Steam from transmission dip stick tube? -
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Unread 12-09-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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1993 ZJ 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 14
Steam from transmission dip stick tube?

I have a 93 4.0 with I believe a 42re; performed a fluid and filter change and adjusted both front and rear bands.

Fluid level is good, though not as red/pink as I would think, somewhat clear and transparent. Fluid does smell a bit burnt.

Shifting is worse after fluid change than before. Slow to go from stop, sometimes need to get higher RPM's before engaging into 1st. Down shifting is good, up shifting could be a little tighter (I should readjust rear band again).

There is also a slight burnt smell when stepping out of the heep after driving for a few miles. No tranny codes being reported.

A few questions:

1. Why would steam be coming out of the transmission dip stick tube? Is this normal?

2. Is the transmission pump mechanical or electrical?

3. Could the pump be cavitated and now fluid is not getting circulated?

Thanks for any advice!

edwyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-09-2011, 10:54 AM   #2
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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It's not normal. You may have incorrectly adjusted your bands. They are tricky to do. For a simple fluid change only by dropping the pan you will not get all of the old fluid out. I think only around 4 quarts or so. The rest will remain in the system unless you pull your transmission return line and drain it out. You are supposed to do this while pouring fresh fluid in until you see all of the old drain out and new fluid comes out. That way you don't get air into the pump. Keep checking your fluid level. You may not have filled it up all the way. I am assuming you know to check the fluid levels while the motor in on and in neutral after it has reached operating temperature right? Also the color isn't as important as the smell. That burnt smell is a bad sign.
1998 5.9
Originally Posted by jabba974
"And yes, there is always a torque spec...but its not necessary...and takes way to much time...."
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Unread 12-09-2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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1993 ZJ 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 14
Thanks Polka!

Yes, I am checking fluid correctly.

Bands we actually quite easy to do, front one though is tight to get at. Originally adjusted the bands at F: 3 and R: 3; 1st gear engagment was really bad. Now I am adjusted to F: 1.5 and R: 3; much better than before.

Looks like I will be doing a flush and see if things improve...

Anybody else, thoughts?

BTW: this forum is great!!! I have learned so much about my heep in the last few months here.
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Unread 12-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #4
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: michigan
Posts: 954
You are torquing the bands to 72 INCH pounds and not FOOT pounds, right?
96 ZJ Laredo, 4.0, 242, 230K
95 ZJ Limited, 4.0, 242, 140K
98 XJ Sport, 4.0, 231, 140K
All work well
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Unread 12-09-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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1993 ZJ 
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Location: Washington
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Yes, sir!

Actually spent a few hours on a Sunday running down an in. lb. torque wrench - o'reilly, napa, sears, tool town and finally Harbor Frieght to the rescue!
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Unread 12-09-2011, 10:20 PM   #6
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1997 ZJ 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: , Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,805
Those sound like the haynes manual recommendations...which are very incorrect.

Band adjustment changed year by year. Follow the factory service manual specifications for your year. allowing for the couple updated tsb's for a few years.
'97 zj 5.2, some stuff, some other suff, and some things that even work sometimes.

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