There is nothing more frustrating than having endless reliability issues after recently purchasing a vehicle, may it be new or used. You’re still unfamiliar with the vehicle dynamics and not always sure if certain behavior is “normal” or cause for concern. Sometimes these woes can get so frustrating that you even consider selling the vehicle even though you love the brand. Whatever your situation may be, we’ll look at a few transmission issues 2018 and 19 Jeep Wrangler owners have reported online, which could give you some insight and possibly offer a solution.
If you own a 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler and have been experiencing some weird behavior with your transmission, then you should find something interesting here. Wrangler JL owners have reported suspicious behavior causing their wranglers to go into limp mode. Some reports include harsh gear shifting and loss of power, while others report sloppy clutch pedals. Let’s look into it and what the possible causes are.
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Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Problems
I’ve personally experienced the symptoms of a sketchy Jeep transmission when my mate and I were driving in his trusty 2018 Wrangler, feeling all cool and stuff, when suddenly, the CHECK ENGINE –FAULTY TRANSMISSION light appears. OOPS! Not something you want to see right?
All sorts of crazy thoughts immediately start going through our minds. What did we do?
After a bit of inspection, we noticed some transmission fluid dripping from underneath the vehicle. Later we also noticed fluid in his driveway. The vehicle felt rather weird like it was holding onto the gears a bit longer than necessary. And the transmission didn’t sound too healthy either. Before that, we noticed the up-shifting was lethargic, even when on a decline, holding the revs at over 2500rpm.
What was the problem?
What we noticed was a leak somewhere near the transmission, hence the oil spill. Also, the transmission fluid was low, which possibly affected the shifting process somewhat, causing the transmission to labor a bit.
If this happens to you, crawl underneath and have a look around the transmission to inspect where the leak is coming from. Later it was discovered by the dealership to be a leaking rear seal, which was sorted under warranty.
- Lethargic gear shifting
- Holding the gear till 2500
- Oil leaks
- Check engine – Faulty Transmission light
Harsh Down Shifting
Bear in mind the 8-speed automatic transmission has a learning process, which records your driving style and throttle position over time. So, if you experience harsh down-shifting like the Jeep is confused when coming to a stop, it should improve over time as the transmission control module adjusts. But it shouldn’t feel violent or aggressive when it downshifts coming to a stop or rolling and pulling off immediately.
The ZF transmission was designed to improve the vehicle’s fuel economy and can achieve up to an 11% fuel saving compared to the ZF 6-speed transmission and 14% versus modern 5-speed transmissions. In General, the 8speed box is smooth and should shift up effortlessly from pull-off. The 850RE Torqueflite eight-speed automatic transmission is world-known for being one of the most reliable transmissions built.
Gone are the days of crude gear shifts and jerky downshifts, so if you experiencing something similar, something’s amiss.
Harsh up and downshifting can often be put down to fuel-related. It sounds weird indeed, however, the fuel supply will send signals to the ECU which will control other factors. So, in the case of a bad fuel pump that delivers weak or reduced fuel flow, it will result in a power reduction. This will cause the transmission to delay shifting to the next gear. The transmission shift points are normally controlled by outside sensors, including fuel supply and pressure. Doing a diagnostics test will more than likely reveal a faulty fuel pump fault code.
2018 Jeep Wrangler Manual Transmission Problems
If you have a 2018 Manual Jeep Wrangler and the vehicle feels underpowered and goes into limp mode it could be any of the following:
- Fuel Pump
- Fuel Relay
- A clog in the fuel line
- Faulty PCM control module
However, sometimes you get these weird issues, not only with Jeeps but all modern diesel vehicles and it’s hard to trace without a diagnostics machine or with DIY inspections. It could be something completely unrelated, like an electrical gremlin. One owner reports that after the dealership replaced almost all his fuel system components the vehicle still went into limp mode. It was eventually traced to an electrical fault and a loose pin in a wiring harness.
So what are some symptoms you can look out for?
- The vehicle goes into Limp Mode
- start to stop light goes on
- Underpowered between gears switching
- Sluggish behavior
- engine vibration and shaking
Loose pin in the harness
Park Rod Recall
Early in 2018, there was a recall to replace transmission park rods on approximately 71 units.
NHTSA warned, “If the incorrect park lock rod is installed, the transmission may not shift into ‘PARK’ and keep the vehicle from moving, increasing the risk of unintended vehicle movement and the risk of a crash.”
The overheated clutch components may increase the risk of a fire. Additionally, damage to other nearby components can result in debris falling onto the road or a loss of drive, increasing the risk of a crash.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V124000
Manufacturer: Chrysler (FCA US LLC)
Components: POWER TRAIN
Potential Number of Units Affected: 33,237
Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler and 2020 Gladiator vehicles equipped with manual transmissions. The clutch pressure plate may overheat and fracture.
The remedy for this recall is still under development. The was expected to begin on April 22, 2020. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is W12.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Transmission Problems
Jeep Wrangler owners are generally very happy owners since their vehicles don’t give them too much drama, and the drama it does give, they are generally happy to deal with as a small price to pay. However, there are a few complaints from 2019 Wrangler owners.
Remember, these are not recalled or what you can call “common” occurrences, just reports of faults owners have experienced with 2019 models.
Remember, people seldom take the time to compliment a vehicle for doing what it’s meant to, however, when there is a problem, the first thing they’ll do is hop online and lodge a complaint. This could give you the impression the problem is worse than it actually is and could just be a few isolated cases or part of a batch that had a recall. It’s still good to be aware since these can happen to you at a later stage and the owner’s input can assist you in diagnosing the problem faster.
Without any further delay, let’s look at some reports of transmission issues only.
- Odd engine noises
- Fluid all over the undercarriage. (Leaking rear seal)
- Transmission noises when shifting from park to drive or reverse
- Clunking noise especially on a cold start-up
- Issues with the start-stop or the transmission
- Power losses (Fuel related)
- Loose Clutch pedal (recall)
- Sluggish performance
- Shakes and vibrates excessively
It’s important to isolate transmission issues with stop/start issues. If you experience any weird behavior with the stop/start activated, disable it and see if the problem persists. If it does, you know it is transmission-related.
If the Jeep feels like it is about to die, it could be related to the charging system, fuel system, or a weak battery. Usually, with fuel-related issues, it’s not intermittent. Do all the basic checks like battery terminal, earth ground strap, battery health, and underneath for anything obvious first.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Start-Stop Disable
The module installs easily under the dash, and does not disable the Security Gateway Module (SGW) nor does it take up the OBDII port. It also does not set off any fault lights, warning dings, or fault codes. Check out the
The module makes no modifications to the OEM software in the vehicle at all. It also does not cause any faults. If it is removed, there is no evidence that it has been used as long as you plug the cable back into its original socket.
Alternatively, you can do it the manual way and remove the start-stop plug in the engine bay like this:
- Wrangler Transmission Filter
- Transmission Mount
- Transmission Oil Cooler Line
- Mopar Transmission Fluid
If your Jeep is giving you endless transmission issues, keep a record of the issues you are experiencing and what you were doing at the time. Your best bet is to figure out how to reproduce it so you can explain and demonstrate it to your dealership.