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So I haven't been on here in ages but I've finally had a chance to poke around with my old MJ (1991 Pioneer that I did a motor swap with a 2000 wrangler) Both 4.0 HOs. Ran fine years ago when I parked her until I had a high dollar Viper alarm put on. Finally finished taking that off and trying to start her up and shake her down (last ran in 2009-2010) and successfully pull started her with tractor on first try (started wouldn't work until after running for a few minutes). My starter problem makes me think it's possibly the crank position sensor since it's an intermittent problem but I am certainly out of my league and hoping for help. The MAIN reason for this post is the fact that it ran fine in reverse but the moment I tried to start out in 1st or 2nd gear (didn't try 3-5) it would instantly stall out no matter how high I had the RPMs. I literally drove it back down to barn in reverse with no problems what so ever yet when tried forward gears again it stalled out. Please help!

 

(Before anyone gets upset before posting this I did forum searches for this problem, as well as, google search to see if something popped up on forum that I couldn't find from within. 

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

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My first guess is that the rear brakes are seized. The nature of the drum brakes is that they hold better going forward than they do in reverse. If the shoes are rusted and/or the linings swelled, there may be just enough contact for the rear brakes to apply themselves when you try to go forward.

 

Try jacking up the rear wheels and see if you can spin them in the forward direction with the wheels off the ground. If you can't -- then pull the wheels and remove the brake drums and try again.

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Thanks for the prompt response dasbulliwagen, definitely not what I wanted to hear. How confident are you in that being the problem based on the limited description I've given? I was originally just trying to get it running to sell as my main vehicles are my GTI and motorcycle and we have my wife's car as well. . . but, as y'all know, I just hate to let the old girl go, but if it's not going to be cost effective to get her road worthy and inspected I'm afraid it might come to that.

Eagle, thank you as well; I was able to push and tow it just fine so I am not sure if the rear brakes would be seized if it is able to go forward under even human power. . . I could very easily be wrong and don't mean to insult you, obviously that is a simple enough thing to test, I just don't know. Would they not have enough contact to allow me to pull start it with tractor but then not work after that?

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Are the bell housing to engine bolts loose? 

 

CPS wire getting pinched as the engine rocks?

No, the bolts are all torqued down, and as far as I can see no the CPS wire isn't getting pinched. The more I think about it the more I'm afraid it's the tranny.

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Eagle, thank you as well; I was able to push and tow it just fine so I am not sure if the rear brakes would be seized if it is able to go forward under even human power. . . I could very easily be wrong and don't mean to insult you, obviously that is a simple enough thing to test, I just don't know. Would they not have enough contact to allow me to pull start it with tractor but then not work after that?

Nope, forward is forward, and the brakes don't know if it's being driven, towed, or pushed. If you can roll it forward without undue resistance, it's not a brake problem. Unfortunately, in that case I have to agree with dasbulliwagen, look at the tranny.

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The miata we had doing it would not roll forward unless the clutch pedal was pushed in. The shifter in nuetral position had the car in reverse, and in 1st and 2nd if you let the clutch out it would stall the car. It wouldnt go into any other positions. It was definitely an internal trans problem on that one. We didnt dissassemble it to find out what went, but something definitely came apart in there.

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