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Well...crap (O/D light blinking, tranny busted)

Thread in 'Drivetrain: 4x4' started by J Piroth, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Had the Trac for a few months over 15 years but this may be the end of the line.



    Started getting the flashing O/D light last night heading to dinner, then noticed 2nd gear lurching when I drove it home later. Brought it in to a local shop this morning and he confirmed that 2nd is shot.



    Didn't get an official estimate, but he said it would run about $2K, and since the truck is only worth somewhere around $3K at this point, I can't really justify that even though I only have just over 105,000 miles and the truck is in pretty good shape overall (body mounts were just replaced about 1,000 miles ago, 4X4 control module replaced last year, cruise control sensors & wheel controls replaced last year, upper & lower thermostat housing replaced a few months ago, etc.).



    According to the guy at the shop, I can keep driving it as is without really risking damaging anything else so I'll likely do that while I figure out what's next. My wife's Pilot is 10 years old at this point and has almost 140K on it, so we need something newer and more dependable.



     
  2. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    That does suck, As for driving it your taking a chance...... BUT if the time comes it will sell as people are looking for parts trucks like yours. Sorry



    Todd Z
     
  3. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    What's the risk if I keep driving it? Legit question, I just don't know.



    Right now, it slips through second fairly gently if I baby it a bit, and lurches if I don't. Nothing extreme, just a kick in the pants feeling.



    Also...how does one go about selling a truck for parts? Is there a better way than just trading it in and figuring that the dealer will pass it on to someone as a parts truck? Would it make more sense to try to privately sell it, sell it to a Pick n Pull place or something else? Again, I just don't know.
     
  4. gyates

    gyates Active Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    For $2k, I would think long and hard about fixing it. You already know the history and the repairs done on it. Assuming the truck is only worth $3k, which is low in my opinion based on the TN market for these, if you add $2k to it what are you going to buy for $5k? Someone else's unfixed problem...
     
  5. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Believe me, I keep going back and forth on it. $2K is a lot into the old trac, but I keep doing the math of...."Well, if it lasts me another 20 months, that's only $100 a month I've put into it, which is a lot less than a car payment..." But then I wonder if it's just going to continue needing more and more done to it over that time (I know it needs plugs because I've never changed them, but who knows what else might pop up. It is a 15-year-old vehicle.), and then there's the inconvenience of not having it if I need it because of one issue or another. My schedule is too hectic most of the time to deal with that.



    It wouldn't be a case of buying a different $5K car. We would likely buy a new Forrester (my wife likes those and they get great reviews, just need to see if my growing kids will fit in the back seat) for my wife, and I would either drive her Pilot or the Trac if I decided to spend the money there.



    Decisions, decisions.
     
  6. DAVID REID 2

    DAVID REID 2 Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I HAVE A 2001 SP I FOUND A TRANS. COMPLETE AT A PICK&SAVE FOR 350.00
     
  7. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Lets see.....



    You pull into an intersection, The traffic is moving, you make a judgment call to go, You hit the gas, the trans drops dead and SMACK !! you get hit or hit some one else....



    That's my point.....



    Or best case it dies on you while running errands or to the DR and you have to pay for a tow.



    Todd Z
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2017
  8. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Point taken. I was going off of the advice of the mechanic who pulled the codes and test drove the truck and told me that I could keep on driving it and it wasn't likely to get significantly worse.



    I don't know enough about how transmissions are built or how they tend to fail to know if that's true or not.
     
  9. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    The biggest risk to keep driving it is that the tranny may completely fail at the most inconvenient time. Pulling out in traffic is generally not the big risk, but slipping while shifting adds a lot of heat and wear on the transmission friction plates and bands.



    It might be worth getting a transmission flush, and perhaps a band adjustment to see if that helps. If that works, you maybe able to extend the useful life another year or two.



    Most of the early Sport Trac transmission problems are cause by leaking valve body gaskets and worn shift solenoids. You can get those fixed for about $400-$500 at a good shop without removing or dismantaling the transmission. It can be done by just dropping the transmission pan and repacing the parts...problem is that most shops want to swap transmissions...it pays them more and the rebuilt transmission is covered by a warranty. So you are likely to get some resistence and their unwilling to guarantee just a valve body/solenoid repair.



    ...Rich
     
  10. Mark K 2

    Mark K 2 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I just stuck $2500 in a tranny on a 2001 ST. I know my truck and it's up to snuff. I figure the rebuilt tranny, if the truck dies, will be worth something if I part it out. In other words, I'll get a big chunk of my investment back. I weighed what replacement vehicle I could get for $5000 and chose to fix the Trac.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2017
  11. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Im the same as Mark. I will drive my '04, until no parts are available. I pray it doesnt' get totaled until, I choose to give it up.

    I like everything about my '04. The $$ is not a problem..
     
  12. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    As of today, I'm leaning toward going ahead with a tranny repair/replacement for the Trac and trading my wife's Pilot (which actually has just over 150K miles now) in on a new Forester.



    I'm going to check with another shop to see what they think repairing/replacing the tranny will cost. The first place had good ratings and is a transmission-specific shop (Nationwide Transmission), but I want to see what another mechanic has to say.
     
  13. Tom Schindler

    Tom Schindler Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    A 2001 4X4 Trac is worth more than $3K is the body is in good shape.





    Tom
     
  14. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Well, it's official- I'm keeping the Trac. The Subaru dealer is offering us $4,200 for my wife's Pilot as a trade-in, but doesn't really want the Trac at all.



    We'll keep the $4,200, finance the entire Subaru (0% for 48 months, so no reason not to) and use some of that cash to replace the Trac's tranny and have the plugs replaced. Hopefully I can get another 2 years or more out of the Trac without any other major repairs. If I can get it to last 4 more, I'll be free of the Subaru payments before I need to replace it. Fingers crossed...
     
  15. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Good Luck jpiro,

    I would still recommend flushing the transmission and check other shops who might be willing to replace the valve body and solenoids before going all-in on a tranny swap.



    ...Rich
     
  16. J Piroth

    J Piroth Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Thanks Richard,



    Transmission was flushed a couple of years ago and fluid looks good. I asked about the benefits of flushing it now at both shops I went to and both said it wouldn't help. I asked about a band adjustment or other service that might help and both also said that once these transmissions starts throwing codes, it's pretty certain a new/rebuilt tranny is needed.



    I'd obviously love it if a $400-500 fix would take care of it, but it's not looking that way. Do you know if the valve body or solenoid issues you mentioned would trigger the blinking O/D light?

     
  17. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    jpiro,

    The Gen-1 Sport Trac transmissions had a number of issues...most were ignored by Ford.



    One problem is sticking shift solenoids. This is caused by the solenoid activated valves sticking in the valve body. This causes the transmission to slip during shifts. Most often, the blinking OD light is caused by speed sensors in the transmission that determine the speed various gear sets are rotating and when the transmission slips, it sees that one the one slipping is rotating too fast....and triggers the flashing OD light. Replacing the offending solenoid or the entire solenoid pack can cure the problem if it is caused by sticking valves weakening the solenoid.



    Also, there is a common problem of the valve body gasket leaking causing pressure leaks and sluggish shifting....again, causing blinking OD light. This problem is caused by the valve body mating surface not being perfectly flat or slightly warped. It is possible to remove the valve body and sand it flat with a fine grit emory paper on a flat glass surface. The hard part is keeping track of all the little check balls and springs that are in the valve body to insure they go back in exactly the same place before reinstalling the vavle-body with a new gasket.



    The earlier 4 speed transmission was plagued with this problem and why Ford added the speed sensors to the transmission in an effort to detect slipping before clutches and bands were ruined.



    There are some transmission shops that sell custom valve bodies and gaskets for your transmission...usually they come with a diagram of where to place the check-balls and springs



    Most transmission shops do not rebuild transmission or attempt to make repairs. They only want to remove and replace your transmission with a rebuild unit that was rebuilt by a factory that specializes in rebuilding transmission. You will probably need to find a shop that repairs or rebuilds transmission on site.



    ....Rich
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  18. Dean Hedin

    Dean Hedin Active Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I don't believe your guy saying "2nd gear is gone". You only have 105k miles.



    Blinking O/D light can mean a lot of different things. As Richard pointed out is could be as simple as a solenoid. That does not cost 2k to replace.



    You can buy a whole new valve body with upgrades for around $400. I would find a shop that know what they are doing.







     
  19. Rusty

    Rusty Member 1st Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Valvebody gasket & watch and learn friends...

     

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