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Old 05-14-2017, 08:05 PM   #1
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First attempt shifting TC out of Neutral

Today I finally had to chance, and good weather, to get the new 2017 Wrangler out of the garage and attempt TC shifting procedure. Much harder, stiffer, and difficult than I anticipated considering the other three 4X4s I have towed.

In/out of 4Hi was much harder than what I was accustomed to, took over 1/2 city blocks moving about 10-15 MPH to get the shift completed. The street at our house is slightly down hill so I turned the engine off, shifted the tranny into N, shifted the TC into Neutral with some difficulty. Then tried to get the TC back into 4H. Tranny in N, engine off, TC wouldn't go out of Neutral. Allowed the Jeep to start creeping down the street very slowly, TC still wouldn't shift out of N, started to use my foot (just kidding) but by the end of the block I finally managed to get the TC out of N after much effort. Had I been unhooking behind the motor home this would have been a catastrophe.

Does it really take this much strength and effort to get the TC lever to go from one position to another? Has anyone ever broken or bent anything getting the transfer case to change positions?

Will it get any easier as things break in with usage?
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:45 PM   #2
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Good evening Wagonmaster2; I did not see in your post if you have an auto trans. or a manual. I will assume, correct me if I am wrong, that you have the automatic. As others before me can attest to, it is a learning curve to get the TC from 4Hi to N and back. Please do not use your foot or other body parts to force the TC shift lever! As far as I know there has been no real design changes in the TC shift cable since the JK came out in 07. If someone knows different, please chime in. There are plastic clips or anchors that hold the TC cable in position and it does not take a lot to break or dislodge them. Then you have a whole new problem on your hands. It is a matter of experimenting with putting some slight pressure on the TC shift lever while you put the transmission in and out of gear. When I get ready to hook up my 2011 JK Unlimited Rubicon to my Sterling Road Master Tow Bar I get close to the back of the coach since I can roll backwards since I am on a slight hill. As I pull up to the coach I put the TC from 2HI to 4Hi. I then put the trans. in N with the engine running. I roll back slightly and can shift the TC into N. After that I drop the trans. into gear to make sure that the TC is in N. After that it is normal hook up with turning off the engine and placing the auto trans. in park. If you have never had a jeep before I think that if you experiment with different methods, this should get easier for you. I also have a 2010 2 door JK Rubicon that I do not tow and it took some getting used too shifting into low range and out again. This 2 door has the 6 speed manual. A whole different procedure for me than the automatic, getting it into gear.. I think with practice you will look back and say, it really wasn't that bad! Hope all this helps. I can't wait to see what Jeep has in store for the 2018 models. Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:01 PM   #3
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Do not force. Good chance you will break something. The xfer case gears have no synchros, so getting them to mate requires a bit if finesse. Transmission to nuetral, then shift xfer case If won't shift, put transmission in gear and move forward/back a bit, during or after the move the xfer case should shift. Repeat as needed.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:41 PM   #4
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8.3Oilbuner -- I owned a 2001 Wrangler with automatic for 16 years before trading for this 2017 also with automatic(probably the biggest mistake i've made lately) and have never had the hesitation and force needed to change TC gears in it. Also had 2 Geo Tracker toads for 8 year prior to the Jeep and even less problem with them. Hooked/unhooked just like you and others have described (course no plastic connectors any place on them ), but this one is a whole different animal.

While asking about plastic parts on the TC shifting the Jeep parts man gave me a little plastic looking bell (about the size of 1/2 the size of the end of your little digit) with a loop at the top but looking under the Jeep I never could see any thing looking like it.

Thought slowly rolling down the street would allow the TC gears to mesh but that didn't help much.

P.S. Don't know why this changed to Bold.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:34 AM   #5
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This is just like my 12 JK, in the beginning.
It loosens up.
Dave and Nola, RVM1
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:11 AM   #6
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I have a 2017 and will tell you the whole TC is stiff in the beginning but gets easier. I find that if I move the automatic transmission to neutral and shut the engine off, I avoid any gear clashes. It does take a little for or aft nudging (pushing on the top of the rear wheel driver side wheel usually works) of the jeep sometimes to move the TC to N but it gets there. I was towing a 2012 wrangler before and did the same thing. The handbook gives a different procedure but I like moving the gears around with the engine off. jmo mark
2020 Montana 295RL , F250 gas w/ 15K tow rating
08 Dutch Star 4354, 2016 Tahoe w/rv brake2, blue ox tow bars,
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:54 AM   #7
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Shifting into or out of Neutral on the TC, does a constant pressure on the shift lever work best or maybe a quick short jerk? Since i do this shift out after hooking up and in before unhooking trying to move the Jeep any is kind of hard to do.

My 2001 seemed to work the best with just a quick pull or push in which ever direction I needed to go. Sometimes I could start the engine, put the tranny in D then turn the engine off and put a little pressure on the TC lever just as the engine was dying and the shift worked fine without any grinding. Other times it went right in/out of gear with very little force.

Can anyone describe what these little plastic pieces look like that can break? This I didn't have to worry about on my 2001. Kind of scary on this 2017.
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