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Another Explorer transmission horror story. Please read...

should we just give up on it!?

  • yes

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • no

    Votes: 1 50.0%

  • Total voters
    2
  • Poll closed .

jimborasco

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2003 Explorer
We have a 2003 explorer with just over 150,000 miles and looks like new. No rust, no dents or dings... We had a new engine put in about 2 years ago, so it's got potential to be a great vehicle. One year ago, we started with the flashing O/D experience. We are now on our THIRD tranmission and still having the same problems. Began simply enough with the flashing O/D. Then, seemed stuck in 3rd gear. Got another used, but working transmission put in, cleared/reflashed the computer and got the exact same error codes on the transmission. Finally broke down and had the original rebuilt and installed. STILL throwing the same error codes!! Next it was thought that it could be a computer issue, so yep... bought a new computer and got it installed. Now the dang thing is STILL DOING THE SAME THING, with the 3rd transmission, same codes, same exact issues. Solenoid packs were changed, Mercon V was used so that isn't a problem. Does anyone have ANY ideas of what to look at now??? How can 3 different transmissions have the same problems!? I've let the tags/inspection expire since it's a paperweight now. It runs great, engine wise, and will move... I drive it down our VERY rural country road every now and then to keep it moving, but other than that, we're at a loss.We are tired of throwing good money after bad trying to get it right, but are at our wits end. There is really no one else to take it to.. they now run when they see us coming! LOL Any ideas, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We'll be running it over the mountain on our property behind the house shortly if we can't get it on the road and try to forget we ever had it. Seems you can't even give the things away. Even offered it up for parts.Just such a shame that these things have such issues with the trannies.
 
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jimborasco

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City, State
middle of nowhere in the mountains of southwestern VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer
Another Explorer transmission horror story. We have a 2003 explorer with just over 150,000 miles and looks like new. We are now on our THIRD tranmission and still having the same problems. Began simply enough with the flashing O/D. Then, seemed stuck in 3rd gear. Got a used, but working transmission put in, cleared the computer and got the exact same error codes, plus it read 1800°F after having set all night without starting or running it. :dunno: Finally broke down and had the original rebuilt and installed. STILL throwing the same error codes!! They then thought that it could be a computer issue, so yep... bought a new computer and got it installed. Now the dang thing is STILL DOING THE SAME THING, with the 3rd transmission. (Solenoid packs were changed, Mercon V was used so that isn't a problem)
Does anyone have ANY ideas of what to look at now??? I've let the tags/inspection expire since it's a paperweight now. It runs great, engine wise, and will move... I drive it down our very rural country road every now and then to keep it moving, but other than that, we're at a loss.We are tired of throwing good money after bad trying to get it right, but are at our wits end. There is really no one else to take it to.. now they run when they see us coming. LOL ANY ideas, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We'll be running it over the mountain on our property behind the house shortly if we can't get it on the road and try to forget we ever had it. :angryfire:
 

transman304

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2001 Honda Accord
Sounds like a connector issue or wiring harness cut or rubbed through. Gonna have to start checking current draw on harness.
 

imp

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We have a 2003 explorer with just over 150,000 miles and looks like new. No rust, no dents or dings... We had a new engine put in about 2 years ago, so it's got potential to be a great vehicle. One year ago, we started with the flashing O/D experience. We are now on our THIRD tranmission and still having the same problems. Began simply enough with the flashing O/D. Then, seemed stuck in 3rd gear. Got another used, but working transmission put in, cleared/reflashed the computer and got the exact same error codes on the transmission. Finally broke down and had the original rebuilt and installed. STILL throwing the same error codes!! Next it was thought that it could be a computer issue, so yep... bought a new computer and got it installed. Now the dang thing is STILL DOING THE SAME THING, with the 3rd transmission, same codes, same exact issues. Solenoid packs were changed, Mercon V was used so that isn't a problem. Does anyone have ANY ideas of what to look at now??? How can 3 different transmissions have the same problems!? I've let the tags/inspection expire since it's a paperweight now. It runs great, engine wise, and will move... I drive it down our VERY rural country road every now and then to keep it moving, but other than that, we're at a loss.We are tired of throwing good money after bad trying to get it right, but are at our wits end. There is really no one else to take it to.. they now run when they see us coming! LOL Any ideas, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We'll be running it over the mountain on our property behind the house shortly if we can't get it on the road and try to forget we ever had it. Seems you can't even give the things away. Even offered it up for parts.Just such a shame that these things have such issues with the trannies.
No problem, however recurring, nor unexplainable, cannot be corrected. If that were not so, we would have untold numbers of dead vehicles along the roadsides, which obviously is not the case.

Your difficulties lie, I would venture to believe, in electronic issues, likely traceable to the wiring harnesses. Without verifying trouble codes, little else can be deduced. imp
 

jimborasco

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Sounds like a connector issue or wiring harness cut or rubbed through. Gonna have to start checking current draw on harness.
Thanks so much for the quick response! Honestly, I hadn't considered that, and no one else suggested it. I can do a lot of things, but the thought of trying to trace electrical problems gives me hives. LOL But that sounds like a good next step before trashing the dang thing. I'm guessing you start from the front and work your way back to the tranny, right? Any hints you have as to the easiest way to do this? Do I start at the computer, or at the transmission?? I know how to check other wiring, just not specifically tranny wiring. Thanks in advance for any hints/tips.
 

jimborasco

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No problem, however recurring, nor unexplainable, cannot be corrected. If that were not so, we would have untold numbers of dead vehicles along the roadsides, which obviously is not the case.

Your difficulties lie, I would venture to believe, in electronic issues, likely traceable to the wiring harnesses. Without verifying trouble codes, little else can be deduced. imp
Thanks for the pep talk. It's just been SO frustrating over the last year with this thing and all the money...We love the thing and hate to give up on it. But sometimes it's hard to keep beating a dead horse. :) If it would help I can post all the codes, but since they remained the same through 3 transmissions, would it really help?
 

lincolnshibuya

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could be shoddy work on the transmission too.. how long was the warranty given... if it was rebuild, what parts were replaced.. sometimes shop just changed the clutches and forget about the valve bodies and solenoids that's why they charge lower.
 

Tech By Trade

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I second the wiring harness. I would take a real close look at all the connectors as well. The sheathing on the wires tends to get brittle with age, especially on this vintage. There is no telling what could be shorting or making intermittent connections.
 

transman304

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Check out some videos also get me all the specs on your vehicle and I will get you a wiring diagram. Year,make,model,sub model,engine size.

 

jimborasco

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could be shoddy work on the transmission too.. how long was the warranty given... if it was rebuild, what parts were replaced.. sometimes shop just changed the clutches and forget about the valve bodies and solenoids that's why they charge lower.
It's of course possible the workman ship was shoddy, but I doubt it. We've had other transmissions done by this man with wonderful results each time over the last 35 years on other vehicles. This one has him and a few others that have looked at it really puzzled. The solenoids were changed, as well as the rest of the internal parts. There is a warranty on parts. But even after the rebuilt one was pulled and the used replacement tranny was put back in, it still did the same thing. Stuck in 3rd, same transmission error codes, no matter which transmission is in it and it does it as soon as the thing is started, before ever putting it in gear. We've had 3 different ones in it, swapped back and forth and still having the same problem. Thanks for reading and for your input.
 

jimborasco

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I second the wiring harness. I would take a real close look at all the connectors as well. The sheathing on the wires tends to get brittle with age, especially on this vintage. There is no telling what could be shorting or making intermittent connections.
That's where we're headed next. The wiring harness is just such a daunting thing for me. But I'll give it a go. I don't want to have to pay to have it towed again, so I'll take a shot at it before I pay another tow bill or several hours labor. I'm going broke with this thing! Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
 

jimborasco

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Check out some videos also get me all the specs on your vehicle and I will get you a wiring diagram. Year,make,model,sub model,engine size.

Thanks so much! It's a 2002 Explorer, but I don't know the sub model :-( It's not an Eddie Bauer or Sport) I can try to get that for you if you can tell from the VIN, I'll figure it out. Has a 4.0L engine. And thanks for taking the time to read and respond!
 

imp

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@jimborasco .....Stuck in 3rd, same transmission error codes, no matter which transmission is in it and it does it as soon as the thing is started, before ever putting it in gear.

"Stuck in 3rd, same transmission error codes, no matter which transmission is in it and it does it as soon as the thing is started, before ever putting it in gear."

Here's a thought which just struck home. Was the Transmission Range Sensor from the original transmission used on ALL of the transmissions? If it is broken or faulty, it could cause the transmission to go into 3rd. gear immediately upon starting the engine. Rarely is a rebuilt transmission supplied with a new TRS; the old one is invariably used. I would think it might throw a code if faulty, but then again maybe not.

The TRS moves with the gearshift selector to electronically "tell" the PCM (computer) which gear or position, Park, Neutral, is being chosen. It is nothing more than a multiple position electrical switch. If it is broken and stuck in 3rd. gear position, ya got it!

Accessed on the outside of the transmission, easily removed and replaced, around fifty bucks or so. Looks like this:


Check it out before delving into wiring. Just a thought. imp
 

transman304

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Here is the early and late wiring diagrams.identified by vin.E. or vin.K. Looks like the early has some ABS wiring where as late does not. More than likely not in the harness you would be testing. Good luck.

IMG_4169.jpg
IMG_4170.jpg
 

Drewmcg

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I have a June 2002 XLT 4.0 SOHC 4x4 that I'm about to have towed to the junk yard this week (parts car, used its engine, etc.). The engine bay is open at the moment; might not be too hard to pull the transmission-to-pcm wiring harness, if you want it (though I'm not anxious to crawl back underneath....).
 

bigred4x4

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Stick in third probably means it's in limp mode. Did you put 3 completely different trans in it? I know my wiring harness (4r55e) has a temp sensor built into I'd check the PIN for the sensor could be a bad connection or something upping the resistance may also be a bad pcm.
 

jimborasco

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Thanks to everyone that has offered advice and suggestions! Right now I'm fighting with the front suspension of my subaru, but will be working on the explorer as soon as time and weather (it's been cool and we're expecting rain) allow. I'll be sure and let you know how things turn out and if anything works!
 

jimborasco

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I have a June 2002 XLT 4.0 SOHC 4x4 that I'm about to have towed to the junk yard this week (parts car, used its engine, etc.). The engine bay is open at the moment; might not be too hard to pull the transmission-to-pcm wiring harness, if you want it (though I'm not anxious to crawl back underneath....).
Sorry I didn't see this sooner. I've been having a lot of trouble with my subaru (yea, car trouble comes in multiples it seems) and that seems to be taking up a LOT of my time right now. If you still have it around, I'd certainly like to talk to you about getting it! That's a very kind offer!
 

Turdle

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2 horror story threads merged so the conversation can be in one place.
 
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96eb96

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There is an app called Forscan. It is totally free and may allow you to activate solenoids and take control over the transmission.
 

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