The Chills - 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Long-Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger Long Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: The Chills

January 07, 2010


Forgive me, but the above picture is of the Tremec TR-6060 as it appears in a Camaro SS, but you get the idea. This post, unfortunately, is about our Challenger's own TR-6060.

I had our Challenger about a week ago, and as much as I didn't want to, I parked it outside.

I don't know how cold it got, our thermometers in Southern California only go down to 55 degrees, but at around 9 am the following morning our Challenger was nearly impossible to shift. Any attempt to shift into second was met with a slow, but equally loud, thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk. Eventually, after about four or five thunks, it would slot into gear only to suffer the same ordeal when attempting to shift into third. After a few of these painfully awkward shifts, I decided to dust off my seldom used double clutch upshift.

Amazingly, ten years after I last used did it, the double clutch shift worked and the gear lever slotted into second without protest. Ditto for third.

The thunking dissipated as the car, and the gearbox, warmed up but was still perceptible and occasionally caused a sloppy and abrupt upshift - but only into second and third gears. The other gears worked without protest, even in the cold morning leading me to come to a few possible conclusions.

1. The synchros might be lunched. These are the gears people want to 'power shift' and since that fast shifting goes completely against the grain of this transmission, enough over-aggression has cause the synchros to wear down and cry uncle. Remember, there are 30+ people of varying abilities who have access to these cars and not everybody is as awesome as I am.

2. The tranny fluid might be ill-suited for cooler temps. I find that hard to believe in that this happened in Southern California which never gets that cold. If that's the case, I can't imagine what this car would be like in North Dakota.

3. The floor mat might be keeping the clutch pedal from being full depressed and thus keeping the clutch from becoming fully disengaged. If that were true, the other gears would be just as recalcitrant as second and third.

So basically, I don't know.

What do you guys think?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 17,630 miles

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