2004 Ford Explorer - Transmission Issues

I took it in to one place, and the error code was a Torque Converter Slip. They gave me an estimate of $3000 to replace the entire transmission. Another place in the area, Speedy Transmission, advertises they are cheaper because they only replace parts that need to be replaced. Also, a mom and pop shop who a family member spoke to said that kind of thing would normally be around $1300 at their shop. However, they are not a transmission specialty place, more a general repair shop. Also, I’ve read that for an older car like mine it’s better just to replace the entire thing. So, I’m a little unsure of which way to go…I’m going to get a few quotes, but any advice or feedback is appreciated.

Well how long have you owned the vehicle? What’s the service history on it, especially in relation to the transmission fluid and filter? That’s a nasty code to have and a lot of people usually condemn the transmission when it pops up but it can also sometimes appear when the transmission fluid loses its viscosity. Your O/D light will probably start flashing and the shifting will be erratic.

Get a 4oz bottle of XL-3 Friction Modifier (Ford/Motorcraft) and add it to the transmission fluid and drive it as you normally do (assuming the vehicle is currently driveable). If the code disappears or the transmission behavior improves, you might be able to salvage your transmission by doing a simple fluid and filter change.

Thank you for the reply. I inherited this car about 3 years ago from a family member, they took excellent care of it, unfortunately I have not (lesson learned). The O/D light has been flashing, and the shifting has just recently started skipping a little.

The vehicle is driveable, though I’ve parked it for now. I will try the XL-3, thank you for the tip. I’ve read here that drainging/filling the fluid requires special tools, is that correct?

Yes, I don’t believe you have a dipstick. You have to check from underneath after the vehicle has been driven for some time so that the fluid is hot. The “drain plug” is actually a two part plug with an inner and outer component. You have to hold the outer plug with a wrench and remove the inner plug with a TORX bit which can easily be sourced. Here is a video that should explain it better:

To add fluid I’m guessing you would have to drain a little bit out and then add it with a hose and fluid pump.

Thank you again! Unfortunately, I dont have the tools or know how to do such a thing but I appreciate the advice. I forgot to mention an obvious factor that its leaking transmission fluid, does that probably rule out the transmission fluid losing its viscosity?

I’m going to guess that this tranny has at least 100’000 miles on it, because of the cars age.
When was the trasnny fluid last changed.

Forget the miracle cures, get the tranny serviced by having the fluid changed, and have the code cleared. Just adding a additive, is like skipping the next 3 oil changes and just adding a can of “Dr. Hydes bearing rejuvinator” and calling it good…

If the code comes back, then get quotes.


but I appreciate the advice. I forgot to mention an obvious factor that its leaking transmission fluid,

If it’s low on fluid, then that will provoke slipping. And that isn’t good news. Slipping clutches don’t take long before they’re damaged.

Find someone knowledgeable and trustworthy to look at it.

Thank you for the feedback everyone. One last question…how do I go about getting a few quotes on this? Should I tell the new places the error code the previous shop came up with? I’d like to avoid paying a diagnostic fee every time, though from what you all are saying, the diagnostic code could mean different things.