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2002 Ford Escape V6 AWD Automatic CD4E Transmission problems

Hello. I have a 2002 Ford Escape V6 Automatic with AWD. About a week ago, I noticed how sluggish the car was getting. We had the car at highway speeds, and it seems to shift quietly and with no harshness, but at 65 mph, the engine turns over at over 3,000 RPM. It should turn under 2000 rpm. It seems very sluggish at stoplights, etc.

It’s almost as though top gear just isn’t there. Later, I tried to downshift into second, and no matter what, the car’s shifting in 2 was the same as D. So I then tried 1, thinking it would rev high until I shifted into 2, but I quickly noticed that whether I was in D, 2 or 1, it made no difference to how the transmission shifted, when it shifted, and so on. Very strange; I’ve never seen an automatic behave the same in D, 2 and 1. It literally made no difference.

I’ve kind of settled on a few possibilities; the solenoid pack, the pump, or the 2-4 band.

I don’t think this is a DIY job for me. To get to the pump and 2-4 band, the job itself isn’t that hard, but does involve supporting the engine because the mounts have to come off, and removing the left half-shaft. These two rentals would make it cheaper to pay someone to do it, IF I have the correct diagnosis.

I forgot to mention, no CEL, no blinking O/D light. Very odd.

I’d appreciate any help. Thank you.

Did you check the transmission fluid level?How long since you had the fluid replaced?
Take out the dipstick,does it smell burnt?

CorollaGuy1, thanks for your quick response. I changed the ATF (Mercon V) about 2 months ago. The stuff I took out seemed to be in great shape. I don’t have the vehicle in front of me to answer the question about the smell of the ATF.

On the Ford Escape, if there is a problem with the tranny, these 2 light should come on.
Bizarre that yours did not.

Yes, I know, these symptoms are very odd. It seems like it could be that electrical solenoid, but then I think I’d have a CEL and an O/D light.

I’m pretty sure I have figured it out, and I am relieved. It’s not a major issue.

Some time ago, the shifter cable bushing broke, and the car would not shift at all. I fixed that for pretty cheap. I’m confident that part is better than new. This isn’t the issue.

The issue is that I at first thought the neutral safety switch was dead, so I replaced that. The normal symptom for that is some weird shifting, and eventually the car cannot see it’s in neutral, so it refuses to start. To make an even longer story short, the neutral safety switch I put in was either badly adjusted or is faulty; I lean towards poorly adjusted.

I am very relieved, because this transmission is dead quiet. I think the internals are fine. Whew. I’ve always maintained it; changing the Mercon V on these too infrequently is the enemy of the CD4E, and I don’t do that.

My first clue on the switch: WOT in D, the engine won’t go over 4k rpm; that is only supposed to happen in Park. But in Neutral, it revs as high as I want it to (not a good idea). This sounds very much like a bad switch. Luckily, I still have the previous one. I think I’m safe there.

Usually the neutral safety switch will throw a CEL code.Do you have a code reader? Did you by any chance replace the transmission filter when you change the fluid?if so, if you replaced the transmission filter make sure it was good and tight because if its loose, the trans will suck air instead of fluid and the vehicle wont move.

On the CD4E, you have to tear down the transmission to get to the filter. It’s a bummer!

But, I’m happy to say the car is now fixed. I took out the switch and looked inside the plug; a lot of gunk in there. Cleaned the heck out of the harness and the part, then more carefully adjusted it. Bingo! Runs like a new one. I think the majority of the gunk was evaporated coolant, preventing perfect contact. I wonder how many of these switches get tossed because they needed a good cleaning (electronic parts cleaner, basically diluted solvent in a spray can).

I’m pretty pleased. Thanks for your help!

Good to hear of your success. Not many here venture into transmissions on their own!

But evaporated coolant inside a transmission? How did that happen, and is the source of coolant now fixed to keep this from happening again?

I wouldn’t have guessed a neutral safety switch problem would be associated with those symptoms, unless on this vehicle that switch also is used to inform the computers which gear position is selected. In any event, glad you are back on the road w/a well-working transmission.

The switch on these is located in top of the transmission. A shaft protrudes through the top of the case. It’s right under both the upper and lower radiator hose. On later models, they place it right next to the shift cable, which works way better.

Yes, it sends input to a control unit, which in turn controls the solenoid and the shift pack inside the case. You can get a CEL when the switch says one thing while the position of the lever says something else.

There are a couple internals on these that really aren’t that hard, if you can remove a half shaft and motor mounts. The 2-4 band and the pump are right under a cover.