AX4N: replacing torque converter or new transmission - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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AX4N: replacing torque converter or new transmission

Should I just do what ever my trans guy says? or try to say I only want the the torque converter and not a new trans. I'm going to tell him to open up the trans tomorrow and give me his judgement. Although, I wish he would have checked the line pressure port, because he says he's not sure it's the torque converter or something else unless he inspects inside.



I purchased an almost rust free 2003 Vulcan OHC wagon with 115,000 miles.


I have driven the car for 5000 miles, and now it is in the transmission shop because the torque converter has failed.


so I'm trying to decide whether to pay for the torque converter to be replaced for $1500, or while I'm paying the labor just have a new transmission put in for $2,200


the transmission fluid was dirty. the previous owner gave me a folder with all the records of the cars maintenance and part replacement. Unfortunately no where was there a transmission fluid and filter change.


so as much as I would like the replace just the torque converter, I'm going to be surprised if my trans guy doesn't suggest a rebuilt trans


I have basic mechanic skills and do fixes such as suspension, brakes, cooling system, valve gaskets. I don't mess with transmissions though other than fluid and filter.


I wish the previous owners had changed the fluid every 30,000 miles like my trans guy recommends, then I for sure wouldn't get new trans. Now it's a gamble not to.


overall, the car has been well maintained with records. I believe i will pay the $2,200 if I have to. I don't expect a trans guy who loves clean transmission to say oh yeah just do the torque converter for $1500. he is not after my money though, seems like a good guy.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smalltaurusbigtaurus View Post
Should I just do what ever my trans guy says? or try to say I only want the the torque converter and not a new trans. I'm going to tell him to open up the trans tomorrow and give me his judgement. Although, I wish he would have checked the line pressure port, because he says he's not sure it's the torque converter or something else unless he inspects inside.



I purchased an almost rust free 2003 Vulcan OHC wagon with 115,000 miles.


I have driven the car for 5000 miles, and now it is in the transmission shop because the torque converter has failed.


so I'm trying to decide whether to pay for the torque converter to be replaced for $1500, or while I'm paying the labor just have a new transmission put in for $2,200


the transmission fluid was dirty. the previous owner gave me a folder with all the records of the cars maintenance and part replacement. Unfortunately no where was there a transmission fluid and filter change.


so as much as I would like the replace just the torque converter, I'm going to be surprised if my trans guy doesn't suggest a rebuilt trans


I have basic mechanic skills and do fixes such as suspension, brakes, cooling system, valve gaskets. I don't mess with transmissions though other than fluid and filter.


I wish the previous owners had changed the fluid every 30,000 miles like my trans guy recommends, then I for sure wouldn't get new trans. Now it's a gamble not to.


overall, the car has been well maintained with records. I believe i will pay the $2,200 if I have to. I don't expect a trans guy who loves clean transmission to say oh yeah just do the torque converter for $1500. he is not after my money though, seems like a good guy.

If the fluid is dirty, likely tranny is seriously worn.


-chart-
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 10:02 AM
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What are the symptoms? And more importantly what is the warranty on the replacement transmission? If the trans has a weak short warranty then find another place. If it was just a stripped out torque converter spline your trans guy should have be able to diagnosis that in five minutes.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Automender12345 View Post
What are the symptoms? And more importantly what is the warranty on the replacement transmission? If the trans has a weak short warranty then find another place. If it was just a stripped out torque converter spline your trans guy should have be able to diagnosis that in five minutes.
Pic of old school Ford tran test. Pull the dipstick, wipe it off and get fresh dip and drop a drop on a clean paper towel. Leave it couple hours. If there is a ring round the first drop area, it is too dirty and damage has been done. As in the pic, all is good. I suck the fluid out the dipstick and replace every other year. Then check the vent cap for free air escape. Another key indication: if the rpm rises during the 1-2 or 2-3 shift, your tran is worn. Shifts should be "crisp'. TQ lockup should also be "crisp".


Years ago, I bought used LTD and it had TQ clutch chatter. I was driving about 3-400 miles per week road miles. Each weekend, I would suck the old fluid out and replace it. After 3-4 exchanges the tranny worked chatter free till a tree fell on it and totaled it years later. Initial fluid pull out was dark, later cleared up.
-chart-
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 06:21 AM
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On all my new-to-me old cars I drained and refilled the transmission fluid immediately, no matter what. And after 200 miles again if not clean red.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chartmaker View Post
I suck the fluid out the dipstick and replace every other year.
I decided to stop making a mess on my driveway and changed the transmission pan with one that has a drain plug... Changed the pan on my Explorer too. Ford did that only for their "racing" products... hate them for that.

https://www.dormanproducts.com/gsear...ith+Drain+Plug

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Last edited by SoNic67; 05-05-2019 at 06:23 AM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
On all my new-to-me old cars I drained and refilled the transmission fluid immediately, no matter what. And after 200 miles again if not clean red.



I decided to stop making a mess on my driveway and changed the transmission pan with one that has a drain plug... Changed the pan on my Explorer too. Ford did that only for their "racing" products... hate them for that.

https://www.dormanproducts.com/gsear...ith+Drain+Plug
I prefer to suck it out and replace every other year. Takes about 20 minutes. Key is to remove the vent cap or it will be hard to get new fluid in. Vent cap needs cleaning and being put back correctly and checked for wobble. I am on G-4 Bulls # 1, 2, 3, 4. And total Bulls up to #9 now.
Never had a tranny issue. Most recent #9, just bought used, fluid looks like new. Vent cap is your friend. Treat it well.
-chart-
-chart-
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 03:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
On all my new-to-me old cars I drained and refilled the transmission fluid immediately, no matter what. And after 200 miles again if not clean red.



I decided to stop making a mess on my driveway and changed the transmission pan with one that has a drain plug... Changed the pan on my Explorer too. Ford did that only for their "racing" products... hate them for that.

https://www.dormanproducts.com/gsear...ith+Drain+Plug
This would be so much easier. A mityvac/other suction device works too. The jury is still out if I "saved" mine, I did a pan drop right when I bought it since the fluid was more on the brown side than the pink one. Shifts great for 176K though.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Automender12345 View Post
What are the symptoms? And more importantly what is the warranty on the replacement transmission? If the trans has a weak short warranty then find another place. If it was just a stripped out torque converter spline your trans guy should have be able to diagnosis that in five minutes.

I had no symptoms. Just the torque converter failure everyone talked about. trans was smooth like clock otherwise. stopped/rolled through a stop sign turning right, when I tried to accelerate, had no power. coasted to side of road. could not shift into any gear. check linkages, disconnected and reconnected battery. nothing. called tow truck went home and cried.


I do wish mechanic would have diagnosed it quicker, I think he just has a thorough way of doing things. He talked like an expert and explained everything very clearly to me. Took a while, but I got a free transmission lessons and was walked through the repair decision instead of forced into an unnecessary rebuild or a new torque converter on a bad trans. determined my trans is likely good for many miles, and torque converter is way to go.


getting car back in two days. he agreed if the torque converter fix doesn't he would go back in a do the rebuild, but I'm confident now the torque converter is the fix.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smalltaurusbigtaurus View Post
I had no symptoms. Just the torque converter failure everyone talked about. trans was smooth like clock otherwise. stopped/rolled through a stop sign turning right, when I tried to accelerate, had no power. coasted to side of road. could not shift into any gear. check linkages, disconnected and reconnected battery. nothing. called tow truck went home and cried.


I do wish mechanic would have diagnosed it quicker, I think he just has a thorough way of doing things. He talked like an expert and explained everything very clearly to me. Took a while, but I got a free transmission lessons and was walked through the repair decision instead of forced into an unnecessary rebuild or a new torque converter on a bad trans. determined my trans is likely good for many miles, and torque converter is way to go.


getting car back in two days. he agreed if the torque converter fix doesn't he would go back in a do the rebuild, but I'm confident now the torque converter is the fix.
Pretty normal failure, they all just go silently into the night. With that said as long as its not an OEM replacement, you'll be fine. He was just looking out for you because if you had the trans rebuilt now, it would only be one labor charge. But it's not like he's judging you. The nice thing too is for a TQ job ALL the fluid will be dumped so you'll have 100% fresh fluid.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chartmaker View Post
If the fluid is dirty, likely tranny is seriously worn.


-chart-

So he pulled the trans out and showed me the damage to the torque converter today. Honestly, the fluid wasn't that dirty. it was definitely dark, but still was more on the red side off the scale than the brown. I was given the option to go with the rebuild, or just the torque converter, my choice.


Considering the fluid not being too dirty, not having any problems with the trans prior to the TC break down, and my last taurus went 215,000 on the original trans, I decided just for the torque converter.


I asked if he was going to use the DACCO torque converter, but he kind of dismissed it and says he uses Precision brand torque converters.



I can't find the price on the Precision, Automotive Torque Converters by Transmission, but it looks like I'm getting a cool blue torque converter!


The only thing I wish is that I did the paper towel drop test the other person mentioned, but I forgot when I was at the shop.


I do wish the mechanic could have diagnosed the torque converter quicker, but this problem is unique to just a few model years so I understand that he wanted to rule out other failures he has seen in taurus transmissions. He was very thorough with the diagnosis and spent at least an hour explaining transmissions and talking about the condition of my car. would have been nice to have my car turn around in four days instead of 7 split over a weekend, but I feel my car is well taken care of.
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