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Old 02-22-2012, 07:51 PM   #1
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Stops shifting

I have a 97 TJ with a problem I can't figure out so I thought I would come to the experts!
When I start it up in the morning it drives fine and I can shift is great (5 speed) but after I have gone about a mile and come up to a intersection when I go to put it in first gear (or any gear for that matter) nothing happens! It feels like the shifter isn't even making any contact with anything, it just goes into the pattern with no feel to it. After a 5-10 second dead time it will "take a gear" and do fine. It only happens when I first start driving it after it has set, either overnight or after I get off work. It only does it once and then drives fine.
There is no grinding, noise, or anything noticable it just acts like the shifter is disconnected but I know it is going into its full pattern. I have checked the fluids and everything looks fine. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Old 02-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
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Possibly a bad slave cylinder

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Old 02-22-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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Would that make the shifter feel like it's not connected to anything when is acts up?
And would it just do it one time when its just starting to warm up?
Sorry to keep asking questions, but this is my first jeep and I have zero experience with them.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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Could be low on hydraulic fluid or have bad hydraulic fluid in the torque converter. I think I'd look at those first because if the fluid is bad or has water in it, it (the fluid) would have to heat up to expand enough to do its job. I would recommend a transmission service which is trans. fluid change and clutch adjustment. That won't set you back very much, then see if you still have the same problem.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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I double-checked the fluid level (full) and also pulled a little to check for any water. Couldn't see anything and fluid looked good.
Can I just drain the fluid and refill it myself, or it there something else that is done by the transmission shop?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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Did the fluid look golden or brown? Yes you can do the drain yourself . The thing you said about cold verses warm is what leads me to think its a hydraulic fluid issue. That fluid runs through the slave cylinder and if the fluid is bad it would cause the slave to act up when the fluid is cold. It may very well be a bad sensor on the transmission too. I'm not a transmission expert though but I know how the work and how the break, generally speaking lol. So I would change the fluid and filter first since that is the cheapest thing to do, if the problem persist then talk to a shop with a wad of cash in your hand.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:26 AM   #7
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Where the heck is the filter on this thing?! I would say the fluid is more brown than golden.
I did do the warmup with the transmission in gear and the transfer case in neutral for about 5 minutes. It seemed to work fine.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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The filter is on the bottom. There is a pan which holds the fluid and if you remove the pan you will see the filter. The hydraulic fluid should be golden like new oil.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:47 AM   #9
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OP, you did say it's a 5 speed, right? It doesn't have a filter.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:08 AM   #10
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Thank goodness! I thought I was really messed up when I couldn't find a pan! LOL
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:16 AM   #11
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Oh crap I'm sry I missed that part of the post
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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No problem!
Someone has advised that it might be the rearend since I have had trouble with it before. I just don't see how that would affect how the shifter feels.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:54 PM   #13
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I just spoke to my mechanic friend actually let him read your 1st post. He says it sounds like a bad shifter fork
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:25 PM   #14
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Whatever it is, it doesn't sound to me like one of the usual problems. It would be hard as hell to diagnose over the internet.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:43 PM   #15
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Just an update. So far I can't find anything wrong. I does the exact same thing every time it's started after setting. I checked the shifter fork, slave valve, clutch, even the rear end and nothing. I tried talking to Harmon's here and they had never heard of something like this?! Just my luck, I buy my first jeep and this happens. ANY thoughts or ideas??????
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:21 PM   #16
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Drive it forever so that it never sits idk dude. Maybe yank it out and replace it? Who installed the clutch? I'm even thinking it could be clutch related, like it's not engaging.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:19 PM   #17
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Just an update. I ended up changing the complete rearend from a floater back to the stock axel type and that has apparently fixed the problem! I still can't tell positively, but it looks like the axle housing was bent which was causing everything to disengage. Another one for the books.

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