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Tranny disengages after 10 seconds

Discussion in 'Transmissions & Transfer Cases' started by theshadowmaker, July 13, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. theshadowmaker

    theshadowmaker New Member

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    1992 Eddie Baur
    Hi Guys, I am new to this forum, and to Explorers for that matter. After spending the last 5 or so hours reading & looking for a solution to my problem, I am both impressed with the wealth of knowledge here, and disappointed that I found no problem like mine.

    To start at the beginning, I bought my 1992 Explorer 2 months ago. I have been driving it daily, and really enjoying it. The only hint of tranny problems was that first thing in the morning when I started driving it, It did not want to upshift for about the first half mile, then, it would upshift and work flawlessly for the rest of the day. I assumed this was a symptom of a dirty filter, and that the cold fluid did not want to flow well through the filter. Once warm, the problem went away. I made a mental note to find time to change the filter.

    Yesterday, after driving all day, (I am a service tech, so I drive to jobs throughout the day) I was on the way home and got a phone call. I pulled over to take it, and the torque converter did not release, causing the vehicle to stall, just as if it were a standard tranny, and I didn't release the clutch. When I tried to go, the converter was still engaged, so, like others I read about here, the engine stalled when I put it in gear. I was on loose dirt and gravel, so, I decided to throttle it up a bit, not much, but enough to hopefully get moving. This worked, threw a little gravel, but, I was again on the way. 5 miles later, I pulled up to my mail box, and the converter behaved normally. I left the mailbox, headed the final mile toward home. About a half mile later it was as if I had shifted into neutral. Not slipping, just not engaged at all. I coasted to my driveway, stopped & tried all the gears. Nothing. I got out, engine still running, and checked the fluid level. Maybe a little more than half a quart down. I shut off the engine, and topped off the fluid. I started it again, and it engaged in all gear positions. Whew, I was thinking. Surprised being just that low would cause such odd problems. Not so lucky.
    This morning, I get in and head off to work. 1/4 mile down the road, it disengages again. I pull over, shut it off, & think for a few minutes. try starting it again, it engages solidly. I turn around, head for the driveway, it disengages again. I coast home, switch vehicles and go to work.

    Upon returning home, after reading for hours here, I try a few things for clarity. I can find no fluid in any vacuum lines. I can start the engine, cold or hot, and it will solidly engage, in any gear, forward or reverse, no apparent slipping for about 10 seconds, then, it is like I put it into neutral. It wont go in any gear. If I shut it off for 2 minutes, it will engage again, cold, or hot.
    For awhile my reading was making me think throttle position sensor, as it can cause torque converter lock up issues. But, then, I read that other than not releasing, that should only be a problem at speed, and even if all electronics were disconnected, the vehicle should move.
    Other than that, it is almost as if the tranny runs out of fluid in the pan after 10 seconds, then, it takes at least 2 minutes for enough of it to run back down to the pan to engage again. If I were out of fluid maybe, but, it is still full.
    Could it be the dirty filter? Hard to reason it, but I need to change it anyway, as long as I am not just wasting my time & money if it is a bigger problem.
    In the 2 months I have had this vehicle, the tranny has not slipped at all, and that is like 6 months driving for most, so, I just have a hunch that it is a good tranny, with some other issue.
    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. theshadowmaker

    theshadowmaker New Member

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    Update

    Well, I think Good news. When I seemed to get a lot of views on this topic, but, no opinions, I thought I might go out on a limb & try something. I took a plastic mallet & crawled under the truck. I tapped on the pan. Softly at first, then, when I was satisfied it was pretty sturdy, I gave it several good raps. I had planned to tap the case, but, it really is not that accessible. I got back in the truck, said a prayer, fired it up, put it in gear & waited. It stayed engaged. I shifted from forward to reverse & through all the gears for several minutes and all seemed well. I headed out on the road for a test drive. I made it about 3/4 mile before it started to slip a bit. I coasted the last quarter to my mailbox turn out & crawled back under to rap on the pan again. The truck engaged solid again, and gave no sign of slipping on the mile back home.
    I think that filter is quite dirty & I was able to break the gunk loose enough for the fluid to flow until it pulled the dirt back into place again. Either that, or something in the valve body is sticking, and the rapping broke it loose. Either way, a clean filter and a little (4 quarts) fresh fluid should help a lot. Even though I got no responses, Thank you all for the wealth of info on this site. My next project will be the transfer case selector motor bushing repair. :)
     
  4. PopRichie77

    PopRichie77 Well-Known Member

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    You will probably need more than 4 quarts of fluid, check the valve body bolts while your in there use a INCH LB torque wrench. Check the wires that goes to the solenoids for bare places the insulation comes off sometimes.
     
  5. theshadowmaker

    theshadowmaker New Member

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    All Good for now.

    Changed the filter and now it goes and shifts like new again.
    But Dang! that fluid was almost black, and full os metalic particles & sludge. I was scared to put any new in after reading about old trannys going bad with new fluid, so, I just poured the old stuff back in for now.
    The truck is running great now, but, I think I will look for another trans, either that, or trade it off depending on what a trannny will cost. This is a nice rig, but, I don't think it is worth putting a couple thousand into a '92.
    I did look over the wires, etc, and all look great. I thought about tightening the valve body bolts after I had the pan back on. Then, I read your post recommending it, oh well.
    Thanks again guys. :)
     
  6. PopRichie77

    PopRichie77 Well-Known Member

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    You still should have put new fluid in, machine flushes sometimes causes a problem.The trans holds 10 quarts of fluid, so adding 4 to 6 quarts of new fluid would have been much better for the trans.
     
  7. theshadowmaker

    theshadowmaker New Member

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    The old, new vs old fluid debate

    Yes, I tend to agree with you on the fresh oil benefits, and it went against every fiber in my being to pour that old stuff back in. I used to build race engines, and if we say even a trace of metal in the oil, it was panic time, lol. This fuid reminded me of metallic paint. There was no "gee, I wonder if that is metal" factor.
    There are very long threads on here about the pros and cons of changing the fluid out. I am, sure we do not need to restart that conversation here. Most who say don't flush out all of the fluid would agree with what you said about benefiting from the approx (actually, it was pretty close to exactly) 4 quarts of replacement fluid. That was actually my plan, but, when I saw all of that metal in the fluid, I kind of panicked. I was afraid, if that much stuff was in the fluid, how much more would wash away with the added detergent that would be in the new fluid? The transmission is obviously damaged as compared to one that would have been properly maintained and I really don't want to add it to the list of those that failed just shortly after a filter/fluid change. My way of thinking was if it was already working well with no slippage, or shifting problems with that nasty fluid, it should continue to do so once the filter was changed, and the sludge removed. After I filtered out the sludge, and lost some to spillage, the trans did end up with a quart of fresh fluid. Maybe it was a good decision, maybe it was not. Even when it fails, we won't really know if it would have been better the other way But I will say again, it sure did feel WRONG to pour that old stuff back in ;)
    Thanks again for your valued opinions.
     






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