Skip to Content

Jeep Liberty Transmission: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Jeep is an automotive company with its origin in the United States. The company is world-famous for manufacturing some of the best off-roader SUVs in the market. Jeep Liberty was the name given to the 2002-2012 Jeep Cherokee (KJ/KK) in the North American markets. This vehicle was introduced as a replacement for the Jeep Cherokee (XJ), and towards the end of the second generation, was replaced by the original Cherokee nametag. Priced between the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, the Liberty had much to offer in a competitive range. Having been equipped with robust and reliable engines, this SUV was a good choice for off-roaders and thrill-seekers alike.

The first-gen Jeep Liberty offers two 4-speed automatic (42RLE/45RFE), a 5-speed automatic (545RFE), two 5-speed manuals (NV1500/NV3550), and a 6-speed manual (NSG370) transmission. The second and last-gen of the vehicle has 4-speed automatic (42RLE), 5-speed automatic (W5A580), and 6-speed manual (NSG370) transmissions in store.

However, this is barely the surface. To reveal what lies deep in these transmissions is our objective in this article today. After stating the names and codes of various transmissions used in the Jeep Liberty throughout its generations, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. We might as well call it a herd of elephants; since we’re here to go through the specs, features, prices, and problems associated with these gearboxes. Meanwhile, we’ll also cover the various transmission fluids used across them and the number of miles they last. Hang on!

Also read: How Well Does A Jeep Liberty Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

What Transmission Has the Jeep Liberty Used?

First Generation (2002-2007)

  • 4-Speed Ultra-Drive 42RLE Automatic
  • 4-Speed Chrysler 45RFE Automatic
  • 5-Speed Chrysler 545RFE Automatic
  • 5-Speed New Venture Gear NV1500 Manual
  • 5-Speed New Venture Gear NV3550 Manual
  • 6-Speed Chrysler NSG370 Manual

Second Generation (2008-2012)

  • 4-Speed Ultra-Drive 42RLE Automatic
  • 5-Speed Mercedes Benz W5A580 Automatic
  • 6-Speed Chrysler NSG370 Manual

Also read: Types Of Gas A Jeep Liberty Takes (All Generations)

How Long Does a Jeep Liberty Transmission Last?

The Jeep Liberty, a tough mid-size SUV, was undoubtedly built to last. The transmissions offered in the Liberty could easily last the lifetime of the car. Generally, depending on maintenance, however, the Liberty transmissions usually last for around 130,000 miles to 180,000 miles. These figures typically depend upon usage and condition and may vary depending on how a particular vehicle was used. The Chrysler transmissions that were offered did come with their fair share of problems, but despite that, they weren’t straightforward to take down. The Mercedes W5A580 (Also known as NAG1) was built to excel and easily handle higher horsepowers. As for replacing/finding New Venture Gear transmissions, the owners could face some tough times since the company doesn’t exist anymore.

How Much Does a Jeep Liberty Transmission Cost?

The transmissions used in Liberty are similar for the two generations but different among themselves. This difference is responsible for the variation in performance and price. To facilitate your browsing experience, we’ve compiled a table containing each transmission to give you an idea about your Liberty’s gearbox-maintenance requisites. We’ve highlighted each transmission together with its price* that we found through several online retailers.

ModelCost
4-Speed Ultra-Drive 42RLE Automatic$1736
4-Speed Chrysler 45RFE Automatic$1952
5-Speed Chrysler 545RFE Automatic$1892
5-Speed New Venture Gear NV1500 Manual$2550
6-Speed Chrysler NSG370 Manual$2600
5-Speed Mercedes Benz W5A580 Automatic$2820

*These prices do not include the labor cost. If you cannot find your transmission model in this table, you can look it up on Autozone.

Common Jeep Liberty Transmission Problems

First Gen Transmission Problems (42RLE/45RFE/545RFE/NV1500/NV3550/NSG370)

The Jeep Liberty KJ was produced with a variety of transmission options. Most of the transmissions offered in this particular generation were manufactured by Chrysler, followed by New Venture Gear (Also produced by Chrysler) and Ultra-Drive. Although the engines offered in this mid-size SUV were pretty reliable, the transmissions weren’t so lucky, especially in the case of Chrysler gearboxes. Some of the more general problems faced by consumers include:

  • The Chrysler 42RLE Automatic gearbox faces some common issues, such as slipping between second and third gears, an imperative delay between shifts, earlier than expected transmission failures, and overheating issues, etc.
  • Apart from a few associated quirks here and there, the older 45RFE transmission generally holds a good relationship with the masses.
  •  Plenty of users have also faced jerking problems with the automatic transmission, whereby the car would upshift with a certain jerk. Constant grinding while gear shifting was also faced in rather rare cases.
  • In some cases, the manual transmission is locked up in gear while driving, which puts the drivers at the stake of getting rear-ended.

Second Gen Transmission Problems (42RLE/W5A580/NSG370)

The second and last generation of the Jeep Liberty (KK) carried a few transmissions over from its predecessor. These include the Chrysler 42RLE and NSG370. The W5A580, however, is sourced from Mercedes Benz, and it is a transmission that has frequently been used in various classes of Benz. General problems of the 42RLE were either fixed or fortunately saved from the limelight. Nonetheless, some of the fundamental issues remained. The new automatic transmission from Mercedes is an excellent transmission with numerous positive reviews and experiences. Anyway, some general transmission problems reported by people regarding this generation of the Liberty are:

  • The automatic transmission doesn’t account for smooth shifting at all times. It also makes a grinding noise when the 4WD system is engaged.
  • Some users faced a problem where the gear won’t shift into Park, despite putting it into the ‘P’ position. In such cases, the car proceeded to roll forward/reverse while being in Park.
  • In rather rare cases, the automatic transmission had to be fixed repeatedly due to torque converters going bad and similar electrical issues.

Difference between Jeep Liberty Transmissions

The following table compares the significant transmissions used in Jeep Liberty.

ModelDrivetrainMaximum Engine TorqueGross Vehicle Weight
4-Speed Ultra-Drive 42RLE AutomaticRWD191 Nm2210 kg
4-Speed Chrysler 45RFE AutomaticRWD 298 Nm2210 kg
5-Speed Chrysler 545RFE AutomaticAWD410 Nm 2520 kg
5-Speed New Venture Gear NV1500 ManualAWD224 Nm 2359 kg
6-Speed Chrysler NSG370 ManualAWD410 Nm2520 kg

Transmission Fluids and the Jeep Liberty

Transmission fluids control the efficiency, performance, and reliability of your car’s transmission. That is why it is necessary to keep track of service intervals and change the fluids within due time.

OEM-recommended transmission fluids for the NV3550 Manual transmission include the Mopar Manual Transmission Lubricantand GM Synchromesh Transmission Fluid. For the NSG370 Manual gearbox by Chrysler, the only fluid to be used is characterized as MS-9224 (MS-9224 Compatible Fluid). This is to ensure the avoidance of premature wear and tear.

Chrysler’s 42RLE Automatic, 45RFE Automatic, and 545RFE Automatic transmissions need to use their fluid; designated as ATF+4 Synthetic Type 9602 (MS-9602 Fluid).

For the Mercedes Benz W5A580 automatic transmission, a suitable ATF+4 transmission fluid is recommended.

Sources