I have a '99 4x4 Supercab with 4.0 liter. After reading this thread and a ton (hundreds) of similar Ford Explorer threads (looks like they use the same tranny), it appears that this is a major problem of which Ford is well-aware but does not want to acknowledge. There is something very wrong with this tranny to have the same problem for so many folks over so many model years. One poster stated that it is a defective design problem and Ford actually has a fix in some cases where it believes it is powertrain contol module (PCM
) that is the culprit. If you cannot re-program the PCM
, you have to buy an upgraded one from Ford at about 3 times the cost of re-programming.
Also, some folks have cured the problem by disconnecting the battery for 5-10 minutes. That will cause your onboard electronics to reset. I used this method when the "check engine" light would come on for no apparent reason. It would be good for about a year at a time, then. No codes would show, so no one could do anymore than guess at what could be causing light to come on.
Basically, the problem may be that Ford' PCM
set the tolerances too tight and the engine is getting thrown into "limp-home" mode when the tranny goes out of tolerance, or it could be a valve body or gasket design problem that you can find if you pull the tranny pan and change the filter and fluid. Body valve repair estimates I have seen from posters are from $250 to $1200. Not sure why the big difference in cost.
On my '99, I have tried the battery disconnect and it did not work the first time. I may have to leave it disconnected for longer than I did. If it works, I will let you know. Otherwise, guess I will be taking it to dealership or repair shope to see if they can pull any codes off tranny since posts here suggest that lot of shops and Auto Zone code reading equipment cannot pull tranny codes properly.
Funniest part is everything was fine Thursday evening when I parked truck after driving it all day, but Friday morning about 3 miles from house the o/d
light started blinking and tranny started acting funny.
I had had the tranny fluid and filter changed not that many miles ago and less than a year back, but when I checked the tranny fluid this morning it was down a full quart! No noticeable leaks. Just had it in 3 weeks ago for oil change service and they did not note any low tranny fluid level, either, when they did multi-point fluids inspection, plus annual state emission inspection passed with flying colors at same time.
Have 165,000 miles on this truck, and it otherwise has been running great. Drove it over 500 miles two weeks ago on day-trip without incident. Guess that is why this is so darn perplexing since there was no warning of any problem that I could tell.
I will update as soon as somebody smarter than I am can come up with an explanation that actually diagnoses and then allows a permanent fix to the problem.
But, I think Ford needs to really consider a recall here and a free fix for everyone. Too many people with same problem for it to be mere coincidence. I think Ford knows exactly what the problem is and they may even fix it for free if you complain enough to a dealership and demand a free fix. They regularly have "silent" recalls at Ford for stuff like this -- they don't tell consumers, but they tell the dealerships to fix if the customer complains loud enough and often enough and refuses to pay for fix. I may try that route if it looks like it is going to cost me more than a couple of hundred dollars to fix this. If I succeed, I shall certainly let everyone know.