Transmission Speed Governor Woes

Found on the net

This reader's Ford Explorer had a problem with delayed shifting from first gear when the vehicle was cold. It demonstrates the need to get several opinions from the experts and to do sufficient reading on your problem such that it becomes evident to you that you really need to spend the big bucks. In this case it wasn't.

My son has a 93' Explorer with 75,000 miles. His transmission (auto) recently began sticking in 1st gear when first started in the morning (cold). Once the vehicle is driven 2-3 miles the transmission will start shifting to 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Several transmission shops recommending rebuilding the transmission at costs from $1,500 to $2,000. My son being an engineer reasoned that a sticking problem did not require a complete overhaul, so he drove it for six months until he could come to visit us in Houston. I went with him again to several shops and we got the same story, need an overhaul.

Our last visit was to a Ford dealer parts department for a factory manual, with hopes for information on transmission troubleshooting. While talking to the parts men I ask if they heard of the problem. I was told to see the service manager. He said that if the transmission fluid got dirty the close tolerance fit of the speed governor would cause sticking and cause the problem. The service manager printed a drawing and showed us how to fix the problem.

The governor is inside the tail shaft housing which can be removed without taking out the transmission. The governor is just a weight which is attached to a hydraulic piston which when pulled out by centrifugal force causes hydraulic control fluid pressure to be diverted to cause shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. A light spring pushed the weight/piston back when speed is reduced to allow downshift to 1st.

When we pulled the tail shaft housing we removed the weight/piston assembly and found them stuck in the aluminum housing. Once removed, cleaned and polished the assembly moved very smoothly. We change the output shaft seal (slight leakage), transmission filter, gasket and fluid. THE TRANSMISSION WORKED PERFECTLY !!! The transmission fluid was over due about 15,000 miles for a change. I believe the timing is 30,000 miles. My son learned the lesson of necessary maintenance.

Contributed by Edward

My 1992 4x4 Automatic Ford Explorer was experiencing "Morning Sickness". It wouldn't shift out of first until the tranny was warmed up. After reading about the common problem, I tried to solve it myself. Sounded easy. Just would have liked some more info.

So here is what I was missing. Cleaning the governor is about a 4 hour process. Maybe more or less depending on your workspace. I used a Mechanics bay and it took about 3 hours. The Governor is located in the extension housing of the transmission. To get to this you have to remove the transfer case. There are 5 bolts, each has thread lock on it. One bolt doesn't come out of the extension housing. The Transfer case weighs about 30-40 lbs. When it's removed, you'll lose about 1/2 quart of trans. fluid. Be careful not to tear the gasket between the transfer case and the extension. Once it is removed, fluid will start to leak out of an 1/16" hole. Plug it up with a punch or something. When you look into the extension housing, the governor is what you see. I also recommend getting a "transmission flush" before doing this. It should cost about $60.00 - $80.00. Drive your truck around for about 10-20 miles. This might unstick the governor. And you won't have to take everything apart. Plus, after you clean it, you won't have old dirty tranny fluid messing up what you cleaned. I highly recommend checking the shifting mechanism which is located on the left side of the transmission. If you do have to remove it because it is full of fluid, keep in mind that there is a pin on the module that can come loose and fall into the transmission while it is being removed.





Updated February 16, 2001

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