- Sep 5, 2012
Welp, my momentum on this project took a big hit. Used transmissions are always a gamble and a rebuild should be carried in your budget for a project like this.
Evidently my transmission rebuild is happening...now. Either the torque converter (which is brand new) or the pump in the transmission wiped itself out after the second test drive around the block, which was confirmed by the nice metallic / pearl color in the transmission fluid. It sucks, but its all part of this hobby and dealing with used parts. The plan now is to start selling and scrapping what I can to pay for the new transmission, keep finishing all the little details (that needed to get done anyway).
I've finally taken the time to post some updates to this thread…
I still stand by this previous post that the money for a rebuild should be squirreled away in your project budget, but that doesn't mean you HAVE to spend that money rebuild the transmission if its not required. My local transmission shop that I have used before was 6-8 weeks out and wanted $1500 +/- for a rebuild and a new unit from Autozone / any online retailer was $2300 and up. Frankly, I didn't like either of those options.
That's when I started researching the differences in 46RE overdrive housings - my Ram donor had a supposedly rebuilt transmission (I mean… it drove to the scene of the accident, right?), but it was a 2wd. All my research indicated that the transmission itself was identical between a 2wd and 4wd truck and the only difference is the overdrive housing. I figured it was worth a few hours to pull the pan, inspect the Ram transmission and see if the 4wd OD housing fit.
The PO said this transmission was rebuilt about a year ago and all the signs seemed to confirm that – the date code on the torque converter, socket marks on the pan bolts and the fluid condition. Part of me wishes the transmission was destroyed so the decision was made for me to get a new one, but since I'd (sorta) driven the truck and the internals all checked out I had a decision to make – spend a lot of money and buy new or roll the dice on this used one. I slept on it for a few days and decided to get my monies worth out of my donor truck and go with the used transmission. Fingers crossed this doesn't bite me later.
I didn't take many pictures of the swap, but it was fairly straight forward. Remove the old transmission, remove a handful of bolts attaching the OD housing and flush with brake clean (as best I could), flush the cooler and lines with Kooler Kleen, swap the OD housing and reinstall. Easy, right?
If you ever swap OD housings, be sure to keep everything vertical so the clutches and other wizardry inside the transmission don't get out of alignment.
This was the most interesting part of this ordeal. With the transmission on a jack it wouldn't fit under the TJ and with no transmission in the Jeep the motor was being held up with an engine hoist and a jack as backup. The only way to get the jeep up high enough was to put a floor jack under the front axle (with a 6x6 block for all the safety), raise that as high as it would go while also raising the engine at the same time.
The rest of the installation went as planned and I had the old trans out, parts swapped and new unit installed over a weekend. Back to where we were 8 weeks ago.