Acceleration issue, tranny or something else?


#1

98 Ford Escort SE

Been having acceleration issues with the Escort for a while now. The repairs I’ve made on the vehicle so far are; new fuel pump, coil pack and mass air flow sensor cleaning. Those are in order.

Now onto the issue. From a dead stop and sometimes while driving my vehicle will give acceleration issues though mostly from a dead stop. Checked the tranny fluid and it was a light brown with bubbles(?) so thought I’d do a fluid change but with the work required wanted some input before ripping into it.


#2

Brown fluid indicates you already have significant wear/damage, but I would CHANGE (not flush) the fluid and filter. You are not supposed to have any bubbles in the fluid; not sure where those would come from.

Best take it to an independent transmission shop; the chain shops will likely want to sell you a new (rebuilt) transmission.


#3

Can you describe the acceleration issues? Surging, bucking, hesitating? Cold, warm? Forward and reverse? Any fault codes?

If the trans fluid is brown and aerated it needs to be changed. If I remember, you’ll need to lower a cross-member or slightly raise the trans to get the pan out.


#4

@Donick what I thought. Called around after not really wanting to change it myself, though I’ll save about $100 if I do it myself.

@asemaster just hesitating really. stopped at a local shop three blocks away to get a quote for the fluid change. started up the car and she moved but would not accurate fully (I had my peddle pressed down all the way speedo read under 10mph). drove it back down the alleys all the way like this.

The check engine light it off. As for the lower cross-member bar that is correct, was gonna risk wiggling in a 10mm wrench to get bolts out but not going to, will be spraying the bolts with PB and leaving it set overnight for my night off tomorrow. Thankfully I live only a block away from work.


#5

max gas pedal and 10 mph? oh my. does not sound good. 1 block commute? can you walk? you may be doing more walking soon.


#6

Indeed. When I got home I revved the engine until I heard the gears make contact (wish I had RPM gauge so I could check it). When putting it up on ramps we had some issues, though after a while she made it up.

As for work its not even a block away, though I can always use mom’s car (supposed to rain tomorrow/tonight)


#7

Little update on this. Got the crossbar removed, now removing the support (not for sure of name of it) that is above the cross bar and goes below the tranny. Hell of a day on this, compressor broke and ratchet and PVC pipe were not cutting it so bought a breaker bar. Only nuts are left the the support bar.


#8

@Harland

My brother has the same trans on his 1997 Mazda Protege (in fact, the car shares a lot of parts with the Escort). I also had to remove that support in order to drop the pan. I supported the engine from above before commencing work.

And the worst part was . . . I had to helicoil the transmission case because the threads were worn!


#9

@db4690 thats one thing I like about lots of Fords and Chevys (the two I have most experience with), you can literally take a completely different make and transfer parts. Hopefully I will not have to helicoil or pull out the extraction kit for the bolts. Loosened two in the rear part of the pan (just to see) and they seemed to move just fine. So far its just been the support bolts that gave the most issue, sprayed with PB and even had my PVC pipe (or as I call it the ratchet breaker bar extender) over the breaker bar.


#10

If it’s already slipping to the point that it won’t climb the ramps easily, the transmission may already be toast. In fact, does the fluid smell like burned toast on the dipstick?


#11

@ MG McAnick not really, smells like regular tranny fluid, just bad in color w/ bubbles. Last time I drove it it did not slip out of gear (I added a little fluid, seemed to help). Today or tomorrow I’ll have the pan off and will examine what I can see, hopefully I will be up early enough be work to get er’ done.


#12

Random q on this would I be able to use jack and wood to support engine? Don’t want to have an engine come crashing down on my face while doing this and I don’t have proper equipment to stabilize from top.


#13

You can use a jack and wood, but it does get in the way. You could put some padding on the fenders, lay a 2x4 across the top of he engine from fender to fender and then support the engine from the top, either by running a rope under the engine or with a chain through the engine lift points. The use a jack stand and piece of wood under the engine for safety.


#14

@keith Not a bad idea. I’ll see if I can get my Dad over tomorrow on my night off (this project needless to say has not gone as planned). Safety is one of my #1 concern having to support the engine with something else being my first time ever having to miss with one.


#15

A little update on this. Was able to remove the pan w/o removing supports. Needless to say it would of helped but according to my Dad it would make the job harder if anything. All the the tranny fluid looks black like bad conventional oil that has not had its change. Loosing a little hope on this but we shall see. Will be putting on gasket tomorrow along with fluid and the support bar I needlessly removed.


#16

@Harland In the past, I also removed the trans pan on my brother’s car without removing that support

Unfortunately, it meant using lots of wobble extensions, universal sockets, and working at awkward angles. Not to mention that it was pretty hard to get the bolts started straight.

For me, removing the support was not really needless. If anything, a few minutes spent removing the bar made it much easier and pleasant to do my job.

But I’m the sort of guy that will gladly remove a few more parts, so that when I get down to the nitty gritty, I have room to work


#17

@db4690 indeed. I found that a closed in 10mm wrench worked fine for the bolts hidden under the support, same for the one on the filter. So far just that and an extension has worked fine. Its the projects like this that push me into wanting that nice five stall garage with all the tools a man could need lol, that includes a hoist needless to say.


#18

Working with a hoist and air tools removing that cross-member would take about 2 minutes. Worth it to make the pan easier if you can do it that way.


#19

@asemaster indeed. Think a cherry picker is gonna be on my list if I start my little side business idea for cars. Won’t be for a while though:)


#20

Pan is back on, waiting the full 24 hours to let the RV cure.