Freshly rebuilt 46RE will not shift!

LipschitzWrath

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I need some help with the transmission problem I'm having. I just got done rebuilding the transmission for my 1998 Jeep grand Cherokee. It is a 5. 9 Limited model so it came stock with the 46RE. It failed on me back in April after 150,000 miles and I just recently got around rebuilding it.

I made many upgrades to it including a powerpack in the front and rear clutches, sonnax servo/accumulator, APS rear servo and torque convertor, and other miscellaneous goodies. Throughout the entire process, I spent more time waiting on parts to be delivered to me than actually doing work to the transmission. It has been very frustrating.

Anyways I finally got the transmission put back in the jeep yesterday morning. I took it for test drive and unfortunately it will not shift out of first gear. Nothing feels like it is slipping. It actually pulls very hard in both first and reverse. I tried adjusting the TV cable in both directions and that did not help. I have heard that when this problem happens to others they can just rev the engine higher and get it to make a 1-3 shift. I was unable to force a 1-3 shift despite taking my engine to 5500 RPM and then completely letting off the throttle.

I feared that it was the infamous governor pressure solenoid on these transmissions that was causing the problem. However no CEL was being set so I decided to do a hydraulic pressure test to confirm. If anything the idle pressure may just be a tad high (But this could just be the error of my $10 gauge). After that it seems that governor pressure tracks with vehicle speed very smoothly.

My research also pointed me to something with the intermediate band. I triple checked the adjustment on this band before putting it back in the vehicle but I have not rechecked since installation. I can do that tomorrow if anybody thinks there is merit. However I am having a hard time believing this is the problem because if it were I would still be a force a 1-3 shift correct?

While I have the transmission apart I took the time to do a very thorough cleaning of the valve body. Every valve was meticulously cleaned as were all the valve passages. I lubricated all the valves during reassembly and ensured they slid freely and in their bores.

Lastly before buttoning the transmission up I performed an air test through all the clutch and servo passages. Everything worked as it should and all leakage rates were very good.

I am just completely stumped. I'm hoping someone here can help me. What could the problem be?

I fear that if I don't figure out the problem soon I'm going to have to take this to a shop and fork out $1000 to have them fix the problem. I've actually removed and reinstalled this transmission twice in the past month and a half. I'm sick and tired of doing it and so if this isn't a simple problem to fix it is more than likely going to a shop.
 

billr

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What was the nature of the original failure, before the re-build? Did you replace the converter, and flush out the trans cooler and lines?
 

LipschitzWrath

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First failure was a loss of third gear (infamous direct clutch inner seal), as well as the intermediate band burning up.

Convertor was replaced with a new higher stall version and all coolers/lines were flushed with a bottle of Kooler Klean.

Another source believes the main transmission is fine, and the problem must be in the valve body. I'm inclined to agree. I know the first thing everyone wants to point to is the intermediate band but I keep going back to the fact that I am carrying more than enough road speed to carry a 1-3 shift.

The one thing that does make sense is if the 1-2 shift valve got stuck in it's bore. If it is stuck, then fluid couldn't continue on to the 2-3 valve and a 1-3 shift would also be prevented.

Anyways, I'm just spit-balling. What are your guys' thoughts?
 

billr

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My thought is that you know more about the hydraulic circuits in there than I do! If you can be patient for a while (and bump this thread up from time-to-time) a true trans expert will chime in. There are only a few who participate in this forum, and they don't show up daily. If you have a hydraulic schematic and can post it, then maybe some of the rest of us can toss out ideas based on general mechanical, electrical, and automotive experience. Have you had it scanned for trans trouble-codes?
 

LipschitzWrath

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billr said:
My thought is that you know more about the hydraulic circuits in there than I do! If you can be patient for a while (and bump this thread up from time-to-time) a true trans expert will chime in. There are only a few who participate in this forum, and they don't show up daily. If you have a hydraulic schematic and can post it, then maybe some of the rest of us can toss out ideas based on general mechanical, electrical, and automotive experience. Have you had it scanned for trans trouble-codes?
I have not had it scanned for trans trouble codes. Nearest scanner is 15 miles away on the interstate, and that is a LOOOONNNNGGGG ways in 1st gear!

I have all the hydraulic schematics. I'm currently trying to figure out how to attach them. I will edit this post and attach them after my brain fart clears. . .
 

kev2

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far from a trans expert but
the TVS- you do feel the return spring when adjusting in out?
More for my peace of mind- have you tried the ign key dance for getting codes- wondering if there is at least a a working system and maybe P0700.

no other issues - speedo? turbin speed sensors?

Sure its 1st gear- the default is 2nd or 3rd I thought...
 

LipschitzWrath

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kev2 said:
far from a trans expert but
the TVS- you do feel the return spring when adjusting in out?
More for my peace of mind- have you tried the ign key dance for getting codes- wondering if there is at least a a working system and maybe P0700.

no other issues - speedo? turbin speed sensors?

Sure its 1st gear- the default is 2nd or 3rd I thought. . .
I have visually inspected the TV system and the return spring is there at the trans.

I have tried the ign key sequence. It is "on-off-on-off-on", correct? If so, no codes. This is confirmed by my SCT programmer which has the ability to read DTC's. Plus, neither the CEL or O/D cancel light are on. I realize you have to have special equipment to retreive the codes, but I thought they would flash out on the OD cancel light if there were any.

Besides, a code would only be set by an electronics malfunction, correct? And the governor pressure test kind of makes that unlikely. If the pressure solenoid was bad, pressure would be screwy. Same thing if the pressure sensor was bad because the computer wouldn't be able to compare desired PSI to actual. Lastly, the speed sensor must be fine otherwise the governor pressure wouldn't be rising proportional to vehicle speed. With that, the only electronics left are the OD & TCC lockup solenoids, which I don't feel are germane to this discussion.

Limp mode is 3rd gear. I'm relatively sure that it is stuck in first. I will confirm tonight but based on the fact that I am spinning near redline at 40 mph, 2nd gear seems unlikely. Math says 1st gear is 4000 rpm while second gear would only be around 2400.

No other issues have been experienced.

For my education, what is the correct "ignition key dance" for a 1998 Grand Cherokee???
 

kev2

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you are right on - just adding what little came to mind -
 

billr

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Is there a VSS (vehicle speed sensor) on this?
 

kev2

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Do you have reverse?
added attachment- probally wont help but its a try - bottom of page - is 1st and reverse only
 

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LipschitzWrath

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kev2 said:
Do you have reverse?
added attachment- probally wont help but its a try - bottom of page - is 1st and reverse only
I do have reverse. It is very solid.

LOL, it's very funny you brought that up. I missed that particular section in the FSM. I did see the section where it troubleshot for stuck in low gear and it wasn't much help. However, I was literally just going through the valve body flow diagrams and had concluded that I needed to check the 1-2 shift valve and the 1-2 governor plug. That's when I remembered that one of my governor plugs was kinda sticky. I'm ashamed to admit that I kinda dismissed it because I thought the plugs were stationary.

Anyways, what you just posted confirms my suspicions. Guess I know what I need to look at tonight. THANKS A TON for helping me wander in the right direction!
 

billr

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Note that one of the possible causes is that "governor electrical fault", I'm thinking that might show up in a complete scan for trans codes. Do you suppose you could borrow or rent a scan-tool to bring to the car?
 

LipschitzWrath

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billr said:
Note that one of the possible causes is that "governor electrical fault", I'm thinking that might show up in a complete scan for trans codes. Do you suppose you could borrow or rent a scan-tool to bring to the car?
Doesn't the fact that the entire governor system passed the hydraulic pressure test with flying colors mean the governor is good?

Dropped pan. Fluid was good color and smell. Nothing in the pan and next to nothing on the magnet.

Anyways, I got the valve body apart and it seemed like the 1-2 gov plug was stuck. So I freed it, reinstalled the valve body and. . . . . .

Nothing. Same symptoms.

I'm stumped. So I'm sending it to Wayne at APS precision and it can be his problem. I'll let u know what the problem was when he tells me.

I can't deal with this anymore. My jeep has been bogarting my garage for almost two months now. Thanks all for the help.
 

LipschitzWrath

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UPDATE: My tranny guy finally called back and told me what he found inside of the valve body.

Somehow, and believe me, I have no idea how this happened, I got the springs for the 1-2 shift valve and the switch valve mixed up. It seems nie impossible to me that I did that but that's what the guy said. The switch valve spring is apparently much stiffer than the 1-2 shift valve spring so that would explain not getting out of first.

Also, I'd like to send a special thanks out to the United States Postal Service who were able to, despite my Faberge-egg-equivalent packaging, damage 3 of the 4 electronic pieces on my valve body. No worries though, that only added $200 to my final price tag.

Speaking of price, you guys don't want to know what this cost me. $754, including shipping. Yes, that's more than just buying one of APS Precision's "performance valve bodies" with all the mods already done, including BRAND-NEW electronics. Also, that price tag includes the $125 core credit he owed me for my old converter. What a crock!

He gave me no indication as to what it would cost before I sent it in. That was my bad. Had I known it was going to be anywhere NEAR this cost, I would have bought a remanufactured valve body from someone else for around $250, then put the $150 shift kit back into it. Saved myself $354, plus another $125 for the core credit. I can't help but feel a little taken advantage of.

As such, I cannot in good conscience recommend APS Precision to others any longer. Wayne used to be an expert in the field, but about 6 months ago he rearranged his life such that his primary job is no longer Chrysler transmissions. He now sells real estate, and does the transmission work on the side. His customer service has been nothing short of terrible through this entire exercise (returning texts/emails/phone calls took days). Because of this last price tag he tacked on, I have now spend more money rebuilding my own transmission than it would have cost me to buy a performance rebuilt transmission from PATC.

Live and learn I guess. I could save a lot of money if I ever had to do this again.
 
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