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Need Troubleshooting Help - Transmission Going Erratic

Ratchet81

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2008 Explorer Eddie Bauer
Hey guys,

I’m a longtime lurker that finally decided to join. This forum has given me a lot of the answers I’ve needed since I bought my first Explorer in 2014, but I have an issue with one I just bought that I’m stumped on.

The vehicle is a 2008 Explorer Eddie Bauer, 4x4, V8 with 122k miles. The Vehicle ran and drove good for the first 1000miles, but this week started having what seems like transmission issues. It started in Drive only, taking off normally from a stop. The car would move into the intersection and then suddenly buck a handful of times before shifting into 2nd gear. From there, it was fine. It was like the transmission was harshly disengaging and re-engaging, but didn’t feel like slipping as I’ve experienced before. It did it every four or five stops or so. Then, last night, it began occasionally bucking like that in any gear while in the driveway with my foot on the brake and the engine running. Again, like the transmission was disengaging and re-engaging, but much faster than someone could do from the shifter. I ran it through the gears a bunch of times to see if I could hear or feel what was going on, and then it stalled out completely while holding it still in Drive. It wouldn’t restart on the first attempt, but did on the second. I hooked up my code scanner, and got three pending codes: P0223 TPS, P2107 Throttle Control Processor Malfunction, and P2110 Major Fair in Throttle Actuator Control. No transmission codes. Vehicle remained drivable, no problems using the throttle.

The check engine light never came on. I cleared the codes today and drove it to see if anything was different, but it’s getting worse. The same behaviors persist, but now it seems to fumble downshifts under harder acceleration. Gentle downshifts seem ok. It stalled in Park once, but restarted right away.
However, no codes were generated this time.

I’m not sure if the codes were a fluke and I have a dying transmission, or if I have a faulty TPS to deal with. Has anyone had these symptoms before and managed to fix it? Should I start with a new TPS? Or is there some troubleshooting I can do? I have a digital multi meter, but am admittedly not skilled with troubleshooting electronics. Thanks for any help you can offer.
 


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dacaur2

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I would start at the throttle body as the first two codes could both be caused by a bad connection there or a bad throttle body, and make sure all wires are connected and none are loose or corroded/broken. unplug and replug any plugs on the throttle body.

however, the codes may be unrelated to the transmission issue. Your average scanner will not pull transmission codes...
 




Explorer_PL

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Many v8 owners here including myself would experience bucking and kicking while driving only to find out that the car needed new coils or spark plugs. In most cases there was no CEL.
It may also be the torque converter, mine died at 200k.

Your symptoms are more severe. It may be worth paying an hour of diagnostic time a Ford dealership and find the right answer.
 




Ratchet81

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Thanks for the replies, guys.

I’m thinking that I may start with the TPS since I had the pending code for it, but ultimately I think Explorer_PL is right...it’s probably going to be more efficient to let a dealership diagnose the issue than for me to.
 




Explorer_PL

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When my tc started going bad, it was throwing MAF sensor codes since the engine was trying to stall, and it was shuddering under load. Engine was making a knocking noise like it lost a lifter or something. Two shops told me I need a new engine, I dropped a one from a wreck with low miles only to have the same symptoms. 30 minutes at Ford and I was told I have a bad TC.
I should have gone there first.
 




Ratchet81

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Ouch! Interesting that it threw a MAF code like that.

I made an appointment with the dealer for next week. Hopefully they can pinpoint what’s going on.
 




beauboy

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I'm surprised that no one has recommended changing the transmission fluid and filter. I bought my 07 Exp 4.6L with approx. 97k on it. About 1 year later, it started the bucking in first gear and the hesitation from 40-60 mph. I changed the plugs and coil packs - no change. Then changed the transmission fluid and filter - problem gone. Been 2 years, hasn't bucked or hesitated since.

Remember - Only drain and fill. NO FLUSH!
 




Ratchet81

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I thought of that, but according to the Carfax, Midas changed it in February this year. Granted, who’s to say what was actually done there....I’m hoping that “changed fluid” doesn’t mean flushed; but nothing was noted about the filter. I might try that this weekend.

I’ve heard that these transmissions need a special adapter and a pump to be able to add fluid (no dipstick). Can those items be had at local retail parts stores? Also, would you recommend adding something like Lucas treatment to the Mercon transmission fluid?
 




beauboy

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I don't trust CARFAX any more than I do the salesman presenting it, but that's just me. Mine is an 07 and I didn't need the adapter. The fill plug is on the passenger side top, so you will need the pump - $7 at Advance Auto Parts. I wouldn't add anything other than the MERCON V fluid, if that's what yours calls for.
 




rego

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The 2008 V8 transmission (6R60) would require Mercon SP. Yes?
 




Explorer_PL

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Of course - Rego is right.

Ratchet81 has the early 6R60 so Mercon SP is required.
V is for 5 speeds.

And I have flushed mine several times and it's still going - but that's another debate.
 




beauboy

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Explorer_PL - I'm glad to hear that. I got my education on this site, but good to know that a flush is not as deadly as originally thought.

Thanks.
 




Explorer_PL

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I had the first flush at 60k, and then every 60 and after 200 I am dropping the pan and doing the filter as well.

Maybe if you do a flush as the first service after 150k miles, that may call for a trouble :)
 




Ratchet81

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Well...I thought I had it, and then it stalled out on me at 55mph out of the blue tonight. This vehicle is a total lemon.

With all of the throttle body codes I’ve had, I put on another (used) throttle body to see what happened. The first gear shudder hasn’t come back yet, and it idles and runs smoother; but the transmission still won’t handle hard acceleration. If I accelerate hard enough for a kick down, such as to pass another vehicle or beat approaching traffic, the transmission bucks like it doesn’t know what gear it wants—-and tonight it stalled on me with P2008 (intake runner module?), with P2107 again. Over the weekend, I got P 2105 and then P2104 before swapping the throttle body. The mechanic I brought it to couldn’t find anything on his scanner, even when driving it. All codes stay pending and never throw a CEL. I don’t know...does it sound like there’s a short or perhaps the PCM is going?

I’m more and more inclined to think I have some degree of control system failure.

Edit: I left the codes and drove it to work this morning, and it drove fine. There’s not much consistency with the symptoms. If it does end up needing a PCM, can I use one from a junkyard (I assume it would need to be programmed for VIN)?
 




Ratchet81

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I just thought I'd post back with an update. The dealer had my vehicle for a week and never even pulled it in the shop (at which point I went and got it back from them as-is), which turned out to be a good thing in the end as far as cost is concerned. The whole problem turned out to be the #6 cylinder's coil.

Before I got to that determination, it kept throwing throttle body actuator and intake runner codes (pending only), and then no codes at all but then starting stalling without warning. The transmission stopped bucking in first gear when moving, but still occasionally bucked in gear while stopped. On top of that, it bucked every time it went to downshift under any load. It never threw a misfire code until about a week ago, and never had a misfire or stumble perceptible at idle until after the misfire code triggered the check engine light. Once the P0306 set, though, it came back soon after it was cleared every time. I swapped coil 6 with coil 7, and the misfire followed the coil to cylinder 7. So I changed it out with a used OEM coil from the local junkyard, and the vehicle has been driving just fine ever since. I read in another thread somewhere that a coil arcing to ground can cause the PCM to see problems that aren't really there, but wow.
 




vipersinu2

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If you have cheap coils especially on the passenger side, there is the PCM and wiring harness to the transmission, the cheap coils break down and leak EMI that signal get into wiring making truck run poorly. See video below.

 




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