Jeep Wrangler TJ Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems


Jeep wranglers are designed to be tough and fun. Wrangler owners enjoy the appeal of having a daily driver that’s as at home on the trail as it is in the mud. When you have Jeep Wrangler automatic shifting problems, you are no longer able to enjoy your Wrangler.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems
Jeep Wrangler TJ Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems

Jeep Wrangler Automatic Shifting problems span many models and transmissions. The good news is that some issues are fairly easy to fix, and most issues are repairable. Knowing the common problem and how to troubleshoot wrangler transmission problems can help if you run into transmission issues.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems

The Jeep Wrangler has had lots of transmission over the years. They featured a 3-speed automatic transmission from 1986 to 2006, with some changes along the way. They were lightweight and simple, and they did not feature overdrive gear. In 2003, the 4-speed was introduced in some models. It was the automatic transmission of choice until 2012 when the 5-speed W5A580 was introduced.

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The RLE is a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. It’s considered a medium-duty transmission perfect for highway driving. The W5A580 is a Mercedes transmission. It has been used in many high-performance cars over the years. It was first used in the Wrangler in 2012. It’s known for fast shifts and the ability to handle 600 IBS. Of torque.

Jeep Wrangler Automatic Shifting Problems

  • Delayed Shifting: This is a common problem for the 42RE and the 42RE 4 speed, this usually takes place when shifting from the first to third or third to fourth. Delayed shifting can be very frustrating and affect the performance of your wrangler.

There are a few potential causes. The first, and easiest to remedy, is low transmission fluid or a dirty transmission filter. A worn or stuck pressure solenoid can prevent the transmission from sustaining proper fluid pressure, which will often affect the shifting from first to third.

  • Torque Converter or Overdrive Problems: This problem occurs in the 42RE and 42RE 4-speed transmission in 2000 and later Wrangler models. The problem is usually intermittent, and it will often cause the ‘Check engine’ light to come on. The easiest way to determine the cause is to have it checked with a code reader.

Another common is faulty sensors. Input/output and throttle body sensor failure will cause the torque converter clutch to not engage properly. Now if this is the issue you will have to replace the faulty sensor.

  • Failed Gear Engagement: The problem is common to the 545RFE 5-speed transmission. The gears will fail to engage in “drive” and “Reverse.” This typically happens when the vehicle is cold, and it’s more common when the outside temperature is low. This can be caused by the low transmission fluid, dirty transmission fluid, or the wrong type of transmission fluid.

Now another viral cause is the transmission cooler filter being loose. When the transmission cooler filter is loose, the fluid drains out of the torque converter.

How to Check Your Jeep Transmission Fluid Level

The step below is for you to know how to check the transmission fluid level. Checking the transmission fluid level on a transmission that has no fluid can damage the transmission.

  • Park the car on stable ground when possible.
  • Set the parking brakes and shifter in the park.
  • Pull the hood release and open the hood.
  • Look for the transmission dipstick.
  • Remove the dipstick and make sure you clean it with a cloth.
  • Put the dipstick in the transmission. Make sure the transmission is well inserted, now remove it.
  • Take a look at the dipstick carefully to know the current transmission fluid level.
  • If the level is low add transmission fluid level.
  • Drive the vehicle for about ten minutes making sure to select all the gears manually.

Take note: Not all Jeep vehicles have a transmission dipstick. If the dipstick is not present, the vehicle will need to be raised on a lift, and the level can be checked via the fill hole.

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