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My transmission has not worked right for some time now. it cant find the drive gears other than L and from there i can drive it like a manual up to speed. is my transmission gone or if i replace the filter will it work right again?
 

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maybe.

people have had luck with fluid swaps fixing issues, but i/we make no guarantees.
 

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How many miles are on the car?
Did you check the fluid level, and if so how?
Did you check the linkage?
What year and exact type of Escort do you have?

I had a similiar problem, except it only did this when the car was cold on my 1995LX. I did the TSB transmission oil pump fix and changed the fluid and filter and my transmission is fine now.

That and I only drove the car for 2 days like that. I parked it until I could figure out what to do and get all the parts and time to fix it. I don't think it's wise to just keep driving your car like that.
 

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I second everything in the above post. That TSB to upgrade the oil pump regulator valve can be done with the tranny in the car. It might make the tranny work fine - though its not going to make it 'new' again.
 
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