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Manual to Auto transmission swap


NAXJA Forum User
Tucson Az
Hello all,

I have a 97 XJ 4.0 with an AX15 and a 231 tcase that I have been building and modifying for 10 years, and I want to swap to an AWD4 auto trans. I'm getting old and I don't like crawling with the manual anymore.
I have put a lot of work into it and I don't want to just swap for another rig.
I know it might seem easier to find an auto rig, but I have a lot of build in this one that I don't want to duplicate into another one.

With all that said, I have a opportunity to buy a 2000 drivetrain that includes everything, motor, trans, all the accessories, PCM, TCM, shift controller, harness, the works. Donor XJ is going LS1.

The questions;
Has anyone done this successfully and had a clean running rig? I am looking for a write up of someone who has done this before and I am having trouble finding one that is done clean without a lot of work arounds and backwards engineering.
I'm confident the motor and trans mechanically will fit in fine and will work, it should be pretty much pull out the old and drop in the new, maybe a shortened rear driveline or something else small I don't know about. Any thoughts of obscure things to consider?
My biggest concern is the electronics, mating a 2000 to a 1997 together that I want to try and find as much info as I can before I pull the trigger. Even though I will have a complete 2000 harness to swap in, at some point, something is gonna have to be mated together with the existing 1997.

If you have any advise or links to write ups, wiring diagrams ect, I would greatly appreciate it.
I did this swap a few decades ago, replacing the BA-10 5 speed with an AW4. This was on a 89 Laredo, so none of my tech/wiring would be applicable. You'll need to verify trans output shaft/ t-case input shaft spline count. They might be the same for manual and auto on the late model XJs; the early models used different spline counts for manual and auto.
Just remember 2000-01s seem to be more prone to electrical issues, are coil pack ignition, and the computer is going to be looking for those precats.
Thanks for that info. What do you mean by precats?
The California (2000-01) emissions model has 2 catalytic converters in the exhaust manifold before the collector.
The California (2000-01) emissions model has 2 catalytic converters in the exhaust manifold before the collector.
The cats are in the manifold? or in the exaust. I don’t have a cat on my rig now because we don’t have emissions out here, but if they are in the manifold, I might have to rethink a couple things.
There in the down pipe.
Note, the 0630 exhaust manifold is not compatible with a 0331 head!