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Old 11-07-2010, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile After Transmission Rebuild...No Drive!!!

1996 Taurus GL Vulcan AX4S trans...

I just finished rebuilding my transmission and reverse gear works, but when I put it in drive it doesn't engage. It doesn't work in Overdrive, Drive or 1, but reverse works perfect. Throw it in Drive and the engine revs up a couple hundred rpm in anticipation of engagement and nothing happens. After screwing with it, I found these two weird things that happen though:

1 - With the wheels off the car and it on jack stands, I can rev the engine in reverse and get the axles spinning at about 10 mph, then if I throw it in drive, (and the computer recognizes about 10 mph, second gear territory) it engages in SECOND gear. If I hold the brakes to add resistance it will accelerate as it should, but once it drops down below 7 mph or so when it should shift into first gear, it acts like its in neutral from then on, unless I do that reverse thing again. In short, it seems to be missing first gear but second and the others seem to be ok...

2 - If I unplug the transmission wiring harness/solenoid plug, the white one on top of the trans, and then put it into drive from a stop, it engages.

I'm suspecting a bad shift solenoid as the reason it won't engage into first gear when I put it in drive. I am almost completely sure I did everything right with the trans, and have already taken the whole thing apart again and put it back together to try to find problems and couldn't find any. There is no engagement in drive at all, and no check engine codes unless I do that thing with disconnecting the trans connector.

Any ideas as to why it won't engage in first gear?! Thanks for your help... I'm just at a loss as to what to do next. It just seems weird to me that the solenoids would go bad at the same time as I do this rebuild...

Btw I did the rebuild because of a broken forward clutch piston wave spring. It and the forward clutch piston was replaced during the rebuild.

Thanks!!!
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah it could be one of those solenoids I suppose... I just rebuilt mine and thankfully it works. Thats crazy how it engages without that connector plugged in. Anybody else have experience with this situation???
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It uses different hydraulic circuits if the PCM is disconnected. It also uses full (not modulated) control pressure. Measure the solenoids for correct resistance, if they check out OK you may have a stuck valve in the valve body.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Stuck valve in valve body or low/reverse one-way clutch malfunction.

Without the PCM connector, most likely it is engaging third gear in limp mode.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Another thing to remember is that the valvebody gasket material likes to shift during assembly and this can cause a "No drive issue". Another thing to check if the solenoids are correctly reinstalled.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Alright guys thanks for the info. I'll check the solenoid resistance tomorrow. Does anybody know where I can find a wiring diagram for that 9 pin connector on top of the trans for the solenoids? Or am I better off removing that side pan and testing them that way?

I'm pretty sure the valve body gaskets aren't to blame. The first time I assembled it I admit to reusing the old gaskets on the valve body because I thought I might screw up the valve body but the second time around I used new gaskets and spent the time to remove the old ones. Same problem both times and I really spent a lot of time making sure everything was aligned correctly.

Makes sense that its probably in 3rd gear without the connector... I went out to mess with it again and its definitely not in first gear. And it seems to kind of bang into gear without the connector... probably because of full pressure.

Two last questions though... is there supposed to be a click from the solenoid when I put it into drive? There isn't one. And which piston is responsible for first gear? The forward clutch piston or the intermediate piston??? Thanks for the info guys. I haven't been this stumped on a car repair in a long time and I fix cars all the time
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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hi, the topic below has the connector info.

Transmission Info I Came Across
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Forward and low/reverse.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Does anybody have any other advice?! That connector isn't for my generation transmission... the pin layout is different. I'm really at a loss at to what to do. I love this car and don't want to replace it but I can't figure out why its not working!!!

Should I buy a whole new valve body? What should I be doing to test the solenoids or anything else that may be busted? Is there a way to manually force it into first gear with the solenoid wiring to test the piston function? Thanks for the help guys...
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Also... if it was a solenoid that was causing the problem wouldn't the computer throw a code for a bad solenoid?!
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