1998 Wrangler Sahara - Won't go into gear! Help please! - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:21 PM
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1998 Wrangler Sahara - Won't go into gear! Help please!

Hey everyone!

My dad has a 98 wrangler that he drives a couple times a year when he comes home on leave. Well, I went to check it out for him as he is coming home at the end of October, and it's having a problem.

It starts up fine, the engine is strong.

With the engine off, i can push the clutch in, and shift through all the gears including reverse just fine.

When I turn the engine on, I can push the clutch in all the way and the shifter won't budge. I slammed it into reverse, and it squealed the tires and I had to stall it to get it to stop (clutch was fully pushed down the whole time). But basically the shifter doesn't want to move - the clutch isn't disengaged even with the pedal fully depressed.

I don't know a whole lot about hydraulic clutches, so hopefully someone on here will recognize the symptoms and tell me what needs to be done.

From my understanding, the mechanical aspects of the shifting system depend on enough hydraulic pressure to lift the pressure plate off enough to relieve tension and smoothly shift gears. Since when the jeep is turned off, I can shift freely, I believe all of the linkage is intact properly. In other words, it shifts fine when the jeeps off because there's no hydraulic pressure on your pressure plate resisting it from being lifted away from the rest of the assembly. As soon as you turn it on, you instantly have a crankshaft spinning at 1000-4000 rotations per minute pumping X? psi through your hydraulic clutch system. Your problem is, when your jeeps running, there isn't enough pressure to lift the lifter plate.


here's what your haynes manual has to say:

Clutch
34 - Fails to release (pedal pressed to the floor - shift lever does not move freely in and out of reverse)

1 - Clutch contaminated with oil. Remove clutch plate and inspect

2 - Clutch plate warped, distorted or otherwise damaged

3 - Diphragm spring fatigued. Removed clutch cover/pressure plate assembly and inspect.

4 - Leakage of fluid from clutch hydraulic system. Inspect master cylinder, operating cylinder and connecting lines

5 - Insufficient pedal stroke. Check and adjust as necessary

7 - Piston seal in operating cylinder deformed or damaged

8 - Lack of grease on pilot bushing



I'm going out there now to work on it.

Tips?

Thanks!

-Conor

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:34 PM
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Just wanted to add: it's actually a 1999 wrangler, not a 98. It's also probably important to mention that the clutch and everything is all original with 175,000 miles on it. It's never had any problems though, and it was driving fine 4-5 months ago. Parked it for a few months, came to drive it and no dice.

Jeep gurus, help me out!

Thanks

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Old 10-05-2010, 03:19 PM   #3
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Sounds like the slave cylinder has issues. You may try bleeding it to see if that helps. The trans shifts with motor not running because nothing is trying to move(input shaft).get some help and have them push in the pedal (while motor NOT running) and you crawl under and see it fork is moving . I have seen a clutch disc stick to the flywheel after sitting for long periods of time. Everything else worked just the disc was stuck. I was able to take off the lower inspection cover and use a small tool to get the disc free'd up and never have a problem again, this was on a Chevy not my jeep .
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I was having a little trouble identifying which cylinder was for what, since the only engine compartment picture in my haynes manual is of a 2.5. I'm going to bleed the system the way you described in a couple hours, I'll let you know what happens b

only new thing to report is that I noticed that when the jeep is off, I don't even have to push the clutch at all and the shifter shifts freely. Is this normal? Or possibly a hint of a leakage issue? Btw, I opened what I thought was the clutch fluid resevoir based on the pic I had, and it was full to the very top. Didn't smell burned or anything.

Other ideas?
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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Yes it is normal to be able to do.With the Jeep not running and sitting on level ground you should be able to move shifter from gear to gear without problems.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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x2 on the sticking clutch plate. If your hyd slave cylinder is not the problem, open the bell housing inspection cover and while someone holding the clutch pedal down get in there with a long bar and try to pull the clutch disc from either the clutch or flywheel or both. HTH.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:17 PM
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If it were just the stuck clutch plate, wouldn't it have gotten forced off already when I slammed it into gear that one time and had to stall it?

Also, trying to bleed the system, can't find the bleeder screw. Any help with that? A picture would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:19 PM
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Also.. Why would I bleed the system if the resevoir is completely full? It doesn't seem like it was ever low, nor does it smell burned. Am I barking up the wrong tree?
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:11 PM   #9
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There are only a few parts to a hyd clutch system that go wrong. The slave cyl. ,throwout bearing and clutch (pressure plate/disc) . It you want to eliminate the hyd. part of the system see if the clutch fork is moving the pressure plate like it should when you press the pedal down. If nothing moves then more than likely you have hyd. problems.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:23 PM   #10
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I had the same issue on my 98 a few years back and it was the slave cylinder.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSam View Post
There are only a few parts to a hyd clutch system that go wrong. The slave cyl. ,throwout bearing and clutch (pressure plate/disc) . It you want to eliminate the hyd. part of the system see if the clutch fork is moving the pressure plate like it should when you press the pedal down. If nothing moves then more than likely you have hyd. problems.
How do I get a visual on that? I was trying to pry the inspection cover back after rmovinh the bottom 3 bolts, but i couldn't see anything but the flywheel ( my bud was pumping the clutch. )
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:05 AM
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Nothing at all?
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:15 AM   #13
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I had the same problem on another car but it got more difficult to get into gear over time. Bleeding it helped but in the end I had to replace the seals in the master and slave cylinders. I would start by bleeding it. It's free and will solve most of clutch issues.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:09 AM
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I want to bleed it - but even with the haynes manual, I couldn't find the bleeder screw on the clutch housing. Any tips? Or pics?
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:10 AM   #15
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my current rig is my 2nd 4.0 manual 5spd, and I had to replace my slave cyl 2x on my old XJ (yes, a manual XJ, God rest her soul,) and I can tell my TJ's just started having slave issues as well. Once you've experienced it you just know.

It's a relatively easy fix; you've probably spent more time avoiding it and/or reading about it than you would have if you just went at it. Especially if it's just a bleed. Even if the slave is bad, it's pretty easy. I used to not know crap about cars and I swapped out my first slave cylinder w/ just 1 friend, a case of beer, and a Haynes manual. 70k later, I had to do it again. No biggie.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:14 AM
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Also, as I was trying to get the inspection cover off, I got the 2 main bottom bolts and the smaller one inbetween them off. This allowed me to pry the inspection plate a little, but not nearly enough to see anything but a little bit of the flywheel. Does this plate come off completely?

Another thing that had me confused. Someone either verify this or correct me if I'm wrong

in order from front of jeep to back, it goes:
crank - flywheel - pressure plate - clutch plates
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:50 PM
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Sorry for any silly questions - Im not a jeep guy. This is the first time working on a clutch too - with the exception of replacing the clutch in my 2002 f4i. On top of that, as I said earlier, my haynes manual doesn't have a labled diagram of my engine conpartment. I think I know what all is what, (all resevoirs full btw). But a diagram or some pictures of the things I'm supposed to be looking for here would be stupendously helpful
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:17 PM   #18
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didn't mean to imply they were silly questions. it sounds you have at least an idea of whats going on. sorry but it's been so long for me I can't accurately describe how things are situated down there. and there may be a difference b/t a 93 XJ and a TJ. alas, I'll be letting you know soon - like I said, I can tell my TJ needs bled at least; if not a new one. Between my fiancee and my "new" TJ....someone has to keep the economy going, might as well be me.

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Old 10-06-2010, 10:03 PM   #19
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The inspection cover should come off all the way. Crank,Flywheel,Clutch disc, pressure plate then the throwout bearing. If you can't see movement then replace the slave cylinder.
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:52 AM
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The inspection cover should come off all the way. Crank,Flywheel,Clutch disc, pressure plate then the throwout bearing. If you can't see movement then replace the slave cylinder.

The inspection cover should come off after removing those 3 bottom bolts?
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:28 AM   #21
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Hello,

I'm new to here, but I was in the process of moving from Tulsa, OK to Phoenix, AZ and I broke down in Santa Rosa, NM. My 1998 wrangler will not shift into any gear at all. I have tried with the motor off and on and with the clutch depressed and not depressed with the motor on and off. Nothing!
When the motor is running with my foot off the clutch it makes a whining noise, when I press the clutch in, it quits. Im hoping this is the the throw out bearing.
Any input?
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:53 AM   #22
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Hello,

I'm new to here, but I was in the process of moving from Tulsa, OK to Phoenix, AZ and I broke down in Santa Rosa, NM. My 1998 wrangler will not shift into any gear at all. I have tried with the motor off and on and with the clutch depressed and not depressed with the motor on and off. Nothing!
When the motor is running with my foot off the clutch it makes a whining noise, when I press the clutch in, it quits. Im hoping this is the the throw out bearing.
Any input?

Sorry, can't figure out how to edit posts on here. Wanted to add that it is in neutral and rolls fine. Any ideas at all would be appreciated.

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