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I just bought a '96 Taurus and the shift from 1st to 2nd seems harsh to me. The previous owner, who seemed really honest, said during the two years he had it he hadn't noticed it change any.

The transmission is the AX4N.

The shift normally occurs at around 2000 - 3000 rpm depending on the how hard I'm accellerating, and whether I am going up a hill or not. If I accellerate as I'd like, it typically is around 3000 rpm. Very rarely it can be as low as 1500 rpm or as high as 4000 rpm, but these are unusual circumstances.

There are no unusual noises, just a quite noticable gear change. Enough to move your head back a bit. Not smooth at all.

What is normal? I'm concerned that this might be something simple to resolve, and by not resolving it I could damage the transmission.
 

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Its normal. These trannys change in to second gear with neck snapping force. If you are coasting at or below 10mph, drop in to (1) This will prevent from these second gear drops.
 
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