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Old 05-08-2019, 12:08 PM   #1
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Shifting Jeep Wrangler Transfer Case into Neutral

I need a few tips on shifting the transfer case to neutral while I am connecting to my motor home. The manual says to shift the case after putting the jeep transmission into neutral with the jeep at a slight roll (2-3 mph). I can't really do that because I am positioning the jeep so the tow bar will fit and then hooking it up. I've been following this procedure:

Depress and hold the brake pedal.
Set Parking Brake
Shift an automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N) or depress clutch pedal on manual transmission.
Shift the transfer case level into NEUTRAL (N).
Start the engine.
Shift the automatic transmission into DRIVE (D) or the manual transmission into gear.
Release the brake pedal and ensure that there is no vehicle movement.
Shift the automatic transmission into PARK (P).
Apply the parking brake.
Attach the Jeep to the tow vehicle with a tow bar.
Release the parking brake.


But when I go to shift the transfer case, it is often between gears and "in a bind", so sometimes it feels like I am going to break the shifter off. Anyone else determine how to do this better?
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:36 PM   #2
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The procedure you hi-lited looks to be verbatim from the owner's manual for my 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I have no problems shifting the transfer case into neutral. I very occasionally have difficulty shifting the transfer case out of neutral into 2H after detaching from my motorhome. When that happens I let the Jeep roll just a tad and then easily shift the transfer case into 2H.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:01 PM   #3
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Depending on how often the transfer case has been used, it is either easy or hard, at least that’s my thought.

I always attach the Jeep to the RV first. Next what I do is insert key and turn to ACC. Set brake if not there already, put transmission in neutral, put transfer case in neutral, put transmission back in Park. Remove the key, then release the park brake. If on an incline if Jeep rolls backwards, then all is good. On a flat and level, I may have to give the Jeep a little push, but if it rolls, all is good. On a downhill, don’t extend the arms all the way, and when I release the brake, it rolls toward the RV, all good.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:12 PM   #4
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You didn't specify how new your Jeep is, but if it's new the good news is it will get easier. Ours was very stiff at first both shifting the TC into and out of neutral. After a few years, 30k+ miles towing and a lot of mountain trails it has gotten much easier. One recommendation is search the Jeep forums about transfer case shifter failures and get a spare 68064273AB shifter bushing or two. This part number fits the 07-17 JKs and may be the same on 18-19s. This $3 bushing fails with age allowing the cable to slip off the shifter. It's an easy fix once you raise the console where you can get to it but will leave you stranded and unable to shift back into gear if it fails.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
You didn't specify how new your Jeep is, but if it's new the good news is it will get easier.
My Jeep is a 2013. I purchased it used and the previous owner only put 25M miles on it over those 6 years. I suspect it has been shifted very few times into 4x4. Maybe that's why it's so difficult to shift.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradoBnd View Post
My Jeep is a 2013. I purchased it used and the previous owner only put 25M miles on it over those 6 years. I suspect it has been shifted very few times into 4x4. Maybe that's why it's so difficult to shift.
Our 2012 was the same. It had 35k miles on it when we bought it and I doubt it had ever been shifted into 4wd.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradoBnd View Post
......
Depress and hold the brake pedal.
Set Parking Brake
Shift an automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N) or depress clutch pedal on manual transmission.
Shift the transfer case level into NEUTRAL (N).
Start the engine.
Shift the automatic transmission into DRIVE (D) or the manual transmission into gear.
Release the brake pedal and ensure that there is no vehicle movement.
Shift the automatic transmission into PARK (P).
Apply the parking brake.
Attach the Jeep to the tow vehicle with a tow bar.
Release the parking brake.
.....
My procedure is similar but different.
1. Attach Tow Bar
2. Put in R and backup to lock towbar
3. With engine still Running place transmission in N
4. Move Transfer case to N
5. Put in Drive see if it moves, ditto for Reverse (With foot on brake for both)
6. If either of the above moves then repeat 4&5. Mine will typically still try to move on first try so it takes a second time.
7. Stop Engine
8. Put transmission in Park
9. Mine has locking steering wheel so I have to leave key in and in ACC to unlock.

Do not really like engaging the parking brake during this excersise as it is one more thing to forget and may bind things up. Attaching tow bar first allows you to do this without any danger.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:52 PM   #8
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Another thing .... get a "plain" ( unchipped ) key made. This allows you to use that key when towing to keep the steering unlocked but it will not allow anyone to start the Jeep engine. I use this method and I don't have to worry about a quick auto theft.
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradoBnd View Post
My Jeep is a 2013. I purchased it used and the previous owner only put 25M miles on it over those 6 years. I suspect it has been shifted very few times into 4x4. Maybe that's why it's so difficult to shift.


With a 2013 you wonít need to put the key in. The steering wheel doesnít lock!
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:01 PM   #10
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Shifting Jeep Wrangler Transfer Case into Neutral

My JLU is still difficult to shift the transfer case to neutral but I finally get there. I made a cheat sheet from the owners manual and added a couple of steps to verify N at hookup and 2H at disconnect. Most of the time it ends up in 4H but thats OK as a starting point.

Itís not as simple as others say to just put the TC in N and go. There are steps involved.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:56 PM   #11
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OP,
As has been stated, the T/C shifting mechanism is a bit stiff on ALL OF THEM from the factory. The more that T/C gets shifted, on or off road, the more that linkage gets worn in. The part that Lt Dan showed you is a form of "fuse" for that shifting mechanism. While it serves that kind of purpose, it's still pretty stout. I advised folks on here quite a while ago to purchase a couple of them to keep as spares.

But, the more and more you shift that T/C, the shifting points ease up by quite a bit. We don't do any of that crap the manual states. We've had 9 different Jeeps over a long period of time and, once you get the hang of it, you'll pull that Jeep up to the coach, hook it up to the tow bar and that T/C will pop right into neutral without a second thought.

Due to it being new to you and possibly un-used T/C shifting mechanisms, if you have trouble getting it, the T/C that is, back into gear after towing it, well, don't fret. When disconnecting that Jeep from the coach, if the T/C is hard to get into 2WD, put it in any gear it will let you. That is, if 4H or 4L works, great. All you're going to do is back away from that coach anyways.

You're not gonna drive around town in 4L or 4H. All you're doing is breaking the bind that those T/C gears have on themselves. Once you've rolled only a few feet, that T/C will easily shift into 2WD. Good luck and happy RVing.
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:35 PM   #12
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I have found transfer case shifting into neutral easier by first shifting it down into 4-low, and back up to neutral
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodg495 View Post
Another thing .... get a "plain" ( unchipped ) key made. This allows you to use that key when towing to keep the steering unlocked but it will not allow anyone to start the Jeep engine. I use this method and I don't have to worry about a quick auto theft.
2008 1/2 and newer Wranglers don't have lockable steering wheels.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spk64 View Post
My procedure is similar but different.
1. Attach Tow Bar
2. Put in R and backup to lock towbar
3. With engine still Running place transmission in N
4. Move Transfer case to N
5. Put in Drive see if it moves, ditto for Reverse (With foot on brake for both)
6. If either of the above moves then repeat 4&5. Mine will typically still try to move on first try so it takes a second time.
7. Stop Engine
8. Put transmission in Park
9. Mine has locking steering wheel so I have to leave key in and in ACC to unlock.

Do not really like engaging the parking brake during this excersise as it is one more thing to forget and may bind things up. Attaching tow bar first allows you to do this without any danger.

Have the engine RUNNING.... BEFORE you try to shift the tranny into neutral, then transfer case in to neutral. Not afterward.
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