CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2005 Ford Taurus Transmission

Recently my 2005 Taurus started to not switch gears like it should, the rpms climb and when it does shift there is a loud thud and the car jars ahead roughly like you just got rear-ended when it switches over, this generally happens when it switches from first to second, coming from a stop. I had a mechanic friend look at it and he suspected an electronic component, but since he doesn’t do much with transmissions suggested I take it to another business in town, they did a diagnostic on it and told me that its “something internal” and that I would need to either have it rebuilt, or replaced, neither option being inexpensive. Afterwords my mechanic friend suggested adding an additive to the transmission to see if that helps, but to try driving it until it either gets better or worse before replacing it. Any thoughts?

I would not use the additive. Have you checked the transmission fluid level? Taurus transmissions are notoriously bad and fail quite frequently. I thought the problem with the transmissions might go away as they changed the transmission design again in 2004. No such luck. Google Ford Taurus transmission problems and see what I mean. I guess you could get a second opinion somewhere else and just keep your fingers crossed.

How many miles are on it and what has its service history been? E.g. have you ever had anyone drop the pan and change the filter?

Was this a transmission shop that did the diagnostic and said it was internal?? Do you know exactly what they checked. I have a few ideas about this but none of them are internal. This is an 05. The older Taurus transmissions were very troublesome and had common issues which caused failure. I would first get a second opinion from a reputable transmission shop, NOT a chain type transmission shop. There are a lot of things internally which would cause this but there are also things electronically (externally) which would do this also. I would definitely get a second opinion.

transman

Checked the transmission fluid level and it was fine, as for the commercial repair shop Im not really sure what they checked, only that they say its “internal” and not an electronic shift module. Since picking it up today it seems to have gotten better, but I might have just been lucky, as it was still doing it. Did try some additive, and crossing my fingers, hoping that its just a sticky valve, as for the service history, I got it from my sister-in-law who got it used 2 years ago, I don’t think they ever had any problems with the transmission, but before that I don’t know, and as for mileage I think its around 78k or so.

What additive did you use? Pretty much all of them are a bad idea.

The only thing I would try as a last resort would be to put some “Transtune” in it (a Seafoam product), drive it for 500 miles or so, drop the pan, change the filter, and then have a full fluid exchange done. If there was a sticky solenoid or valve this might clean it up.

Of course, there is also a good chance that this would be dropping a couple of hundred bucks that might be better spent on a rebuild. The only reason I’d try the Transtune is that I would be doing it all myself. So I’d only lose a bit of money and time.

The first and best plan is to follow transman’s advice and get a good local transmission shop to check it out.

There is nothing “notoriously bad” about the transmission in over a decade. Are there some failures? Sure… as with any car. But the failure rate dropped to average back in 1995.

http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/reliability.aspx?year=2004&make=Ford&model=Taurus

Solid green on the transmission with the exception of the transmission range sensor in 1996 ($62.50 estimated cost)…

Sorry eraser…I thought all those newer Taurus and Sable vehicles gathered at numerous transmission shops everywhere were in for maintenance. Thanks for letting us all know that they were gathered there for the Taurus and Sable Owners Club. It must be a very big club.

Pithy!

But I don’t see ANY newer Taurus or Sables gathered at transmission shops - and there are 3 such shops that I pass on trips to the grocery store and 2 that I pass every day on the way to work.

FWIW, the msn data is gathered based on data collected from mechanics. I’ve found it to be very accurate for common problems. Why do mechanics reports show no significant common problems with the transmissions if what you claim is true?

You are conveniently forgetting the Taurus and Sable models from 1995-2003 that use the second generation AX4S automatic 4 speed with electronic overdrive. They are not strong enough to pull an Escort much less a vehicle as large as the Taurus and Sable. I don’t really know that much about the 2005 models so the “newer” vehicles I was referring to were the ones that have problems after 1995 and up to 2003. Those vehicles I do know about. They are notoriously bad. They usually fail before getting 100K on the clock. I had hoped that Ford fixed the problem but I’m beginning to see a lot of failures that remind me of the 1991-2003 models.

“Conveniently forgetting”?

The mechanics data simply doesn’t support your claim of widespread problems, and they aren’t limiting themselves to counting just the AX4Ns.

Consumer Guide doesn’t show transmission failure as common for 1996 or newer.

Consumer Reports doesn’t show transmission failure as common for 1996 or newer.