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A4LD Automatic Transmission woes.

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by E-Tramp, February 21, 2019.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. E-Tramp

    E-Tramp New Member

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    Recently my transmission has started to act a bit weird. When the Transmission is cold, it doesn't want to shift out of 1st gear. It generally takes 3\4 of a mile to a mile for the transmission to warm up and begin to shift normally. I went to the local Ford garage, and the trans guy told me to pull the valve body and clean it as it may be the problem. Did that, no change, and I did note that there was some black sediment in it, as well as what appeared to be some very fine bronze also. I assume this is normal for 20 thousand miles since the last filter and oil change, and cleaned it up. Still the transmission has to warm up before it will shift. Has anyone had experience with this problem before, and have an idea what might be causing it?

    Where should I look to explain the resistance to a proper shift. To get it to shift before the 3/4 mile 1 mile mark I have to accelerate past red line on the tach and it then wants to shift all at once and I think skips gears when it finally does. Once warmed up, it shifts normally.
     
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  3. 410Fortune

    410Fortune Firewood Season Staff Member Moderator

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    The A4LD has a vacuum modulator and a kick down cable. You should check the vacuum feed that goes to the passenger side of the transmission and make sure it is plugged in
    You can also pull the hose and see if it has ATF inside of it, if it does you need a new modulator. The vacuum line connects to the rear of the upper intake manifold, make sure it is in good shape.
    the kick down cable is adjustable at the firewall near the throttle cable, good idea to have a look at the cable and operation, make sure it is hooked up and working
     
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  4. ~X~

    ~X~ Elite Explorer

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    Along what 410Fortune said, do a search for "A4ld governor" in the 1st gen forums.
    Good luck.
     
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  5. FR-425

    FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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    Yep, governor
     
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  6. E-Tramp

    E-Tramp New Member

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    OK, I would like to say that I think from what I have read here, that the governor is the culprit, but, I would still like to check out the modulator. The one problem I am finding is that I can't find any photos of where to look for or what I would see other than that the modulator is apparently on the passenger side of the transmission. Photos would be helpful. Any threads that have those would be helpful. Also, where does the vacuum line come into the intake manifold, left front, right front, left rear, right rear? On a guess I would look on the left rear/passenger rear side, shortest distance for the vacuum line.
     
  7. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    @E-Tramp
    It would look something like this:

    • [​IMG]
    Screws into the transmission case, vacuum hose connects to the tube in the center. This particular one has an adjustment screw within the vacuum connection. If any fluid at all is found in the vacuum hose, the diaphragm within the unit is leaking; replace the unit. imp
     
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  8. FR-425

    FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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    Note: If you change the vacuum modulator make sure you get one that comes with the push pin.
    The pin will stay in the trans when you pull the vac mod, you need a pair of forceps to pull it out.
    41LRalDfhCL.jpg
     
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  9. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    To improve shifting of the A4LD, you can swap that modulator pin for a longer one. I did that for both of my 1st gen's, it helped. I got the pins from a local trans shop, took in the old one and asked for one at least 1/8" longer. They gave me two, from some old Chrysler trans models. They were a little too long and I had to cut them down a bit, and file(round) the end to match the original shape. Make them 1/8" longer than stock, I forgot where I heard that tip, that was in 1998 I believe.
     
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  10. davidk

    davidk Elite Explorer

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    Thanks, guys. I've copied this and put it in my "for when you have problems with your A4LD" file.

    I can probably borrow a roach clip from my next door neighbor to pull out the pin. :p
     
  11. ~X~

    ~X~ Elite Explorer

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    This pic from @JK080.

    If the measurement is correct you could make one from a drill bit shank using a micrometer to get the length & diameter correct. I also read (I think in a post from Don) that a pin from a Dodge trans can be substituted.

    I'm still thinking it's the governor.

    A4LD Modulator pin~01.JPG
     
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  12. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The modulator pin is a mild steel that is easy to cut or file. I wouldn't use a drill bit given how strong and brittle they are. In most good sized towns, there should be a trans shop that will sell or give you an old longer pin to work with.
     
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  13. FR-425

    FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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    Also most aftermarket modulators are adjustable to account for pin wear.
     
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  14. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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  15. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    Yes, I think those were a new thing about 20 years ago. Definitely get the adjustable version, and spend the time to adjust it to your liking, shift quality.
     
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  16. Dora 1993

    Dora 1993 New Member

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    I've had this problem before too. Obviously it needs work but something you can do to tide yourself over until it gets fixed is manually shift from 1 into 2 and then drive when it's cold. That should force it to shift despite the sticky governer.
     
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  17. E-Tramp

    E-Tramp New Member

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    Hadn't even tried that Dora, but makes sense. As it stands I think you all gave me all the information I need here. Now I need time and cooperative weather to get it done. I will check the modulator and see if it has any indication of a problem, though I doubt that it will. Much more convinced that it is the governor and even remember where that is from when I had the whole tranny apart for a rebuild about 4 years ago. Would rather not have to take the transfer case and the drive line and la di da da, but, that is where I am pretty sure the problem is. Thanks for everything guys (and gals?). Great site.
     
  18. E-Tramp

    E-Tramp New Member

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    Oh, by the way, didn't even know about the access panel in the floorboard. Never had a car that had that before.
     

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