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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is on my 2000 DOHC Taurus w/AX4N. Car is about at 163K miles. Original transmission and engine.

Noticed behind the plastic access panel for the transmission (?), I had some fluid starting to drip out a little bit (my parking spot at work is scattered with leak drips). My car is also starting to exhibit torque converter shudder some around 40-60 MPH, especially if there is a change of grade in the road.

The torque converter is also behaving very erratically more and more lately., such as if I'm cruising along and give enough throttle to downshift into third, it'll drop into third, lock the torque converter, then unlock it and continue in the upper RPMs until it shifts back into 4th, and relocks the TC. This is more prevalent when the transmission has warmed up.

I do not have any transmission codes. Fluid level is fine. Fluid smells fine, looks fine, has a little over 45K mileage on it? Mobil1 synthetic ATF. I do have a SuperCooler up front.

I don't have any real other issues with the car. No body rot. Lots of work has been done to it in 2008 and 2009). So I'm guessing it's time to bite the bullet, and just have it rebuilt. I have a few options:

1) Ford dealer rebuilds the ax4n
2) Ford dealer installs new ax4n
3) Local shop rebuilds ax4n
4) Local shop installs Jasper rebuilt ax4n.

My current living situation won't allow me to remove the transmission myself, so I will unfortunately have to let a shop handle that part as well. This is the car I use to travel out of town, and would like to eliminate some of the risk from getting stranded...

Would like to have a shift kit installed to help prolong the life, so that rules out the Ford dealer. Sounds like Superior and Trans-Go both make kits.
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Regarding the work done...What kind of questions should I ask to a transmission shop? I don't want bubba gump rebuilding it. What kind of costs should I expect? I've seen people post $1500 all the way up to $3000 for a non-Ford dealer job.
 

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This is on my 2000 DOHC Taurus w/AX4N. Car is about at 163K miles. Original transmission and engine.

Noticed behind the plastic access panel for the transmission (?), I had some fluid starting to drip out a little bit (my parking spot at work is scattered with leak drips). My car is also starting to exhibit torque converter shudder some around 40-60 MPH, especially if there is a change of grade in the road.

The torque converter is also behaving very erratically more and more lately., such as if I'm cruising along and give enough throttle to downshift into third, it'll drop into third, lock the torque converter, then unlock it and continue in the upper RPMs until it shifts back into 4th, and relocks the TC. This is more prevalent when the transmission has warmed up.

I do not have any transmission codes. Fluid level is fine. Fluid smells fine, looks fine, has a little over 45K mileage on it? Mobil1 synthetic ATF. I do have a SuperCooler up front.

I don't have any real other issues with the car. No body rot. Lots of work has been done to it in 2008 and 2009). So I'm guessing it's time to bite the bullet, and just have it rebuilt. I have a few options:

1) Ford dealer rebuilds the ax4n
2) Ford dealer installs new ax4n
3) Local shop rebuilds ax4n
4) Local shop installs Jasper rebuilt ax4n.

My current living situation won't allow me to remove the transmission myself, so I will unfortunately have to let a shop handle that part as well. This is the car I use to travel out of town, and would like to eliminate some of the risk from getting stranded...

Would like to have a shift kit installed to help prolong the life, so that rules out the Ford dealer. Sounds like Superior and Trans-Go both make kits.
=====================
Regarding the work done...What kind of questions should I ask to a transmission shop? I don't want bubba gump rebuilding it. What kind of costs should I expect? I've seen people post $1500 all the way up to $3000 for a non-Ford dealer job.
I think you should install the upgrades. That means a Ford reman would not be cost effective as someone would have to take it apart to install the mods. That would probably void the warrantee too. Look for a local shop with experience upgrading these trannys and willing to give a decent warrantee.
 

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I think you can get a Jasper with all the goodies already in it, IIRC.
 

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Is it an option to just drive it until it fails if you intend to rebuild it anyway?
That's what I plan to do -- my bull is same year, same trim, has comparable mileage (176K) as Nick's. But I think Nick is worried about being stranded when away from home.

What's the worst that can happen if I just drive it until it fails?
 

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What's the worst that can happen if I just drive it until it fails?
You will be stranded away from home! Other than that, you wont damage anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yea it is an option, but beginning of July, I'm driving up to Michigan (700+ miles). My AAA towing distance (200 miles), which would mean anything north of Wytheville, VA on I-77, I would have to pay for to bring back to Columbia. I probably would be fine, but is the risk worth taking getting stranded somewhere in WV or Ohio?

When I bought this car, I set $ aside in savings in case the inevitable ever happened.

Calling around, I spoke to a few folks:
Shop 1: $1600-1800 OTD Parts and labor w/shift kit. 1 year parts/labor w/ATRA.
Shop 2: $3200 using transmission from Ford, 3 yr/100K mile warranty. Any issues, I take it to Ford (so essentially I pay lower labor rate for install, but warranty work goes to them). Not liking this idea since I doubt Ford did any upgrades to fix old issues.

Shop 3 and 4 closed early on Friday, so will speak to them Monday. Luckily I'm in no rush for this, 20 days til I go.
 

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Personally, driving around with a questionable car is annoying. You don't know when the surprise will happen. At 163 K the tranny doesn't owe you anything. Get it done and drive it with confidence.
 

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^+1 on the shop#1 option, Nick. Price seems to be in line for the parts and labor provided. Keiths (a mom and pop tranny shop here in kc in business since 1950) still rebuilds bulls for $1500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yea it is annoying...so I guess I can't go wrong for under a couple thousand bucks.

I set the PCM back to the factory tune. I forgot how lethargic the shifts are. The tune was definitely helping something, as the 1-2 shift is as slow as the 3-4 shift. Torque converter lock up continues to be lazy, and the shudder on grades continues from ~40-60. WOT from 55 has it drop into second OK, not quite as quick as before. When you let up it shifts into 3rd and then 4th lazily (is that a word?). You don't feel the 2-3 shift, it's quite smooth.
 

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Consider dropping the unmentionalble in the transmission, "Lucas transmission fix' and see how it behaves. You plan on rebuilding so why not?
 

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Yea it is an option, but beginning of July, I'm driving up to Michigan (700+ miles). My AAA towing distance (200 miles), which would mean anything north of Wytheville, VA on I-77, I would have to pay for to bring back to Columbia. I probably would be fine, but is the risk worth taking getting stranded somewhere in WV or Ohio?

When I bought this car, I set $ aside in savings in case the inevitable ever happened.

Calling around, I spoke to a few folks:
Shop 1: $1600-1800 OTD Parts and labor w/shift kit. 1 year parts/labor w/ATRA.
Shop 2: $3200 using transmission from Ford, 3 yr/100K mile warranty. Any issues, I take it to Ford (so essentially I pay lower labor rate for install, but warranty work goes to them). Not liking this idea since I doubt Ford did any upgrades to fix old issues.

Shop 3 and 4 closed early on Friday, so will speak to them Monday. Luckily I'm in no rush for this, 20 days til I go.
Kind of off topic, but I live in Columbia, and I'm driving up to Michigan on the 30th as well! LOL, what a coincidence. :p My 2005 Sable has a slow shudder when in OD and you are going up a hill or try to accelerate a bit without making it downshift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh you're a Columbia resident too? Cool. And going to Michigan? Wow, coincidence indeed. Escaping the oven aka Columbia. What side of town are you on? I'm in the Northeast/Sandhills area.

Have you changed the trans fluid before?
 
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