Jeep Liberty 45RFE torque converter

Jeep Liberty 45RFE torque converter

The converter is marked with a white marker

Many requests have been made regarding the 45RFE converter. Shop owners are asking if problems are occurring after rebuild, and the common answer is ‘yes.’

It seems quite a few rebuilders are having clutch failures after rebuild. If you are one of them, listen carefully: Resurfacing the clutch piston should be done only by a chemical strip or sandblasted. Any attempt to machine the piston on a lathe usually results in an undesirable finish. The material is very hard and very difficult to machine properly. A coarse-blasted finish is the best finish available.

Using a Raybestos tan or Sonnax red liner will give you the correct coefficient of friction equivalent to the OEM.

Clutch clearance of 28-32 thousandths of an inch is satisfactory. More will give you undesirable lock-up feel, and less causes clutch overheating. It is absolutely necessary that the finish on the I.D. where the seal mates is polished with a mirrorlike finish. This prevents binding of the plastic conical (Available from Sonnax May 2004).

If you cannot wait for one, Midwest Converters does have aluminum replacements. Contact your Sonnax salesperson for availability.

The clutch mating surface should be machin ed on a lathe, rem oving as little material as p ossible. This a rea is very thin and is suspected of cracking similar to other Chrysler converters.

Balancing is also a common problem. Most balancer tooling is not available yet, and you will have to improvise by making your own. This converter is in need of careful rebalancing. More than fifteen grams out of balance will result in a vibration.

You must also balance the turbine and clutch together or mark the two pieces before disassembly and reassemble accordingly (see photo).

The turbine spline is another area of concern. A replacement piece that is heat treated would be helpful here. This item is also available from Sonnax.

Finally, the impeller hub should only be replaced if necessary. It seems this is a case where if it is good, simply reuse the part. Hub location on welding seems to be difficult for several rebuilders tha have treid T.I.R. seems to be very critical. Good luck to rebuilders.


Found in issue May 2004