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Fixing Jeep Wrangler Shift Linkage Problems: A Complete Guide

Jeep Wrangler is one of the most reliable names in the Jeep lineup. But, like other jeep models, you will also find some issues with it. Among them, the Jeep Wrangler Shift linkage problem is common.

The article will help you know details about the issue and troubleshoot for this.

How do I know if my Jeep Wrangler shift linkage is bad?

Here is some possible sign which indicates that your jeep wrangler has a shift linkage issue:

  • Most of the time, you will fail to shift the gear. It might happen due to transmission issues or shift linkage. The best way to know if your Jeep Wrangler shift linkage is bad is by trying to put it in reverse. If you are unable to put the transmission into reverse, then there’s a problem with the shift linkage.
  • You will find irrelevant results from the indicators. The indicators might not match with the gear.
  • Your vehicle might start in another gear rather than a park or neutral.

Jeep wrangler shift linkage Problem:

You can face several part issues which are connected with the jeep wrangler shift linkage. Here is a possible issue you might face: 

1. Damage Shift cable Bushing

Generally, If your wrangler faces any issue with shift linkage as disconnected or loose, you cannot shift gear. It creates obstacles from accessing the transmission to shift gears. You can easily fix the issue by tightening or reconnecting the cable.

Most of the case shift linkage issues occur due to the bad shift cable bushing. There is a 4 wheel drive selector in the console next to the transfer shift case, and the cable passes through the plastic bushing of the shift point.

This enables the steel fitting to rotate freely on the shaft of the shifter in the console. The plastic bushing can stop working without providing you with any sign. When the busing fails to operate normally, the shaft prevents you from shifting gear into 2WD, 4WD or neutral.

Short term repair: How to fix Jeep wrangler shift linkage problem

If you are stuck on the road and want to solve the issue temporarily, then go slid under the jeep. Then, moved the transfer shift lever into neutral using a larger pair of channel lock pliers. For this, you can drive through a few miles.

How to fix the shift cable bushing?

Step 1: First, you need to take apart the console and get to the shifter linkage. If you do this type of mechanical work, you will feel a little daunted. Follow the below video to apart the console.

Step 2: After apart the console, you need to inspect carefully whether the cable keeper and bushing are ok or not. If they both have issues, you need to take care of them to get back in service.

Step 3: The busing is a very poorly engineered part. Even after 100 miles, you might face problems with it. To solve the issue, you need to replace the bushing. You need to find out the perfect size bushing which diameter is perfect for your jeep wrangler model.

Step 4: Now, you need to pull out the crack-down bushing and clean up the debris to install the new bushing. Without much fuss, you need to place the new bushing in the linkage arm. If you place it perfectly, you will hear or feel some click. Otherwise, you need to use pliers to snap it perfectly.

Connect the linkage arm first and then the pin.

As of today’s date, Chrysler does not produce modified bushing for this. If you have any issue with replacing it, then contact a dealer for repair.

Jeep Wrangler Will Not Change Gears?

The gear changing issue occurs in Jeep wranglers for two possible reasons. The primary causes are malfunction with the transmission or the shifting linkage.

How much does it cost to fix shift linkage?

The cost depends on the malfunction. For example, if your shift linkage loosens, then you can tighten it all on your own without paying any penny, or in the mechanic shop, it will cost around $50 to $70. 

If the problem occurs due to a damaged shifter cable or brushing, then you need to pay around $125 to $250 in the repair shop. But, if you are willing to solve this yourself, then you need to spend between $35 and $80.

Final Words

If you have any issue with your jeep wrangler shift linkage, the first rule is not to panic. You can easily fix the issue by yourself. Or, if you are willing to fix them with a professional mechanic, it will not cost more than other parts. The article would help you find any jeep wrangler shift linkage problem.

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