Non DD, 98 GC with 42RE. Ok to buy used? -
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-16-2020, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
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Non DD, 98 GC with 42RE. Ok to buy used?

Hi there,

I've had this jeep for a while but this is my first post. This jeep is intended to be for camping and outdoors, not even necessarily offroading other than maybe a few gravel trails up in the hills. I have a volt for a DD so it doesn't' exactly boast space. Plus I want to outfit it for camping adventures with the various hacks I've seen on Youtube.

I'm currently using it to haul bags of garbage, as the garage itself is not exactly clean or empty, which I need to do a transmission swap if I decide to.

Dana 30/186MM Front Axle
DMDS 3.55 Rear Axle Ratio
DRJP 175MM Rear Axle
6 cyl Inline
42RE Transmission
200k Miles
No tow package
No Rust
Electric issues (I can fix this later, they are the general common issues like door sensors and such)

This jeep will be cleaned up with all the quality of life mods that I've seen. But first the trans needs to be fixed, then the other issues (nickel and dime electric ones) Engine seems fine.

The transmission will be fine until the everything gets to operating temp, then it whines like a power steering pump starving for fuel. If you continue to ignore this you start to smell a bit of burning fluid and the gears have issues switching and there is no kickdown hardly at all. No codes ever. I can drive it about 10 - 15 miles for short trips just fine. I have not taken the pan off yet. The owner swapped fluid before selling it. At the time I thought this was a good thing. Further research has led that it probably hid a few issues since all the friction material probably get flushed out.

Also reverse is pretty close to dead.

I've been toying the idea of getting a used transmission and swapping it. But I keep being told I should get a reman. But remans are maybe 1500 (if you sell the core) and I'd still have to put it in probably.

I need a push in the right direction for this. It seems I can get a transmission in several ways:

1. Brand new (assuming you even can get one for that model)
2. Remanufactured transmission ($1500 or so with me installing it)
3. Used from something like PartsCycle or Part-ID, one benefit to this is being able to see what happened to the vehicle. PartsCycle shows the VIN so you can get it's history ($600 or so, maybe more depending on mileage)
4. A used local transmission from a private owner. In St Helens, OR these show up more often than not. Saw one today for 200. History sometimes is unknown.

Also TransmissionBench (Youtube channel) has a step-by-step guide to rebuilt a transmission with new parts, which would cost about $400 top end parts, $200 low end. Also I'd need a shop press to do this properly.

I would appreciate some feedback if anyone has experience with used ones.

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post #2 of 15 Old 06-17-2020, 01:45 PM
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1977 CJ7 
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There actually might be an easier fix for you. Think Positive!

Crawl under it, and Drop the Tans Pan... BE CAREFUL, and save everything in it. Preferably as it sits, get that pan to a Trans shop that you can trust, and see what they say. If you hold your mouth just right, pray a bit, and cross your fingers, it could be something cheap.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-17-2020, 05:55 PM
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More realistic would have a pressure test done. Transmissions need pressure to work so if it's low you need investigate why. If it's whining it probably is a pressure issue. Or restriction not allowing the pump to get fluid.

Pressure test is on the last page...
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-17-2020, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
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Posts: 11
That was my first thought is trying to fix it, but R is almost completely out. It scrapes and resists in an awful way. I supposed I could get video of what I'm experiencing.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-18-2020, 01:31 PM
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42RE Rebuild. It is a long read with video of a guy doing the tear down.
Usual problems are
1- Overdrive accumulator spring broken in valve body. ( This usually causes 3-4-3-4-3-4 shift pulse ) 4 being overdrive.
2- Governor pressure solenoid. ( This usually causes over-reving before upshifts and not shifting back to 1st gear when coming to a stop ). Best to change all sensors while you are in there.
3- Overdrive snap ring break / failure. Pieces end up in the transmission pan. ( This usually causes loss of reverse and first gear / heavy slipping transmission. )
problem number 1 most likely causes problem number 3.
The Fix ....
A rebuilt overdrive unit is pretty cheap at @ $250.00
The accumulator spring and solenoids @ $200.00 plus transmission fluid and gasket.
If you have been driving it like that for too long then the clutches would wear out prematurely. Rebuild kit and thrust washers @ $275.00 (comes with overdrive rebuild kit also so no need to buy reman Overdrive unit).
There is really no way to clean the valve body without taking it apart. If you have debris in your pan It can cause the manual moving valves to bind / stick. A reman valve body is @ $180.00.
So 4 options:
1- Purchase reman transmission - @ $1500.00
2- purchase od unit ,reman valve body and solenoids @ $650.00
3- Rebuild yourself (including valve body rebuild) @ $500.00
4- Roll the dice Remove overdrive unit take to shop to replace only snap ring, on valve body change Solenoids and accumulator spring @ $400.00

2k WJ Laredo - 4.0L - 42RE - Select-Trac 242 - 3.55 -
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-19-2020, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like I need to pull the pan off and see what's in there. If I don't see anything terrible then replacing the low hanging fruit might be a first start. It DOES overrev before shifting. As it gets hot it starts to lose that ability. OD works well when cold and doesn't kickdown too well when it gets hot. The jeep doesn't slip as much when cold also. And there is of course that power steering-like whine.

If I end up doing this myself, it sounds like the easiest way without buying special tools is to replace all the clutch packs, snap rings, etc and just buy an OD unit and Torque converter.

Still there are used reman's out there (which are sold by remann), which have the benefit of being upgraded. Though if I do it myself a shift kit might be a good idea as well.

Really the question is, do I have the time and space to rebuild. Right now I don't. I do however have a friend with space to help me swap a used/reman'd one.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-21-2020, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Haven't pulled that pan off yet, but with assumption my transmission needs a re-built, or I need a newer transmission. The cost comparison at present is this:

Remanufactured Transmission: as much as $2000, but as cheap at $1500. Used remans also around $750 with 75k miles (from Remann, which seems shady according to reviews)

Used Transmission (from PartsCycle): $850 - This method takes some VIN data mining to find the right one. Decent reviews of this company as they have standards such as bench testing.

Self Re-built transmission:

Torque Converter: 150
Shift Kit: 60
Master Rebuild Kit: 190
Solenoid Kit: 209
Overhauled Pump Assembly (if needed): 90
Fully Re-manufactured OD assembly: 500 (from Cascade)
Total: 1200

$1200 is cheaper, but not that much cheaper than a reman on the lower price point, if I find the right one and the right vendor. Also this is me doing it, not a pro.

What companies are considered decent at remanufactured transmissions?
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-22-2020, 05:50 AM
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I have installed used transmissions from wrecking yards before with mixed results. While one (Dodge Neon) was bad, the yard had a "working transmission" guarantee in place which cost me the extra labor of another swap. The transmission was 200 dollars at the time and going into my sixteen year old boys car so the added aggravation of the second install was still worth the effort.

If you can score a used transmission from a wrecked vehicle either from a private sale or a wrecking yard with a guarantee you may be money ahead. Most bad transmissions will show their faults within the first couple of days and if you are timely with your claim/return the yard should exchange it.

If you are a "piece of mind" kind of guy, towing or doing long trips, A rebuilt unit would probably be my first option. The last thing you want is to be seen towing your Jeep home behind your Volt.

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post #9 of 15 Old 06-22-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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There is another option too: Swapping it for an AX15.

Probably about 3-4 guides about this out there, and I could go with a used for cheap, even go rebuilt for half the cost of a manual.
I would LOVE to have a 5 spd manual in this thing. It would probably eliminate the overall weakness of the GC, which is the 42RE.
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-23-2020, 07:23 PM
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I would only want to do it once. So I would go for a quality rebuild and replacement torque convertor. This is not a super trans to start out so a used one would have a chance of a short life.
Just my opinion

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The one I miss most is my mind

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post #11 of 15 Old 06-23-2020, 07:48 PM
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If the Jeep itself is in otherwise good/very good condition mechanically and physically, I'd go for a rebuilt transmission by a qualified competent shop. I had a transmission rebuilt about 3-1/2 years ago by AAMCO, no issues with it and they did all current updates, upgrades known at the time to keep the transmission going for probably decades. Yep it cost me $2400 but its been doing great, shifts are very crisp, no slippage, course the 18 month warranty is up now but it was well worth the money to get a transmission shop to do a good honest rebuild with quality parts as well as all known updates on parts. I don't do any towing with that particular vehicle although AAMCO said it would easily handle the towing duties that I'd ever need and be able to do with that vehicle, and I added an auxiliary transmission cooler as well.

The 98 ZJ doesn't have an external auxiliary transmission cooler from the factory so that's 1 more thing you should install or have installed after you get the transmission fixed, rebuilt, replaced, etc.
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-30-2020, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, had an additional question. Remove the tranny: I'm using one of those Harbor Freight tranny jacks which gives an extra 7.5in of height. The tranny is about 18in height, and the jeep says it has a clearance of 7.5in. What height do I need to jack this jeep up. Seems I could pull it out the sides where the differential isn't lower. I have 6 ton stands that do a max of 23", but maxing them out concerns me a bit (they are the tooth model with the safety pins)

I've also heard it's easy to move it on a box to move it out from under, but how to do you get it back on? Would it be beneficial to take the transfer case and overdrive housing off separately before removing the main unit?

These are probably dumb questions, but I figured I'd get them out there.

I haven't pulled the pan off yet, I plan to do that but I'm sure there are deeper issues in this thing. I also did read that trans lines in this thing get gunky, so that's a possibility. But if I pull the pan, change some parts, then install a cooler WITHOUT rebuilding the thing, I may ruin any new parts.

Ironically for me, rebuilding the thing is less daunting than taking it out. I'm not a fan of going under vehicles. Hindsight I would've gotten 12 ton jacks, but they aren't cheap. I thought 6 tons would be safe enough.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-03-2020, 05:53 AM
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You should also consider replacing your radiator when you do your transmission repair. The trans fluid cooler in your current radiator is most likely contaminated from the bad transmission. Flushing them out doesn’t always work. Alternatively, you can just bypass the radiator and add an external cooler. Good luck!
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-03-2020, 06:32 AM
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Haven't pulled that pan off yet, but with assumption my transmission needs a re-built,
Doing some testing will eliminate any "ASSuming".
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-03-2020, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by V8GCZJ View Post
Doing some testing will eliminate any "ASSuming".
I bought a pressure testing kit as well.
Even if some parts are easily replaceable, that doesn't mean I shouldn't remove the thing and re-build it. 208k miles. 42RE.
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42re , grand cherokee , grand cherokee tranny

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