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Shifting Problems - Explorer down


Well-Known Member
July 12, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Austin, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
1974 XLL
Driving home today the Explorer, 1996 4x4 automatic, would not shift out of first. I would hit the gas, engine would rev up really high but not shift. If I slowly pressed on the gas then it would shift some of the time, into 2nd and 3rd.

I pulled into a parking lot and the X went out of gear totally and would not go back into drive, reverse, nothing was catching. I put it into park, let it sit, still would not catch on anything, R, D, 2, 1. I killed the engine, started it back up, and it would shift into D and R then.

Went down the road, it stays in first only and after a long, long time shifts into second then on a turn pops out of D again and will not go back into anything once again. Kill the engine, restart, back into D.

What does this sound like? Tranmission went out? Computer module? Transfer case?

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Is the truck throwing any CEL codes or flashing the O/D light? Hows the condition of the fluid? I suspect you have a solenoid failure or failures. Your tranny is a definite for a valve body job. Definately read up on Glacier's 4R55E/5R55E rebuild diary.

The first time the OD light did keep blinking. What does that mean?

Just checked the fluid and it's black. Is black fluid a sign of a specific problem or just old oil?

I have sort of the same problem with mine. I have 91 X and it slowly shifts into 2nd and 3rd. I never had it not go into gear YET but all gears are slow to respond and rpms revs up fast. I have slowly give it gas to move. My fluid is old and dark brown too. Would a valve body job, servo & soleniod changes and fluid & fitler refill solve this you think?

Bob W.

I would do at least a fluid flush and fill. I don't think that the tranny fluid should ever get black before it's changed. Plus it's the cheapest option to do at this point.