This will explain how I managed to swap in an AW-4 Transmission from a 2001 Cherokee into my 97 Wrangler. I will try and provide pictures for every step of the process and well as explanations. I will also scan my notes and any documents that were helpful to me.

      I’m sorry for the long write up but I wanted to be thorough.

      Before we go much further let me explain how this project came to be. First off, the manual TJ is very fun to drive and sporty feeling around town. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way off road.  I have had many 4x4s over the years and have always preferred the autos, especially when doing the “FUN” stuff. The fun stuff being rocks and the technical trails.

      So, I knew that I wanted a auto in the TJ, but the question was what one. I did some research and found the most common was to find a wrecked auto TJ and do the swap with the stock auto trans. After driving one I knew that was out. I found the TF999 to be a lousy shifter and it really wound up the RPMs on the highway without a overdrive.

      I then read a very brief article about a company that was putting AW-4s in new Wranglers conversions. The AW-4 is the trans that has been in the XJ for years. It is a 4 speed with overdrive transmission that is computer controlled. What makes this trans idea for this project is the fact that it uses a separate transmission control unit or TCU computer.

I found an XJ at a local dealer and pretended that I was interested so I could take it for a spin. That was all I needed to make my decision. My TJ would get an AW-4 if it was possible.

      I contacted AEV to find out what was involved. The guys there were kind of helpful but kind of not. Let just say that they could have been “a little” more detailed. I can’t blame them after all they are trying to make money at this. I figured if they can do so can I.

      I could have paid them to modify (drill) the tail piece on the trans and to solder some of the wires together. I just didn’t think it was worth $450. After all I was doing all the real work and I’d still have to attach all those wires to the TJ. If you can do all that is required to do the swap then you can re-drill the tail piece and solder the wires too. They also said that they never had done a 97 and thought it might be different.



TJ AW-4 Auto Transmission Swap

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