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 Post subject: 45RFE transmission no 3rd or 4th gear! FIXED (picture added)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:24 pm 
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My KJ tranny suddenly stopped working yesterday. When leaving work it shifted normally through first and second and then free revved where third should have been. I was able to drive by shifting to second manually and leave it there. I had make a couple stops in town before heading home and the trans acted the same after stopping and shutting off the Jeep. I drove home about 5 miles in second keeping the RPMs under 3k and left the Jeep with the local mechanic.

Today we talked and he had read the codes which said the transmission was functioning correctly electronically but with slippage in third and fourth. His advise to me was to call the dealership and ask if Chrysler was aware of a problem with my model and had a special warranty on it before he opened it up to see what broke.

I am the second owner and the Jeep has only 51,000 on it. It's an '02 limited.

Is anyone aware of the 45rfe failing so early? Anyone know if Chrysler is good about second owner coverage? I assume I've got zero warranty here but I have had vehicles covered in the past for items that were well known manufacturing or design flaws.

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Last edited by waddy whiteguts on Mon May 05, 2008 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:33 pm 
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Sounds like the "OD" clutch pack and the "4C" clutch pack went south,the "4C" clutch pack also activates the "2nd" 2nd gear(passing 2nd gear).

How long the tranny will live depends on how it is kepted up,maybe the 1st owner liked to "N" drop it every so often,the fluid condition is key also.Overheated clutchs will ruin your ATF+4 real fast and then make the clutch packs fail soon after.A bad raditor can also cause the tranny to go south early since the 45RFE uses a cooler that is internal inside of the raditor.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:49 pm 
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45rfe is a great tranny if its taken care of. Probably just a one off thing or the tranny was mis-used before you had it.

How many times has the fluid been changed? Filters ever changed?

Funny tjkj said that about dropping it in D after revving it in N. Guy in Highschool had an 02 liberty that he would floor in N then drop it into D and do burn-outs in the parking lot. He even popped a bead on his RR tire after doing donuts in a field. Poor guy didnt know how to take his tire off so I had to do it for him during lunch. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:12 pm 
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I bought the KJ from a friend of mine. He was a Chrysler salesman and had all the service done at the dealership while he had it. It was his wife's daily driver and I seriously doubt she was out smoking the tires off of it. It had the originals on it when I bought it at 35k. I had the dealership do all the fluid changes at that time and that was the last time the tranny was serviced. I know the filter was changed because I was standing under the Jeep on the lift while it was being done. I just don't get it. I don't abuse the thing at all and don't tow much with it other than a little fishing boat occasionally. If the trans temp were an issue wouldn't that come up on the code reader or set off the dummy light?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:23 pm 
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the trans temp were an issue wouldn't that come up on the code reader or set off the dummy light?
Not all the time,it may have been hovering right below the idiot light "turn on" temp which will not set a code,overheating the tranny will not set a code anyway.

Guess you got unlucky and had a bad tranny straight from the factory,it happens.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:13 pm 
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It shouldn't. I should add that this issue didn't come on gradually, it happened like someone hit a switch. The thing drove fine all the time and then bang, no gears, nothing. We'll see soon enough. I'm checking with Chrysler in the morning and see if they'll help me out, which I doubt.. If not then we're dropping the pan and see what parts fall out. I'll update as I find out what's going on.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:22 am 
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I am not sure about a second hand Liberty but mine came with a 7-year 70,000 mile warranty. Might want to check it out.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:50 am 
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An early 2002 model liberty is probably out of the 70K mile powertrain warranty due to mileage alone. But that warranty wasn't even offered back then unless we paid extra for it.

Waddy, it sounds like a rebuild is in store for you. Good Luck and keep us posted.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:08 am 
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I don't remember the details, and it may not apply to these symptoms, but there was an issue early on with failures of the shift solenoids.

It's never happened to my '02, but at the time it was an issue worthy of considerable discussion here because the replacements were in short supply and the vehicles were out of service waiting for parts.

Only because I've been at this site a long time. Good luck; hope it's not major.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:24 am 
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sleeve84028 wrote:
An early 2002 model liberty is probably out of the 70K mile powertrain warranty due to mileage alone. But that warranty wasn't even offered back then unless we paid extra for it.

Waddy, it sounds like a rebuild is in store for you. Good Luck and keep us posted.


Even if the KJ did have the 7 year 70k warranty, you have to have it transfered to the new owner for it to be valid and it only trnasfers for one sale. I have it on my wife's 02. Great warranty, 0 deductible but is about to run out on time rather than milage.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:21 am 
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I only have 51K miles on it but no warranty. Chrysler doesn't seem willing to help at this point. I'll be back to the shop today and tell my mechanic to go ahead and open it up. I had brought up shift solenoids right at the start with him but he said according to the scan that they were engaging properly. I'll mention it again, that would be a relief but I'm not getting my hopes up. The nearest dealer wants $3-4000 for a remanufactured replacement or a full rebuild of my transmission. The 'service manager', who had the personality of a pile of mud, didn't seem to be aware of any issues with my model.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:13 am 
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I dont know how reputable the ebay sellers but they have remanufactured trannys for much less.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:11 pm 
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Got the lowdown from my mech today. He dropped the pan and there were a couple screws laying in it that had backed out of the valve body and a couple more broken screws. There was a plate covering the valve body that was bent out from the pressure of some valve assembly pushing back against it if I understood him correctly. He said the rest of the transmission looked to be intact and in good condition. He's going to replace the valve body with a new part from Chrysler and flush the tranny, new filters, etc. Pretty good news considering I was preparing for a complete tranny replacement. I think I'll install a trans cooler also since I'm a little gunshy now.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:18 pm 
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Great news!

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:42 pm 
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Here's a picture of the bad valve body. Two screws backed out and a third broke off allowing the plate to bend out and the valves pop out backwards. The total repair cost me about a G including driveshaft and differential service (synthetic gear oil and lubed slip yoke). The valve body was nearly $500 for the part. I wonder if the old one has any value to someone. It looks like it could be fixed, rebuilt or parted out???

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Glad it's not your entire transmission. While you're replacing the valve body, you might want to think about the Transgo reprogramming kit for it. It makes the 45RFE shift alot better.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:20 am 
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let me start off my saying that I am not a transmission expert, but I would install the transgo shift kit in the old valve body (the shift kit comes with that plate as well as some new springs). I did not see any damage other than the spring plate. All you would have had to do is remove the broken screw and replace with a new one and maybe chase the threads of the screws that backed out. Do all of this and I'd be willing to bet the valve body would be fine.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 8:34 pm 
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Huh, that's an interesting thought... I've already got a new valve body but I suppose I could sell one or the other if this one is repairable. The seals on the valves in this one are all messed up. Anyone have a good idea or pictures of exactly what comes in that kit??

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:43 pm 
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Ouch. I found the kit instructions. Looks like I could have fixed my valve body for about a hundred bucks plus labor. Anyone need a used valvebody with about 2 miles on it??? :roll:

http://www.apsprecision.com/45RFE%20Shift%20Kit/45_545RFE%20Instructions.pdf

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:10 pm 
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waddy whiteguts wrote:
Ouch. I found the kit instructions. Looks like I could have fixed my valve body for about a hundred bucks plus labor. Anyone need a used valvebody with about 2 miles on it??? :roll:

http://www.apsprecision.com/45RFE%20Shift%20Kit/45_545RFE%20Instructions.pdf



I can't tell you how many times i kicked myself for urgently trying to get something fixed, only to find out shortly after that either the parts could be found less, fixed for less, or all together just wasted money. You should fix the broken one and sell it on craigs list or the like...live and learn....somehow I'm always in the "learning" part of that phrase. ;)

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