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Old 01-24-2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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TJ automatic transmission problems... advice?

Hi Folks,

I’m new to the Jeep scene so forgive me if any of these questions seem dumb! A couple of weeks ago I bought a used Jeep Wrangler (year 2000, 4.0L, automatic, 130k miles), and think there might be an issue with the auto transmission. Here’s the symptoms:
· If the engine is cold (and it’s a cold day) then sometimes the transmission won’t engage. E.G. Start the engine, move from Neutral to Drive, put your foot on the gas, revs increase, but the Jeep doesn’t move. Rev it a bit higher and drive will engage… OR move from Drive into another gear (or Neutral) and back to Drive and it seem to be OK again.
· Seems to be more “drag” in the transmission that I would expect… foot on the brake and move from Neutral to Drive and there’s a noticeable “kick”; Jeep crawls forward when idling in neutral (even up hill!).

Is a full transmission flush and ATF4 replacement likely to fix this, is there something I can/should adjust, or am I looking at major transmission work/rebuild? Any suggestions would be much appreciated,

Cheers,
Colin.

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:06 PM   #2
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I'd start with doing an fluid and filter change, the flush alone won't do anything to remove the possibly plugged up filter. If that doesn't help I'm going to have to think the 32RH transmission is going to have to go to a transmission shop for either a rebuild or to have the bands tightened (sometimes that helps). I don't reccomend using any type of transmission fix in a bottle type of stuff, you'll only be wasting money. I hope you got a good deal on this jeep.

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:41 PM   #3
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Jeepjones - thanks for the reply. I'll try the simple/cheep fix first... flush and ATF/filter change.
Transmission "fix in a bottle"... aka useless snake oil ;-)
If it does need a transmission rebuild then approx how much $$$ should I budget for?
Is a tranny rebuild somethink I could/should do myself? I'm not scared of rebuilding... I'm currently doing a "down to the last nut and bolt" engine/gearbox teardown and rebuild on my Austin Mini (albeit a 4sp manual - I have no experience of auto rebuilds). Are there any unusual/specialist tools required, and where would I source a rebuild kit from?

Cheers,
Colin.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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I had the EXACT same problem as you described. when it's cold, it won't drop into gear. It takes several minutes of warmup before it would go .

I had my fluid and my filter changed out, and made sure they put the correct type of fluid back in it and that it was of a good quality.

I've had no problems with cold weather since then.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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PTaylor... hopefully the same will work for me
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:38 PM   #6
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Mine started doing the same this winter.... Fluid and filter change and it works like new again
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:06 PM   #7
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I rebuilt mine. Im sure if you lookup 32rh you will find some threads by me... never done it before but it was easy... just take lots of pics.... im sure a fluid change will prolly do the trick tho
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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Fluid and filter change fixed these same symptoms on mine with 100k. Easy to do and great results.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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2005 holds 12 quarts. A simple change is 6 quarts and a filter. The dealer can backflush the system and it's 12 quarts and you don't change the filter. I don't know if transmission shops can backflush.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:07 PM   #10
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Sounds like the ATF is not circulating properly.

The filter gets plugged, changing just the fluid or backflushing will at best be temporary. You have to replace the filter with a new filter! Make sure you use a quality filter - there are plenty of junk Chinese filters around - JUNK!

Quickie oil change places make their money on FAST - dropping the pan and changing the filter is not as profitable as sucking it out through a straw and putting in new.

Dealers and trans shops will sell you on the backflushing idea too, then when you still have trouble they sell you a rebuild - at least $1200 - can even be $2500.
Scam time!

Insist on a new filter and make sure they do it - ask to see the old one!

And - don't let them take the filter out and start the engine "to get the rest of the fluid out." If they try to do that, kill the tech!
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:16 PM   #11
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Folks,

Many thanks for the replies/advice. I'll get the ATF/filter changed... but not at any Quickie oil change place... I'll ask someone I trust for a recomendation (my local machine shop owner knows all the good/trustworthy auto shops in town).

Cheers,
Colin.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:10 PM   #12
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I'm experiencing the exact same issue on my jeep. I've got a 99 tj with the 3-speed automatic and 4.0l engine. Can anyone link me to the correct transmission fluid filter? Or at least point me in the right direction. I've having a fair bit of trouble finding the part or a write up on how to swap it out.

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:42 PM   #13
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I got m filter kit with gasket from napa. And It was under $20.00. I must be one of lucky ones cause the 3 speed in my 98 is doing real good even with 35s and 3.73 gears. To keep mine cool I have a deep pan and heavy duty oil cooler
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:31 AM   #14
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Sounds like the same problem I'm having. I have to let it run for 10 minutes before moving it. Creeps up hill and sometimes it jerks and/or stalls if I have to stop for any reason. Today, it wouldn't go in reverse.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:35 AM   #15
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Have you checked its ATF level in Neutral with the engine running & fully warmed up? Sounds like perhaps the torque converter is going bad but now that it's not going into Reverse, I'm not sure. Do check the ATF level though and make sure if it's low and you add ATF, to ONLY add ATF+4.... no other types of ATF should be used.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:29 PM   #16
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Kind of digging this thread of from the grave but on Friday I had my filter and fluid changed (taking the advice of you guys) and it worked like a charm. However, when I left work tonight I put it in reverse, back out, put it in drive, give it gas and then bam my transmission light comes on.

The dudes that did the work for me are awesome and on Friday they told me if I have any problems to bring it back by and they'd take care of me for free.


Any ideas?
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jmac6725 View Post
Sounds like the same problem I'm having. I have to let it run for 10 minutes before moving it. Creeps up hill and sometimes it jerks and/or stalls if I have to stop for any reason. Today, it wouldn't go in reverse.
I had this problem too. One of the most notorious transmission problems is leakage. Leakage can ruin a transmission. If you find that your transmission isn't shifting right, always check the fluid level. Low fluid can burn up the transmission.

I had leakage too. When my Jeep wouldn't engage properly, I always found out that my fluid level was low. I would refill it, and it would work properly for awhile. Eventually, I got tired of constantly adding fluid, and eventually it got a little worse each time I got around to adding it.

Eventually, it wouldn't even engage in reverse, even with full transmission fluid. Then, after I rebuilt, I noticed that the seal was leaking. And, I began to have the same problems. I immediately took it back to the guy who did the rebuild and he fixed it. No more leaks, no more tranny problems.

Jeeps are known for having automatic transmission problems. I attribute this to the four wheel drive sophistication. Aamco wanted $2500.00 dollars to rebuild my Jeep 4x4 auto transmission. I found a reputable transmission shop across town, that wanted $900 dollars complete. Then, I found a local guy, three blocks from me, who was a referral, who wanted $1200.00. I went with the referral, and after the slight leakage was fixed, I haven't had any slipping after 13 months.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by callingupthunder View Post
Kind of digging this thread of from the grave but on Friday I had my filter and fluid changed (taking the advice of you guys) and it worked like a charm. However, when I left work tonight I put it in reverse, back out, put it in drive, give it gas and then bam my transmission light comes on.

The dudes that did the work for me are awesome and on Friday they told me if I have any problems to bring it back by and they'd take care of me for free.


Any ideas?
Yes. Check the fluid level. If the fluid is getting low, you probably have leakage. Transmissions can leak from many different places. Sometimes, fixing the leaks can solve the problem. If you wait too long to fix the leaks, you will have to rebuild. During one of my first diagnosis, the tranny guy told me that I had so many leaks that it was probably just a patch job to fix the leaks because my transmission was probably already badly damaged. He was right, and six months later, my transmission completely went out.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:10 PM   #19
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Yes. Check the fluid level. If the fluid is getting low, you probably have leakage. Transmissions can leak from many different places. Sometimes, fixing the leaks can solve the problem. If you wait too long to fix the leaks, you will have to rebuild. During one of my first diagnosis, the tranny guy told me that I had so many leaks that it was probably just a patch job to fix the leaks because my transmission was probably already badly damaged. He was right, and six months later, my transmission completely went out.
Ewww... bummer. Hopefully we'll figure it out tomorrow. I'll be really bummed if that's the case with mine. I'm only at 120,xxx.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:26 PM   #20
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Leakage can ruin a transmission.
I had leakage too.



Sorry. I couldn't help it.

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