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Your Old Dog
06-29-2009, 08:22 AM
I have a 98 Ford Escort with 110K on it. Had the transmission replaced at cost of nearly 2K just 13 months ago.

Fast forward to last week: Tranny is acting up, hard shifting especially when taking off and backing up. I check the fluid level and it's quite a bit higher then it's supposed to be but clear and no burnt smell. The car does not leak on the new concrete driveway. That's important as I just paid $11,000 for the driveway!

Take it to back to the shop and ask them to look at it for me and see if maybe the screen needed cleaned and maybe the bands tightened.

They tell me the "seals" are leaking and I'm looking at maybe $1200 for repair. We just bought a new Fusion so this car is just a beater (with great gas mileage I might add, it defrays the cost of owning my fuel guzzeling 2001 Ford F350 Power Stroke 4WD SRS ExtCab Lariat Package w/leather seats and a sunvisor pickup :D )

Does it sound like I'm getting hosed here? Don't know if I should just scrap the Escort or seek out more repairmen?

I'd like to hear from those members who are car nuts with more knowledge then me. If you don't know anything about cars you can just advise me to either tell the guy to "pound salt" or "thank you very much, have a nice day" but not both :D

clint
06-29-2009, 08:31 AM
Why not try to find one in a junk yard, or whatever they are called now days. It seems sometimes when you have a transmission that gives trouble it will not be long after rebuilding you will again have trouble. I give much more credit for local junk yards here in honesty than I would any local transmission, or auto repair shop. I think it would also be cheaper to buy a used transmission, have someone put it in than $1200, that's local to me, not sure about your neck of the woods.

Clint

jimmstruk
06-29-2009, 09:03 AM
Y.O.D, your new driveway is spotless and they say your seals are leaking??? Definately calls for a second opinion by a competent trans shop.JIM

Big T
06-29-2009, 09:46 AM
Y.O.D, your new driveway is spotless and they say your seals are leaking??? Definately calls for a second opinion by a competent trans shop.JIM

The trans shop will be talking about the seals on the pistons that apply the clutch packs. If they are leaking (Internally) it will take a while to engage a gear. It will require a complete tear down and repair.
Check out the price at an auto wreckers.

hawgwrench
06-29-2009, 10:00 AM
I'm not clear on this I dont think....when you say trans was replaced,was that a rebuilt unit,scrap yard piece or a fact.reman? If you situation locally is like mine,the scrap yards are honest,but the dont know the condition in most cases,so buyer beware. It seems that alot of the "rebuilt' or 'rebuilders" any more call a gasket set and a cleaning a rebuild;dont take the time to check the hardware unless its "visibly" damaged.Few years ago a fella in town here opened shop and was "rebuilding" power units for heavy equipment,mostly cat and cummins stuff. Seems his rebuild included an extremely high pressure steam cleaning and a "liquid overhaul" from a paint can.....he didnt last long. Some folks definition of overhaul definately doesn match the definition most of us here have.

airsmith282
06-29-2009, 10:02 AM
2k for the transmission in the first place is a rip unless it was brand spanking new tranny,
2 1200 to repair it now that is messing up well its a tough call but if you can do the work your self which really is pretty simple then you can save problely 80% of that 1200 bucks..

a good rebuilt tranny from a wrecker is about 900 bucks average but then you just slap it in and your driving again ,,

anyhow upto you but for 2k for the one you got there id be checking on a warranty if there was one ,, if there wasnt then you got screw there as well,

all best of luck hope all goes well

aboard_epsilon
06-29-2009, 10:05 AM
in this situation ..

i would make a tray to put on the drive ..would need to be put away every time it rains though ..
but will enable you to run the car for another couple of years until the thing packs up altogether.

just get them to adjust the bands ..if that's cheap enough ..

or find out how to do it yourself, if its not a long job.

all the best.markj

saltmine
06-29-2009, 11:14 AM
To clarify a few points...First, checking the transmission fluid. The car has to be running, parked on level ground, and warmed up. A lot of people will just pull the transmission dipstick, and invariably, it will read over full.
Bands? Very few modern transmissions have adjustable bands anymore. They are usually set during the build, and never require touching. Besides, not many mechanics (these days) even know how to open one up. Failed internal seals is an indication of faulty assembly work. But, you mentioned it was hard shifting, bad seals would cause long engagement times and slipping.
Being a '98 Escort, the transmission is controlled electronically, not analog. A bad manual lever position sensor could cause many of the same problems, unfortunately, not many guys know how to determine this and the sensor is expensive. (Many of these transmissions end up on the junkpile because of bad sensors, though)
The decision on whether to repair it or scrap it is a judgement call you'll have to make on your own. From an economic standpoint a '98 Escort isn't worth a lot of money. Having the transmission rebuilt is a gamble, it may fail again next year (if that's the case) But, as they do in medicine, I'd definitely get a second opinion. Transmissions are costly to repair, and going on the word of just one mechanic, well, that's kinda chancy. I know when I worked in fleet service, we had dozens of Ford front drives. And a few had failures. But normally, today's automatic transmissions live an amazingly long time...

BTW, if somebody tries to sell you a "band adjustment" tell them to "pound sand"

Your Old Dog
06-29-2009, 11:51 AM
Thanks everyone, I knew I could get some answers here.

I paid to have the transmission rebuilt at a transmission shop. The guy admitted to me that they were on hard times financially which is what made me wonder if his partner was trying to hose me.

The transmission does not leak. It shifts kind of abrutly after a slight pause, that's what made me think it might be bands but I admit it didn't exactly feel like other cars I've had over the years with slipping bands.

This car did have one other time when the gear shift lever would not budge. I discovered a small plastic button next to the shifter lever, removed it "crammed" a long bladed screwdriver in there and that solved the problem at the time. This makes me wonder if "saltmine" might be onto something.

There is no way I can do this work myself as my health won't permit. (not to mention the work is way over this retired photographers mechanical ability!)

I normally read the instructions on the dip stick when checking fluid levels. Someone told me a dirty screen could cause it to read too full?

I think I'll just buy a new long bladed screwdriver for the glove box and keep my cell phone charged up and see how long it last.

Evan
06-29-2009, 12:37 PM
Disconnect the battery for an hour. Reconnect and go for a 30 minute drive during which you go up and down hills and vary speed from slow, in traffic to cruising speed on the highway. This will cause the electronic transmission valve control system to recalibrate. Make sure that you use full throttle a few times and manually let off the gas when you want it to shift. The computer will record this and use it to determine when to shift.

Escorts have had electronically controlled transmissions since 1991.

Carld
06-29-2009, 02:16 PM
Check on the Lucus oil site and see what they offer. The products they sell work well and may add some life to it. Since it was just rebuilt why won't the rebuilder do it under warranty or at a very reduced cost.

gnm109
06-29-2009, 02:21 PM
Thanks everyone, I knew I could get some answers here.

I paid to have the transmission rebuilt at a transmission shop. The guy admitted to me that they were on hard times financially which is what made me wonder if his partner was trying to hose me.

The transmission does not leak. It shifts kind of abrutly after a slight pause, that's what made me think it might be bands but I admit it didn't exactly feel like other cars I've had over the years with slipping bands.

This car did have one other time when the gear shift lever would not budge. I discovered a small plastic button next to the shifter lever, removed it "crammed" a long bladed screwdriver in there and that solved the problem at the time. This makes me wonder if "saltmine" might be onto something.

There is no way I can do this work myself as my health won't permit. (not to mention the work is way over this retired photographers mechanical ability!)

I normally read the instructions on the dip stick when checking fluid levels. Someone told me a dirty screen could cause it to read too full?

I think I'll just buy a new long bladed screwdriver for the glove box and keep my cell phone charged up and see how long it last.

I had the same issue with my 2000 Ford Escort at 60,000 miles. I removed the pan and drained the oil. It only holds about 4 quarts not counting the torus cover which can't ordinarily be drained. I replaced the filter and gasket and it shifted like new.

It's at 80,000 miles now and If it gets to where it needs another transmission, it will go to Mr. Wrecking yard. I played that game with a 1986 Ford Taurus about 10 years ago. The transmiossion broke and I foolishly had it rebuilt for $1,800 bucks so that I could sell it. I did sell it and got.......$1,800 for it. LOL.

Fasttrack
06-29-2009, 03:04 PM
Well first, you should've bought a GM product. But, since you can't do anything about that now ... :D


Everything useful I was going to say has already been said, but ... 2k and you didn't get a warranty that covers this?? Next time, I suggest looking at a Jaspers transmission. Mine cost me about 2k as well, but it has a 3 year/100k mile warranty.

Actually, we had the same problem as you do with a Subaru. Turns out that 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy had an automatic transmission built by Ford. So many of them failed (bad seals - we finally took it in after I counted a full 21 seconds pause after putting it in drive before it started rolling) that there was a petition and website dedicated to bringing a class-action lawsuit against Ford. Don't know how it turned out though - if they took Ford to court they clearly lost. Anyhow, I wonder if the Escort's tranny had the same basic design as the Subaru.

saltmine
06-29-2009, 03:12 PM
Usually, a dirty filter will cause slow or delayed engagement. In extreme cases, shifting will be affected. To paraphrase some great sage;"It couldn't hurt", getting the transmission serviced (ie; fluid changed, new filter, etc)

I've flushed transmissions with shifting problems and had great success. But, the transmissions I've saved by flushing were full of burnt, smelly fluid.

Since the fluid in your transmission is clean and pink, it's probably suffering from an electronic ailment more than a mechanical one. Slipping anything inside an automatic transmission will discolor the fluid almost instantly.
Yeah, Ford Escorts have been using the same transmission since 1991, and your new Fusion also has the same transmission. That's Ford's way. If something works, not perfectly, but works, they leave it alone. When they finally perfect something to the point where it's flawless, then they discontinue it.

I doubt if the Subaru transmission is the same as what's in your Escort. The Subaru engine/transmission layout is what is known as "lateral" and the Escort is "transverse"
"Lateral" transaxles are common in European cars and Chrysler LHS series sedans, but the "Transverse" layout is much more efficient, mainly because you don't have the torque transmitted through a 90 degree gearset.

clint
06-29-2009, 09:26 PM
A couple things I forgot to mention for saving your current transmixer. Walmart sells a item call transmedic, it's good stuff, I have both heard, read, and seen with my own eye curing problems just like your having, however it's a gamble, and well worth the $9 or so. Also change the fluid out, replace it with the spec that is called for, do not go overboard buying synthetic etc thinking that will fix it ( I think many of the newer transmission fluids are synthetic anyway) just fill it with a good name brand of the spec the manufacture calls for. Also do some research to see of your transmission is finicky about fluids, like my Honda Accord from reading, and everyone you talk to it's far better to spend the extra to use factor Honda Transmission fluid, as I do. I also use Honda Antifreeze/coolant as well, and I'm a cheapskate that does not believe in manufacture mark ups, however I have dealt with a radiator on a 97 Honda that I pout name brand aftermarket coolant and had horrible problems from that (it was the correct type, not the gm stuff) had to replace the radiator because of this, many many flushing to remove the gunk as well.

terry_g
06-29-2009, 10:03 PM
I'm not that familiar with Escorts but an electronically controlled transmission should log any electronic related faults in its control module. Most shops have a scanner that can read them. It could be a failed sensor or something simple. Most shops that I deal with as a fleet mechanic are happy to do a few minutes of diagnoses in the hope that they get the job.

Terry

Mike Nash
06-29-2009, 11:19 PM
Hi all,

I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it brings to mind a similar problem we had with a 1992 GMC Safari (Chevy Astro). The transmission began shifting late and hard. A local transmission shop test drove it with the wife. Said $10 cash to fix or more if she needed a receipt. Pulled the hump cover and tweaked "something" twice during the drive and it was great ever after. Anyone know what that "something" was? It sure ain't in the Haynes type manuals because I tried that. Best $10 she ever spent I'll bet! I'd pay the $10 just to get the hump pulled and replaced!

Thanks if anyone knows (we replaced it with a '91 Astro which I may have to start driving soon.)

P.S. Whatever the "something" was it was NOT anything to do with my wife!

Fasttrack
06-29-2009, 11:49 PM
Hi all,

I really don't want to hijack this thread, but it brings to mind a similar problem we had with a 1992 GMC Safari (Chevy Astro). The transmission began shifting late and hard. A local transmission shop test drove it with the wife. Said $10 cash to fix or more if she needed a receipt. Pulled the hump cover and tweaked "something" twice during the drive and it was great ever after. Anyone know what that "something" was? It sure ain't in the Haynes type manuals because I tried that. Best $10 she ever spent I'll bet! I'd pay the $10 just to get the hump pulled and replaced!

Thanks if anyone knows (we replaced it with a '91 Astro which I may have to start driving soon.)

P.S. Whatever the "something" was it was NOT anything to do with my wife!

I'm not up on new electronic transmissions, but if they were still using a TH400 in those vans, it could've been the vacuum modulator. If you pop the the vacuum line to the modulator, there is a little screw in the barb that the tube connects to. Turning this tweaks when and how hard the tranny shifts. What transmission came standard in those vans?

Tim Clarke
06-29-2009, 11:58 PM
Okay, have you been checking the oil often enough to know that it has been full in the past, and that nobody has put some in to make it overfull? If it's been up to the mark in the past, nobody's added any, well there's a leak in the intake somewhere. like the seal on the suction screen/filter. the reason that automatics are checked running, and hot is to insure the torque converter is full. They'll drain back with the engine off. that's why they check overfull when not running. So, if you followed the numbers when you checked it, the converter isn't filling properly. Maybe because like your mech. said, a bad seal somewhere.

Get a second opinion, and if you don't like it, get a third. Someone will know enough about Escorts to be able to tell you what's really going on.

I'll check back and see how it's going. Have to run now, gotta pick up my Mom from dialysis.

Tim

saltmine
06-30-2009, 12:21 AM
To begin with, a '92 Astro (Safari...same thing)doesn't have an electronic controlled transmission.
The "thing" the transmission guy "tweaked" was the TV(throttle valve) cable adjustment. On older, analog transmissions, the TV cable relays the throttle position to the transmission's valve body. This can easily be adjusted with a small screwdriver. The Astro also has a 700R4, overdrive, four-speed automatic transmission. The TH400 was discontinued long before 1992.
The electronic 700R4 came along in '93 or '94. It had no provision for adjusting the TV cable on it.

Evan
06-30-2009, 04:36 AM
I had a 93 or 94 Safari as a company vehicle. I ordered it with 5 speed manual transmission. It didn't take long to discover an incredibly annoying characteristic that was also dangerous. When driving in first or second gear if you let off the gas entirely the vehicle would slow down as expected until a certain rpm was reached. Then, without warning the ECM computer would order an rpm increase independently of the throttle valve position using the idle air valve to bypass your foot position and the throttle air valve. In other words, just as you were coasting up to a stop sign the effect was that of goosing the throttle while you were still in gear and had your foot ready to push the clutch. If you happened to push the clutch at the same time, which was frequently the case, it would suddenly rev to 4000 rpm or so as you stopped.

Worse was on steep mountain roads following a logging truck down the hill in second gear. If it dropped below about 2000 rpm or so it would hit the throttle, maybe on a sharp curve with a 500 foot cliff on the side. The van would lurch forward until I could apply the brake as I was relying on compression braking on the very long hills. That was one of the main reasons for buying a standard.

After many visits to the dealer and no resolution I finally was given a number of an actual engineer at GM. I called to discuss the issue. He informed me it was the programming and was the portion of the program that simulates a throttle dashpot on a vehicle with automatic transmission. Apparently they sold so few standards they didn't bother writing a version of the software for the standard so there was no possible way to fix the problem.

I was not amused by his suggestion to get used to it. I then insisted to my employer that they allow me to replace the vehicle promptly as a safety issue.

GKman
06-30-2009, 09:04 AM
My old man could find more more things wrong with a car than 13 people normally would. I'm not suggesting you are like him or that there wasn't anything wrong. Problem was, they were his cars and was paying to get them fixed. Maybe it was his social life, I do'no. Anyway it skipped my generation. I'm so hard of hearing I've drawn a rod bolt on an old chevy six 'til it looked like a bullet and never heard anything until the clunk. Add to this, I really don't care about little things that Dad delighted in chasing. The latest - my Kawasaki 900 Vulcan has an anomaly. If I clutch it in 5th gear and brake to walking speed, it won't shift down (stuck in 5th). I checked the 'net, the owners manual, the book of Job and the back of my birth certificate and none guaranteed a god-given-right to shift down 4 times stopped at a light. It's different from my other bikes over the last 44 years but it's not a problem. No reason I can't shift down while still rolling. Maybe this (altered attitude) will work on your transmission.

Mike Nash
06-30-2009, 08:33 PM
To begin with, a '92 Astro (Safari...same thing)doesn't have an electronic controlled transmission.
The "thing" the transmission guy "tweaked" was the TV(throttle valve) cable adjustment. On older, analog transmissions, the TV cable relays the throttle position to the transmission's valve body. This can easily be adjusted with a small screwdriver. The Astro also has a 700R4, overdrive, four-speed automatic transmission. The TH400 was discontinued long before 1992.
The electronic 700R4 came along in '93 or '94. It had no provision for adjusting the TV cable on it.

Interesting. I just checked the Haynes manual I used way back whenever it was and it says Turbo Hydramatic (700-R4, 4L60, 4L60-E) under the tranny picture. The manual was for 1985 to 1993. All it allowed for was depressing a "readjust tab", pulling the slider back until it rested on its stop, releasing the tab and then opening the throttle completely. All of which I did numerous times with no apparent effect. But then maybe he knew how to hold his tongue just right :p.

But then I also recently went to get a new manual that covered the '99 Astro and noticed they just added a bunch of years and made the manual thinner so it's hard to trust the "source".

Mike Nash
06-30-2009, 08:40 PM
I had a 93 or 94 Safari as a company vehicle. I ordered it with 5 speed manual transmission. It didn't take long to discover an incredibly annoying characteristic that was also dangerous. When driving in first or second gear if you let off the gas entirely the vehicle would slow down as expected until a certain rpm was reached. Then, without warning the ECM computer would order an rpm increase independently of the throttle valve position using the idle air valve to bypass your foot position and the throttle air valve.
Ford had a better idea for my '98 Ranger. The throttle just never backs off. Well, it actually does eventually, but I still feel pretty embarrased sitting at a traffic light with the engine racing for 15-20 seconds. I learned long ago to just flick the ignition off and back on quickly on the exit ramps. Putting it in reverse will also kill the fast "idle". Ford claimed it was to meet EPA requirements and since that was how it was approved, they couldn't change it.

I'm pretty sure it's my last Ford. Unless I happen to stumble on another nice '68 Mustang :). I barely missed a nice one the last time I got the hankering.

gnm109
06-30-2009, 09:56 PM
My old man could find more more things wrong with a car than 13 people normally would. I'm not suggesting you are like him or that there wasn't anything wrong. Problem was, they were his cars and was paying to get them fixed. Maybe it was his social life, I do'no. Anyway it skipped my generation. I'm so hard of hearing I've drawn a rod bolt on an old chevy six 'til it looked like a bullet and never heard anything until the clunk. Add to this, I really don't care about little things that Dad delighted in chasing. The latest - my Kawasaki 900 Vulcan has an anomaly. If I clutch it in 5th gear and brake to walking speed, it won't shift down (stuck in 5th). I checked the 'net, the owners manual, the book of Job and the back of my birth certificate and none guaranteed a god-given-right to shift down 4 times stopped at a light. It's different from my other bikes over the last 44 years but it's not a problem. No reason I can't shift down while still rolling. Maybe this (altered attitude) will work on your transmission.


I like your attitude. Sooner or later 99% of cars end up in the wreckng yard so there's nothing to worry about. LOL.

wierdscience
06-30-2009, 10:29 PM
Another vote for a can of Transx or Transmedic.Autozone had a brand that worked well in Ford products but the name escapes me.It saved a F150 van tranny,had the same symptoms,dumped a can it and over a week or so of driving it kept improving.Got another 60,000 out of it before I sold it(too cheap)new owner has been running the hell out of it for the last 5 years,so I call it cured.

saltmine
06-30-2009, 10:45 PM
That's the "factory install" baseline setting, Mike.
If you hold the cable still and depress the tab, you can move the cable incrementally, allowing you to "fine tune" the shift quality and timing.
The way they describe it, once set, the cable ratchets the adjuster when the pedal is floored. Unfortunately, most people don't depress the pedal hard enough, and the adjustment ends up way off. Yes, the most common name for the transmission is 700R4. But it's also known as a 4L60. The 4L60e is the electronic version of the transmission. Once you get the throttle stomped on real good, try adjusting the TV a little bit at a time.
The "Idle up" programming in the Astro and many of GM's vehicles is to prevent raw fuel from being dumped into the catalytic converter when slowing down. Ford had a "Better idea" and held the idle up for 20 seconds instead. If memory serves, very few Astro vans were delivered with manual transmissions, but there is a bulletin and a chip swap that cures the problem by shutting off the fuel (completely) until it's needed to allow the engine to idle. They had the same problem with 4.3L V-6 S-10 pickups with manual transmissions (quite a few more were built with manuals than Astros), That's where they engineered the "fix" for the "idle up"