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44RE woes: gear engagement issues...


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1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd., 5.2L, 44RE, NVG249, 155K on the odo.Replaced trans, TC, radiator, cooler, on 9/9/09, @ 118K due to slipping badly; band adjustment performed prior to replacement (no change.)Fast forward to current time:Cold starts, Reverse and Drive (1st) engagements are slow and inconsistent. Once warmed up, engagements are normal and without fault. No codes. Fluid level is optimum. Aamco says it needs rebuilt. I think it's a fluid issue: either the pump is weak, or there is a drain-back issue somewhere, causing the trans or TC to lose fluid to the pan, causing pressure to drop.Any ideas? I don't think a band adjustment is the answer, as it doesn't slip; acts like it just doesn't want to engage the gear when cold (below operating temp.)

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Try placing the trans in Neutral for a short span give it a bit of rev and then select a gear. If this improve the shift issue then its a bleed back issue on the torque converter. I know on the Dodge Rams they have a check valve. But for Jeep I'm not sure. Might wonder over to www.ramforum.com and ask these boys they might have a tidbit more information on it. Worth trying...

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If it is just a engagement issue on a new trans I would fill it with synthetic oil first .Check to make sure the shifter assembly (which is all electronic) is ok , probably malfunctioning and not telling it what gear to go in.Are you getting a 0700 code at all or any for that matter ?I am going to lean more on 2 things ... the internal gear ratio acting up in the trans or the shifter assembly .

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I forgot to add this latest 'diagnostic update'. It appears to ONLY do it when it's cold. Once the trans is at or close to operating temp, in no longer acts up; it functions as intended.I'm beginning to think it's a drain-back issue, now. Your thoughts?

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I know the 42re transmission has an anti drainback valve in one line located just in front of the bottom of the pan . On the 44re do you have one a drainback valve ?Did you use ATF+4 fluid? If you used decron or mercon ... get it out !Just asking some simple questions to help pin point a solution .

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I know the 42re transmission has an anti drainback valve in one line located just in front of the bottom of the pan . On the 44re do you have one a drainback valve ?

I'll check this evening.. Not sure what it looks like..

Did you use ATF+4 fluid?

I believe that is what I used.

Just asking some simple questions to help pin point a solution .

sure thing! And they are greatly appreciated.
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Also ,Chrysler issued a TSB on a problem very similar to what you describe. It is TSB number 21-08-94 and the repair involves installing a drainback relief valve in the transmission oil cooler pressure line.

I would strongly recommend making sure you have the correct fluid first .

Do NOT get a transmission flush, just drop the transmission pan, replace the filter and replace whatever fluid came out with the correct stuff .

If you did a complete flush with the new trans your filter might be junked up from particles that were in the system .

I am REALLY thinking you need a pan drop new filter and fluid and all will be fine .

And when are you going to come say hello on ramforum.com ...lol Michael is there .:moon:

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Pic of said checkvalve? Ill do a pan drop with filter and fill.As for ram forum, I tried registering, but got an immediate denial of account, upon submitting registration. Sent from my rooted EVO's tiny keyboard with my opposable thumbs...

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Thanks for the pic. So I changed fluid and filter. Seems worse. Now it has difficulty engaging 2-3 shift, and every stop/start feels like it isn't engaging gear for a few seconds. Sent from my rooted EVO's tiny keyboard with my opposable thumbs...

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Welcome to my world... :)

:banghead::cry:

--- Update to the previous post...

the current consensus from AAMCO and an indie shop is "We can rebuild it, for $2500-2700.. "

I'm sure they can. But, I don't think it's a situation requiring that drastic of a measure. Hell, I can buy another trans and install it myself, for $1100-1200.

but again, i dont think it's that major of a problem. It's just illusive and confusing..

where is that checkvalve located?

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On the Ram truck they are right near the cooler. Typically a fitting on the end of a steel cooler line hooking to a rubber line... As for the Jeep it could be the same thing... :shrug:

It's headed to an indie shop tomorrow morning. I'm out of ideas..
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