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2005 Ford Taurus automatic slips from 1st into 2nd gear

The first time I noticed it was about a year ago when driving from Atlanta to Miami after stopping at the toll booth and then stepping on the gas again. The car almost “jumped” forward when it shifted from first into second gear. That happened twice on that trip. All this time, although driving long-distance, it did not happen again until last month. Now occasionally it happens again after I come to a stop at a traffic light or elsewhere and then step on the gas again the transmission slips from first into second gear. The car is a 2005 Ford Taurus SEL, has approx. 112,800 miles on it (been driving mainly long-distances), and I am curious whether I need to purchase a used car as I cannot afford $3,000 for a new transmission (neither can I afford to purchase a used car at this time - we’ve been using the car to drive to long-distance interviews last year when my husband and I both lost our jobs). I talked to a shop and they told me about transmission additives - I looked some up online and could not really find anything useful or good about them.

Any recommendations from you guys? The car really needs to last another year…

Our main recommendation would be not to drive with a slipping transmission for for a whole year.

Transmssions are quite rugged when they are properly adjusted and have fresh fluid. When was the last time the fluid and filter were changed?

Your best bet is to get an honest evaluation from a reputable independent shop first. If a fluid and filter change with adjustment is feasible, that might be your least expensive solution. No one here will recommend somthing you pour into the transmission, since these things just do not work.

If you absolutely have no money or access to credit, you have no choice but to gently keep driving the car until the transmission gives out, and then hopefully you have $3000 for a rebuild. You can’t buy anything reliable for $3000, so I would not even think about another used car.

The age and mileage of your car is not high; so it’s worth fixing properly.

There’s a Technical Service Bulletin for your vehicle that addresses the problem you’re describing. The intermediate piston seal can delaminate from the piston inside the transmission causing a delayed shifting or slipping in 1st & 2nd gear. The fix is to replace the piston with it’s new seal.

If money’s short, and you want to try to get another year out of the vehicle, then you might try adding K & W TransX to the transmission fluid. This is the only transmission fluid additive I’ve used that brought a tranny back to life when I thought it was on it’s way out.


To be honest, I do not remember the last time the fluid and filter were changed… We usually had regular checks, all fluids and filters checked… my hubby took care of that but I cannot find any documentation as we usually went either to Pep Boys or Jiffy Lube. But changing the fluid at this time with 113,000 miles on it, isn’t that a bit risky? I know I read that I should NOT do a transmission flush at this stage… As for the money part, when we lost our jobs, we lost our house as well as we were unemployed for over 1.5 years so you can only imagine the financial situation. We are just now trying to get back on our feet with my husband being back in the military somewhere in the south Pacific.

Would you recommend AAMCO? I’ve been reading up that some people’s car would not even shift anymore after they had work done on the transmission (not by AAMCO but in general) - scary thought as I am depending on this vehicle which has been so far pretty reliable. I bought it used in 2007 with approx. 50,000 miles on it.

“we usually went either to Pep Boys or Jiffy Lube”

Jiffy Lube is one of the worst places to get your car serviced.
Chain shops in general are suspect.
Expect ~20 other people to chime in and say the same thing.

“changing the fluid at this time with 113,000 miles on it, isn’t that a bit risky?”

It’s a myth that fresh fluid can damage a transmission. The damage was already done.
Don’t get a flush. Just get the pan dropped, filter changed and refilled with Ford fluid.
Again, expect many more posts elaborating on this point.

AAMCO = All Automatics Must Come Out.

If you go to and click on “find a mechanic” you can maybe find an independent shop with good reviews.

Don’t go to AAMCO or any other Chain, such as Cottman, etc. An independent transmission shop is your best bet.

Also, see Tester’s note on a possible Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) on this transmission. A knowledgeable shop might be able to make a repair.

Agree with you that a Flush is not a good idea, but draining the fluid and changing the filter is what should be done every 30,000 to 40,000 miles.

The ONLY additive I would ever put into an automatic is called Lube-Gard. All transmissions which cross my bench leave the shop with Lube-Gard red in it. I would service this trans first and add a bottle of Lube-Gard in the RED bottle. Stay away from all those other additives especially Lucas products. That gooey Lucas junk is a PIA for a transmission builder to get out of a trans during overhaul. And with your transmission??? Your transmission is a complicated one to build, with an ungodly amount of parts in it. I have the pleasure of building 3 or 4 of these every month. I cant stand that Lucas stuff mostly because it messes up my vats. Try the service with the Lube Gard in it and see if that doesnt straighten out your 1-2 issue. Let us know what happens.


I have a 2001 Focus with the same problem. I went on the internet and found that MANY people with a Focus for the past 5 years have this same problem. One site I went to said this:
"I’m post #60 and was just reviewing the site as I was reading the service manual. Might be the transimssion oil temperature sensor. If the sensor has failed in some odd way, my guess is that this could happen. This sensor is located in the tranny oil pan, under the transmission filter. The sensor can be checked by use of an ohm meter. See below…

This is out of the manual:
Transmission fluid temperature (TFT) sensor
The TFT sensor is located on the internal wiring harness to the solenoid valves in the fluid pan.
It is a resistor and measures the transmission fluid temperature.
The transmission fluid temperature is used by the PCM for the following functions:
Applying the torque converter clutch is not permitted until the transmission fluid reaches a certain temperature, engagement of 4th gear is prevented in extreme sub-zero temperatures until the normal operating temperature is reached,
if the transmission fluid temperature is excessive, a pre-set fixed shift curve is selected and the torque converter lock-up clutch is closed in “2”, “3” and “4”; of the transmission warning indicator is activated.

Resistance between transaxle vehicle harness connector pin 5 (component side, transaxle internal harness), and transaxle vehicle harness connector pin 4 (component side, transaxle internal harness).
Resistance should be approximately in the following ranges:
-20 ? C (-4 ? F) - 236Kohms - 317Kohms
0 ? C (32 ? F) - 83.2Kohms - 107Kohms
20 ? C (68 ? F) - 33.5Kohms - 41.2Kohms
40 ? C (104 ? F) - 14.6Kohms - 17.6Kohms
60 ? C (140 ? F) - 7.08Kohms - 8.01Kohms
80 ? C (176 ? F) - 3.61Kohms - 4.06Kohms
100 ? C (212 ? F) - 1.96Kohms - 2.20Kohms
120 ? C (248 ? F) - 1.13Kohms - 1.25Kohms
130 ? C (266 ? F) - 0.87Kohms - 0.96Kohms

Pin numbers as looking at the connector on top of tranny with lock tab on top:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

Good luck, let us know what happens,
iamech "

Any comments on this possibility? Manofallseasons

Thank you all very much for your responses although I have to admit that some sound “Chinese” to me, LOL. Evidentially, I am not a technical person although I’d love to take classes in a repair shop to learn more about it. I grew up in Europe and believe it or not, they do have those kind of classes, very interesting!

Anyhow, I will look for the the additive in the RED bottle and also will print out the very last ocmment. I called around outside Atlanta to see whether there are any shops that are specialized in transmissions … not too many to be honest and I got them from the cartalk website. A lot of the comments for the shops are from the stone age! But one of the guys also asked me whether it is temperature related… well, I do not know. As a matter of fact, the outside temperature this past weekend was just wonderful, no heatwave no heat index of 110 degrees and it did happen but sure enough now I do know that he meant the temperature of the transmission fluid. I am sure you guys get a blast from my so-called knowledge… sigh.

Anyhow, have an appoointment hopefully with one guy Saturday in a week - hopefully he will still be open that day as he is usually not open on the weekends.
Manofallseasons, I went online at first as well to google 2005 Ford Taurus transmission problems… good grief! A ton of people with the problems and a lot of them said that Ford actually knows there is a faulty piece in the transmission but they would not recall it. I am curious to hear your thoughts. I can actually consider myself lucky as my car did not stop in the middle of the road yet (better knock on wood quickly here) with between 70-80,000 miles. Not sure if that is due to driving the car long distance?

You are right. There are a ton of people who are having this same problem. I wish I knew how to organize them all for a class action suit! Since this has been going on for years, I think Ford should come clean!

Let me know if you find anything out when you take your car in. I lost my job a year ago and if my car breaks down, I’ll be riding a cycle in the snow up here in Wisconsin. You can write to me directly if you want at Thanks for keeping this going.

Two totally different transmissions…


Dear all,

I did go see a mechanic - finally just to find some peace. He activated the computer (not sure how else you could call this thing, diagnostic computer?) shifted back and forth, took the car for a drive, and sure enough nothing happened and nothing showed on the computer. He said the fluid looked surprisingly good (believe me, I was more than surprised as I expected black fluid but it was more orange color) but I am still going to have the fluid changed. He said nothing else there to fix with the transmission as the light or O/D does not come on. So I left, filled up gas, drove up to North Carolina the next day and sure enough on the way back it “jumped” again. LOL What a bummer … but still no light came on. He also mentioned it could be just normal wear and tear or the heat sensor but there is no way for him to find out… really? Is there seriously no way to find out?
Manofallseasons - seriously - I know how you feel. I’ve never been unemployed in my life and I count myself lucky that I found a job a few months ago, driving several thousand miles for interviews was no fun. And also to WVA … which was suicidal - of course I usually do not check the tires (let me tell you, meanwhile I do!!!) so when I came back I just felt I had to rotate the tires as there was a strange vibration going on. So I went to Pep Boys… and immediately got called in to see what the damage was. The thread was showing on both front tires! I must have had a really nice angel watching over me because thinking back of going up and down those mountains … oh dear God! I do not even want to think about it anymore! That taught me a lesson!

Anyhow, I guess it is just “normal wear and tear” until the light comes on and the mechanic can read what’s happening… unless any of you have a better suggestion?!

As far as the transmission is concerned, you have two choices. (1) Take it in, show them the TSB that Tester found, and ask them to replace the intermediate piston seal, even if they don’t see a problem. There is a possibility you have a different problem, in which case you will have spent good money for nothing. or (2) Drive it until it gets worse, so the mechanic can easily feel it on a test drive. It’s not going to do damage to other transmission parts as far as I can tell, so it won’t cost more in the long run to fix.

You could ask the Ford dealership to do it for free or reduced cost, based on the argument that you are a loyal customer and this is obviously a big problem even if it is not an official recall. It’s not out of the question but it really depends on the dealership and their zone management.

now I need to ask, what does the intermediate piston seal do and I also have to ask how much we are talking approximately… The strange thing is, it only jumps after driving the car long distance at average speed of about 65 mph and then stopping at a red light and driving again, that’s exactly where it occasionally “jumps”. But I never noticed it in city traffic.

Its a piston that applies the Low/Intermediate band. If the piston seal is bad, it will leak causing slipping or a delayed 1-2 shift, if bad enough. Lets go back to your original post. You first said that you felt the car “Jump” forward when shifting into second. “Jumping” into gear usually means a harsh shift. You later went on to say in your post that you felt slipping now (A year later). These are two different problems. If you are feeling slipping now it could be a result of the piston seal. What exactly are you feeling?? The jumping or slipping, slipping meaning that the engine rpm’s are racing but the vehicle isnt moving or is moving slowly.


Ok, I felt jumping. Definitely the one that happened a year ago (the very first time after that, nothing ever happened until a few weeks ago)… my friend who was riding with me a few weeks ago mentioned the word “slipping” … as it was more gentle (go figure, she’s female). I guess it depends whether you step slooooowly onto the gas pedal after you come to a stop at a light or whether you just step on it and go (of course not with squeaking wheels but definitely not in slow motion). The RPMs go up until it is in gear - about a second - … almost like it is skipping a beat and then it goes into gear. What surprises me is the fact that it happens after I drive for an hour and then have to stop at a light (long distance driving). Could the long drive (therefore temperature) play a role in this?

Transman - you nailed it with this reply. I have just posted a similar problem (Ford Taurus SE 2005 - 3L Vulcan) The automatic trans SLIPS between 1st and 2nd just like the bands are loose. The check transmission message is lit on the console but I’m getting NO DTC codes at all when I do a reading with my Sears DTC reader. I’ve just driven 40 miles mostly freeway, and for now the only prob with the x-mission is the shift between 1-2. Hope you see this post and reply.