S.O.S!! 06 explorer grinds in 2nd gear! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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S.O.S!! 06 explorer grinds in 2nd gear!


Well-Known Member
February 18, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
cuba, missouri
Year, Model & Trim Level
06 explorer xlt
My wife's 06 has a major problem concerning second gear. 4.0 with the 5r55s. vehicle upon starting from drive and normal acceleration will go through 1st fine but when it hits second there is a terrible grinding noise. shifts points seem normal through all gears. no real clunky shifts. the grinding carries through the gear but is quiet at third gear and beyond. what the hell?
Supposedly the transmission was rebuilt a short time before we purchased it, about 30000 miles before. I changed the transmission fluid and filter with Valvoline mercon V about 1000 miles before this problem. fluid looked fine with normal wear. also pulls through second with no noticeable loss of power.
engaging every gear, it tries to pull forward. drop the gear shifter to second and try to pull forward, the transmission binds up, almost acting like a transbrake in a drag car and refuses to pull forward. I haven't pushed it beyond 2000 rpms doing this. but definite binding with manual selection of second gear. drop it in drive and it pulls away with no problem except for the grinding during it's time in second.
I have an Autel scan tool and it comes up with zero transmission codes, zero engine codes. it's a pretty good tool. is there something else I can look at, perhaps line pressure or solenoids on the scanner that might tell me something about what's going on? I am looking to pull the transmission but don't want to do this if it's something stupid like a solenoid failing to engage. as always I value any and all opinions!!!! let er rip!

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the transmission no longer binds in second gear when manually selected, but still has a grinding sound. I stomped on it pretty good tonight and it pulls hard in all gears. hmmmmmmmmmmmm.............I re-ran the full scan on it and my tool scans just about damn near everything that can be scanned on a vehicle and nothing. not a single fault. therefore I am thinking the problem is mechanical. as in 2nd gear failure.

Before you do anymore possible damage to the transmission, drop the tranny pan and check the fluid/filter for large metal flakes. If you have large metal flakes floating around you could trash everything else if you continue to run it with it sounding like it does.

at this pont it doesn't really matter what else I do to the transmission. I think we can agree if there's particulate in the filter and fluid then the only sensible thing to do would be to pull the transmission anyways right? there's not a viable repair option for the above described that wouldn't involve extraction of the transmission. if I pull the pan and find nothing down there, then what? can I assume that I can keep driving it? nope. anyways at this juncture i have made my decision. the transmission must be pulled. when it's sitting on the bench i will inspect and report what i find. sucks.

Before you pull the tranny check the fluid level and verify that it is at the proper level. I know, a long shot but that is the only thing that I can think of since it just started doing it shortly after a fluid change.

I brought the transmission up to temp and checked the fluid. had a pint run out but I usually add just a little extra on a refill to be safe. in the pint that ran out the fluid had a beautiful maroon metallic look. nice color for paint but not for transmission fluid. looked like clutch material to me. also some small "chunks" that look like bearing material although I am not sure. I did eventually pull some codes, for both 2nd and 5th gear incorrect ratios and solenoids a and d malfunctions. oh well. time to come out.

Wow, sounds like you lost your overdrive servo and burned through a clutch pack. Probably going to have to repair the case due to the servo bores being out of tolerance. Good luck.

yep that was my assumption as well. this was supposed to be a reman transmission but a reman is only as good as the person rebuilding it. if the proper attention was not given to the servo bores then the rebuild was doomed from the get go. I am looking at a transmission with 50 (yep, 50) miles from an 09 for 850 exchanged. pretty good deal so I think I am going to jump on it. I would have liked to tear into this one to see what the problem truly is but I am a little short on time. :(

Seriously uncanny coincidence .... my wife's '06 Explorer is exhibiting exact same symptoms you have described (and, assuming yours is a recent occurrence, occurred at same time, almost to the day). .... No noticeable performance degradation, grinding in 2nd gear (.... almost sounds like something stuck between brake rotor and pads). Also, maybe (just maybe) there's a similar, but much fainter noise in O/D.

Very interested in what you find out with yours.

The five speed trannys in the 4th gen 4.0 are good for around 77k miles before the servo bores on the case are out of tolerance so it sounds like you are due for a complete rebuild too.

yes, there was a bit of a whine/whirr in O/D. didn't take long for it to start on it's way down. damn, you would think ford would have fixed this transmission after so many failures out there. Ford's pattern in the past seems to be "throw it out there" and see what happens, then update the same pile of junk with slightly better parts. unreal. i am not impressed at all with their transmissions. i don't know if it's Ford or the people they partner up with but end result is that it's ultimately Ford's responsibility to put out a better product.

Yeah, I had all this happen before my 06's transmission died. Hard shifts, grinding, clunks when you throw it in reverse, you name it. After the transmission was rebuilt it was a COMPLETELY different vehicle to drive. You can nickel and dime it now, but it is worth it to pay the piper.