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Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 27, 2019 at 10:46pm

Upon arrival I counted the output shaft splines...23!  And even though two of the wire harnesses had been cut, they were the right number of wires and the right color wires (I had cut off/unplugged the old two harnesses from my old transmission and brought them with me to match them up).

Success!  We brought it back to camp, and I spent the rest of the day transferring parts, splicing in wires, installing the transfer case, etc.  I also made a keeper from an old table saw wrench to keep the torque converter in place while installing the transmission.

I got everything switched over and ready to install before dark.  It is now sitting under the Jeep on a piece of plywood, ready to be reinstalled...which will happen tomorrow, come hell or highwater.  

A couple of things I noticed removing the old transmission:  Youtube videos aren't perfect!  I watched a slew of videos on changing out the transmission, and not a single one mentioned a bolt that holds on the UPPER aluminum sheet metal shield between the engine and bellhousing!  I'm just glad it was sheet aluminum and eventually broke at the bolt hole while I was rocking the transmission back and forth trying to remove the darn thing!  Also, not a single video mentioned removing the kickdown linkage on the driver's side...but that I figured out right away using some common sense.

And on the brightest side of this project?  I don't have to use the brand new torque converter!  So I'll get my money back, which was substantial for us and our limited budget, once I bring it back!

So wish us luck tomorrow folks!  I still have to line everything up and get the transmission to seat against the engine and bolt it all up, etc.  Fun fun fun!!!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 27, 2019 at 10:45pm

Good grief!  Transmissions are hard!  

So I picked up the used transmission for 150 bucks for our 98 Cherokee.  Earl, the guy I bought it from, bought the transmission from eBay, and when he bought it, the eBay seller said it was from a 98.  He never ended up using it and it sat in his garage for years.  It was NOT from a 98 or newer!!!  It had to have been from a much older model.

One would think that an AW4 transmission from a Jeep Cherokee would be pretty much compatible with EVERY year Jeep Cherokee with very little modification, right? WRONG!

After '97, they added more sensors, increased the size of the output shaft from 21 spline to 23 spline, changed the plug connectors, and even changed some sort of speed sensor in the transfer case adapter on the transmission tail cone, which happens to NOT be easily transferred from one transmission to the next, because the internals on the transmission side don't line up with the internals of the later transfer cases!  What the heck?

Anyhow, I got an early start this morning.  And by noon realized that there was simply NO way that this transmission was going to fit in my '98!  The splined shaft was smaller, the plug ends were different with different numbers of wires, the kickdown linkage was different, etc.

So I cleaned up and called Earl, the older retired gentleman that sold me the used transmission.  And gentleman he was!  Integrity like his is hard to come by anymore!  He told me to bring the transmission back to him, and he refunded my 150.00 bucks!  

I had found another used transmission for 300.00 on Craigslist the same time I found this one, and it was from a 99...totally compatible with the 98.  I talked the seller down to me and my buddy Will went down to Earl's and returned the wrong transmission, and then drove all the way to north Phoenix, 120 mile round trip, to see and possibly pick up the 99 transmission.  And pick it up we did!

It was on a pallet at D&M Automotive, who had done an LS swap for the original owner of the '99 Cherokee from which the transmission was removed.  They assured me not only of the year, but also that it had been running just fine when they pulled it to make the swap.  The torque converter was even still in place and had never been removed.  It was NOT drained of ATF fluid in addition to the gas money I gave Will, I slipped him some more to clean out the bed of his truck at a car wash.  


Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 27, 2019 at 10:16am

Thanks Jimco!  The used one is going in today.  I THINK I've got all my ducks in a!


Comment by Jimco_W001 on March 26, 2019 at 8:33pm

Fingers crossed. Good luck.

Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 26, 2019 at 10:45am

So the old transmission in our Jeep XJ tow vehicle is almost out...and we picked up the used transmission yesterday, as well as a new torque converter. The used transmission seems to be in great condition...the seals are still pliable, the shaft turns, and the fluid is red and smells fine.

Today I'll be pulling the old one the rest of the way, and hopefully getting this "new" one installed completely...maybe even have the Jeep operational again by this evening.

Fingers crossed!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 23, 2019 at 10:13am

Nah Jack.  I think I was pretty lucky this time:  The transmission in our Jeep XJ tow vehicle broke while we are still doing the Arizona Renaissance Festival, which means we have friends near us that were able to come tow us back to camp...and we found a used transmission from the same year XJ for just 150.00 right down the road from us.  BAD luck would have been having the transmission go out somewhere in the middle of nowhere BETWEEN!

And nope.  Sorry Postman.  We don't have a GoFundMe set up anymore.  That was for our winter fiasco, which we ended early as soon as we found such a good deal on our Itasca Suncruiser.


Comment by postman on March 22, 2019 at 9:56pm

Jack Wasmuth,

Murphy has has come to collect regarding Lakota Wolf as he is in hospice. 

Kevin still has gofundme again...

Comment by Jack Wasmuth on March 22, 2019 at 8:34pm

Kevin it seems that if it was not for bad luck, you would have no luck at all. Sorry to hear about all of your troubles. I think you need to bribe Murphy like Lakota does. lol

Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 22, 2019 at 7:45pm

Well crap. I was driving today, and the Jeep started bucking and acting weird...and then smoke! Turns out the transmission is cracked at the bellhousing, right where the starter goes into it, and it started dumping transmission fluid onto the exhaust! I made it as far as the Walmart before it crapped out completely...still running, but no propulsion.

My friend Will came with his truck, and towed me back to camp. When I got back to camp, I removed the bell housing shield, and started it oil from the engine RMS, so that was a relief. I also checked the transfer case by sticking my finger in the fill hole (after stopping the to feel the chain, and the chain seems fine and tight. So it is definitely a dead transmission.

I found a used transmission from a 98 Cherokee, same year as mine, down the road for 150 I get to do another project next week. Yay! This will be the first automatic transmission I ever installed, so wish me luck!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on March 18, 2019 at 8:05pm

Darn it!!!   $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@! $@!#@!

I took a corner in a parking lot too sharply, and a curb took a big gouge out of the sidewall of the front passenger tire on my Jeep, and it went flat.

Thankfully I was just down the street from the Discount Tire shop that gave me a quote for new tires a few weeks ago, and the spare tire rim was already loaded in the back of the Jeep.  Almost 1000.00 later, the Jeep XJ is sitting pretty on brand new Cooper STT Pro MT tires (33x12.5x15r), and the spare is mounted on the rim, and the wheel is up on the roof rack, strapped down and covered.

Yikes!  On the bright side though, when I go back to the Discount Tire and bring the manager's business card with me (which has the tire quote written on it...I wasn't planning on getting tires today and left the business card at home), I'll get a hundred bucks back, since they said they would honor the quote if I bring it back to them.  Apparently the tires went up in price over the last few weeks.

I was actually going to milk out the tires I have for now, and just pick up a cheap used tire on Craigslist...and then put new tires on when we get to upstate NY later this summer...but the gods must have decided that now was the!  Everything happens for a reason, so I probably would have had a blowout on the way to Utah if I didn't get tires now.

I sure do hope we have a great last two weekends, since I still have to buy at least 2 new coach batteries before we leave...we are looking forward to lots of boondocking between this show and Utah...and then a lot more boondocking between Utah and Sterling, NY.




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