97 Taurus Transmission Problem

I have a 1997 Ford Taurus GL wagon 3.0 Liter overhead valve engine. The transmission is the AX4N with column shift. I was driving on the highway accelerating up to highway speed when the transmission slipped into neutral. I pulled over to the side of the road and found that the transmission still had first and second gear as well as reverse but it wouldn’t shift into third gear or overdrive. I have heard that this symptoms common for these transmissions and also that this is usually due to a problem in the valve body. Is this true? Any insights would be appreciated.

Ford does make some good product, but unfortunately this was not one of them. It may be time to ditch this thing. Believe it or not My 95 Dodge Stratus was, and still is 100 times more reliable then my old 97 Taurus was.

I simply got tired of dealing with the constant stupid problems with the Taurus even though I had the resources to fix it, and got rid of it.

I can only hope this car was a learning experience for Ford, and that all its new top rated cars don’t fall apart after six years 70K.

BTW my Taurus had the “S” sequential transmission. The transmission was one thing that was never a problem in my Taurus.

I too heard that there was issues with the early non sequential transmission. Maybe Transman can Chime in.

I’ve been pretty happy with my tauruses. Both of the ones I have now have been good cars. I have not had to put much money into them at all, and both are around the 200k mile mark. If its likely something in the valve body, and if I can do the valve body while the trans is still in the car, I might give it a try. Or I might even try to get a cheap rebuilt trans and bolt that in, and see if I can get some more mileage out of this otherwise pretty reliable car.

Is there a special method/reader required to pull the transmission codes (if any)? I tried to pull the codes using my OBD II reader but there were none.

I have started to remove the transmission from the car in order to get it rebuilt. The Haynes Guide says the engine must be supported using some kind of bar and chain set that sits on the top of the strut housing. Where can you buy or rent such a thing and where do the chains attach to the engine? Thanks, Pop

I got mine from Harbor Freight a few years ago. After supporting perhaps a dozen engines, the Chinese supplied chain broke during a Taurus tranny swap. Luckily no one was under the car at the time. You get what you pay for. If you buy one from HF, be sure to buy a decent chain to go with it. You might also check to see if the engine support bridge is available on Autozone or O’reilly’s tool loan program. Also check out http://www.car-part.com for a good used tranny near you. The AXOD tranny is much more common than the AX4N, and they will not interchange.

Here is a video look inside the oil pan of my transmission (200k miles on car and trans). The amount of metal shavings looks like a lot to my untrained eye. I also thought it was very strange to see that bolt sitting loose in there.