Jeep Wrangler, 2003 Sport; 4 wheel drive linkage missing _could my mechanic have caused this?

jeep
wrangler

#1

So, last year, I needed to have the clutch replaced in my wrangler. There was one part that needed to be replaced, which was on back-order for some time, but I finally got it back after about 2 months, with a new clutch. Just last month, I was returning from visiting my Dad out in the suburbs and it was snowing so I pulled over and I tried to engage my 4-wheel drive using the separate 4WD lever. When I pulled up on the lever, there was no tension in it at all and the 4WD would not engage. This is over 8 months after the clutch was replaced, but the first time that I needed to use the 4-wheel drive since I got it back (as far as I can remember?). My question is, is this something that could have happened while the clutch was being replaced? There was never a time when I tried to use the 4WD and it didn’t feel like it broke or anything weird happened when I pulled up on the lever. So I’m wondering if the mechanic just didn’t put this part back on - or even if it has to be taken apart at all during replacement of the clutch. ??


#2

I don’t have any experience with the last-gen Wranglers, but on my JK, there’s a little plastic bushing between the shifter fork and the cable linkage that’s prone to breaking or popping off, resulting in the symptoms you describe. I bought 4 spares (at about 50 cents each) just in case it happens on the trail and I can’t get it out of 4wd. My guess would be that happened, and it’s a coincidence - they shouldn’t have touched that when they replaced your clutch.


#3

Wait, now that I think about it, doesn’t the TJ have the electronic shifter rather than a physical linkage? My '98 Cherokee was like that.


#4

They either forgot to connect the shift lever back onto the trunnion, or the shift linkage onto the shift lever on the transfer case.

A quick look under the vehicle should reveal what wasn’t reconnected.

Tester