newer parts.
The main advantage of the NV5600 over the NV4500 is its superior performance, especially in applications needing high horsepower, such as towing.
However, the NV5600 is a hard shifter due to its complicated shifting mechanism and use of brass-plated synchronizer rings from 2001. This makes it very important to run the oil through a filter to remove brass shavings from the rings.
Rough Estimates of NV5600 Rebuild Cost (Do It Yourself or DIY)
A Dodge NV5600 Transmission Rebuild Kit for the diesel six-speed costs anywhere from $278 to $398, depending on variations, but your standard kit should have all the bearings, seals, gaskets, and synchro rings.
Synchro assembly fits on average go for $228; assorted bearing cups and needle bearings you can get for under $25. The total parts cost should be around $500, depending on what you are replacing.
In terms of equipment, the big inconvenience of the heavy NV5600 transmission is that you need a hoisting or lifting device to handle it.
Another possible inconvenience is having to use a 40-ton hydraulic press. Some owners have said you can pull the job off with a 20-ton press, but it has to be maxed out and a high-quality machine. Some presses have failed to get the gears loose.
Apart from the crane and press, you can achieve this with relatively available garage tools.
Having a Local Shop Rebuild It
It is essential to get estimates from different shops before deciding. People have seen quotes for $1-300 for replacement parts, with some garages charging as low as $400. If you can get a reasonable independent mechanic, it’s not unheard of to be charged as low as $50 per hour on labor.
Depending on what you need replacing, total costs have been reported at anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500, with shipping falling between the $550 to $650 range. Doing this at a local shop will allow you to avoid shipping costs, so do that preferably.
An Already Rebuilt Transmission
An already rebuilt nv5600 6-speed manual transmission will cost anywhere from $2,850 to $4,800, depending on where you are buying it from and what the package includes.
Some places will give you an upfront cost of between $3842 (with core fee waived) to $5,208, though you can get a rebuilt unit at $3,050 with a core exchange and warranty available at extra costs.
Second-generation transmissions have sometimes gone for $4,800, with an additional $2,000 charged if you have no core to return.
Repairs are sometimes rife with overcharging, so it’s best to do your research on current rates first. As I am writing, this $3,000 inclusive of installation is not a bad deal.
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Aftermarket performance transmissions
A heavy-duty aftermarket NV5600 goes for $5,995 on average. Some go for just above $5,000.
Buying aftermarket transmission has some advantages as builders address deficiencies with the stock versions. Some of the commonly improved parts of the NV5600 are:
- Harder valve body
- Specially bonded gasket valve body partition
- Further reinforced overdrive shaft
- Fortified accumulator plate
- Limit valve pleated to cater to accelerated wear areas
When buying aftermarket transmissions, always remember to factor in the core deposit fee, which usually ranges from $1,500 to $2,000.