92 xlt a4ld transmission help | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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92 xlt a4ld transmission help


Well-Known Member
March 1, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 Explorer XLT 4x4
I enjoy learning about my explorer by reading the posts on this site. I have a major challenge that I need to get solved. I bought a 92 explorer from a car lot back in October. had 230k miles on it, and guy said it ran like a charm. the day after I bought it, the transmission begun a routine that has lasted until now. when I first start it up, i have to rev the engine a little to get it to shift into reverse and drive. if i come to a stop, it will slip out of first gear. this usually lasts until the tranny is warmed up. I took it back to the lot, and the guy said i was a liar when i said that i have been having problems with it. I have since then put at least 20 quarts of fluid in since i discovered that the level was low. This month, I finally crawled underneath and tried to find where the leak is coming from. It is right where the engine and tranny meet. I dug through my old transmission class book, and tried to find out what it could be. No luck. Is my tranny not worth fixing? I have been using supertech dex/merc fluid from walmart. should i buy the recomended merc v? will a bottle of lucas trans stop the leak? I have a super small budget, so i hope this will be a painless fix.

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Front seal the one that seals around the torque converter is leaking. Its a cheap part but requires you to drop the transmission to get to it. The rubber gets hard and stiff letting the oil seep past. This seal going bad does not mean the pump is bad. This seals gets harden from age or if the truck sat a long time not running. Replaced mine last year oil literally streamed out like a faucet! right where the trany meets the block. The rubber seal was hard and stiff.

In addition to the seal, you might want to have the front pump bushing replaced. There's a new type which doesn't require a special lathe to make it concentric. The link to the thread about this bushing is in my list of useful threads.

BB, your links regarding the a4ld flexplate/seal/bushing are all dead.

Glad I found this thread! I woke up this morning and found a puddle of both engine oil and tranny fluid under my '93 X. The fluids both appear to be dripping from the area where the transmission and engine meet. It seems to be at its worst when the tranny is warm from coming up the hill to our house. Could this be a failed front seal? Or something more?

The front seal blow out issue is very common. It could have a low coolant level in the radiator or there could be a problem with the bellhousing bushing & seal. Hill climbing applies more oil than usual against the rear main seal. So if the seal is worn, it will leak more during hill climbing than during regular driving on level road.

Thank you for the reply, Brooklyn. (And apologies for the late response.) After driving a bit more, it seems the leak is at its worst on hot days. I see drips on the street leading into my garage and a good amount has leaked onto the garage floor. I check the fluid level constantly, but it hasn't gone below the normal level yet.

I doubt my garage (and skill level) is properly equipped for any DIY repair on this transmission. I suspect a shop will want to remove the transmission from the car to diagnose the leak... can anybody confirm? Sounds like a lot of labor dollars to replace a seal on a transmission that has 170k miles on it. I was wondering if it might be a good time to have the transmission manufactured... any opinions? (Although it seems to perform very well - no slipping, shifts nicely, fluid looks clean and new.)

Also, perhaps worth mentioning - I found a small amount of coolant pooled on the garage floor a few weeks ago. (About the same time that I noticed the transmission fluid leak.) I tried to trace the leak and believe it was coming from the radiator. The fluid level in the radiator was good, although the reservoir was low. I added coolant to the reservoir and I have not seen any leaks since.

I also notice a moderate-pitch whining sound when the transmission is in gear. I've never owned a car with an A4LD before, so I'm not sure if this is just how the transmission sounds when it's in gear, or if there is a problem on the horizon. (A torque converter starting to fail comes to mind.) A video and photo are posted, in case anybody can help... Many thanks in advance.

(Sorry for the upside down video. I'm not sure why it came out that way when I uploaded from my phone. Anyhow, you can hear the noise come and go as I shift in and out of gear.)


View My Video
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I get no high pitch whine from my A4LD. I have, however, heard a transmission low on fluid whine/whir. Sort of a noise like a manual transmission in reverse?

Not to say you don't know, but if you don't, always check the fluid level of your transmission with the vehicle running. Let it engage for a second in both forward and reverse gears, then check it.

Dropping the trans is not really a hard job. It would require a transmission jack and a helper. However there is no guarantee that after replacing the seals and possibly torque converter you would not still have issues. If the front seal is bad, others may not be far behind.
Did the dealer you bought the car from offer any kind of warranty? If yes, then you should ask him to refer you to a transmission shop of his choice to diagnose the problem. Then he cannot claim you are making it up.

Wolfie - Yes, the noise is somewhat like a manual in reverse. I checked the fluid with the engine running, and the level is good.

OneofMany - No warranty on this car; I bought it knowing that it might need some work. Is replacing the seals fairly straight forward? I suppose I might attempt it if it's not a terribly technical job.

Perhaps I should look into a buying a manual!