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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LOL! Or any other gear! Hi, folks. I guess you could say I'm a Taurus-aholic, as they do seem to be habit forming. I had a '92 and a '95, and for the last 5 years I've been driving a '93 with basic trim and a plain vanilla 3L Vulcan which now has 162,000 km on it.

In the past I never had any tranny trouble, but over the last couple of months this '93 has been experiencing the occasional Seniors' Moment after pulling up at the stoplight. When it's time to go, I step on the gas but it's as if we're in Neutral. For a brief moment the engine just revs; then suddenly we're in First and the car pulls away with a jerk.

Now things have worsened, and the latest episode lasted about 15 minutes, during which I was entirely stuck. Moving the shift lever from Neutral to Drive, or from Neutral to Reverse, produced only an almost imperceptible lurch, with practically no motion of the vehicle. There clearly was a response, but it seemed to be overwhelmed by slippage. Then the spell quite gradually passed, and somehow I was able to make it home. I guess no self-respecting Ford likes to be seen attached to a tow truck! ;o)

Now I'm asking myself, what next? Tranny fluid level is OK (and in the past I've never needed to top it up), and I don't notice that it smells burned.

On this forum folks often seem to discuss changing the fluid and filter, and I can appreciate that that's a good preventive measure, but has anyone successfully used it as a remedy for the symptoms described? Or, are there any other remedial suggestions?

I'm willing to gamble a hundred or so to get this chariot on the road again, but otherwise it sadly may be time to look for a replacement vehicle instead (hopefully another Taurus, of course)! TIA,

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
PS - I should add that even the latest episode was temporary. At the moment the car is once again capable of normal, strong acceleration from a stop. (In other words, it's not as if the latest episode stripped away the last remains of a brake lining or clutch lining.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AFAIK it still has the original filter and fluid from the factory. I guess some folks will be horrified to hear that, but in my 45 years of driving experience (with Chrysler as well as Ford) I've gotten away with ignoring tranny maintenance entirely (other than checking the fluid level).

It's a valid question you ask. Maybe my luck has run out. Still, I'd like to know: has anyone successfully used a filter & fluid change as a remedy for the symptoms described? Thanks!
 

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I had the same issue with my 93 and I found that shifting to reverse and then shifting to drive the car would accelerate normally from a stop. I ended up donating the car and it had 245 k miles on it. I hear that the forward shift piston could get cracks in it and the pressure could not get great enough to shift. Of course the trans shop said a total rebuild was needed. I will be watching to find out the posts to see the outcome. I did notice on the 93 that the fluid did need to be changed to continue to eliminate shuddering during shifts. But a fluid change did not help my car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses so far.

I've been trying to educate myself about this transaxle but so far I can't even identify it. This page on ford-taurus.org seems like it should give me the necessary info, but somehow I can't connect the dots. The VIN tag in the little box on the right (see photo attached) doesn't agree with any of the "first letter" options listed on the page.

Can anyone help? All I know for certain is that the transaxle has 16 bolts on the pan! (I crawled under there and checked!)

Jeff
 

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Thanks for the responses so far.

I've been trying to educate myself about this transaxle but so far I can't even identify it. This page on ford-taurus.org seems like it should give me the necessary info, but somehow I can't connect the dots. The VIN tag in the little box on the right (see photo attached) doesn't agree with any of the "first letter" options listed on the page.

Can anyone help? All I know for certain is that the transaxle has 16 bolts on the pan! (I crawled under there and checked!)

Jeff

AX4n have 19 bolts and yours has 16. The AXOD transaxle has 17 bolts
 

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I think that year only came with the AX4S transmission. Was a bit confusing, but based on that page you linked, you have "L" as the first letter under the "TR" box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How annoying -- two dumb mistakes in one day! :( Somehow I failed to correctly locate the "TR" box, but yes the first letter is L. Also -- the transaxle has 17 bolts (not 16)... which is pretty easy to get wrong when you're counting "by feel" while lying on your back in the driveway, but still.

I have some pretty cool Power Point slides I downloaded years ago, done by someone called Tom Birch. They do a good job of explaining how the various ratios are achieved, and the difference between synchronous and asynchronous shift designs. But what I'd like to understand better is the hydraulics.

Presumably there's a pump and several solenoid-operated valves, each of which connects to a piston... and also there'll be quite a few misc. details such as the filter, and maybe a pressure relief or regulator (I'm trying to piece this together mentally).

To me, the symptoms -- carefully detailed in my first post -- suggest that, during an episode, pressure from the pump is somehow blocked or diverted. (In light of the intermittent nature of the problem, I don't suppose the pump has stopped producing pressure.)

I don't strongly suspect the trouble could be electrical (eg, a flaky connection somewhere) but experience has taught me to be on the lookout for all possible theories.

Mostly I'm tryna evaluate how likely I am to be successful by applying the only easy fix that's seemingly available -- ie, changing the fluid and filter.

Jeff
 

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When my 93 failed, I could rev the engine and eventually it would slam into 1st gear. I could get it into first gear easy every time by shifting into reverse and then into drive. Never found issue because I donated car. I don't think changing fluid will help but surely worth the cost of fluid and filter, cant remember if that gasket was reusable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, but it's pretty clear your 93's symptoms differ substantially from mine. For example, I did try shifting into Reverse. This detail and others are mentioned in my lead post.

I've been expanding my knowledge regarding the hydraulic side of things, partly because my (admittedly crude) gut feel is that there was a loss of pressure at the pistons. And, upstream of the pistons, it turns out that regulation of the hydraulic pressure relies partly on electronics (!). From page 112 of this document I gather that one of the circuits from the computer to the transaxle is for EPC, or Electronic Pressure Control -- that's what the EPC solenoid is for. (Apparently that solenoid gets a continuously variable current applied to it; ie, unlike some solenoids, it's not just a simple ON-OFF.)

So, the notion of a flaky electrical connection begins to seem slightly less far fetched. However, again from page 112, we read that EPC problems can also arise from, " EPC Solenoid failure or trash in the solenoid, boost valve and/or sleeve damaged, pressure regulator valve damaged and/or sticking, blockage from gasket material (early models), pump damage and/or pump slide sticking."

Trash in the solenoid sounds to me like it could result from a filter that had failed -- I mean if it failed in a way that allowed debris to pass through. So, the filter theory does seem plausible, and at the moment I'm not giving a huge amount of credence to the "flaky connection" theory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright, here's an update. The good news is I was able to observe the symptom more closely, as I had another episode today and once again it was temporary. I got only the faintest response while moving the shift lever (I explain in more detail in the lead post), but what was interesting is that when when the thing decided to start working again the transition was quite abrupt. That's interesting, and a potential clue.

The bad news is, this latest episode happened after I had the fluid and filter replaced.:(

It occurs to me I could still try one of the miracle additives on the market. In my mind I picture a valve that's gotten gummed up and hence a little sticky, and if that's what's causing the trouble then maybe I could relieve the stickiness by using a solvent type additive.

It does seem like a long shot, trying to find an easy fix, especially as I could easily be wrong about something simply having gotten gummed up. Possibly there's a spring or other part that has accumulated too much metal fatigue. And the "flaky electrical connection" theory may yet be true, but dealing with that wouldn't be an easy fix.

Re additives, any product suggestions, anyone? I looked into the offerings from Lucas, but they are NOT described as solvents, and for that reason they don't seem appropriate, IMO. Thanks,

Jeff
 

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1993 used the AXODE (AX4S). Flaky electrical sensors and switches are are a lot easier to deal with than pulling the transaxle and taking that apart. Have you checked the EEC IV system bus for stored codes? Yes, transmission codes are stored but will not trigger a check engine light. In cars which have been sitting a lot, I have encountered sticky pistons. As in for example, won't move in drive for a minute or two and then fine the rest of the day. When this happened in my mostly not used as-new 99 Crown Vic, a Ford mechanic friend came over and changed the fluid to Schaeffer transmission fluid this time. Problem went away almost immediately and never returned, that was 2 years ago. This was a transmission with only 25K miles on it (!) so I knew the pistons and clutches were not worn out. My only complaint is that Schaeffer smells bad...
I suppose someone will yell at me but in your case I would probably put a small amount of Marvel's Mystery Oil into the ATF. Can't see how it would hurt and it has freed up sticky rubber servo piston rings for me in the past. BUt check for stored transmission codes!
 

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I have used Tran X additive which is solvent based with good results for a slow and hanging shifts. I used it on a few cars and never had an issue with it causing damage. It was years ago so they may still make it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, wb6nvh and Automender12345. I just finished hooking up the jumper wire and reading the computer codes, and I'll get to the results in a moment.

The procedure and the results all seem to make sense -- no surprises -- but I belatedly realized the instructions I'm using are intended for a car with EEC-IV... and these same instructions say EEC IV wasn't introduced until the 1984 model year. Would my 1983 car have EEC III, then? I'm doubtful, as the car seems to have the thick film ignition module on the distributor. Anyway, here are the codes I got -- I hope they're valid for my car.

The KOEO (Key On, Engine Off) code is 111. Check me on this code (and all the others) , but I think 111 means "OK - pass"

The Continuous Codes (stored) are:
181 ( "rich limit reached"?) Doesn't seem to pertain to my tranny problem.
452 (insufficient signal from vehicle speed sensor) Whoa! Vehicle Speed is one of the inputs for the "EPC" system that regulates hydraulic pressure in the tranny!

The KOER (Key On, Engine Running) code is 521; "power steering pressure switch failed to change state." I seem to recall that power steering is another of the inputs for the "EPC" system (although I don't know why steering has a bearing on tranny pressure).

What's next, fellows? My inclination is to erase the Continuous Codes and see if they reappear (esp. following one of the no-go episodes). But I figured I'd report my results here first.

Cheers,
Jeff








 

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Read on another forum about trans problems and code 452. One poster indicated trans problems that was corrected by smacking the instrument cluster. Some loose connector behind the cluster and it solved the issue.
 

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The 521 PS pressure switch code is there because you did not turn the steering wheel half a turn or more during the KOER test. turning the wheel "exercises" the switch causing it to change state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hm. But I did turn the steering wheel! Either I need to turn it more aggressively or the switch isn't working. And that could conceivably have a bearing on my problem. It seems unlikely, but that switch is one of several inputs considered by the Electronic Pressure Control (according to the doc I linked to above).

Can anyone tell me, please:
- why would the transaxle pressure control care about the steering? Just curious!
- what's a good online reference for these ECC-IV error codes (assuming my '93 really does have EEC-IV)?
- And, I'd appreciate any pointers on finding and testing the Vehicle Speed Sensor. Thanks!

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Okay, here's another red-hot update for you folks! :) I cleared the Continuous Codes to erase the 181 and 452. Then I did a test drive, during which the tranny obligingly had another of its temporary failures. But reading the codes again I see that neither the 181 nor the 452 has reappeared.

So I may as well forget those codes ever happened, is that fair to say? Seemingly they relate to some transient event in the past, and aren't relevant to my current tranny trouble... ? (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I still have the KOER code 521; "power steering pressure switch failed to change state." Does anyone suspect that's relevant? (I don't.)

As with the last few episodes, this latest one ended quite abruptly. I suppose that's a clue, but so far I've not been able to make much of it.:rolleyes:
 
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