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XJ Cherokee Manual to Automatic Transmission Conversion?

XJ Cherokee Jeep Cherokee Jeep SUV Jeep how-to

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#1 crazypollo94xj



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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:00 PM

I have a 1994 Jeep XJ Cherokee with an AX5 manual transmission and 2.5L four-cylinder engine. I would like to convert to an automatic transmission and have a 1989 XJ Cherokee donor vehicle with an automatic.  The '94 XJ has 3.73 axles, was originally a 2x4, now is a 4x4, auto trans is an AW4.


The '89 XJ Cherokee is a 4.0L six. Both 4x4s have the NP231 transfer case. Is this even possible to do the swap on? I do have the complete donor XJ all electronics as well. Manual in the '94 came from an '85 2.8L, the axles came from an '86 2.5L, the transfer case came from a '87 4.0L all manual trans equipped. So is this swap even possible to accomplish?



#2 Moses Ludel

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:19 AM

Hi, David, thanks for joining the forums, we value your participation!


In a nutshell, you cannot make this work. The AW4 has the 4.0L bellhousing pattern, the 1994 2.5L four uses a different bellhousing pattern. So, this AW4 will not bolt up to your 2.5L engine. Though rare, there were automatic-equipped XJ Cherokee 2.5L models, but they use the 904/999 Chrysler 3-speed automatic. Chrysler likely borrowed this setup from the YJ Wrangler.


If you're sold on the idea of an automatic, the AW4 is the transmission of choice with its overdrive and track record for durability.  You would need to place a 4.0L inline six in front of this transmission. For your '94 model XJ, that's a full-on swap due to engine mounts, radiator and other needs. It might be easier to find a popular 1987-up 4.0L XJ Cherokee with AW4 as a base for a new project. This would be cost-effective in the long run.


Happy to bat this idea back and forth...



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: XJ Cherokee, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep SUV, Jeep how-to

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