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94 XLT won't go into gear all of a sudden..

Discussion in 'Elite Explorer 911!' started by ericxlt, December 12, 2004.

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    1. ericxlt

      ericxlt New Member

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      Hey all,
      Great site. I usually try to do my homework and read tons of archives to find the answers to my problem, but this time I can't find it. My 94 XLT A4LD won't engage ANY gears all of a sudden. I've never had this problem before; no slippage either. Fluid looks like it could use a change, but isn't too low or anything. I checked the linkage, that seems to be good...is there a vacuum line that could be leaking? When it's in any gear (including reverse) and I rev it up, it creeps forward VERY slightly... That's it.
      no leakage from underneath, either. Seems like something came off, it was that sudden.
      Could it be something dumb? IS there a vac line? The backup lights come on when in reverse, are these triggered by the selector on the column, or by the tranny ACTUALLY going into reverse?
      At least it died in the garage, we've gotten about 6 inches of rain in the last 48 hours!- but i gotta get to work in the morning.

      TIA,
      Eric
       
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    3. Brain

      Brain Active Member

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      Eric, I wish I could help get you to work tomorrow but that probably isn't in the cards. There is a vacuum line that runs to a vacuum modulator, but all that would change is your shift points (having it disconnected would make your tranny think that your are at wide open throttle, which would delay upshifts until higher RPMs are reached). There is a neutral safety switch, but not a "reverse" switch even though reverse is selected and applied through the tranny.

      When you say that it creeps forward in any (including reverse) gear, do you mean that it goes forward when in reverse?

      The manual says that no engagement or drive in forward (any position) or reverse can be caused by:
      1 - improper fluid level
      2 - low main control pressure
      3 - mechanical damage

      That is pretty vague, but it could be a couple of simple things. Have you ever changed the filter? Have you ever had the tranny worked on before? Did you do some engine maintenece before this happened? Does it work in any half-shift or partial-shift positions (such as halfway between 2 and 1)? Do you have access to a transmission pressure gauge? -> Something like this one:
      http://www.etoolcart.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=788
       
    4. ericxlt

      ericxlt New Member

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      Hey Brain,
      Thanks for the reply. To answer your questions:
      "When you say that it creeps forward in any (including reverse) gear, do you mean that it goes forward when in reverse?"

      Yes, it creeps forward in reverse (very slightly)

      "The manual says that no engagement or drive in forward (any position) or reverse can be caused by:
      1 - improper fluid level
      2 - low main control pressure
      3 - mechanical damage

      That is pretty vague, but it could be a couple of simple things. Have you ever changed the filter?"

      No, in fact, I've barely ever touched this rig in the year I've owned it (except for oil changes).

      "Have you ever had the tranny worked on before? Did you do some engine maintenece before this happened? Does it work in any half-shift or partial-shift positions (such as halfway between 2 and 1)? Do you have access to a transmission pressure gauge?"

      No to ALL the above. I guess I should do a filter/fluid change anyway, but time is limited and unless that might get it going again, I'd like to pursue other possible solutions. (though it looks like that's about the only quick/easy one...)
      Is there a step by step thread on that somewhere?

      Thanks for all the help.

      There's no obvious mechanical damage externally, it's not liked I took it out and rolled it or anything. One minute it's fine, next minute it doesn't engage.
      As for control pressure, is there a way to check that line? (without waiting for a guage?)
       
    5. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      Given your most recent accounting, I'm wondering if the manual valve has become unhooked from the Z link. Othwerwise is would sound very much like low line pressure.
      The creep forward while in reverse was what made me think your manual valve might be unconnected to the shift mechanism.
       
    6. Brain

      Brain Active Member

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      I agree...it sounds like you were trying to put it into gear (reverse?) and the linkage came unhooked. To verify that this is the problem you have to remove the transmission pan (and this is also how you drain the fluid). If you decide to do this yourself, you might want to think about changing the filter at the same time (killing two bords with one stone). The Fram filter kit has everything you need for the filter change (Filtran brand filter, bolt, bolt spacer, pan gasket, and the two o-rings). For info on the z-link check out post #57 here (lots of pics so it might take a while to load):
      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113354&page=3&pp=20

      Be sure not to overfill the tranny after you put the pan back on. I found it easiest to put the bolts through the holes in the pan and gasket and then raise it up instead of trying ot position then and then put the bolts in. The gasket should hold the bolts up.
       
    7. ericxlt

      ericxlt New Member

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      Thanks, guys..off to the store for parts/fluid...
      Any recommendations as to fluid?
      BTW, the external linkage looks good, the actuating arm on the outside of the tranny is connected, and as I mentined the backup lights come on in reverse; does that mean
      the linkage is okay?
       
    8. Brain

      Brain Active Member

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      The external linkage may look OK, and even if you disconnect the cable and shift it by hand it may feel OK (the rooster comb looking thing having a spring with a roller going into the notches on the rooster comb) but that doesn't mean the internal linkage is OK. There is only one way to make sure, and I'm afraid that is to looks at it directly with the pan off. There is a pressed on clip that sometimes comes off and allows the z-link to become disconnected from the shift valve, so look for it in the pan if it isn't on there.

      Dextron/Mercon III is the right fluid to use for the A4LD (brand is up to you). Without removing the torque converter (which you won't), 4-5 quarts should be plenty to get it back up to the proper level. Be sure not to overfill it and to do the final fluid level check when it is level with the engine running and warm (shift slowly through all the gears and then put it in park).

      I use a plastic trashcan lid as a big drain pan because after you have the pan off the whole bottom will continue to seep fluid until you get it put back on.
       

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