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Old 06-23-2011, 07:30 PM   #1
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Clutch Replacement

I have a 98 Sport with the 4.0 which has a manual transmission. The first and second gears are becoming increasingly hard to shift into. However, while the Jeep is turned off all gears are simple to shift into. This leads me to believe that the clutch may be going bad. The vehicle has 90k miles on it and the previous owner owned it since 2000 and never replaced the clutch. It doesn't make any noise or leak any fluid, just shifts hard.

Does it sound like the hard shifting requires me to replace it? How long does the clutch typically last?

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Old 06-23-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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Mine did the same thing. It's in the shop now getting a LuK clutch put in. I've seen it recommended on many threads.

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Old 06-23-2011, 07:41 PM   #3
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The AX-15 transmission can become hard to shift, that's not an uncommon problem. The TJ's clutch is fully capable of lasting past 200K miles, and most get at least into the high-100K range. As a preventive maintenance thing, I changed mine at 161K miles and it still had a lot of life on it, even though it had been abused and literally smoked while rock crawling many times.

If you end up deciding to buy a clutch, you can get an entire clutch kit (clutch, pressure plate, bearing, throwout bearing, and pilot shaft) for $160 or so from Dial-A-Clutch - Your LuK Clutch Kit Specialist. Definitely go for a Luk brand. Also, don't pay more to get the Luk Gold clutch kit which is noisier, meant for trucks, and of no real benefit to the TJ. The standard Luk clutch (which the Jeep factory installed) is the one that can make it past 200K miles.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
The AX-15 transmission can become hard to shift, that's not an uncommon problem. The TJ's clutch is fully capable of lasting past 200K miles, and most get at least into the high-100K range. As a preventive maintenance thing, I changed mine at 161K miles and it still had a lot of life on it, even though it had been abused and literally smoked while rock crawling many times.

If you end up deciding to buy a clutch, you can get an entire clutch kit (clutch, pressure plate, bearing, throwout bearing, and pilot shaft) for $160 or so from Dial-A-Clutch - Your LuK Clutch Kit Specialist. Definitely go for a Luk brand. Also, don't pay more to get the Luk Gold clutch kit which is noisier, meant for trucks, and of no real benefit to the TJ. The standard Luk clutch (which the Jeep factory installed) is the one that can make it past 200K miles.
That's good to know. My 142k TJ is chattering all the time in 1st gear when taking off so clutch replacement is on the list for the future. Is it recommended to replace the flywheel at the same time? I've heard they have a tapered shape, seems like turning it on a lathe would be risky.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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No, the flywheel is not normally replaced with the clutch. At the most, it may need to have any minor glazing present on its surface removed with emory cloth or a mild sandpaper. Do NOT have the flywheel machined or resurfaced, that is right from the FSM (Factory Service Manual). The TJ's flywheel has a slight dome shape on it that would be removed if it were machined or resurfaced.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The AX-15 transmission can become hard to shift, that's not an uncommon problem. The TJ's clutch is fully capable of lasting past 200K miles, and most get at least into the high-100K range. As a preventive maintenance thing, I changed mine at 161K miles and it still had a lot of life on it, even though it had been abused and literally smoked while rock crawling many times.

If you end up deciding to buy a clutch, you can get an entire clutch kit (clutch, pressure plate, bearing, throwout bearing, and pilot shaft) for $160 or so from Dial-A-Clutch - Your LuK Clutch Kit Specialist. Definitely go for a Luk brand. Also, don't pay more to get the Luk Gold clutch kit which is noisier, meant for trucks, and of no real benefit to the TJ. The standard Luk clutch (which the Jeep factory installed) is the one that can make it past 200K miles.
That is good to know. Would changing the fluid in the slave cylinder help with the hard shifts? What about replacing the fluid in the transmission with a sycromesh blend? I'm thinking with only 90k miles, I'd be prematurely replacing my clutch.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:58 PM   #7
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Just replaced mine at 99K. The clutch pedal got really hard until it blew out the Master seals. Just after replacing the Master/Slave, it finally gave up. The ears on the pressure plate were so worn out the throw out was going through the hole. Sounds like your pressure plate may be heading in the same direction. Try the Master/Slave first. It's cheaper and easier.

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