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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greets,

We've got a 2007 that we really like that's been sitting for over a year while I wrestle with the CVT issue. I keep cars for a long time and it's been great otherwise, but just got it back from the trans guy and the car isn't worth the expense of repair.

It's still a great vehicle, save a couple of rust spots on the rear wheel wells, and this trans issue. I've told my wife that there's no way we're going to go forward with any kind of CVT solution, and I've actually got her interested in a swap to a manual, something I'd prefer any day. So now I have to get moving on the details.

There seems to be no shortage of these in the junkyards and I've swapped engines and transmissions before, so I really want to do this. I want to put in a whole manual plus 4WD drivetrain (it's 2WD now), AND get the shifter and clutch and linkage and computer.

It'd make sense to go newer than 2007 if possible. Does anyone here have any knowledge of parts compatibility over the model years? I'd hope to be able to swap in a late model drivetrain and have everything bolt right in, but I know how manufacturers change things.

I'm hell bent on fixing this, and I'm really scalded by our first experience with a Jeep. I've never had such a handsome, otherwise serviceable vehicle bound for the junkyard like this, and if I pull this off a manual trans will give us another 20 years. We take care of our cars.

Please let me know if you're aware of of any details or gotchas that we could find after getting into this. Many thanks.
 

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Along with the usual clutch and slave cylinder issues, there have been a lot of manual transmissions with bearing failures:

The 4x4 transmissions seem to fail more often than the 2wd's do.

If you really want to put in a manual, I'd just go with a 2wd and avoid the 4x4. The 2wd will likely be an easier swap, less expensive, and more reliable in the long haul if longevity is a priority.

The 4x4 manual has a different case than the 2wd due to the PTU and is harder to find ($$$$); 2wd transmissions are more available / less expensive. IIRC the 2WD from the Caliber will swap without issue.
 

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I agree with Sandstone. If your going to swap that weak CVT with a manual that's fine, but don't try to swap 2 wheel drive with 4 wheel drive it's just not worth it.

sounds like your mechanically savvy, have you considered getting a junk yard CVT and installing it yourself? you could probably pick one up and install it for under $1000 bucks. That's my plan when my CVT goes bad.
 

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I don't know how many miles you have on your Patriot, but whether a vehicle is worth repairing depends on its overall condition.
  • If your Patriot is otherwise in good shape why not bite the bullet and put in a factory rebuilt CVT? So it runs $4000, but if you can get another 100,000 miles out of your Patriot, that's a bargain.
  • Then again, if its been a pain to this point, it might be smarter to cut your losses and run.
  • Switching from a CVT to a manual might be a little daunting for a shade-tree mechanic, but if you know what you're doing and have the time and money, then I'd suggest sticking with your plan.
In any event please report back. Success in any option you choose is welcome! Perish the thought but even a failed option is informative to others on here in your situation.
 

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Just to say that this is an interesting thread. I also have a 2007 Pat, but do have the 4WD (Freedom drive). It has been a great vehicle but a CVT failure is also my #1 fear, since it's essentially non-repairable and cost-prohibative to replace. I've 211k miles now and have had the CVT fluid replaced three times (which is an exp service), the last time only 3k miles ago. I'm hoping it lasts another 10 years.
 

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Just to say that this is an interesting thread. I also have a 2007 Pat, but do have the 4WD (Freedom drive). It has been a great vehicle but a CVT failure is also my #1 fear, since it's essentially non-repairable and cost-prohibative to replace. I've 211k miles now and have had the CVT fluid replaced three times (which is an exp service), the last time only 3k miles ago. I'm hoping it lasts another 10 years.
Considering your miles, anything could happen. I've had conventional trannies fail at far fewer miles -- a couple didn't even make it to 100,000. You've had it for 12 years and want it for another 10. Hate to bear the news, but there aren't many vehicles on the road in the 400,000 mile category -- even fewer that haven't needed major work by those miles. The ones that do get that far are owned by people who didn't shy away from doing the M&R as needed. Seems like you've been doing what's needed right along and you just might make it that far if you don't give up on it. As I read your post it seems you're not having a problem, just worried that you will. Heck, there's lots of things to worry about besides your Patriot; I can give you a list.

Why is it cost prohibitive to replace the transmission? If the vehicle's been good to this point, why dump it? Can you buy a genuinely reliable (I didn't say shiny) vehicle for the price of a new transmission? I highly doubt it. And any vehicle you find at the price is going to need repair work -- the previous owner is selling it for a reason. You know the repair history of your Patriot.

I had an electrical problem at right about your miles. I debated fixing it, but I did and I got another 70,000 miles out of it. I sold it to a friend and its still on the road. "The cheapest car you'll ever own is the one you own today."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OK, it is fair and proper that I update this thread to tell about my successful CVT fix.

TL,DR: I changed the oil and both filters
and it starts in limp mode 30~70% of the time but a quick turn of the key to off and back on (never more than twice yet) will put the vehicle back into normal mode (so I can see it shift to 1st by bumping the stick from Drive), and the car will drive normally as long as it stays on. I've been driving it for weeks now.

This thing has been sitting in my driveway since 2018, and has never made any transmission noise, never slipped, or had any other issues apart from dropping into limp mode. I'm often moving it out of my driveway (at least 2-3 times a week over those 2 years) and it would sometimes start up (or shall we just say 'boot up'?) in normal mode, and then I could drive it around the block or around town. I usually avoided that because it only had comprehensive coverage.

I was really annoyed that this handsome car that we really liked was now worthless, although otherwise in great shape. We needed a new car in the family recently for my wife, and she found a good deal on an orange (...) 2WD (...) Renegade. I bit my tongue, it's ugly, and I didn't plan to drive it much. So I redoubled my efforts at fixing my van and Patriot. I mention all this because the FCJDR dealers showed no regrets for selling me this pooch 12 years ago, and offered me $500 in trade for it. Hmmm.

Thank you to JeepPatriot.com, where I found lots of other folks with the same problem, and good advice, including the guy on this forum who suggested a fluid and filter(s) change:

'This is why I sometimes ask posters that are having problems if they know whether a change has been done and how long ago, as a change may (though not always) fix the problem even if the CVT is throwing codes and seems as though it's truly gone bad.
Don't count 'em out too early! :)'

Many thanks Sandstone!

If you're anything like me, an able home garage wrencher who doesn't have access to heavy engine equipment, etc, you might be one of us who has tried changing trans fluid as a last ditch effort before springing hard
on a rebuild.

It seemed a bit hopeless, as this didn't fix either my '67 Continental or my '81 Camaro and I had to bite the bullet. But then again it cost me ~$1500 to fix those, and although they were rust buckets they were otherwise mechanically sound and cool rides, as far as I and selected old gearheads were concerned.

And they didn't sit for two years, grounded by an owner hung up on a trans repair that cost more than the vehicle. That math worksat $1500, but not at $3000-4000. The guy at our favorite trans shop said it wasn't worth fixing. We trust him. He sent back my wife's Lexus recently and said it didn't need any trans work. I may have mistaken a misfire for slippage. How many trans shops would dothat?

So I figured that a $100 or so investment in fluid and filters just might work with this oddball unit, and would at least get me off of the fence. In my earlier post I was hell-bent on swapping in a 5 speed manual and 4wd back end (and shifter/linkage/clutch & hydraulics, computer...disk brakes) but now I'm a bit wiser. Yes I'd prefer a stick, but I learned here that the FDII Trail Rated badge was only put on CVT2 vehicles. I figured the CVT was worth another look. They can keep the badge. Maybe it's just misunderstood.

I must confess I did not change the fluid at 100K miles. It was mainly my wife's car, although I drove it a few times every week. She was religious about oil changes, even better than me. I also tend to share the prevailing opinion among many mechanics and auto parts guys in the know who hesitate to change fluid at that mileage. Better to leave it alone, right?

So at least a little work would get me out of the current hole and force me ahead. I spent an evening changing the fluid and filter. It was pretty straightforward. I recommend a (Craftsman in my case) 20 inch 3/8" extension for the bottom oil pump bolts,coming in through the wheel well. You don't need to take off the wheel, however don't try going through the wheel like I did, because I believe that's why my ABS and ESP BAS lights came on the first time I started it. I think I bumped a wheel sensor. I should mention that the pan looked pretty clean with no chunks of metal on the magnets, just a little greasy gray paste that must have had very fine metal bits in it.

The lower side mounted filter bolts are the toughest but that extension really helped. Also made me feel like a serious mechanic, just having it in the box. That worth somethinhg, huh? I don't recall using it before.

Well, that's the story. It drives beautifully, pulls hard and shifts smoothly. I pinch myself often. I really like this car, and now it's all mine. My $500 Jeep. Will it last? Who knows? I'm a dreamer, tempered by many failures, by perfect repairs that turned ugly shortly afterward, but for now it's just as good as it ever was. I promise to update here with any changes. Or lack thereof. I want 200K out of this thing now.

Two important points: I have to check when I start off that it's actually in normal/non-limp mode, else I need to turn it off and back on again. Never more than twice, then it drives normally.

Second, after driving all around northern Illinois on a hot day in the mid-nineties, I was on my way to dinner and the trans temperature light came on. Uh-oh. I pulled over and turned it off and reached for the manual. Seems this can happen, and they say that it just notes the condition and that the the engine speed may be reduced a bit while things cool down. The manual didn't even mention pulling over and waiting. I gave it a few minutes and then continued on to dinner. Stopped at a store and came out about 10 minuteslater, and the light stayed off. I've been out on several trips of 10-30 miles (it's been cooler, in the 80s) since then with no issues.

I hope this helps some of you in the same boat as me. Please hit me back with any questions. Thanks!

-mz
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will pull all codes and let you know. As I mentioned, I'm sure I bumped the wheel sensor and that's causing the ABS/traction ones that I've never seen before. I did also notice a check engine light recently. More soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
u1146
p161b
p0700

I've seen these codes since long ago and since I've changed the fluid/filter. My Harbor Freight scanner doesn't seem to be able to erase the codes, so I tried the one at the auto parts store and that didn't clear all of them either. It turned off the check engine light though.

I drove the car all day yesterday, including several hard 6000 rpm stomps to take the car up to 60 mph on a 45 mph road., and I haven't seen the CE light yet.This morning I'm seeing P0700 and P161B, and the dash light remains off.

The kids drove this before it sat for 2 years, and driving it now it seems kind of noisy and rough rolling. I can't point at the transmission, which sounds good at any speed, but I had entertained the idea earlier that maybe it's eating itself when it should be in safe mode. Sorry that's pretty vague, but I'll try to get more details.

Thanks,

-mz
 

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Thanks for the update.

Here's a little info from the manual:

p0700 is a general transmission fault code

u1146 is the ROM in the transmission losing communication with the TCM

92558


p161b is battery disconnect / TCM internal

92559


it starts in limp mode 30~70% of the time but a quick turn of the key to off and back on (never more than twice yet) will put the vehicle back into normal mode (so I can see it shift to 1st by bumping the stick from Drive), and the car will drive normally as long as it stays on. I've been driving it for weeks now.
Hmmm...that's interesting. Similar to what the manual recommends after the battery has been disconnected.

92561



Maybe the power to the TCM keeps dropping out.

Try checking Fuse 17 and make sure it's in good, and verify there's no corrosion on the pins of TIPM connectors C8, C10, and C3 and that they are tightly seated:


92560


92562



You might also take a look at the connector going into the side of the transmission and make sure battery acid hasn't been leaking on to it.

92557
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey All,

An update on this. I wish I could change the title to 'CVT Fix (formerly Swap Time)' because I've been driving it quite a bit for the last 8 months and the idiosyncratic starting up in limp mode (usually when it's cold) and turning off/on when it doesn't bump-stick into 1st still works consistently. The extreme cold in Chicagoland hasn't changed this. I've had to turn it off/on as many as 5-6 times once recently, but usually it's only 1-2 times and then I can drive it 100 miles with no issues whatsoever.

BTW, this is a 2008, not 2007 as I initially posted, sorry.

I've taken to leaving my wife's car in the back of our single driveway and driving this exclusively in recent months. It has over 2000 miles (working from home a lot now) since last July's fluid/filter swap that put this back on the road after 2 years parked. So if you're kicking yourself over an essentially worthless vehicle due to the high cost of this transmission fix, then this will get you back on the road if you can tolerate the startup quirk.

Another important point - on a hot day last summer the trans temp light came on during a 20-30 mile drive, but there were no ill effects. I haven't taken this on any long trips beyond 50 miles round trip since the fix, but one evening a few weeks ago I had to drive my daughter into Chicago and we were in a hurry to pick up her friend. I did 80 mph most of the way for about 20 miles, thinking in the back of my head that I hadn't pushed it this hard, and wondering what the inevitable broken steel belt that the trans guy warned me about might do at that speed. But all was fine.

On the return trip I took surface streets for a while but then jumped on the expressway for 10-15 minutes at my usual sane 60 mph. Near the end I noticed the trans temp light, and I muted the radio (something I do a lot now just to check) and then I heard the faint high pitched whining. Uh oh.

So my goal of this fix was to get her back on the road, and then to drive her until she blows up, or hits 200K . I'm an optimist, and weirder things have happened. I drove with the whine through the ~20F night to the gas station I frequent on the way home, gritting my teeth and hoping I wouldn't need to call for a tow. Fueled up and parked for a few minutes and turned it off.

Started up and drove gently home with no lights/noises/issues. Good strong pull. It's been fine and back to the new normal ever since. Took it in for rear tires today, as the toe changed somehow while sitting for 2 years, and they sent me home to replace the rear toe links, which were rusty. Good info on this site about that, but that's another story.

I still plan on swapping in a stick when this blows, although I think I'm seeing the price of remanufactured CVTs drop (maybe ~$1400 somewhere recently?) and I don't hate the CVT anymore. Sure it's local only and I can't drive it to California in this state, but I've always noted that about Teslas as well, so I don't feel so bad about my $500 Jeep.

I usually have a big smile on my face as I drive. If I have a family member with me, I sometimes wonder how annoyed they'd be if I had to call a tow truck during that trip should this thing give up the ghost but I've had so many successful trips that I've stopped worrying about it.

We had a subzero cold snap and a ton of snow here over the last week or two and I've driven my wife's car on a few occasions just in case, to avoid any possible trouble, but before it was over I was back to driving the Patriot.

So if like me you're inclined to fiddle with your vehicle a bit, and it doesn't have to be perfect, you should do a fluid and filter(s) change to see if that will give you my results. I fix a lot of things around here, and many of us know how an imperfect fix will work for a while, and then go south, leaving us back where we started. That hasn't happened yet and my curiosity and the thrill of a reborn car keeps me going.

Finally, a ton of thanks Sandstone for the electrical/troubleshooting info. I seriously intend to get that done, but will have to wait for warmer weather now. The temp light/whining I saw recently confirm to me that limp mode is probably justified and not just an electronic quirk, but I'll step through your suggestions in any case.

Thanks,

-mz
 

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