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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an '04 Sable LS Premium wagon with 122k miles and the 4f50n transmission that I want to make roadtrip-ready. I've read about torque converters on the Gen4 taurus/sable failing without warning, and am wondering if it makes sense to install the DACCO upgraded torque converter before driving cross country. I've dropped transmissions before, so it wouldn't be the biggest deal for me to replace it.

Did Ford fix the torque converter spline issue on the '04 4f50n transmission, and is there a way to tell if the torque converter has been replaced before? I don't have service records and the transmission fluid was somewhat dark, so it may just be the original transmission.
 

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As I remember, only 03 and some in that year. Ones that were discussed on the internet were at modest miles, that is 50-70K miles. I have now 3 '03's, 130K, 161K, and sold one to friend and it is at 196K, However it had a bad flex plate starter gear and when I had that replaced, had a new TQ installed as insurance. I saw the old TQ at ~180K and the TQ spline looked like new.

In your case, if it made it to over 100K or it is not '03, you have little to no issue. Higher risk on long trip might be the Alt fail. The DOHC engine Alt is a real pain to replace. I am on #'s 7, 8, 9, & #10 DOHC. I can do Alt in 2 hours but really do not want to do that again.
-chart-
 

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I have an '04 Sable LS Premium wagon with 122k miles and the 4f50n transmission that I want to make roadtrip-ready. I've read about torque converters on the Gen4 taurus/sable failing without warning, and am wondering if it makes sense to install the DACCO upgraded torque converter before driving cross country. I've dropped transmissions before, so it wouldn't be the biggest deal for me to replace it.

Did Ford fix the torque converter spline issue on the '04 4f50n transmission, and is there a way to tell if the torque converter has been replaced before? I don't have service records and the transmission fluid was somewhat dark, so it may just be the original transmission.
Beautiful wagon. Nice to see one that is NOT "Silver Frost" like mine, as well as my '05 sedan, and quite similar Buick.
Pic of my "work horses" Older '01 sold, '03 daily hauler. Not pretty but gets it done. Can't complain, got it for $4K 6 years + ago. Rescue wagon.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the response. Most likely I'll be lowering the front subframe on each side to replace the struts, so I could remove & rebuild the alternator then. I've had decent success with alternator rebuild kits if they're quality parts.

I used to own a silver frost sedan, and on many occasions wished I had the wagon version instead when I wanted to haul things. This fully-loaded wagon appeared for $500 due to oil leaks and some other minor problems like a bad DPFE sensor, and I'm getting it up-to-par for daily driving.
 

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Thanks for the response. Most likely I'll be lowering the front subframe on each side to replace the struts, so I could remove & rebuild the alternator then. I've had decent success with alternator rebuild kits if they're quality parts.

I used to own a silver frost sedan, and on many occasions wished I had the wagon version instead when I wanted to haul things. This fully-loaded wagon appeared for $500 due to oil leaks and some other minor problems like a bad DPFE sensor, and I'm getting it up-to-par for daily driving.
See pic, my plan for install. Black cord is parachute cord to lift the Alt up to install position. Blue tape holds the long bolt in it's hole so it does not fall out or get in the way.
I separated the long wire at the mega fuse and let it come out with the Alt. I wrapped the wire shielding as it was coming apart with electric tape.
Need to drop the alt before dropping the sub as it swings the top of the engine toward the fender making less working space.
As to self rebuild. I would never reuse the regulator. Same Alt on Lin Cont and mine failed at 47K miles and cost me $530 to have it replaced and a day in a motel. That one failed at ~78K but I was at home. Replaced the regulator as that was the issue. Rebuilt one had reused old reg. The Lin is worse as it is 2.5 hours for me while the Bull is 2.0 hours for me.
My '03 wagon DOHC as in the pic, reason for replace was bad regulator. Charging up to 15.8V. All bulbs in cluster and shifter burned out.
My replace was "all new" so no bad regulator reuse.
-chart-
 

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See pic, my plan for install. Black cord is parachute cord to lift the Alt up to install position. Blue tape holds the long bolt in it's hole so it does not fall out or get in the way.
I separated the long wire at the mega fuse and let it come out with the Alt. I wrapped the wire shielding as it was coming apart with electric tape.
Need to drop the alt before dropping the sub as it swings the top of the engine toward the fender making less working space.
As to self rebuild. I would never reuse the regulator. Same Alt on Lin Cont and mine failed at 47K miles and cost me $530 to have it replaced and a day in a motel. That one failed at ~78K but I was at home. Replaced the regulator as that was the issue. Rebuilt one had reused old reg. The Lin is worse as it is 2.5 hours for me while the Bull is 2.0 hours for me.
My '03 wagon DOHC as in the pic, reason for replace was bad regulator. Charging up to 15.8V. All bulbs in cluster and shifter burned out.
My replace was "all new" so no bad regulator reuse.
-chart-
I am guessing this is the ford "smart charge " system. My understanding is if you unplug the regulator plug, it should default to a regular 13.7 volt alternator.
In the video below at about 23 minutes, he unplugs it, and it starts charging after he revs the engine( I think it had to self - excite?).

Bad thing there is that there was no fault light on the dash, so the PCM monitoring was not detecting or alerting of the apparent issue.
I have a 2007 ford focus, and they are know to have issues with these alternators, I did not think this was an issue on Tauruses, though.
 

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Thanks for the response. Most likely I'll be lowering the front subframe on each side to replace the struts, so I could remove & rebuild the alternator then. I've had decent success with alternator rebuild kits if they're quality parts.

I used to own a silver frost sedan, and on many occasions wished I had the wagon version instead when I wanted to haul things. This fully-loaded wagon appeared for $500 due to oil leaks and some other minor problems like a bad DPFE sensor, and I'm getting it up-to-par for daily driving.
If you are going to be doing that much work, and it is a 500 dollar car, I think I would replace the torque converter. Don't know how the car was maintained, or how it was driven.
I plan on doing this on my mom's 2000 duratec, since i found the side pan/cover almost rusted through on the bottom, and I will need to lower the subframe anyways to replace some mounts(i think just the transmission one and rear engine one). I also think i need to replace the steering rack, since the yoke seems to be worn. I adjusted the rack yoke, which helped a lot, but I think I will still replace the rack.

I watched this video, it doesn't seem so bad, just need to be prepared. He does it on a vulcan motor, which is easier. Duratec requires removal of the exhaust Y pipe, also trickier to support the duratec engine..
That guy is experienced, he seems to pull the AX4n in less than 30 minutes, that includes helping someone else with their issues. I don't expect to be able to do it anywhere as quickly, though.

Duratec lifting point thread:

I would also check the transmission cooler lines. I checked on the 2000 duratec, and found that the line resting on top of the splash shield looks like it is almost rusted through, very brittle looking. Sort of like the steel coolant pipe the duratecs have on the bottom as well. Not sure if the 2004 has the same cooling setup.
I know if the transmission coolant lines fail, then you will likely have a worse issue than with stripped pump splines, as the transmission will also burn up the clutch packs and bands. Interestingly, the vulcan in the linked video seems to have an issue because the coolant line blew out. Don't know the history of the car, but the coolant line looked new. My suspicion is improper installation.
 

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I am guessing this is the ford "smart charge " system. My understanding is if you unplug the regulator plug, it should default to a regular 13.7 volt alternator.
In the video below at about 23 minutes, he unplugs it, and it starts charging after he revs the engine( I think it had to self - excite?).

Bad thing there is that there was no fault light on the dash, so the PCM monitoring was not detecting or alerting of the apparent issue.
I have a 2007 ford focus, and they are know to have issues with these alternators, I did not think this was an issue on Tauruses, though.
The meter as in the pic is about $12. Readout of volts and at the same time can charge your wireless stuff. If you are charging things, it reads out the amps of the device and alternate readout of car volts. There are cheaper plug in meters.
-chart-
 

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I have an '04 Sable LS Premium wagon with 122k miles and the 4f50n transmission that I want to make roadtrip-ready. I've read about torque converters on the Gen4 taurus/sable failing without warning, and am wondering if it makes sense to install the DACCO upgraded torque converter before driving cross country. I've dropped transmissions before, so it wouldn't be the biggest deal for me to replace it.

Did Ford fix the torque converter spline issue on the '04 4f50n transmission, and is there a way to tell if the torque converter has been replaced before? I don't have service records and the transmission fluid was somewhat dark, so it may just be the original transmission.
I had an '05 Taurus SEL wagon with stripped splines. Less than $100 for DACCO TC but two days to fix in the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It looks like DACCO was bought out by Transtar in 2014, but there are still some DACCO torque converters available for ~$150 + core. If I used this wagon for only in-town driving, I'd be fine with leaving the torque converter alone and having AAA tow the car home if the splines randomly strip out. But if I plan on keeping this car for many years and driving it out-of-state, it may make sense to replace the torque converter now, if only for peace of mind.

Maybe Transtar would give me some info on failure rates by year, or tell me if Ford made any improvements to the torque converter by '04.
 

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They made changes to the torque converters for those years, but they did not address this issue. As simple as it seems to be, I don't think ford ever fixed this problem during production of the AX4N. The Ford Freestar, which uses the same transmission had a recall for this issue.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recall Number
12V006000
Recall Date
01/09/2012
Component
POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION:TORQUE CONVERTER
Summary
FORD IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2004 AND 2005 FORD FREESTAR AND MERCURY MONTEREY VEHICLES. THE TORQUE CONVERTER OUTPUT SHAFT MAY FAIL.

Consequence
THIS CONDITION RESULTS IN A SUDDEN LOSS OF MOTIVE POWER WITH NO WARNING, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
What Owners Should Do
FORD WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE TORQUE CONVERTER FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON AUGUST 9, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP CENTER AT 1-866-436-7332.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, I sent an email to TC remanufacturing (They sell on rockauto) about the F68EHS (2004 uses a different TC):
Reply:

Yes, our converter has the upgraded pump drive spline. Thank you for your inquiry.
Hi,
May you please inform me as to whether or not the F68EHS torque converter has the upgraded pump drive splines.
Thank You
I think most TC re-manufacturers will use the upgraded pump drive washer, probably sonnax part FD-WS-31. though it is still best to check with the remanufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've emailed TC reman. asking about the torque converter AutoZone lists for my '04 Sable, #F683F1PHS. I would feel more confident in this car on road trips with the upgraded converter, and many other fixes like all new subframe & engine/trans. mounts, new f&r main seals, alternator rebuild.

I would also replace the transmission torque converter seal and cv axle seals, and look into my options for the transmission oil cooler lines. Any other "while I'm at it's" that anyone can think of?
 

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03-07 all can suffer from the converter failure. Prior to 03 its possible but much less likely.
 

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Big job. I performed this myself. $125 for the TC from autozone, verified with manufacturer. Would have been thousands to have done and I question if sinking that much into a car that is worth $2500 is worth it. I have 03 Sable. Car is plagued with issues. It is a college car for my daughter and I am hoping to get a few more years out of it. So far, no issues with replaced TC about a year in. Car only has 79K miles.
 

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Big job. I performed this myself. $125 for the TC from autozone, verified with manufacturer. Would have been thousands to have done and I question if sinking that much into a car that is worth $2500 is worth it. I have 03 Sable. Car is plagued with issues. It is a college car for my daughter and I am hoping to get a few more years out of it. So far, no issues with replaced TC about a year in. Car only has 79K miles.
I paid a small shop $600+ to replace the flex plate and TQ, parts and labor. Starter gear on the flex plate had a bad place. TQ was done as no labor just parts since all was out. '03 Sable DOHC.
Same place, one hour to replace the A/C clutch & pulley.
Just paid them $398 to replace rear struts on '05, parts and labor.
I have done rear struts and find that a real pain compared to fronts.
-chart-
 

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The issue is that the problem is often diagnosed as major transmission failure and shops were said to have recommended transmission swaps. Knowing the issue helps at estimate time. If the shop knows the issue and have done a few you may luck out with the price. Subframe needs to be dropped. Full fluid change is also in order as used fluid likely has micro particles from the ground spline. Around here an oil change and brake job is well over $600!
 
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