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AW4 Transmission Problem


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I got an 88 auto and assuming it’s the AW4. 

 

No previous issues with tranny, no slipping or hesitation at all. Actually towed a trailer loaded down up to the hunting lease this past weekend. 

 

Was driving it in from work this morning running about 60 on the bypass when it felt like it just came out of gear almost like I threw it in neutral. 

 

To make a long story short had it towed to the house. Did an overall visual inspection and the only thing I could find was an issue with the tranny dipstick tube, it’s a 2 piece and had come apart and tranny oil was blowing out, the oil had saturated an electrical connector on the side of the tranny, connector is located directly below the dipstick tube. I’m assuming the connector is part of the shift control? I’m not saying that’s the issue but it just caught my attention and just wondering if it could have shorted out with the “oil bath”??

 

Anyway I guess I need to get out my FSM and start digging into it. 

 

I was was hoping someone could point me to a good “troubleshooting thread”, I’ve had better luck on the forum than the actual FSM. 

 

Headed to to bed now after working all night, will check my post later on to see if I get anything back on it. 

 

Btw, the tranny oil looked good and was definitely not burnt, it’s also going into park. 

 

Thanks in advance,

Griff04

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The bolt holding your dipstick tube must have come off, the tube separated at the joint on the oil pan nipple, and you blew fluid out until it there wasn't enough to keep it in drive. Try reconnecting the dipstick tube and filling the tranny back up. Also check the tranny vent tube to make sure it's not clogged. You might just get lucky...

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I’ve blown a transmission line while on the highway before(stupid quick connects, glad I went AN). Mine acted the same way until the transmission was filled back up with fluid. Low fluid/low fluid pressure will do some weird stuff. I went through this problem for abit and luckily enough the aw4 seems stout enough to handle a few mishaps.

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Read your post which makes perfectly good sense on the fluid being low..don’t know why I didn’t think of that, duh!!!

 

Of course the dipstick says check hot idling in park. Fired it off and let it run for about 10 minutes and then checked level which is showing good but actually on the high side,  really doesn’t make sense with the loose dipstick tube and the oil I’m seeing on the bottom of it. Granted it’s not like the underside is completely coated in oil but there was some coming from there. 

 

Same thing, not going into gear.   I knew I was not going to get out that easy. 

 

Any other suggestions welcomed.

 

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16 hours ago, Griff04 said:

 

 

Of course the dipstick says check hot idling in park. Fired it off and let it run for about 10 minutes and then checked level which is showing good but actually on the high side,

 

Any other suggestions welcomed.

 

 

Have you put the dipstick tube all back together?

The tranny fluid in your torque converter is likely depleted.  It can read OK on the stick, even if your torque converter is empty.  IF there's no fluid in your torque converter...you're not going anywhere. 

The tranny holds 8.5 qts. Half of it should be in your torque converter, half in the sump (where you read it on the dipstick)

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42 minutes ago, ParadiseMJ said:

 

Have you put the dipstick tube all back together?

The tranny fluid in your torque converter is likely depleted.  It can read OK on the stick, even if your torque converter is empty.  IF there's no fluid in your torque converter...you're not going anywhere. 

The tranny holds 8.5 qts. Half of it should be in your torque converter, half in the sump (where you read it on the dipstick)

Yes, tube is back together...wasn’t  exactly sure how much was left in it so I drained it, the fluid was a little dark and burnt, I had to add back 4 quarts to get it to read correctly on the dipstick. Let it run and idle for about 15 minutes but still not going into gear, only park. Is there a method to check the torque converter?

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18 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

Yes, tube is back together...wasn’t  exactly sure how much was left in it so I drained it, the fluid was a little dark and burnt, I had to add back 4 quarts to get it to read correctly on the dipstick. Let it run and idle for about 15 minutes but still not going into gear, only park. Is there a method to check the torque converter?

I think you are answering your own question. 

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7 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

I think you are answering your own question. 

Well I’m really transmission stupid... I would assume that the pump would eventually fill up the converter thus lowering the level in the pan reservoir. So if that’s answering my question then I guess it’s answered. 

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39 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

Well I’m really transmission stupid... I would assume that the pump would eventually fill up the converter thus lowering the level in the pan reservoir. So if that’s answering my question then I guess it’s answered. 

Fluid is not supposed to be dark and burnt, combined with the fact you are getting no reaction......

Maybe time for a new one.

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4 hours ago, Griff04 said:

Yes, tube is back together...wasn’t  exactly sure how much was left in it so I drained it, the fluid was a little dark and burnt, I had to add back 4 quarts to get it to read correctly on the dipstick. Let it run and idle for about 15 minutes but still not going into gear, only park. Is there a method to check the torque converter?

 

Have you checked your shifter cable? Eyeball the TV cable also.

 

http://www.lunghd.com/Tech_Articles/Transmission_and_Transfer_Case/Transmission_Automatic_Shifter_Adjustments.htm

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7 hours ago, HOrnbrod said:

Pretty much eyeballed everything but nothing stands out. Had it hauled to the tranny shop this afternoon, discussed the events leading up to the failure, said it sounded like some type of internal catostrophic failure, sounds like $$$ to me. They called me late this afternoon but I was sleeping. Should know something in the morning. 

 

Appreciate everyones support. 

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The tranny shop called me today, they had dropped the pan and wanted me to look at it. There were shavings in it but I really don't know what’s acceptable but having an industrial mechanical background I’d say there was too much. With that said they estimated a rebuild cost $1800 - $2000, wasn’t expecting that much. Told them to button it back and I’d think on it overnite. Not sure whether to go with the rebuild or trying to find one from the junkyard. I did ask them if I elected to go with a used one would they swap it for me and it was a flat “no”. I’ve got another shop that said they’d do the swap for $400. 

 

If I was going to use it for a DD I’d go with the rebuild but using it mainly on the hunting lease really not sure which way to go??

 

Thoughts??

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

The tranny shop called me today, they had dropped the pan and wanted me to look at it. There were shavings in it but I really don't know what’s acceptable but having an industrial mechanical background I’d say there was too much. With that said they estimated a rebuild cost $1800 - $2000, wasn’t expecting that much. Told them to button it back and I’d think on it overnite. Not sure whether to go with the rebuild or trying to find one from the junkyard. I did ask them if I elected to go with a used one would they swap it for me and it was a flat “no”. I’ve got another shop that said they’d do the swap for $400. 

 

If I was going to use it for a DD I’d go with the rebuild but using it mainly on the hunting lease really not sure which way to go??

 

Thoughts??

 

 

 

This is the quandary, isn't it?

Not just yours but everyone's. 

 

As someone who's been through 5 transmissions.........my next one will be new, not used, not rebuilt, new. 

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There are still lots of used XJs on the streets. It's MJs that are scarce, which is why I cringe when I see anyone talking about parting one out, or chopping it up to make it a tube buggy. If you're going to rip it that far down, there's no "MJ" left -- so start with a Cherokee and spare the few remaining Comanches.

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10 minutes ago, Eagle said:

There are still lots of used XJs on the streets. It's MJs that are scarce, which is why I cringe when I see anyone talking about parting one out, or chopping it up to make it a tube buggy. If you're going to rip it that far down, there's no "MJ" left -- so start with a Cherokee and spare the few remaining Comanches.

 

I’m in agreement with you. This is basically a rust free, strong engined MJ with a dead tranny. There’s no way I’d chop it up or part it out. 

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44 minutes ago, Eagle said:

There are still lots of used XJs on the streets. It's MJs that are scarce, which is why I cringe when I see anyone talking about parting one out, or chopping it up to make it a tube buggy. If you're going to rip it that far down, there's no "MJ" left -- so start with a Cherokee and spare the few remaining Comanches.

Craigslist is an indicator. 

 

I just searched all of GA, there are two 1988 XJs for sale in ALL of GA. 

 

I know the SE, you may know the NE and maybe where you are there are plenty.


The SE has dried up, I keep telling you, you keep ignoring me. 

 

 

 

Here are the two listings-

https://auburn.craigslist.org/search/sss?sort=rel&query=1988+jeep+cherokee

 

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/search/sss?sort=rel&query=1988+jeep+cherokee

 

Will he have a hard time finding a used AW4? probably not. But to the point of plenty of XJs? No, there is not. 

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Why the hell are you looking on Craigslist for only 88 XJs w. an AW4. That's a piss-poor indicator. Looks on car-parts.com for ANY year AW4 (in 2WD or 4WD whatever the OP has) and you'll find plenty with their TCUs  available. Plus with a guarantee that it'll work, not from some redneck yahoo with a blown tranny. Nothing's drying up in the SE any more than everywhere else. The freaking cars are getting older, they are getting scrapped, everywhere equally. That's life. Quit whining...

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17 minutes ago, HOrnbrod said:

Why the hell are you looking on Craigslist for only 88 XJs w. an AW4. That's a piss-poor indicator. Looks on car-parts.com for ANY year AW4 (in 2WD or 4WD whatever the OP has) and you'll find plenty with their TCUs  available. Plus with a guarantee that it'll work, not from some redneck yahoo with a blown tranny. Nothing's drying up in the SE any more than everywhere else. The freaking cars are getting older, they are getting scrapped, everywhere equally. That's life. Quit whining...

It's an indicator of what's available.

 

Both of you are wrong in telling these people to continue to rape and pillage till there is nothing left. 

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54 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

Craigslist is an indicator. 

 

I just searched all of GA, there are two 1988 XJs for sale in ALL of GA. 

 

I know the SE, you may know the NE and maybe where you are there are plenty.


The SE has dried up, I keep telling you, you keep ignoring me. 

 

 

 

Here are the two listings-

https://auburn.craigslist.org/search/sss?sort=rel&query=1988+jeep+cherokee

 

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/search/sss?sort=rel&query=1988+jeep+cherokee

 

Will he have a hard time finding a used AW4? probably not. But to the point of plenty of XJs? No, there is not. 

 

First of all let’s get something straight...I appreciate everyone’s input and suggestions. 

 

Secondly, your comment about “you keep telling me, you keep ignoring me” is totally off base. I’m not quite sure what kind of “tone” was behind that but I’m a grown man, I would appreciate it if you don’t talk down to me like I’m some kind of kid. If you have an issue with this then I’ll put it politely, bug-off. 

 

Thirdly, there are currently 3, yes 3, early model Cherokees with autos in them, probably the AW4s, sitting in the U-Pull-It yard, in my hometown, Albany Ga, in the SE as you put it, that I could probably get. 

 

So I have a hard time believing that parts are completely drying up. I’m in agreement with HOrnbrod, they are just getting a little harder to come by. 

 

Griff04

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4 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

 

First of all let’s get something straight...I appreciate everyone’s input and suggestions. 

 

Secondly, your comment about “you keep telling me, you keep ignoring me” is totally off base. I’m not quite sure what kind of “tone” was behind that but I’m a grown man, I would appreciate it if you don’t talk down to me like I’m some kind of kid. If you have an issue with this then I’ll put it politely, bug-off. 

 

Thirdly, there are currently 3, yes 3, early model Cherokees with autos in them, probably the AW4s, sitting in the U-Pull-It yard, in my hometown, Albany Ga, in the SE as you put it, that I could probably get. 

 

So I have a hard time believing that parts are completely drying up. I’m in agreement with HOrnbrod, they are just getting a little harder to come by. 

 

Griff04

You do realize that I was not even speaking to you? or about you? nor was I addressing anything you said?

 

You realize that, right?

 

 

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