The Jeep Grand Cherokee was equipped with the 46RE (A518), the 545RFE the W5A580 (NAG1) or in later models the 6-speed 65RFE transmission. But they aren’t without their problems though, so let’s look at some of the most common Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission problems, look at cost estimates and figure out what you can do about them.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Models
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission: 46RE (A518)
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission: 545RFE
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission: W5A580
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission: 65RFE
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission: 8HP70
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate
Pricing varies by model. To be 100% sure on pricing, have your VIN# handy and use our Get An Estimate feature to look up your transmission by VIN#.
Replacement Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmissions:
|Street Smart Transmission
|W5A580 / NAG1
What are the DTC codes related to Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission problems?
|Transmission Control System (MIL Request)
|Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction (PRNDL Input)
|Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
|Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit
|Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
|Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Low Input
|Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit High Input
|Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Intermittent P0715
|Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal
|Output Speed Sensor Circuit
|Gear 6 Incorrect Ratio
|Incorrect Gear Ratio
|Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio
|Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio
|Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio
|Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio
|Gear 5 Incorrect Ratio
|Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Malfunction
|Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Electrical
|Pressure Control Solenoid 'A' Electrical
|Shift Solenoid 'A'
|Shift Solenoid 'A' Performance or Stuck Off
|Shift Solenoid 'B'
|Shift Solenoid 'D'
|TCM Power Input Signal
|TCM Power Input Signal Range/Performance
|TCM Power Input Signal Low
|TCM Power Input Signal Intermittent
Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Recalls
Jeep Grand Cherokee Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)
TSB 21-08-99 – Buzz, whining or moaning sound when reverse is selected
1996 – 1999 Dodge Ram Van – 1996 – 1999 Dodge Dakota – 1996 – 1999 Dodge Ram – 1998 – 1999 Dodge Durango – 1997 – 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ – 1996 – 1999 Jeep Cherokee – 1996 – 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ/WJ
Problem – An intermittent buzz, whining, or moaning sound may be noticed when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.
Solution – A new regulator valve may solve this problem. However, the issue can also be caused by a number of things, including a cracked pump housing, a torn pump gasket, low transmission fluid level, a dirty transmission filter, restricted transmission cooler flow, a worn valve inside of the valve body, or a worn valve body.
TSB 21-015-05 – Delayed gear engagement – 545RFE Transmission
2000 – 2004 Dodge Dakota – 2000 – 2006 Dodge Durango – 2003 – 2006 Dodge Ram – 2002 – 2006 Jeep Liberty – 1999 – 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 2006 Jeep Commander
Problem – Drivers may notice an initial delayed gear engagement with the shift into Drive or reverse after the vehicle has been parked overnight/is cold. This may occur after having the transmission serviced and having the transmission cooler return filter replaced.
Solution – If the OEM transmission cooler return filter (part #04799662AB) was used, it can allow the transmission fluid to drain back out of the torque converter, causing the delay/slip on initial gear engagement. Installing an upgraded transmission cooler return filter should cure the problem.
TSB 21-003-06 – Transmission shudder or buzzing noise due to water contamination
2005 – 2006 Chrysler 300
2005 – 2006 Dodge Magnum
2005 – 2006 Dodge Charger
-Note: This W5A580 transmission TSB is intended to supersede TSB 21-011-05 which included the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Problem – Owners may experience a shudder vibration and/or a high-frequency buzzing sound. This W5A580/NAG1 transmission problem may be most noticeable during light acceleration where partial application of the torque converter clutch happens in 3rd, 4th, or 5th gears. The reason this happens is because water has gotten past the transmission oil fill tube/dipstick seal. Contaminated transmission fluid can cause the TCC to stick and/or slip.
Solution – If the contaminated transmission fluid has not caused a lot of damage, the transmission and torque converter may be able to be flushed to cure the problem. However, if the contamination is severe, the torque converter will need to be replaced, and the transmission inspected for signs of other damage. The transmission fill tube seal will also need to be upgraded.
TSB 21-010-12 – Clunk noise when shifting from drive to neutral – 65RFE transmission
2011 – 2012 Ram 1500 – 2011 – 2012 Ram 2500 – 2011 – 2012 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis – 2011 – 2012 Dodge Durango – 2011 – 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Problem – Drivers may notice a pronounced clunking noise when shifting from drive to neutral. This may be particularly evident when the vehicle is hot or at normal operating temperatures.
Solution – These 65RFE transmission problems may be caused by the underdrive clutch releasing too quickly. To correct the issue a revised spacer plate will need to be installed inside of the valve body.
Common Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Problems
Delayed and/or harsh 3-4 or 4-5 shifts – 545RFE Transmission
Problem – Owners may experience an unusually delayed or harsh 3-4 or 4-5 gear change, where the transmission doesn’t seem to want to go into that particular gear.
Solution – This issue is related to valve body problems where the material used to make one of the checkballs has broken down to the point that fluid is able to get past and engage the underdrive clutch during those shifts. An upgraded #2 checkball will be needed to solve the issue.
Lack of Response
Grinding or Shaking
Whining, Clunking or Humming
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Torque Converter Issues
Valve Body Issues
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
No 3rd or 4th Gear
No 1st or 2nd Gear
Trouble Codes / Check Engine Light
Can I drive with a transmission problem?
If your Jeep Grand Cherokee can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.
How often does a Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission need to be replaced?
The overall lifespan of a Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation, along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission last for between 130,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.
How are Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission issues diagnosed?
It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.
How is a Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission replaced?
In order to replace your Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.
Recommendations for Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission issues?
To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Jeep Grand Cherokee transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.
How to Solve Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission Problems
Solution A: Buy a Used Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission
The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.
Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission
Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.
Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Jeep Grand Cherokee Transmission
Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.
What Problem Does Your Jeep Grand Cherokee Have?
Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!