2004 AX4N Transmission Issues - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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2004 AX4N Transmission Issues

Hello all. Having problems with my 2004 SEL with an AX4N Transmission. Car is all original with 68K on it.

Was leaving a store in a strip mall when I lost all power to the transmission. Car was moving at the time, and had no symptoms prior to that except an intermittent leak and odd cold shifting issue that hasn't presented itself for months (and which I think is a different issue). Had it towed home and did a bit of research and diagnostics. Figured it had the sheared torque converter problem that seems to be common with this transmission, but the fluid level drops when I start the car, and there is fluid that comes out of the pressure port while running as well. I have one of the AutoEngunity scan tools with the advanced Ford stuff on it, so I can read a lot of codes, but haven't found anything that sticks out. Transmission selector position switches seem ok. Turbine sensor shows about the same speed as the car is idling at, and it does move if I blip the throttle. Line pressure control seems low, but I might not be looking at it right either. No codes showing on the tester that are transmission related. Some odd ones like for the blend door, but all that works ok so I'm not sure what the deal is. No check engine light either.

I'm thinking I am in over my head here and know just enough to be dangerous, so I thought I would ask on here if anyone had any suggestions. Maybe specific sensors to check or something like that. Really hoping it is something simple.

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by KCobraII; 06-15-2016 at 01:51 AM. Reason: Forgot to add mileage and other details
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 08:45 AM
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Welcome to TCCA.

Good idea to have had the scan tool take a look at things.

Post up All trouble code Numbers you've found, no matter if you think they apply or not.

Is the tranny fluid level correct, not over or under filled & in good condition???

How many miles on this fluid & filter???

Have you measured line pressure yet, if so post the number.

Check the fluid level to make sure its not over, or under filled, as either condition can cause aeration of the fluid & the tranny pump won't like trying to make good line pressure with aerated fluid.

Check the tranny trs electrical connector pins & sockets for looseness, bent pins, spread sockets, corrosion on them, & to make sure its plugged in tight & wiring to it is undamaged.

Will your scan tool run FORScan, if so load it & let it have a look at what's going on with the tranny.

Some basic thoughts to get the trouble shoot started, let us know what you find.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 10:31 AM
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Sometimes there remains enough of the splines that that the pump will work just enough to pump a little fluid to raise and lower the level in the transmission but not nearly enough to actually power the car - that is why pawpaw suggested giving the line pressure number. You say it is low - but how low?


Since it cost nothing I would try unhooking the battery (after you written down all the codes) and see if clearing the computer does anything. I suspect your assumption is correct and you are looking at a new torque converter and/or possibly a pump shaft.




Autozone sells DACCO torque converters they are around $175 - my understanding is they are pretty good.




http://www.autozone.com/drivetrain/t...?checkfit=true
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 05:34 PM
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Hi; I am somewhat new to the club & have a 04 SES 3.0L Flex-Fuel Engine w/ AX4N transmission. Last Friday my wife drove off & I saw a puddle of trans fluid & a line of it leading down the driveway & street. You said you had (some time in the recent past) to add trans fluid, so maybe you have, as I do, a plugged trans breather vent valve. Mine was plugged enough for trans fluid pressure to push the trans dip stick up about an inch & a half. I thought it was a trans seal leak at first until I saw a U tube video showing replacing the plugged straight vent with a 90 degree bent vent. I am waiting on the part now, ordered online, since Ford follows a US rule to only supply parts for 10 years. Anyway, low fluid could cause trans failure, same as low oil can cause engine failure. Larry
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses.

Haven't put many miles on the car since we got it, but I know the original owner and she kept meticulous maintenance on it. So, the short answer is I don't know how many miles are on the fluid, but it is doesn't smell bad or anything like that. Car has 68K on it. It had like 52K on it when I bought it, and I know she had a bunch of scheduled stuff done right before I got it. I was going to have it changed soon just so that I would know for sure, but it was one of those things I kept putting off because I figured it had been done not too long ago. Even if it had never been changed, it is still a 68K mile transmission. I'm sure there are lots worse out there. LOL Also I mentioned the leaking problem it had a while back. When that would trigger, it would drop a fourth of a quart on the ground. I monitored it religiously so that it wouldn't go low (had it to three mechanics who said they could never find the source of the leak), but over the course of that issue I'm sure I replaced three or four quarts of mercV in it as well. I suspect it was the VSS from the area the leak was coming from, and the mechanics just didn't want to change it (centerline of car, behind the transmission pan).

Tranny fluid is a bit high right now. Not sure what it was when the failure happened as it was dark and I couldn't get a good reading, but I really doubt it was low. I carry a funnel and quart of mercV in the car just in case that previous problem starts up again, so I put that in after it quit on me. Thinking maybe it had dropped a bunch out while I was running errands and I hadn't noticed. It made no difference, and it was high the next day after checking it. After opening the test port to check for flow though, it's almost down to the hatch marks. And as I mentioned before, when cold it is quite a bit higher than while running.

Not sure which is the TRS connector. I'll have to do some googling on that one. I did play with the gear shift selector today though, and it seems to be ok. Have some new codes because of that, but I'll just ignore them since they weren't there before. I should add this is a console shift car, not a column shift. Don't know if it makes any difference.

Codes showing now are:

Under enhanced powertrain CAN:
P1000 OBD systems readiness test not complete
P1464 A/C demand out of self test range (I had the system on max A/C at the time which may have caused this)

Under instrument cluster CAN:
U0020 low speed CAN communication bus performance
U1901 can 2 communication bus fault - receive error

Under electronic automatic temperature control mcan:
U0073 control module communication bus off
B1249 blend door failure or start button illumination

Under general electronics module MCAN:
B1318 battery voltage low or right front door ajar switch

I should add that there is no check engine light on even now (nor was there one), the A/C works fine (although I did have it serviced recently), and the passenger door is not open. LOL Also my regular scan tool didn't find any codes at all, although I'm sure it's just searching for powertrain ones.

As for line pressure, when I opened the test port like that one youtube video suggested, a fair amount of fluid came out. Not squirting two feet in the air, but a fair amount just the same. I ordered an actual gauge today so that I can get a good number, but the sensor on my software pretty much stays at 15. It will spike up into the 40s sometimes when I change gears, but will drop back to 15. Not sure if that is an actual pressure number though, so that's why I ordered the gauge. Speaking of changing gears, I notice an almost imperceptible change in idle when I go into or out of a powered gear. Car sometimes will move ever so slightly too. Like it's really trying to go into gear, but just can't quite do it.

I also checked the shift solenoids this morning. This may be normal procedure, but shift solenoid 1 never changed state. Always off. Solenoid 2 was always on. Solenoid 3 was always off unless I put the car in park. then it went on.

I am afraid it might be the torque convertor. Hope not. Although wouldn't the turbine sensor be off if that was the case? The reading off its sensor is close to the engine RPM, and mirrors it if I blip the throttle.

As for the vent being plugged, I had thought of that back when it was leaking, but the area it leaked at was not in the same area as the vent. Also, the dipstick was never popped up like you would expect if it was leaking like that. What it was doing was every once in a while, at the first takeoff of the day, when everything was cold (was worse in the winter), the very first shift would be a little jerky. Almost seemed to jump in and out of gear at times. This was months ago though, and it has not done it lately. The leaking would only occur if I took a very short trip and did not let the transmission fully warm up. Like if I just backed the car out of the garage, or went to the shopping center around the corner. It would then spew out a fair amount of transmission fluid once I shut off the car. Never while running as far as I know. I also really watched the fluid level for the very reason you mentioned. I didn't want to risk burning it up from a low fluid condition. I suppose all of this could be a contributing factor, but I am also describing it in detail and probably making it sound worse than it was. Car was never below the bottom of the hash marks on the dipstick. Was slightly above it a couple of times from me overfilling a bit, but not when this failure happened.

I have disconnected the battery, but I'm not sure if I left it long enough. Codes were still in the computer, and I didn't have to reset the radio stations. Left it disconnected for like a half hour though, so I don't know.

As for FORScan, I honestly had never heard of it until now. I doubt my scanner would be compatible since AutoEnginuity has their security stuff built into the reader. I ordered a OBDlink SX from Amazon. Will that read everything, or should I get one of the ELM 327 ones too?

Thanks for your help.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quick follow up about the TRS connector. For whatever reason, I thought it had a different name, but I have checked that sensor. My scantool registers both the gear state and the binary reading of the sensor itself. Both line up with info I found online as being good for each gear. One of the videos I found also suggested disconnecting it and the car would go into limp home mode. I tried that just for grins, and other than the car throwing a bunch of new codes for that sensor and having 'check transmission' appear on the dash, it didn't make a difference.

Hoping my pressure gauge shows up today so I can check that tomorrow morning. Too hot outside to do it now. LOL

Thanks.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 10:28 PM
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We don't know which model AE scan tool, or version of their software you have but it seems to be able to take a rather in depth look into the tranny computer/controller, so right now I'd not invest any more of your gold in scan tools until you have a look at line pressure.
Seeing as you have a low battery voltage code, have you had the battery/alternator system tested for load regulation???? A weak battery, or wimpy alternator output can cause all sorts of mischief in computer controlled systems.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 12:34 AM
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My vote is on insufficient line pressure to engage any clutch packs. Likely broken pump vanes in this case instead of converter splines.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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AutoEnginuity scan tool is the ST06 Proline with the enhanced Ford stuff on it. I also got the cheapie ELM327 in the mail yesterday, but I can't get it to work with FORScan. Guess it isn't fully compatible even though it says it's a 327. The other cable and manual gauge set should be here today. I haven't checked anything with the alternator or battery because until this problem came up I didn't know there was a problem. Battery is about two years old works fine and I never get an alternator light. Guess I'll have to look into that if the transmission pressure checks out.

What kind of pressure should I be looking for off that test port? Does it make a difference if it's in park or gear, or rather what state should the transmission be in when I test the pressure?

Thanks.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 01:04 PM
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If I remember right it should be around 150PSI. Shooting two feet in the air levels of pressure.


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