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2000 ranger 2.5lt, atuomatic, 2wdr Transmission shirfs hard from stop to go

2000 Ranger autimatic, 2.5 lt 2wd, 155,000 miles. To my knowledge it has never had a tranny flush or the fluid changed. I have noticed last week that when you are taking off from a stop sign it jerks going into gear. This only happens when you are taking off all the other shifts are smooth. The transmission fluid color is redish-brown and doesn’t have a burnt odor. I’m in college and don’t have a lot of money and don’t know where to start. Do I get a tranny flush, change the fluid or is it something else? Please help.

How long have you owned the truck and why haven’t you had the transmission serviced? Hopefully Transman will have more insight than me but the Ford electronic transmissions seem to have a hill hold feature that is released and 1st gear engaged when the throttle position sensor indicates the gas pedal is pressed. That phenomena is noticeable to me on all the Ford trucks that I have driven lately but it is quite subtle. I would certainly advise getting the pan dropped and the filter changed and hope it’s not too late.

My father bought the truck new, and he died in 2004. The truck sat for 3 years and then I bought it from my mom. I replaced the front end due to dry rot. Someone told me not to get the tranny serviced if I had not done it yet. They said the damage is done after 100,000 miles. So, I should take it to a tranny shop. I had the throttle position sensor changed last year. They told me the truck was in great shape and they also changed the timing belt due to cracking. The over drive light has not came on or has the check engine light. So, if I take it to a tranny shop can they tell me whats wrong without any lights on? Thank you for all your help.

A brown color is never good. I’d change the fluid and see what happens as a first step. If the problem continues, then take it to a good local transmission shop (not a chain) and see what they say.

Thank you. When I wipe the dip-stick it is red on the rag. But, on the dip-stick it is red-brown. I’m just scared they will talk me into spending a lot of money I don’t need too. I’ll change the fluid this week end.

Don’t assume this is a transmission problem. It might be something simple like a U-joint on the fritz. A jerking or clunking noise when first engaging the transmission to from Park to Drive is a classic U-joint symptom. U-joints are easy and cheap to replace. There’s 2 or more U-joints on the drive shaft. Have a mechanic check those out first before assuming it is somelthing more expensive, like the transmission.

And since you haven’t done so yet it appear, check your owner’s manual for what it says, and bring the suggested transmission routine maintenance up to spec for good measure.