Ok so I got a 2.5 YJ with and AX5, I know the AX5 is a POS, and so in the near future I am wanting to do a tranny swap. I love having a manual tranny, but I went out this weekend and almost burnt my clutch up....so kinda is making me ponder about getting an auto. I will probably be able to get my hands on an AX4(cherokee tranny if I am correct) or and AX15. I have read great reviews on both trannys, but trail wise, would I want an auto or manual?
Actually on the trail the Auto can be more advantageous. As said you're always going forward in drive (or the vehicle is at least attempting to) and This can prevent you from rolling backwards on a steep hill. Also an auto will let you switch gears almost instantaneously which can be helpful if you get hung up in some mud and need to back out quick to give it another go. I love a 5 speed on road but on the trail I love the auto.
"Shiny side up, Greasy side down"
For hardcore rock crawling, the auto wins hands-down. All the competitive rigs run autos in them. For everything else, a manual is fine. My TJ was an auto and I LOVED it in the rocks. My YJ is a 5-speed and I haven't had a chance to take it offroad yet.
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AX5s are cheep and you can do a few things to make them last. the 2.5 isnt going to blow one up. I have no issues with mine and I abuse my rig quite hard. an AX15 swap is a lot of work and money to get the part you need its not a simple swap. the AW4 while a great trans will suck the life out of a 2.5.
You would need to get yourself a VERY good automatic transmission (something with less than 5% power loss through the torque converter) to keep the ponies coming out of the 2.5. It's a great engine but automagics tend to suck power out of it.
The AX5 will be fine behind it. If it's still working fine, why fix it? You don't need an automatic for 90% of offroading anyways. Most rock krawlers use automatics because they often have to inch up steep rock faces, little bit at a time. But those are FAR from stock..
Question is "Why did you just about burn your clutch out?". Were you in 4WD/low range/low gear?
I don't see any situation where it would make one iota of difference if you had a 5spd AX-5 or a 5spd AX-15 if you are burning clutches.
Typically the fix for burning a clutch is to get into a higher gear ratio. That means, typically, getting into a lower gear. There are 10 gear ratios available with each. And yes, the 2.5 WILL burn out a clutch if improperly operated.
PS, Why is a transmission that is recognized to work up to 300,000 miles a POS?