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02 cougar trans issues

A good friend of mine owns an 02 cougar 2.5l V6 DOHC. today while pulling out of a gas station he said it sounded like something “broke and fell of the car” and then he began feeling and hearing a loud pop from the transmission intermittently.

He brings it to me, I test drive it. The pop is DEFINITELY trans realted. happens in all gears. during acceleration and at cruising speeds. jacked up the front and took a good look at the trans and axles. Axles look fine. spun the front tires by hand in neutral and the trans actually locked up. rocked the tire back and forth a bit and a loud “pop” then it spun freely again. there is also quite a bit of noise coming from the trans approximately where the diff would be.

So, here is the question. Is it worth trying to fix his trans or should he just go buy a remanned unit?

anyone know of a good place to get a cheap used or remanned trans?

I wouldn’t rule out a broken CV joint in this case. I think that is more plausible than an internal transmission problem, and the joints can fail while appearing normal behind the boot. If you can, get the wheels to spin by hand with the car jacked up, again, and see if the differential is actually turning. Look at the part of the halfshaft where it goes into the transmission and see if it is turning with the wheel and the rest of the axle. Check both sides. He also could have a missing or broken snap ring that’s supposed to be holding a halfshaft into the transmission, but I think a broken CV shaft is more likely. Of course, anything is possible if the car has been abused. Surely, a V6 DOHC Cougar wouldn’t be subject to hard driving, would it?

until very recently this car had some other issues and the driver was sure to baby it. A new coil pack, water pump, radiator, t-stat got it running as it should, which in turn made him drive it like a V6… whixh in turn led to this problem.

I visually inspected the axles and cv joints but didn’t see any obvious signs of damage.

I was directly underneath the diff. when I heard the noises and felt the axles lock up while spinning the tires by hand… of course, I was lying on my back in the driveway with the car on jackstands since I do not have a lift that is accessable right now.

To me it feels like something either in the diff itself or in the housing has broken loose and fallen down into/onto the diff making it lock up occasionally, but I can’t be sure unless I pull the trans out and apart. I would hate to pull the trans out only to discover it’s an axle.

Also, the noise seems to be coming more from the driver’s side. Guess I’ll pull the axles out and see what I find…