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Old 10-25-2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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Default 5-speed Cherokee hard to shift?

Hello Everyone! I am a newly returning Jeep Cherokee owner. This is my second Jeep Cherokee. I used to have a 95 Grand Cherokee Limited, now into a 96 Jeep Cherokee (with less bells & whistles to break).

This little red monster has a 5-speed transmission/clutch issue. It is tough to put into gear sometimes. Going into reverse is a pain. I can hear gears grinding (ouch!) when I put it into reverse. It sounds like the pressure plate is not being fully disengaged. I don't know why? My 95 was an automatic, so this 5-speed is a new bag of tricks for me.

The clutch is firm all the way to the floor. The "tool" I bought it from replaced a front brake line before I picked it up (part of the deal of the sale). I don't think he did a great job at bleeding the system (only bleed the front brakes). I have been doing some reading on this site about similar issues related to pressure plates not fully disengaging, air in slave cylinders, etc.

This is interesting (and maybe note worthy): When starting from a dead stop, the slightest release of the clutch with send me forward (no need to apply gas pedal).

Before I go spending hours and $$$ doing things needlessly, I would like some thoughts from those who have encountered this and hopefully resolved the issue. Thanks for your time!
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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By the way you're talking it has a hydraulic clutch, I have bleed a few and they can be a huge pain or easy. You need help to do this, much like bleeding brakes pump like crazy hold to floor open bleeder and repeat until you're happy with it I usually pump 10 times "slow" hold and release the pressure and repeat at least 10 times. If you barley move the clutch pedal and the jeep is moving you might have some air in it.
Also the clutch master cylinder might be bad, I would try to bleed first.

Another thing to look into if the shifter is hard to move change the trans fluid, I don't know if you can run syncromesh but it works alot bet then atf or gear oil.

Last edited by Dwinthrup; 10-25-2010 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:45 PM   #3
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Ax15 transmissions are pretty notorious for crapping synchros, sounds like that's what is going on. Mine is the same, I changed the fluid and it got a little better but needs a rebuild. They are pretty sensitive to the wrong oil, you have to use a "yellow metal safe" oil to keep the synchros from wearing. Also a tip- shift into first before putting it into reverse, that should keep the grinding to a minimum.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:31 AM   #4
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my ax-15 is a little hard to shift into first and grinds sometimes as well. how much would it cost to have the synchros replaced?
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:36 AM   #5
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i think your problem isnt syncros its clutch drag 1st sign is hard into reverse with grinds
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:47 AM   #6
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When I rebuilt the 5spd for my Thunderbird Iwent through these guys, they were the only ones who still had a kit.
http://www.southerngear.com/

Maybe give them a call for parts.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Do you know if you have a new clutch? with a machined flywheel? I had the same problem once, fixed it with a longer rod for my slave
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:52 PM   #8
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Default Thoughts on this shifting thing...

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I can see I am not alone in this. Being brand new to a 5-speed jeep clutch (yes it is a hydraulic), I cannot tell you much about it. Like I said, I just bought it used (with 200K miles on it). It needs some body work, but the motor sounds/runs strong as an Ox. The A/C even works (not that we are going to need that much in the near future here in NH).

I like the idea of bleeding it, but don't know a thing about bleeding a hydraulic clutch. I can bleed brakes fine. If someone can tell me where the bleed valve is located, that would be very helpful. I hope it is as simple as that. I noticed there is a separate filler cap for the clutch fluid. Are they connected in any way to the brakes? Where is the slave cylinder? Does anyone have a picture of this system they can send me? Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:30 AM   #9
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1) there is no bleeder valve on XJ's, its a pain but there is a way.

2) check you clutch fluid, its probably low and is the cause of your problem. It is separate from the brake system

3) The slave is on the driver side of the trans, black cylinder thing about the size of a small grease tube.

4) If the bottom of you trans is wet with brake/clutch fluid, your slave is bad and the cause of low fluid and not being able to shift
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:08 PM   #10
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If the master/slave are not visibly leaking, you can bleed the system. See above post for locations of master and slave cylinders.

Take the lid off of the master cyl, put a rag under it as this can make a mess.

Top off the fluid in the master using brake fluid.

Remove the slave from the trans (should be two 1/2" nuts if I remember correctly)

Point the rod end of the slave cylinder straight down at the ground, and pump it in and out several times. If there was air in the system, you'll probably hear the bubbles pop out of the master cylinder.

Reinstall slave, clean up any mess the brake fluid made before it eats through anything, refill the master cylinder, and test your clutch out.

If the symptoms aren't any better, you may need to have a clutch put in. Mine was worn out, it grabbed on the floor and the pedal was very tough to push down. I had a new clutch, flywheel, and rear main seal put in, and it now shifts as well as can be expected from a 215k mile trans (rough going into 2nd, syncros are probably jacked.)
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:26 PM   #11
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Default hard to shift XJ 5-speed

Thanks again for the bleeding advice and how-to's! I will try that next weekend and let everyone know how it worked. I don't think it leaks and the fluid level is full. I hope there is air in the system. That would explain its behavior. There are times when downshifting into 2nd or 1st (at a light for example) that I need to double pump the clutch to downshift. Up-shifts seem to be better. Hmmmm.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
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for reverse do the "ax15 shuffle" clutch down, shift 3rd, shift reverse! i havent had one grind doing this!
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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whem ever it does this put in first then go to reverse old trick
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckntractorhick View Post
for reverse do the "ax15 shuffle" clutch down, shift 3rd, shift reverse! i havent had one grind doing this!
LOL the ax15 shuffle. Mine doesn't like reverse, either. My solution is to hold the clutch down for a couple seconds and then put it into reverse. It never grinds that way. Only con is that over time, it's extra wear on the clutch. I really do not like holding my clutch in.
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