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so I submarined my JK

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Old 06-19-2017, 12:36 PM
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darien99
5 hours ago #1
so I submarined my JK
On Sat I was doing a water crossing which ended up being a little too deep when I got caught in a rut. Water entered the cab to a level halfway up the speaker grill. I turned off the engine and was able to get winched out, but sat in the water about 5 minutes. Water drained out of the cab, pulled the spark plugs which were dry. There was a little water in the intake though, the air filter was wet, and a smidge in the throttle body. A lot (I'd guess a gallon or two) came back out the tailpipe as things drained out.

Cranked the engine over and it started, but transmission was stuck in limp mode (P R N D illuminated on dash) and engine light on. Started driving back out of the trail, got a quarter mile before stalling out. Got it started again, soldiered on, died a short bit later. Finally had someone pull me to the trail head (which was harrowing, for sure).

Popped the hood and there was some milkshake blowby out of the intake. Had to run to town and get some oil, air filter, and oil filter and drained about 2 gallons!! of milkshake out of the engine. Engine seemed to run fine at that point, although there was a (new) engine rattle at startup that lasts about a second. Seems like a small bit of oil came out of the rear main, but no noticeable leaks from that after changing the oil.

Ran in limp mode the 40 or so miles back to town. Trans temp held pretty steady at 170, engine temp pegged halfway or so on the gauge. The headlights freaked out for the first 10 minutes or so, turning on and off, hazards on and off, wiper occasionally turning itself on. Seemed to be better by the time I got back to town though.

So here's where I'm at. I know I need to change the trans fluid, differential oil, and engine oil again. I'm also planning on pulling all the interior electrical connectors and spraying them with wd40 / dialectric grease to hopefully solve some of these electrical gremlins. My major concern at this point is the transmission which will not come out of limp mode, despite resetting the battery a number of times. I know these are electronically controlled, and there can be a number of things that can stick it into limp mode, so where should I start? I'd guess with the transmission computer which I understand is under hood attached to the wiper fluid res?

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am sure that this will eventually have to go to the dealer but I'd like to keep the costs as low as I can by doing what I can first.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:22 PM
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My. Biggest. Fear.

Sorry to hear that....hurt just reading it. Subscribed to see the suggestions and outcome.
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:55 AM
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Sorry to hear about this, Darien. I don't have a specific suggestion about your auto trans (I'm a lifetime manual driver), but you haven't mentioned the TIPM, yet. Control for pretty much everything electrical runs through it. Recommend that you pull it, clean up each of its seven connectors, and maybe use a bit of dielectric grease on them. Some folks say don't use the grease on the actual contacts because it is an insulator, which is true. However, if that grease causes electrical problems, then you didn't have a good mechanical connection for the contacts, so it needed repair anyway. Also, WD-40 is a conductor. Recommend you use an electrical contact cleaner instead. Also, check each of the fuses and relays in the TIPM, and if water entered there, pull all of them and clean it up. The TIPM lid does have a seal, but there are a couple other paths for water to flow up there.
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Doiron View Post
Sorry to hear about this, Darien. I don't have a specific suggestion about your auto trans (I'm a lifetime manual driver), but you haven't mentioned the TIPM, yet. Control for pretty much everything electrical runs through it. Recommend that you pull it, clean up each of its seven connectors, and maybe use a bit of dielectric grease on them. Some folks say don't use the grease on the actual contacts because it is an insulator, which is true. However, if that grease causes electrical problems, then you didn't have a good mechanical connection for the contacts, so it needed repair anyway. Also, WD-40 is a conductor. Recommend you use an electrical contact cleaner instead. Also, check each of the fuses and relays in the TIPM, and if water entered there, pull all of them and clean it up. The TIPM lid does have a seal, but there are a couple other paths for water to flow up there.
Thanks for the advice, Mark. I have a feeling that the TIPM is a lot of the issue, given the electrical problems I had driving it home. There's almost a certainty that some water made its way inside. I plan on pulling it out and giving it a shot with a can of compressed air (I don't have a compressor at my apartment) to blow out what I can for moisture. Is electrical contact cleaner ok to just spray into the fuse recesses?

I also need to pull the dash and air the connectors for the HVAC, ect. Will use the contact cleaner on those as well if that's your recommendation.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:46 AM
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Electrical contact cleaner should be fine. Read the warnings on the can, in case there's some word about plastics or such. But, it should evaporate almost immediately, so retained moisture shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:56 PM
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So I started working on it today. Pulled apart all the electronics I could get to inside the cab that I know were underwater, from the consul up to the HVAC controls. The console was a bitch to get out. Sprayed the connectors with electrical cleaner and followed with blowing it out with compressed air.

Removed the TIPM, sprayed the connectors and disassembled. Tore it down and spread between the sandwich boards, sprayed the fuses as well. I've got it all back together now, just have to put it back in the Jeep. I did notice that the speed fuses are discolored, I think I'm just going to replace those. Tomorrow reassemble, change fluids, pull codes and see what happens.
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Old 06-24-2017, 02:06 PM
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:04 PM
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Update -


Got the cleaned TIPM back in and reinstalled all the electrical. Fluids changed - engine oil looked fine but only had about 100 miles on it and I know it was low. Front diff was pretty nasty, but not much weeped out of the fill hole so it couldn't have been too much water in there. Rear diff looked pretty great, which is weird because the Jeep was submerged above the tail lights. A decent amount of gunk on the magnetic plugs though.


Checked codes with Autel scanner, only U0103 (U0103 Lost Communication with Gear Shift Control (GSC) Module) comes up, no engine codes. Tried to clear with scanner but won't clear, trans still in limp mode with PRND illuminated, engine light on, and "vehicle not in park" message.


At this point there's not too much more I can do with hand tools in my apartment complex driveway, so I think it'll have to go off to the dealer for a trans flush (fluid looks good and about the right level, but better safe than sorry) and for diagnosis. I imagine the shift module needs to be flashed if it's replaced.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:47 PM
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Best of luck!

Just for kicks, I Googled this problem...and it doesn't look good.

You seem to have had good advice and you've certainly got the understanding and knowledge...so I hope the flush works...and that whatever else you need isn't too expensive.

Had an '84 Montero burn on me...I caught it and extinguished it outside of 29 Palms. Seems about a million years ago. Virtually all of the plastic parts under the hood were cooked...caught when the oil pressure sending unit broke and it began squirting oil onto the hot exhaust manifold, as I recall.

It was repaired under warranty. Took a long time.

My father-in-law's words - he was a dealer - still ring in my ears, "I hate to tell you this, but you should have just let the son-of-a-bitch burn."

It went back a few days after I got it back, for a dead short someplace. I sold it shortly afterwards.

I hope you have better luck!!

Last edited by Juan Loboe; 07-01-2017 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Loboe View Post
Best of luck!

Just for kicks, I Googled this problem...and it doesn't look good.
Thanks for the kind words, Juan.

Further update - dropped it off at the dealer, $150 for diagnosis. They find the same U0103 code, as well as codes for the HVAC and Hands Free module. The codes for the HVAC and Hands Free are active and stored, according to the dealership but also reports that the HVAC is functional, both heat and a/c.


Had them replace the Gear Shift module, which ends up being the entire gear shift in fact. Cost was 250, plus two hours of labor (ugh) as well as the $150 for diagnosis, for a total of 550 or thereabouts. They wanted another 550 or so for the handsfree (apparently the module is 400 or so) and 150 for the HVAC controls. Since the HVAC is working (they said it may be an issue down the line) and I can live without bluetooth / hands free I opted not to have them do those, as if needed I can replace those in 15 minutes.


Apparently the gear shift module fixed the issue with limp mode, which was my major concern. I'll take it somewhere else and have the transmission flushed on the way home.


It's sort of a mixed bag of feelings - I'm grateful that the engine and transmission are OK. I was fairly sure that the gear shift module was an issue given the code that registered and the fact that the console was under water, but I couldn't be positive. The part was marked up about $100 over what I could have purchased it for, and 2 hours for labor when the console was already apart (I didn't put it back together before I took it into the dealer) for a 10 minute job is kind of a kick in the nuts. Still, I suppose I should count my blessings.


Since it seems like I'm mostly out of the woods, here are the two photos I have from the event so people can cast their stones.

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