Drivetrain - No 3rd or 4th gears! | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Drivetrain No 3rd or 4th gears!

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by zzyzzx, May 22, 2020 at 6:40 AM.

  1. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    1995LX, automatic. Original transmission at 262K miles (suburban metro Baltimore-DC miles).
    It slips instead of going into third gear. I can't get it past 3rd either, even at 4000RPM. Doesn't matter if gear selector is in D or OD.
    Had to drive from Baltimore City to Seven, MD this morning like that. Took side roads the whole way.

    No dash light, and no codes either.
    Fluid level and color look good.
    Reverse works fine.

    Any ideas?

    Also, I have no idea if my transmission is the TX or TJ ratio. The sticker that says that got obliterated by a cooling leak. Not sure exactly how to determine that, but IIRC it's a TX, and the axle code of Q on the door jamb sticker seems to confirm that.
    Last edited: May 22, 2020 at 6:03 PM
  2. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I recommend sending it to Denisond for a rebuild.
    zzyzzx likes this.
  3. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Factory service manual has confirmed that it's a TX ratio. It also implies that the issue is likely to be a 3-4 clutch. Even with no codes I should check the resistance on the solenoids and temperature sensor, just to mostly rule out some potential valve body problems.

    Also, the FSM and a YouTube video implies that one can do an in place partial rebuild or repair on some automatic transmissions.



    I think that a lot of people here could do what is shown in this video.

    But yes I'd like Denisond3 to read through this and comment.
    Last edited: May 22, 2020 at 6:00 PM
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I watched the video. As for working on the transmission still in the car; I prefer standing up, working on the removed trans at waist height on my workbench, under a shade tree next to my driveway. I dont have the a two post lift like he has. I do have a Harbor Freight cantilever hoist: which is how I hoist out the engine AND the trans, still bolted together. My workbench is a sheet of heavy 3' by 8' plywood on a pair of heavy duty sawhorses. A tarp covers it at night.
    The 3-4 clutch assembly seems to commonly be one that wears out first in the Escorts. I have had those that were worn down and were roasted from slipping, while the 2-4 bands were all still in good shape. Both of these have to be working for 3 rd and 4th gears to be working. And the 3-4 clutch pack is way deep into the trans!
    And while the 2-4 band seems to easily come out of that Escape, I dont think the 2-4 band in the Escorts is that easy. Generally that drum has to go on last, after the 2-4 band and several other parts with teeth that have to mesh; and just before you bolt the oil pump back on.
    If anyone brings a used F4EAT onto my property, I will keep it to rebuild and go into one of my current crop of Escorts.
    The last F4EAT I bought from a JY cost me about $300, and I still put in a master rebuild kit and the transgo shift kit, along with a rebuilt torque converter. Those items added about another $500 to the trans overall cost. That was maybe 6 years ago - and the car is still running and in use.
    I think the TX or TJ only affect the final drive ratio. The transmissions are otherwise the same internally.
    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 4:25 AM
  5. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    So are you agreeing with me that you think it's the 3-4 clutch pack?
    I can't even find a picture of one on the internet. The drawing in the Factory Service Manual leaves much to be desired.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think it very likely. The picture in the service manual will make perfect sense, once you have the part out of the trans. The assembly fits into a shell and has the turbine shaft sticking through it. When it is inserted back into the transmission, it disappears behind/below/inside-of the other components.
    I can understand there not being any images of it on the internet.

    And whether it is the 3-4 clutch pack or the 2-4 band (or both) that has gone bad in your trans, all of the other clutching elements would also be well worn. To reach the 3-4 band you would need to remove and dismantle the transmission; hence getting the 'master rebuild kit'. I would also recommend getting the transgo shift kit. Hopefully yours would not really need to have the bearing preloading adjusted. None of mine did; which probably limits the life of my rebuilds to slightly less than the factory lifetime.

    Note: The instructions with the master rebuilt kit and the shift kit include some upgrades to the F4EAT that are nice to have. ....And that few commercial rebuilders would bother with - since there would be no effect on the operation during a 'warranty' period.
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  7. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Got a link to a master rebuild kit?
    Yeah I don't think that I can even buy just a 3-4 band anyway, and would want to replace the worn out stuff that I would remove to get to it.

    If I decide to try a used transmission from a junkyard, how DIY friendly is that? They seem cheap enough, but I would need to remove and install it from the bottom of the vehicle.

    I am not sure if I am going to do anything anytime soon. I'm going to be unemployed in around 2 weeks, and have another car. At least for now I can move the car if I need to, but if I put it into the garage, I'm also using up my only available garage space if I start taking it apart.

    The car is a beater with body damage, some rust issues, and HVAC issues as well. As in issues with air flow from a dirty evaporator and or broken pieces in that hard to get to heater box. So I really got to think about this.
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    No Way would I ever plan to replace just the 3-4 clutch pack frictionals!! Its too much work to get to them, and no way would they be the only frictionals that were worn.
    Getting a used trans from a JY is a 50-50 proposition; as you dont know if it is near worn out. The one I got was in good shape - but still got the new clutch pack parts.
    I got most of my F4EAT parts from www(dot)transmissionpartsusa(dot)com. They are as good as any I would say, but their online catalog takes a bit of searching to drill down to the part numbers you order; and they no longer list the F4EAT master rebuild kit with frictionals and steels - which is what is needed. I would either call them to ask, or find another firm from the google search. Their catalog did show the master rebuild kit as a result of a google search.
    Having some arthritis and back pains (from being plump and flabby) I bought the cantilever hoist specifically in order to avoid having to work under the car much. It cost me under $200, and of course I have used it on most of the 8 Escorts I have worked on, plus a couple of SL2 Saturns. Unfortunately its not possible to hoist the trans up and out - unless you take out the engine first. (Which I did on my first Escort fix-up in 2005). It also helps a lot to own an oxy-acetylene torch, for taking rusty parts apart.
    You can also find places that sell master rebuild kits by doing a search for 'transmission hard parts', or 'master rebuild kit' on google or ebay. I got my rebuilt torque converters by searching for a TC rebuilder in the TCRAONLINE(dot)com page. They list member firms, and I chose one that answered the phone with a person (speaking english with a mexican accent), who knew what the Torrington bearing issue was with TC's.
    I got the couple of tools I needed using the service manual section 07, that listed their Ford part numbers; and ebay had them from the aftermarket.
    It took me a couple of weeks, once I had the trans out of the car; but I work slow, and only as a leisure time fun thing. I used up about 5 rolls of paper towels, since I hate to have my hands oily and dirty. The detail work on the valve body I did on my porch, with a bench to sit on and the wall of the house to lean back on.

    I have taken the dashboard out of two of my Escorts, to replace leaking heater cores. It was time consuming, but realistically could have been done in 2 or 3 days - not working more than 3 or 4 hours daily. Im sure I will have to do it again eventually.
    Replacing badly rusted sections of the brake lines to the rear of the car was more of a nuisance. I have done that on three of my cars as well.
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