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Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Problems



  • Hey everyone I'm knew to this forum.

    I'm having a few quirks with my Jeep and I'm not real familiar with it, so I kinda need to bounce some ideas off of someone. I have a 96 grand cherokee limited with a 5.2 V8 and an automatic transmission with a manual transfer case that goes from 4whl HI, N, and 4whl LO.

    I was driving home and I noticed I was getting some serious white smoke behind me. I made it home and checked my oil and my coolant, no transference was evident. Oil wasn't milky, so I don't suspect the head gasket. I checked the transmission fluid though and it was bone dry. Then I checked around the engine bay some more and noticed red fluid all over the place, which I can only guess is transmission fluid.

    I did some more poking around and found that the one of the two lines going to the cooler is fairly loose. I did a little more tooling around in there and it looks like it's just leaking from where the line goes from a hard line to a rubber hose.

    Has anyone had this kind of problem before, and does my trouble shooting sound about right? I price checked the lines (full assemblies) and it's $40 for the lower, and $60 for the upper. My guess is that this should be about a $300 repair at a transmission shop, but I know how mechanics can be - I myself am a former marine that used to fix helicopters, so I know just how miserable some repairs can be, and this looks like the kind of repair thats going to become a pain in the butt. I can't imagine I'd charge less than that for me to fix it (if I knew how). Any one ever come across something like this with their jeep? If I take it to an auto mechanic, about how much do you think would be a fair price for the repair?

    I appreciate any help you guys can give!

    - Will
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    edited March 2010
    Absolutely, that would do what you described. I don't know what an auto mechanic would charge, but the job itself is not unusually hard. Setting up the Jeep so you have clearance room underneath, It only entails cleaning the road crap away from the end fittings, unhooking any hanger/supports and using a line disconnect tool available at parts stores or Sears auto department (link title) to undo the end fittings. If or when you do it, the key thing is not to be in a rush and keep everything clean as possible. I did mine on a 98 Cherokee and undoing of the fittings was the only real challenging part if it. It would be worth asking an auto mechanic what they would charge, as I wouldn't think the labor cost would be that much.
  • devriesdevries Posts: 3
    edited March 2010
    what would cause my trans not to down shift to 1st it takes off in 2nd if i put it in first myself it shifts great
  • devriesdevries Posts: 3
    where is the throttle p s on 96 jgc 4.0 auto
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    I have a 97 JGC 4x2 I6. I do a lot of my own repairs. Completely self-trained. An SUV with a frame is not too difficult to put on jackstands, but I use 6-ton stands; not the small ones you buy at autozone. Review Haynes manual you try it yourself.

    I've done this repair. You have to lay on your back so yes, it's a PITA. But compared to some procedures, cutting off old hose is easy.

    Otherwise, I suggest you look into getting the transmission flushed. It probably needs it. You have to disconnect these lines to flush it so incremental cost to put new line on should be small.

    You can ask transmission shop.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    I have a 97 jgc shop manual and here's what it says

    1. Throttle linkage misadjusted
    2. Accelerator pedal travel restricted (make sure it's not hung up on floor mat).
    3. Valve body hydraulic pressures too high or low
    4. Governor circuit electrical fault
    5. Valve body malfunction (sticky shift valve
    6. TPS malfunction (throttle position sensor ?)
    7. PCM malfunction

    Sounds like it can be repaired without rebuilding entire transmission.
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    edited March 2010
    I had the exact same symptoms on my 98 Cherokee and it turned out to be one of the three solenoids in the AW4 transmission. Taking it to a transmission shop and also the dealer resulted in a diagnosis of replacing the thanks! I discovered the bad one while changing the fluid and filter.

    There are other reasons your transmission could be acting up like this (especially since it might be a different transmission), but I thought I'd let you know what mine turned out to be.
  • devriesdevries Posts: 3
    edited March 2010
    thanks! mine is 2 wheel drive how do i find out which one is bad
  • I took the tranny out of my 97 and put it in my 98 gc. when i took it for test drive it went from first to second then kept jumping back and forth from third and over drive. The tranny fluid got super hot and now it is not working at all and it is stuck in drive and will not go into park. is my tranny shot? the manual said the two years were compatible!
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    edited March 2010
    Like I said, mine had an AW4 transmission. I don't know what your 96 JGC has for a tranny. On mine I tested each solenoid with a voltmeter in the ohm's setting to see if the solenoid was reading within the recommended (ohm's) range. This link title shows an example of this test. This link title shows ohm's specs for some transmissions. I would call the service department at the dealer or talk to a mechanic who could tell you more. Also, don't assume this is what's wrong with yours as you might be looking at a different transmission. Good luck.
  • randyiiirandyiii Posts: 3
    Have a 2002 2wd Auto Transmission Grand Cherokee. Yesterday it would not shift out of first gear - high engine rev. I parked it and tried it 30 minutes later. It shifted fine but Check Engine light came on. Thoughts ? Thanks.
  • boazbezboazbez Posts: 14
    Have the code read on the check engine light.

    I believe you can do this yourself by turning the key to the on position, (Don't start the car) and then turn it off-on, off-on, off-on within 5 seconds. It should give you the code in the odometer.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    According to my 97 shop manual:

    1. Throttle linkage misadjusted or stuck
    2. Gearshift linkage out of adjustment
    3. Governor component electrical fault
    4. Front band out of adjustment
    5. Clutch or servo malfunction.

    Watch out if you go to a trans shop. 1,2 & 4 are small $ repairs. They will give you a $$$ repair and do the small repair and you won't know the difference. You might be better off at the dealer, especially if you bought it there.

    I suspect your check engine light is a symptom. Go to autozone and have them read the code. They do it for free.
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    2002 dosent rely on a cable from the throttle all computer controlled reads tps map and temp to do the shifting etc. if aw4 no band adjustment all controlled by solenoids
  • randyiiirandyiii Posts: 3
    edited March 2010
    The code talks about the governor pressure sensor. Is there also a governor pressure solenoid that should be looked at also ?
  • tuggajbtuggajb Posts: 646
    in the book looks as if it is on the right side looking up from the bottom of trans inside pan could be bad

    also looks as if you have a 42re trans also has band adjustments on that trans

    think you have a 42re as 45rfe was used in 4x4 jeeps and dosent have a governor pressure sensor on it
  • gfarghergfargher Posts: 1
    i have a 2002 grand c trans will not shift out of 1st gear ive changed the speed sen with no change what else can i do?
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    I looked at my jeep shop manual and if it's an electrical fault, solenoid, clutch failure, etc it's beyond DIY. But I do see another possibility. Check any linkage between trans and throttle,shift lever, etc. to see if its stuck or broken. If trans has a band adjustment, you can try that. You can also inspect any wiring/connectors into the trans. I was changing trans filter on my toyota pickup and I was surprised to learn it has its own ground wire (which can come loose).
  • jasond1jasond1 Posts: 3
    I am told that my transmission needs to be replaced by a shop but i would like to know what people think. i did have the transmission serviced last year. ok, when i go from park to any gear there is a couple of second delay. if i step on the gas from a dead stop there is a major grinding noise but no speed (i don't try this often). when going from first to second there is a jolt/klunk to a grind depending how fast i am going. when going at higher speeds and i let go of the gas there is a small klunk and it slows down at a faster rate than expected. there is no check engine light on and the other gears seem to be fine. if i start off really slow from a stop it seems to be fine. i believe it is slipping but reading some stuff on here, i just don't know. also scrap yards are telling me that a transmission from that year is the only one that can go in it and it has to be selec trac, is this true.

    thank you
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    My 97 jeep shop manual lists 13 potential reasons for delayed shift, but 2 of them are easy to resolve. Fluid level low and clogged filter. Drop the pan and replace filter. See Haynes manual. Be careful not to overfill transmission with fluid. Put enough in so it will run, then adjust fluid level. Make sure fluid is at right level when it is HOT.

    Have somebody (other than the trans shop) inspect your CV joints and drive shaft before you buy a transmission. The boots on CV joint should be dry. If wet, it means they are loosing lubricant.
  • bionic82bionic82 Posts: 1
    I have a 99 JGC, with about 201k miles on it. For about the last 2-3 months, it has been "slipping". Most noticeable in the 2nd-3rd gear. Also, when driving at highway speeds, it "surges"; the rpm's will rev up 500-1000 sporadically. I've had it into a shop and they said it was about 2 quarts too full and drained it back down to the proper level. Even after this, it still exhibits the same problems. Can anyone help? Thanks.
  • newbie here, trying to help a friend out, with her jeep its had a rebiuld, solenoid pac replaced. It now stalls when you put into drive, runs fine in reverse. but when you put it into drive bam kills engine? it has one code in it p1781 and i`ve noticed with my snapon scanner on it when you push overdrive switch it lights up on dash overdrive off, but on scanner its reads on ? but then when you push again it reads on on the dash but off on scanner? any help would be deeply appriciated. thanks :confuse:
  • jasond1jasond1 Posts: 3
    thanks, could the cv joint be the grinding. i thought they would have changed the filters during a transmission service. if not. wtf
  • I have a 2005 Grand Cherokee. It has 46K miles. I really like the vehicle. It is my third Jeep. However, I hate the transmission. When I shift from reverse to drive it actually seems to go into neutral for a 2-3 seconds before it will go into gear. I live on a busy street. This always happens the first thing in the morning. I have it happen right when I am cross ways in traffic. I just sit there until it decides to move. Dangerous!!!
    I have had it into the dealership several times. The dealer agrees that there is a problem; it has happened to him. However, he just says that it is a Jeep thing and there is nothing that can be done about it.
    Still I have spend over $700 trying to correct the problem, all to no avail. Any thoughts?
  • nnealnneal Posts: 72
    edited April 2010
    I have no idea if your Jeep's symptoms are caused by the same source as mine was, but on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee (not Grand) with an AW4 transmission, I was experiencing delayed shifting into gear as you are. The problem I was trying to fix at the time was the transmission not going into overdrive. I eventually discovered it was one of the three transmission solenoids causing it. I was also surprised to learn it was the cause of my delayed shifting into gear. I assume the bad solenoid was "choking" the flow of the hydraulic fluid. You probably have a different transmission but it's worth checking along the same lines.

    2 - 3 seconds when shifting from reverse to drive seems like an eternity when you're on the street. The manual for my AW4 states "Engagement time in D range should be a maximum of 1.2 seconds. Engagement time for reverse should be a maximum of 1.5 seconds". Hope this is of some help.
  • jasond1jasond1 Posts: 3
    i am more worried about the grinding from start. thanks though i will check it out
  • I dont know if this will help anyone but recently my 2000 Jeep Cherokee (not grand) was stuck in 4 wheel drive. ....This is what happened .. I couldnt figure out why my Jeep was acting up. it was VERY hard to turn but would drive straight fine, but shake a little as I went faster. I used my 4 wheel drive the previous night and shifted it out of 4 wheel drive and back to normal that night as well before parking. I figured out that it must still be in 4 wheel drive by the way it was acting. So I called my (auto magician dad).. He told me right away that I was stuck in 4 wheel drive but for some reason was know showing me that on my dashboard. He asked me when I put it in reverse if I had backed up very far, I replied a few feet, he told me that was probably the prob. I put my foot on brake,Jeep into neutral, Jeep in 4 wheel drive lever position..prev was not)then shifted back down to 2 wheel, then off lever.) put vehicle into reverse, then backed up a lot farther this time, immediately I could tell I could drive normal again. It was like it kicked it out of 4 wheel when I backed up far enough. I know sounds weird... but It worked
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    It sounds like a drive train/transmission mechanical problem because it works OK in reverse. If there is a way to disable awd and make it 2wd, the results would help determine the source of the problem. Otherwise, you should be able to get a repair quote for no more than $100. It will be an expensive repair.

    If I was working on it myslef in nothing to lose mode, I would remove the transfer case and examine it.
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