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Old 05-30-2009, 12:16 AM   #1
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2004 Unlimited Auto Transmission Problem:

I've been messing with a transmission problem in my 04 unlimited for over a month now. My mechanic is at a loss, so I thought I'd just throw this out to see if anyone has had the same problem and if so, find out what they did to fix it. Sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to tell the complete story and put out as much information as possible.

My 2004 Unlimited has a 4.0 and the 4 speed auto transmission. It has 74k miles. I'm running 33" tires with the stock 3.73 gears. I've been doing this for over 55k miles so I don't think the tires/gears are the issue, but it might be relevant.

The problem started one morning when I was driving to work. (There are sections of the freeway where the transmission drops out of overdrive to maintain speed. When this happens, I'm turning just over 3k rpm to maintain 75/80 mph. Normal cruise is just over 2k rpm to maintain 70+ mph.) I had been running at 3k rpm for about 5 minutes when the CEL came on, a few minutes later it dropped into "limp mode" (2nd gear) and I “limped” 6 miles to work. At lunch time I checked the fluid level and it was 1/2 qt low. I drove to autozone and got some ATF+4 and added 1/2 qt. The light cleared and everything was fine on the trip home. I drove it to work (35 miles each way) for 3 more days with no problem.

That weekend, I dropped the pan and changed the fluid because it had a brown tinge to it and it had been 30k miles since it had been changed. There were no metal pieces in the pan, just a bunch of "Fuzz" on the magnet.

A few days later, I was driving it to work. About 30 miles into the trip, the CLE came on and the transmission went into “Limp” mode again. When I started it to drive home, there was no light and everything seemed fine. Next morning, at about the same place as the day before, CLE came on and trans went into “Limp” mode again. This time on the trip home, the CLE didn’t go out, but it drove fine. I took it to my mechanic and he hooked up his reader and got about a dozen codes out of the transmission. He cleared the codes and said to bring it back as soon as possible if it happened again.
Next day, same scenario. I took it in and he pulled codes again. This time it only displayed “P1776” (Solenoid Switch Valve Latched in LR Position). Service bulletin said the whole valve body required replacement because the solenoid was built in. He replaced the valve body and I drove it the next day without incident.

The following day, it was back to doing the same thing as before, after about 30 miles the CLE would come on and then it would fall into “Limp” mode. Let it sit a while and the CLE goes off and it drives fine. I took it back to the mechanic and he cleared the codes again. It was showing “P1776” again. He made a few “adjustments” and said he thought it should be fine.
I had no problems for a week, but now the thing is still randomly going into “limp” mode and the CLE comes on and then clears itself. I took it in today, the mechanic checked for codes and the only one was the “P1776”. He has researched it as much as he can and is stumped. He is going to call a friend of his that works at a Chrysler dealer to see if he has any ideas. I told him I would post this in a few forums to see if I could come up with anything.

Any ideas are greatly appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to read all this and for any help you might be able to provide.

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Old 05-30-2009, 08:37 AM   #2
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Brian, the only thing that really comes to mind is that the bad valve body/solenoid got replaced with another bad one.

I'm not sure what the source of the service bulletin was but if there were a group of bad ones out there it sounds like you ended up with 2 of them.

Was this Jeep warranty work or you taking it to a trusted mechanic of yours?

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Old 05-30-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevens243 View Post
Brian, the only thing that really comes to mind is that the bad valve body/solenoid got replaced with another bad one.

I'm not sure what the source of the service bulletin was but if there were a group of bad ones out there it sounds like you ended up with 2 of them.

Was this Jeep warranty work or you taking it to a trusted mechanic of yours?
I'm takin' it to a mechanic I've used for years. He works on all my vehicles including my boat from time to time. Never had a problem he couldn't fix.

The replacement valve body was new. The problem usually comes from wear on the solenoid shaft. He's thinking that the real problem may be that the TCM is reporting the wrong code. I hate inconsistant problems......
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:11 AM   #4
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Hey Brian,

Does your mechanic have access to a DRB?

I did a little research and found this:

Quote:
This indicates that the car
either has a bad shifter linkage or a sticking solenoid switch valve.

If the vehicle operator describes a MIL (MALFUNCTION INDICATOR LAMP) illumination and the technician finds DTC P1776

Solenoid Switch Valve Latched in LR Position is set the DRBIII® can be used to access the event data screen and look at the "TRS Code" reading.

NOTE: The solenoid switch valve is not in the solenoid pack it is in the valve body.

TRS Code Reads TR2

If the "TRS Code" displays "TR2" it is an indication that the manual valve was not fully in the OD position at the time the DTC was set. Check the shifter cable adjustment and adjust if necessary. Also check the shift control system for excessive friction and/or routing issues.

TRS Code Reads OD

If the "TRS Code" displays "OD" then a sticky solenoid switch valve is the primary cause.

Perform the proper diagnosis for the valve body. Inspect for foreign material in the solenoid switch valve and plugs.
I'll keep looking. I hope you get this solved soon!
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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IF you had a stick there would be no problem! I was going to suggest the solenoid shaft or even the computer is fryed.
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Quote:
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Isn't the JK just a rebodied PT Cruiser?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyote_94yj
Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:26 AM   #6
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Looks like there are a few TSB's on this issue.

NHTSA #'s: 2100206, 2100804

It also looks like it's a common issue with the 42RLE in the Wrangler and Dakota.

Maybe we should sick Jeepdocdave on this one!
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:27 AM   #7
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I can ask JeepDocDave when I see him today about it too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccain View Post
Isn't the JK just a rebodied PT Cruiser?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyote_94yj
Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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Thanks Guys! Any ideas that I can throw at the mechanic are helpful. There has to be something he is missing. (Oh how I long for the old days when wrenching didn't involve computer time.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccain View Post
Hey Brian,

Does your mechanic have access to a DRB?
Yep, TRS code was "OD" that's what led to replacing the valve body because of a sticky solenoid switch valve. He also cheched the shift linkage and verified that it hadn't slipped.

Mechanic has researched the TSBs too. He was going to reflash the chip, but the build date on the trans made him decide that it was contraindicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdhallissey View Post
I can ask JeepDocDave when I see him today about it too.
Any help is greatly apprieciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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Bump....
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:44 PM   #10
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Dave said there is also the relay that goes bad to that particual side of the harness (TRS code issue and Valve issue)
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Quote:
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Isn't the JK just a rebodied PT Cruiser?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyote_94yj
Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:48 AM   #11
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Mechanic spent several hours yesterday checking connections and wire resistance, etc.... said everything looked good. Ran it for almost an hour on the dyno and monitored the solenoids, everything was working properly. When it shifted, all the solenoids were open or closed as expected.

He said that he can't flash the TCM, it has to be done at a dealer. So it looks like that's my next step.

Quote:
Dave said there is also the relay that goes bad to that particular side of the harness (TRS code issue and Valve issue)
Any idea what relay it is that goes bad? and is it something I can change?
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:05 PM   #12
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any updates on this?
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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I have experienced the same exact problem down to the miles on the vehicle, tire size, distance traveled, the indicator lighter going off and on and dropping out of overdrive and RPM's, and just had the transmission solenoid pack replaced along with the normal service to the vehicle. Crossing my fingers that this will fix the problem.

If it doesn't I will post again and take it back to see if they can flash the TCM. I don't see any more posts from Unlimited, so I am hoping this is the final fix, if I continue to experience the same issue. I will post again.

Can someone explain to me what relay the previous responder is referring to?
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Old 09-04-2010, 12:08 AM   #14
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Hi guys, I JUST had mine serviced for this EXACT problem. Sorry your not going to like my outcome. I had to have the tranny rebuilt completely. Trusted mechanic and friend so I know it was screwed. It was a compilation of things that went wrong. I have been chasing this stupid problem for a year changing switches and solenoids and finally it gave out and I shelled over $3500. It hasn't done it since. Hope you fair better than i did.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:42 PM   #15
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transmission problem in 2004tj rubicon 4speed auto with 41,000 miles

Last week my check engine light came on and the car went to limp mode. would not shift out of 2nd gear.
We pulled the codes and got an P0605. Took it the dealership down in Colorado Springs. They said they were getting all kinds of crazy codes??

They finally decided that the TCM was the problem. Its being replaced today.
I haven't picked the car up yet but I hope this isn't the beginning of a long list of tranny problems.
This has been the best car I've ever owned. Zero problems up until now.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:53 PM   #16
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Hi guys, I JUST had mine serviced for this EXACT problem. Sorry your not going to like my outcome. I had to have the tranny rebuilt completely. Trusted mechanic and friend so I know it was screwed. It was a compilation of things that went wrong. I have been chasing this stupid problem for a year changing switches and solenoids and finally it gave out and I shelled over $3500. It hasn't done it since. Hope you fair better than i did.
x2...the fuzz on the magnet suggests too much metal wear. if you find brass in the fluid of the pan, which looks like fine gold speckles in the tranny fluid, then the clutch packs are wasted.

my 42RLE was rebuilt at 50k miles under warranty. the tranny isn't very reliable, runs too hot in the TJ and the shift points suck, with the torque converter locking up too soon. Bigger tires and stock gears make the problem even worse, and you essentially lose an entire gear just going from 30s to 33s. Regearing will help reduce the heat and load on the tranny, and installing a tranny cooler will help keep the fluid temps down. Go 4.88s for 33s, 5.13s or even 5.38s for 35s.

I've seen 220-240°F temps while driving mountain switchbacks in the summer. Thats high enough to ruin fluid and kill your tranny in short order. I've seen even 160-200°F temps just in stop and go traffic. Regearing dropped the temps an average 40°F, and with my tranny cooler I've yet to see over 160°F.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:02 PM   #17
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big tires are really pushing the transmission limit and because the torque converter cant lock up, its overheating. another thing why you should regear an automatic.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:52 AM   #18
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42RLE problems

Has anybody replaced their transmission with another type of transmission

that would be stronger and hold up to what jeeps are supposed to be able to do?
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:59 PM   #19
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Has anybody replaced their transmission with another type of transmission

that would be stronger and hold up to what jeeps are supposed to be able to do?
it has been done, mostly back to manual. auto swaps normally done with full engine swap.

getting rid of the 42RLE is akin to an engine swap because its 100% computer controlled. you need significant work with regard to PCM/TCM, crank position sensor & wiring. its cheaper to regear and rebuild a busted tranny like previously mentioned.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:31 AM   #20
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I have been having the P1776 code and my symptoms are as listed above. Thanks, I now have a good place to start.

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