I've always had this weird problem on my 98 4cyl. I've pulled the tranny/clutch/flywheel 5 times in under a year, and it seems some clutch kits either don't work on my 98 at all or don't work well on it. (The problem being that when I reassemble everything, I can't shift into any gear, including the LUK clutch kit.) The only kit I've ever had work was the kit from autozone unfortunately, but only after torquing it down far past 40lbs. I just recently swapped to a new kit from auto zone because the last wore down pretty quick from being past 40lbs. The problem now (with the second kit from autozone (which i torqued to 40 this time)) is that I can shift to any gear besides reverse, but I have to put all my arm strength to get it into gear and out of gear, and it definitely doesn't like it. When I say hard to shift, I mean it basically feels like it's going to snap. It's un-drivable, and well, I can't get into reverse to even get out of the garage. The clutch pedal isn't as stiff as it used to be while the jeep is running, and I've tried the bleeding method for the "closed" mc/sc to no benefit... I have noticed the rod from the slave has fallen out into the rubber dust shield extruding from the front.. I popped it back in and it has still worked for about 6 months with the past clutch kit.. but still. Could a failing slave or m/c be the problem? Thought I might ask before spending money on some overpriced plastic parts... Thanks
Well I suppose you will be taking it apart again, but before you do, see if there is some way you can extend the rod coming out of the slave cylinder, even just a quarter of an inch. See if that changes things. However if that doesn't help you probably have some clutch drag, that is to say the clutch is still partially engaged. When you have it apart, make sure the clutch disc slides freely on the input shaft splines. If it sticks,even a bit it may be enough to keep the clutch partially engaged. Also have a really good look at the flywheel, it may be warped enough to be partially touching the disc even when disengaged, check the run out with a dial gauge. I have even heard of instances (on a Toyota Land Cruiser) where the engine /transmission matting surfaces were not aligned properly.
Sorry to revamp an old dead thread, but I've been meaning to reply for a while now (about a year or two ago). The problem has been found, and me being me, I did it wrong. It's been a while since I finished that project, so I might not remember every detail. Everything was installed perfectly, besides the pilot bearing.
The pilot bearing could inserted from either end on the aftermarket flywheel. I didn't check the original position on my old flywheel, because I had already changed it. There was no way of knowing. At that time, I barely knew the Jeep forum existed. Anyway, the pilot bearing was inserted (I believe) toward the engine side, it wouldn't shift unless forced. It was too far in. I adjusted it forward towards the engine about the width of two pennies. I have been driving it everyday since then, shifting smoothly and happily.
For those who haven't ever done a tranny swap or a clutch swap and are scared, don't be. It was the first thing I had ever done to a jeep, or any car for that matter. I was 18 and learning (Just started taking whatever bolts I saw out and putting them in a bag). I took the tranny and clutch out, and reassembled it 7 times in 3 grueling weeks. You'll eventually get it right with some hard work and disappointment. In the end, it's worth it. You'll never think about your jeep the same, you'll love it that much more. Driving it becomes your pride.