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Taurus/Sable Transmission Problems



  • rjr162rjr162 Posts: 2
    Ok, sister-in-law has a 96 Sable. It started doing the hard shift into first from a stop.

    I hooked up a Snap-On scan tool, and watched the shift solenoids as it wasn't a constant thing at first, but became more common and hit the point where when you were driving it would "drop out of gear" and into neutral, and then back into gear.

    So when in park, the solenoids read:
    A: OFF
    B: ON
    C: OFF

    When in drive (or 1st), when the car *would* go the solenoids read:
    A: ON
    B: ON
    C: OFF

    As you drove slowly around the yard, the car would drop back into neutral and the reader showed the solenoids were in the first list.. when it started moving again it showed the solenoids were now in the second list.. and it would keep doing this for a minute or two before it just got "stuck" in neutral and wouldn't move (and the solenoids were back to the first list.. same as in Park)

    I tried switching solenoid A with solenoid C to see if that made a difference.. and it didn't. Also, there's no Reverse anymore (this was the case even before I changed solenoid A and C)

    The kicker to me is, if you unplug the main harness to the transmission (located right next to the side pan cover.. white plug, flat on one side, and curved the rest.. wires from this plug lead internally to the solenoids and TCS), you get drive back (I forget, but don't think reverse is there even with the harness unplugged).

    This sound like a sensor, solenoid, or broken wire to me.. but I don't have a factory service manual to find any diagnostic steps and/or suggestions as to what may be wrong.

    There are no codes, unless you unplug the harness which obviously spits out codes for solenoids A, B, C and also the Torque Converter Solenoid or whatever.

    Has anyone experienced this before, and what did you do to rectify the situation? I don't want to replace the transmission as it's a car she no longer uses, I'd rather mess around with the thing and try to fix it "the hard way" lol.

    Thanks for any info, input, help, links, whatever you can pass my way.
  • howiec62howiec62 Posts: 1
    My 2002 Taurus with 45,000 miles is also going through what most others seem to be. I was driving to work and slowing for red light. As the light turned green I stepped on the gas and all of a sudden I was not going anywhere. Only gear that worked was park. Engine was still running but the car wasn't moving ANYWHERE. I called a local trans. guy and his quote without even looking at it was $2600. Why hasn't Ford done anything about this?? It seems unless somebody is seriously injured they just don't care!! Any comments would be appreciated

  • torque converter is the culprit in about 95% of the transmission failures in the Sables. Its a $650.00 part with about $200.00 labor so around $850.00 if you have an honest shop. We were coming back from the Beach 2 yrs ago and the car just came to a stop like it was in neutral and wouldnt move in any gear. I had Ford tow us to Montgomery,AL Ford Dealership who made us wait 10 hrs to tell us it needed a $3300.00 transmission after looking at it for 5 minutes. I wasn't going to do that but decided to tow it home. Spoke to a Tow shop and they referred me to ALLEN ROBBINS TRANSMISSION SPECIALISTS in Prattville,AL. I spoke to the owner on the phone who told me that he was 99% sure he knew the problem and it would be around $650.00 + labor to fix it. Come to find out the guys shop was the authorized ford shop for the dealership there. The dealership closed their shop and he hired them all. He said that that transmission in the Sable and Taurus has always had problems with the Torque converter and the dealership only wants to replace transmission to fix it(more profitable) they dont want to fix the problem ie replace the problem part. They had us running the next morning after we towed it in that night. They worked on it that night till it was repaired and we were in a motel. That is the most honest shop that I have ever seen. They could of took us for alot of money but they were honest. So if you have problems with transmissions in Fords check the torque convertor that is the culprit in most of the problems with transmissions.
  • I too own a 2003 Ford Taurus that all of a sudden quit moving as if it were in neutral in late September 2010 with 146,000 miles. My Ford dealer immediately knew what the most likely cause was before servicing it. Their standard repair is to replace both the Torque Converter and the transmission fluid Pump Shaft, which is driven by the torque converter.

    Either the shaft binds and then breaks, or the torque converted is defective. In my case it was definitely a defective torque converter, but I let them replace both components anyway. They convinced me they knew exactly what to do.

    After circulating a flush chemical treatment to remove any particles that might adversely affect the operation of the valves in the transmission, followed by a 30 quart flush of transmission fluid and $1291 later, I was on the road again. I currently have 154,000 miles with no subsequent issues.

    I wished Ford would have covered some of the cost, as my dealership admitted that this is a very common problem on the 2003 Taurus. Depending on where you happen to get stuck, it could be a safety issue.

    In an unrelated incident only 3,000 miles in late December 2010, my Camshaft Synchronizer Shaft Assembly "chirped" so badly in the cold, that the engine almost stalled and set a Check Engine Light Code.

    When they removed the shaft, it looked like a piece of varnished wood. That told me the 5W-20 Synthetic Blend specified by Ford was the wrong engine oil. I switched to Castrol Edge 5W-20 and the car runs better with a slight increase in mileage and no chirping.

    I would recommend you use the full synthetic oil of your choice in your daughter's 2003 Taurus, and NEVER use that Syn-Blend stuff again.
  • tywitywi Posts: 10
    The power door locks and the power mirrors stopped working. I check the fuse for the mirrors and it was blown. I replaced fuse and it blew out as soon as I put it in. What should I check for?
  • randa11randa11 Posts: 1
    Hiya folks. Driving 600 miles back from vacation our '03 Taurus (3.0L) just decided to stop pulling with no warning, only a slight shudder before complete neutral. Park still holds, so i assume it's the usual cause that i've read about here (torque converter splines). The yellow tag on this car has "AEZ4 / 1F1P-7000-aa. I happen to have a known working tranny from a '01 Taurus with the same 3.0L. The yellow tag on the '01 reads AEZ0 / 1F1P-7000-aa. They both have a"1Z" also on the tag. My question is can i swap them over as is? Hoping i can drop the '01 tranny in my '03. Thanks.
  • last year we purchased a 99 taurus with only 52,000 miles on it. We totally regret our decision but it is what it is at this point. Early this spring we noticed that sometimes the car would stall on us, because while the engine wanted to go, the transmission wouldn't. It was worse on hotter days and eventually last month, we had it totally rebuilt to the tune of $1800.00 (w/ new alternator) It drove fine (according to my husband) for about a month. Now we are in a heat wave and it's doing the same thing. The transmission loses all power and is stuck around 20 mph. It eventually kicks back in, or we turn it off and restart it. The rebuilt trans has a two year warranty on it but at this point, I'm wondering how well of a job the guy did! Does anyone know of any heat related 99 transmission problems? The car at this point has 65,000 miles on it .. new brakes, new struts, new alternator, new fuel pump, new tires, new battery, new transmission ... ugh .. what a waste of money.
  • gr12gr12 Posts: 1
    Same problem. Car seems hesitates, slipping out of first gear when accelerating from a dead stop, especially when going left or up a steep grade.

    Also, noticed a squeaking sound, and it has gotten worse lately. Vehicle has ~70k miles. Engine and pretty much everything else are in good shape, no indicator lights.

    Trying to figure out what to do. Local shop gave it a test drive and pounded the hell out of the accelerator (likely making whatever it is worse) and going "see, it's slipping gears" when it wasn't. It only slips that first gear.

    Transmission fluid is black, and was never replaced. Maybe past the time that can be done without doing damage.

    Looking for an idea. I mean, yeah, one could replace the whole transmission, but I'm not sure its even possible to find a warrantied certified transmission for the vehicle at its age (and I'd want that warranty if I'm shelling out that much).

    I don't think it needs all that. I'm trying to filter out experts versus thieves. The mechanic I trust says, "drives fine except that, but I don't know enough about transmissions to diagnose it." Well, at least he's honest.
  • We took our car to two other shops over the weekend, both claimed it sounded like the trans was gone again so we took it back to the trans specialist.

    He called today after having the car for three days and is now certain that our catalytic converters are clogged? This frustrates me, as we specifically asked him to check the cat's the first time the car was there and they were "fine" That was a month ago, now they are bad?

    He said he can do it for us for $500.00, when I told the price to another shop in town the guy told us the trans shop is probably cutting us a deal because he knew that he did wrong in the first place with the cats/trans ordeal but doesn't want to say so. Either way we don't have the 500.00 to put into it, after putting in 2,000.00 for a rebuilt trans/alternator.

    This '99 taurus is costing us approx. 300.00 a month to maintain .. if only we could go back in time and pass it up.
  • sounds like that was a real honest tranmission shop selling a $125 new torque converter for $650 and then charging $200 labor to install it you got a real good deal
  • I have a problem with my transmission.

    Car is 1995 Taurus with OD automatic and 3.8 engine

    My daughter was driving on the freeway for about two hours when the car stopped going. Engine would rev up but tranny was slipping. She pulled over and a kind man helped her.

    He check tranny oil level and put several quarts of fluid in before the level showed up on the dipstick. He told me It was leaking fluid where the pump seal would be. It had a huge puddle under the car when I got there. The car would move but slip real bad.

    I got it home on a tow dolly and check the fluid and topped it off. Started the car and looked underneath and not a drop was leaking. ????

    It would go in reverse with no slipping. In OD it feels like it is in 3rd gear, in drive feels like 2nd gear and when the gear lever is in L, it is in low gear.

    car shifts OK if I manually move the lever thru the gears, but it will not downshift or upshift on its own when in OD.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance

  • taurus_ownertaurus_owner Posts: 4
    edited August 2011
    I went to the dealer in Sept 2010 and they charged $180.00 for the New torque converter and $70.00 for the pump shaft and $20.00 for a special gasket. The rest was a bunch of labor which involved a lot of flushing with a solvent followed by 30 quarts of Transmission fluid.

    I recently noticed a puddle of transmission fluid on the ground in early August. I got under my 2003 Taurus only to find the leak was coming from ABOVE the AX4N Transmission pan. I tracked it to the Transmission filler/dip-stick tube.

    But I learned that it was caused by a clogged transmission air vent (coated steel) having a rubber check valve cap being stuck per the links below. - nt-won-t-budge.html

    I followed the Technical Service Bulletin showed below to remove the straight press-fit vent with a 90 degree vent and 5/16" hose:

    TSB 06-18-13


    The reason I mentioned this was to ask, could this cheap vent valve being stuck open have caused last year's torque converter failure by introducing moisture into the transmission internals?
  • Not sure if this has already been posted, but my '97 Ford Taurus will not shift into reverse, 1st, 2nd or 3rd gears. It will go into neutral. My hubby drove it Monday to work. He stopped to get a drink at a gas station. When he got back into the car and started it again, would not go into gear. When we checked the fluid, there was plenty of it. What could this be?? I am new here and any and all responses are welcome!!!!!! Thanks!
  • linnglinng Posts: 2
    Hello: Car has 85K miles on it. Just had transmission flush and mechanic (one we trust) said we might make it to 150K on the car, but he found lots of metal pieces in the transmission when he cleaned it up. Car has been slipping, now we probably know why. We've spent close to $4500 on this car in the past year (that does include some regular maintenance). It is worth $3500 (KBB good condition).

    Now also needs a new oil gasket ($450). Trying to decide whether to take to Ford dealer and spend more $$ on diagnosis (we've always taken it to an independent mechanic), or whether to take it to CarMax and get cash. We enjoy not having a car payment but this is getting to be expensive. Would love your input! Thank you!
  • linnglinng Posts: 2
    Cancel post--traded the car in today!
  • I was wondering if you ever found out what happened?the reason on why I ask is because my car just did the same thing and this is the only post I found with the same problem thanks.
  • I have a 2002 Ford Taurus, which I love....BUT...I'm doing my THIRD transmission job!!!! It currently have 93,000 miles and the first job was at 38,000. What I found out just today is the Taurus and Sable have an inherent heating problem that cause the transmissions to die. The new transmission mechanic (receommended) said I need a rebuild AND and external transmission cooler. Allegedly the radiator cooler is not sufficient for these two and is always a must whenever dealing with tranny issues. I guess the thieves over at AAMCO didn't know this ever of the other two times I went to them.
  • tywitywi Posts: 10
    In warm weather the transmission shifts like it should. In cold weather 30's degrees and below it takes about about 5 minutes running the car before the transmission will shift from first gear to drive. This has been happening for many years. the car now has about 50,000 miles on the rebuilt transmission. any ideas would be appreicated.
  • mrf350mrf350 Posts: 1
    We were at a kids show 1 night & on the way home the engine reved up but we were slowing. We just lost the tranny, every gear. bought another tranny from a junk yard they asked for info like vin # motor & letters & no. that were stamped into pan. Now our check engine light keeps comining on my mech. says cruise control senser problem. Maybe something to do with computer & tranny not matching. We bought this car this spring & have sank alot of money into it, from plugs to o2 sensors. Never getting better then 19mpg. Any ideas.
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