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2002 Explorer 2wd wont engage in reverse

Bob Explorer 200

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October 20, 2010
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City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
Two days ago, I started to back out of a parking space in my 2002 Explorer 2WD and it would hardly move. The forward gears seemed to engage without any trouble once I got it clear of the parking space. I managed to add a couple of quarts of Mercon V transmission fluid today (Not an easy thing to do with this year's model; no fill pipe up above so had to pump it in through the bottom of the transmission pan). Anyway, initially it started engaging in reverse and I thought the problem was solved. But today the same thing happened. Forward gears are engaging as usual but in reverse it either doesn't move at all or sometimes creeps along at a very weak snail's pace. So the car is useless right now. I'm 74 years old and I've got to get this fixed as soon as possible with the winter coming on.

Any help here will be very, very much appreciated.
 
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Bob Explorer 200

Active Member
Joined
October 20, 2010
Messages
53
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3
City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
Two days ago, I started to back out of a parking space in my 2002 Explorer 2WD and it would hardly move. The forward gears seemed to engage without any trouble once I got it clear of the parking space. I managed to add a couple of quarts of Mercon V transmission fluid today (Not an easy thing to do with this year's model; no fill pipe up above so had to pump it in through the bottom of the transmission pan). Anyway, initially it started engaging in reverse and I thought the problem was solved. But today the same thing happened. Forward gears are engaging as usual but in reverse it either doesn't move at all or sometimes creeps along at a very weak snail's pace. So the car is useless right now. I'm 74 years old and I've got to get this fixed as soon as possible with the winter coming on.

Any help here will be very, very much appreciated.
Just thought that I'd reboot this post to see if anyone out there has some advice. Please post if you have any suggestions. I'd really appreciate it.
 
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AARONAS

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November 8, 2021
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City, State
WINCHESTER
Year, Model & Trim Level
1906 MAXWELL TOURING
Hi, Bob, A couple of questions here - What is the temperature the car is at? How did you know how much fluid to use? Are there any perceptible leaks you can see around the trans/torque converter?
 
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Bob Explorer 200

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City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
Hi, Bob, A couple of questions here - What is the temperature the car is at? How did you know how much fluid to use? Are there any perceptible leaks you can see around the trans/torque converter?
Hi Aaronas,
It's in my garage so it's really at outside (ambient) temperature. With this year Explorer, you have to pump fluid into the transmission pan's bottom using a special adaptor (a drain plug with a nozzle on it to attach the pump hose). Yes, there has been some signs of leakage around the bolts holding the trans to the engine.
 
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AARONAS

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1906 MAXWELL TOURING
Hi Aaronas,
It's in my garage so it's really at outside (ambient) temperature. With this year Explorer, you have to pump fluid into the transmission pan's bottom using a special adaptor (a drain plug with a nozzle on it to attach the pump hose). Yes, there has been some signs of leakage around the bolts holding the trans to the engine.
Sir, how did you know when the trans was filled enough? Is there an overflow/fill plug near the top/side of the tranny? You indicated about 2 quarts were added by you. I know the method isn't the easiest for this model but there has to be a level-indication-method; plug and hole??
 
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Bob Explorer 200

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City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
Sir, how did you know when the trans was filled enough? Is there an overflow/fill plug near the top/side of the tranny? You indicated about 2 quarts were added by you. I know the method isn't the easiest for this model but there has to be a level-indication-method; plug and hole??
Procedure calls for adding oil from below by pumping it up into the transmission pan while having the engine running and transmission warmed up. Then you disconnect the the pump hose and see if a steady stream of oil starts pouring out. If it does, you should allow it to pour out until it stops. If it doesn't and just a few little bit falls out, you have to continue adding oil or it means that the oil is at the correct level in the transmission. Basically the plug bolt on the bottom of the pan has a little tower projecting upward on it with the center of that tower being the channel through which the oil flows into the pan. The top of that tower represents the correct level for the transmission oil.
 
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JK080

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If forward is engaging fine and its only reverse that has the issue its not going to be because of low fluid. If it was a low fluid condition you should also have this problem in the forward gears as well. These transmissions are known for the reverse band to break or the lining will come off and you will lose reverse. Only way to fix the reverse band is to rebuild the transmission, I recommend finding a local transmission shop and have them fix it for you and give you a decent warranty.
 
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AARONAS

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City, State
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1906 MAXWELL TOURING
Procedure calls for adding oil from below by pumping it up into the transmission pan while having the engine running and transmission warmed up. Then you disconnect the the pump hose and see if a steady stream of oil starts pouring out. If it does, you should allow it to pour out until it stops. If it doesn't and just a few little bit falls out, you have to continue adding oil or it means that the oil is at the correct level in the transmission. Basically the plug bolt on the bottom of the pan has a little tower projecting upward on it with the center of that tower being the channel through which the oil flows into the pan. The top of that tower represents the correct level for the transmission oil.
So, it appears that the tran was 2 qts. low to start with -not terrible but I'm sure it will need a refresher. Might as well get a refresher and the rebuild done at the same time. I just got a rebuild and yes, they are expensive, but the basic car is worth the investment, in my case anyhow.
 
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Bob Explorer 200

Active Member
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City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
If forward is engaging fine and its only reverse that has the issue its not going to be because of low fluid. If it was a low fluid condition you should also have this problem in the forward gears as well. These transmissions are known for the reverse band to break or the lining will come off and you will lose reverse. Only way to fix the reverse band is to rebuild the transmission, I recommend finding a local transmission shop and have them fix it for you and give you a decent warranty.
Thanks for the advice and suggestion, JK080. I've been trying to locate a reliable transmission repair outfit within a reasonable distance from my house here. I found one of your earlier posts on this site where you mentioned that the reverse band might be broken or the lining off. Cost is definitely a factor right now. Would you want to hazard a guess on the range of prices I might be facing here?
 
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Bob Explorer 200

Active Member
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City, State
Boston, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002
So, it appears that the tran was 2 qts. low to start with -not terrible but I'm sure it will need a refresher. Might as well get a refresher and the rebuild done at the same time. I just got a rebuild and yes, they are expensive, but the basic car is worth the investment, in my case anyhow.
What year and model did you do the rebuild on, Aaronas?
 
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