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Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Problems



  • I also have a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have always had the surging problem in addition to electrical malfunctions. The electric problem was fixed with a new ignition module. The transmission problem was never addressed except to install a program upgrade (another recall). I was told nothing was wrong.
    Now I am faced with replacing the torque converter and inner/outer clutches at a cost of over $3,000.00! My warranty just ended.
    I find this absurd since I have complained about a problem for 4 years. The lemon laws in my state say they have not heard of any issues with my car.
    I found one recall on this year and make concerning the transmission fluid leaking into the coolant and potentially causing a fire.
    I have the feeling that the dealerships are avoiding working on transmission problems while under warranty.
  • I have lived the same story for the past 4 years, replacing starters, ignition modules,re-programming, etc.
    now I am faced with replacing the torque converter and clutches and the warranty is expired!
    Lemon laws are no help and Chrysler is no help. Seems the only way out is to leave the thing at the dealer and walk away. Oh yeah, I still have payments on ht e loan. :sick: :lemon:
  • boazbezboazbez Posts: 14
    Make sure that you only use ATF+4 or ATF+5. Sometimes they'll put in ATF+2 or 3 and sometimes don't even use ATF. It does make a difference. It may not be the cause, but it's the first place to start.

    If it shifts and operates well when warm then the problem is likely not something mechanical in the transmission. It may be related to the sensors. The Throttle Position Sensor tells the TCM (transmission control module) whether you want more power. The Transmission input sensor tells the TCM how much fluid pressure the transmission is developing. When the pressure gets high enough the TCM tells the Solenoid Governor to move enough to allow the transmission to shift to the next gear. (Or the other way around when slowing down.) I believe there is also a speed sensor. Any of the input sensors going bad or the solenoid governor going bad can affect when the transmission shifts.

    These are each less expensive to fix than a new transmission and are probably the first place to start looking.
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    From what I've seen, the internal components of the transmission (gears, clutch bands/discs, oil pump, etc.), are the most durable and reliable parts of the unit. Aside from a high mileage unit, I believe most problems come from the more "delicate" parts such as sensors, solenoids, and valve bodies. Transmission shops don't want you to think this. In most cases they will tell you to go for a replacement or total rebuild. Of course that's where the money is. The last time I talked with a transmission mechanic, I got to know the feeling what a woman experiences when she brings her car to a garage for repair.

    The "delicate" parts I mentioned, when malfunctioning can produce foamy fluid as posted in #527. I totally agree with the approach Boazbez takes.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    Given age & mileage your choices are to have the trans rebuilt or replaced with a remanufactured unit. Last trans problem I had was a minivan and it was covered by warrranty.

    If internal leaks are the culprit (see below), then a rebuild that saves big $ might be worth a try.

    If you get a rebuild ask them to explain how they rebuild the clutch. Ask about the clutch discs. Tell them you want the old parts they replace in a bag. If they act insulted, go somewhere else.

    I have a 97 shop manual for Jeep Grand Cherokee and here's what they say:

    Possible causes are:

    Throttle link misadjusted/stuck
    Gearshift linkage misadjusted
    Governor component electrical fault
    Front band out of adjustment
    Clutch or servo malfunction.

    According to the manual, fluid "foaming", occurs when fluid gets into gear train and is churned by it. A common cause is a pump seal leak.
  • jc2212jc2212 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 Jeep Grand cherokee Laredo with 180,000 miles. I was told that the collinoids need to be replaced ($695) but that I have dirty transmission fluid with metal shavings so the transmission will need to be replaced($2200) so I might not want to replace collinoids. I want to know 2 things: Is it worth fixing? If I decided not to fix anything right now and drive it until the transmission dies, then replace, will I cause more damage to the engine?
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    you problem wont hurt the engine unless you over rev the thing trying to make the jeep go

    the solenoids cause the trans to shift if it dosent shift right the first thing you do is change the oil and filters drive it for a while to see if that fixed prob then wonder bout change of trans if that didnt fix the prob but you have to drive alittle bit first
  • jcdubjcdub Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem. I took it in and had the transmission flushed like the manual said and then it started to leak. I took it in again and they tightened it . . . still leaked. Then I paid to have the gasket and filter replaced and it continued to leak. Yesterday I had them change the gasket again and this morning I found another puddle. After reading your post I think maybe the o-ring in the electrical connector could be the problem. Do you have any photos of where this connector is and is this something I could do and not have to take it in?
  • cole15cole15 Posts: 8
    hi i just got word on my jeep's problem. they said its the governor so my transmission guy said my jeep is now shafting into gears when he test drove it but now he said when he comes to a stop it jurks and seems to what to stall out, so he said something about by passing some hose im not sure what he means but he will explain when we go pick it up. all i know is its costing me $700.00 for this!!!
    my brother is a auto mechanic but he lives out west, he said this seems to be to much so he going to call this guy to find out what he did to my jeep. plus he didnt understand why this guy would bypass any hoses but will find out when he talks to him... i will get back to you when i find out more.... one other thing he said everything runs okay now but in 2 days or weeks it could act up again and if it does he said it could be the transmission. he also said when pulled the transmission pan he found no metal shaving.. so i'll get back to you when i find out more. i wish you luck on your jeep.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    Before spending big $ on transmission you may want to do a compression test on your motor. If the compression test is OK, then just about any other problem can be reasonably fixed.

    I have a 97 JGC with 175K. I have 1 cylinder that is slightly out of spec. I think its the reason I can't get a smooth idle, but it runs fairly well. I don't know what happens if another cylinder starts to go bad. I would not spend over $500 to fix anyting on it.

    Everybody is different, but it's nice to make an informed decision.
  • boazbezboazbez Posts: 14
    Fixing a solenoid governor is not an expensive proposition.

    Check out this link for details on what's involved.
  • boazbezboazbez Posts: 14
    There are two solenoids that control the actual shifting. (One only controls shifting in and out of Overdrive. If that's not a problem then leave that alone and just replace the Governor Pressure Solenoid and input sensor.) I don't know why replacing the solenoids would cost $700 since they cost only about $100-150 and there isn't all that much labor in dropping and then replacing the pan.

    Here is a link to what's involved: (In case you want to do it yourself.)

    If you know exactly what you want to have done to try it out, shop the job to a few mechanics and see what price you can get.
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    My Jeep dealer wanted $200+ bucks each for just one solenoid in my transmission. I bought a solenoid "pack" of three off the web for $150 dollars total! (Course they can also be bought online individually also) I would probably justify the cost if they were of better quality, but they are not.
  • cole15cole15 Posts: 8
    my problem is it seem to be stuck in 1st gear and i can only go 25mph and the rpm's jump up to 3000
    so i took it to a transmission place. so this is what he said; is he did the computer scan and it said that the governor actual pressure was 0 psi. he also drop the pan and found torque convertor cluch material. so what he did;

    replaced governor solenoid [A500 solenoid]
    trans filter & pan gasket
    add synthetic atf 8 qts
    then he said found converter applied/drag so he;
    bypass restricted cooler
    install independent transmission cooler TOTAL COST: $700.00
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    What follows is just my opinion and I am not in the repair business. I think it is very hard for a shop to pull a transmission, work on it, and put it back in with success. When they have it on the bench, they don't really know for sure that the item they are servicing will fix the problem until it is put back in the car. Success or failure propably depends on the skill of the technician. I believe SOP is to let the customer test it and reiterate repairs until customer says it is OK. A manufacturer can afford to have a test fixture to exercise transmission even though it is not in a car so they know they are shipping a working unit. When the shop installs it, they know they are putting in a working unit. Ask the shop about cost of remanufactured unit and set a limit on repair cost to 1/3 of the cost to replace it. Ask the shop if they will give you a credit towards a new unit if repairs are unsuccessful.

    Let me know if you discover something that indicates I am wrong.
  • cole15cole15 Posts: 8
    Thank you. I just found out i have to get the transmission fix. so much for $700.00 its going to cost me more! How much more I have no ideal. My question is do i fix it or get rid of my jeep? Either way I have no money for a used car or to fix this. I love my jeep had no other problem till this, then again I could by a car and still put money into that one, so now I have to make this choice fix it or buy another car with little money.
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    Did you ever check your Throttle Position Sensor for problems? My 98 Cherokee used to start out fine in first, then slip and rev where 2nd and 3rd gear should have been. Apparently the TPS circuit (my TPS wiring harness plug to TPS connector was bad) was giving the computer sporatic readings simulating a bad TPS.
  • kamenkkamenk Posts: 1
    hi,i bought jeep grand cherokee ,reg.52,2.7d,a few months ago and sometimes light for engine was on dashboard. now the light is always on and jeep does not change gears,it runs only on 1st one when is selected on drive.i can reverse and put it on neutral as well but on drive runs on 1st one and do not change gears.could someone tell me what's wrong with it ,pl?many thanks.kek
  • Periodically, after driving and putting gear selector into "park", the dashboard indicator reads "transmission over temp". Has anyone out there experienced this and, if so, what is the solution?
  • Dealer looked at my transmission estimated it was $5000 to replace it. Then called me later to tell me they would accept it at trade-in for $9500 despite the transmission problem. I think I'm being fleeced here.

    Specs on my 2006 Grand Cherokee Laredo
    Only 33,500 miles
    V8, 4.7 L
    545RFE transmission

    I wrote earlier what my original problem was. It worked fine on the ride home from work. Next morning on a cold startup, it would not engage reverse or drive. At least it parked. Tried it again later... and reverse will catch, but not drive. I have to rev the engine around 6000 rpm in order for it catch in gear to drive, automatically stays in 3rd until it comes to a rest and have rev it high again to catch.

    Anyways, I'm almost certain I don't need the trans entirely replaced. I feel like I'm being conned out of at least $5000.

    Trouble Codes:
    P0700 Trans
    P0871 OD Switch functionality
    P0876 UD Switch functionality
    P0731 Gear 1 ratio
    P0732 Gear 2 ratio
    P0733 Gear 3 ratio
    P0944 Hydraulic Pressure Unit Loss of Pressure
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    Don't know if you have access to the 545RFE manual, but it can be viewed at: link title.

    An excerpt from the manual states:

    "The hydraulic control system design (without electronic assist) provides the transmission with PARK, REVERSE, NEUTRAL, SECOND, and THIRD gears, based solely on driver shift lever selection. This design allows the vehicle to be driven (in“limp-in” mode) in the event of a electronic control system failure, or a situation that the Transmission Control Module (TCM) recognizes as potentially damaging to the transmission. The TCM also performs certain self-diagnostic functions and provides comprehensive information sensor data, DTC’s,etc.) which is helpful in proper diagnosis and repair. This information can be viewed with the DRB scan tool."

    Besides having the trouble codes read, has anyone looked at the TCM with a DRB scan tool? If you do get someone, pick and choose carefully, as I had the dealer transmission mechanic analyze mine and he came up with nothing. (After my own tinkering, I found it to be one of my solenoids) That was after I wasted a hundred bucks at the dealer. Does your Jeep operate in "limp" mode? Also, I notice some of the sensors are located outside the transmission making it a little easier to get at. Page 74 of the manual has interesting information on the "Line Pressure Sensor".

    At 33,500 miles, your Jeep is still new. I would find it very hard to believe something more than a sensor, solenoid, or some other electronic related problem is happening. Please keep us posted, as the more info to go on, the better.
  • I called the mechanic at the dealer again to get a few more details. She said there were bits of the clutch in the trans pan. I asked her to take pictures and email me. I'm very skeptical of everything that's being told to me. I got an email back, however she said she couldn't take a proper picture. I asked to come in on Friday afternoon so she can show me. After I view it, I'll take my own pictures and see what's really going on. I'm definitely leaving the dealer to a real transmission place.

    Could I possibly burn up the clutch to a point where parts of it are laying in the trans pan? Wouldn't I know if it was ruining my clutch, via smell or sounds, etc? How about the fact they want to replace the whole transmission instead of replacing the clutch?
  • I had a similar issue. Would not shift at all out of first. Turned out to be a transmission speed sensor. It actually had a crack in it. You can easily see it hanging off the bottom of the transmission if you crawl under the vehicle. I replaced it myself, like a $40 part and some butt connectors. Check this site link title and a Haynes manual have saved me a lot of shop time. Good luck
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    Residue in the pan is normal. You just don't want to see a lot of it, large chunks or shavings. Mine had a gray paste residue around the magnets from normal wear.

    Found this diagnostic manual link title and thought it might be helpful in your analysis.

    What I'm interested in knowing is what causes P0871 (OD Pressure Switch Sense Circuit) and P0876 (UD Pressure Switch Sense Circuit) to be set. From the manual it states:

    The TCM utilizes a closed -loop system to control
    transmission line pressure. The system contains a
    variable force style solenoid, the Pressure Control
    Solenoid, mounted on the side of the solenoid and
    pressure switch assembly. The solenoid is duty cycle
    controlled by the TCM to vent the unnecessary line
    pressure supplied by the oil pump back to the sump.
    The system also contains a variable pressure style
    sensor, the Line Pressure Sensor, which is a direct
    input to the TCM. The line pressure solenoid moni-
    tors the transmission line pressure and completes the
    feedback loop to the TCM. The TCM uses this infor-
    mation to adjust its control of the pressure control
    solenoid to achieve the desired line pressure.

    At this point, I'm suspecting this very possibly might have something to do with it. Any type of solenoid is a possible "weak link" in the chain.
  • NNeal, the information you've provided has been great. This just help confirms my suspicions that the solenoids have been the reason the transmission is in the limp-in mode.

    Since they came back and told me the clutch was burnt (still don't believe that), why would they want to replace the entire transmission? I understand they want to make a lot of money off this...

    1) To scare me into trading the jeep in for a new one
    2) To make a killing off a replacement transmission
    3) They don't actually know how to fix it

    Really this is just venting...
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    In analyzing transmission problems, it is equally important to diagnose the sensors the transmission brain (TCM) depends on when controlling the various solenoids. I usually start with sensors first (easy to get at) then move on to the solenoids. Like I had mentioned in a previous post, my tranny was slipping like mad when trying to shift to second. I found out later it was because the TCM's wasn't getting any input from the Throttle Position Sensor (broken connection). If anyone would've drove my Cherokee, they would have said the transmission was shot - that's how bad it was! A short article on the importance of the sensors can be found at: link title.

    Trouble codes often do not pinpoint the bad part, they can be also showing the chain of events caused by a bad part.
  • Hello,
    First at 35K+ miles the powertrain is still under factory warranty you shouldn't have to pay for replacing the tranny. It is the preferred scenario to replace the whole unit though. Once you have problems, any old parts will be contaminated with metal flakes, which is the like cancer for automatics.
    The other thing I don't get is how you can have pieces from the clutch when it is an automatic. Pieces from the torque converter is more likely. From what you are describing the it seems the dealer you are using is not dealing straight.
  • My 95 hasn't corrected itself, it's still shifting funny. I have ruled out the sensors for the engine, and the kickdown. I would like to check the sensor and soleniod in the tranny, do you know what the specs are or where I can find them and the check procedcer. I'm looking into a tranny manual from link title.
  • boazbezboazbez Posts: 14
    You might want to check here first:

    42RE Shifting Solutions
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    At least you'll be able to rule those parts out and make your diagnosis a little easier. It's been hard trying to find anything on the web, but I found a few links which might help you.

    At this link title, scroll down to select your transmission model and it will bring up a .pdf file for your tranny. I must have been tired, as I caught myself sometimes clicking on 42LE instead of 42RE. It looks like they have you test the solenoid(s) at the whip plug into the transmission (I wish I would have known about this method when I was first diagnosing my tranny). Not sure how easy it is to access on your vehicle. This is handy even if you prefer doing it from underneath with the pan off.

    Another link title is this Transmission Diagnosis file. Even though it's for a 1997 Dodge pickup, I assume many of the methods would still apply.

    Last but not least is this link title on the Service Manual for a 1996 JGC. The password next to the link on the page (I later found out) is for when you go to extract the zip file on your computer. It ends up putting the pages into a folder named "ZJ". They're only labeled by numbers, so you end up clicking on them to find out what they are. I found the transmission on file "96ZJ_21". The rest of the manual is also handy for it's wiring diagrams.

    I found out tranny solenoids are very fussy. If they're the least bit out of the ohm's test range, they're considered bad even though technically they might still work mechanically. Good luck and please keep us up to date on your progress.
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