Question about 1991 Jeep Wrangler

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Transmission or Clutch problem?

Hello, I have a 1991 Jeep Wrangler 6cyl. 5spd. The previous owner had the motor replaced / rebuilt last Fall and he just put in a new clutch, slave cylinder, and clutch master cylinder. I have had the Jeep 2 months. This past weekend I went to go into 2nd gear and it would not. It did not grind, but just would not go in. After moving the gearshift around it finaly went in. Now it also won't go into third a lot of the time or reverse without going into other gears and moving it around first. It just feels like something is getting stuck and won't let me go into gear. I have had to quit driving it for now. How can I tell if it is the cluch ( needing adjustment?) or if the transmission has gone bad? Is there anything I can try to do that may fix the problem. I sure miss driving my jeep. Thanks Mike

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  • mikedanesmit Oct 21, 2008

    Yes, the shift lever does seem to have some play in it but not excessive I don't think. It does have the same problem going into reverse. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't, I just went out and tried going thru the gears with the engine off and I have the same problem with the engine on or off. If I can not get into a gear it seems to help if I go back to nutural and clutch again and then it usually goes in. It also makes a loud click especially when going into reverse. I did check the fluid in the master cylinder and it was full and clean. Today I drained the Transmission oil and replaced it with new oil. ( What a pain getting it back in! ) The old oil did smell bad and was brownish and when I emptied out the old oil from the pan there was a coating of shinny brass colored flakey chips covering the bottom of the pan. Looked like brass? Very small but enough to pretty well cover the bottom of the pan. Tomorrow I will look for the retaining ring on the shift lever. I did not know about that. That would be just to easy if that were the problem. How do I bleed the clutch hydraulics? I have never done that. Thanks again for all your help and advice. Regards Mike Smith

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Mike,
Just saw your issue. If you still have the problem, see if it resembles this situation. My 94 YJ 4.0 first had a hard time getting into 2nd. (...then reverse, then it would pop out of 2nd just going down the road) Changed fluids saw minimal crud. Was thinking a tranny swap was the only way to go. I contacted many places for ideas or solutions then I came across the this company in Tx that sells rebuilt trannys for about $1k. Now he was FAR LESS than all the other quotes for apple-to-apple, however this guy suggessted I check a couple more parts before I buought one of their transmissions. So I did and he was right. Here is what he had me do. Go buy the local shop manual if you don't already have it. You can find one at any Autozone, Advanced, O'reillys etc.(whatever is in your area) I had Chilton's. It worked fine. Remove the metal Inspection plates from around the gearshifts in the floor pan. Follow the main shifter down to the top of the Tranny. You'll see some bolts holding what appears to be a cap on. I think I remember there being 4. I removed the cap. You will find at the base of the shifter a steel knob or ball attached to the shifter. It is suppossed to have a plastic cap assembly snapped on the ball which you will see mates into a socket assembly on the top of the tranny. In simplest terms this is more or less the linkage point between the physical shifter to the transmission. On my jeep the cap and the female socket had just fallen apart. (...they're hard plastic - got hot, brittle and fell apart, go figure) The bad debris goes right down through the tranny and definitly was some of the crud in my fluid. I bought the parts local to me at Turner 4WD, Canton Ga www.thejeep.com. (and for those wondering... NO I'm not soliciting for them, they just tend to have parts some times that other companies don't have) I think I spent less than $15 on the 2 parts and the book is about $20. Total time for teardown was about 30~45 min and reassembly about 15~20. The only tricky part was getting the double dust boot off since I had never done it before. Remove the gear shift knobs, their locking nuts, and both rows of retaining screws. Slide the first dust boot off the gear shifts (soft rubber with metal ring). Then you'll see the next dust boot is almost vaccum sealed to the gear shifts at the knuckles. We found it was best to get that dust boot and inspection plate to slide up the shift levers and off leaving the levers intact. (others may have a different opinion, but I can tell you from other clutch and tranny work afterwards, it's so much easier to access the top 2 transmission bolts through this inspection plate rather than the ol' reach around from underneath) On that second dust boot (looked vaccumed sealed) we slightly split it on the bottom edge for easy removal. There are no issues from dust, water, or exhaust because it is a double boot. Hope this helps you. 5yrs on this solution now. Take care- Ken kadonaldsonjr@comcast.net

Posted on Oct 23, 2008

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Hi Mike,

Your description is excellent.

All the recent replacements make those components suspect. The symptoms point at two possible problems.
If the tranny had a linkage, I'd say that was it. The problem may be related though.

  • Does the shift lever feel loose?
  • Same shifting problems when trying reverse?
  • With the engine off do the same shifting problems exist? (this one points away from the clutch)
I'd check the that the retaining ring on the shift lever is fully engaged (quarter twist against two pins on top of tranny). The book ha a long procedure for accessing it, but the easy way is through the shift lever boot.

The clutch system:
  • Check fluid level
  • Any leaking fluid from master cylinder, operating cylinder or connecting lines?
  • Has the fluid level fallen to a point where air could have been drawn into the cylinder?
  • Does the fluid look clean, no particulates?
To be thorough, I'd bleed the clutch hydraulics. There may be air in the lines.

With multiple possible causes, I usually check the least expensive solutions first. This is where I'd start. Comment me back, let me know how it goes.

Mike

Posted on Oct 20, 2008

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Oct 21, 2008

    Hi Mike,

    Since you have the same problem with the engine off, the clutch system is out of the running.

    Those brass particles used to be part of gears. Was there any difference after the fluid change?

    I'm still hoping for the retaining ring solution. But if not, you're probably going to need to bring it to a mechanic.

    If you still want to bleed the hydraulics, click the ASKME button near my name. I'll write up the procedure for you.

    Mike


  • Justin Case
    Justin Case Oct 23, 2008

    Mike,

    Thanks for the rating.

    Mike


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Mikey108
  • 475 Answers

SOURCE: Transmission or Clutch problem?

The first thing you want to check is the clutch master fluid, make sure there is enough in there. This sounds like there is air in the system.
You will have to bleed out the clutch slave cylinder. Get yourself a manual for the car and it will walk you through it.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008

  • 6982 Answers

SOURCE: Transmission or Clutch problem?

Jeep #1: Sounds like a shift linkage problem. Possibly synchro forks are sliding back and forth on shift rails and are out of adjustment. This is internal and cannot readily be fixed without trans removal as far as I know. Hydraulic clutch system is non-adjustable. A new clutch should last at least 70K so, unless it was installed improperly, it should be OK. Check hydraulics for leaks & bleed. Clutch should "catch" about two inches off floor (not too low or not too near top of travel)
Jeep#2: Has a synchro or other internal gear problem... Symptoms are similar but gringing and clicking noises indicate worn or broken internal components!
Good luck to both!

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

6ya6ya
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