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Old 09-24-2012, 07:02 AM   #1
ChrisJeepTJ's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Mystic, CT
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32RH Auto Transmission - Shifting to Drive Issues When Cold

Hi folks, I'm trying to trouble shoot an issue with my '99 Wrangler 4L Auto with 105k mi, where shifting into drive after vehicle has sat for a day or two results in very little movement until after 3-5 seconds. Almost as if the vehicle is in neutral until it builds enough pressure and starts to creep forward. Once warmed up the issue will disappear for the rest of the day, even if it sits for a few hours. It definitely seems more pronounced with the temps falling here in CT.

I have drained the ATF twice in the last 6 months of ownership, once to perform routine maintenance and the second to adjust the bands (the issue was already present). Each time I replaced the filter and refilled with ATF +4. The fluid levels are ok according to the dipstick.

Probably unrelated, I get a transmission whine in first gear when taking off. I read that it might be the planetary gears but regardless, it doesn't seem to affect the shifts which are smooth across the board.

Somewhere I saw it may be a failing check valve on the oil cooler supply line and to check for that I should shift into Neutral for 10 seconds and then to drive to see if that solves it. Maybe also a pump issue. Thanks for any suggestions.

PS- any ideas on rebuild costs? Would that fix the trans whine when starting out?

Thanks, Chris

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Old 09-24-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2011
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I think you are on it about the check valve. the whine is a pressure flow issue also with the valve.

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Old 09-24-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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Location: Kenly, NC
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That whine could be the TC starving for fluid
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:01 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Let a good trans shop take a look at it. Most will give a free evaluation.

Probably your transmission check valve. It keeps the fluid from draining out of your torque converter after sitting for a while. You can check the level of your trans fluid a couple of day after sitting. Your fluid level will be up if the check valve is bad because the fluid from the torque converter will drain back into the pan. You can buy just the check valve for about $10 and splice it in or you can buy the entire line with the valve built in for about $80. Almost any trans shop will know about this and have parts to fix it.

It is a simple trans to rebuild. I have a 30RH which is almost the same as your 32RH. Prices range from about $700-$900 in the Chicago area. I always thought my old trans was fine with the exception of slow shift or gear changes when cold out. It shifted fine once it warmed up. Drove it that way for almost 2 years then it gave out. Second gear finally gave up and started slipping all the time. I got 160K miles out of my original transmission with regular fluid, filter changes and band adjustments. I just had mine fully rebuilt with a new trans pump, seals and torque converter. 36 month / 36K mile warranty for $900 including a new check valve, OEM Borg Warner friction parts, all labor to remove and re-install. Could have got it all done for $750 but that was only with 12 month/ 12K mile warranty. I decided the extra $150 was worth the extra 24K mile and 24 month longer warranty.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Location: Mystic, CT
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Thanks guys for the responses. I would like to pick up check valve and install it myself. If I buy one from NAPA is there a specific location that I should install it? Is the old check valve internal on the cooler line?

Also, on the whine, I changed the fluid in the TC earlier this summer and the whine existed before and after. I am looking up a few transmission shops in my area (Southeastern CT) to see who seems the best to help me troubleshoot that and repair.

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