ZJ Neutral Safety Switch Repair - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
mes419
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ZJ Neutral Safety Switch Repair

I have looked all over for a thread regarding the Grand Cherokee NSS (neutral safety switch). All I can find are posts about people bypassing the switch on a Jeep Cherokee, not a Grand Cherokee (ZJ).
So, I decided to do a short write up/ tutorial on the symptoms that a faulty NSS can cause, and the process of locating it and changing it.

If you have a faulty NSS one of the most common problems that people notice is that their reverse lights do not work.
The next common problem is that you are unable to start the Jeep while in park. But when you put the transmission in Neutral, the Jeep will start.
After experiencing this multiple times you will come upon the worse symptom; the Jeep will not start at all. I suggest if you have reached the point to where the jeep will only start in neutral, you should replace the NSS as soon as possible. I have not found a way to bypass it and start the vehicle when it has failed completely.

First step is purchasing the part. I searched many auto parts store and Orielly's had it. It cost me less than $15 after tax. (in the first image)
20151001_163501.jpg

The NSS is located on the drivers side above the transmission pan (picture 2).
20151001_162619.jpg

In order to remove the part you will need a 1" socket, a wrench will not work. You will also need to remove the bracket that holds the NSS wire, located directly next to the sensor. (If you do not remove this bracket, the socket wrench will not fit) The bracket is held on by a size 14mm bolt. (picture 3)
20151001_162705.jpg

After removing the bracket, place the socket and socket wrench on the sensor and loosen it. You will lose some ATF fluid in the process. One way to avoid this is to jack up the drivers side of the vehicle to tilt the transmission.

Picture 4: Sensor removed, along with bracket.
20151001_163453.jpg

Take the new part and install it. DO NOT FORGET THE GASKET, apply like pictured:
20151001_163549.jpg

Also, DO NOT over tighten the sensor. The gasket is made of thin metal and will tear.
Re-attach the wire harness bracket along with connecting the wire to the sensor, dont forget to add fluid if you lost any.

Measure the fluid with the engine running and the gearbox in Neutral. The transmission pump will NOT engage in park.

After adding fluid, run it through the gears down the road, then check it again....

Enjoy! and good luck. Hope this helps!

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post #2 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 06:31 PM
wingless
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Welcome to the forum!

Very nice write-up on your 42RE transmission.


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post #3 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 05:28 AM
coralman
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Direct and to the point. Clear pics. Good job!

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post #4 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 09:31 AM
MrRoundel
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Nice write-up, thanks. Great pictures, especially the one with the "14mm" showing on the socket. Nice touch. I hope when I am called upon to make that repair, it's as easy as you made it look. Cheers.
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post #5 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 12:19 PM
murfnamedsmurf
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Very nice. Welcome to the forum and thanks for the informative write-up. Those with AW4 transmissions, the process is more or less the same thought the switch is different. Not sure if your trans is the same, but on the AW4 the NSS detects both neutral and park. Another difference is you can actually take the NSS off the AW4, take it apart, clean it with wire brush, put some new grease on it, and then put it back together and back into the vehicle. I rebuilt mine this way and I haven't had any issues with it since then (previously I was having to sometimes short the starter circuit with a jumper to bypass the relay since the switch wasn't working right). No reverse light or starting issues since I rebuilt it and it was fo free.

I'm thankful it is so easy on these vehicles. I know of some cars that the trans must be dropped, at least for the reverse switch, not sure about NSS
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post #6 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 09:51 PM
Candymancan
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When i bought my 5.9 5 years ago the transmission fluid wasnt even registering on the dipstick.. and it had a huge puddle under it.. The dealership didnt care but i told them to jack it up for me.. This was before i really knew how to work on cars.. I found it was leaking from that sensor.. mine was leaking through the sensor wires/plug. Replacing it was kinda difficult because the front driveshaft doesnt give you much room.. Just gatta say when you do pull it out with a full transmission.. put the new one in quickly otherwise youre going to lose a quart or two of transmission fluid.

Then that switch i put in died like 2 years later as my reverse lights stopped working so i replaced it again.. My mom 4.0 started leaking a few years back and replaced hers as well.

What year is the ZJ you did this on ? Because your switch looks different then the ones i replaced on my 98.. Mine had a plug on both ends yours has 3 prongs.. Also that transmission pan looks very shallow.. Mine on both my ZJ's are pretty deep
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post #7 of 29 Old 10-04-2015, 02:23 AM
cb466
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Very nice write-up, thanks !
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post #8 of 29 Old 10-04-2015, 11:25 AM
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Real nice write-up with excellent photos!

96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)


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post #9 of 29 Old 11-30-2017, 07:58 AM
JDILL87
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No overdrive in my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 4wd

I recently put a used transmission in my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4wd. The transmission came out of a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee. From all of the information I collected, they are essentially the same transmissions. The 98 transmission did not have the extra support brackets found on the 01, there were a couple of electronic plugs that were different so I swapped them out. I also swapped out the shift levers because they were angled differently. Everything else seemed to be the same. I flushed the cooler, changed the filter, and filled with 8 quarts of ATF+4 (which seemed to fill it up). I drove it a few miles and it shifted out great from 1st to 2nd to 3rd but it never shifted into overdrive. From the forums I've read, it seems to be either the NSS or an issue with the top linkage cable. Does anyone have experience with a swap of different year models or know what the possible issues I will encounter? I have not run any codes but plan on it today after work.
Thanks in advance.
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post #10 of 29 Old 11-30-2017, 09:54 AM
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This section is for ZJ Grand Cherokees, you have a WJ so you want to be over here: https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f310/ For what it's worth, I don't see why the NSS would have anything to do with overdrive engaging.

EDIT: I must have skipped over the part where you said it was from a 98 the first time through. I think you would need to replace your transmission with a 99-04 transmission, I don't think a ZJ transmission can swap to a WJ.
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post #11 of 29 Old 08-07-2018, 05:24 PM
Yaahkmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mes419 View Post
I have looked all over for a thread regarding the Grand Cherokee NSS (neutral safety switch). All I can find are posts about people bypassing the switch on a Jeep Cherokee, not a Grand Cherokee (ZJ).
So, I decided to do a short write up/ tutorial on the symptoms that a faulty NSS can cause, and the process of locating it and changing it.

If you have a faulty NSS one of the most common problems that people notice is that their reverse lights do not work.
The next common problem is that you are unable to start the Jeep while in park. But when you put the transmission in Neutral, the Jeep will start.
After experiencing this multiple times you will come upon the worse symptom; the Jeep will not start at all. I suggest if you have reached the point to where the jeep will only start in neutral, you should replace the NSS as soon as possible. I have not found a way to bypass it and start the vehicle when it has failed completely.

First step is purchasing the part. I searched many auto parts store and Orielly's had it. It cost me less than $15 after tax. (in the first image)
Attachment 2423442

The NSS is located on the drivers side above the transmission pan (picture 2).
Attachment 2423450

In order to remove the part you will need a 1" socket, a wrench will not work. You will also need to remove the bracket that holds the NSS wire, located directly next to the sensor. (If you do not remove this bracket, the socket wrench will not fit) The bracket is held on by a size 14mm bolt. (picture 3)
Attachment 2423458

After removing the bracket, place the socket and socket wrench on the sensor and loosen it. You will lose some ATF fluid in the process. One way to avoid this is to jack up the drivers side of the vehicle to tilt the transmission.

Picture 4: Sensor removed, along with bracket.
Attachment 2423474

Take the new part and install it. DO NOT FORGET THE GASKET, apply like pictured:
Attachment 2423482

Also, DO NOT over tighten the sensor. The gasket is made of thin metal and will tear.
Re-attach the wire harness bracket along with connecting the wire to the sensor, dont forget to add fluid if you lost any.

Measure the fluid with the engine running and the gearbox in Neutral. The transmission pump will NOT engage in park.

After adding fluid, run it through the gears down the road, then check it again....

Enjoy! and good luck. Hope this helps!
What size socket did you use to remove the NSS?
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post #12 of 29 Old 08-07-2018, 05:41 PM
GOLDWING
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaahkmo View Post
What size socket did you use to remove the NSS?
1"

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post #13 of 29 Old 02-16-2020, 07:20 PM
mbossy123
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old thread, sorry, can you get away with a 1" regular depth socket or do you need a 1" deep socket? tia
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post #14 of 29 Old 02-17-2020, 08:29 AM
Mr. Puddles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbossy123 View Post
old thread, sorry, can you get away with a 1" regular depth socket or do you need a 1" deep socket? tia
Based soley on what I see in the images and what I remember of the last time I was down there Id say you need to have a deep socket to ensure you dont damage any of the pins and get full engagement of the hex lands

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post #15 of 29 Old 02-17-2020, 10:28 AM
paulvon
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You need a deep socket.

On mine there was not enough room between the NSS and a lip on the housing. So I got a deep socket and cut part of it away with an angle grinder. Then it was able to fit squarly.

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