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Odd transmission behavior


New Member
February 15, 2016
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 explorer
I just got an '06 explorer with 56,000 miles for short money. Other than a few minor issues, it is real clean. The previous owner was a nice old lady who never abused it and had all service done at the dealer. Unfortunately, they had some family problems and the car went unused for extended periods of time.

On cold starts, it takes far too long to shift into drive from reverse when backingout of my driveway. If I shift straight from park to drive, there is no delay. If i shift reverse to 3, there is no delay.

There is aleways slippage between 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 for the first 1/2 mile when cold. Once warm, it performed great.

I took it to a reputable transmission shop and they drove it and could not duplicate the issues. They topped off the fluid with 1/4 quart and retested it. They concluded that the solenoids might be sticky from sitting and I should put some miles on it. No codes were present.

They offered to do a service, though they felt it unnecessary since the ford dealer just did an $1800 repair for which there was a tsb. That was done between 5 and 10 thousand miles ago.

So are there any transmission gurus here that can point me in the right direction?

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And before anyone tells me to use the search feature, I did. Exhaustively. I see lots of issues with transmissions but could not find any which matched mine.

Are you putting the gear shift into "3" or "D"? Putting it into "3" will be a different shift experience.

I think you just need to drive it and let things get re-adjusted. Was the battery disconnected recently?

What was the nature of the mentioned $1800 repair?

56K on an '06 is very low mileage, but the transmission fluid, if orignal, is 10+ years old. The dealer might have drained it and reused it based on color and low mileage not taking the age into consideration. And if the dealer did install new/fresh, what grade was it? The only TSB that comes to my mind (#05236) had to do with adaptive shifting strategy software, so no fluid would have been touched.

Good luck & enjoy.

Admitting my stupidity

The transmission shop wanted another crack at it. The owner put me on the phone with the tech, who took the time to brainstorm with me for fifteen minutes.

I dropped it off and they drove it for three days unable to replicate my problems.

The only thing they did was adjust the cable/linkage. Evidently, It was just slightly off and I am too easy on it. Being a 300lb+ muscular gorilla, I am constantly afraid of pulling and pushing and turning things too hard. I have a history of breaking stuff without meaning too. I use a torque wrench more than most so as to not snap bolts.

All is well after the adjustments.