Drivetrain - Drive and Overdrive can't find 1st Gear | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Drivetrain Drive and Overdrive can't find 1st Gear

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by Xternyl, May 24, 2020.

  1. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    What would cause my 01 SE automatic @ 152k to not accelerate from a full stop? It takes about 3-5 seconds @ 3000+ rpm from 0 mph in D or OD for it to catch speed, unless I switch to L-drive. I was thinking the torque converter but I have not had any noticeable sounds or issues before today. I've just bought the car the tranny fuild is as dark as oil but doesn't smell burnt. There is no leaks or abnormalities except that one issue. After I pass about 20 mph it drives fine. I'm gonna replace the tranny filter and fuild asap and I probably won't be driving it anymore because I'm unfamiliar with this car. Before I proceed to change the filter is there anything dire I should know like my tranny is on its death bed before I try and maintain it?
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  2. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    You may need to go through several rounds of transmission fluid changes to get the transmission fluid looking good. But do it anyway.

    Is the transmission fluid level good?

    My thinking is that you have low fluid level, crappy fluid, or partially clogged transmission filter, or something else that is causing low transmission oil pressure.

    Check for codes as well and report back.
  3. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    I'll check tomorrow. And report it here thanks. The level is perfect just black.
  4. marclar

    marclar Administrator Staff Member

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    sounds like a bad solenoid for 1st. if it will manually go into 1st when shifted that indicates the manual valve works, and 1st works. im not a auto trans voodoo expert, so someone else may have to chime in here, or may consider a diag from a trans shop.
  5. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I'm not sure that 1st, or reverse use a solenoid. That doesn't rule out some sort of other valve body issue though.

    Ripped off from the internet, but sounds about right:
    1-2nd accumulator piston broke
    2-The PCM is not comanding first
    3-The spring for the 1-2 shift valve is broken .
  6. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    Thanks, I haven't move the car today because it rained here in Texas. Tomorrow I will code check at autozone.
  7. marclar

    marclar Administrator Staff Member

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    good place to start. I avoid auto trans issues like my x wife lol.
  8. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    Lol, I hear that. It threw P0171 on Bank 1 & P1506(Suggested MAF Sensor). It doesn't explain why my transmission is failing the way it is, I was expecting a transmission code. Also no check engine light.
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  9. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont think there is much in the way of sensors related to the transmission - for the OBD-II to get info from. I can imagine the trans module (part of the pcm on your car) gets input from the turbine speed sensor - but uses it mainly for controlling shifting points, not whether the shift points are done firmly. I dont know how the trans would report to the control module that there was slipping going on in the clutch packs.
  10. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    There are lots of OBDII transmission codes. Codes for solenoids and speed sensors at the very least. I've gotten them on other cars and at least so far they have been pretty easy to fix. As in unscrew a sensor (some sort of speed sensor, made the truck shift funny to the point where I thought there was a serious transmission problem) and screw in a new one, and only lose maybe 2 drops of transmission fluid. Didn't even have to jack up the truck. Parts made by Rostra work fine.
  11. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    This sounds vaguely like a bad range switch on the trans. When they aren't working on a SECOND GEN, first gear slips, jumps in and out of second.

    Had it get soaked a couple times and had similar symptoms. In all cases my reverse lights didn't work, but I think that was because I lost the entire switch. They came back to normal after a day or two of drying out.

    Idk, just saying maybe spray some degreaser on the range switch and let it dry out for a few hours?

    All three times it happened to me, I had pressure washed right on the range switch. And again I'm talking 91-96's.
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  12. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    Doesnt hurt to check it out. Where is it located and how relitively easy is it to get to? I'm assuming that the second gen and third gen had relitively similar locations.
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  13. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    The thing with the linkage and wires going to it. On topside of trans. The little cotter pin IMG_20200527_130433.jpg
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  14. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    Thank you, I can see it, but it's a little easier to get to than the third gen. But I can get to it none the less.
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  15. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Buys one of the nicest battery cable clamps for the cheapest battery...
  16. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    That "neutral safety switch" is no longer available new or from most junkyards - and that is why I never ever clean that side of the engine cpmpartment with any liquid.
  17. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    Honestly I never did either, just one day it stopped gearing out of 1st. So I'm not quite sure it's that.
  18. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    A non working VSS seems to cause the trans to stay in first, or a bad electrical connection to the VSS.
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  19. Xternyl

    Xternyl FEOA Member

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    I heard it was a pain to get out. So I may just take it to a shop.
  20. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    The VSS might be a pain to get out. If its corroded in it would be. . I got one of my Escorts that had spent 18 of its 20 years in a carport in Phoenix. No rust anywhere, and the VSS just pulled upward with some wiggling left-right; after I had the clamp undone.
    I have also had a VSS on another Escort where even when I had the trans out of the car, and on my workbench, it required lots of tapping with a cheap wood chisel, so the sharp edge of the chisel would be going between the trans case by the differential and the small lip on the aluminum part of the VSS.

    I would worry that the shop might either decline to extract the VSS, or mess it up, (the plastic upper parts breaking off) or they would get your car to where the only 'plan B' was to take the transmission out of the car to get at the VSS.

    Please let us know how it goes for you.
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