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Jeep Wrangler Transmissions Through the Years

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The Wrangler might just be the most iconic off-road vehicle of all time. It almost doesn’t matter what year Wrangler we’re talking about; they all have massive followings and everyone. Part of owning a Wrangler is being as hands on as possible with your rig as possible. Anyone will sit and talk about the goods like the suspension and engine or differential, but what about the transmissions? Knowing what transmission your Wrangler has is a great way to not only get repairs but tell how your vehicle is going to perform off-road.

Jeep Wrangler Transmissions: The Details

After you identify your transmission, you can really start getting into the goods and learn a little bit about your set up. With that in mind, you’re going to find so many different sources giving their input and this can overcomplicate the general overview of the unit. To simplify things we’ve put together a very basic pros and cons list of each Jeep transmission you can find in since the year 1987.

3-Spd Automatic A999: 1986-1991

The Torqflite A999 is an aluminum case 3-speed automatic transmission rated for medium duty. This transmission features medium range gearing with no overdrive gears. 

Pros

  • Simple 3-speed Design
  • Stout
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No Overdrive
  • Only 3 Gears

3-Spd Automatic 30RH (A904): 1994-1995

Rated as a light duty 3-speed automatic transmission, the A904 shares a few things in common with the A999. This transmission has an aluminum case, 3 forward gears, a decent gear range, and no overdrive gear.

Pros

  • Simple 3-Speed Design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No Overdrive
  • Only 3 gears

3-Spd Automatic 30RH (A904): 1994-1995, 1997-2006

The 30RH is the same in almost every way to the A904 transmission. It is a light duty 3-speed transmission with no overdrive gearing. 

Pros

  • Simple 3 Speed Design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No Overdrive
  • Only 3 Gears

5-Spd Manual AX-5: 1987-1995, 1997-2006

The AX-5 was the light duty 5-speed manual trans of choice in Wranglers for nearly 20 years. These transmissions feature 5 forward gears with one overdrive gear packed in an aluminum housing. 

Pros

  • 5-speed Manual Gearbox
  • Lightweight 

Cons

5-Spd Manual BA-10: 1987-1989

The BA-10 is closely related to the AX-5, it shares a similar aluminum housing, five forward gears with higher gear ratios than the AX-15, and one overdrive gear. 

Pros

  • 5-speed Manual Gearbox
  • Lightweight 
  • Stout

Cons

  • Less than Ideal Gearing for Off-road Use

5-Spd Manual AX-15: 1988-1995, 1997-1999

The AX-15 was the beefier big brother of the AX-5 and the BA-10. With decent gearing of the five forward gears, one overdrive gear, and an aluminum housing, the AX-15 is the medium duty 5-speed manual used from 1988-1999. 

Pros

  • 5-speed Manual Gearbox
  • Lightweight 
  • Stout

Cons

  • Less than Ideal Gearing for Off-road Use

4-Spd Automatic 42RLE: 2003-2006, 2007-2011

The 42RLE is a medium duty overdrive, 4-speed, automatic transmission that lives in Wranglers born from 2003 to 2011. These transmissions feature four forward gears including one overdrive gear.

Pros 

  • 4Speed Automatic Gear Box
  • Overdrive

Cons

  • Less than Ideal Gearing for Off-road Use

5-Spd Manual NV1550: 2003-2004

With an aluminum housing, the NV1550 was a short-lived 5-speed manual transmission for Jeep Wranglers. This is a light duty trans fitted with 5 forward gears including 1 overdrive gear.

Pros

  • 5-speed Manual Gearbox
  • Lightweight 

Cons

  • Less than Ideal Gearing for Off-road Use

5-Spd Manual NV3550: 2000-2004

As the beefier 5 speed brother, the NV3550 was the medium-duty manual trans for Wranglers that was also short-lived. The gearbox features five forward gears including one overdrive gear.  

Pros 

  • 5-Speed Gearbox
  • Overdrive

Cons

  • Heavy

6-Spd Manual NSG370: 2005-2006

This transmission is the only six-speed manual transmission found in Wranglers to date. With an aluminum housing, the NSG3750 houses six forward gears including two overdrive gears. 

Pros

  • 6-Speed Manual Gearbox
  • Overdrive

Cons

  • Heavy

5-Spd Automatic W5A580: 2012-2017

The W5A580 is the 5-speed automatic transmission of choice for Wranglers running from 2012-2017. This is a medium duty transmission with five forward gears including one overdrive gear. 

Pros

  • Stout
  • 5 Speed Automatic Gearbox
  • Overdrive 

Cons

  • Heavy

Jeep Transmission Maintenance

Even though Fiat/Chrysler threw that wonderful W5A580 transmission in the Wrangler, you still need to keep your eye on the transmission and service them appropriately. With automatic and manual transmissions you have two very different systems.

Though, if your transmission gives up on you, you can kiss your off-roading days over right away. We’re going to talk about some key areas to keep an eye on with both types of transmissions and some symptoms that will tell you right away whether or not you need to tear into things. 

Automatic: Automatic Transmissions operate on hydraulics, and that means you will have no room for leaky seals whatsoever. Every so often, it’s a great idea to check your seals and gaskets on the shafts and pans of the transmission.

With a manual trans, you may experience a slip in the shifting of gears. When this happens, take a look at the fluid level. If it’s low, that tells you a lot right there. There is likely a leak somewhere and you will have to repair the leak before the problem worsens. Though, if the transmission is leaking and there are no leaks present, it’s time to consider taking the transmission to a shop for a proper repair. 

Manual: Manual transmissions may have less working parts than automatics but that doesn’t make them bulletproof. For routine maintenance, you should change the gear oil within appropriately. This will keep the moving parts clean and prolong their lifespan. 

If the clutch is starting to wear out, change it. A fresh clutch is easier on the internals and will keep you from destroying or wearing out the gears. If there is a grinding coming from the gearbox as you drive along, you can rest assured that it’s time to seek a total tear down or replacement.

Which Transmissions Came in Which Wranglers?

The Jeep Wrangler has undergone three facelifts since the year 1987. Since then, there have been 11 transmissions that have lived within the rig. No, we can’t crawl underneath your Jeep to identify exactly what you have, but the chart below will tell you what to expect. 

After finding out the model of transmission, you’ll be able to identify your gear ratios, look up maintenance tips, and Judge whether or not the transmission will stand up to what you’re throwing at it. 

Here’s a quick reference chart:

Wrangler Gen/Year Engine Transmission
YJ 1987-1995 2.5 I-4 3-Spd 904 Auto
5-Spd AX5 Manual
4.0 I-6, 4.2 I-6 3-Spd 999 Auto
5-Spd BA-10/5 (1986-1990)
5-Spd AX15 Manual (1991-1995)
TJ 1997-2006 2.4 I-4 4-Spd 42RLE Auto (2003-2006)
5-Spd NV1550 Manual (2003-2004)
6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2005-2006)
2.5 I-4 3-Spd 30RH Auto (1997-2002)
5-Spd AX-5 Manual (1997-2002)
4.0 I-6 3-Spd 32RH Auto (1997-2002)
4-Spd 42RLE Auto (2003-2006)
5-Spd AX-15 Manual (1997-1999)
5-Spd NV3550 Manual (2000-2004)
6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2005-2006)
JK 2007-2018 2.8 I-4 6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2007-2010)
5-Spd W5A580 Auto (2011-2018)
6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2007-2015)
3.6 V6 5-Spd W5A580 Auto (2012-2018)
6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2012-2018)
3.8 V6 4-Spd 42RLE Auto (2007-2011)
6-Spd NSG370 Manual (2007-2011)
Fitment includes: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Laredo, Sport, Islander, S, Sahara, Renegade, SE, X, Rubicon, Unlimited, Sport-S, YJ, TJ, JK, JL