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Wrangler LJ transmission


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Hey guys, I'm very close to buying a long awaited lj... i would prefer a 6 speed manual but they are harder to come by, and I'm coming around to the idea of having an auto instead. the simple question I have is for you guys (whose opinions I hold much higher than just random people online) is what yalls thoughts are on the auto... I will only be doing on road driving, city and highway, and keeping the jeep stock.

 

 

Thanks in advance yall!

 

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There is a dedicated button on the center stack to turn off overdrive.  I frequently had to use it even in stock form.  The Toyota AW4 in the XJ had a high amount(~30%) of transmission loss, but the Chrysler 42RLE in the LJ is terrible.  I basically drove it with the throttle pedal smashed down.  Oh, I also had to replace it with another one because the 2-4 clutch pack shredded itself just from towing a trailer around and I had even installed an auxiliary transmission cooler to bring the temperatures down.  Bring the temperatures down was very relative since it still ran incredibly hot since the transmission cooler lines run in between the hot side of the engine and the two smaller catalytic converters that come right off the exhaust manifold.  Also, the rearward catalytic converted is hot box between the floor, frame, and skid plate next to the transmission so the right side of the transmission gets cooked too.

 

A poor transmission that had no hoping of surviving in the conditions it was given to run under.  My LJ is technically the most unreliable vehicle I have ever owned and a reasonable person would have ditched it years ago.

 

If you take the time to add the auxiliary cooler, sleeve the transmission lines with heat shield, and heat shield the transmission from the catalytic converter on the right it will probably last significantly longer than mine.

 

 

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Yeah, the 42RLE has a "less than favorable" reputation.  It's not the longest lasting transmission.

 

There's a few shops that do some upgrades but it's still a 42RLE.  Check out ATS diesel.  They have branched into Jeep transmissions.  It's expensive but better than stock.

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auto trannies ain't my gig, but would a 45RFE work?  I have one in my KJ (don't laugh......) and it's a pretty stout unit.  They were used behind 4.7/5.7's normally (Durangos, Dakotas, etc).  It also has a second "second" gear, kind of like an old school kick down gear for acceleration.

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9 hours ago, madog7200 said:

 

Hey guys, I'm very close to buying a long awaited lj... i would prefer a 6 speed manual but they are harder to come by, and I'm coming around to the idea of having an auto instead. the simple question I have is for you guys (whose opinions I hold much higher than just random people online) is what yalls thoughts are on the auto... I will only be doing on road driving, city and highway, and keeping the jeep stock.

 

 

Thanks in advance yall!

 

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

I've had an '04 automatic LJ as my main daily driver for the last 5 years and it's been very reliable.   I do the type of driving you do plus I tow trailers (tear drop, expedition and utility) regularly with it and do some light duty off road driving (trails, fire service, etc.).   We often camp for a week with a trailer and venture out on trails almost daily while we're away.   I definitely turn off the overdrive when I tow, in fact I've got into the habit of turning it off when I start it up and only turning it on when I want it.  I've had no issues with the auto transmission or the 4WD.   

 

 

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34 minutes ago, mjeff87 said:

auto trannies ain't my gig, but would a 45RFE work?  I have one in my KJ (don't laugh......) and it's a pretty stout unit.  They were used behind 4.7/5.7's normally (Durangos, Dakotas, etc).  It also has a second "second" gear, kind of like an old school kick down gear for acceleration.

The computers aren't compatible.  You'd have to bring the whole engine/trans over and hook up ABS sensors on all 4 corners.  The KJ doesn't have a traditional speed sensor in the tcase.  It uses ABS to run the speedometer and figure out when to shift the transmission.

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I've had an '04 automatic LJ as my main daily driver for the last 5 years and it's been very reliable.   I do the type of driving you do plus I tow trailers (tear drop, expedition and utility) regularly with it and do some light duty off road driving (trails, fire service, etc.).   We often camp for a week with a trailer and venture out on trails almost daily while we're away.   I definitely turn off the overdrive when I tow, in fact I've got into the habit of turning it off when I start it up and only turning it on when I want it.  I've had no issues with the auto transmission or the 4WD.   
 
 
Does the 04 lj ave the same auto as the 05 and 06 ljs?

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23 minutes ago, madog7200 said:

Does the 04 lj ave the same auto as the 05 and 06 ljs?

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I haven't heard otherwise so as far as I know they are.  Someone else may be able to speak to this.   According to the build sheet mine has a "DGBS - All 4 speed Automatic Transmission".   Other details are it has a "Command Trac Part Time 4WD System" with D30 front & D44 rear axles and 3.73 gears … all pretty basic.  

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One thing that the '05-'06 models have that the '04 does not is an oil pump drive assembly (OPDA) that runs off of the camshaft.   I have not paid much attention to this because mine doesn't have it.   It can be a problem with wear over time.

 

This thread from the TJ forum might be of some help ...

 https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/what-is-the-opda-and-do-i-need-to-change-mine.80/

 

Lots of LJ owners there btw!

 

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I haven't heard otherwise so as far as I know they are.  Someone else may be able to speak to this.   According to the build sheet mine has a "DGBS - All 4 speed Automatic Transmission".   Other details are it has a "Command Trac Part Time 4WD System" with D30 front & D44 rear axles and 3.73 gears … all pretty basic.  
So the jeep I'm looking at is a rubi.... idk if that makes a difference either. I just don't wanna get stuck with a turd

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19 minutes ago, madog7200 said:

So the jeep I'm looking at is a rubi.... idk if that makes a difference either. I just don't wanna get stuck with a turd

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Again, not familiar with any differences, but I simply don't know.  if you pose the question on the TJ forum I'm sure you'd get a clear answer.   Many there say that Rubicon LJ's are the holly grail … especially orange ones for some reason (lol).   Members often open … "What do you think of this LJ (or?) purchase" type threads.

 

I'm perfectly happy with my "Plain Jane" LJ   ...

 

 picture.php?albumid=3124&pictureid=98703

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1 hour ago, madog7200 said:

Does the 04 lj ave the same auto as the 05 and 06 ljs?

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It should be the same.  In the TJ they went from the 32RE to the 42RLE through into the 07-11 JK before switching to the WA580 behind the Pentastar in 12.

 

There may be some updates from year to year, and the bellhousing beteen the TJ and JK will be different but it's the same basic trans once they went to a 4 speed.

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5 hours ago, mjeff87 said:

auto trannies ain't my gig, but would a 45RFE work?  I have one in my KJ (don't laugh......) and it's a pretty stout unit.  They were used behind 4.7/5.7's normally (Durangos, Dakotas, etc).  It also has a second "second" gear, kind of like an old school kick down gear for acceleration.

 

Is your's a CRD then? 42re should be behind all the others with the 3.7

 

As derf said can't swap them only option might be getting a manny. Or just saying f it and doing a LS swap with a 4l80/60. 

 

I personally hate the 42RE it's an absolute garbage tranny, the shifts points suck and it makes driving miserable. My wife had it in her KJ and I have one in one of my WJ's. I know there are a few products to improve the shift points and other issues but they still have a terrible lifespan and suck. When I was looking for my WJ I really wanted to get a 4.0 over the 4.7 but since there is nothing to do about the tranny said screw it. 

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I think the WJ had the 42RE, which is different than the 42RLE.  Regardless, pretty much all Chrysler transmissions in that time period were "less than stellar".  I've known several people who had transmissions going out only hundreds of miles after the warranty expired at like 70K miles or so.

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Yank, my KJ is a 3.7 gasser, but an early year 2002...the very first ones off the line got all the leftovers from other models.  We got the 8.25 rear, but with drum brakes instead of discs (boo!).  But the 2002's also got 45RFE's.  They switched to the '42's starting in 2003.

 

Admittedly, it is a bit TOO much of a trans for the KJ, it does shift a bit "sharply" LOL especially after a battery disconnect and re-learn procedure.  But, it's stout and I doubt I could ever break it.  Can't say the same for the 42 models.

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13 hours ago, derf said:

The computers aren't compatible.  You'd have to bring the whole engine/trans over and hook up ABS sensors on all 4 corners.  The KJ doesn't have a traditional speed sensor in the tcase.  It uses ABS to run the speedometer and figure out when to shift the transmission.

 

I thought the speedo was run off a sensor in the rear diff?  My ABS in the Libby is very broken but the speedo still works. :dunno:

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9 minutes ago, Pete M said:

 

I thought the speedo was run off a sensor in the rear diff?  My ABS in the Libby is very broken but the speed still works. 

You might be right.  They have gone through several iterations over the years.  Some use a tone ring in the diff, some use wheel sensors.  But it's rare to see a sensor in the tcase any more.

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Now that you mention it, I don't have ABS in mine.  But, I do have a tone ring inside my diff.

 

EDIT:  After researching it a bit, it appears the 02-05 KJ's had speed sensors in the rear diff, 06+ has them as ABS speed sensors on the wheels.

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19 hours ago, madog7200 said:

So the jeep I'm looking at is a rubi.... idk if that makes a difference either. I just don't wanna get stuck with a turd

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Its not a Rubi if it has the Dana 30 front axle. The Rubi got a 44 front axle among other things

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1 hour ago, mjeff87 said:

Now that you mention it, I don't have ABS in mine.  But, I do have a tone ring inside my diff.

 

EDIT:  After researching it a bit, it appears the 02-05 KJ's had speed sensors in the rear diff, 06+ has them as ABS speed sensors on the wheels.

 

when it's done raining I'll go out and see if I have the plug at the top of my diff.

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3 hours ago, dasbulliwagen said:

 

Its not a Rubi if it has the Dana 30 front axle. The Rubi got a 44 front axle among other things

 

The TJ Rubicon front axle is a hybrid of a D44 and D30, but it is better than the stock D30.

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