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Hey everyone, I replaced the torque converter and fluid filter in my 2008 Taurus, because the transmission had a shuddering problem that got progressively worse over a one-year period. After researching this problem on the internet, I believed that the source of the problem was a clogged filter, which in turn, caused the torque converter to go bad.

I did all of the work myself, in my garage. I want to share my experience (and a few pictures), because I could not find anything specific on how to do this, when I was searching for answers. For removing and replacing the transmission, I used a step by step procedure from Chilton's. I will mention that I could not perform a couple of the steps as written, so I improvised. I will explain how I worked around those steps, so, possibly, someone with greater automotive repair knowledge than me can point out how to perform them "correctly."


I used an engine hoist (borrowed) to support the engine, before removing the transmission. The procedure called for a special engine support bar and spreader, but I didn't know how or where to obtain one, so I improvised.

I was not able to separate the control arms from the steering knuckles, in order to remove the left and right axle halfshafts, as the procedure specified. Instead, I waited until the removal of the subframe, and the control arm ball joint studs dropped out of the steering knuckle easily. I then removed the halfshafts from the transmission. I don't believe that changing the order of operations caused any problems. I did need a large puller (borrowed from O'Reilly Auto Parts) to separate the splined axle from the wheel hub. The suspension sway bar and the steering rack are bolted to top of the subframe, and must be removed before removing the subframe. It seemed almost impossible to access the mounting bolts for these parts, but eventually I found that I could get a wrench on them from underneath, while lying on my back. The two steering rack mounting bolts are attached with considerable torque, so I needed my impact driver to get them loose.



I like to keep all of the removed parts neatly organized on the garage floor for ease of re-installation;)



With the transmission removed, the torque converter can easily be replaced. There are videos available on Youtube that will show how to get the new torque converter installed properly.



These photos show what the transmission looks like when you remove the case bolts, and separate the case halves. The filter is attached directly to the fluid pump, and the pump and filter must be removed together. The pump is easily removed by removing three mounting bolts. The pump is mounted over the top of the sprocket and chain that drive it. When re-installing the pump and filter, be careful to not let the drive chain slip off of the sprocket. I made this mistake, and it cost me another removal and replacement of the transmission in the car!

When reassembling the case halves, make sure that the teeth of the ring gear (the unit right next to the pump in the photo) mesh with the teeth of the planetary gear hub (in the opposite case half). When these teeth mesh, the case halves will fit together easily with no gap in the mating surfaces. If the case halves are not fitting together, do not torque the bolts down. I learned this the hard way. I broke the planetary gear hub, and it cost me $40 and two days waiting for the new part:(

When installing the subframe back into the car, I simply used two floor jacks to support it, and raised it up into place. Remember to get the control arm ball joint studs in place, as you install the subframe...if you removed them the way I did;)

I've put about 1,000 miles on the new torque converter and filter without a single shudder, and it runs smoother and quieter than before. I did it, and so can you:D
 

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Thanks a bunch for this write up! Will help anyone else planning on pulling the trans out!
 

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Thanks for sharing. It is great info. I am seeing transmission shudders on my 2009 Taurus X and would like to know how to confirm it is the torque converter.

If I keep it running at 40mph and 1000RPM, and push a little bit more gas to accelerate, I feel some kick/bumps from bottom. Is this the transmission shudder problem? Dealer did a diagnose and told me cylinder 1 misfire. I switched ignition coil pack and spark plug of cylinder 1 and 5, the problem still exists.

Thanks a lot for any insight. I wouldn't be able to replace the torque converter by myself. If confirmed I'll try to find honest machinist to do it.
 

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Thanks for sharing. It is great info. I am seeing transmission shudders on my 2009 Taurus X and would like to know how to confirm it is the torque converter.

If I keep it running at 40mph and 1000RPM, and push a little bit more gas to accelerate, I feel some kick/bumps from bottom. Is this the transmission shudder problem? Dealer did a diagnose and told me cylinder 1 misfire. I switched ignition coil pack and spark plug of cylinder 1 and 5, the problem still exists.

Thanks a lot for any insight. I wouldn't be able to replace the torque converter by myself. If confirmed I'll try to find honest machinist to do it.
That might be the problem. I found out that after replacing my spark plugs, the shudder went away. I also see on other posts that this appears to be a temporary fix. So, start cheap. Replace all spark plugs you haven't replaced yet, and see if the problem still persists. I know after 100 thousand miles, my spark plug gap was huge compared to the new plugs.
 

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Dealer did a diagnose and told me cylinder 1 misfire. I switched ignition coil pack and spark plug of cylinder 1 and 5, the problem still exists.
You could also swap the injector for that cylinder. You should get a code if you have a cylinder misfire.
And don't wait 100,00 miles to change your plugs.:)
 

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Good advice. Thanks. I'll replace plugs this summer. My car is only at 70k miles but mainly local miles.
My another old Freestyle duratec 3.0V6 runs still strong with original plugs after 12 years.
 

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Reporting back. Problem is gone after replaced all spark plugs. The old plug is motorcraft platinum and the gap is obviously much wider.
Replaced with NGK Iridium IX plugs and happy now. It runs like new again, maybe will run for 10 more years. First time see an engine sensitive to spark plugs.
 

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First off, I wish the OP would check back in to this thread, I know it's old but would like more info please. Questions for you first then my input follows...

Do you have any other pics? ie, you mention a chain and pump with 3 bolts to remove to get to the filter, but I see neither of those landmarks in your pics.
If debris caused the TC to fail, the debris came from other failing parts in the trans, changing the filter must have only been a temporary "fix" IMO. Did your trans eventually fail and need a rebuild?
What sealant did you use when reassembling the case halves (looks like Ford uses a white/grey color)?
Did you replace any of the seals while you were at it?

I'm in the process of swapping a donor trans into what should be my DD 08 T-X AWD Limited (yeah, Limited road time lol). I pored over YT, here, and anywhere else I could get info and there wasn't much, and unfortunately I didn't get a set of dealer manuals yet which I usually do with my vehicles.
To remove the trans in this platform you MUST remove the K member cradle, whether you drop the enter engine/trans with it or suspend eng and only drop trans, it MUST be removed. On the donor 08 Sable AWD I suspended the eng with the eng/trans susp tool (I wish I had 2 lol), but on the T-X I'm dropping the eng/trans/K member together, then separating the eng/trans, it took me forever getting it donor out (the AWD PTU complicates things), I also want to do the water pump as preventive maintainace (145,000 mi but new to me).
I had no problem removing ball joints or tie rod ends, like most vehicles, before and after removing the nuts spray with penetrating oil, find the meaty side of the steering knuckle where that part mounts, and whack a few times with a hammer and the usually pop right out.
I found it easier to disconnect the lines to the rack and leave it on the K member rather than removing and suspending it.

That's as far as I got to this point, if getting to that filter is as easy as the OP makes it sound I am adding it to my RA order and will change it out.

Hopefully the OP and those with this experience will reply.
And to astute viewer, yes I'm also trying to find a donor eng for my 06 Trailblazer and Yes I also have old faithful a 02 Sable Wgn LS Premium (only vehicle I own out of 6 currently running).
Thanks, Bill.
 

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