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A4LD slips when cold

Discussion in 'Explorer & Ranger Transmissions, Transfer Cases, &' started by greydawg, September 16, 2007.

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    1. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      A4LD tranny problem.

      Tranny slips when cold, most often not engaging in low (reverse is fine; so far no issues at all in reverse). Sometimes problems from 1st to second. Usually when warm operates normally, though occasionally will slip. I have dropped tranny pan, replaced filter, cleans thin film of gunk from pan. Found no chunks or pieces, just fine film. Replaced drained fluid with Mobile 1 ATF. Old fluid looked pretty good. Next, added external filter. Then used the disconnect tranny line & pump out fluid into measured gal jug one quart at a time, replacing 12 quarts with Mobile 1 ATF. Next, followed method of tightening bands in other posts on this forum. Loosened lock nut, tightened bolt to 120 in/lb then backed off 2.0 turns. Did both front and rear bolts.

      After this work, tranny still slips. It seems like problem actually got worse after doing all of this.

      Searching seems to indicate valve body kit/replacement might be next. Have read this may not be fully beneficial without a tranny rebuild.

      Any ideas? Thanks.
       
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    3. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      Question?

      Anybody out there?
       
    4. bad tranny

      bad tranny New Member

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      i had this same problem with mine way before i tore it out but mine fixed its self i got it to hot on a trail it leaked about two quarts of fluid out i added two quarts when i limped it to a gas station and from then on it worked great lol i know thats not any good advice there but those trannys have a bad reputation mine sure couldn't handle what i put it through
       
    5. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    6. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      Thanks for the input.

      Thanks Bad and Brooklyn, for the input. Problem seems to vary from day to day and with the air temp. I am not looking forward to the cold winter. I now have some more things to look at: modulator, govenor.
       
    7. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    8. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      Modulator shows no obvious signs

      Checked the modulator today. Pulled vacuum line and found it dry, no tranny fluid in the line. Started the motor and found good vacuum at the line.

      Can the modulator be bad without leaking fluid?
       
    9. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      Not likely. It would be possible for the throttle valve to becomes stuck but I'd not rate that as a high probability if the modulator has been working.
       
    10. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      Update on tranny shifting problem. Read a post about A4LDs being finicky about fluid levels (sorry, don't remember the poster). As previously stated, all my efforts to improve shifting seemed to make things worse. Well, one common denominator in my work was chances to change fluid level. Thinking at last check fluid was a little low, I added about 10 ozs of Mobile 1 ATF. What a difference. The first day I experienced no shifting problems at all!. I thought I had the solution. Well, not so fast. It still occasionally pops up, but overall the shifting is much better. However, a check of fluid level revealed a slight over-fill, maybe a pint. This weekend I plan to drain enough to bring it as close to full mark a possible and try a test run.

      I wonder how many unnecessary tear-downs result from over and under filling?

      Will keep you posted. Anyone else have experiences with fluid levels? Anyone think I am just plain nuts?
       
    11. Exploderpilot

      Exploderpilot Well-Known Member

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      you know, when i read the title to this thread, my first reaction was something along the lines of, yes, they do.
       
    12. billz260

      billz260 Member

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      Any update greydawg?

      I've been having simular issues, checked level and adjusted to temporarily correct the problem. I've got 145K on mine, and have done nothing to it other than a new filter and flush at around 60K. I guess it wouldn't hurt to have that done again.
       
    13. greydawg

      greydawg New Member

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      Hi Billz,

      Not a lot to add at this point. I did pump out some fluid and re-fill as close to the full marker as possible. Did not notice any real improvement overall, but shifting was better than when a little low.

      I have learned that a warm-up (5-8 mins) prior to driving does help a lot. During the cold days of winter this is not a bad thing anyway. Received a remote start kit for xmas and this makes it easy to start up a few minutes before leaving.

      After a warm-up it seems to slip once (usually during or just before the 1st-2nd shift), then after grabbing hold it doesn't (usually) slip again during the trip. Also, if air temp is around 40 or more problem is far less noticable. One other thing, using [D] instead of [O] around town also seems to reduce the times slippage occurs.

      Current plans are to check fluid again (it has been a month or so) and perhaps add a few ozs for a slight over-fill. Other than that, drive as-is through the winter then in the spring revisit the issue.

      Anyone else with ideas please jump in and add some comments.
       
    14. old409

      old409 New Member

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      I'm having the same problem on cold days. It slips when pulling out in low and once it warms up after 2 or 3 stops, it works perfect. My tranny is a used one that I put in last summer. It worked fine until cold weather set in.

      A couple things I'm wondering about,,,, 1.not sure I got the right dipstick, fluid level could be off , the tubes and sticks were different. My truck is an 89 and the trans I put in was from a 1990. 2. When I put the tranny in I put a quart of Lucas Trans. in it and it was awful thick. Could cold weather affect the viscosity and keep it from shifting correctly until it warms up?

      Question. Can you do a valve body rebuild on these without taking the trans out?
       
    15. PDH

      PDH New Member

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      Yes, the valve body on your 1990 A4LD can be removed and rebuilt without pulling the tranny off the vehicle. It's accessible after removing the tranny pan. Glacier991 has some excellent threads posted describing exactly how to rebuild the A4LD valve body.
       
    16. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    17. old409

      old409 New Member

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      Thanks, I was all through this last summer when my tranny quit on me. I came across a good used set up that included a 2.9 motor, a4ld, transfer case, both shafts and a lot of other parts for $185. It was from a totaled 1990 and I was looking for the quickest way out.

      The master plan was to rebuild the original tranny over the winter but I'm 65 and have disabling spinal arthritis and my joints don't start oiling until the temperature gets above 90. I thought if I had a tranny ready to go I would never need it.

      I was looking at valve body kits and one said it was only for a tranny out of the truck rebuild. I thought I had seen different last summer.Glad to find that's not so. I have Glacier's info marked on I bought all the a4ld info there was. Back a few years ago I used to rebuild TorqueFlites for drag cars and did a Packard UltraMatic. Guess maybe it has been more than a few years. Anyway, thanks for the info. It's sure nice to have a place like this and you young guys that know what's going on.
       
    18. billz260

      billz260 Member

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      I added a 1/2 quart this weekend and it's doing alot better. Sub Freezing temps last couple of days and this morning I pulled right out of the drive way with NO warm up at all :)

      I do plan on having it flushed soon.
       
    19. old409

      old409 New Member

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      I put a quart of fluid in mine and it straightened right out. It measures as a little above full but when I put this tranny in, I noticed the dipstick and tube were different. Seems as though it has to be a little over to work correctly. It's been a couple days now and it's still working good.
       
    20. stev0n

      stev0n Active Member

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      i have the SAME problem. mine only slips for a few mins in the cold.

      start up. back out (sometimes takes a sec to pop in reverse.) put in drive sometimes takes a sec). go to stop sign (takes a moment to downshift to first - feels like its halfway stuck between first and second.) after five mins or so of driving...it's fine.

      SPECS:
      1) only happens when cold outside
      2) tranny was professionally rebuilt about 4 months ago
      3) hitting the gas will make it automatically kick into gear.
      4) i try to always keep the tranny just a tiny bit above full
       
    21. billz260

      billz260 Member

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      When everything is cold, I don't think the pump is producing enough pressure to get the fluid through the valve body to engage the clutches or whatever for 1st gear. I don't know if that would be because the fluid is to thick when it's cold or if pump seals shrink up and allow the pump to scavange or what. Not really sure how any of that works.

      I do know if i rev it up in neutral, then let it back down to idle, she goes right in to gear every time. I think the trans fluid pressure just isn't enough when it's cold out. Could be stuck valve body pieces, too viscous t-fluid, or something else, but I still think a flush would clear it out. Seems to be starting to warm up though, so maybe I can get through the summer w/ out it :confused:
       
    22. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    23. old409

      old409 New Member

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      You can try a flush but I just put my tans in last Fall and it had new fluid, filter, etc. and it still slips when first starting out on cold days. I mentioned about putting an extra quart of fluid and it stopping the slipping. Somebody else mentioned about the pump not working right. Now I'm thinking maybe the extra fluid may override the slow pump .

      I don't reccomend overfilling your trans. I only did because I wasn't sure I had the correct dipstick in mine after the changeover last Fall. I'm planning on rebuilding the trans I took out and if this one lasts until I can get my grandson's Talon back on the road, I'll be happy. He needs transportation for college and for now all I want to do is keep the old A4LD moving.
       
    24. Blacksheep Josh

      Blacksheep Josh Slinky+Escalator=Fun Elite Explorer

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      eh, a4ld... gives me nightmares just thinking of when mine is going to go... replaced it a few years ago, tranny has about 40-45 thousadn miels on it... still goign good, i just hate knowing it's gonna go eventually.
       
    25. highwaystar

      highwaystar New Member

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      Guys, my '93 explorer 2WD 150k. has been doing this for years. When cold, I try to start out in OD, but the A4LD will not shift out of 1st. I have to shift to 2nd to get the A4LD out of 1st & into 2nd. Then, I have to drive in 2nd for 5 minutes then shift to D or OD for the A4LD to shift properly. I replaced the modulator valve, filter & fluid last July, but no change. I have to go through this procedure every time I drive the damn thing! Please help!!
       
    26. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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