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post #1 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
Kiwi_TJ
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Best Manual Gearbox

Hi Guys,


My 1997 TJ has the AX-15 5-Speed Manual gearbox it in. Since my Jeep had 250,000 km on it, and I have not plans to sell it, I figure that at some point the gearbox may need repair or replacing. I am running Redline MT-90 in it and changing it regularly to try and make it last as long as I can.


So if I did need to replace it, and I wanted to stick to a manual gearbox, what would be the best option?
  • Replace the AX-15 with another one.
  • Replace with the newer NV3550 5-Speed
  • Upgrade to the NSG370 6-Speed.
I would welcome any advice or opinions, as I do not know much about anything other than the AX-15, which I had heard was quite a sturdy gearbox, as long as you run the correct oil in it.


1997 TJ Soft Top/ Half Doors
4.0 I6 with 5 Speed Manual | K&N Panel Filter | D30/D44 | 3.07 Gears | Banks Torque Tube Header
31*10.5 R15 Maxxis Trepador Radial Tyres | 2" BDS Spring Lift | Bilstein 5100 Shocks | JKS Discos | JKS Rear Swaybar Links | 100W Narva Spotlights
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 04:19 PM
mukluk
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I'd just stick with an AX15 unless a good 3550 practically fell in your lap for next to nothing. My personal opinion is the NSG370 isn't an upgrade from the previous five speed transmissions.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mukluk View Post
I'd just stick with an AX15 unless a good 3550 practically fell in your lap for next to nothing. My personal opinion is the NSG370 isn't an upgrade from the previous five speed transmissions.
+1

I'm not 100% clear on what would need to be done to get the other transmissions in there, but you know the AX-15 would be the easiest to put back in it, and it is a pretty decent transmission to begin with.

-Josh

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post #4 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 06:06 PM
Jerry Bransford
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Stay with an AX-15 which is a better/stronger transmission than the NV3550 or NSG370 is.
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When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 06:09 PM
BlueFl.Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Stay with an AX-15 which is a better/stronger transmission than the NV3550 or NSG370 is.
+1
Not that I have any first hand exp. on this subject-- but have read a bit and the consensus seems to be that your current is a better one than what the latter TJ's have in them.
Stick with what you got.
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-11-2019, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
Kiwi_TJ
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Looks like AX-15 is the go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Stay with an AX-15 which is a better/stronger transmission than the NV3550 or NSG370 is.

Hi Jerry,


Thanks for that, good to have confirmation of the best way to go when my current one wears out. I have found with Jeeps, it always pays to be prepared. Seems to be that it is normally cheaper to get another one from a dismantler than rebuild and existing one.

1997 TJ Soft Top/ Half Doors
4.0 I6 with 5 Speed Manual | K&N Panel Filter | D30/D44 | 3.07 Gears | Banks Torque Tube Header
31*10.5 R15 Maxxis Trepador Radial Tyres | 2" BDS Spring Lift | Bilstein 5100 Shocks | JKS Discos | JKS Rear Swaybar Links | 100W Narva Spotlights
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 04:23 AM
Jonny Jeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi_TJ View Post
I am running Redline MT-90 in it and changing it regularly to try and make it last as long as I can.

I'm running MT-90 too, although I don't change it regularly. Current mileage is around 198k miles/317k km.


MT-90 and MTL and the general recommendations on here for the AX boxes, but interestingly neither is what Redline recommend. Redline themselves recommend their 75W90NS gear oil. I'm going to try it the next time I change my oil.
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 07:49 AM
JeffBowser
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You can buy a brand new AX-15 from several retailers for around the same price as a rebuilt. Just replaced mine this year after an internal seal failed and it ran dry on the way back home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi_TJ View Post
Hi Jerry,


Thanks for that, good to have confirmation of the best way to go when my current one wears out. I have found with Jeeps, it always pays to be prepared. Seems to be that it is normally cheaper to get another one from a dismantler than rebuild and existing one.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 08:37 AM
TheBoogieman
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Originally Posted by Kiwi_TJ View Post
I would welcome any advice or opinions
Upgrade it to a 32rh.
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TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
99' XJ / 5.5" lift / Rancho shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 03:33 PM
Jerry Bransford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBoogieman View Post
Upgrade it to a 32rh.
X2, that's what I did and it was right up there with installing front and rear lockers in terms of offroad benefits.
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 04:47 PM
Maverickxeo
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My dad's 99 has an AX15 and my 02 has an NV3550.

Of the two, my dad's seems 'smoother' but he has problems with second gear which arose at a lower mileage than what my NV3550 is currently sitting at. I abuse the heck out of my NV3550 and I have had no issues with it whatsoever. I do like the first gear being as low as it is, although for daily driving that low of a gear does make life a little annoying.

That said, I wouldn't consider one an upgrade over another - rather they are essentially equal. If you have an AX15 from factory, I'd just use it - same with the NV3550.
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 04:48 PM
BlueFl.Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBoogieman View Post
Upgrade it to a 32rh.
OK Boogie-- clue me in on what that is
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by hubbabubba View Post
OK Boogie-- clue me in on what that is
3 speed automatic. It's the stock auto transmission for 97-02 TJs.
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-12-2019, 08:57 PM
40vern
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i love the ax15. i have done three swaps so far. one was a 97tj that i swapped in a ax15 and a 350. my 95 xj was 2wd auto, now it is a 4wd 5 speed. my 98 tj was a 4 cylinder now it is a 4.0 with an ax15.
you can get them new or pick one up for about 400 and run the heck out of them.
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-13-2019, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mukluk View Post
I'd just stick with an AX15 unless a good 3550 practically fell in your lap for next to nothing. My personal opinion is the NSG370 isn't an upgrade from the previous five speed transmissions.
I second this. I've never personally driven a Jeep with an NV3550, but I have driven ones with the AX15, and my 10A has the NSG370 which is not an upgrade to say the least.


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