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Trouble with AW4 pump bushing


NAXJA Forum User
This is going to be a decent length post....have more questions than answers. Jeep is a 99 XJ with an AW4.

Quick rundown of events: jeep drove fine for 2 years (how long we've had it). One day wheeling on a steep-sh incline it started puking fluid and making a noise that sounded like the engine threw a rod. Dropped the tranny back at home, pump seal was thrashed. Replaced the pump seal & TC, and overhauled the trans & valve body (clutches etc were 100% fine). Re-installed & drove fine till we hit a steep incline one day...same thing. Bad clatter noise & lost some fluid. Got off the incline, drove fine again. Then several weeks later it puked up fluid under moderate acceleration on the street, and lost 90% of it's power. Haven't tried to drive it since, and finally got to drop the transmission earlier today.

(1) the seal was no longer seated well. I KNOW it was installed well...or at least installed square & we drove it into the point where it just bottomed out. I've installed a couple seals before, and this one felt as good as any I've done. Nevertheless, we were able to push it back in with moderate force. That can't be right.

(2) I knew at the time the seal wasn't identical to the one we took out, but I couldn't locate one of those. Used Oreilly 223830 which it claimed to fit. I've since found one on Cobra transmission (part # 57070A) that looks more like what I removed.

(3) it would appear that the dimpled pump bushing is completely missing. We have another older AW4 in the garage to compare against and it does have this bushing, so that's probably a factor as well. The FSM doesn't mention the dimples nor is it pictured as such. The old bushing does not seem to want to fit over the TC shaft when I test fit it outside of the pump. I guess I expected it to be snug but to move freely. As it sits, I feel like it would be very hard to install the TC back into the trans if this is how snug the bushing fits.

(4) One of the locating dowels is gone and the other is slightly smashed, so I guess it's possible we have an engine/trans alignment problem? We knew it was missing initially but may have underestimated it's importance?

(5) I've read elsewhere that the clatter sound can be a cracked flex plate but I don't see any evidence of any issues there, but maybe I don't know what I'm looking for.

MY THEORY is that the combination of the missing locating dowels + the missing pump support bushing was enough to allow the TC enough axial play to not seal & cause the actual seal to walk outward. I don't have a theory on the clatter sound.

So regarding the bushing, is it supposed to be dimpled? IF it was spun prior to me getting it, do I need to be concerned that whatever that bushing seats in is now too wide? The old bushing we do have does not seem to want to slide over the torque converter shaft. That's essentially what needs to happen at install so I'm a little concerned that the test fit isn't fitting. But at the same time that old bushing seems to want to more or less fall into the pump bore, so either the bushing is legit too small OR the bore is in fact worn out preventing the bushing from seating.

Thanks for reading, lots of info & questions buried in there. Happy to be educated.

I have pics, but no idea how to post them here yet.