Probably about 2 months ago my Jeep started making sporadic noises from somewhere in the transmission area. It's pretty hard to describe the noise but I would say it's a loud whiney noise with another lower pitched and lower volume grumble. It happened for a few weeks from time to time with no real obvious impact on performance. One week I had the check engine light come on and I noticed while highway driving it was "hiccuping". I was going maybe 70-75 and the RPM's were occasionally dropping a couple hundred and then right back up. Took it in the shop and they were unable to recreate the noise (I've now noticed it seems to happen more often after driving for an hour or two). Pulled the codes on the CEL and it was for the throttle position sensor and the cruise control which both checked out ok. They cleared the CEL and it hasn't come back on since. I'm still having problems with the noise out of the transmission and if I've already damaged it I want to do whatever I can to minimize it.
I found the thread below the other day and it sounds like the guy is having the same noise although worse than me. I have had it off-road including some pretty serious mudding back in early March where I got stuck for a little bit (because of the soft mud, not engine related) and it's entirely possible I have crap in there.
Question is....what should I do from here? Should I flush the transmission fluid? I've heard the same thing the guy in the thread mentioned that if you have a dying transmission then changing the fluid can sometimes put it over the edge. Should I just drop the pan and see what it looks like? I've checked the color and level from the dipstick and everything looks good.
Disclaimer: I know a helluva lot more about computers than cars, part of my reason for buying the TJ was so I can learn some of this stuff. Pretend like I have no clue about anything car related.
funky noise coming from what I think is the transmission
change fluid/just drop pan?
don't want to make it worse