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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I would share a little bit of today's headache I had. I bought my 05 LJ last week knowing something was up with the automatic shifter. It would only shift into reverse from park. If you tried to shift into reverse from drive the indicator would need to go past R by about half a click.

I figured I would live with it until I got around to it, I was busy fixing the spun around tachometer and putting on bumpers etc. Well this afternoon I could not get it to start in park or neutral. I thought oh shit my Neutral switch went out. Nope...I jiggled and played around with the shifter and forcefully moved it forward into park. Started up just fine. I tried to do it again gently...would not start. Regardless of what I did I could not get it to start in Neutral (should be able to).


First thing to check is the condition of the shifter cable at the transmission end. Jeep in all its wisdom used cheap plastic bushings to snap the eyelet of the cable onto a stud connected to the transmission shifter arm. This is located on the drivers side of the transmission. It is kind tight spot to work with especially on the floor of a garage. You have the skid plate, and driveshaft in the way. The engineer who designed this must hate us as they made the stud point towards the ground. Once the bushing fails gravity drops the cable off. At least if it was pointed up there would be a decent chance of the cable staying on.

A temp fix is to use zip ties, shoe laces, or even wire to secure this back on. You can also have someone put their foot on the brake while you manually shift the lever but remember it will start moving!!!!

The PO on mine apparently had this happen and did the best thing and removed the arm (one bolt on top of the bracket). it squeezes the bracket on a pivot point and may need to be tapped up and off. He then drilled a hole and installed a nut and bolt. You should not tighten it down completely since the eyelet is just plastic and needs some wiggle room to rotate etc.

There is confusing information on several forums I searched regarding where the cable adjustment is. on the 03-06 4 speed IT IS NOT ON THE TRANS!!!! several posters indicated this is where it was. ONLY true for the older 3 speed transmissions. There is a bracket with a plastic C clip which holds the cable in place at this spot. It does not have any adjustment as far as I can tell.

Now after fiddling with all of that I still was having problems. Well according to the Service manual the adjustment is done underneath the shifter consol on the left side of the shifter arm.

PAGE 21-137
Check adjustment by starting the engine in PARKand NEUTRAL. Adjustment is CORRECT if theengine starts only in these positions. Adjustment isINCORRECT if the engine starts in one but not bothpositions. If the engine starts in any position otherthan PARK or NEUTRAL, or if the engine will notstart at all, the TRS may be faulty.
Gearshift Adjustment Procedure
(1) Shift transmission into PARK.(2) Remove floor console as necessary for access tothe shift cable adjustment. (Refer to 23 - BODY/IN-TERIOR/FLOOR CONSOLE - REMOVAL)(3) Loosen the shift cable adjustment nut.(4) Raise vehicle.(5) Unsnap cable eyelet from transmission shiftlever.(6) Verify transmission shift lever is in PARKdetent by moving lever fully rearward. Last rearwarddetent is PARK position.(7) Verify positive engagement of transmissionpark lock by attempting to rotate propeller shaft.Shaft will not rotate when park lock is engaged.(8) Snap cable eyelet onto transmission shift lever.(9) Lower vehicle(10) Tighten the shift cable adjustment screw to 12N·m (105 in.lbs.).(11) Verify correct operation.(12) Install any floor console components removedfor access. (Refer to 23 - BODY/INTERIOR/FLOORCONSOLE - INSTALLATION)

Basically you need to pull out the cup holder insert, remove the screw there. Remove the shifter Handle (pull straight up) Take a flat prybar or screw driver and pop off the shifter bezel. Pop off the trim piece which the shifter bezel rested in so that you can access the remaining screw on the right rear corner of the console. You will also need to lift the 4wd shifter up in order to clear the console off.

Now that you have the shifter accessible you will see where the shifter cable terminates at the shifter assembly. There is another bushing inside the eyelet attached to the metal bracket secured by a single nut on the left side. This plastic bushing also disintegrated on me. I currently have some electrical tape wrapped around the stud and pressed on the cable. It seems to be holding with friction right now. I currently have my console off incase the shifter cable doesnt want to cooperate and I have to pull or push the cable by hand to get into the correct gear. Once I get the correct bushing I will adjust the cable as described in the service manual.

Dorman & Crown sell the correct shifter bushing according to others. I will give it a shot and see. just google "tj shifter bushing" The stealership will try and sell you the whole cable assembly instead of just the plastic pieces. If you can dig up the OEM part number for the bushing only i heard they cost about $5 from them.

Here are some photos from a fellow forum that will help.

can i adjust an auto tranny shifter handle?? -
TJ 2003 Auto Shifter Adjustment -
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