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Jeep Wrangler Maintenance and Repair Questions (1997 - 2006)



  • the transmission will not go into reverse... 1-5 work fine but reverse doesnt happen. Any ideas?

    Also I cant keep the door handle rods to stay on for more than a month?
  • I am wondering if anyone else is having problems with their rear wiper on the hardtop. Whenever I try to use the wiper on the rear window it almost always gets stuck on the center brake light that comes over the spare tire. When I discussed this with the dealer that I bought the top from I was promptly told that "a jeep is an imperfect vehicle, and he could/would do nothing about it." that was a few years ago, and I have spent the last several winters not being able to see out the back window b/c the rear wiper doesn't work. Has anyone else experienced this issue and do they have any remedies that work?
    Thanks everyone
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    What year Jeep? What kind of top? Stock taillight setup?

    Do you have pics?

  • sorry, those are very relevant facts i left out. the car is an 02 sahara. the top is whatever the dealer ordered for me, in 04. stock taillight setup. what i can say about the top is that it is one piece, with the machinery for the rear wiper on the upper right side. i hope this helps...
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Which part of the wiper assembly is hitting the tail lamp?

    Is your wiper touching the glass before it strikes the lamp?
    If so, you might take off your spare tire. You can loosen the bolts holding the taillight on and put some kind of spacer under the edge of it to tilt it forward a bit. Something as simple as a washer or two would probably work.

    If you wiper is NOT touching the glass, I think that is the problem and the wiper assembly is not lined up properly. Since it was an aftermarket top, or one added later, it is possible that if somebody put the wiper assembly together and attached it to your top, they didn't line things up properly.

  • i think its the wiper itself that is hiting the lamp, and the blade is touching the glass, it's as if the wiper blade is too thick and catches. in an experiment i tried trimming the blade shorter a few inches from the end of the blade. and it seemed to help, but there has to be a better solution, it can't be designed so poorly that it catches everytime. i'm pretty ignorant when it comes to technical and/or mechanical things with cars.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Well, it sounds like SOMETHING is out of shape, and I'm thinking it is the center brake light. Trying some kind of small spacer on the bottom of the brake light to push the top of it 'out' might help and solve the problem.

  • Mac24,

    Thanks for your help. Looks like you were right. I went back to the place where they fixed my transmission and he checked it out. "Eval" something or another came up on the reading. I explained the overflowing of gas and he said that was probably what caused the cel to come on. He cleared it and told me to see if the light comes back on it may be another issue. So far, I've driven about 150 miles and no light. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    Again, thanks for your help!
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    When I discussed this with the dealer that I bought the top from I was promptly told that "a jeep is an imperfect vehicle, and he could/would do nothing about it."

    What absolute rubbish! Either you have the wrong wiper blade and arm, or the center brake light housing is damaged or misaligned, or you have a poorly made aftermarket hardtop. The easiest solution will be to park alongside a similarly equipped Jeep and compare the two. Otherwise, take a couple of pics and post them here for an opinion.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    1: the transmission will not go into reverse... 1-5 work fine but reverse doesnt happen. Any ideas?

    2: Also I cant keep the door handle rods to stay on for more than a month?

    1: Your transmission, an Asian AX15, doesn't have a bad reputation in that respect. When you say "reverse doesn't happen", could you be a little more descriptive? Does the lever go into position, but it's as though you just hit a neutral, or if you go to reverse from another gear do just remain in that gear, or does the lever feel blocked from even going to the reverse position?

    2: Thats easy, just re-tighten them every 25 days! :shades:
    Seriously though, a little more detail please. Which bits are detaching from where?
  • yjbobyjbob Posts: 56
    My '95 Wrangler has the 2.5L motor and 5 speed trans. For several years now my transmission often fails to engage reverse. The lever simply won't move all the way to the reverse location. I found that easing out the clutch slightly allows me to engage reverse gear.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    That's actually quite normal. Doing that rotates the gears sufficiently for reverse to engage (no synchro on reverse). An alternative method is to engage another gear (third often works) then while keeping the clutch fully depressed, reverse can often be easily selected.

    Like people, old mechanical components sometimes get quirky. :)
  • Sounds like you need to find another dealer to service your vehicle.
    Not every service manager is like that.
    Let know about this guy...
    Get his name and title...
    Maybe he could get a job working for microsoft or dell.
  • 4wd was working fine and then we had a bad snow and now my jeep will not engage into 4wd. the lever is loose wear there used to be some give? What happened?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Best way to find out is to get under your Jeep. Sounds like your shift linkage was loose. It either broke, came loose or it got binded up.

    If it IS the linkage, it really is no big deal to get the new parts to fix it. There was a TSB some time back for if it is knocking. The parts and fix are listed here at While not your exact problem, it DOES show what you need to look for.

  • Hi guys, here I am again with another You know, I had other things to fix and to worry about, but slowly I starting going through the list of things and now I'm trying to fix this light. I can go into 4WD high and low without a problem and I know it's working....however, there is a red light in the panel that should come on when it's engaged. Anyway, since I was getting some touch up paint at a dealer I asked the question and the response have to leave the car here for a maybe a huge job...and I did not like that answer....I believe in the past Mac or Paul told me not too worry about it and that's what I did....but it's bothering me now...I'm trying to put everything back to work on this '97 TJ.

    Any ideas as a do it yourself job over the weekend ?
    Suggestions appreciated.

    Another question, I will replace my power steering fluid and lubricate the steering this weekend....any oil specification that you might suggest ?

    I also would like to mention that i replaced the tires recently, I read your suggestion about the BFGoodrich AT however, after some comparison....I end up with the Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo with Unit-T appears to be a little more civilized for city driving but still enough for some offroad....anyway...time will tell.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    The light will be green I think, but no matter. The problem will either be the bulb or its connection to the instrument panel (most likely), or the switch on the transfer case which activates it (second most likely), or the associated wiring and connectors (least likely).

    I like 'Valvoline Synpower Power Steering Fluid'. It's easily available, it's inexpensive, it's synthetic, and it's very low foaming. Low foaming doesn't matter much if you're just topping off, but it's a big deal if you've just changed the fluid and are bleeding the system through.
  • Thanks for the suggestion on the 4WD light....and to know the light will be green... :)

    I will go ahead with the Valvoline power steering oil. You guys already told me a suggestion for transmission, which is the Mopar oil...what about transfer case and differential? I will go with synthetics on those but should I also go for a Mopar oil or you would have some other suggestions ? I will be doing it this Saturday.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    For the t-case I used Mobil 1 ATF.

    For the diffs I used Valvoline Synthetic 75w90 (I THINK that weight is correct).

    For the transmission (AX-5 in mine - manual), I used Redline MT-90. REALLY made for smooth shifting.

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I use Valvoline Durablend Semi Synthetic 85/140 in the diffs because that's the recommendation if you tow. Regular 85/90 is a couple of bucks cheaper if you want, and would make more sense if you change it frequently due to the risk of contamination, i.e. driving through deep water frequently.

    Unless you spend a lot of time at high speed in low range, any regular Dexron III will be fine for the transfer case. I use Wal-Mart's Supertech for that, as well as their oil filters. (Tsjay can tell you about the quality of the media specified for their filters!).

    I can't remember which transmission you have, but on a '97 if you have a manual then make sure to use a GL-3 oil, and if it's an auto use ATF+3........ not Dexron or Mercon. Brand really doesn't matter here, and don't be fooled into thinking that an early auto needs the more expensive ATF+4 (though it won't hurt it).

    The biggest benefit of using a synthetic will be for a manual transmission, which as erickpl says, will shift smoother.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Valvoline Durablend Semi Synthetic - that is what I was thinking of.

    Mac is there any problem with the 85/140 for the diffs if you're NOT towing?

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    No, but it will hurt your wallet to the tune of about $4 for both axles, a price worth paying IMHO. ;)
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Ouch! That's steep. That means I would have to miss getting a Taco Bell lunch! :) hehehe

  • Missing lunch at Taco-Bell is not a bad thing...
    You drive a Jeep, right. 'Venture off the Boulevard, yes.
    ...maybe find a place where the menu is in Spanish and the waitress has dark eyes.
    Good real food, on a plate not in a sack.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Good real food, on a plate not in a sack.....

    There are places that serve food on plates!!!!!

    I must get out more! :)
  • I recently purchased a 1997 Wrangler, the fan switch only operates on high.

    Can the switch be replaced indivdually or doI need the whole heat/air unit?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Yes, the switch can be replaced on its own, but while it may be the cause of your problem it's just as likely to be the resistor pack which is inline with the fan motor. You'll find it located at the bottom of the HVAC housing in the passenger footwell.
  • Be aware the switches on these jeeps usually burn out due to another problem. ...faulty ground...loose connectors...
    Thax Chrysler-Plymoth-Dodge
  • I just bought a 1999 Wrangler Sport 5speed. I’m having trouble getting it into 1st and 2nd no matter the conditions or where I push the clutch to. Sometimes it will go into second but still grind (grinds rarely going into 5th as well). No problems with 3rd or 4th. I was told that new gears were put into it, but am unsure how that would affect anything. It also has a 4in suspension lift. Any ideas on what I should do?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    There are several possible causes of your problem. First, your clutch may not be disengaging fully. This could be caused either by the clutch itself, the pressure plate or the thrust bearing, or by a hydraulic problem with the release mechanism.

    Second, it could have the wrong oil in it. If it's cold outside and the transmission has inadvertently been filled with a heavy weight oil it will be difficult to engage any of the gears.

    Third, and most likely, you may have worn synchromesh collars, which usually appear after high mileage or incorrect lubrication (using GL-5 instead of GL-3).

    Fourth, a poor quality job may have been done when the 'new gears' were fitted.

    Fifth, depending on your particular lift, the gear lever may be restricted in its movement and be striking the console or tub aperture before gears can be properly engaged.
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