Rough month for the ZJ - looking for trans advice - JeepForum.com

 
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Rough month for the ZJ - looking for trans advice

Hey all,
I'm looking for some info on transmission replacement for my '97 5.2. It's been a rough month for Jeepy - started out needing a steering box replacement, then immediately discovered the VC in the transfer case was shot so I'm in the middle of a 242 swap, and now my trans is going out. It had been having trouble downshifting at a stop, so I had asked the local trans shop to do a band adjustment while it was in there for the TC swap and they found a palm-full of metal shavings when they dropped the pan that weren't there when I changed the fluid myself last fall.

So, I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I love the jeep but it's emptied my pockets this month and they're quoting me $2300 for installing a reman transmission (or $600 labor if I provide a trans, but they won't warranty it). I've found remans online for ~$1500 but I'm not sure if I have the time or skills to do a transmission swap myself in the near future.

To make matters worse, the tech told me he doesn't recommend off-roading with the auto, and that the warranty will be void if they find any mud in the transmission. I don't plan to go mud-bogging but have been looking forward to getting out on some local trails now that the weather's warming up. Considered buying one from a junkyard but they seem rare locally and I'm not convinced a used one wouldn't go out soon anyway. Thoughts and input appreciated.

TLDR:
- Transmission going out right after doing steering box and transfer case, shop quoted $2300 to install a reman with a 3-year warranty
- Warranty is void if they find mud in it, tech recommends against off-roading with the slushbox in general
- Anybody know of better-built aftermarket transmissions?
- Or do I throw in the towel since I just spent over $1k doing other work?

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post #2 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 07:07 AM
wingless
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Welcome to the forum.

This topic shows my transmission rebuild.

Ensure that the torque converter is swapped, it is impossible to flush the internal contamination. Ensure that the coolers and lines are flushed.

A properly rebuilt transmission is fine. On mine, I rebuilt it w/ upgraded parts, so it should be better.

The transmission internal components are "sealed" w/ two exterior openings. One opening is the top of the dipstick tube. The other opening is the vent, on the oil pump plate, behind the torque converter, above the input shaft, as-shown in the image.

The transmission should be fine w/ normal off-road operation and will resist external contamination, unless the vehicle is submerged to a severe depth.




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post #3 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 07:19 AM
PacificEd
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I was in the same boat this time last year. I ended up having the 42RE in my 1998 Grand rebuilt my a local transmission shop that came highly recommended. As I was talking to him, he said the Chryco transmissions were pretty good transmissions and using the best quality parts would allow the transmission to last a long time. He said they are fairly cheap and easy to rebuild.


I had the work done and it ran about $1600 and he did all the work. He replaced the converter and all the wear parts. He showed me everything that he took out and I had clutches with no lining left on them and the converter (which had been replaced in 2007) was bad (chattered).


Your price sounds a little high. I would ask around and get some other quotes.


I decided to rebuild ours since the ZJ was in great shape. Good clean rust free body, rides well and only had 145,000 miles on it. The overall condition of the ZJ will determine if it's worth fixing.

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Thanks guys. Sadly I'm in podunkville and we only have two transmission shops, this one (which is well-reputed) and a chain that gets pretty mediocre reviews. I asked this shop if they could rebuild, and they said they don't do that anymore.

Three weeks ago I would have said the ZJ was in great shape - 130k miles, no rust, no crashes, new tires, great interior, etc etc, but after the steering box/transfer case/transmission I don't know anymore. The engine seems ok but has plenty of "normal" leaks. I know it needs a front diff output seal and a rear wheel bearing, and the fuel pump check valve is probably shot, so that's another $500 or so depending how much I do myself. The shocks are original and overdue, suspension bushings are worn, and the tie rod boots are cracked. Bunch of normal maintenance stuff but all added together it's getting damn near an overhaul. So I'm looking at at least $1k in additional maintenance coming due very soon.

I'm right on the edge of cutting my losses and getting something newer. Too bad Wranglers hold their value so damn well.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 10:19 AM
GOLDWING
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Before you give up, try looking at Car-parts.com used parts. I just checked in my immediate area there are dozens of them for $200-$250 and they will warranty them for 90 days. A lot of them have the actual mileage listed so you can possibly find a lowish mileage trans and install it yourself. Good luck,

GW

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Hers is stock, mine, BB, Aussie, 2x6 sliders, 31s, etc.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjmo View Post
To make matters worse, the tech told me he doesn't recommend off-roading with the auto, and that the warranty will be void if they find any mud in the transmission.
Tech is full of crap. Nothing wrong wheeling with an auto tranny - but one needs to know a few things:
* ALL Chrysler RH/RE- series transmissions (30/32/42/44/46/47/48) have their breather through the oil pump at slightly above crankshaft height -> keep it submerged in deep water long enough and you WILL suck in water/ muddy crap.
* Due to above, only go through deep water holes/ mud holes if you know you're not getting stuck and that you won't stay there for several minutes.

If you have the tranny out and plan on wheeling the Jeep, you should plug the original breather from the oil pump (you need to pull the pump -> tighten front band to prevent stuff from coming out from the tranny), drill a hole at the top center ridge on the tranny, tap the hole and install a nipple + breather hose.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:49 AM
kg6mov
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I did a trans swap in the driveway in the rain when I needed it and couldn't afford to have somebody do it for me, it wasn't fun, but there's not a lot of complexity to it, it's just a big job.

I'll always advocate for the devil you know, you may think you're getting peace of mind from a newer used vehicle, but it could **** the engine or trans a week down the line just as easily as your jeep did.


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1984 F250, 460 BB, T19, work truck/future tow pig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOLDWING View Post
Before you give up, try looking at Car-parts.com used parts. I just checked in my immediate area there are dozens of them for $200-$250 and they will warranty them for 90 days. A lot of them have the actual mileage listed so you can possibly find a lowish mileage trans and install it yourself. Good luck,

GW
Good idea. I just checked and unfortunately everything within 100 miles of me has more miles and is $400 or more.
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
Tech is full of crap. Nothing wrong wheeling with an auto tranny - but one needs to know a few things:
* ALL Chrysler RH/RE- series transmissions (30/32/42/44/46/47/48) have their breather through the oil pump at slightly above crankshaft height -> keep it submerged in deep water long enough and you WILL suck in water/ muddy crap.
* Due to above, only go through deep water holes/ mud holes if you know you're not getting stuck and that you won't stay there for several minutes.

If you have the tranny out and plan on wheeling the Jeep, you should plug the original breather from the oil pump (you need to pull the pump -> tighten front band to prevent stuff from coming out from the tranny), drill a hole at the top center ridge on the tranny, tap the hole and install a nipple + breather hose.
Awesome. Truth is I don't plan to do anything very serious - I took it out on some local trails last fall that were slightly worse than fire roads and had a blast, but don't think I'm going to do anything too extreme. Good to know for if I have it out anyway though.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
I did a trans swap in the driveway in the rain when I needed it and couldn't afford to have somebody do it for me, it wasn't fun, but there's not a lot of complexity to it, it's just a big job.

I'll always advocate for the devil you know, you may think you're getting peace of mind from a newer used vehicle, but it could **** the engine or trans a week down the line just as easily as your jeep did.
I keep thinking I know the devil, then he turns around and gets me again... Point well taken, though!
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjmo View Post
Awesome. Truth is I don't plan to do anything very serious - I took it out on some local trails last fall that were slightly worse than fire roads and had a blast, but don't think I'm going to do anything too extreme. Good to know for if I have it out anyway though.
I've had my ZJ up to headlight- level deep water and muddy water multiple times, going through 200-300 feet long streches of deep water holes etc., never had issues with the tranny sucking in water.

It may be good luck, but in all honesty it should not suck in water/ crap that easily as long as all the inspection covers are installed and in good shape - and as long as you won't stay in the deep holes more than a couple of minutes at a time.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
zjmo
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To resurrect one question buried in my wall of text above - does anybody know of any particularly reputable places to buy remanufactured transmissions, particularly ones built better than OEM? I'm not blown away by transmission failure at 130k miles.
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 12:45 PM
kg6mov
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Matin Saine will be happy to build you one that will handle 500 ponies. Or less since you probably don't need that much.

Most of the guys that are building for better than OEM are building for the race market though, carries a premium to match.

A good reman should easily get the same or better, I've got more than 130k on my current 44re, original was toasted when a cooler line blew on the highway, no sign that this one is getting tired (but I know what my next 2 transmissions will be).


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
zjmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
Matin Saine will be happy to build you one that will handle 500 ponies. Or less since you probably don't need that much.

Most of the guys that are building for better than OEM are building for the race market though, carries a premium to match.

A good reman should easily get the same or better, I've got more than 130k on my current 44re, original was toasted when a cooler line blew on the highway, no sign that this one is getting tired (but I know what my next 2 transmissions will be).
Yeah, I'm not looking for anything crazy, just trying to "do it once, do it right." So what will your next two transmissions be?
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-21-2017, 02:15 PM
kg6mov
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Next up is a 46re (is hanging in the garage with the 5.9 block), and when I get tired of that, an NP435 will replace that if/when I get tired of the slushbox.


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Quote:
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I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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