2003 Taurus transmission issue - Page 2 - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 06:33 PM
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My 03 Duratec - tranny went out at 73K back in 2011. No reverse. I won't tell you how much I spent (and probably shouldn't have) but it's my daily drive.

Ford trannies aren't the best. I work with a fleet of E450 vans (for paratransit service) and have 10 of the 2013 series. We've had to replace the tranny in 6 of them at under 100K. Previous years weren't nearly as bad.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ice445 View Post
Has the fluid ever been changed? Filter? Might be worth going through with that before going into rebuild purgatory. A bad filter and old fluid can absolutely cause a slipping 1-2.

As for why your mechanic ripping on it caused this to happen? It's likely just a coincidence. Although the higher line pressure from constant WOT is harder on clutch packs and theoretically could have slung some gunk around that clogged up a valve body passage. Who knows.

You're probably right - it's just a coincidence. It was probably about to die anyway. Now let me answer your questions along with a bit of history.
When I got the car at 90K, it had a hard 1st to 2nd shift under normal acceleration. But after a battery disconnect, it used to shift very normally for around first 100 miles (and then got back into the usual hard shift mode). It was very weird to me and I thought it was an electrical issue as the battery disconnect used to fix it temporarily). Being a stick shift guy, I figured out a sweet spot where I had to take my foot off the gas pedal to avoid that hard shift. I also put in new fluid and MC filter at 100k miles (right now it has 140K, 70% of my miles are highway miles). That didn't get rid of that hard shift, actually didn't make any difference (the previous owner also changed the fluid right before selling it) so I kept on applying my little trick. It's been working fine for 5 years (50k miles). I have always kept an eye on the fluid color (not smell) and I never pushed car over 3K rpm. It's still clean light red (and now has the match stick smell as I smelled it for the first time yesterday). I also added this lubeguard ATF protectant at 125k miles.

(http://www.amazon.com/Lubegard-60902...ilpage_o02_s00)

So yeah, that's my long history. Hopefully, that'll help you diagnose better. And thanks a lot for your responses. I hope OP isn't getting mad at me He at least has a semi- working first gear

Last edited by ss98; 06-02-2016 at 08:51 PM.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by REDTRUCKCHASER View Post
My 03 Duratec - tranny went out at 73K back in 2011. No reverse. I won't tell you how much I spent (and probably shouldn't have)
Please tell us how much you spent and if it was worth it (current mileage?)
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ss98 View Post
You're probably right - it's just a coincidence. It was probably about to die anyway. Now let me answer your questions along with a bit of history.
When I got the car at 90K, it had a hard 1st to 2nd shift under normal acceleration. But after a battery disconnect, it used to shift very normally for around first 100 miles (and then got back into the usual hard shift mode). It was very weird to me and I thought it was an electrical issue as the battery disconnect used to fix it temporarily). Being a stick shift guy, I figured out a sweet spot where I had to take my foot off the gas pedal to avoid that hard shift. I also put in new fluid and MC filter at 100k miles (right now it has 140K, 70% of my miles are highway miles). That didn't get rid of that hard shift, actually didn't make any difference (the previous owner also changed the fluid right before selling it) so I kept on applying my little trick. It's been working fine for 5 years (50k miles). I have always kept an eye on the fluid color (not smell) and I never pushed car over 3K rpm. It's still clean light red (and now has the match stick smell as I smelled it for the first time yesterday). I also added this lubeguard ATF protectant at 125k miles.

(http://www.amazon.com/Lubegard-60902...ilpage_o02_s00)

So yeah, that's my long history. Hopefully, that'll help you diagnose better. And thanks a lot for your responses. I hope OP isn't getting mad at me He at least has a semi- working first gear
Sounds like the transmission has had an accumulator issue for the 1-2 for quite some time. You certainly got your money's worth out of those little fixes with that many miles. Any issues with the speedo going funky or anything like that?

If you like the car and it's in good shape otherwise I would just go ahead and get the rebuild. Other than suspension part replacement you won't have to worry about much else, and cost of ownership will stay rather low.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ice445 View Post
Sounds like the transmission has had an accumulator issue for the 1-2 for quite some time. You certainly got your money's worth out of those little fixes with that many miles. Any issues with the speedo going funky or anything like that?

If you like the car and it's in good shape otherwise I would just go ahead and get the rebuild. Other than suspension part replacement you won't have to worry about much else, and cost of ownership will stay rather low.
I'll check the speedo soon. As a last resort, I'll also change fluild & filter tomorrow along with another diagnosis at a different tranny shop and will follow up.

I do love the car (put in around $6K (including labor) so far with AC being the most expensive repair, others being wheels,tires, struts (rear), brakes, starter,gaskets, 02 sensors, camshaft sync., spark plugs, wires, cosmetic stuff, pulleys, belt, etc. but they all added up)

I have no regrets though. This car is amazing (coming from a hard-core Chevy fan who's on his 3rd Camaro SS). So is this forum (unlike the stupid camaro forum where they talk about scratches and CAIs all day ). Very knowledgeable discussions and hard core car folks we got over here.

By the way, which one would you recommend - a re-manufactured (~$1200 from Rock Auto) or used tranny (<50k miles for ~$900) ? My mechanic (who is feeling sorry today) promised to do it for a reasonable labor price ($500) and he prefers low-mileage used one. I was also looking at fordparts.com (my local area Ford dealer has one for $1900, but also offers 3 year/unlimited miles warranty on part & free repair labor at their dealership and I can get it installed at any other place compared to 1 year part/labor warranty on the other two options. But I don't know if fordparts.com sells reman or new trannies). They all are attractive options. I certainly didn't like the 4th option that my local tranny shop gave me today - $2K rebuild (including labor) of my existing tranny (with 140K miles).

Last edited by ss98; 06-02-2016 at 09:37 PM.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ss98 View Post
I'll check the speedo soon. As a last resort, I'll also change fluild & filter tomorrow along with another diagnosis at a different tranny shop and will follow up.

I do love the car (put in around $6K (including labor) so far with AC being the most expensive repair, others being wheels,tires,starter,gaskets, 02 sensors, camshaft sync., spark plugs, wires, cosmetic stuff, pulleys, belt, etc. but they all added up)

I have no regrets though. This car is amazing (coming from a hard-core Chevy fan who's on his 3rd Camaro SS). So is this forum (unlike the stupid camaro forum where they talk about scratches and CAIs all day ). Very knowledgeable discussions and hard core car folks we got over here.

By the way, which one would you recommend - a re-manufactured (~$1200 from Rock Auto) or used tranny (<50k miles for ~$900) ? My mechanic (who is feeling sorry today) promised to do it for a reasonable labor price ($500) and he prefers low-mileage used one. I was also looking at fordparts.com (my local area Ford dealer has one for $1900, but also offers 3 year/unlimited miles warranty on part & free repair labor at their dealership and I get it installed at any other place compared to 1 year part/labor warranty for the other two options. But I don't know if fordparts.com sells reman or new stuff). They all are attractive options. I certainly didn't like the 4th option that my local tranny shop gave me today - $2K rebuild (including labor) of my existing tranny (with 140K miles).
If you spent that much money already, I would definitely go ahead and redo the trans and just enjoy the hell out of the car, worry free. 140K is a decent mileage to get out of an AX4N in my book.

As far as options, the Ford remans are the best, but the priciest. Although the warranty is first rate, so it may be worth it to you. I would go that route if I planned on keeping the car for another 5 years or more. If you go with a used trans, there's always the risk of the "unknown". It's the cheapest option but is also already worn in. If you only plan to try and get to 200K, then it would be more than fine, if function is verified by the seller. What's the mileage on it? The only issue with used trans in my book is people RARELY change the fluid during ownership and it leads to premature wear of parts. I can't comment on the RockAuto reman, but there are lots of rebuilding companies out there. If they stand behind it, it will probably be just fine. The AX4N was heavily mass produced, so everyone on the market has already rebuilt a million of them by now.

The tranny shop rebuild isn't that bad of a price since labor is included. That really means you're paying about $1000 for the rebuild itself. If your mechanic is only going to charge you $500 for labor, you found a great mechanic...lol.

Overall, whichever option you choose, make sure to also purchase an aftermarket torque converter (I recommend the DACCO high stall). The OEM converter has paper thin splines that grip the pump shaft and they're known to break for no reason. Since the pump shaft depends on the rotation of the converter to actually function, stripped splines = car dead in the water. It's only $100 on RockAuto for the converter, and it's cheap insurance to avoid having to pay the labor a second time. Trust me, spend that $100...lol
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ice445 View Post
What's the mileage on it?

..

If your mechanic is only going to charge you $500 for labor, you found a great mechanic...lol.

..

Overall, whichever option you choose, make sure to also purchase an aftermarket torque converter (I recommend the DACCO high stall).
Thanks! I checked two used ones (43K & 49K miles qualityusedtransmissions.com & gottransmissions.com - not sure about their reputation they also look very similar lol) for around $980.

Mechanic is great indeed. Since he's been working on my cars for 8 years & was also in charge of that test drive lol, he gave me a great discount.

Thanks a lot for the torque converter tip. I'll certainly get one
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:14 PM
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@UPSChris, I wish you luck as this p0731 code is not looking good for me so far! Please be very nice to your tranny You could also read my previous post if it helps as I was able score 50K miles doing those.

@ice445 Just got back from another tranny shop - same deal.

Now I'm seriously looking into getting a tranny from my Ford dealer (fordparts & they sell reman as I was told today). They said if I use an aftermarket TC, it can complicate the warranty claims down the road (if somehow they manage to link any xmission issue to that TD). Quite a dilemma since the Ford TC is not the greatest one. Any suggestions?

Also do you think any other part I should try to replace at the same time (since the car has 140k) if it saves me on labor cost? I'll do the mounts. Anything else, like water pump, or some gaskets, etc.? As mentioned earlier, so far I did AC, rear strut/coil, brakes, rotors, starter, gaskets (valve cover & intake manifold), spark plugs, wires, camshaft synchronizer, ignition coil something, something else that fixed the distributor ticking, PS pump, pulleys, belt, wheels, tires, alignment.

Going back to the uphill shaking (sorry for being off-topic), it only shakes when I hit the gas with 2/3 adult passengers on-board and hit the minor bumps on flat highways or going uphill (not constant even though I keep on giving gas in the second case). My mechanic thinks my mounts are worn out and something is rubbing the axle when I hit the bumps (he didn't get to check the uphill case). I'll also look for vacuum leak (the one I found previously was IMRC seal and fixed it). Any other possible location for vacuum leak?

Edit: One more question before I order the transmission. Since it's a big investment, will my vulcan motor itself last with good care for another 5 years/50K miles? I've been putting in full synthetic mobil 1 & 89 gasoline (& gumout/10k miles) since I've gotten it at 90K. Also fixed those two leaky gaskets mentioned earlier.

Thanks a lot!

Last edited by ss98; 06-03-2016 at 07:44 PM.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss98 View Post
@UPSChris, I wish you luck as this p0731 code is not looking good for me so far! Please be very nice to your tranny You could also read my previous post if it helps as I was able score 50K miles doing those.

@ice445 Just got back from another tranny shop - same deal.

Now I'm seriously looking into getting a tranny from my Ford dealer (fordparts & they sell reman as I was told today). They said if I use an aftermarket TC, it can complicate the warranty claims down the road (if somehow they manage to link any xmission issue to that TD). Quite a dilemma since the Ford TC is not the greatest one. Any suggestions?

Also do you think any other part I should try to replace at the same time (since the car has 140k) if it saves me on labor cost? I'll do the mounts. Anything else, like water pump, or some gaskets, etc.? As mentioned earlier, so far I did AC, rear strut/coil, brakes, rotors, starter, gaskets (valve cover & intake manifold), spark plugs, wires, camshaft synchronizer, ignition coil something, something else that fixed the distributor ticking, PS pump, pulleys, belt, wheels, tires, alignment.

Going back to the uphill shaking (sorry for being off-topic), it only shakes when I hit the gas with 2/3 adult passengers on-board and hit the minor bumps on flat highways or going uphill (not constant even though I keep on giving gas in the second case). My mechanic thinks my mounts are worn out and something is rubbing the axle when I hit the bumps (he didn't get to check the uphill case). I'll also look for vacuum leak (the one I found previously was IMRC seal and fixed it). Any other possible location for vacuum leak?

Edit: One more question before I order the transmission. Since it's a big investment, will my vulcan motor itself last with good care for another 5 years/50K miles? I've been putting in full synthetic mobil 1 & 89 gasoline (& gumout/10k miles) since I've gotten it at 90K. Also fixed those two leaky gaskets mentioned earlier.

Thanks a lot!
That's a good point about the aftermarket TC affecting warranty, although Ford would have a hard time proving that was the cause of the issue (if any issue even came up). Still, they could easily write off the labor part of the warranty if something were to happen. I'm honestly not even sure if Ford fixed the TC spline design in their re manufactured transmissions. Maybe they did, and it will be fine. Or maybe not. With a 3 year basically unlimited warranty that covers it from head to toe, it may be worth just taking your chances. The issue only tends to show up around the 100K+ mile marker anyway (usually), and I doubt you'll be getting that transmission to that mark any time soon.

As for other repairs while the engine is out? Freeze plugs and timing cover + oil pan gasket. Also check the harmonic balancer for any grooving from riding the seal (this causes leaks). Otherwise I wouldn't worry about much. The Vulcan is one of the most reliable motors I can think of. If you're changing the oil regularly your chances of issues are extremely low.

As for the shaking, it could be a lot of things. Suspension issue would be my first guess if bumps can also cause it.


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Last edited by ice445; 06-03-2016 at 10:34 PM.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2016, 02:12 PM
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Ford trannies aren't the best. I work with a fleet of E450 vans (for paratransit service) and have 10 of the 2013 series. We've had to replace the tranny in 6 of them at under 100K. Previous years weren't nearly as bad.
What sort of transmission do the E450s have? Were they "AODs"? In terms of transmissions, I think no company is really known to make very long lasting and durable transmissions anymore. I think the AODs are actually considered to be pretty durable compared to others. The AXOD and derivatives in the tauruses are hit or miss. Some years worse than others.
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