Drivetrain - Newbie: 95 wagon LX 1.9 shifting problem R and 1-2 but no 3-4 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Drivetrain Newbie: 95 wagon LX 1.9 shifting problem R and 1-2 but no 3-4

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by j10998, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    Was shifting fine till my girlfriend took the car for a trip about an hour on the interstate no problems then after being there 4 hours she got back on the interstate and she only had first gear when she let completely off the gas it would shift to second after its in second it wont shift anymore and when you let off the gas it will idle all the way down like its in neutral. when you stop it goes back to first no problem. after reading some posts here i removed the vss and tested with an ohm meter it read 4 when set at the 1x setting and when the red gear is turned it pulses from open to 4. There are a couple of wire harnesses coming off the front of the trans one to a big black connector those connections were very clean then a small 3 wire white connector those connections were very dirty and corroded with broken insulation but the wires all seem to be grounds. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Im somewhat mechanically capable so any test to help isolate the problem i should be able to perform. Thank you!
  2. millball

    millball FEOA Donator

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    MIL light on?
    What codes are stored in the PCM??
  3. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    I have not checked the codes. The light is not on. Any ideas?
  4. millball

    millball FEOA Donator

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    The fact that the light is not on does not mean that there are no stored codes.
    There may well be info to be got.
    The codes that are likely to set the light are mostly emissions related.
    Check for stored codes.
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  5. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    KOEO revealed code 637 trans temp sensor over max voltage KOER revealed nothing all clear code 111
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  6. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    Any ideas anyone?
  7. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Obligatory woman driver comment.

    How many miles are on this transmission?
    Did you check the fluid level, and if so, exactly how?
    Does the fluid look and smell good?
    When was the last time you changed the transmission fluid and filter?
    Did you check the TPS?

    Anyway, the code is telling you that you have an issue with your transmission temperature sensor circuit. That should be easy enough to fix (unless that is really just a symptom of driving in too low a gear for extended periods of time). The car is programmed to assume that the transmission is warmed up after a certain period of time anyway in case the sensor fails, but I am not sure if that applies to the transmission or just the engine temperature sensor.

    I show a the transmission temperature sensor in two of the pictures posted in this thread:
    https://www.feoa.net/threads/how-to-replace-1-2-shift-solenoid-on-atx-1991.82837/

    Plus the schematic there might be helpful.
  8. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    I have not checked the TPS. I figured there would be a code if something was wrong with it? Anyway it has 209 thousand the level is perfect ( Idling hot in park ) The fluid could use a change I'm sure I bought the car used and I've never changed it. I think your right about the trans temp sensor it should not have an effect on the trans like this. When your cruising around 45-55 mph and you punch it it acts like it tries to downshift like its trying to go into 3rd gear but cant so when you hit the gas it goes back to 2nd im thinking something electrical maybe a bad shift solenoid? Ill check the TPS asap and any other insight or ideas I would greatly appreciate. Thank you.
  9. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Check for codes and report back.
  10. j10998

    j10998 FEOA Member

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    Sorry ive been MIA. The only code is for the trans temp sensor. I need to correct my previous symptom list is been going 1-3 not 1-2 but now sadly it only has 1st gear and the fluid is getting dark and smells burnt. Obviously I need to change it and check the cooler but i'm not going to spend money on that without knowing what else I need to do while i'm in there. What do you guys think about installing a new solenoid kit? Could the solenoids be why its not shifting and not locking up? Or could it just be the temp sensor that i cant find either btw help with that would be great.
  11. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont know about what transmission operational problems a failed temp sensor would cause.
    The solenoids -could- be bad, but with your symptoms I think it would have to be more than one of them. The only gears you get where a solenoid is not involved are first and reverse. Changing out all 4 solenoids would require removing the valve body to get at the upper two, and might require a new gasket where the valve body mounts to the case. It could also be that the tiny filters on the input to the solenoids are clogged up - but this would likely mean there were enough contaminants in the fluid and spread throughout the valve body, that cleaning out those filters would not work very long. (If contaminants are small enough to get through the filter, they would be everywhere throughout the guts). If a transmission is otherwise okay but the "range sensor" located on the outside of the case is bad, the transmission would work in 'limp mode', which would give you 3rd gear (unless you had the shifter in Low, when you would have first).

    Changing the fluid and the filter is a part of normal maintenance, and while sort of a pain to do, would also let you see how much muck is in the oil pan. The usual is a black slime lying in the pan, and a feathery slime of microscopic steel stuff sticking to the magnets. If you see any shiny metal particles in the oil pan which are NOT sticking to the magnets, it means they are aluminum, and it means the torque converter's thrust bearing has worn out to where the impeller (of steel) is hitting the frame of the stator (of aluminum). While replacing the filter may solve the immediate problem, the bad torque converter will still be poisoning the transmission with the shavings. A rebuilt torque converter is always called for when rebuilding an Escort automatic transmission. This kind of torque converter failure only happens with high mileage, but I think you said your car has over 200k miles, so depending on the amount of town/city driving the torque converter might have gone bad.
    Cleaning the muck out of the oil pan is easy, but cleaning the magnets is a slower job. I use duct tape for the final cleaning, rubbing it on the magnets after cleaning them in solvent pretty well.

    The dark color of the fluid is the result of the frictional material being worn off of the discs in the clutch packs. Its basically normal, though shouldnt be too dark if the fluid got changed each 30k miles, or even each 60k or 100k miles.

    I think you will find that buying all 4 solenoids is going to cost close to $200. Then you may need to buy a new gasket for the valve body if the one that seals the valve body to the case breaks up - and since there are several layers to the valve body, and replacing the bad gasket would mean separating those layers to replace the bad gasket, you would really need to have all of the gaskets on hand. I forget whether there are 4 involved or 6 of them. They are sold in sets, but the set has perhaps 2 dozen gaskets, to accomodate the different versions of the separator plates between the valve body layers.

    My personal approach to removing the transmission oil pan is to first support the bell housing or engine oil pan (use wood block to protect the pan) with a jack, then removing the front-to-rear crossmember that runs under the transmission. And finally having direct access to the bolts holding the transmission oil pan on.
    It can be a weekend job to get that crossmember off the first time; unless your car lived its live in a dry salt-free area. I have rebuilt 5 of these F4EAT transmissions, and most of them had some damaged threads on the oil pan bolts - probably due to the very limited access to the bolts when the crossmember is in the way.
    I have also spent a 3 day weekend fixing the damage done in getting that crossmember off of my 92LX! Luckily I know how to weld and have an oxy-acetylene torch.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  12. Supersedona

    Supersedona FEOA Member

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    Does it only exhibit the issue when cold? Mine was really grumpy(like no engagement other than R or 1) unless I leave the trans heater on. Just a little 150w adhesive heater on the trans pan. It contributes a little to the engine heat but mainly makes the trans work flawlessly at 0 deg. When cold I would have to force 1st for the first couple hundred feet and then put it in drive. Other than that it would work fine. Heater left on, plays like brand new. Sticky solenoids or bad fluid? 211k mi.
  13. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    To find a new range sensor for the transmission you should look for places that sell transmission hard parts. A google search would probably do it. Many of them have a toll free number for tech questions.

    I have been fortunate enough never to need to learn how my Escorts transmission would work at zero degree!

    When I was in college in Cincinnati it got down to -25f one winter day. I went outside just to see what it was like and to learn if my old T-bird would start. Amazingly it did. Then I put it into Drive, to see if the trans would work. For at least a minute nothing happened; but eventually after that it went into gear.
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  14. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I don't think that you should install any new solenoids until after you have tested the old ones. This can be done from outside the transmission, but if you are going to have the pan off anyway, then test them from the inside as well.
    Read this thread:
    https://www.feoa.net/threads/how-to-replace-1-2-shift-solenoid-on-atx-1991.82837/

    How many miles on this transmission?

    The transmission temperature sensor is right there and really easy to change, once you have the pan off, but check the wiring for it first. I have no idea what this transmission is programmed to do if that sensor fails though.
  15. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Also, tons of cars use these transmissions, so feel free to go to a U-pull-it junkyard and take one apart. I got my replacement solenoid that way (really cheap too).

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