Transmission failure - M5OD - Only 4th gear | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Transmission failure - M5OD - Only 4th gear


New Member
June 20, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Seattle, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 XLT
1993 Explorer 4x4 XLT w/ M5OD manual transmission

Driving down the highway and suddenly 5th gear drops out like it's in neutral. Switch to 4th and it drives. Further testing shows Reverse, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th gears are all not engaging. The shifter moves, it feels like it "engages" with a little bit of expected resistance, but alas no power.

I ended up driving from Oregon to Seattle - 190 miles - in just 4th gear. Actually made it in the driveway, too.

So I've researched that 4th gear is direct drive 1:1, which I am guessing is the reason it kept working... but I know very little about transmissions, unfortunately. I've started looking around the area for a cheap replacement, but I wanted to make sure this is a major problem that can't easily be repaired.

Any thoughts?

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What's the tranny oil look like?

Look through my rebuild thread (its stickied in this section). Fourth gear is not a gear. The input and output shafts get locked together. Something is up with the countershaft or gears that drive it/the output shaft from it.

Well, update. Found a good condition replacement from a 1996 4WD ($200).

Tranny oil (atf) was burnt as hell, smelled terrible, and only about 2-3 cups came out.

Removed it, got the top cover off, and much to my surprise first gear was GONE all the way to the shaft. Heat melted the little plastic fluid trough. It was ugly. Took a few pictures.

I now know a lot more about transmisisons. No teacher like experience.

Low fluid level is the main killer of manual trans. We have had many towed in over the years for same problem, no fluid in trans.