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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    The first link is to the CVT transmission that's not used in the Navigator, Explorer, or Mountaineer.

    The second link doesn't say who BUILDS the transmission, which is my question, and my bet.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    First link, read the whole article. The title says Batavia, but it's ALL in there. There's a relationship between ZF, Batavia and Ford, and the article details it.

    Second link, 2nd paragraph. Just hold down CNTRL and F, you get the FIND box, type on ZF in the search, and ALL the ZF's on the pages will pop up. Just read it.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    I must be dense. I still don't see where the transmission is actually manufactured. Is it built at a ZF plant, or a Ford plant?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Well considering it's a joint venture, you could say it's both. It's a joint venture partnership and they have worked together, and now Ford has pretty much the upper hand over the organization.

    Here's another article that explains how Ford sort of...took over ZF...
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    Let me ask again:

    Is it built at a ZF plant, or a Ford plant? It can't be both.

    The issue of the bet is: Who physically owns the plant where the six-speed Navigator transmission is manufactured, and where is that plant?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    That's the sticky part of the story. To make the story short, ZF is a huge international company specializing in drivetrain components for all possible applications from passenger cars, to trucks, to aviation.

    The Batavia plant (outside Cincinatti Ohio) was a joint venture between ZF (51% stake 4 years ago), and Ford (49%) stake. ZF was too slow working on the CVT, Ford just walked right on in and "assumed" 100% ownership. Ironically, Ford doesn't list this plant as one of there's on their website list of manufacturing plants. Neither does ZF. But Ford does control it since it's management personel, took over. Blue collar jobs weren't affected from the management transition, and ZF was passive over the situation.

    Now if prior to 1999, you were hired, then you were considered a Ford employee. If you were hired past 1999, then your considered "Batavia Transmission LLC employee". This same plant produces the automatic transmissions in the Escape/Mariner/Tribute.

    Now as to where the 6 Speed RWD tranny is built, depends where the unit is being shipped from. ZF has a few factories here in N.A., I believe the techinical center (head office) is Northville Michigan, although they do have another major factory in N.Carolina.

    The 6 speed RWD units (have different variations of them, depending upon the torque application of the engine mated to it)) are used in Jag S/XJ, Navi, LR's, and they supply to BMW and many other automakers as well.

    Where the specific transmission is being manufactured, will depend upon the sticker on the vehicle window. Some might be from U.S. plants, some might be Mexico, some might be from Europe. Obviously if one transmission plant is short on capacity, they'll shift and ship from another factory to one of Fords factories.

    ZF is already at the Ford Manufacturing Campus in Chiago, where the 500/Montego/FS are being built. It's a flexible manufacturing plant which Ford allows it's major suppliers to set up shop and build there, so parts are easily available for Ford vehicles. THAT shop supplies front and rear components for the 500/M/FS, as well as the transmission for the new Navi.

    So I guess it all comes down (to answer your question) with what the sticker will say. BUT if the sticker says Batavia Ohio, Cincinati, or Chicago, IL then consider it a Ford.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    Thanks for making the story short. It could have been even shorter by omitting the discussion about the 500/Montego/FS CVT that has never been used in the Explorer/Mountaineer/Navigator.

    Actually, the issue is not at all sticky. The ZF 6-speed transmission used in the Explorer/Mountaineer/Navigator is manufactured by Ford.

    It's made under license from ZF at the Ford-owned Livonia Transmission Plant in Livonia, Michigan.

    It cannot come from the Batavia plant; it isn't tooled for the RWD 6-speed.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I understand that, but I thru in Batavia so you see the marriage of how their partnership together came to me. There's word that Batavia might manufacture the 6 speed units as well, when dropping the Escape transmission outputs. Livonia is reaching it's point of full capacity so other options are being studied.

    Did you win the bet though?
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    "There's word that Batavia might manufacture the 6 speed units as wel"

    Only the FWD version, not the RWD version. (The one we're discussing here)

    I won the bet. It was with myself. I bet that the following statement was incorrect, and its author wouldn't clarify the issue:

    "That is who builds the transmissions"

    Maybe I'm nit-picking, but I think it's important to know whether a component as significant as the transmission is built by Ford, or purchased from a supplier.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    In this case, joint collaboration wouldn't you say ? But how many would care who exactly would build the transmission ? I mean, as it is, some GM's feature chinese built engines and maybe that get an eyebrow raised for them doing so.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Thanks for the discussion. At any rate, the transmission as applied in the Navigator, is extraordinary to drive, and changes the dynamics, and personality of the whole truck in a positive way. When will this transmission be installed in the Explorer/Mountaineer?
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    Explorer/Mountaineer get it, with floor-mount shift lever, with the 292 HP 3-valve 4.6 in 2006. I have one ordered. I appreciate your comments on your experience with it.

    The 4.0 L engine still gets the 5R55.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Now for the newly redesigned models eith the upgraded 4.6L. Although the shifting algorithum will vary. At the 1-2nd shift, you might find it a bit more snappy in transition.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    It sounds like the 2006 Explorer / Mountaineer will be everything the 2002 models should have been - smoother suspension, less noise and vibration, better engine, better transmission, and nicer interior (except for the space-hog floor shifter). That seems to be the story of Detroit lately - several years late with what they need today.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I don't think there's any vehicle where they have made it louder, rougher, worse transmission, and worse engine. Every generation will improve. And if you owned the pre-2002 versions, you would have definately seen the improvements in the 2002+ generation.

    Let's take note how much praise the current Explorer received upon it's introduction. It might not be the fastest, corner the best, or be the quietest, but the secret to the Explorer's success as been it's various trim levels, all around comfort, drivability, and accessibility. It might not excel in one specific area (as most journalists have written about it), but it offers the overall package placed together.

    Anyhow as it is, more people are migrating to car-based SUV's (and I agree, since most do not need these much bulk to begin with), but the Explorer will certainly have it's loyal crowd of customers, and that in itself, has a high repeat buyer rate.... (I believe in it's segment of Mid-size truck based SUV's from the last paper that went thru my desk).

    If anything, it was the other manufacturer's who were late to the party. While the Explorer banked on it's success in the 90's, only the Grand Cherokee and Blazer were it's closest competitors. The foreign automakers didn't venture much into this segment, and if they did... usually with half-baked vehicles. Pathfinder probably it's strongest foreign competitor, and sales of it couldn't hold a candle to that of the Explorer. Now the Pathfinder is truck based, but definately late to the party since car-based SUV segment is growing.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    What is the layout of the floor shifter? i.e. which of the six speeds can be manually selected?
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Anthony, you make good points. I wasn't quite clear - I wonder why everything on the 2006 model wasn't on the 2002 model? Perhaps Ford rushed the 2002 model because of the tire/flipping problem of the old design?

    I see that the 2006 Mountaineer media information specifically references the very low rate of off road usage of SUVs and makes reference to changes meant to make the vehicle better on-road. I bought my 2002 Mountainner to have the utility of a wagon, the safety and repairability of a full frame, the driving dynamics of a V8 with rear wheel drive, a nice interior with fancy features, and the hitch to tow the speed boat I never bought. Of course, with the rise of modern station wagons such as the Freestyle, I wonder if the 2010 Explorer / Mountaineer will be repositioned to be more off-road capable to suit their names?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The Explorer mission will still be for heavy towing and off-road excursions. The Explorer will continue into the next decade with that mission and fullfill those that require those needs.

    There's a new midsize car based SUV (internally nicknamed Edge). Think of it as a Highlander/Pilot competitor. Based off the CD3 architecture (Mazda6, Fusion, Milan, Zephyr) and be cloned after the next Lincoln Aviator and Mazda CX-7. Customers are expected to migrate into this, or the Freestyle if they believe the Explorer is too trucky for there needs.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929

    Can you tell me why the Explorer 5-speed auto transmission is sometimes referred to as "adaptive"?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    You mean, Adaptive Transmission Control ? Has 2 main functions. Adaptive Shift Scheduling, and Adaptive Shift Quality control. Together they allow the transmission to shift according to your driving behavior. From aggresive (would give you snappier shifts, to relaxed-smoother slower shifts). It takes cornering, uphill/downhill into consideration as well. ATC recognizes road conditions and tailors itself according to various input from other driveline components to pick/shift the best gear possible at the best time possible.

    Although off the record, there's a few vehicles where ATC is a bit "extreme" and somewhat annoying. Explorer and Mustang both with the 4.0L., but I won't go into that...
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    "Together they allow the transmission to shift according to your driving behavior."

    Aww, Ant; I had hoped you'd do better on this one.

    The above quote is believed by many, but is simply not true. The Explorer 5-speed auto transmission has no feature that recognizes or adapts to a person's driving behavior. After a few thousand miles, it will execute a given shift the same for Granny as it will for anyone else.

    Where can I find more information on:
    "Adaptive Transmission control"?
    "Adaptive Shift scheduling'?
    "Adaptive Shift Quality control"?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Interesting, the PR folks at Ford seem to agree with ANT:

    "The Adaptive Transmission Control system recognizes individual styles of driving (e.g., aggressive vs. Relaxed) and adapts transmission shift parameters accordingly."

    Steve, Host
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The link is there and it explains it in better detail how it works, so I'm not sure what more your looking for.

    As for the Explorer not having it, open the Owner's Manual, and pg.176, (if it's a 2005 manual, might differ a page or 2 on other years)... titled "Driving", first paragraph reads....

    "This vehicle is equipped with adaptive Transmission Shift Strategy. Adaptive Transmission Shift Strategy offers the optimal transmission operation and shift quality...." etc.etc.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    What's even more interesting is that the engineers who designed and calibrated the transmission are the source of my information.

    Now who should we believe, the engineers who design & build the transmission, or the PR folks? Who would you bet on?

    How about a survey among our readers?

    A) PR folks
    B) Engineers
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    "I'm not sure what more your looking for."

    Just the facts from those who really know.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Well considering it's listed on the manual, if the vehicle isn't equipped with it, wouldn't that be false advertising ?

    I think if that would be the case, then a massive class action suit could stem from that. I can read the headlines now.... "Edmunds forum members discussing the Explorer transmission prompted an investigation into false claims from the manufacturer that the vehicle was equipped with technology, that wasn't really present"...

    That and have a massive hysteria of forum members on here, emailing Ford over that concern. So in essense your saying Ford purposely printed information about the vehicle (and on the owner's manual, which is taken even more seriously) that includes technology that really isn't present ? And that the PR folks just through that tidbit into the manual for decoration ?

    I mean, those are some pretty serious accusations.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    If the manual was wrong, Ford could issue a TSB; that happens sometimes to correct misinformation in the manual.

    But there are those over-reported horsepower cases where the automakers offer to buy back cars and sometimes get sued. (USA Today)

    I don't know if Siemens supplies Ford, but their press site is similar to Fords:

    "Siemens VDO is now able to apply flexible fuzzy logic algorithms for adapting the driving and shifting strategy of a vehicle's powertrain to the driver's style."

    Siemens VDO Automotive

    Bosch is somewhat similar. (pdf file). Subaru talks about changing the shift logic to "correspond with the driver’s intention."

    ANT's got links to back his comments up fwiw; I guess I want to talk to the software engineer. :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Those of us in the US are remembering Memorial Day with our long weekend and the usual weekday commentary is getting sidetracked a bit (I guess we missed Victoria Day).

    Anyone who wants to talk about the Explorer or Mountaineer and not just transmission nuances, feel free to hop in with a new thread.

    Steve, Host
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    Please don't twist my words. Here's what I said:

    "The above quote is believed by many, but is simply not true. The Explorer 5-speed auto transmission has no feature that recognizes or adapts to a person's driving behavior. After a few thousand miles, it will execute a given shift the same for Granny as it will for anyone else."

    This is based on input from the engineers who designed and calibrated the transmission.

    I understand how many have been mis-led by misinformation. It's fine with me if they want to continue to believe it. If anyone cares to understand the reality of how the transmission adapts, I'll be glad to offer it up.

    I respect your position Steve. I don't think this transmission discussion has provented anyone from posting on another subject. I hope you respect mine as well. I'm loyal to Ford, and get a bit riled when I read statements that I know to be incorrect. I would think that Edmunds would also be interested in the integrity of the posts on their forum.

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