Question about 2003 Jeep Liberty

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I have got a 2003 liberty with 110 000 miles. When cold, the tranny won't shift properly, as if it stays in the "neutral" condition between two gears. No such problems after running a couple miles.

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  • pascal_delad Dec 17, 2009

    Abouth six months ago, at 103 000 miles. I now remember that they told me something about the oil filter, if I am correct they talked about a filter thicker than before. Any notice from Chrysler about that? Also, I have a transmission cooler, is there a separate filter for that cooler line? If so, this filter has never been changed.

  • jkkkkkditt May 11, 2010

    is the service engine light on? if so you need to have a shop pull the codes. most tranny shops will do this for free.

  • Richard Scordino May 11, 2010

    when was the last time you changed the trans fluid?

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  • Jeep Master
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From what you said, I gather that you may be following schedule "A" for service intervals. (and were a bit late there) The condition you outlined is generally known as "flaring" and is not actually going into neutral but actually slipping when shifting. That is caused by a slight pressure loss from internal seal wear inside the unit. When symptoms of that begin, generally there is enough growth in the metal parts where as they get warmer it tightens up clearances just enough to provide a better seal, making the condition seem to get better when hot. Eventually that will worsen to the point where even hot it will continue slipping. Each time that it slips, it does more and more damage to the friction material inside till that becomes a problem in itself. The only cure for this is a rebuild or what's called a "soft parts overhaul".
There are a few conditions that can cause similar problems such as sticky varnish deposits inside the valve body which can cause delayed shifts. Towing, extended service intervals and even an overheat caused by a malfunction in the cooling system etc sometime earlier can cause varnish to form. An external trans cooler can help with that but cannot give 100% protection.
If the trans service you had done was the first one, I recommend that you remove the pan and check to see what is inside. If there were deposits, new oil will tend to dissolve them and it may have plugged up the filter, especially if a fabric type was used to replace a metal screen type. (fabric type is better but also will plug up faster when an extraordinary amount of debris is present).
There generally is not a second filter in the system, though some manufacturers do use a screen in the radiator cooling coil (I think Nissan does that) Generally those become obstructed when a catastrophic failure of the trans happens.(never have seen one in a Jeep).
In all vehicles, it is wise to change the trans fluid at intervals of no more than 30K miles, regardless of what the manual says. That is the best way to extend the service life of your trans.
If when you inspect the filter, you find it has a large amount of debris on it, change it and replace the fluid and add a good conditioner like the one made by Lucas. If it helps, drive about 3 thousand miles and replace the fluid again and again use additive.
If it does not respond, you will need a rebuild. If when you drop the pan you find nothing unusual, have a trans shop test it.
good luck

Posted on Dec 17, 2009

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