Drivetrain - occasionally first and second only | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Drivetrain occasionally first and second only

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by Raybear, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Okay so I'm new to this whole forum thing.
    I have a 98 escort sport.. 2 liter single overhead cam. love this little car takes me to work everyday.
    But lately the transmission has been acting a little weird. here's what it does.
    I start it up and I take off And the RPM's to go to 2500 and then it will shift kinda hard into second gear. And there will stay you will not get any more function out of that transmission.
    If you pulled to the side of the road and shut it off for 30 seconds and restart it will function fine. Unless you stop at a stop sign it may decide to do that Weird thing again. which in case shutting it off and waiting 30 seconds seems to remedy the situation temporarily.
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forums. You have come up with a new set of symptoms: Mysterious ones. Can we assume the trans fluid is at the correct level, checked with the engine idling, the shifter in park, and having driven it for a mile or so before checking it? And is the trans fluid a healthy deep red, not brown or black?
    Is the Check Engine Light on and are there any trouble codes? There can be codes that dont turn the Check Engine Light on, so you may need to use a scan-tool to read what the computer has stored.
    zzyzzx likes this.
  3. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    It does not slip... not burnt and is nice in red.. check after running the vehicle to work 25 miles.. so at operating temperature
    When it started I did not have a check engine light.... later I gotta check engine light but it was fora the 02 sensor at the rear of the system. intake manifold plate.... all this is autozone.
    Only recently purchased the car the late fall From the original owner. so I am able to ask her questions at any time. she says this is the 2nd or 3rd engine and the mileage on the vehicle and the transmission is 233,000.
    I was considering a filter change and fluids just because you cannot count on when that was ever done.
    It runs great start every time even at 20 belowzero 0.... does idle a little shaky when warm.
    Are there other places that codes could be stored that were not retrieved at autozone.
  4. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Keep in mind I'm used old school pre computer systems.... so I am just learning about all this.. but I am not mechanical ignorant..... I just miss the days of a carburetor an HEI... So I'm a bit behind I gotta catch up.
  5. Gamer92

    Gamer92 FEOA Donator

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    I'm not sure if their scanners pick up transmission codes or not. They don't set up the scanner for the specific vehicle, so they may not retrieve all the codes for the vehicle.
  6. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Thanks.. I will inquire at a couple of places if they can access those codes.
  7. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Besides making sure that you have any and all codes, check the grounds for the engine, transmission, and at the battery.
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    The first thing I want to say is that 233k miles on an Escort 4EAT transmission is pretty high mileage. I am aware they can last longer than 233k, especially if the car was used on a long commute and didnt see much in-town short errand driving. I bought/rebuilt an Escort whose transmission had failed at 139,000 miles. Its only problem was having the frictional clutch pack materials worn away.

    I dont have any good guesses as to what is wrong. I suppose it could be an electronic problem, where the trans control electronics (on the PCM I believe) arent telling the trans to shift (shifting is initiated by the electronics via energizing solenoids inside the transmision). Or it could be a mechanical/hydaulic problem in the valve body(where the manner of doing the shifts is managed).
    I can think of other things that might cause the trans to malfunction, but I would rule them out, since I very much doubt they would be solved by shutting the engine off and restarting after 30 seconds.

    I would hope that if the problem is a sticky 2-3 shift solenoid, that the trans control electronics would report that. Once the transmission is told to upshift, the computer expects to see a drop in the torque converter turbine speed. If the turbine speed doesnt drop, the computer should recognize there is a problem.


    The Escort transmissions arent very hard to rebuild - just a little tedious & oily. The harder part to me, is getting the trans out of the car.

    If its been super cold where you live, I wonder if it could be ice in the valve body moving parts. It would melt or course, when the trans fluid got above freezing. One of the functions of the 'transmission oil cooler' is to warm up the trans fluid in very cold weather. I would think any water moisture in the trans would vaporize in a 25 mile drive though.
  9. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Today I purchased a transmission filter and oil. Do you know whether there's anything against a plastic or metal filter ..the counter guy asked me.. and I don't have it a part yet I figured that it was a matter of personal preference.... so I took what he had which is the metal. I'll make this attempt on Saturday as I may be able to use inside building. 45 degrees is better than 11 below.
  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Either filter should be fine. The metal ones usually have a very fine screen as the filter element. The plastic ones usually have a plastic matrix of some kind. I have used both types, dont have any preference.
    If when inspecting the oil pan you find metal particles that are shiny and not sticking to the magnets (meaning they are aluminum), it means the torque converter is creating the tiny particles. A new filter wont fix that problem, no matter which kind it is.
    You can expect to find a nice layer of black muck in the trans oil pan & furry sludge on the magnets; those are normal. Shiny particles throughout the black muck is NOT normal.

    I dont know about the 3rd gen Escorts, but with my 2nd gen Escorts, it is difficult to remove the transmission oil pan because there is a front-to-rear crossmember running under the bell-housing and partly obstructing the oil pan. One technique to help reach the little bolts, is to remove the nuts that hold the motor mounts to the crossmember, and jack up the bell housing an inch or so - the more the better - to be able to unscrew and replace the dozen or more small bolts. I always drop that front-to-rear crossmember for best access when removing the trans oil pan; but Im an extremist, retired, and with plenty of time to do this stuff.

    45 still seems cold to me. It was 60 here today, very windy and with occasional precip. I dont have any enclosed space to put a car into, so didnt much get much auto work done.
  11. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Thank you all ..for all the helpful advice. I'll be able to let you know as soon as I get her open up and look through that gooey mess.
  12. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    It's just as difficult to remove the transmission pan on a 3rd gen Escort. I did it in a junkyard to get my replacement solenoid, which I got off a 1999 Escort.
  13. bent_rod

    bent_rod FEOA Donator

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    Same here I don't have any good guesses as to what is wrong with your transmission. I would think if it has that many miles it may need to be rebuilt. But as said above depends on how it was drive.
    I am super interested in the outcome details.
    I have a pending repair job on a 98 automatic that has about the same problem as yours.
    Owner reports car will go up to 45 mph and never shift. I suspect it does shift into 2nd gear, just not into 3rd gear. It is a kid driven car with a lot of miles on it. :(
  14. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    Just a brief update.. It was too cold for me to get up under there. So I took it to the local shop for the filter change. One mechanic there told me my transition had parts in the oil pan.. he was surprised it even drove in.
    The other mechanic Said the magnets had a lot on them. But it would help immensely doing the filter fluid change.
    So I drove it home.. check the fluid.... they have over filled the transmission. I am still going to get a second opinion.
  15. Raybear

    Raybear FEOA Member

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    I am leaning towards a rebuild....
  16. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    IF the parts in the oil pan were like small curly sections of small springs - you might want to start the rebuild with a transmission from a junkyard. Those little curly bits are pieces of small spring, are steel - and would be clustered on the magnets.
  17. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    They all always say that. It should be ignored.



    Of course they overfilled it! They are grossly incompetent! The second opinion might not be enough to find a good, honest mechanic.

    You still need to check for stored codes and report back. I really don't think you need a rebuild, I suspect an electrical or valve body issue.
  18. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    A second opinion would be good - but I would njot hope for much of an opinion from a mech. that had not had an automatic trans apart to rebuild it. I dont think taking old ones out and putting rebuilt ones in would provide insight - no matter how many times he had done it. There just arent many external 'pointers' to the internal problems of an automatic trans. Having done a rebuild of an F4EAT several times - I still cant tell what is wrong with the Original Poster's transmission.
  19. chestypuller

    chestypuller making the wifes commuter better

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    What years are the f4eat trans used? Im trying to figure out whsts in our 94 wagon 1.9 for a automatic
  20. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    1991- at least. I am not sure about years 1985.1-1990. 1985 and below had a regular 3 speed automatic with no lockup torque converter, but was still made in Japan.

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