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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am experiencing a problem with my ’99 TJ, 4.0, with automatic trans, and 127K miles. I don’t think this is related to the problem, but the jeep is towed occasionally by a motorhome, always following the procedure in the owner’s manual. I’ve driven the Jeep about 400 miles since the last time it was towed with no issues.

The problem first appeared this morning while I was on my way to an appointment. After traveling about 5 miles, the transmission started slipping for a few seconds on the 2nd to 3rd shift. The further I drove the more serious the slip became, and not just on the 2nd to 3rd shift but almost all the time, and in every gear. The total distance driven to the appointment was about 20 miles.

After the appointment and before driving it any further, I checked the trans fluid level which was correct, and with no tell-tale odor. Not wanting to risk any further damage I trailered the TJ home. Upon arrival at home and offloading from the trailer, it ran perfectly and shifted just fine. After driving several miles there is still no slipping but there’s a strange noise coming from the general area near the torque converter when idling in forward or reverse gear. The noise seems to disappear in neutral.

My first thought was that the problem is heat related but I’m not getting any visual indications like a check engine light. Transmission fluid cooling is through the factory radiator. I guess I’ll try the obvious first step of fluid and filter change, but I don’t hold out much hope for a fix there. Does this sound like something you’ve experienced, and if it does, what was the solution?
 

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That might not be slipping.

The 2-3 upshift requires more precise actuation by the valve body than any other shift.

In second gear, the front (kick-down) band holds, and is released going into third gear. On the other hand, in third gear, the front clutch is engaged. So, the timing is critical. If the front clutch were to engage before the front band released, the engine would be doubly loaded, and you would feel a slowing-down kind of sensation. In the opposite situation, if the front band releases before the front clutch engages, the engine would be unloaded and you'd feel the engine rev-up a bit until the front clutch engages. I suspect the latter is what you are noticing.

There are basically two things that can be done to address this. The first (and easiest) might be that the front band pre-load adjustment is too loose so it release too soon, perhaps caused by gradual wear of the band's friction material. You can adjust this from the exterior of the transmission. There is an adjustment screw with lock nut on the left side of the transmission, just aft of the bell housing. The procedure is to loosen the lock nut, tighten the screw to 72 in-lbs, and then back the screw off 2.25 turns, and then tighten the lock nut to 30 ft-lbs.

The other cause would be due to internal hydraulic issues, such as reduced line pressure (pump/governor), worn or dirty valve assemblies, tiring springs, or such. Fixing these requires considerably more testing and expertise. Which, frankly, is above my pay grade.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 

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One other comment.

You mentioned that it felt like it was slipping in all gears for awhile. The only transmission component that holds in all forward gets if the rear clutch pack. That could slip because the friction material is worn out (doubtful because you stated the fluid was full and in good condition), or because it isn't receiving enough hydraulic pressure to hold. Again, goes to the valve body pressures and valve actuations.

It would made sense to replace the filter and add new ATF+4, and also to go through the external linkages to make sure they are in good condition and properly adjusted, before you draw any conclusions as to internal pressure and valve actuation problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses MightyDana35. I appreciate the information. I just drove the Jeep a little farther than I did this morning after trailering it home, and sure enough at about 5 miles into the drive the same symptoms occurred as this morning, that is, slipping/uncoupling in all gears. I don't believe the trans fluid as actually overheating so for some reason there seems to be something that doesn't like the normal trans fluid temperature. I'm starting to wonder if I have an under-performing pump.
 

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If you do a band adjustment I recommend you count the turns to get the proper torque. From this you will know if the band was out of adjustment.
 

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I doubt it is fluid temperature that's the problem. It sounds like pressure, but it could also be a linkage adjustment issue. Wish I could help further, but I just don't know.

Also, there are no transmission function trouble codes (DTC's), because the 32RH TorqueFlite transmission is a purely hydraulic machine, and a legendary one at that. Arguably the finest hydraulic transmission ever produced.

Please keep us posted.
 

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Before you get too deep into this, check its ATF level. Start the engine, let it warm up. Shift the transmission through the gears a few times. With the engine still running set the parking brake and shift to Neutral. Not Park, Neutral. With the engine still running check the ATF level. If it's low top it off with ATF+4, no other type of ATF is correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input, guys. I'm going to be out of commission for a few days but hopefully back at full strength by the weekend. I will work on the problem then and provide an update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A quick update.

Health issues prevent me from doing any productive work for the near future. As much as I hated to do it, I broke down and went to a local transmission shop. Upon inspection of the disassembled trans it was very evident that the unit was toast. I elected a complete reman of my trans. 36 month 50K mile warranty for $1800 out the door. Thanks to the members of this forum for their suggestions. I wish I could have taken some of the actions that you suggested, but my Dr's orders were pretty clear.

"..........., and no crawling around under that damn Jeep." I guess he knows me too well.
 

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Have you investigated using a rebuild kit other than OEM? One that improves the weak areas of the 42RLE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your response, Doug. This TJ has a 32RH transmission. I am relying on the pro to select the best rebuild parts.
 

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Ha, oversight on my part. 42RLE was first used in '03. Was thinking of my slight slippage as I read about yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, a final update on my transmission problem. I got the TJ back from the transmission shop and it shifts better than it has since I bought it over a year ago. This is my first Jeep and I guess it really never was right and I just didn't know enough about how Jeeps act to recognize that there was a problem developing. At any rate, I found a good, honest, reasonably priced transmission shop in Central Florida. If anybody in this area is needing that kind of support, Richmond Transmission in Melbourne Florida did a great job on my TJ.
 
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