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Old 10-28-2013, 10:55 AM   #1
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TROUBLE SHIFTING - 1997 MANUAL w/ 3" LIFT

My jeep has been a hard shifter since I got it 4 months ago. but now that i've installed the 3" lift, it is a bit harder to get it into gear. 1st, 2nd and 3rd seem to be the worst. I'm thinking about installing a NOVAK Cable shifter. Is it worth it or does it only address the 4wheel drive shifter? Where is the best place to buy?

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Old 10-28-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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When was the last time the transmission fluid was changed? My 97 was picky too, both before and after lift, but once I switched to Redline MT90, it shifted VERY easily. Before dropping the coin on a new shifter (which I CAN understand), do the basic maintenance if you haven't recently and see if that helps.

I DO know there was a TSB out for the 4wd shift lever on the 97's. The bushings on that setup went bad and you had to replace it (only about $15.00 and easy to do). If THAT stuff is shot, you may want to upgrade to put the linkages on the t-case itself.

I did the TSB even with my OME lift and it wasn't an issue and has worked just fine, but I also have a JKS BL as well.

Jeep TJ Transfer Case Shifter Knocking TSB.

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Old 10-28-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
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thanks for the reply Erik. So, initially, my intent was to change the tranny fluid in hopes that it would clean up the shifting. So i ran to my local auto parts store to pick up MT90 (which neither Autozone or Oriellys carries) and was told by both places not to do the tranny fluid change if i've never done it previously. Their opinion was based on the fact that unless i (or the PO) had consistently changed the fluid, I would be prone to gear slippage. I guess they are thinking that the fluid is pretty dirty/gummy and as such kind of holds all the gears in place. Not sure if I believe that, but certainly can't disprove that theory. What do you think?
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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Replace the rubber accordion shift boot with a $10 pleather one from Autozone (same section where the sell crappy shift knobs).

And get some Redline MT90 as suggested and it "should" shift alot smoother. If not, then you got a bigger problem going on. As I recall, I got my Redline from a local Napa Autoparts.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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Is there any body lift?

Manual transmission oil needs to be clean and fresh. Plus it gives you a chance to look at the magnet for bearing parts that might indicate problems. I personally don't listen to those parts counter professionals. If they were worth their weight they wouldn't be working at a parts counter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bighamms View Post
I'm thinking about installing a NOVAK Cable shifter. Is it worth it or does it only address the 4wheel drive shifter?
It's just for the transfer case shifting. Mostly used when the transfer case shifting mechanism gets bound up from body lifts or tummy tucks.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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i have a 1" body lift, 1" motor mount lift and 3" of suspension for a whooping total of ...NOT HIGH ENOUGH (i'm not sure it will ever be high enough...i'm addicted i tell you).

So i'll plan to do tranny fluid change this weekend. Just curious, how does the rubber accordion boot affect shifting?
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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In cold weather, that rubber boot can have the effect of creating binding/stiffness.

Don't listen to the counter guy. I changed my fluid at 86k after owning the Jeep for a year or so. It has shifted fine. If that gunk is holding the transmission together, you've got bigger problems.

If you can't find MT90, Amsoil would be a good alternative.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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GOTCHA... makes sense. Ok, game plan: check linkage bushings and replace if necessary. Change tranny fluid with MT90 and inspect mag for debris. If none of that works...i'm ripping out the transmission and installing a guinea pig and hamster wheel.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bighamms View Post
Just curious, how does the rubber accordion boot affect shifting?

Just pop the boot off and take it for a spin and see if its better. The boot tends to bunch up and bind against the console in 2nd in 4th.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:03 PM   #10
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@dextreme... yeah, this is what i thought erik was trying to get at. I actually don't have a console. I removed it completely when i Monstalined the tube. So the only boot on the shifter is the rubber inner boot...which is extremely pliable.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bighamms View Post
@dextreme... yeah, this is what i thought erik was trying to get at. I actually don't have a console. I removed it completely when i Monstalined the tube. So the only boot on the shifter is the rubber inner boot...which is extremely pliable.
Okay, then I would try the MT 90 next. I used to have a 2nd gear downshift grind and MT 90 made my tranny happy and has never grinded since.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:30 PM   #12
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@DEX... you just made me think of something. What i'm experiencing isn't a grinding. it's more like the shifter takes a bit of force to get into the gear. From 1st to 2nd is the worst. There are time when i'm in 1st, drop it to second and have to bang is against 2nd a time or two before it finally pops in. There is never a grinding sound. There's no sound at all. It just doesn't like going into 2nd and 3rd. from 3rd to 4th and then on to 5th it shifts pretty well.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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MT90 seems to help, even if some of the syncros/gears are a bit ummm used. Seriously, Amsoil or MT90 will make a difference.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:14 PM   #14
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I know when I put my 1" BL 1" MML it was recommended by the Comany instructions of the above lifts that the metal below the shifter boot should be grind open allowing free flow of shifting. Well I didn't do this when i installed the BL & MML and I did experience the hard shift on 2 & 4, especially on 2nd it would even pop out of gear. After this experience I went back and ground open the shifter opening toward 2 & 4 spots and painted the exposed metal, WA-LA, that did it- no more shifting problems.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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Don't overlook the clutch. Those things wear out too. Especially the fingers on the pressure plate.

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