I just had the transmission serviced by the same place where we do our company trucks. They’re a trusted transmission rebuilding business, with a perfect BBB rating. A few years ago, they rebuilt my Durango’s transmission, and it worked great ‘til the day I traded it for the Commander.
So… I’m thinking I can safely believe what they say when I picked up the Jeep after it was done. One of the mechanics said ‘’You made a good choice with buying that Jeep.’’ I asked why and we got into a discussion of Jeep running gear. They had just worked on a 4 door Wrangler Rubicon. The guy had burned up the reverse clutches in it, and it was expensive to rebuild. The guys thought its transmission was light duty, with only 2 reverse clutch packs and the like, so the shop foreman looked up the part numbers in a cross reference.
Turns out, the Wrangler has a V6 engine as the only option for a real good reason – the Wrangler, Rubicon included, uses the same transmission as a Dodge Caravan. The transmission is turned sideways in the Caravan, of course, as it’s a transverse setup. The end case housing is different, but the innards are all the same. A 4.7L or Hemi would rip its guts out, and warranty might never cover them. Apparently, the burned up clutches weren’t covered, Chrysler decided it was ‘’abuse’’ so the Rubicon owner had to foot the bill. They said the rest of the Jeep running gear is okay, (Dana axles etc.) but the tranny is a bad weak link.
The tranny in the XK however is also used in Mercedes M class vehicles. According to the tranny shop guys, mine will probably never fail. The fluid was still clean and red with its 32,000 miles on it. It’s the first service on my XK as the manual calls for every 30k miles, and things looked like they’ve never been touched. The XK transmission also has two filters, one being a spin-on filter. It’s a tough tranny besides which the computer’s drive-by-wire limits the torque fed to it. I’ve noticed that too. Put your foot hard to the floor sometime - the computer will let up on the throttle for you and reapply it after the shift. It feels like a manual transmission shifting. That really saves wear and tear on bands and clutches.
It’s not the cheapest thing to service because of the synthetic type 4 fluid, but at least it’s every 30k miles. The shop says they usually recommend service every 20k miles for most typical cars. It was $175 for the tranny and transfer case service. The transfer case uses special Mopar fluid made just for the NP245 and nothing else. (Needless to say, Chrysler dealers see you coming for the fluid costs!)
I can sleep better now, knowing that I almost bought a 4 door Wrangler. Now, I’m REALLY glad I didn’t go that route. I don’ want no stinkin’ minivan transmission in MY Jeep Commander!