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OK, so lets start off by saying this vehicle belongs to my uncle, and was gifted to him by his now deceased brother. It's an auto with 61K original miles in mint shape. I live 12 hours away but need help trying to diagnose the issue and decide if I just need to go get the vehicle and haul it home to oversee repair or not.

So, a few weeks ago all of a sudden he took off from his place and noticed it wouldn't shift smoothly. He got up to about 30mph and it just wouldn't shift into the next gear so he pulled over. He turned it off and then back on. Turned around and headed home. Same result.
Local mechanic he likes says its the Transmission Control Module? They order a remanufactured one from a guy in Miami who specializes in Jeep parts and install it. No change. Mechanic says maybe they were supposed to program the module with the VIN and mileage. Local jeep guy and the part supplier say NO.
Local transmission guy wants to throw a rebuilt tranny in without even looking at it or driving it. My Unlce knows nothing about cars and thinks this is the resolution. $2,500 on a rebuilt tranny with 61k miles doesn't seem like the practical answer to me. SO I guess my questions as a complete Jeep novice is...
1. Does the re-manufactured TCM need to be programed/flashed/ect. to the ECU or have the anything done to be able to work as a replacement part?
2. Is there a common issue with this model at some point of age/use that causes this lack of smooth shifting in the auto transmissions from this era/model?
3. Is there something else I should be focusing on that would cause a trans with 61k start doing this?

I woudl be happy to scour the site for answers from other posts but I'm so green in this department that I'm not sure where to begin and coudld really use the hep. He's an emotional wreck not knowing whats going on with the only posession he has from his brother.

Please help!!!

Mike
 

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hopefully you still have the TCM.

NOTE is from OEM repair manual... 2003TJ

Trans is a 42RLE - an electrical controlled trans. First step in trouble shooting would be SCAN* for codes.
The description you gave not shifting suggests trans in LIMP mode, a default setting to 'limp' home, and that would set transmission codes.

Hold off on a shop that wants to R&R without scanning, or doing troubleshooting.

*transmission codes require a capable scanner - professional quality not a simple code reader.

You want the system scanned.
I am hoping the mechanic checked fluid level and condition...
 

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