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I bought my first Jeep about 3 months ago, a 2000 TJ 4.0 automatic. I’ve had no issues with it until a recent off-road trip when the transmission decided to stop shifting out of 2nd gear. I know very little about working on transmissions so I hope someone here can help. I’m not completely certain at what point the trans stopped shifting correctly but I do know it was after hitting a fairly deep mud hole which o got hung up in so I decided I would try to “rock” it out by shifting from drive to reverse and back several times. The Jeep did fine after that, from what I could tell, but we also were traveling at low speeds. When I got back out on to paved roads I noticed that when pulling out from a stop it wasn’t shifting down into 1st and when getting up to speed it wasn’t shifting into 3rd gear. I didn’t mess with it for a few days after because of frigid temps and busy with work and kids etc. A couple weeks later I was gonna take to a friends garage and drain the trans because it looked like there was water in the fluid. When I went to pull out from my house I noticed it went into 1st and getting up to speed it shifted into 3rd just fine as well but not even 3 mins into my drive and it was back to being stuck in 2nd gear again. At this point I don’t even know where to start. It’s not show any codes when checked with a scanner. Please someone help!

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  • Moses Ludel changed the title to TJ Wrangler 32RH Transmission Problem
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Xander...The comment about water in the fluid and fact that the transmission began shifting correctly (temporarily) points to the valve body, possibly the kickdown linkage.  The governor or valves in the valve body would be affected by water and debris if they got past the filter.  Upshifts and downshifts are each dependent upon the valves and governor functioning normally.

The transmission, converter and cooler fluid must be flushed before dropping the pan.  Make sure that the kickdown/throttle linkage is not binding or sticking.  This in itself can cause the symptoms described.

Access to the 32RH governor involves removing the transfer case and transmission tailhousing, so I'd leave that prospect alone for now.  I would concentrate on cleaning up the valve body and changing the filter.  For sticking valves, it may be necessary to disassemble and carefully clean up the valve body.  The actual steps must be done properly.

In ranking order:  1)  professionally flush the transmission/converter/cooler before dropping the pan, there are machines for this task at transmission shops and service facilities like Jiffy Lube; 2) check the throttle downshift cable/linkage for sticking or binding;  3)  change the filter and rebuild the valve body if symptoms prevail.

Here is a resource I created at the magazine for addressing some other concerns with the 32RH.  I perform this work on any RH or RE Chrysler transmission—especially during a valve body rebuild:


Any time I have the pan down on an RH or RE transmission, I adjust the bands to factory specifications.  You have that opportunity.


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  • Moses Ludel changed the title to TJ Wrangler 32RH Transmission Shift Problem

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