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Unread 02-24-2014, 05:05 PM   #1
antcg
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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Questions About 1998 Cherokee 2wd Transmission

Okay so this is the last thing I'd like to find out about my 1998 Jeep Cherokee 2wd Auto

My first question is about the shifter itself. The button does absolutely nothing as I can shift without having my foot on the brake and without pressing the button. I'm not sure what cause that but i am curious if this has happened to anyone else? The second thing about my shifter is that I cannot shift down into the 1/2 gear at the bottom. I think maybe these two problems are related. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

The second thing is about the transmission itself. when I bought the car I checked the fluid while it was idling in park. The fluid is back and kind of soupy in consistency, it didn't smell burnt however and it was just above the low mark, maybe a quarter of an inch or so. It does not slip and seems to be in pretty good overall condition. The car has 173k miles and the PO did not have any maintenance records so I seriously doubt that the transmission has ever been serviced in any way. The only thing that it does is when you put it into gear it will jump a little and it does the same when it shifts but only after the car has been running a while. I was told by a guy at Pep Boys told me it was black because of metal shavings and a guy at aamco told me it would be because of the clutches wearing out more so than the gears grinding and causing the metal shavings.

My question is, should I try changing the fluid and filter? Or should I maybe drain the pan and drop to see how it looks in there and if theres any metal shavings in the pan or oil and maybe change the filter and gasket and go from there? Or should I just try and top it off to the full mark with some clean atf? I've been told by countless people that when they changed their trans fluid the transmission took a turn for the worst and it was nothing but down hill for the tranny. This car being my dd I'd like that not to happen.

Thanks!

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Unread 02-24-2014, 07:11 PM   #2
rjbruzan
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I would change it not flush it. I would do this a few times til it stays clean. There is a drain plug so use it. On the third time drop the pan, clean it out and replace the filter/screen. This is better than leaving all that crap in there.

Ron
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Unread 02-24-2014, 08:52 PM   #3
jeepkid03
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I'm not too sure about the shifter problem. You may want to pop off the plastic bezel and see what is going on. You can also pull off the top T-handle on the shifter. Just be careful not to hit yourself in the face (ask me how I know), and check to see if the button is broken.

As for the transmission:

1. If it is low on fluid right now, DO NOT drive it until the fluid is at the correct level. Running the transmission low on fluid will do damage. Why is it low? Are there any leaks? I'd have a look to make sure.

2. Don't take the advice of people from Pep Boys and Aamco. Pep boys usually just hires minimum wage kids who don't have a clue, and Aamco is in the business to sell you a new transmission. The AW4 is a very strong transmission, some say as bullet proof as the 4.0 engine. I've seen them run out of fluid, and when filled back up they still work fine.

3. Since your transmission is working fine, it is definitely worth servicing. Those who said not to change the fluid had other problems not related to the fluid. Fluid is the life blood of the transmission, and should be changed every 30,000 miles. Transmissions get hot, and this degrades the fluid condition, which can have a negative impact on transmission life and performance.

4. As posted above, do not do a flush... power flushes are what can hurt a high mileage transmission. Just do a couple drain and fills using the drain plug. Buy Dex/Merc III compatible fluid ONLY. I have used Autozone Dex/Merc in a few AW4 transmissions with good results. Each time you do a drain using the drain bolt, about 3-4 quarts will come out. Replace with 3-4 quarts of new fluid, drive the jeep around the block, and repeat this process until the fluid is clean. Do all of this again in 30,000 miles.

It is also a good idea to add a transmission cooler.
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Unread 02-25-2014, 11:22 AM   #4
antcg
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I don't believe there are any leaks as of now. It has all new fluids across the board other than the transmission. Surprisingly it leaks very little oil and other liquids other than coolant which I plan on overhauling my cooling system in the near future.

I will try draining some of it and filling it with some new up to the full mark and repeat a few times and then replace the filter and gasket and such.

Do I just need to fill it through the dipstick tube?
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Unread 02-25-2014, 12:42 PM   #5
rjbruzan
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Yes Dexron/Mercon fluid NOT Dexron 4
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