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91 Explorer problem

brandonchase02

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Joined
February 20, 2013
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City, State
dawsonville georgia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 ford explorer
I have a problem and I hope someone on here can help me...I own a 91 manual transmission 4wd explorer. Here recently it started giving me problems. It kinda locked down as I was going down the road, and giving me problems from 1st to 2nd gear. But now its got worse and when I put it in rev on friday it started to jerk, and completely broke down on me. It almost feels like the e brake is on, but its not..I checked the transmission fluid and its black . Does this sound like its the transmission or the clutch?
 



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I have a problem and I hope someone on here can help me...I own a 91 manual transmission 4wd explorer. Here recently it started giving me problems. It kinda locked down as I was going down the road, and giving me problems from 1st to 2nd gear. But now its got worse and when I put it in rev on friday it started to jerk, and completely broke down on me. It almost feels like the e brake is on, but its not..I checked the transmission fluid and its black . Does this sound like its the transmission or the clutch?

First things first..... MANUAL TRANS FLUID SHOULD NEVER BE BLACK!!!!! Change that crap every 30k miles.... use ford type of mercon auto trans fluid.
It takes about 2 and 1/2 qts. Or the easier was is after draining, replace drain plug and open up fill plug, remove the shifter (3 or 4 little PITA bolts) fill it from there until you hear it coming out the fill plug.

the jerking and locking down....gonna need more info, such as:

was it hard to shift?

did it grind in gear when shifting?

did it pop out of gear?

does the clutch pedal have good/ normal pressure?

mileage on the X?

has the clutch been replaced to your knowledge?

I would drain the trans and see if you find any metal shavings in the fluid... in an open drain pan take a flashlight to see if you see sparkles (for lack of a better word), rub the fluid between you fingers if it feels gritty and not smooth, you trans most likely has some wear.

Now all manual trans will wear and from time to time have a gritty feel in the old fluid.... I'm talking about you rub the fluid in your fingers and catch splinters.... you catch splinters you have problems.

Get us some more info and we can narrow it down to clutch or the whole trans.
 






Mr. Mills

First things first..... MANUAL TRANS FLUID SHOULD NEVER BE BLACK!!!!! Change that crap every 30k miles.... use ford type of mercon auto trans fluid.
It takes about 2 and 1/2 qts. Or the easier was is after draining, replace drain plug and open up fill plug, remove the shifter (3 or 4 little PITA bolts) fill it from there until you hear it coming out the fill plug.

the jerking and locking down....gonna need more info, such as:

was it hard to shift?

did it grind in gear when shifting?

did it pop out of gear?

does the clutch pedal have good/ normal pressure?

mileage on the X?

has the clutch been replaced to your knowledge?

I would drain the trans and see if you find any metal shavings in the fluid... in an open drain pan take a flashlight to see if you see sparkles (for lack of a better word), rub the fluid between you fingers if it feels gritty and not smooth, you trans most likely has some wear.

Now all manual trans will wear and from time to time have a gritty feel in the old fluid.... I'm talking about you rub the fluid in your fingers and catch splinters.... you catch splinters you have problems.

Get us some more info and we can narrow it down to clutch or the whole trans.

Mr. Cribb, first of all let me say thank you for all the wisdom on shedding a lil light on the subject.
when I bought the vehicle the guy told me that he replaced the transmission but didn't say if it was new or used. and he didn't say he fixed any other things.
oh yeah it was very hard to shift and yeah there was a grinding sound going into gear but there was also like a whining sound you could hear from inside at the clutch while it was engaged in gear.
when the cars in neutral if you moved the clutch left to right it seemed like it wanted to catch gear w/o shifting it into gear. it never popped out of gear. the speedometer does not work so im not sure exactly how many miles are on it. Im going to go take a look at the fluid and everything else you had mentioned and go from there. I will let you know what I come up with, and once again thank you very much.
 






Mr. Mills

Mr. Cribb, first of all let me say thank you for all the wisdom on shedding a lil light on the subject.
when I bought the vehicle the guy told me that he replaced the transmission but didn't say if it was new or used. and he didn't say he fixed any other things.
oh yeah it was very hard to shift and yeah there was a grinding sound going into gear but there was also like a whining sound you could hear from inside at the clutch while it was engaged in gear.
when the cars in neutral if you moved the clutch left to right it seemed like it wanted to catch gear w/o shifting it into gear. it never popped out of gear. the speedometer does not work so im not sure exactly how many miles are on it. Im going to go take a look at the fluid and everything else you had mentioned and go from there. I will let you know what I come up with, and once again thank you very much.

I forgot to mention about the pressure, Im not sure if its normal or not but I do know I have to push it to the floor
 






First things first..... MANUAL TRANS FLUID SHOULD NEVER BE BLACK!!!!! Change that crap every 30k miles.... use ford type of mercon auto trans fluid.

Oddly enough I've heard of people running 10w-30 in these. I don't endorse such oil, but I have heard of it. Regardless I'd say a fluid change with Mercon ATF, run for a little bit and then change again. Possibly adding in some Lucas Tran Fix and see where that gets you.

If the oil drained from it was thick you have gear oil and have probably toasted some bearings at this point.
 






I forgot to mention about the pressure, Im not sure if its normal or not but I do know I have to push it to the floor

By this I meant does it feel like a normal clutch pedal or does it not?

This question comes from figuring you have driven a stick before this truck.
 






Oddly enough I've heard of people running 10w-30 in these. I don't endorse such oil, but I have heard of it. Regardless I'd say a fluid change with Mercon ATF, run for a little bit and then change again. Possibly adding in some Lucas Tran Fix and see where that gets you.

If the oil drained from it was thick you have gear oil and have probably toasted some bearings at this point.

It is not recommended to use anything other than mercon atf, cause of the syncronizers. The motor oil is too harsh on them.

My stick was rattly and had the shi**y colored fluid when I got it. I used 1 full bottle of lucas trans fix, and the rest mercon atf.

I had that fluid in for about 5k miles until the clutch went out, then changed it again with the same ****tail. The two lucas ****tails have almost stopped any crazy noises in the 30k miles I have driven it.

I came up with the fill method above, because unless you have a pump or long hose it is a PITA to fill the trans from just the fill hole.

If I seemed a little harsh when I first posted, I apologize, I wasn't trying to come across as an @$$.
 






I agree that the motor oil isn't the best solution. The gears will certainly shear it down to a worthless sludge. I've been messaging back and fourth with another member and he's had great luck with Redline MTL. If I ever replace my trans I'm going that route. I just can't justify the $15/qt on a trans that has over 225k miles on it.
 






oh yeah it was very hard to shift and yeah there was a grinding sound going into gear

there was also like a whining sound you could hear from inside at the clutch while it was engaged in gear.

when the cars in neutral if you moved the SHIFTER left to right it seemed like it wanted to catch gear w/o shifting it into gear.

If the oil drained from it was thick you have gear oil and have probably toasted some bearings at this point.

Pretty much like Todd said if it looks like gear oil the trans is toast.

Also on that note gear oil is not to be used because it is too thick, and it eats the bearings.

Going by sound description it sounds like the trans is done. Good news is they are relatively cheap. If you search for junkyard models only a 2.9 or a 4.0 will work (Ranger engines).
 






Mr Cribb

By this I meant does it feel like a normal clutch pedal or does it not?

This question comes from figuring you have driven a stick before this truck.

Yes the clutch does feel normal
 






Mr. Cribb

It is not recommended to use anything other than mercon atf, cause of the syncronizers. The motor oil is too harsh on them.

My stick was rattly and had the shi**y colored fluid when I got it. I used 1 full bottle of lucas trans fix, and the rest mercon atf.

I had that fluid in for about 5k miles until the clutch went out, then changed it again with the same ****tail. The two lucas ****tails have almost stopped any crazy noises in the 30k miles I have driven it.

I came up with the fill method above, because unless you have a pump or long hose it is a PITA to fill the trans from just the fill hole.

If I seemed a little harsh when I first posted, I apologize, I wasn't trying to come across as an @$$.

Oh no I don't think you have been an ass in any way...I got a question though, If it is the trany would the vehicle move at all? because the other day I got it just to see if it would move and it did, I even drove it for a bit, but once it got good and warm it started to act up again. If the transmission was shot would it still do this? and I was shifting 1st, 3rd and 5th, im sure its not good to do that but second wasn't acting right!!
 






Brandon,

Hate to say it, but I'm inclined to agree with the others it sounds like your transmission has gone to a better place. The fact the clutch is grabbing and operating relatively normally suggests it appears to be at least okay. The black oil/sludge/fluid is a bad sign of gears shredding, bearings frying, incorrect fluid, or a combination. A shot tranny can still operate under these conditions, but you and your X won't like it. It sounds like your 2nd gear could be a starting place for your problems. Unless the guy that replaced your tranny didn't know how to use a manual, it sounds like it was used and more than likely on its last leg anyway. Transmissions are fickle creatures, as many can tell you. Lucas fluid is worth its weight in gold too. In my opinion, I would recommend throwing that tranny away and get another one. Good luck!
 






From what I've read the M50d is fairly easy to rebuild if you are mechanically inclined. There's a few good write-ups. I've had mine partially apart to replace the 5th/R slider while still in the truck. If you're curious and can afford the downtime it might be an adventure to tear into it to see what exactly is wrong before you get another one.
 












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