A4LD 3-4 shift too quick and harsh kickdown | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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A4LD 3-4 shift too quick and harsh kickdown


Well-Known Member
September 27, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Richmond, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Explorer XLT
Currently i'm having trouble with my 3-4 shift and OD. Its coming in way too early, and stays in too long. You can feel the vibration from being in a high gear at low rpms. Sometimes we're talking about it being in OD at 1000RPM.

Kickdown from OD - 4 seems smooth but I have to give it a lot of gas. 4-3 or 4-2 is very rough, like a bang. I've tried adjustin the kickdown cable, but I fear it might be stretched or broken.

I'm also thinking about that damn adjustable modulator I have. I'm thinking about putting in a new stock replacement. Shifts seem very smooth 1-2,2-3, 3-4, 4-OD though. Just the other way around doesn't work too well.

This problem seemed to start after i did a 500KM trip through mountain passes in 37 degree heat. I overheated a few times because that weekend I had been mudding and the engine wasn't running well, and I had to drive it home. 12MPG highway mileage. Meant the engine had to work harder uphill. Was a dirty air filter and dirty MAF sensor. Thats all fixed now, i'm getting 14 -16MPG city.

But at one point the temp gauge creeped up so much it seemed to slip and lose pressure going up one of the hills. I found out that the plastic heater control valve had cracked and I was running on very little water. I bypassed the heater core and refilled with water, it cooled off and I continued driving.

Is it possible by running it so hot I might have ruined some seals in the valve body? It might be a good time for me to rebuild it and add a shift improver kit at the same time.

I'm sure there are a lot of possible explanations. My first thought (in part because it should be fairly easy to check) would be that you have a short to ground between the 3-4 solenoid and the PCM, which disrupts the computer's control over the 3-4 shift. Circuits pretty straightforward, a wiring diagram and a voltmeter and you should be able to determine if there's an electrical fault in that circuit.

scanned for the codes, and there isn't any. 111 FTW. Been a long time since I had no codes in my truck.

Computer scans the solenoids does it not? Because I did a swap from an automatic computer to a manual powered Bronco II and codes showed the transmission solenoids as not responding. These vehicles were 1990's.

The solenoid seems to work driving slow (3rd gear) but if i'm flooring it, it barely stays in 3rd and goes to 4th.

scanned for the codes, and there isn't any. 111 FTW. Been a long time since I had no codes in my truck.

Computer scans the solenoids does it not?
Computer does check the solenoids as part of the KOEO test. I personally wouldn't trust the computer not to make a mistake in this test. It should catch any major faults, but, as quickly as one can check the circuit themselves, I would check it out, just to be sure. Also, where you've done the computer swap and such, I'd want to check and make sure the computer and solenoid are talking to each other properly.

Beyond the electrical, I'm not sure what mechanical/hydraulic faults would cause it to act "stuck" in 4th.