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Ford Explorer Transmission Questions



  • I just replaced my transmission at 90,000miles, it worked well for about 3 weeks. Last night when I pulled into my driveway and put it in park, when I tried to shift to reverse to move, the gear selector would not budge. About 10 minutes later I cranked it up and the selector moved to reverse, then back to drive. Turned off engine, recranked tried to select a gear, it would not move. Still won't move this morning? Any ideas?
  • lehualehua Posts: 4
    Tonight my 2005 explorer's transmission gave out, "Internal Transmission Failure" at 57,000 miles. The seals are in tact, nothing compromised to lead to this major problem. Of course my warranty's expired, and I'm told a new trans cost $2500. I'm in shock and can't sleep, the car is only three years old! I bought it new, how can they dismiss it?
  • lehua,
    I feel your pain. I have a 2005 Ford Explorer and my transmission gave out at 43,000 miles and I also bought mine new. This is my second Explorer. I had a 1998 and traded at 65,000 miles. Never had any problems so I did not purchase an extended warranty. The O/D light and "Check Transmission" warning came on. I thought it just needed fluid. Since it was a weekend the Ford Dealership I contacted said they did not have anyone on site to check transmissions. I took it to an independent and was told a part of the gear was defective. The car was shifting from 1st to 3rd gear and I was in the process of a move so I left it to have checked. Well to make a long story short, I ended up with a $2100 rebuilt transmission. I called Ford Service directly and spoke with 3 reps. Sent letters and received the same crap, since I did not take it to a Ford dealership, there is nothing they can do. I even have the original parts. Have you been to a Ford dealership or tried contacting Ford Customer Service? I don't think I would have gotten any assistance even if I took it to Ford. I hear so much about transmission problems with the Explorer, obviously there was some defective part installed. Oh yeah, now my CD player won't eject CDs and I don't even have 50,000 miles yet...I am afraid what will be next. This will be my last Ford. :lemon:
  • lehualehua Posts: 4
    Thank you for your advice! I spent a couple hours on this today and it's being towed from an auto shop to the Ford service shop in the morning. Ford service manager said they would reduce labor cost and give me a 3 year/100,000 mile warranty for $2910.00 on a new transmission (they must have done some revisions).
    I was so close to telling the other auto shop to go ahead and put in a used one for $2000.00, but being the weekend, then reading your reply, well now I know this is the right move. Thank you again
  • I would greatly appreciate some advice. My 97 Ford recently passed "regular" inspection,however, failed emissions testing. Mechanic says it is 1-4 oxygen sensors. Vehicle running fine prior to inspection. Now, without warning, vehicle no longer moves when placed into reverse or drive. I can go forward, up to 20mph, in first and/or second gear, but nothing when in reverse or drive. Could the two issues (emissions/inspection & tranny issue) be related?? My friends say "tranny's gone" this true?? Vehicle has 168k miles on it so not sure worth sinking tons of money into, however, not really into position of buying a new one either. Appreciate your help!!
  • lehualehua Posts: 4
    You are describing the same thing mine did, and mine was the transmission at only 56,000 miles (2005 Explorer). I was able to drive it in 1st or 2nd only long enough to get myself out of traffic danger on a Friday close to 5:00pm.
    It happened without any warnings. The seals were in tact and it was full of fluid.
    You could price a used one or rebuild....
  • lehualehua Posts: 4
    I know you can't drive it around to get another estimate but with that info and readings maybe you could call your local Ford dealer and ask for assistance? I was shocked when they came in $300.00 lower than my auto repair guy.
  • edc2edc2 Posts: 1
    i have a 95 explorer with a blown 4r55, and a 94 with a new trans, and blown motor, and an a4od trans, is there any way to put the a4od in the 95 with out a problem ?
  • The same thing occured with my 96 Sport Trac. Time for a new Trans.
  • I have a 91 Ford Explorer. I was driving down the road at 35 mi per hr. when the transmission seemed to go in neutral. I was not able to reengage the gear though the gear shift lever seemed to operate all right. What could it be? The linkage? :confuse:
  • This car has been relatively free of problems for the last 8 years (I bought it 3 years used) but I am now hearing some clunking when I start driving in reverse, and once in a while I am getting a spinning/grinding sound when shifting from drive to reverse, and occasionally on freeway shifting.

    My trusted independent mechanic believes it is the transfer case, $1500-2000 to fix.

    I got a second opinion from Aamco, which guarantees they will fix it for $2000 if I let them overhaul the transmission. Upset that I let them take me for $280 to diagnose the check engine light and fix an oxygen sensor, my fault for not walking.

    May take it to Ford dealer for a 3rd op just for fun, but there is no way I can justify investing $2k in an 11-year old vehicle with 102,000+ miles.

    From reading this post it looks like Explorer transmissions are set to implode @ 100k miles, so if you have more you are living on borrowed time. Guess I was lucky.
  • mjfixmjfix Posts: 3
    I have a 03 Ford Explorer, the O/D light just started blinking. The transmission seems to be slipping. Between 20-30mph the engin rev sup to 5rpm on the tachometer and then the gear kicks in. Do I need a new transmission? How much would it be and should I get a rebuilt one. Could it be some other problem? Truck has 85K miles. Has this been recalled?
  • I am not a mechanic but I have a 2005 Ford Explorer that had 43,000 miles on it at the time. The same problem was happening. The O/D light was blinking and the transmission was slipping. I would have taken it in to the Ford dealership but it was a weekend and they did not have a mechanic on duty to diagnose the problem. I took it to an independent transmission company and needed a rebuilt transmission which cost me $2100. It turned out to be a gear train failure and the mechanic showed me the defective parts, which I kept. There was no recall as I made sure to have it researched and Ford customer service gave me the same information. I have heard a lot of bad feedback about Ford's transmissions. I would definitely contact Ford to see if there has been a recall on your truck.
  • I have an 03 V8 Explorer I just bought for my daughter. It doesn't have a dip stick for the trans. Any idea how to check the level? It has about 119k miles, and I would feel better if I could check the level!!

  • We purchased this Explorer used in early 2005 with about 50K miles on it and it's been a pretty good car. In 2006, we took it to the Ford dealership because we were having some shifting issues. They replaced some solenoids and it has been behaving OK up until about a month ago. We live in the mountains and climb some pretty steep grades. The O/D light and Check Transmission warning message comes on and flashes continuously when we climb the steep grade on the highway. If we click the O/D off before hitting the hill, nothing happens except we don't go into 5th gear. To reset the light and the "Check Transmission" message on the infocenter readout, all we have to do is turn off the car and turn it back on again. This car now has 137K.

    Does anybody know if changing the transmission fluid and maybe doing a full flush helps with this issue? Otherwise, we're considering a Honda CR-V...
  • I also have a 2003 Ford Explorer that the O/D light just started blinking on today. I felt it slip a bit last week when I was turning the O/D on, and now it seems to slip a bit between 20-30mph. I have about 82K miles on it, is this always a "needs a new transmission" problem or could it possibly be something not quite as, how should I say....Expensive? Any information would be greatly helpful and appreciated...
  • I would strongly advise everyone with transmission issues to find out first what type of trans. you have. Do some research online. I had an 02 jaguar trany go out after warranty expired and had a headache for 6 months trying to figure it out. While ford owned jaguar they kept using a jatco "japanese automatic transmission co." j5 something trany and these have electric cylinoids for shifting. These were very very very prone to failure and have been used on several other types of cars. I traded an 02 jag for an 05 and havn't had a problem yet. One rule you should remember, no warranty means more of a headache than without, because it's all out of pocket. it nearly ruinned me, but i only got a deal trading it back in on another one "with a warranty till 2010. goooood luck to all.
  • Hello all, I have an '02 Mountaineer w/4.0 V/6, it supposedly has the 5R55W transmission. Overdrive just died, blinking lights, etc. Can I swap it with an 5R55S transmission ? I've heard they are "sister" trannies. If it does bolt up, will it throw codes ? From what I've read, 2nd gear has a different ratio. With these computer controlled cars, I don't know what will happen. I called Ford, but they say that they NEVER change what was originally installed, no matter how bad the original part performed. They only used the 5R55w for 1 year, then replaced it with the 5R55S. Any help, would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • Won't go into Drive. Takes off fine in 2,1, and then does fine in Drive after I reach about 15 mph or so. Reverse seems fine, everything else is normal. This vehicle has 316,000+ with no major issues... yet. Problem started after being hung up in a snowbank, but there is no snow packed around the tranny and I can't find anything unplugged, bent, etc. Any suggestions?
  • I have a 1997 Explorer that needs the trans replaced. Can anyone tell me how I can tell if mine has the overdrive drum sensor or not? Thank You John
  • I am reinstalling my auto trany after replacing the front seal. I installed the torque converter on the trany and then placed the trany in the vehicle. Then I found I had to slide the converter foward to bolt it to the flywheel. Now I can't get the trany any closer to the motor than about 1 1/2". I assume the converter is now not properly mated to the trany. I have attempted to turn the flywheel but am not getting anywhere. Are there any suggestions on how to fit this together better?
    Thank you.
  • I have a 1993 Explorer with the exact same problem. Transmission doesn't shift when cold. After warming it's smooth. Did you ever find the solution?
  • I've got a 2002 & same thing happened, O/D light blinking & slipping between gears. Unfortunately mine was a "needs a new transmission" issue. Sounds like it's very common, I posted a complaint on & were well over 200 other complaints for the exact same thing. I'm not sure how to post a link on here but hopefully this helps you:

    Looks like it's a huge problem that affects multiple years. My 2002 has an enclosed transmission so apparently it's a bigger deal to get to & fix. Not sure about the 2003 but I'm guessing it's the same. Good luck!
  • Thanks for the response. Within a day of posting the problem, it started slipping realy bad (on the way to the mechanic). The problem progressed REALLY quick! Unfortunately mine was also a "needs a new transmission" issue as well. To the tune of $2800. Needless to's now running great but I am kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. My husband has an Expedition that had a transmission problem as well thankfully it was under warranty....We will still remain a Ford family but from now on will just buy trucks! His F-150 had 185,000 HARD miles on it and it was a great actually still had a trade in value!
  • Ha, same situation with us, I've got a high-mileage 1999 F-150 we use as a plow truck & only had some minor brake problems... nowhere as expensive as our Explorer's transmission failure was. I traded our Explorer soon after I had it repaired because the rebuilt transmission only had a 90-day warranty. Actually I had it fixed, was happy with the repair (not the price) & forgot about it for awhile, then one day I thought I felt it slip a little & that was all the reminder I needed!
  • Join the club. Last year, June 2008 I had to have my transmission replaced at 42,000 miles and was out of pocket at about $2200. I bought it new, original owner. The O/D light came on and the gears were shifting from first to third. I have a 2005 Ford Explorer XLT. I called Ford's customer service department, sent letters to everyone from the Customer Service director to the CEO in hopes that someone would at least reimburse part of the costs. There is obviously a defect in these transmissions and Ford will not take responsibility.
  • skyappleskyapple Posts: 3
    I have the same thing..only noticed it w/ this cold weather (in early am's trying to leave my driveway ). The car sort of bucks.. and makes clugging noises.. When i get going straight, it's all ok. What to do? What is this? Thx for any help.
  • jk2309jk2309 Posts: 1
    my o/d light started blinking at 95xxx miles just a month after i had a new tranny put in. i took it back to the mechanic that fixed it and he said there was nothing wrong. i told him to drive it for a couple days and then tell me if there was anything wrong with it. he called me 3 hours later to pick him up because he was broke down on the highway. he fixed the problem but at 110xxx miles the whole transmission wouldnt catch in any gear. he fixed it again claiming that he had to order a sleve to go in the transmission somewhere. it ran until it was just a month out of his 30xxx mile warranty. now at 142xxx miles it went out again. the new mechanic i took it to says that this year explorer (2003) has a defective case and if you rebuild it it will go out agan between 35xxx and 50xxx miles. its only 160 bucks for the updated case but the new selenoid packs and everything with labor is 2800 bucks and he said he'd warranty it for 5 years. i dont recommend going through what i did. just have them patch it for about 600 bucks and then trade it off for something else.
  • wpd029wpd029 Posts: 1
    Same thing happened to me, I have a 2002 Explorer XLS, Ford completed an overhaul on the transmission and it was under warranty. I just brought my car into Ford for transmission issues. Slipping and shudder from 4th to 5th. Ford wanted $4370.00 to fix. You know what I told them. Brought it to another Transmission Repair Facility and they said $2755.00. When conducting a follow up with the facility they asked if tranny work was done in the past because their was a plug in the vent. The rep told me this is not normal. They also found water or coolant in the tranny oil. Check this last year I brought the beast in for a brake job and the rear coil springs on the truck were cracked. The rep told me it was due poor parts quality. I feel your pain. I'll probably write a letter to Ford just to vent because their not going to do anything. And I only have 61000 miles on it.
  • I have a 2005 Ford Explorer XLS and the transmission went out at 43,000 miles. Did not purchase the extended warranty because this was my second Ford Explorer (1998) and did not have any problems. The O/D light came on and called Ford dealership. They told me it was a transmission problem but did not have a mechanic on site as it was a Friday evening. I took it into an independent and was told the car was shifting from 1st to 3rd gear so I let them fix it. I kept all the replaced parts and had the mechanic write a letter explaining the defective gears. I contacted Ford Customer Service and was told because I did not take it to a Ford dealership they could not help me. Either I got the shaft from the independent or obviously at 43,000 miles there had to be a defect. I purchased the SUV new. Ford customer service was no help. I even sent letters to the Director of Ford CS and the CEO. I knew they would not read them but hoped to get the problem escalated. I might as well sent them to my dog for what it was worth. At this point there is no way they would have a recall and I can't believe they don't know about these problems. Anyhow I won't purchase another Ford.
  • I have a 98 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. It is a 5.0 liter V8. It will go into gear but will not move. I am trying to find a used transmission but need to know if anyone knows what transmissions will fit this?
  • I have just recently purchased a used 2002 ford explorer, eddie baure edition, with 100,000 miles on it. Now as of right now it has had (to my knowledge) no transmition problems, But does have a noise durring idle. I have breefly researched the car before I got it, but aparently not quite enough because of all the transmition problems I am reading about. Now my question is " Did I make a bad buy?" I have owned all fords before, and have done almost all of my own mechanical work, including transmition replacements. But this is the newest vehicle I have owned, and would like it to last a while without any major repaire.
  • mootiniemootinie Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Ford explorer that has just been diagnosed with the "needs a new transmission" problem. I am wondering if anyone else has also had the same oil/transmission fluid leak problem that I saw that occurred at the same time. While I was on the highway it started smoking black. When I looked under the hood, I saw what appeared to be oil on the drivers side rear of the engine block right at the valve cover line. The Ford dealership said that this was a leak from the bell housing... I am wondering if anyone else has seen this and can attest to it really being that before I put the money in for the new transmission and end up with an additional cost to fix an engine leak. Thanks!
  • mootiniemootinie Posts: 2
    So the saga continues. I picked it up from Ford and took it to a tranny shop who roughly estimated half the price to drop a new tranny in... When the looked at it the only thing they found was a seal leak and they believe that it just go low on tranny fluid causing the O/D light and my missing 5th gear. We shall see if that really is the case and if so I feel a letter to Ford will be in the mail! :mad:
  • skyappleskyapple Posts: 3
    i have 02 expl XLT-- great car until something horrible is beginning to show up when the car is cold... Huge "slipping/ clunking" when beginning out in mornings.. and when taking first few easy turns when starting out. The car 's transmission or front end feels like it's falling apart but a few minutes later, things are fine... no problem once warmed up. Any ideas?????
  • skyappleskyapple Posts: 3
    i have a similar problem w/ 02 explorer XLT -- Is it the transmission?? It sure feels like it is.. Huge "clunking" when cold in mornings... horrible noise with easy turns from parking place on cold mornings. (Such bad "slippage" early am's that i think i have to get out and leave the car on the side of the road...) Once engine warmed up-- (20 min?) things seems fine. mechanic finds nothing.. how can this Be???!!!
  • elmadoelmado Posts: 1
    Will a 1995 Ford Explorer transsmision fit a 1996 Ford Explorer?
  • hey im looking for a tranny for a 2003 ford explorer. i got one thats not the same year, so i need to know what years would fit it. please help
  • Our 2002 Eplorer, 86k miles, makes a rattling noise while idling and lower speeds. I keep finding references to it online but solutions. Has anyone else had this problem and solved it? New trans mission? Torque converter?
  • jhs517jhs517 Posts: 4
    Hi everyone, I just joined the forum. I will tell you all, even though I am about Ford, the Explorer's transmission makes this SUV a p.o.s. . I had to have my transmission rebuilt this last summer, and its ok, but its still not really right. Fortunately, I had an extended warranty, and it saved me about $2300.00. I was reading all of your complaints, and pretty much, word for word. o/d light flashes fast, doesnt shift into o/d, or jumps in and out of o/d. then the light kicks on. sometimes I would pull over, put it in park, shut it off, then start it up, and its fine for a while, then acts up again. sound familiar? early signs of the transmission going. Hearing noises when you put it in drive, from park or reverse? the transmission is going. my best advice is to either get it fixed, or raise enough you know what to do what you can, short of driving through the showroom window and leaving it there.besides that, what a great SUV.
  • i have a 97 ford explorer that shifts into 1st and right about when its about to shift into next gear it down shifts rpms go up and if i release the gas pedal for a split second or two it will shift in properly now someone said try the trans. control module first- and where would that be? then if that doesn't work try the valve body gasket does that sound right to anyone out there?
  • Issue: Chugging/jerking when put in reverse in morning at 80K miles. Does not seem to happen at lunch time. :confuse: Transmission flush temporarily corrected issue. Now at 99K miles recurring issue. Also, just replaced master cylinder ($450). Should I expect the worse and revisit my goal to try and get another year or two out of her? My 98 Explorer Sport was never a problem and traded in at 114K miles. Thanks for any feedback.

  • I am having the exact same issue with ours... and we are getting snow at the end of the week. Did you ever get an answer? Please help?!
    Thank you! :cry:
  • Does anyone know if a transmission from a 00' ford mustang gt will fit in my 99 ford explorer with v8 engine?
  • We found that the easiest and most accurate answer can be given to you by your local ford dear that also does service. You will need the model number from both transmissions and they will be able to tell you if they are interchangeable. Good luck
  • I have a 93 ford explorer that takes a long time to engage in drive, but goes into reverse right away. sometimes this pause before drive kicks in can take a minute or two. reving the engine helps, but it pauses everytime....
  • I really want to make sure that I repair the right thing on my

    I have 1994 Explorer with a 1992 A4LD Transmission. I have received a number of responses to my problem. I want to verify before starting the

    I have been told that the problem is:

    1. The Governor
    2. Could be the Torque Convertor
    3. Although not likely, it could be the Modulator.


    I recently installed a 1992 A4LD transmission that was recently

    rebuilt: I don't know if the Torque Converter was replaced at that

    time. The only difference between the one removed and the new one is

    the Modulator. The original Modulator was not adjustable and the one

    on this transmission is.

    When the vehicle is cooled down, it intermittently is reluctant to

    shift i.e. It will start out in first but seems to lack power. The

    same is true when it is cold however, it is not intermittent, it simply

    lacks go-power. It takes more RPM than normal. It slowly shifts to

    second, third. I can punch it and force it to shift although not

    always successful. If it does shift it will then shift normally until

    it sits for a little while and has the opportunity to cool down.

    If I warm up the vehicle to normal operating temperature before

    driving, the transmission will shift normally. One again, it may or

    may not shift correctly when it has the opportunity to cool down a


    Only thing I noted beside this is:

    When I open the hood, when cold, I hear what appears to be a vacuum
    leak in the area of the EGR Valve however, I cannot find. To be honest with you, I don't know if this is normal. I don't fully understand how the vacuum is created so any input in this area would also be helpful.

    What I have learned is:

    1. I know how to replace the Modulator and watch for the pin.
    2. I also know how to replace the Governor however, "Whatever It

    Takes" Transmission parts ( lists a number of Governors so

    I have been told to remove the old one and identify which is installed.

    This is questionable from my perspective since I have to literally take

    the transfer case off, remove the govener, and order and wait for a


    3. It has also been recommended that I replace the 30mm Weight with

    the Sonix 35mm weight.

    I am willing and capable to do all that is recommended however without

    confirmation I am hesitant for the following reasons:

    1. If the governor will cure the problem great however, If it is not

    the governor I will have wasted my time and had a lengthy down time

    waiting for the part.

    2. Additionally, if it is not the governor and it turns out to be the

    torque convertor I will have to do the same process again but have to

    remove the tranny on top of this.

    3. I have not mentioned the modulator since I am going to replace that


    What I am asking for:

    Confirmation of what I need to replace before I begin and/or the

    procedure to verify the problem before I tear it down. Additionally,

    if someone can verify which governor to order without first removing

    the one installed would be of significant assistance.

    Thanks In Advance.
  • I have a 1992 ford 4x4 explorer. 189 K miles.


    I did a tranny flush, and replace the filter and the modulator.

    I tried to do the external band adjustment, but not sure how. I think you go 10 inch lbs then back off 3 1/2 turns.

    after doing the work, I can blip the engine 3 or 4 times up to 1500 rpms, and it will literally jump into low gear.

    I need a little technical assistance, Thank You
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