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Old 04-16-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
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Manual to Auto Swap.......

I am looking at a 97 TJ that I really like but it's a 5 speed and I would like to have an automatic. Is a swap costly and complicated? I have some mechanical abilities (just enough to be dangerous!). I really like this TJ and think I can get it fairly cheap. Thanks for your help!

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Old 04-17-2009, 07:30 AM   #2
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i know that the manual to auto swap is very common. i guess the ease of the swap depends on how mechanically inclined you are and what tools you have available. i found a website that very thoroughly outlines and explains how to install an AW-4 (from a 2001 Cherokee) into a TJ.

TJ AW-4 Auto Transmission Swap

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Old 04-17-2009, 07:53 AM   #3
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In '97 the engines and transmissions were pretty "dumb", ie no computer to control the tranmission for either manual (duh) or the auto. If you are looking for an "easy" manual to auto swap, that is a good year for it, but you will probably still run into little stuff that you didn't think of... Ask Jerry Bransford about his swap, he did it about a year ago.
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:19 PM   #4
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Speedometer and reverse should be the biggest things to worry about if the connections aren't the same on a Jeep. The shifters are in the middle, so that's no big worry. You'll have an extra pedal unless you remove it from the assembly, but it shouldn't be a big deal. And maybe some wiring harness stuff. It really is mostly all about the tools and knowledge.

I have a '99 Ford Ranger "Off-Road" that I'm getting ready to pull the auto tranny out of. I'm gonna throw a 5 speed in, I'm mostly waiting on a driveshaft right now. I have a donor truck for it. So I've got the tranny, pedal assembly, steering column if I choose, and speedometer, and wiring with the computer, cause I need that stuff for that year truck. The only thing I lack is a drive shaft now.

Also, with an auto, there are coolant lines that run to the radiator, where a manual doesn't do that. Just something else to keep in mind.

Just a bot of info I've come to find with my planned tranny swap, hope it helps somewhat.
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by critternator View Post
I am looking at a 97 TJ that I really like but it's a 5 speed and I would like to have an automatic. Is a swap costly and complicated? I have some mechanical abilities (just enough to be dangerous!). I really like this TJ and think I can get it fairly cheap. Thanks for your help!
What is your rationale for the swap? Can't drive a 5 speed or don't want to drive a 5 speed?

Welcome to WF BTW.
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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I am looking at a 97 TJ that I really like but it's a 5 speed and I would like to have an automatic. Is a swap costly and complicated? I have some mechanical abilities (just enough to be dangerous!).
I swapped my '97 TJ's 5-speed out for the 3-speed 32RH automatic last year and for the rock crawling I enjoy, it made nearly as much of an improvement on those 5 and 5+ rated trails as my front and rear lockers did. It gives 2-3X more low-end torque and provides significantly greater control over extremely tough trails... and this is after 40+ years of driving manual transmissions so it's not that I didn't know how to drive a stick.

A 32RH is a straight forward swap providing you can round up all the parts. I happened to luck out and got nearly everything I needed for $800 which included all the hardware, shifter, hard coolant lines (which didn't fit) and even a radiator which I didn't need so I sold it. You'll need to swap in a different engine computer that controls the lock-up torque converter but you don't need to add any wiring, it's already there and ready to plug into the 32RH.

It's the next best thing I've done to my TJ after the lockers and WOW, what a difference it made on the tougher trails. One desert trail called Pumpkin Eater has three very steep rock waterfalls (dry) that even with my 4.88 gearing (35" MT/R tires) I was never able over several years of attempts to make it up any of them without a winch. I did that same trail again last year after installing the automatic and it scooted up all three waterfalls without the least amount of drama... and that was with the same 4.88 gearing and 35" MT/R tires. I almost felt like I was cheating.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:03 PM   #7
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It may just be me, but I would buy one with an AT and mod it. It would be much easier.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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It may just be me, but I would buy one with an AT and mod it. It would be much easier.
In hindsight, that's what I should have said instead of possibly making the conversion sound easier than it was. But if he REALLY REALLY likes the TJ he found, the conversion can be done in a weekend if all the required parts are at hand.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:39 PM   #9
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I swapped my '97 TJ's 5-speed out for the 3-speed 32RH automatic last year
Jerry could you give me a quick rundown of a parts list. I think I want to do the 32RH swap, it seems a little more straight foreward. I don't mind a 5 speed but when I use it for hunting it seems like I am in between gears all the time and it just annoys me.

I know I need: a tranny, torque converter, tranny mount, coolant lines(the radiator should have hook ups already there correct?), computer, and shifter. Thats all I can think of right now. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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Jerry could you give me a quick rundown of a parts list. I think I want to do the 32RH swap, it seems a little more straight foreward. I don't mind a 5 speed but when I use it for hunting it seems like I am in between gears all the time and it just annoys me.
Its only annoying because it's hard to steer, shift, and hold the gun at the same time!!! I know the feeling man!!!
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:51 PM   #11
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That's pretty much all the parts except for the actual bolts which are a little different in several spots. Your radiator should be good to go with the tranny cooler ports sealed but ready for use and located on the bottom rear edge. Oh, you'll also need a different/skinnier front driveshaft because the front DS for the 5-speed has a bigger diameter and it won't clear the transmission. When you get closer to actually doing it, I can talk more with you about it.

Whoops two more suggestions. Required will be a different extended output shaft seal for the 32RH to provide a seal against the 231 t-case input shaft. Otherwise the 32RH will leak ATF like a sieve because the 231 was originally configured for the 5-speed so its dimensions are slightly different from the 231 configured to fit against a 32RH. Tera, Advanced Adapters, and Summit Racing all sell that extended seal.

Next, a deep tranny pan is strongly suggested if you do any steep climbs. The deep pan holds more ATF for better cooling plus it will eliminate the ATF pickup from sucking air during a steep climb and making the tranny feel like you shifted into neutral. Summit Racing, Currie, and several others sell the deep pan kit for $58-60 or so. The dealer can get it for you too but may want more $$$ for it.
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by critternator View Post
I am looking at a 97 TJ that I really like but it's a 5 speed and I would like to have an automatic. Is a swap costly and complicated? I have some mechanical abilities (just enough to be dangerous!). I really like this TJ and think I can get it fairly cheap. Thanks for your help!
Why don't you sit down and figure out what you REALLY WANT. Look at all the year wranglers and find the little diffrences each model year has. Then decide what year you would prefer, then choose auto or stick, air conditioning, tilt wheel, cruise control, full or half doors,hard or soft top,6 or 4 cyl., And last color. Then go and look and try to find the closet jeep to your decision. That's what i did. And i could'nt be happier with my jeep.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:33 PM   #13
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Why don't you sit down and figure out what you REALLY WANT. Look at all the year wranglers and find the little diffrences each model year has. Then decide what year you would prefer, then choose auto or stick, air conditioning, tilt wheel, cruise control, full or half doors,hard or soft top,6 or 4 cyl., And last color. Then go and look and try to find the closet jeep to your decision. That's what i did. And i could'nt be happier with my jeep.

That brings me to where I am now. I really like the Sahara edition. The one I am talking about belongs to a friend of mine so I know the history of the jeep. It has been a very dependable every day driver for him, has had very limited offroad use and only has minor issues(mainly the fuel pressure regulator, he has to crank twice to cold start). No rust, and just a leaky transfer case seal and some clearcoat starting to bubble. He's not positive he wants to sell it yet but I've been putting the pressure on him, his wife wants a Hummer H2 pretty bad too. Right now he's saying he wants around 5K for it, but if he really decides to sell it he'll go cheaper than that to me. I'm no jeep specialist but that seems to be a good deal to me. What do you all think?
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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I don't know what jeeps go for where you are, but i can tell you down here in florida they keep thier value. I looked for two months before i finally found mine. I paid $7500 from the original women owner, all original 2000 sahara auto/air/tilt/2 year old soft-top/new brakes and tires that had less then 500 miles on them. I thought that was a steal-considering what i was looking at,most of the jeeps had issues and people wanted top dollar. I actually had a deposit of $50.00 on a jeep that i was suppose to pic up on a sunday. That saturday night i went on e-bay and found my jeep. I bought it right then, and called the guy i gave the deposit to, and told him i found a better deal sorry keep the $50.00. So actually the jeep cost me $7550.00 LOL.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:24 PM   #15
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That brings me to where I am now. I really like the Sahara edition. The one I am talking about belongs to a friend of mine so I know the history of the jeep. It has been a very dependable every day driver for him, has had very limited offroad use and only has minor issues(mainly the fuel pressure regulator, he has to crank twice to cold start). No rust, and just a leaky transfer case seal and some clearcoat starting to bubble. He's not positive he wants to sell it yet but I've been putting the pressure on him, his wife wants a Hummer H2 pretty bad too. Right now he's saying he wants around 5K for it, but if he really decides to sell it he'll go cheaper than that to me. I'm no jeep specialist but that seems to be a good deal to me. What do you all think?
Dude, if you know the history of the jeep, and he will go less that 5G for it, you need to jump on it. Knowing the Jeep before you buy it is a major plus because you know he isn't selling it because of repetitive problems. You can kill 2 birds with one stone...helping yourself out and helping him out.

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