Sunday, January 16, 2011

Transmission

Introduction

In 2005 Ford introduced the five-speed "Torqshift" automatic transmission with Tow/Haul feature. The Tow/Haul setting is used when towing a car or trailer, or in hilly terrain to improve transmisison shifting. For better fuel economy it should be de-activated when not needed, and it should NOT be used in slippery conditions; the engine braking feature could cause loss of control.

Maintenance

Along with regular oil changes with synthetic, use the best quality filter possible. Stay away from Fran and other discount store cheapies. The filters with the highest ratings are the Amsoil and Mobil 1 @ $11.00 ea ( they are not widely available) and the Purolator "Pure One" @ $6.00ea.

A point of information about automatic transmission fluid (ATF). It should never look dirty the way that motor oil does. If changed regularly, ATF should look about the same coming out as going in. Make sure the filter gets change at the same time.

Ford has an auxiliary spin-on transmission filter kit available for the older 4R100 transmission that is more effective than the stock filter. It filters the oil flowing through the trans cooler. Installation is within the range of the do it yourself mechanic. Similar kits are available in the after market.

The build quality and replacement cost of the new engines and transmissions make taking the extra steps to preserve them worthwhile.

Problems

Torque Converter

The older 4R110 transmission has several inherent flaws. First the torque converter is very weak and can come apart. Second the planetary gears inside are of a poor design and usually fail around 100K or less. Further, there is a snap ring that fails because Ford did not machine a groove in the casing deep enough. There are other "widgets" that are of poor design and usually cause some type of failure - one is a diode whose failure is quite common.

The transmission can be repaired to last the lifetime of your L/D. But it is REALLY important to have someone work on it who knows their stuff. If not you'll have to do a expensive repair all over again! DO NOT go to a Ford dealer. They will just put in another transmission that will fail you down the road. I have heard horror stories of multiple failures. This is VERY costly as well as damn inconvenient. Ford doesn't fix the problems. Just rebuilds those transmissions with the same old parts.

Now as to who to see, I have personal experience with Team Ramco in Yuma, AZ (928) 344-5360. They are extremely thorough and a very clean shop. It took them 2 days to rebuild our tranny and I believe they will let you stay in your rig overnight. They are used to R/Vers. Also John Wood Automotive in Holtville CA (760) 356-9421 is a good rebuilder he does a lot of diesel work but can do your transmission.

It is VERY important that the repair facility flush the lines and heat exchanger to ensure proper flow rate and to remove all traces of residual material in the system.

BTW Ramco doesn't use synthetic ATF just plain Dexron III! Talk to Denny there he is really nice. I've used high quality synthetic and still had transmission failures

As to cost, expect to drop around $4,500.00 USD on this repair. Not cheap but this is one of those things not to do on the cheap.

Won't shift out of Park

The engine starts but you cannot get the Shift lever out of the PARK position to drive off.

- Put the key into the ignition

- Turn it forward(clockwise) to the position where the instrument lights come on...

- Back the key off one position (counter clockwise) & the shift lever frees & will allow going into Neutral & start the engine & shift further into D & Drive Off.

The cause was a defective Brake light switch connector that I replaced the next day.

Contributors: Larry Wade, John, Gene

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