2004 Rubicon Transmisson Problem
I have done allot of searching but I have not been able to find any possible solutions to my problem.
I have a 5spd NV3550. It shifts fine before the transmission properly warms up. No grinding or resistance just smooth shifts.
After it reaches operating temp the transmission begins to become difficult to take out of gear. It mainly happens in third but I believe it has happened at least once in all gears except maybe reverse. It does not grind or make any noise and seems to shift into gear smoothly.
It is also intermittent. It does not do it every time. I noticed if I hold the RPM when I push in the clutch it seems not to happen. Also if I pull it and it offers resistance and I let go then pull again sometimes it comes out smooth. Sometimes it just doesn’t do it (stick).
I found a Service Bulletin about this problem but I believe it is for 2000 and older models. It says the problem is the detents are not properly greased. I will try what it suggests to see if that fixes the problem but seems like that should be fixed since I have a 2004.
I changed the Trans oil with Pennzoil Synchromesh and it still does it. I also noticed it looks like the Trans fluid had very recently been replaced. It has a new clutch as per the previous owner.
I just bought the jeep a few days ago. The seller says he has never noticed the problem. (Probably lying)
I also found this post on a few websites but it had no replies it was from 2009. It sounds like the same problem.
Quote is from Pirate4X4.com poster is jnowacek
Transmission hard to get OUT of gear -2003 TJ NV3550 (long post) - Pirate4x4.Com Bulletin Board
My 2000 started the same thing today. I was thinking crap I don't want to get a new tranny already . Maybe some of the smarter people on here can chime in with advise.
Interesting problem -
If you hadn't said they replaced a whole tranny and it didn't go away, I'd guess too much endplay on the mainshaft.
A dragging clutch would make it hard to shift INTO gear, not so much OUT.
A side pressure on the input shaft (misalignment) might cause it - I've never seen it make it hard to shift out though.
A tolerance problem with the bellhousing is a possible. The bolt holes - engine to bellhousing - are slightly bigger than the bolts - that gives it a few thousandths of tolerance. When the bellhousing was bolted on, it may have gone on slightly misaligned.
Try something - put a jack under the bellhousing and raise the jack slightly. No need to disconnect any mounts. The idea is to take the weight off the trans mount - putting it into a "neutral" state, but not stretching it up either.
The engine is supported in the front, the tranny is supported in the back - picture the center trying to sag. You want to just take the sag out.
Loosen the bellhousing to engine bolts - all of them - just loose enough so the bellhousing can shift position a tad - so it's straighter.
Retighten the bolts.
Do the same thing with the trans to bellhousing bolts - just enough to "neutralize" the stress.
It's also possible the bellhousing and the engine are not perfectly aligned - machining error on either the bellhousing or engine. I don't remember if there are dowel pins between them on a Jeep, probably. Offset dowelpins are available. The trick is to know how much and to what position.
Be sure to let us know if it helps.
I don['t know if you ever got an answer. My 2003 Rubicon had the same problem. I went through a similar thing with the clutch but I went outside of the dealer. The repair shop said nothing was wrong with my clutch. The dealership replaced the transmission oil and it did it even worse. I took it back and whatever they did fixed the problem. They didn't have it long enough to drop the tranny ( an hour or two at most) so I don't know what they did. The only thing I can figure is they added an additive or lubricated something.
That sounds like a classic case of the transmisson input shaft wobbling around for whatever reason. Never had a jeep tranny out but the stuff we work on has a small brass bushing the input shaft rides in and it will wear out of round. Exact same symptoms to a T.
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