A4LD WOT upshift and kickdown control | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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A4LD WOT upshift and kickdown control


Elite Explorer
October 19, 1999
Reaction score
City, State
Cape Coral, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
'91 EB
What controls upshift and how far down the gears you go at kickdown.

Have 2 conditions since my rebuild/refresh. At WOT on the 1-2 and 2-3 I can run it into the rev limiter. Back off the throttle a little and it will shift.

At highway speeds when I put the pedal to the firewall, I can kick down all the way to what feels like 1st, hit the rev limiter then shift up through the gears.

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At highway speed(65?) you cannot shift into first since first reaches only 44 MPH(ish). So the lowest you could go would be 2nd, at best. You'd simply blow your motor. I also had that with my old transmission. I kind of liked it. My transmission also lost reverse and 4th gear didn't work.

Well it is probably 2nd but the issue is I am hitting second and going right into the rev limiter.

Issue/question is can I prevent it from kicking down that low. I hit the rev limiter, have to back off the throttle which then shifts up the gears back into OD.

Did you try to adjust your intermediate band (middle of the transmission after the OD band), kickdown cable, check your modulator, and governor for the proper operation? When was your fluid replaced last? Did you check your fluid level when it was both hot, and cold?

Modulator good, fluid fresh and proper.

When wheeling last weekend and trans is acting differant. About the best I can explain it.

Yes, changed fluid and filters after wheeling.

Thinking about dropping the pan and checking torque on the VB but normal shifting and driving is good. Just trying to sort out this new 2nd gear kickdown and WOT redline

Checked my notes from the work I did on the trans. My bad, did not check/adjust the bands.

Will have to get under it this week.

I also backed down/out the modulator one turn to bring the shift points down a little bit. Have not driven it to tell anything yet.

Speedo gears on order also.

Again, I am still baffled how or what has happened. Major diff after a road trip. Went 300 miles to Ocala for some light wheeling and then on the way home kickdown is off and going into OD at 45.

Adjust kickdown and now I am redlining in 2nd... Go figure, maybe the old Army Bauer is wanting to retire..

Hank.... got your PM's, been out on a ski vacation, I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Sorry.

Remember the A4LD DOES use the sppedo for shfting into OD and TC lockup. NOT 1-2. I am now recommending all governor bodies be replaced in a rebuild. That is the aluminum "stalk" part. I'll be in touch soon.

Thanks, I hope the trip was a blast. I can't ski anymore... trashed knees... :(

Anyway morning update and recap.

Speedo gears on order.
Modulator adjusted outward, loosened, 1 turn.

Drive to work this am. No real differance that I could tell. Perhaps shifting a little earlier.

HOWEVER, I got on an empty stretch of highway and got on the throttle a number of times to get a handle on this kickdown issue. About the thrid stomp on the pedal I heard a click on the firewall. Kickdown cable adjusted in again. I was near the end of the road when it happened so I could not really check the change in kickdown.

Will post back after the drive home tonight.

Still baffled why something changed on this wheeling trip. :confused:

Update, totally confused.

First a summary of the problem: Since the trans work I have always been able to bring it into the rev limiter on hard accel. Other than that the trans has been great. Went wheeling last weekend. On the drive up all was fine. Did some low temp wheeling and some water crossings. On the way home I was dropping into OD at 40-45 and it would not kick down or come out of OD till 35-40.

Came home, checked fluid. Nice and red but smelled funny. Not burned but perhaps like vaseline... Drained a gallon out of the nice little drain plug I put on the pan and re-filled.

No differance.

Adjusted the kickdown cable by pressing the D-button and pulling it away from the firewall. Pressed the pedal to the floor and heard a click. The drive home was better, no early OD and kickdown was a little better. However could easily hit second, then the rev limiter and it would slam back up the gears.

That night I backed out the modulator adjustment exactly 1 turn. No noticable change.

Next day got on an open section of highway and started pounding the living hell out of the pedal at 45mph to see what kickdown and upshift were doing. About the third time of hitting the pedal I heard a click on the firewall. Kickdown cable moved again. Ran out of road and could not do any more testing.

Drive to work today. Kickdown behaves better, comes out of gear a little sooner and does not want to always drop into second. Also did a WOT from a dead stop and only had to back off the throttle 1/4 inch to get it to upshift. If I did a WOT from a dead stop and kept the throttle in the 1/4 inch from the floor spot she would shift up about 500 rpm before redline. Much better.

Speedo gears on order from Ford. Due in this week. Not going to make any more adjustments till speedo closer to GPS.

Now for the questions.

What do you guys think happened on the trail to make such a change?

For a better WOT upshift should I back out the modulator another turn?

So confused...

All the best.

Are you saying you didn't adjust the bands on rebuild? And only recently went back and did it? If so you could have glazed them (or at least the intermediate band) which would explain the lack of holding ability.

How did skiing go?

No, have not touched the bands at all. Recall, as I am sure you get a lot of trans questions, I only did the TC, seals and valve body.

I'm starting to think that the mud caused the kickdown cable to slip... I'm sure it has never been adjusted prior to that point..

Hi all. Great discussion. I have a problem because my tranny won't upshift until I've hit 4K rpm in the morning - then it's fine. However, it doesn't down shift or even provide resistance going down hill - in an gear. Anyone know what's wrong?

Welcome to this forum! A sticking governor is most likely your problem. They usually stick when they are cold, and loosen when they warm up. As for the second problem, do you have any engine braking? If not, it might be the rear one way sprag that is no good. That can't be repaired unless it is completely torn down. Did you try to adjust your kick down cable, and bands? As a general rule, always start with the small stuff before attempting an entire rebuild. How may miles do you have on the transmission? When was the fluid, filter, and modulator replaced last?

Update, still confused.

Trans is working better than ever, no idea on what happened. With the second click on the kickdown cable and backing off the modulator 1 turn the thing is behaving almost the way I want it.

Ford ordered the wrong speedo gears, will be another week before the right ones come in. The speedo correction should make the behavior dead on.

Only think I can thing of to explain this was the kickdown cable slipped out while wheeling.

So confused... :confused:

Remember the A4LD DOES use the sppedo for shfting into OD and TC lockup

So if my speedo is off from 31" tires I will have problems with OD & TC lockup?

Mine was rebuilt not too long ago. I can never get to redline in any gear. It always shifts at a little over 4K RPM.

You need the proper speedometer gear to match the tire size, and the gear ratio of the differential (example 3:45 gears, then upgraded to a 4:11 gear set, 14" wheels, then upgraded to 15" wheels, etc.).

It will just change the lockup and OD shift points is all.

Hank: I am perplexed as well. Let's hope it stays well.

I've got the same problem. Revs up to 4K won't shift till you let off the gas a lil. I just pulled the trans pan for a fresh filter and refill. Found my shift fork lying in my pan and the band is snapped in half. I've be having fun for a couple nights......

I'd love to see pics of the band failure. I am sorry you have to opull it... why not do a full rebuild while it is out, you will be 95% of the way there by the time you pull the center support to replace the intermediate band. The A4LD Rebuild Diary would be a good place to start..... I can direct you to some relatively inexpensive parts places for rebuild parts.

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Glacier, Thanks I would like to rebuild it! Would be nice to have a place to get parts that aren't really expensive. I bought the thing a couple weeks ago for $700 with bad head gaskets. So I did the gaskets, radiator, heater core replacement and now this....I looked at the band it looks like the end came off, you can see the little indents where it looks like rivits or what ever they use to put the end on with. I'll take a pic of it when I get it apart. Its actually a 1994 Mazda Navajo but it still an Explorer to me. I sold my 94 Explorer and really wanted another one.