HELP- 2003 Jeep Liberty automatic V6 4x4

Please HELP- I have a 2003 Jeep Liberty V6 automatic 4x4- the car is getting stuck in neutral and won’t change into gear. It starts up just fine and runs okay for about a mile before I notice a terrible hissing sound when I press the gas pedal just before it acts up and locks in neutral- dangerous on the highway as I have to pull over, shut it off and then restart which then resets but soon comes the hissing sound and again it locks in neutral… I tried adding Lucas transmission fix but this did nothing. Help…as I do my internet research, I’m realizing that many of the problems that I’ve been ignoring (due to financial hardship) could all be related. so here goes, I purchased this car (2003 Jeep Liberty Lmtd. V6) the check engine light has been on for 4 years now- none of the mechanics I’ve brought it to have been able to figure out why. ( hoses changed and nothing) I have not had a smoke test done.$$$ I started having start-up issues. The radio and all the lights come on but the car won’t start (rule out battery), eventually after a few tries, it starts up. I’ve also noticed, when in reverse, sometimes it stalls, a few times it has shut off on me while trying to park in reverse gear, sometimes when driving it kicks as if it is having trouble shifting into gear (it’s automatic)- and finally, the hissing and revving sound when pressing the gas pedal, it shifts into neutral and gets stuck there-

Is the CEL flashing? Is there a “wrench” indicator light on? I think the vehicle is going into a limp or shutdown mode as the computer is detecting a major malfunction.

No- no wrench light only the check engine light

Judging from what you have said about the engine light… “Hoses Changed and nothing” as well as mentioning the smoke test all lead me to believe those mechanics are chasing a Evap Emissions issue… This is when a leak is detected in the Fuel Tank and Evap system…Sometimes these issues are a Bear to correct. What happens is that a leak is detected in the fuel system…Mainly in the Fuel Tank…the tank is supposed to be sealed by the gas cap and any vapors that need to escape go thru a charcoal canister…You probably have a VAPOR leak somewhere between the fuel cap and the rubber lines that lead to the canister… One of them is leaking vapor…the smoke test can reveal where this vacume leak is located… Hence the use of smoke. All told this is a MINOR ISSUE compared to the transmission issue you are having

As far as the tranny goes…this is yet another reason my vehicles are MANUAL trans ONLY… I think you are saying that you are driving along with the gear shift IN DRIVE…and then you hear a hissing sound that preceeds DRIVE from no longer “Driving” and then the vehicle seems like it is in Neutral. Hmmm…I must say I havent heard this one before… What kind of vacume leak can cause Drive to no longer be able to move the vehicle…None that Im aware of… Are you saying that your Gear Selector Physically Moves into the Neutral position??? You keep mentioning Neutral…and its getting confusing… I think what you are saying is that it ACTS LIKE its in Neutral…that would make more sense. You have said that “It shifts into Neutral” while the engine is revving as tho no load is on it. To me it sounds like you are Losing The Drive Gear. This can be caused by a clogged Transmission filter not allowing enough fluid to pass through it to provide you with the Hydraulic pressure needed to maintain forward motion. At the very least I would check there. Pull the tranny dipstick and notice the fluid COLOR AND SMELL. It should be RED and smell like OIL. I fear that your fluid may be a Dark Red…to Brown color and smell BURNT… See whatcha gots… Let us know. If you see a dark fluid with a burnt smell…your transmission is on its way if not all the way spent. A fluid and filter change is needed to try and see if you can squeeze some more normal operation out of her. The fluid check i outlined is IMPORTANT…so go and do that for us and report back with the results.

The two issues are NOT related…that is if I am correct about the first problem of the Evap Emissions… The engine codes will tell you quickly enough…thats what they are there for.

You need to have your codes pulled and tell us what they are before any of us have any kind of chance on advising you properly. Investing in an OBDII code reader is money well spent. Especially when your vehicles ECU is trying to tell you something. For $50 or LESS you can pick up a code reader even at Walmart actually. I strongly suggest you go and buy one and pull the codes. Thata way you and us here can get closer to pinpointing your possible issues. Until then all of us are essentially in the dark… We can all agree that there ARE codes waiting for you with issues like yours…lets find out what they are… then move forward.


Has the transmission fluid and transfer case fluid ever been changed? How about the differential(s) fluids? What is the level and condition of these fluids? You can try flipping the ignition on-off-on-off-on (don’t start the vehicle) to read the codes. This usually works on Chrysler vehicles but not certain of your model. Any idea where the “hissing” sound is coming from? Is it a hissing or a scraping?

Find the source of the hissing, prpbably a bad vacuum hose.