Information on the automatic transmission at 60k miles

mgroeger

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I thought I'd start a thread for those of us with the automatic tranny, specifically those of us who want to see a long life with it.
For starters you can throw out the FCA bull$hit about this being a lifetime transmission or it has lifetime transmission fluid in it or whatever they are spewing... it's not.
These are excellent trannys but they aren't without their problems. The transmission manufacturer recommends servicing the tranny by 60k miles and even if they didn't that's when I typically do my first service on a transmission.
I took it to a reputable, well known, locally owned transmission shop where I live. There was no way in the world I would go to a dealer for a tranny service. I want to go where all they do is transmission work and these guys are VERY familiar with this transmission. For those of you who don't know it's been around for quite awhile, it's simply new to the Wrangler.
For starters, on the Wrangler, you do not need to replace the entire transmission pan like on other vehicles with this transmission. On the Wrangler the filter is NOT built into the pan like on other models, it fits INTO the pan and therefore you only need the filter. The shop I took it to recommends NOT doing an entire fluid swap but only to change out the roughly 6qts of fluid that will drop with the pan. You run the risk of shocking the system by doing a full swap.
They dropped the pan and noted a fair amount of debris in the bottom of the pan and that is exactly what he expected to see. For as awesome as these trannys are, the torque converter is slightly undersized and consequently over worked and all of this produces more wear and debris in the fluid. There is nothing you can do about this except stay on top of fluid changes and understand that, based on their personal experience, the torque converters often need to be replaced around 100k to 120k. That isn't written in blood but he was just giving me the heads up.
The filters he had on hand would fit but were about 3/4" too short and he wanted to make sure I had the best coverage possible so he ordered a filter directly from a dealership for it and will button it up tomorrow. I said moving forward I plan on doing a fluid swap again at 90k and then at 120k and he said that is exactly what he would recommend.
The fluid on for this tranny is not cheap... up to $30 a qt. from the dealer but you can get it from Rock Auto for $20. I got 8 qts. shipped to my door for $188 which included tax and $9 shipping and even the guy at the shop was surprised at that price. I'll probably be into the shop for about $200 so you are looking at $400 for the service. Technically you probably could do it yourself if you buy an after market dipstick and are comfortable doing it yourself. I've done it plenty of times on other vehicles but since we wheel this hard, put a ton of miles on it and it's also a DD for my wife, I wanted the peace of mind of having a pro look at it.
I'll update the thread with any new info after I pick up the Jeep tomorrow.

 

Az-jewel

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Great post! Thanks for sharing! I’ve got the manual, but my husband is looking at an automatic !
 

Geronimo

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I think they mean dislodging debris that may have built up somewhere in the system. Personally I'm having ours hooked up and pump exchange the fluid at 40K, we frequently pull trailers. There is allot of mixed opinions both ways on this. Just draining the fluid out through the pan leaves too much old fluid in the system for my liking which includes the torque converter.
 
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mgroeger

mgroeger

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I think they mean dislodging debris that may have built up somewhere in the system. Personally I'm having ours hooked up and pump exchange the fluid at 40K, we frequently pull trailers. There is allot of mixed opinions both ways on this. Just draining the fluid out through the pan leaves too much old fluid in the system for my liking which includes the torque converter.
Normally I would agree with you and that is what I actually had planned to have him do BUT he was the one who recommended to NOT do a full fluid swap because of the negative effect it could have. In terms of the debris he was referring to the wear particles that come off the clutch plates I assume. I don't remeber the verbage exactly but he specifically said these trannys produce more debris because of the torque converter. I'm not going to argue it either way since I understand both sides of the argument. I defaulted to his expertise regarding the fluid swap. Maybe if I was at 40k he would have been OK with a full swap, don't know. I do know I meant to do the fluid change at 40k but life happened and 20k miles later here I am so I will respectfully default to the expert on this one.
 
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mgroeger

mgroeger

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I agree and I am in that boat on this Jeep since I have not re-geared yet. A lot of people don't understand that even though these transmissions can handle running 37s with 3.45 or 4.10 stock gears that doesn't mean it's good for them. The tranny is having to take on the burden of being a gear nanny instead of letting that mechanical advantage being handled by proper gearing of the axle.
In the long run, I believe, you are putting more of a burden and possibly shortening the life of the tranny by not re-gearing.
 


Geronimo

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Normally I would agree with you and that is what I actually had planned to have him do BUT he was the one who recommended to NOT do a full fluid swap because of the negative effect it could have. In terms of the debris he was referring to the wear particles that come off the clutch plates I assume. I don't remeber the verbage exactly but he specifically said these trannys produce more debris because of the torque converter. I'm not going to argue it either way since I understand both sides of the argument. I defaulted to his expertise regarding the fluid swap. Maybe if I was at 40k he would have been OK with a full swap, don't know. I do know I meant to do the fluid change at 40k but life happened and 20k miles later here I am so I will respectfully default to the expert on this one.
I hear ya and I do understand. I am a little torn myself. I am wanting to do this at 40 then plan again at 100 for the next swap. My 2013 has had the fluid swap twice now with good results but this is not the same transmission or converter as you stated. Your mechanic makes a valid point.
 
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mgroeger

mgroeger

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I hear ya and I do understand. I am a little torn myself. I am wanting to do this at 40 then plan again at 100 for the next swap. My 2013 has had the fluid swap twice now with good results but this is not the same transmission or converter as you stated. Your mechanic makes a valid point.
Personally, I would say if you do it at 40k then don't go past another 40k when you do it again. Like do one at 80k, 120k, etc...
 

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I have always changed my transmission fluid every 50k miles, even the manual transmission. I also believe in the complete change on the automatic. Have never had a transmission failure of any kind in 50 years. Also am a big fan of Amsoil which I have been using for the past 35+ years. Understanding this transmission has been around for a while and used on other vehicles I find it hard to believe only mopar transmission fluid has to be used. Amsoil said they have fluid for this transmission. Will not need to change my transmission fluid for awhile so I will be doing a lot more research on fluids as well as seeing if I can make up a dipstick for the transmission.
 
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mgroeger

mgroeger

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I have always changed my transmission fluid every 50k miles, even the manual transmission. I also believe in the complete change on the automatic. Have never had a transmission failure of any kind in 50 years. Also am a big fan of Amsoil which I have been using for the past 35+ years. Understanding this transmission has been around for a while and used on other vehicles I find it hard to believe only mopar transmission fluid has to be used. Amsoil said they have fluid for this transmission. Will not need to change my transmission fluid for awhile so I will be doing a lot more research on fluids as well as seeing if I can make up a dipstick for the transmission.
Good to know about the Amsoil option. IMO Mopar is simply rebranding the type of tranny fluid used in this transmission. It's also known as ZF fluid and there are other manufacturers of it but they are all at the upper price point.
From what the shop is telling me it isn't about the fluid. It's about the wear and tear that occurs in these transmissions because of the torque converter. I'm hoping this thread will produce some good data from other people's research since we are just now coming into the service interval for those of us who bought early on.
 

Geronimo

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I have always changed my transmission fluid every 50k miles, even the manual transmission. I also believe in the complete change on the automatic. Have never had a transmission failure of any kind in 50 years. Also am a big fan of Amsoil which I have been using for the past 35+ years. Understanding this transmission has been around for a while and used on other vehicles I find it hard to believe only mopar transmission fluid has to be used. Amsoil said they have fluid for this transmission. Will not need to change my transmission fluid for awhile so I will be doing a lot more research on fluids as well as seeing if I can make up a dipstick for the transmission.
I do miss a dipstick, that is real foreign to me. I like to keep track of that and gives you a chance to see if it is getting that off tint and burnt smell.
 


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mgroeger

mgroeger

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I do miss a dipstick, that is real foreign to me. I like to keep track of that and gives you a chance to see if it is getting that off tint and burnt smell.
Yep 100%
I hate that they are dumbing down the ability for us to do our own maintenance and monitoring all while they "smarten" up the vehicles. There is a movement of people going back to 70s cars and for good reason since you don't have to be locked in to a dealer or local mechanic for anything.
 

OldGreen

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On topic, has anyone had a failure of the 8 speed? Also, when you did your fluid/filter, did you notice a difference in drivability?

 

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