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Old 04-07-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Major failure on 1st beach ride-09 JK



OK everyone, tell me where I screwed up. New 09 Wrangler X Unlimited with < 1500 miles on it. Auto transmission. 1st trip down the beach at Ft. Fisher State Park, NC in soft sand on 4/6/10. Put it in 4H. No problems for 1st 30 minutes until HOT OIL warning light came on, ESP/BAS light lit up, ESP squiggle light appeared, smoke coming from under vehicle, burning smell, front axles decided to take a vacation and virtually stuck with only rear wheels driving. Managed to limp off the beach without having to pull it out with our 1997 Chevy Tahoe 4x4 which followed us out and never let me down on the beach after many trips.

Did I make a mistake buying this vehicle. I thought JEEP meant go wherever you like. Help!

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Old 04-07-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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Well, off the top

1) Never use 4H for any sand/snow-too much load with auto

2) As soon as hot oil warning shows--turn off vehicle and go watch sesame street or something, till it cools (manual)

3) Did you maks a mistake buying this jeep ?? maybe, if you think you can go anywhere without knowledge/preps

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Old 04-07-2010, 05:11 PM   #3
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It's not a chevy Tahoe

Why are you asking me if the jeep is capable of driving on the beach??--you had the trouble-not me !!

I don't drive on the beach and I have an auto, if I did I'd look for hard sand--

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Old 04-07-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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OK everyone, tell me where I screwed up. New 09 Wrangler X Unlimited with < 1500 miles on it. Auto transmission. 1st trip down the beach at Ft. Fisher State Park, NC in soft sand on 4/6/10. Put it in 4H. No problems for 1st 30 minutes until HOT OIL warning light came on, ESP/BAS light lit up, ESP squiggle light appeared, smoke coming from under vehicle, burning smell, front axles decided to take a vacation and virtually stuck with only rear wheels driving. Managed to limp off the beach without having to pull it out with our 1997 Chevy Tahoe 4x4 which followed us out and never let me down on the beach after many trips.

Did I make a mistake buying this vehicle. I thought JEEP meant go wherever you like. Help!
I know I'm going to catch some flak for this but, the only "stock" Jeep I would do what you did would be with a 6spd Rubicon. The autos don't hold up when you're running a stock rig in that type of environment.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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Every one should know! HOT Light goes ON! Come on man! Turn ANY vehicle off immediatly! 9.5" Mud tires don't help in soft sand either. With less than 1500 miles, your trucks not even broke in yet. Those seals have to get hot slowly over time to have the perfect seal. I wouldn't run high rpms for long periods until it at least had 10,000 miles on it. Thats true for any vehicle. Jeeps will forgive you sometimes and I hope you didn't blow any seals.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:19 PM   #6
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I guess I'll admit to my own ignorance on this topic . . . I'm not a auto fan and have always preferred a manual trans, but I'm confused as to why you can't drive in sand or snow in 4H with a auto?
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:25 PM   #7
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I guess I'll admit to my own ignorance on this topic . . . I'm not a auto fan and have always preferred a manual trans, but I'm confused as to why you can't drive in sand or snow in 4H with a auto?
I don't get this either.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:32 PM   #8
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If you're talking about the JK 4dr----

It's because the automatic transmission is not capable of sustained gear load (4hi) with 4:11 or HIGHER differential gear ratio, without going ballistic in temp.

-----------------------------AND----------------------------------

I'm not talking about the sand dabbers who modify their vehicles for playing on sand hills

When driving in DEEP snow (16" and deeper) or soft hot sand--an aired down (wide footprint) at VERY low rpm, is the best way to go, fewer high ctr and easier on the engine in 4lo and 1st gear (auto), helps cooling sys

Now if you don't agree with that--thats fine, I've been doing it FOR A LONG TIME and that technique works for me and I've never had equip. failure

Now I have auxillary cooling for my auto xmission fluid, but the tranny STILL gets --SUPER HOT-- I guess it's just the lousy design, but I accept it !!

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Old 04-07-2010, 06:48 PM   #9
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I hope you didn't blow any seals.
That reminds me of a joke..... about a monkey at the transmission shop.....
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If you're talking about the JK 4dr----

It's because the automatic transmission is not capable of sustained gear load (4hi) with 4:11 or HIGHER differential gear ratio, without going ballistic in temp.

-----------------------------AND----------------------------------

I'm not talking about the sand dabbers who modify their vehicles for playing on sand hills

When driving in DEEP snow (16" and deeper) or soft hot sand--an aired down (wide footprint) at VERY low rpm, is the best way to go, fewer high ctr and easier on the engine in 4lo and 1st gear (auto), helps cooling sys

Now if you don't agree with that--thats fine, I've been doing it FOR A LONG TIME and that technique works for me and I've never had equip. failure

Now I have auxillary cooling for my auto xmission fluid, but the tranny STILL gets --SUPER HOT-- I guess it's just the lousy design, but I accept it !!

JIMBO

So Jimbo, you are saying he should have been in 4L for the conditions? I don't do deep snow or sand either, so please help us ignoramus's out....
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:59 PM   #10
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1st why not offer the guy some help people... 2nd there is a known issue with the JK auto tranny fluid that when it over heats it can cause major issues. I would contact the dealer and see if there is anything they can help with or if there is another fluid that can handle the higher temps.. In normal 4wd hi you should be able to run ANY 4x4 all day long and not have to worry about it over heating under normal off road driving.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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1st why not offer the guy some help people... 2nd there is a known issue with the JK auto tranny fluid that when it over heats it can cause major issues. I would contact the dealer and see if there is anything they can help with or if there is another fluid that can handle the higher temps.. In normal 4wd hi you should be able to run ANY 4x4 all day long and not have to worry about it over heating under normal off road driving.
my thoughts exactly, your jeep should be able to operate fine in those conditions, actually if you were in 4 LO I think that would be worse cause your RPMs would really be high. I dont know your driving style but I'm sure you were'nt dogging tha shit out if.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:15 PM   #12
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1st why not offer the guy some help people
Thank You 4Jeepn, for a minute there I thought that I had logged onto Pirate by mistake.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:16 PM   #13
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Hey catamount, I too have an 09 jk x unlimited automatic. When shifting to 4wd and going into any gear other than drive(3rd,2nd,1st) turn the ESP off. The little button by the gear shift. It acts like an overdrive.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:24 PM   #14
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Evidentally you didn't read any of my answers, there's not much more that can be done

You wanna cry about the jeep not being able to do ??????

Cry to Crysler, I'm just telling you about the real world and Jeep auto's and no, there is no xmission fluid that will help reduce the heat generating assembly that we have NOW, all you can do is drive like I SUGGESTED and add an aux cooler, that will keep the xmission fluid from erupting, but won't control the actual xmission operating temp--

Now operating in 4hi/4lo off-road at slow speeds, the fan/cooling sys will control the auto temp. generation, but---not sand/4hi/high rpm===overload !!

I suggest you accept it, or get an FJ40

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Old 04-07-2010, 08:14 PM   #15
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There is a lot of great info on this site and I am on my 4th Jeep in 12 years, not consecutively. However, I have to say that the more I read on here, especially like this thread, the more I second guess my recent purchase of my '10 Sahara. Just sayin........
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:20 PM   #16
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there is a lot of great info on this site and i am on my 4th jeep in 12 years, not consecutively. However, i have to say that the more i read on here, especially like this thread, the more i second guess my recent purchase of my '10 sahara. Just sayin........
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I think the best thing to do is to not get on the forums. You read about tons of problems, and you may never even come across any of them (transmission issues, water leaks, etc.) The majority of the threads in the JK section are of mechanical failures, and I can only speak for myself but every day I get on here I find out something else that just sits in the back of my head.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:29 PM   #17
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guys, lets keep this thread on topic. lets not let this turn into a jk complaint thread. focus on helping the op with his transmission problem.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:07 PM   #18
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I didn't see you mention anywhere that you aired down your tires. This is a must for driving any vehicle in sand. Soft sand is hard on an auto tranny. If you're going to do it on a regular basis you should always air down and consider a trans oil cooler.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:08 PM   #19
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Thanks to those offering constructive comments to this post. There was no dogging of the vehicle going on. There is no way this vehicle should require 4L for sand or snow unless you're dragging someone behind you or unless you plan on driving 10mph or slower. I've done it over and over in a '97 Chevy Tahoe w/o any problems whatsoever. This little beach ride was nothing and minimal duty for any 4x4 JK. Other Wranglers were coming and going. RPMs were 2000-2500 or lower. The engine temp never deviated from normal. I run Michelin LTX M/S2 tires as opposed to the BFG Mud Terrain T/A. The Michelins will float better in sand and this is why I put them on. When the HOT OIL indicator appeared I tried to go into 4L but it wouldn't shift in.

I don't recall the JEEP commercials with the kids flying around on the sand dunes in their Wranglers making a statement like " caution your tranny will overheat under much less strenuous conditions and vehicle potentially catch on fire due to fluid spilling out on your exhaust components, but have fun anyway until that happens. If the tranny overheats we'll let you know by flashing a HOT OIL sign where your odometer is but won't reference it at all in the manual that came with the vehicle. If it happens just sit there a few hours while your tranny cools and try to drive off the beach. Otherwise look for a passing Chevy or Ford for a ride home."

The JEEP dealer that sold me the JK will hear all about this Monday morning and if they say the car as designed can't handle it then the next step is a discussion with Chrysler about returning the JK. By the time I get it there it won't even have 2000 miles on it, 253 of which were on it before I even bought it. If it can't handle this then I have made a big mistake in buying one and I have no use for the vehicle.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:12 PM   #20
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Thanks for trying to get folks to stop with the worthless comments. Not a favorable outcome for my very first post.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:12 PM   #21
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Thanks to those offering constructive comments to this post. ......
You are failing to see the point brought up that your vehicle isn't even broken in yet. My dealer told me to hold off from putting it in 4wd and doing anything strenuous for the first 1500 miles.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #22
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Thanks Tom. I didn't air down as I expected my wider Michelin's would keep me floating better than the BFG Mud Terrain T/As. Next time I sure will.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #23
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Thanks Tom. I didn't air down as I expected my wider Michelin's would keep me floating better than the BFG Mud Terrain T/As. Next time I sure will.
Hmmm, that makes me think of something else. What size tires are you running and what is your gear ratio?
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:24 PM   #24
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In the end, I hope the dealer takes care of you and please update their response. My takeaway from this post and your experience has me looking at tranny coolers. Good luck on getting it back as new.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:29 PM   #25
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Daggo66,

P265/70/17. The gear ratio was whatever was standard on the upgraded tire package (code 23R or something like that) I believe the gear ratio was 3.86 or around there, not 100% sure not looking at the window sticker. On my Chevy Tahoe I have 265/70/16s that ran side by side with the JEEP yesterday, didn't air down either. No problem with that car.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #26
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I've put my 2 door JK through some sh*t since I got it, as well as my slushbox. As far as snow and the auto goes, if I don't see pavement (usually 1" or more) the 4hi goes on. Period. Rear wheel vehicles SUCK in snow. But if you think about it, rpm's aren't high using 4x4 in snow due to upshifting and not being on the gas alot.

That storm we all got in feb...I clocked like 5 hours driving in 4hi and 4lo on occasion in about 2 feet of snow. My auto didn't b*tch at all.

As far as your little problem goes, with the JK auto's you need to be watchful. They ALL run a little on the hot side. A 20 mile highway drive on an 80 degree day resulted in me jerking my hand off the tranny dipstick since the heat of the stick suprised me. So be careful on warm days if your towing or wheeling hard. Another example, similar to your situation, was I was muddin' on a warm day for like 2 hours in 4hi and my hot oil chimed. High rpm's, over 3500 will heat that thing up. And after a long time of that crap something has got to give. I simply just popped it in No Gear and after 10 minutes all was well.

A suggestion I tell all JK owners with an auto is "get an aux transmission cooler." they aren't expensive. I'll be getting one soon. It's always a good idea.

You'll need to shut off the ESP when wheeling. 4lo shuts it down automatically. In 4hi tap the ESP button on your dash once to disable traction control. Now you can do burnouts and tire spin for sand and mud. This can also be disabled in 2wd. In 4hi you can also press and hold the ESP button till it chimes to kill traction control, anti-roll, stability control, basically everything except the LSD.

One thing just came to mind too. Since your jeep is a baby, your PCM hasn't learned your driving style yet. With everything brand new in addition to that, your jeep might be a little confused. It'll shift gears in weird rpm ranges, downshift when it shouldn't, etc. This should work itself out though so nothing to really worry about.

Your jeep will be alright. Just take it easy a bit while it's still fresh out the box
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:20 PM   #27
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My Rubicon is the ninth 4x4 with auto in the last 15 years, I haven't had a trans problem yet.
When I am off roading I am in 4lo when under 20 mph. This keeps the torque conveter locked or alot less slipage which keeps the heat down, and I also use full synthetic trans fluid which also keeps the temp down.
Last summer I went camping with my brother in law, we both had similar setups F-350 Powerstrokes, 32' fifthwheels and 3 place atv trailers behind them. My weighs 26k.
We were pulling 9% grades for 7 miles and then got to the dirt, I put mine in 4lo for the last 4 miles of 10 to 15% grade. When we got to the top mine was running fine his tranny was slipping and I could smell burning. His truck went home an tow truck and I had to pull his trailers home.
The only difference was that I used 4lo and he slipped his tranny in 2hi. My camping trip was $3000 les then his.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:33 PM   #28
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Here's another thought. That '97 Tahoe's tranny may have been just as hot, except you have no way of knowing.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:53 AM   #29
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i've seen more than one auto tranny roasted from playing in deep sand in 4hi. if the horsepower/gearing isnt there to spin the tires and you're still leaning into it, its creating heat from the slippage in the tranny. go 4lo or get lower(numerically higher) gears if you wanna play in deep sand in 4hi.

a one ton ford we were with on one 4wd beach trip actually belched fire when the tranny gave up and puked fluid on the hot exhaust, luckily, the whole truck didnt go up.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:44 AM   #30
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Safety Recall

I have an 08 Sahara 4dr with auto and I got a safety recall on it . It's called "Safety Recall J30 Reprogram CCN - Transmission fluid Temperature Warning"
I have a 9 a.m. appointment at the dealer to take care of it. Other than that I've had no problems with it. I've pushed snow, does a lot of trails, but no sand.
I'll post after I get it done with what they have to say. Jeep's got about 23k on it.

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