42RLE vs NV3550 vs NSG370 in TJ 03-06 questions - JeepForum.com
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Unread 08-02-2011, 07:25 AM   #1
TeddyTurmoil
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42RLE vs NV3550 vs NSG370 in TJ 03-06 questions

Hi

Can I just say what a great forum it is and I have been reading and researching on here for a while but am needing some advice.
I am looking to buy a Wrangler 4.0l TJ 2003-2006 need some technical help on gearboxes.

Yes I know the whole Auto vs Manual thing has been done before and opens a can of worms but I have searched the threads and everything is vague due to the question not being narrowed down enough in the first place. So please allow me to explain.

I will be selling my Toyota to pay for mods and have some money saved to put towards my TJ. So im thinking 4" suspension (looking at RE long arm) lift 2" body lift 35" tyres, and upgrading gearing to suite with maybe atlas or terra trans box and sye.

I already wheel off road (here in the UK) and my Toyota is a manual so there is no problem with me driving a stick. My work van is auto and I love it as the stop start in traffic pisses me off.

I was originally looking for a TJ with a 42RLE 4 speed in it but now I'm not sure what to get.

Off road and road driving conditions are as follows snow, ice, rain, mud, hills, more mud, bogs, forest trails etc and water!!!

Don't really have any rocks for rock crawling (booo) cos if we did it would be straight for the auto box. Not using it as a daily driver and if I was would not worry about a stick in my Jeep. Am not worried about being stranded in the middle of the desert with a busted Auto box cos this is the UK and I am only a tow truck away but would like reliability.

I know you can move the breather in the auto box for water but if you get water in the auto I would assume it would kill it, whereas in a manual water in it will not harm it as much or it can be fixed. (or is the 42RLE absolutely bombproof and OK for this) any info would be greatly appreciated.

Also next question... if I decide not to go down the auto route

Which of the manuals are the best, I know the 5 speed NV3550 is proven and reliable, but I cant find any info on the newer 6 speed NSG370 is it reliable and man enough?? I would prefer this over the NV3550 for gas mileage and just the extra gear.

Thanks in advance
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:26 AM   #2
VT_Rubicon
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Welcome,

I would take an auto or manual depending on preference. I haven't heard any bad things about any of the tranny's listed (they can all break if mis-treated). A 4" RE long arm kit is a good start, but I wouldn't do a 2" body lift. 1.25" body lift max. You won't have a problem fitting 35's and with the right sized bump stops, you won't rub either. With my current setup, 33's, 4.10's and an NV3550, I get roughly 17 mpg while cruising, and have no trouble crawling on rocks with a stick (the 4:1 transfer case makes all the difference). My next setup will be 35's with 5.13 (but no more highway driving).
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Unread 08-02-2011, 09:47 AM   #3
TJamie
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If you want lower gearing and get the 42RLE, you can get one of these:

http://www.advanceadapters.com/produ...ary-crawl-box/

My NV3550 has been nothing but great, but sometimes I wish I had an auto.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 10:23 AM   #4
Night Wolf
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I personally really like the NSG370 as I take advantage of what it has to offer. It is a Mercedes-Benz transmission and while not available in the US, it is used in the Sprinter vans overseas. It is picky about how it's operated, plus they were underfilled from the factory with a 'lifetime' fluid - no service change interval stated, but the fluid needs to be changed. It is Pennzoil Synchromesh, not ATF, motor oil or gear oil.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 11:52 AM   #5
badtux
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The NSG370 is going to be an expensive PITA to rebuild though. The syncros go out in it if you sneeze on them. That said, it has the lowest gearing of any Jeep transmission, which is an advantage when rock crawling -- I don't ever miss having an automatic transmission.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
Wheelin98TJ
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The 42RLE has the breather extended already. It runs up the firewall.

There are several better options for your lift. RE got left behind a few years ago. Check out Poly Performance, Clayton, or anyone else who uses Johnny Joints for the links.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
4wdjeepguy
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Don't go with RE
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Unread 08-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #8
Night Wolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badtux View Post
The NSG370 is going to be an expensive PITA to rebuild though. The syncros go out in it if you sneeze on them. That said, it has the lowest gearing of any Jeep transmission, which is an advantage when rock crawling -- I don't ever miss having an automatic transmission.
That's why you don't rebuild it

I started to add up the cost myself - buying the special fixtures off ebay etc... Truth is, there isn't much known about this transmission this side of the world. It is used overseas but even then, information is hit and miss.

I'm the 2nd owner of my Jeep, bought it with 40,243 miles. I noticed the first Summer, 5th and 6th were very rough to shift between when it was very hot after extended highway driving. This only got worse and then 3rd gear started grinding, kept getting worse and worse too were it would grind on upshifts.

A junkyard used transmission was around $1k with 50k miles. The best/only rebuild info I could get was from the FSM itself. After almost spending a few hundred in special fixtures, I found out that 3rd gear synchros are not even replaceable. They are part of the "3-4 countershaft assembly" which - is nowhere to be found, and who knows how much it'd cost.

So after some research I found a factory reman for $1,639. No sales tax because I used an out of state credit card, no shipping because I picked it up myself and no core charge because I exhanged the old one at the same time. That also includes a 3yr/unlimited miles nationwide waranty thru any Chrysler dealer. For the price, it simply couldn't be beat.

I'm not ready to dismiss the NSG370 just yet. As I mentioned in my first reply, there were several factors against them.

They also have a Sachs clutch, which in the BMW world are very good, but in the Jeep world, had a considerably less amount of friciton material surface area than the LuK that Jeep has used for years (and that mine got replaced with).

If I ever have a problem with my NSG370 beyond the 3yr waranty, I may replace it with one of those aftermarket built "bulletproof" AX15s, or if I decide that an auto would be better for my needs, than I'd swap in the only one worthy - AW4. Till then, I'm very pleased with my NSG370 and enjoy all it has to offer.

Some highlights of my swap:

Old one out (93,079 miles)



Benz, yo





In the trunk of the Panzer (25y/o, 276k):



As per FSM, the flywheel was not damaged so I did not resurface it due to the slight dome. The new LuK clutch did ride on a previous unused porition of the flywheel but that shouldn't be a problem. I did scuff it up though.



Original Sachs clutch disc on the left, replacement LuK on the right. The Sachs still had a lot of life left even after all the wheelin, dragstrip run and overall use. The surface area is easy to spot, also interesting is the difference in springs. The Sachs has smaller within larger but only 4 sets, the LuK has 6 single. This is the same LuK clutch Jeep used since the 80s. I got this for a good price too as I picked it up in the store - no tax and a reduced rate because the online price included shipping, IIRC $165.



Difference in pressure plates



The parts wagon in Florida. Had the new transmission, clutch set and Jeep battery in the trunk as well as travel stuff for a week at time of picture taken. Kinda sad that, overall, the Jeep has had more things, important things, fail that really shouldn't have just yet in the 96k miles so far, while the Panzer is ready to hit 276k, is 25 yrs old and will keep going till the world ends. Can you tell which has proven itself to me far more beyond any expectations?



Shiney!



That's my input on it. Probably not what pro-NSG370 folks want to hear, but it is my experience with it. I enjoy what it has to offer, but the simple fact alone that the neglected 276k Getrag in the old BMW shifts far better, smoother and simply works - any gear, any speed - than the NSG370 ever has is frustrating at times. I tell myself "it's a Jeep...." and can mostly deal with it.

I have learned that the NSG370 is very picky in how it's shifted. Do not shift it fast. Needs to be kinda slow coming out of gear and into neutral, then once the RPM dropped so the next gear is rev matched, shift from neutral into the next gear, still slow, but a bit faster than when shifitng into N coming out of gear. I always double clutch when down shifting too.

As for my new transmission, Initially, 3rd gear grabbed a bit going in. This was not good as that is the main reason why I replaced the last. Which makes me wonder if the "3-4 countershaft assembly" was replaced during the reman, or found to be "in spec" and left. I used the proper Penzoil Synchromesh and drained it after 1,000 miles. The magnetic drain plug was full of shavings - expected of a newly rebuilt transmission. I now put 1,500 miles on it since and will be changing the fluid again in the next day or two. Hoping to see none/minimal shavings, but we'll see. I'll keep changing it every 1500-2000 miles until the drain plug is clean then go to 10k then 20k intervals. The 3yr waranty was what closed the deal - awesome piece of mind, if it gives me problems, it gets replaced. If it still operates the same after 3yrs, then it won me over and shouldn't give problems for time to come.

*** If I was in the market for a new (used) NSG370 Jeep, I would do a few tests. When parked, does it shift into Reverse easy without going into 1 first? I made it a habit now to shift into 1st, 1st. But it shouldn't require it. Also, run it hard - wide open throttle acceleration, shifting at redline - redline 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th - do it when merging on the interstate, this will get you to 80mph or so. Any grinding? Then downshift each gear at a semi-high RPM that way the RPM goes to 4000+ after the downshift, any grinding? Then cruise for a steady 15mins in 5th or 6th on the interstate, push the clutch in and shift between 5th and 6th a few times. Is it smooth? Just like it feels when the Jeep was parked for hours? Or Does it feel like the transmission is filled with crunchy tar?

That would be my test. Reverse to check for damaged/bent shift forks- early '05s were prone as people would shift into R instead of 6, later updated, apparently my June, '05 build Jeep had the revised "'06" transmission. Then redline gears 1-4, check for grinding, downshift the same gears at a higher RPM, again checking for grinding. Finally get it warmed up, preferably on a hot day and see if it is a bear to shift between 5th and 6th.

If it passes all those tests, then it is most likely in very good condition. The first thing I would do when I got it home was drain out the "lifetime" underfilled junk in it and refill it with 2qts of Pennzoil Synchromesh (Advance Auto carries it) and change it every 20-25k miles. Should have many happy NSG370 miles ahead
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-1990 BMW 325i Convertible 5spd e30 - extensive overhaul in progress

-2005 TJ Sport - stuff
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Unread 08-02-2011, 11:09 PM   #9
muddernaught
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off topic:

Where in the UK is there a desert?
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Unread 08-02-2011, 11:50 PM   #10
badtux
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Yeah, the reliability factor just isn't there for a late-era TJ. Daimler had a corporate edict to push Mercedes parts into the TJ regardless of whether there was time to properly do it or not and regardless of whether it made any financial sense at all. The NSG370 is a fine transmission, but a) it's *very* expensive, b) can't be *less* expensive because so few of them are sold on this side of the Atlantic (they're basically only used in Jeeps and only a couple hundred thousand per year are sold here in the USA, peanuts by car standards), and c) because so few are sold here in America, future support for it will be... problematic. Figure there's only a million or so max that will ever make it to junk yards here, and most of those will be worn-out junk. By contrast, GM sells several times more trucks than that with the 4L60 every single year. Which is why, 20 years from now, you'll still be able to buy a reman'ed 4L60, while the chances of buying a reman'ed NSG370 here in the US twenty years from now are somewhere between slim to none.

That said, while it works and reman'ed units are still available, it makes a fine transmission for a Jeep. Yes, the shifting is clunky, but the gearing is ultra low and quite close together, which makes it quite easy (assuming your diff is correct) to find just the right gear you need for a particular piece of trail. Long-term (as in, 10 years from now), however, I have a feeling a GM powertrain will eventually migrate its way under the hood of my Jeep .
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Unread 08-03-2011, 12:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badtux View Post
Yeah, the reliability factor just isn't there for a late-era TJ. Daimler had a corporate edict to push Mercedes parts into the TJ regardless of whether there was time to properly do it or not and regardless of whether it made any financial sense at all. The NSG370 is a fine transmission, but a) it's *very* expensive, b) can't be *less* expensive because so few of them are sold on this side of the Atlantic (they're basically only used in Jeeps and only a couple hundred thousand per year are sold here in the USA, peanuts by car standards), and c) because so few are sold here in America, future support for it will be... problematic. Figure there's only a million or so max that will ever make it to junk yards here, and most of those will be worn-out junk. By contrast, GM sells several times more trucks than that with the 4L60 every single year. Which is why, 20 years from now, you'll still be able to buy a reman'ed 4L60, while the chances of buying a reman'ed NSG370 here in the US twenty years from now are somewhere between slim to none.

That said, while it works and reman'ed units are still available, it makes a fine transmission for a Jeep. Yes, the shifting is clunky, but the gearing is ultra low and quite close together, which makes it quite easy (assuming your diff is correct) to find just the right gear you need for a particular piece of trail. Long-term (as in, 10 years from now), however, I have a feeling a GM powertrain will eventually migrate its way under the hood of my Jeep .
i think as long as they keep offering them in the JKs us TJ owners will be fine...that is assuming the bolt pattern for the bell housing is the same
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Unread 08-03-2011, 01:11 AM   #12
badtux
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Fiat/Chrysler's working on a new transmission to replace the Mercedes ones, Onyx. The NSG370's place in the Jeep lineup is limited, it's going away sooner or later. The economics just aren't there for the NSG370 -- it isn't used in enough Chrysler vehicles to make it worth setting up an assembly plant here in the USA, and as long as it's imported from Germany, it's going to cost an arm and a leg.
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Unread 08-03-2011, 04:07 AM   #13
TeddyTurmoil
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Thanks so far for the info and the advice keep it coming.

@Night Wolf

Mercedes Sprinter Vans are plentiful here in the UK pretty much the top large van here with unlimited mile 3 year warranty. They are normally bombproof and go on for ever... I think they are using it in the Merc ML270 4x4as well. But as of late German engineering has gone down the cheaper route and is not as reliable and well made as it used to be the Japs still hold the flag for this I'm afraid (good old Ax15). I own a VW Passat 05 wagon and they did this in a 5 speed and a 6 speed I bought the 5 speed as the 6 speeds were blowing up due to not coping with the torque. So I can well believe that Merc have probably the same problem. But NSG370s should be in plentiful supply over here then I will check this out. (I am a vehicle Air Conditioning engineer and some times go to Mercedes Trucks to help their Techs out on A/C problems so I can ask).

Thanks for the write up ps is the NSG370 dual mass flywheel?? (nice classic 5 series by the way)

@mudderaught

The UK does not have desert thats what I meant when I said "Am not worried about being stranded in the middle of the desert with a busted Auto box cos this is the UK"

@badtux

Maybe this is the way to go if they are in plentiful supply here, problem is there are not many TJs over here
I work on Fiats over here and the electrics are appalling and their mechanical quality is S**T I only hope they don't destroy the Jeep Brand



This web site tells you how many left in UK not many!!!!

http://howmanyleft.co.uk/?q=jeep+wrangler+Sahara+auto

http://howmanyleft.co.uk/?q=jeep+wrangler+Sahara+

http://howmanyleft.co.uk/?q=jeep+wrangler+


@unlrubicon05 and Wheelin98TJ

I am stuck with options in UK as it is RE is just about availiable and still it has to be cut and converted to RHD.
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Unread 08-03-2011, 06:29 AM   #14
Night Wolf
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No, the NSG370 does NOT use a dual mass flywheel. You can see in the pics it is a standard one and can use the same LuK clutch Jeep used for years. I'm not sure who started that rumor. That's neat you are in the UK and see the vans often. Maybe you can get more info on it. Also maybe find out what fluid Mercedes itself specs for it.
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-1990 BMW 325i Convertible 5spd e30 - extensive overhaul in progress

-2005 TJ Sport - stuff
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Unread 08-08-2011, 02:53 AM   #15
TeddyTurmoil
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I've now just read soooo many bad reports about the NSG370 that it looks like it is a problematic box maybe not the way to go. Even on the new JKs they are struggling with it.
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