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Unread 10-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #1
DennisT
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'99 WJ auto trans: need tips for daughter please

I hang out a lot on the XJ forum for our '99 and 2000 std. XJ Cherokees. However I just talked to my daughter who lives in central Montana and her 1999 Grand Cherokee's auto trans is beginning to act up. I'm dumb on Grand Cherokees. I read the sticky, search, but have yet to see an actual Transmission Model mentioned. So please indulge me a bit:

What auto trans did Chrysler put in the '99 G. Cherokees? Only one model? What is it?

I'm used to our AW4's, so how does the GC auto trans compare for durability, etc.?

Her's has 82K miles. They've had it since 50K. Doubt it's ever had trans service, so I already advised that. Her complaint is that when cold, it,"slips," (her words), between 1st and 2nd. (Hesitates, rev's slightly, engages, then OK) All is well when trans is warm/hot.

I'm thinking a fluid change, filter change, inspect pan for debris, and see what happens. She works for a GM dealership in the office and their mechanic already said the fluid looks dark.

My main question for this forum is for what to expect from the GC trans since I have no idea what it even is.

Feedback appreciated,
Dennis in E WA state

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Unread 10-03-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
briandor
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Depends on if she has the 4.0 6 cylinder or the 4.7 8 cylinder engine. The 4.0 has the 42LRE and the 4.7 has the 45RFE. Out of the 2 the 42LRE is commonly referred to as the weaker. It can hold up ok if properly maintained but isn't really known for its durability. That being said 82k is low mileage and unless the transmission was really neglected and beat on I would think it would last longer that that.

A slipping transmission is generally bad news. And dark burnt looking fluid to that and it pretty much confirms that things aren't good inside. Usually what happens when a transmission is already starting to slip and you change the fluid is that it goes completely bad. The reason for this is that the new fluid is clean and doesn't have any grit in it. The grit in the old fluid is actually helping the already worn and slipping gears to grip enough to still engage. My advise would be to see what her mechanic where she works thinks but she should probably be prepared to need the transmission rebuilt.
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Unread 10-03-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
DennisT
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trans

Thanks. Tonight I couldn't remember which engine she had and asked her. She thinks it is the 6 and I think I remember that to be true. If so, she has the 42LRE you mentioned was reputed to be weaker. Great.

Now that you mention it, I also remember talk about fresh fluid bringing out more problems. On the other hand, she's caught between two directions, both looking bad.

Too bad those rigs don't have the AW4 like ours.

Dennis
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Unread 10-04-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
brianestep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisT View Post
Thanks. Tonight I couldn't remember which engine she had and asked her. She thinks it is the 6 and I think I remember that to be true. If so, she has the 42LRE you mentioned was reputed to be weaker. Great.

Now that you mention it, I also remember talk about fresh fluid bringing out more problems. On the other hand, she's caught between two directions, both looking bad.

Too bad those rigs don't have the AW4 like ours.

Dennis
It is "weaker", subjectively and relatively, but not completely weak. Mine started slipping between 1st and 2nd at just after 100k. Sometimes it just needs a band adjustment. I wouldn't do a complete flush on mine, having not know the regular service history. It should have been flushed about twice by now. If it hasn't, it might be too late. But, a simple drain and fill with freshy kept mine going until 200k. Just rebuilt in May. The rebuild is around $2000, typically can be found with a 1 to 2 year warranty, and a rebuilt, so I'm told, should get 80% of the life of the original. Long story short, keep it full and fresh, and you might just be okay for 5 or 6 more years.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
briandor
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Yes. I didn't mean weaker to mean piece of crap. There are plenty of worse transmissions then the 42LRE out there. They just don't take being beat on and abused as much as some others. As mentioned they do have band adjustments and that might keep it alive a while longer. Being me I would also drop the pan and do the fluid and filter replacement along with the band adjustment but I would do it knowing that it could make it worse too. It's possible that something else is causing the shifting issue as well. There are electronics and sensors involved with these transmissions now too and they do go bad.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #6
Jeeples
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You mentioned the symptoms happen when the trans is cold. I know that on the (5)45RFE trans that delayed and softer (IE more slip) shift points are part of the TCM programming until the transmission fluid reaches a certain temperature, then everything returns to normal. I would assume that the 42RLE is the same way.

Perhaps there's been a drastic change in ambient temps lately, such as lows of 50* overnight one day, then below freezing the next, and she just notices the difference more so then compared to a gradual cool down in ambient temps.

Have her try letting the vehicle warm up for a few minutes before taking off for the morning. Have her put the trans in neutral while doing this, which will allow the trans fluid to circulate through the system and warm up quicker vs. leaving it in park. See if the problem persists.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 12:31 PM   #7
narnwv
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You mentioned she works at a GM dealer...

Dont let them put Dexron in there if they do the work. ATF+4 only!

Typing on phones sucks.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
nickblack
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The above is correct. Mine also has a delay when it's cold and then goes back to normal. I think the fluid has to heat up. I've experienced this every winter for 5 years and still have the original tranny in the truck at 180k miles. It's the 42re like yours. I flush and change filter every 30k.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
Valor
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Originally Posted by briandor View Post
There are plenty of worse transmissions then the 42LRE out there.
Sure are, I.E: Any first generation Honda 5 speed automatic.

It is surprising how much fresh fluid can do for a transmission. It is common practice to change the transmission fluid and filter every 30,000 miles. You'd be surprised how many people neglect to do it. As stated above, make sure only ATF+4 is used. To be 100% honest with you, I would tell her to avoid a flush all together, and to just do a drain and fill.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 01:58 PM   #10
Cirruslydakota
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Fluid changes with atf+4 every few years along with band adjustments (no one ever does this) and the 42re will last. The re series of transmissions dates back to the 70's with overdrive being added in the 90's. As such, most people forget that band adjustment which was once common is still needed on these.

^ You could almost set your watch to Honda odyssey transmission failures in the early 2000's. It was seriously that bad.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 02:03 PM   #11
briandor
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Originally Posted by Valor View Post
Sure are, I.E: Any first generation Honda 5 speed automatic.

It is surprising how much fresh fluid can do for a transmission. It is common practice to change the transmission fluid and filter every 30,000 miles. You'd be surprised how many people neglect to do it. As stated above, make sure only ATF+4 is used. To be 100% honest with you, I would tell her to avoid a flush all together, and to just do a drain and fill.
Most people don't do it every 30,000 miles because newer fluids don't required as frequent changes. If I remember right the reason ATF+4 exists is because it increased the change interval to 100,000 miles. Most owners manuals these days reflect this as well. My Charger for example has a 120,000 interval on the transmission fluid and filter. It has a lifetime powertrain warrany from the factory and the only requirement is following the maintenance schedule so I'll change it before 120,000 (currently at 107,000). Even our WJs are listed at 102,000 now with the advent of ATF+4.

I'm not saying that doing it more frequently is a bad thing but we still do a lot of things because that was the way it was done. Fluids used to break down much faster in the past so we changed them more frequently. Oil was every 3,000, coolant every 30,000, transmission 30,000, etc. but now we have newer fluids. Oil easily last to 5-6,000 coolant goes to 100k etc. When you look at the cost to take it in to have fluids changed as frequently as they used to be you can see why people go with the new schedules that manufactures are putting out.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 02:08 PM   #12
briandor
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Originally Posted by Cirruslydakota View Post
Fluid changes with atf+4 every few years along with band adjustments (no one ever does this) and the 42re will last. The re series of transmissions dates back to the 70's with overdrive being added in the 90's. As such, most people forget that band adjustment which was once common is still needed on these.

^ You could almost set your watch to Honda odyssey transmission failures in the early 2000's. It was seriously that bad.
I just upgraded from a 2001 Laredo to the 04 Overland. I had a 76 Dodge Dart as my first car and it was funny when I test drove the Laredo when I bought it in February I knew instantly the lineage of the transmission. That whistle/whine is a dead giveaway.

BTW, anyone want to buy a low mileage (228,000) Laredo? lol
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Unread 10-04-2013, 03:22 PM   #13
Cirruslydakota
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That's the exact mileage I bought mine at. I've taken it on a few long trips (MD to Minnesota last fall) and next fall I'm heading to Arizona. It has yet to let me down.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
Jeeples
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandor View Post
My Charger for example has a 120,000 interval on the transmission fluid and filter. It has a lifetime powertrain warrany from the factory and the only requirement is following the maintenance schedule so I'll change it before 120,000 (currently at 107,000)
Your Charger also doesn't come equipped with a dipstick, which prevents you from monitoring fluid levels, aside from crawling under and periodically checking for leaks. Depending on what year you have, the NAG1 5 speed auto was subject to a leaky shifter seal (IIRC). Again, not a huge issue if you periodically crawl under there to check for leaks, or take it to the dealer for all maintenance.

While I agree that modern automotive fluids are capable of longer service intervals, what are you losing by changing the tranny fluid at 30k or even 50k compared to the factory recommended interval?
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Unread 10-04-2013, 04:08 PM   #15
nickblack
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My 96 BMW's transmission (which is a GM hydromatic) came with a lifetime fluid and no dipstick also. But, it has a drain and fill plug. It calls for Dextron II which I didn't know back then was a lifetime fluid. I bought the car with 130k on it and changed the fluid. It was as black as night. The transmission is still trouble free but I don't believe in lifetime fluids. I still change it out every 30k.
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