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jk'n 08-11-2009 08:04 PM

Transfer Box Linkage Disconnect??
Was on a back road today and dealing with erosion spots. Reached a pretty rough spot and decided to put it into 4 wheel before attempting to go further. Had the front wheel against about a 14 inch rise from a washout to the gravel road surface. After shifting into low went to let the clutch out and nothing. Went to shift it back into 2 wheel and nothing. Transfer appears to be in neutral and the lever feels like it is not connected to linkage: just moves freely. Chrysler sent a flat bed that refused to go down the road where the car was. Had to get someone to tow me out by a D ring attached to my rear hitch. My jeep now sits in a parking lot awaiting tow tomorrow morning to the dealer up here in NH. Anybody ever have their linkage come undone to the transfer box?

BeerMonkeY 08-11-2009 08:33 PM

i havent but its common. theres a plastic peice that breaks. theres a post about fixing it an dmaking it so it wont happen again somewhere on but i dont rember where

jk'n 08-11-2009 09:15 PM

I take it that the dealer will replace it with another plastic piece? Or I wonder if they would do the more permanent fix?

CruserBruiser 08-11-2009 10:14 PM

just had the exact same thing happen to me, the chrysler road side assistance is a joke and i gave up on it about two mins into it, i called a local body shop instead, the problem is a common one from what i understand and the part that is broken is a rubber gromet that holds the shift linkage to the transfer case, the part cost about 75 cents but if your jeep is still under warranty then its free.

jk'n 08-11-2009 10:43 PM

I just read on another forum that BeerMonkeY sent me to that I may have man handled the shift lever. I guess I gotta be more sissy man on that stick. Once I find out it is a stupid plastic part that broke and stranded me I guess I'm gonna have to buy a dozen and put the replacement on myself. God help me if I'm in the middle of a mud puddle next time. I'll be looking for a more permanent fix.

jk'n 08-12-2009 02:27 PM

This post on another jeep forum shows a more permanent solution. The beginning of that thread was a little contentious. Finally the thread got down to brass tacks.

Update on this situation:

Well, originally I was told last evening by chrysler roadside assistance that the wrecker would be at my jeep at approximately 8:30. Round about 9:30 I went to a telephone and gave them a call. They gave me some lame excuse that they couldn't schedule more than one hour out and I asked them why didn't the person I spoke to the evening before tell me that? Well, they told be the wrecker would be there within an hour and that was 10:00. 11:00 rolls by and no wrecker. Now I'm getting perturbed. I went under the car and started to look for ways to either shift it into gear by hand or temporarily hook up the linkage to shift it into 2wd. Trying to move the shift lever on the transfer box proved too difficult. So I moved the shift lever inside the jeep until the eyelet lined up with the pin on the lever from the transfer case. I was able to position the eyelet onto the pin so that it would stay. I hopped into the driver's seat and applied forward pressure to the lever in the direction of engaging the 2wd and found resistance but it wouldn't engage. With pressure still applied I started the engine, put it into first and very gently came up on the clutch until the gears meshed and it slipped easily into 2wd. Once I released pressure on the lever, the linkage of course came off again but at least now I was able to drive it. I cancelled the wrecker service call and drove it to the dealer in Concord, NH. They didn't have the part in stock and it was 4 days out. That was the bad news. I'm going to be in Maine by that time so scheduling an appointment wouldn't work. The good news was that they put an E clip on the pin to temporarily hold the linkage together. In the mean time, I'm going to see if there is a dealer near Sebago Lake in Maine that will take care of the problem. I'm going to get an extra bushing to keep in the glove box until I can make a more permanent fix. Not sure if I want to modify it from its original configuration until it is out of warranty. Although if you follow the link above, the lever does look easy to replace if something goes wrong.

BTW, the part number on the bushing is 68064273-AA.

I'm not too impressed with chrysler roadside assistance.

USAntigoon 08-12-2009 04:32 PM

Thanks for the detailed feedback..Is it easy to get to.. I haven't gone under the jeep yet to check that out.. Do we have to remove the skid plate or..?


jk'n 08-12-2009 06:27 PM

It is up close to the exhaust. I did it the next day but that probably wouldn't do in a situation way out in the wilderness. I was able to get to it fairly easy on the driver's side of the vehicle. I had to move the transfer gear shift lever a couple of times to figure out a spot that caused the ring on the end of the cable underneath to line up with the pin on the transfer case lever. Once lined up, I set it there precariously and got back in the vehicle and applied a quick forward motion to the shifter hoping that the linkage wouldn't pop off. Once I did that and felt resistance, it was just a mater of meshing the gears. That's why I started the jeep, put it in gear and very slowly let up on the clutch until the gear moved just enough for the transfer gears to mesh. It fell right into gear once I did that. Then I was able to drive in 2wd.

With a hot exhaust, it would have been much more difficult to do it without getting burned.

I would say that it was fairly easy to get to.

USAntigoon 08-12-2009 06:50 PM

Thanks my friend..

happynewowner 08-13-2009 12:09 AM

new here...had same problem today
I actually logged on for my husband because he was searching for an answer to this same problem.

We're new to Jeeps (really anything with a 4X4). He went down a gravel road with severe potholes (2 and 3 feet deep) and switched in to 4X4 for the worst one. When he tried to get it back in to 2nd, the gear shift was loose like it was disconnected from something.
Chrysler sent out a tow truck driver who was an ass and basically yelled at DH and I about how we should have never put it into 4 wheel drive because it was dry potholes, not wet ones. Even asked why we didn't read the manual before trying something like this.

Like I said we are new to 4X4 driving and are ready to pay if it's something we did to screw it up. Was the tow truck driver correct, or is this just a Jeep problem. Dealership that it was towed to was closed for the night, so we don't know what they'll say.
Forgot to mention this is a Wrangler Sahara Unlimited with less than 4000 miles.

jk'n 08-13-2009 08:56 AM

The part that is broken is a part that costs less than a dollar (or there abouts).

On pavement even wet, I would stay in 2wd. Off pavement on dirt/gravel roads I stay in 2wd unless the road gets squishy. You can tell because the car starts a kind of swaying or pivoting about the center when things get a little slippery. I was in a wash out where the gravel surface was about 14 inches from the bottom of the wash and I wanted to be sure my wheels didn't start to dig in so I put it into 4wd low because I wanted to take it slow going up onto the surface from the wash. Anyway, for short distances on pavement it shouldn't be a problem if just doing it to overcome an obstacle and a short distance being a few feet. The problem is that on dry pavement, the wheels being locked front and back can tend to put stress on the gears for any situation that causes one wheel to turn faster than the other (such as turning) without the wheels being able to slip under the weight of the vehicle. With the Sahara the limited slip differentials would mean this should be less of a problem but I would still stay out of 4wd on pavement.

Regarding the tow truck driver, I would think that the company he works for would want him to conduct himself in a way that would be customer friendly. Being instructive is different than treating someone diminutively. In situations like that I usually get quiet and consider the source. The main reason he was there was to help you get your jeep somewhere. The other stuff was just him being fluffy....because he can?? Maybe his boss would be interested in how he conducted himself but one has to consider the time involved for the satisfaction gained and is it worth it?

BTW, I called chrysler on this because there is no way that a part of the linkage should break that easy regardless of the possible intention of the design to be a breakaway part (my opinion). People should not be stranded possibly out in the middle of nowhere because of a 30 cent plastic part breaking.

Having gotten under the jeep and placing the linkage back together after I got tired of waiting for roadside assistance, I can say that the linkage consists of a cable with an eyelet on the end that connects with a plastic bushing to a pin that is on the lever that is on the side of the transfer case. So when things are connected normally, and the lever is being moved forward the cable is being pulled (I think) but when pulling the shifter to the rear, the cable is being pushed. Since it is a cable and not a solid link like a rod, the cable could flex while pulling on the lever. I think this is the reason for the break away piece. If the cable flexes, this I suppose could put sideways stress on the pivot point and possibly break the plastic piece on the end of the cable. Seems a poor design in more than one way. The link that I have put above to another forum shows pictures of a more permanent solution that can be accomplished so that the break point will be eliminated. Since mine is under warranty and will be for some time, I want chrysler to fix it when it goes if that is possible depending on the situation. I'm going to keep a few extra bushings in the glove box for the future because I don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere because of that part breaking. I say shame on chrysler for designing such a system as this. There has to be a better way.

Anyway, they shouldn't charge you for replacing the bushing under warranty. When mine first happened, I was in such rough terrain, I thought maybe I had a rock possibly bump something underneath. But as it turns out, it was just this little plastic bushing causing the trouble.

BTW, this is my first 4wd vehicle but am pretty mechanically inclined (me thinks) thus the reason I didn't hesitate to climb under the jeep and reconnect the linkage so that I could drive it to the dealer. While I was doing that, I did have some concern about being crushed by my own jeep rolling over me. I must have triple checked the emergency brake to be sure it was securely pulled. When by yourself, you have to consider these things because there would be nobody there to call the hearse after it rolls over you. I have heard some horror stories about cars rolling over people while they worked on linkages. Even with the Ebrake on.

Anyway hope this information helps. Best of 4 wheeling to you and yours.


jk'n 08-13-2009 09:03 AM

Oh, and welcome to the forum. :wavey:

coolbreeze 08-13-2009 09:53 AM

What year did they start with this trouble prone plastic piece?

jk'n 08-13-2009 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by coolbreeze (Post 420800)
What year did they start with this trouble prone plastic piece?

It appears to be on all JKs so 2007 onward?

Zeddjb 11-08-2009 07:22 PM

Thank you for the great info. I don't feel so bad now that I see there is someone else that has had this problem.

Today a friend and me decided to take a short ride out to the marsh lands.(we live in Wisconsin) I had it in 4H because of the thick sand trail we were on and then it turned to a hard wet muddy trail. We got to a small area where a small mud hole was blocking our path, so decided I need to put it into 4L. Like you said above, I man handled the shifter to hard, and tried to force it into 4L, and once I did that, the shifter went loose.

I knew what had happened and luckily I'm also a little bit mechanically inclined, and was able to shift it into 2H. Unfortunately, on my way back through the sand, I got stuck and had to call a friend to come pull us out.

I will be stopping in at the dealership tomorrow to have them put on the clip; since it's under warranty yet, and they best not give me any grief.

Again, thanks for the info and good wheeling.

jk'n 11-08-2009 08:13 PM

You're welcome.

Don't forget to get a few spares to put in the glove box.

P/N 68064273-AA

I have three of them in mine. Cost me 2 dollars and some change. This will help you to avoid getting stuck way out in the middle of nowhere unable to switch between 2 and 4wd. If you go wheeling with a group, wait until you see the reaction when you save the day by giving one of those precious little plastic pieces up....oh the joy.

Best of wheeling.

Jeep08 11-09-2009 08:35 AM

It is my understanding that in order to shift to 4 low from 2h or 4h the jeep must be stopped and in neutral. So far with that thinking I have not broke this clip. One of our group broke one the other day, and had to take a 18mm socket, and removed the skid plate to get at it because of the heat, and managed to get it into gear and drive out. We were on the back road to Crown King in AZ. Good lesson buy a spare and have a 18 mm socket.

Blackbeard1718 11-09-2009 11:55 AM

"Jeep School" recommends using 1-Finger to move the Transfer Case Shifter. Anything more, is too much pressure for the Plastic Bushing.

Also, some recommend Shifting into 4-LO while stopped, with the Tranny in Neutral, while others (and the Owners Manual) recommend Shifting into 4-LO at a slow 2-3mph roll, with the Tranny in Neutral.

I have 3 Spare Plastic Bushings in my Glovebox, but I need to grab an 18mm Socket for the Skid Plate.



jk'n 11-09-2009 01:23 PM


Originally Posted by Blackbeard1718 (Post 483436)
"Jeep School" recommends using 1-Finger to move the Transfer Case Shifter. Anything more, is too much pressure for the Plastic Bushing.

Also, some recommend Shifting into 4-LO while stopped, with the Tranny in Neutral, while others (and the Owners Manual) recommend Shifting into 4-LO at a slow 2-3mph roll, with the Tranny in Neutral.

I have 3 Spare Plastic Bushings in my Glovebox, but I need to grab an 18mm Socket for the Skid Plate.



I have to admit, when mine went, I was stopped, the front wheel was up against an 18" rise. I was in pretty rough terrain so I couldn't really roll it. I did man handle it slightly whilst shifting the transfer case just because I couldn't get it to move very easily. It was just very difficult to move it. In retrospect, when that situation comes up again, I will be much more ginger with it. Probably put the tranny in neutral before attempting it.

To get the TC out of neutral was a bear also. The gears just wouldn't mesh. When I put the tranny into 1st and applied a small amount of pressure to the shifter and came up very carefully on the clutch, it fell right into gear. That was after the bushing was already broken. I have been using that method since when the gears will not mesh and that works every time.

silvrevo 02-11-2010 11:33 AM

Anyone got a good picture of where is fits?

A picture is worth a thousand words.


jk'n 02-11-2010 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by silvrevo (Post 543717)
Anyone got a good picture of where is fits?

A picture is worth a thousand words.


See post #6, there is a link in the post that will take you to pictures. They are later in the linked thread.


kik 02-11-2010 12:51 PM

Thanks for the heads up on this. While at the dealer the other day I asked about this part. I gave them the p/n and told them I wanted to order 5. The parts manager said no problem and that it costs us .30. He then said there would be no charge for the 5 I ordered. Since I bought the Rubi from them 3 weeks ago I thought that was a good gesture not to charge me for this part. I'll keep them in the glove box just in case. And, I followed the manual the other day and attempted to shift into 4L for the first time going about 2-3mph and it was a no go; too much pressure and I didn't want to break that clip already. I then tried at a complete stop and it went into 4L super easy, no problem whatsoever. The "Jeep School" info. or whoever recommended doing it stopped is definately the one to follow. At least for my 10 Rubi it seems to operate better, or easier, shifting that way.

jk'n 02-11-2010 01:11 PM


If you ever go wheeling you will be like the JK god if you produce one of those for the unsuspecting wheeler who's linkage has popped its bushing.

Regarding the shifting into 4 low, to get there from 4 high, the transfer case must pass through a neutral position. In neutral the engine drive is not connected to the front or back and if you let up on the clutch....nothing. It is through this pathway that when shifting the transfer case that the gears may not always mesh for whatever reason. I have found that if the transmission is in first, and the clutch is released just enough to cause the gear to move, the teeth will mesh and the transfer case will easily fall into 4 low. I've done it a few times now and no grinding at all. I am very ginger on both the transfer case shifter and the clutch while doing this.

LFCamacho 03-22-2010 12:53 PM

Been There, Stuck Like That
2 Attachment(s)
This same exact thing happened to me this weekend. I have an '09 JK and I forcefully moved the transfer case shifter into 4L and pop went my bushing. Of course I didn't know what the problem was at the time.
What I can tell you is the drive shifter had no resistance- from 2H all the way to 4L it was completely free. I could shift the car into D or R but it didn't move. After being on the phone with my tech from Fortec Customs (they rock by the way!) he walked me through where to look. I was able to manually reconnect the cable again so that I could get rolling. I have included pictures of mine from that day (this past Saturday!). I went to Jeep and ordered two new bushings to prevent the cable coming off the pin. It was all of $2. Without some phone support I would have had to get flatbed towed and been in a world of hurt! I would recommend looking under your Jeep to know where this is and have a couple extra bushings just in case!

JIMBOX 03-22-2010 01:14 PM

:cool: Blackbeard tell it straight--

ALWAYS be moving very slow-neutral-GENTLE pressure on the 4wd lever--untill--

You've broken the transfer case in, I don't know how many times it takes, but never assume it's going to "DROP RIGHT IN", now sometimes, just shifting into reverse and a slight throttle "nudge", while applying easy pressure on the lever will get it to "drop in"

I've got 5 of the bushings, if your parts dept. can't locate the Pt# , TELL THEM TO LOOK IN THE '07 PARTS SECTION

Good luck

:rofl::rofl: JIMBO

apo8307 03-22-2010 01:30 PM


Originally Posted by jk'n (Post 420861)
it appears to be on all jks so 2007 onward?

hey i asked my dealer today about that he said that they are working on a metal part to replace it and it should be ready soon. Didn't know if that helps?

Badfish 03-22-2010 01:36 PM

^ this is very good to hear i was gonna say something to my dealership but it sounds like they already know.
this is what i did for mine. i figured why replace it with another plastic peice thats gonna break on me again. my jeep lives at the desert half the year so its hell in plastics. this clip of doom is a ticking time bomb in everyones 07+ wrangler.

Jeep4fun 03-22-2010 02:36 PM

We went wheeling yesterday and one of the guys had to leave early. 10 minutes later he phones and says he can't get the Jeep out of 4 low.

Yep, it was the same linkage discussed. It was not too much fun trying to fix it with a hot exhaust but the guy was already running late.

I reconnected the linkage and then strapped a cable tie around the cable and the steel plate where it connects. It sure wasn't pretty but in an emergency it does work.

I just wish I had read this post on Saturday :D

jk'n 03-23-2010 08:05 AM


Originally Posted by apo8307 (Post 578482)
hey i asked my dealer today about that he said that they are working on a metal part to replace it and it should be ready soon. Didn't know if that helps?

I will be one of the first in line with all of the others who have been stranded by the bushing of doom to have mine replaced with something more permanent.

Hilldweller 03-29-2010 07:40 AM

This thread should be a sticky.

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