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Unread 03-21-2005, 09:39 PM   #1
tobias94yj
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NV3550 SWAP IN AN AX15 YJ Part I

First off let me start out by saying this is my first write up so bare with me. Second I apologize for no pics; I could not find my digital camera at work.

This write up involve swapping a NV3550 from a 2003 TJ into my 1994 YJ 4.0L AX15. This is farely involved and took me 2.5 days to complete. I had never swapped a tranny before so there was a learning curve that you may not have. I recommend having at least 1 other person to help you and 2 people would be nice when installing the new tranny.NOTE: There was a TSB(technical service bulletin) about 2000 NV3550's popping out of first gear, so beware if you looking at a 2000 model and research this further

PARTS USED

-NV3550 w/ bellhousing w/ <20k miles $800 from a local junkyard, dealership list is $2170 but I talked them down to $1750
-Centerforce II clutch - purchased @ www.performanceintl.com for $152 pressure plate assembly, $78 clutch disc(must use centerforce clutch disc with centerforce pressure plate assembly), $35 throw out bearing (centerforce throw out bearing had the exact same part # stamped on it as the throw out bearing that I removed from the NV3550 which I assume was the stock one)
-clutch alignment tool - $25 Napa, I did not like the one from Napa but Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, and O'Reilly did not have one, the one from Napa uses a cone to align the clutch and I prefer the splined plastic ones. It also pissed me off that Centerforce did not send one with thier clutch
-Pilot bearing/bushing - $15 local dealership, this one is a pilot bearing but some people still call them a pilot bushing. I got one for the 2003 but it looked exactly the same as the one that was in.
-Flywheel resurfaced- $20 local machine shop, a must if you are replacing the clutch, a new flywheel from Autozone was $87
-Advance Adapters t-case shifter bracket - $40 + s/h, called them before I bought the new tranny to ask questions about the swap and they did not mention this to me, so I just ordered mine today the old bracket will not work
-Mopar manual transmission lube for NV3500 - $10 qt (make sure you read the back it will say specially formulated for NV3500 transmission, the only reason I tell you this is because the dealership tried to give me lube for the AX-15 even thought I told them a 2003 NV3550), you need 2qts to fill the NV3550, let talk about this lube for a minute. I did tons of hours of researching the web and here is what I got, only the mopar stuff and penzoil syncromesh meet all the specs for the NV3550 and I had found lots of people that used Redline, Amsoil, and other brands and had lots of issues with shifting and grinding and making lots of noise so I just spent the $10 qt and got Mopar stuff plus I could not find any store around East Tennessee that had Penzoil syncromesh

That is about it for parts although I also changed the rear main seal(mine was leaking), oil pan gasket, both u-joints in front driveshaft, and the rubber washer behind the pinion nut for the front output yoke on the t-case (mine was leaking)

TOOLS

- good set of metric and standard wrenches and sockets (deep well and normal)
- air compressor and pneumatic tools will make this job much easier and if you have access to them then get them
- the bellhousing has some specialty bolts that use a female torx socket but I removed them no problem with a 3/8 12 point socket
- screwdrivers
- safety glasses
- rubber gloves
- leather gloves
- jack stands
- transmission jack is helpful
- floor jacks


DAY1

After work I pulled my Jeep in the building and got all my tools together to begin the project. I started by removing the shifter boots and underneath that is a rubber piece so remove that too. Then I chocked the front wheels and jacked the rear end and put some jack stands underneath the axles, this gives you some more room and makes is easier to get the old tranny out and the new one in. Next I put a floor jack with some wood blocks underneath the bellhousing to support the weight of the tranny and t-case. I then unbolted and removed the skid plate. On my fan the blades are positioned so that 2 of them are far apart I turned the fan until these 2 were pointing down so that I would not hit my radiator through out this project. Next disconnect your driveshafts from the t-case, I went ahead and disconnected the front driveshaft from the axle too since I was going to replace the u-joints and to get it out of the way. Now lower the tranny some so you can get access to the t-case shifter bracket. Disconnect the linkage from the t-case, next unbolt the t-case shifter bracket from the shifter tower and the tranny and remove. Next unbolt the shifter tower from the top of the tranny and remove (the tranny will not come out with the shifter tower still on trust me I learned from experience). Disconnect your speed sensor from the t-case,your 4WD indicator from the t-case, and your back-up light plug from the tranny. Next you can leave your t-case connected to the tranny or remove it, I removed mine to take some of the weight off the tranny to make it easier to move. Next remove the tranny to skid plate mount bracket. I removed the exhaust pipe from the my header to my cat (borla header, random technologies hiflo cat), I had read that you can still get the tranny out with it still on but it is more difficult, so if you have factory exhaust be prepared to possibly be replacing rusted bolts that you snapped while removing. Now is a good time to drain the tranny fluid so you don't make a mess later. Now get the tranny jack and position towards the rear of the tranny, since this where most of the weight is, and support the weight with the tranny jack. Then move your floor jack from the bellhousing to oil pan with a wooden block. Now lower the tranny as low as you can being sure to keep an eye on the radiator and your motor mounts. Once you get the tranny lowered raise your floor jack to where it just starts to put some pressure on the oil pan. Next I disconnected my battery then unbolted and removed the starter. Then unbolt the CPS (Crank Position Sensor) it is located in the 10 to 11 o'clock postion as you are looking towards the rear of the engine. Remove your external slave from the bellhousing push it out of the way. Now it is time to unbolt the bellhousing and I am not going to lie to you it is a PITA to get to those top 2 bolts which happen to be those special torx head bolts. Next is removing the tranny. There are 2 guide dowels that might be in there pretty good and you might have to pry a little with a flat head or a small pry bar. Now just wiggle and pull and cuss and throw a few wrenches and eventually the tranny will come out. It will take some effort to get it out from underneath the Jeep but it will come. Now you can remove the metal backing plate that is in between the flywheel and the engine. This is where I called it a night and this is where I am calling it a night tonight. Tommarrow I will finish with my day 2 and 3.

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Unread 03-22-2005, 05:02 AM   #2
75SV1
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Doing a simular swap of a NV3550 into an '88 Comanche. I've kept my eye out on the boards for info. I heard Royal Purple make a synthetic oil for the NV3550. I heard the border patrol uses it in thier Jeeps. Good luck on the swap. I went with the Center Force I clutch. AA recomend it, and said the CFC II was over kill. I also have a B&M shifter thats going in. I bought the Advance Adapters slave cylinder kit. I got my NV3550 off of E-Bay for about $470, just the case. I had to get a bellhousing, about $50 from the bone yard. None of them had the clutch fork. I bought one from the dealership. They were actually cheaper than others. Just pulled the motor and old BA-10/5 last weekend. Good luck on your swap. I am taking picutures along the way. I am also swapping in a Dana 300 T/C.
Tom
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Unread 03-22-2005, 06:51 PM   #3
tobias94yj
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NV3550 SWAP IN AN AX15 YJ Part II

DAY2(Saturday)

Well yesterday did not go as well as I had liked so I hoped that today would be better and it turned out to be a pretty good day.
I knew I needed to get my flywheel to the machine shop early since they would be closing at noon today so I started by removing the pressure plate and clutch. This where pneumatic tools come in extrememly handy. You will notice that when you try to loosen the bolts the flywheel turns. So I grabbed my impact and zipped them out no problem. If you don't have an impact someone can try to hold the flywheel while you loosen the bolts. Next I removed the the flywheel bolts. These would be extremely hard to break loose without an impact. Becareful when removing the flywheel it weighs about 25-30lbs. I don't know if it matters but I made note of how the flywheel was mounted so that I could remount in the exact same position when I reistalled it. Now I was off to the machine shop to get the flywheel turned. It may look kind of bad with some flash marks on it but should be ok once it is turned. The machine shop was right next to Napa so I went next door to spend some more money. I wanted to bring something up here, I bought an extra rear main seal from Napa (dealership only had 1 in stock), in case I messed the first one up trying to get it in, and it was $2 more than the one I bought from the dealership ($11.99 & $13.99). This is why I always check prices at the dealership and several parts stores because sometimes (though rare) you are just better off getting it from the dealer.

Picked the flywheel up and it looked great. Make sure that you do not get grease or oil on the finished surface and from here on I used rubber gloves when handling the flywheel. Got back and prepared to get a little messy because it was time to take out the old pilot bearing and install the new, for those who have never done this then get ready it may sound crazy but if have any experience with hydraulics then you know that oil and grease are non compressible just like water, this is why if you suck water in throughyour intake it usually means a bent rod or a rod through your oil pan. You will need a hammer, grease gun and a solid piece of metal that can just barely fit in your pilot bearing, one of my friends said they had used broom handles also. Take your grease gun and start pumping the area behind the pilot bearing full of grease then take your rod and put it in the hole and whack it with a hammer. It may take a few hits to break it lose but it will come. You may have to pack more grease in if moves out a little but not all the way then hammer again until it is out. Now dig all the grease out and put the new pilot bearing in. I got a pilot bearing for a 2003 tranny and do not know if there is any difference between the '94 and 2003. I used a wood block and beat it in with the hammer, but make sure you get it started in straight. Next we put on the backing plate that goes between the engine and the flywheel and put one of the guide dowels in to hold it up. Next we installed the resurfaced flywheel. I called the dealership earlier in the week to get the torque specs and they said to torque it 105 ft-lbs. Different years maybe different so you may want to verify that for your application. Be sure to torque in a criss cross pattern and on something like this I will tighten them with a ratchet then torque to 50 ft-lbs then go back a second pass to 105 ft-lbs. YOU WILL DEFINATELY NEED ANOTHER STRONG PERSON ON THIS STEP! My friend helping me could not hold the flywheel while I tightened them so I held the flywheel and could only hold it up to 80 ft-lbs. So I grabbed a pair of clean leather gloves and prepared for the last 25 ft-lbs. I was wore out by the time we got all 6 bolts tight and I am a fairly stout and stocky guy, so be prepared. This is where we said it is time for lunch.

When we got back my friend had to leave for a while so I did the rear main seal while he was gone. When he got back we put the clutch and pressure plate up and ready to install. The type of clutch alignment tool we used said put the plug in the pilot bearing then put the clutch and pressure plate on and start all your bolts. Then get the rod with the cone on it and screw it into the plug. Next push your cone until it aligns up the clutch and tighten the pressure plate bolts. The reason I did not like this tool was there was a little play in it and because the plug was solid and it is air tight behind the pilot bearing I could not push the plug in all the way. We then torqued the pressure plate bolts to 38 ft-lbs, again the number I got from the local dealer. This where we called it quits for Day 2 so I could go see the wife and kids.

DAY3

I felt good from the day before with no real snags and geared up and ready to go and test this baby out, so we got prepared and put the t-case back on the tranny and on the jack. This is where a third person is handy. I luckily got my son to come and help. He was designated jack man. So we got under the Jeep and got everything lined up and it just would not go in, we tried and tried and nothing. Well I was worried about the clutch being lined up right and it turned out to be the problem so I took the plug to the shop and put in my drill press and drilled a hole right in the middle to aleviate the air tight issue. Went back lined it up again and retightened everything and then I started praying. Well needless to say God answered and the tranny went in. I jumped up and dance a little jig then went back to installing all of crap we disconnected to begin with. Now my new tranny came with the shifter tower and a shifter that was about 4-6" long with a torx bolt in it. I do not know but am guessing that the TJ has a 2 piece shifter. The shifter that came out of my YJ was a long 1 piece that had a fat base about twice the diameter of the shifter, you will know what I am talking about when you remove your shifter tower. So what I did was cut off my original shifter about 2" above the fat part right where it makes it's first bend, and ground it done smooth. I found what size bolt that was in the NV3550 (8mm X 1.25 threads) and I drilled and tapped my original shifter for that. I then found a metric u-bolt we use at work and cut the threaded part off and threaded it into my orginal shifter then threaded it into the new shifter and it worked pretty good. It is a little lower and I took the first bend out so it sits a little to the right now but it works and looks original. I may look at a Hurst or B&M shifter for it later.



CONCLUSION

So far I am very happy with feel of the NV3550. I have about 300miles on it now and have been pretty gentle on it so far till I get past the recommended 400-500 mile break in period for the Centerforce clutch. The shifting is alot tighter and smoother. The tranny sounds to me to be a little noisier but that may be the Centerforce clutch due to the weight system they use. I recommend this mod to anyone who's AX-15 has bit the dust and wants a little tougher tranny. I had heard that having the AX-15 rebuilt can be anywhere from $500- $1000 so I knew that I was not going to drop that kind of money in it. This project is pretty involved and as with anything new I do on my Jeep taught me alot. I would plan at least a weekend to do this. Well I hope this will help anyone interested in this swap. I tried to make sure and list info that was hard for me to find, but if anyone sees anything that they want to add or anything that I put was wrong please feel free to post your info.
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Unread 03-25-2005, 10:25 AM   #4
NOTQUITEMUSASHI
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i have a question for ya. i plan on doing the same swap in my 91 yj. did you us the bell housing from the new tranny or did you use your existing one.

the reason i ask is, i know i will have to get one with an external slave, but insted of finding one from a 94-95, it would be easier for me to get the tranny and bell from my local yard.

thanx in advance and good job on the swap
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Unread 03-25-2005, 07:22 PM   #5
tobias94yj
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thanks for the compliment.

I used the bellhousing for the 2003. I would suggest you call advance adapters. I know that they sell a kit to upgrade to an external slave and you may have to get that and then use the newer bellhousing. the bellhousing from the nv3550 will work on your 91 4.0. make sure but I am almost positive that your CPS is in the same spot as mine
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Unread 04-16-2005, 08:44 PM   #6
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I just put together my NV3550 and bolted it to the engine. I used a flywheel housing for a 98 AX-15. The external slave cylinder ones will work. I do suggest you try and get a complete unit though. Expect to pay $800-1000.
I torqued the bolts by myself. I'm not very stocky just sneaky. I had the engine near the floor and two pieces of I-Joist I have left over from a house addition. I kept the hoist attached to the motor, just in case. I put on the flywheel and tightend the bolts with my hand on the flywheel. I could get about 40 lbs. Next I put in some long 3/8 bolts into the outter bolt hole, those that will hold on the clutch housing. Then I used a big pipe wrench between the bolts. As the flywheel rotated, eventually the pipe wrench contacted the floor. Any big pipe or cheater bar will work. Torqued them to 50 then 105. I had to change the bolts to different holes to get all 6 bolts torqued.
I borrowed a plastic clutch alignment tool from a neighbor who works at a dealership. The pilot shaft was too small, so I turned a piece of aluminum I had to align it. I used a screw driver prying on the clutch housing to keep the flywheel from turning when torqueing the clutch housing bolts to 38 #.
I also removed the vent piece to the tranny and did a conversion I saw on a website. I changed some things in the mod. I did like to use a copper elbow as suggested. I found a brass one that I liked. It was a 3/8 elbow. I had to turn down the diameter on the vent tube and shorten its length. I wanted the elbow as close to the tranny case. I will have a 3/8 tube going up to the fire wall in the engine bay, as in the article or inside the cab. The idea it to gain height so fording deeper water won't get water into your tranny.
Tommarrow I should have the engine in the vehicle. Still, a few weeks away from getting it running maybe more.
Tom
Edit: Another sneaky trick I used to assemble the transmission to the block was to put two long bolts (3/8 bolt X 4 inches) with their heads cut off in the top two bolt holes of the bell housing bolt pattern on the engine block. Then I rested the transmission on these when sliding it on. I controled the tail of the tranny and turned the output shaft to engage the inputshaft spline to the clutch disk. The tranny slide up to the alignment dowels. Then I put in the bolts for those and tightend them up. Then tightend the rest of the bolts. I put the engine in yesterday. Don't mean to hijack the thread. Good swap and lots of work.
Tom

Last edited by 75SV1; 04-18-2005 at 10:43 AM..
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Unread 04-18-2005, 10:38 AM   #7
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Nice write-up. Some pictures would help. Also, just curious, does anyone know what the ratios are for the different gears in a 3550 out of a 2001 XJ? Or have a link to this kind of detail?

Thanks!
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Unread 04-18-2005, 10:44 AM   #8
75SV1
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Try this website:
http://www.high-impact.net/transmiss...gear/index.htm
Tom
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Unread 04-26-2005, 08:44 PM   #9
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Well I got the t-case shifter bracket installed and let say it was a PITA.

I have heard very good things about advance adapters but this bracket was not laid out very well. Upon initial glance at it it is very heavy duty as it is made aout 1/4" steel plate. But after trying to install it it was plain to see it was going to need some modification.

I bought longer studs to go into the t-case because of the way the bracket mounted it uses the top 2 and 1 driver side stud to mount. The top 2 holes were about 1/4" too far apart and I had to redrill those holes out bigger to make the bracket fit. I then had to notch out an area in my tub so that the bracket could clear the body.

Now the fun part as soon as I connected everything I knew there were going to be problems because my linkage was at the very end of adjustment and the shifter was sitting around the 4hi/neutral position, but the t-case was in 2hi. I have also installed tera 4:1 and 2lo kit so I may need a little more throw due to the extra position. What I did to fix this problem was remove the shifter assembly and I cut off the nut that is welded onto the bracket where the pivot bolt from the shifter mounts to, I then drilled another hole about 3/4"-7/8" forward from the old hole (towards the front of the Jeep) and slightly lower. I then welded a new nut onto the bracket.

I ran into a new problem then. You have grind out some rivets that hold the z gate from the old bracket and bolt them to the new bracket so you keep your original z pattern shifter and after moving the pivot point the shifter spring now hit the bolt (if this is confusing I apologize but if you do this conversion and use this bracket you will understand completely) that holds the z gate on, so I welded the z gate to the new bracket and removed the bolt but still had to grind some metal off the new bracket to get all the way to the most forward position on the z gate. I reinstalled the shifter assembly and now my linkage is maxed out in the other direction but everything works now.

You will notice that your t-case shifter is closer to your gear shifter now but they do not interfere with each other. The only problem that this has created now is I have to move my cb closer to the passenger because of the t-case shifter.

I know Novak has come out with a new shifter for np-231's, but some of the info I have read is you have to make alot of bends in the shifter to make it work and if somebody has already figured all this out then just getting the Novak shifter might be an easier avenue to take when dealing with t-case.

Thanks for reading and I hope this may help someone who can learn from my mistakes. If anybody has any questions feel free to PM or post them here
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Unread 05-25-2005, 07:45 AM   #10
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I have a question about the throwout fork inside the bellhousing. I'm asuming th setup is the same as the 2.5. Can you tell me how all this is arranged in the bellhousing, I am trying to piece together my tranny for install this weekend. I ordered the throwout fork and spring/clip, and have the stud on the bellhousing already. I know this is a far fetched question, but if you can remeber how the assmebly was setup, it would be great.
BTW, talking bout this thing(#3 and 12)...
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Unread 05-25-2005, 08:06 AM   #11
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First #16 the throwout bearing is placed onto the clutch fork #3. This assebly is inserted (lack of proper word) onto the input shaft of the tranny. It is slid back so the end of #3 (one of the ball ends) goes onto #5 (already placed into the bell housing). #12 is a spring that retains the clutch fork #3 onto the pivot stud #5. The circle part of it goes on top of the endball of the clutch fork. The straight pieces of wire clip around the shaft of the stud. I think I put the striaght wire pieces on first then slipped the circle portion over the ball end of the clutch fork.
Hope this is clearer than mud.
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Unread 05-25-2005, 08:45 AM   #12
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Thats what I had thought. Is it really as straightforward as it seems? Also, I wasnt sure if the spring went on the stud side or the slave side. Thanx for the info. So does the slave just push the opposite side of the fork? Is the throwout bearing the only thing that really holds the fork in place, beside the weeny spring?
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Unread 05-25-2005, 11:00 AM   #13
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Criag,
I think you have the idea of the setup. The finger springs on the pressure plate provide tension on the throwout bearing, which keeps the clutch fork against the pivot stud and the slave cylinder. I would think the 'weenie' spring might be just for assembly.
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Unread 05-25-2005, 03:46 PM   #14
tobias94yj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TellyDSP
Thats what I had thought. Is it really as straightforward as it seems? Also, I wasnt sure if the spring went on the stud side or the slave side. Thanx for the info. So does the slave just push the opposite side of the fork? Is the throwout bearing the only thing that really holds the fork in place, beside the weeny spring?

that is pretty straightforward it is easy to assemble the setup also, I mean the retainer clips are not a pita or anything.
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Unread 01-21-2007, 10:38 PM   #15
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advanced adaptors transfercase shifter

I completed a similar swap with my 87 yj ,The AA Bracket also lined up badly with regaurd to linkage when I tried it .I found the lever that comes off the transfercase case must be removed from the case the rubber bushing pried out of the lever and reinserted from the other side .The lever reinstaled with the other side toward the Transfer case.That solved the problem in my case.Worth a try if anyone has a similar problem.
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