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Old 06-13-2011, 03:42 PM   #1
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Possible Transmission Problem? Help Please!

I've been having a few problems with my 2003 TJ Sahara (with auto transmission): First off, about 60% of the time, when I put it into "Park" and turn the key off, the motor shuts off, but the key won't move past the accessory position - I have to push the shifter forward or hit it a little bit in order to get the key to turn to the off position so that I can remove it.

My next problem happens at random, it seems: When I go to start the engine, all of the gauges read, the radio comes on, but the starter just clicks, sort of like I have a dead battery, sometimes I can try to start it again and it fires up, but other times I have to try it 3 or 4 times. It also seems that if I hit the shifter, it starts up just fine.

So my question is: Is this a shifter cable issue, a shifter issue, a tranny issue, or something else? I haven't been too concerned about it, mainly because once I get her running, she runs great, but I'm planning a trip to Colorado next month, and don't want to get stuck someplace because I didn't bother to get this fixed.

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

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Old 06-13-2011, 03:47 PM   #2
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There is a cable connection that goes from the shifter to the column that is the release for the key once it is in park. There are a couple different reasons why the cable will not allow the key to roll back. Best case is to tear it apart and and see what's up. Usually there is something that keeps the shifter from seating all the way in park. That's why when you hit it you can remove the key. So clean it all up and check it again.

You need a new starter. The two are not related.

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Old 06-13-2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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It could be related. If the Jeep thinks you aren't in park, it won't let the engine turn over.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MR.CLIFFORD View Post
You need a new starter. The two are not related.
Are you sure about needing a new starter? It seems to work fine (when it does turn over), no grinding, and it only clicks once. I forgot to mention that about a week ago, I sprayed all of the battery and alternator terminals with electrical cleaner, as well as the coils in the alternator, mainly trying to clean the dirt and dust out, and I didn't have any problem with starting it for a few days...

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It could be related. If the Jeep thinks you aren't in park, it won't let the engine turn over.
That's sorta what I was thinking, and why I thought it might be the shifter cable, or maybe a sensor on the transmission.
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnmax View Post
Are you sure about needing a new starter? It seems to work fine (when it does turn over), no grinding, and it only clicks once. I forgot to mention that about a week ago, I sprayed all of the battery and alternator terminals with electrical cleaner, as well as the coils in the alternator, mainly trying to clean the dirt and dust out, and I didn't have any problem with starting it for a few days...



That's sorta what I was thinking, and why I thought it might be the shifter cable, or maybe a sensor on the transmission.

If the starter clicks and doesn't turn over the problem is either dirty battery cables, which could be the deal since you squirted them down, or the starter itself has a dead spot in it. Which is why when you hit the thing it will fire over.

If the transmission is not in park you won't get a click as the ignition signal won't get sent to trigger the starter.

So.... yes. I'm sure.

Did you have the problem before spraying the terminals on the battery?
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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Did you have the problem before spraying the terminals on the battery?
Yeah, but stupid me never thought to check any of the battery cables or the cables running to the starter... I'll have to run over to my buddy's place tonite and get the starter tested.

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So.... yes. I'm sure.
I feel like a dumba$$ now... Oh well...
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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Yeah, but stupid me never thought to check any of the battery cables or the cables running to the starter... I'll have to run over to my buddy's place tonite and get the starter tested.
Take the terminals off the batter and thoroughly clean them. Clean the terminals on the battery as well. Get the battery load tested to make sure it isn't the problem. Clean all the the battery terminal connectors as well. Make sure it is stupid clean and reinstall.

But, if it is hammer time on your starter then I'd say it is time for a replacement. Aren't you fond of mud??
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:43 PM   #8
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But, if it is hammer time on your starter then I'd say it is time for a replacement. Aren't you fond of mud??
Yes, I do like mud (but not so much with the top and doors off). If I do need a replacement, what would you suggest?
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:51 PM   #9
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How many miles are on your stocker?
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:38 PM   #10
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Have you tried starting it in neutral?
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:53 PM   #11
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How many miles are on your stocker?
About 110k.

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Have you tried starting it in neutral?
Yep, it usually starts just fine in neutral.
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2003 TJ Sahara with 31" Dunflop Mud Rovers, Ford 8.8 Rear diff with ARB locker, 3.5" DPG Ultimate Lifts.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:03 PM   #12
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I'd say it's a shifter/cable problem. It sounds like the tranny isn't going all the way into park so the neutral safety switch isn't making good contact. Start by taking out your console so you can get to the shifter and make sure something hasn't fallen down there and got wedged in the shifter keeping it from going into park all the way. If everything looks ok, it may be time to adjust some cables.

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