Fix 2006 Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Linkage




Introduction: Fix 2006 Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Linkage

The 2006 Jeep Wrangler with the 42RLE 4 speed automatic transmission is known for a problem with the shifter linkage. They used a small plastic bushing to connect the shift arm to the linkage arm on the transmission. This plastic bushing is known to break and/or pop off.

There is a simple fix for this problem. You can replace the plastic bushing and small plastic nipple with a much stronger 3/8 grade 8 bolt. All you need is a wrench and/or ratchet and a drill. Anyone can implement this fix.

You'll need the following...

A drill, a 3/8" 16 1 and 1/2 grade 8 bolt, a 3/8 drill bit, an aircraft (lock) nut, and two 3/8 washers.

Before beginning, place the Jeep in Park, apply the parking brake and chock the wheels.

IMPORTANT: The transmission may potentially change gear during the course of the install, so DO NOT rely on the Park gear to hold the vehicle in place!!

Step 1: The Broken Linkage

This is what the broken linkage looks like. This happened to me on the Rubicon trail, and we bound the linkage with mechanics wire in order to get off the trail.

Step 2: Remove Linkage Arm

Locate the linkage arm on the driver side of the transmission, it should be easy to see. Remove the linkage arm by loosening the bolt on the top of the arm where it comes out of the transmission, and pulling straight up. This bolt clamps the linkage arm to the transmission. There is a square nut which sits in a square groove in the linkage arm. If you remove the bolt completely, this square nut may fall out and you'll need to feel around a bit to retrieve it.

Step 3: Drill Out the Plastic Nipple

Place the linkage arm in a vice, and drill out the plastic nipple with the 3/8 drill bit. The drilled out nipple is pictured sitting on the linkage arm. You should file away the rough edges around the hole.

Step 4: Reinstall the Linkage Arm

Reinstall the linkage arm. While pushing the arm back onto the lever coming vertically out of the transmission, the lever may rotate which changes the gears in the transmission. Rotating the lever all the way counter-clockwise will put the transmission in Park (this is where it should have been when you removed the linkage arm). Secure the linkage arm by tightening the bolt.

The hole at the end of the shifter arm should line up with the hole in the linkage arm.

Insert the 3/8 grade 8 bolt through the hole in the linkage arm, slide a washer over the bolt, slide the bolt with the washer on through the hole in the shifter arm, slide the last washer on the bolt and thread the lock nut in place. Tighten, but do not tighten all the way. You want it to be a little loose so the shift arm can move back and forth freely.

Move the transmission shifter in the cab through all the gears and make sure they engage properly and the shift is smooth. If not, you may need to tighten/loosen the bolt. If the vehicle is not in the gear specified on the transmission shifter, you should check to make sure you had the transmission's lever in the correct location when you reinstalled the linkage arm.

Congratulations, you're done. Your linkage arm should look like that pictured, and you can rest easy knowing that you have a solid grade 8 bolt holding your linkage together rather than a cheap plastic bushing :)

And also...

I made it at TechShop :)

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    Tip 2 years ago

    This is my write up for the fix. I used a rivet nut so the bolt is fixed in the shift arm and makes use of the existing bushing. I felt that just drilling and installing a bolt the bolt could move and wear the hole bigger.
    Fix for 03-06 Jeep Wrangler automatic transmission cable linkage/shift arm. Problem: the plastic bushing holding the shift cable to the shift arm breaks allowing the cable linkage to fall off the shift arm.

    This happened to me while on a jeep trail near Sedona AZ resulting in not being able to shift, stuck in park. This is my fix to make it a little more bullet proof.

    This is what it looks like when the shift cable comes off the shift arm. I wanted a fix that if the bushing broke again the cable would not fall off.

    Remove the shift arm, to remove loosen the bolt at the top of the shift arm using a 13mm socket. Don’t loosen too much or the square nut on the back side will fall off and you will have to go search for it. To remove arm once bolt is loose grab shift arm at the top, rotate back and forth while lifting up. The shaft the arm fits on has a flat, not splines, which makes it simple to get it back on correctly. This picture shows the top of the shift arm and the 13mm bolt that needs to be loosened.

    Remove the stud the bushing fits on by grinding off the back side. The stud is riveted to the arm. When almost flush with the arm use a punch and drive out the stud. Drill out hole to accept a 1/4 20 rivet nut. Install rivet nut. This was installed using the model 1442 rivet nut tool from Astro Pneumatic Tool Company.

    Using a replacement bushing Mopar part number 6813-7495-AA-001 drill it out so it will slip on a 1/4 inch bolt. The plastic is soft and larger bit than 1/4 may be needed along with a round file to achieve the slip fit.

    Use a grade 8 1/4 x 1 3/4 long bolt. This will give a smooth section for the bushing to rotate. Include a washer in the event the bushing failed, the washer would keep the shift cable on the bolt. Insert the bushing in the shift cable end with the shoulder up. This will require the bushing to be pressed into the cable end. I used channel locks for this.

    Insert the bolt with the wash up through the bushing and thread it into rivet nut. Tighten the bolt until it stops. The washer should turn freely. If it doesn’t back off until it does. This will allow the bushing to rotate on the bolt. Next install a self locking nut on the bolt. Tighten it until it jams against the rivet nut. This lock the bolt in place.

    Makeup a spare bolt and bushing setup ready to go in the event the bushing fails. I have no idea if this will make the bushing last longer but it will keep the shift cable from falling off. I expect it will help the bushing last longer because once the bushing is drilled out to fit on the bolt the inside diameter is the same the length of the bushing and is supported the length of the bushing by the bolt. As a side note when I purchased my replacement bushing at Jeep the parts guy said they sell 5 to 6 bushings a week. This does account for auto parts stores and online purchases. So in other words this part fails a lot.


    9 years ago

    Great upgrade! I recommend using a low-grade bolt or machining an aluminum or brass bushing because the grade 8 steel threads -will- eventually wear your linkage out. A low-grade bolt will wear and is infinitely cheaper to replace than worn, sloppy linkage. (Which would need bushed, welded, or replaced entirely)

    You could also try a longer bolt with a short shoulder (usually about 3" is when they'll start to appear with a shoulder), cut it shorter, and dress the threads with a file. Then you'll have a nice bolt with a shoulder and no threads to wear your linkage out!

    Just sayin.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet deal, and I can implement this in other areas of my jeep too!