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.

  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
  2. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I recommend sending it to Denisond for a rebuild.
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  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
  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
  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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  9. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Found drawings of the 3-4 clutch pack in the FSM. Yes I see now what I was looking at before was a vague drawing. But now I see a 3-4 clutch cylinder, which if rebuilding, I would reuse and install the new 3-4 clutch pack rings on it and reinstall.yhere are pictures of a 3-4 clutch cylinder on eBay andwand Amazon look a lot like the drawing from the FSM.

    [​IMG]

    I wonder if the tool is available as a loaner:
    https://www.toolsource.com/strut-sp...on-clutch-spring-compressor-tool-p-61831.html
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  10. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Why no Super rebuild kit instead of a Master rebuild kit?
    I am still trying to learn the differences, but the super kit includes a new filter, but I am not sure what else.

    What clutch spring compressor tool do you use? Some of them seem cheap enough on eBay. I am also looking into what loaner tools I might be able to use.
  11. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Actually it's been done on a 4EAT transmission before (replace clutch packs without removing transmission):
    https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2501432


    Is that for an Escort, or for just cars in general? I would have to think that Escorts are getting junked due to body damage or dropped valve seats.

    I still don't know what I am going to do here. Should I check transmission fluid pressure? I've read several places where low pressure is causing clutch packs to burn out. I don't think it's the case here, but if it's easy I might want to rule that out.

    I imagine I should do an engine compression test to see if the car is worth spending serious money on if I decide to fix it (or pay someone to fix it).

    These people also think it's the 3-4 clutch pack:
    https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1556472
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  12. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Let others work on the F4EAT without removing it. Since I have a scheme of working that I like, and have successfully done several times, I will stick with my methods.
    in.
    In my opinion the chance of getting a good used auto trans from a junkyard is pretty much an unknown proposition. I would say that goes for the manual trans as well.
  13. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    OK, so you are saying not to bother checking transmission fluid pressure?
    There seems to be some evidence (on the internet) of low transmission fluid pressure causing failed clutch packs. Not that I really think it's the case here, because 2nd does work and all.

    How much does one of these automatic transmissions with (and without) a torque converter weigh?
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  14. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Anyway, low line pressure would have taken quite a while to show a result. And the clutch packs for 3-4 and the 2-4 band might be worn out, while the clutch pack for the lower gears was still okay. But Im guessing.

    I think the trans is about 110, plus another 30 lbs for an empty or torque converter.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  15. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I finally got around to looking into this. I removed the pan and filter. The fluid looks fine. Really everything looks fine except that paint is coming off the inside of the pan. You can see it bubbling up in the picture there along with some of it missing. Clearly this is a problem, or at least a potential problem. Yes, the filter seems to have caught it, as there is some of it in the filter, but probably not enough to cause a real issue. No chunks of anything, and even the magnets aren't bad at all. What do you think?
    [​IMG]

    The remaining paint came of easily.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  16. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you had this car since new? The paint hadnt come loose from any of the five or six F4EAT's that I rebuilt; but might have, depending on what miracle chemical someone added to the transmission in the past.....Or it might have come loose the last time someone had the pan off - and cleaned it off with their shop steam cleaner.

    I cleaned mine using gasoline and some paper towels. I also cleaned all the metal coating from the two magnets. The adhesive side of duct tape did pretty well for that.

    I dont know if you are going to proceed to rebuild this trans, or to buy a rebuilt and install that. But Im curious if you removed that front-to-rear crossmember in order to get the pan off. With the crossmember still in the car, maybe 6 or 8 of the little bolts cant be reached without using a box end wrench or equivalent.
    The next time I drop the pan on one of these transmissions, if Im not going to take the trans out for rebuilding, I think I would undo the two bolts at the tront of that crossmember, and take off the two nuts that hold the front motor mount into it, and while supporting the bell housing with a jack, to let the cross-member hang down from the back end (where I might just loosen up the two nuts back there, but not disconnect that end.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  17. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Yes. I bought the car new.


    No. I did loosen the front cross member bolts and transmission mount bolts. I have actually removed the pan before without doing any of those things before.


    There was some paint missing when I had the pan off last, which is why I removed it now. Wanted to see if it clogged the filter, but you really can't see into the filter. I can stick a finger in it and feel some of the paint particles, but nothing dramatic. Most of the crap in the filter is near the outlet.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  18. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    This is the inside of the pan after paint removal:
    [​IMG]
  19. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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  20. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I cut open the used filter. This is what it looks like. Mind you I did try backflushing it to see what would come out, so presumably it had more than this in it before I did that:
    [​IMG]

    I could see this being a problem all by itself. The stuff is right around the outlet of the filter.

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