Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

CD4E hard downshift 3-2

Hello! I have 2001 Ford Mondeo Mk3 with the CD4E transmission that is hard downshifting in some situations when:

-coming to a stop from at least 35 mph, during the 3-2 seems like the transmission literally ‘falls’ into gear, it is quite hard. This does not happens when coming to a stop from lower speeds.

-it is in 3rd gear at around 20 mph and I depress the gas pedal enough to kickdown, again it falls into 2nd very hard. This gets worse when engine is cold but much less noticable when hot.

-at around 40-45 mph when going downhill, if I turn off the O/D to use engine brake, it does a hard 4-3 downshift. This does not happens when reducing from 4-3 normally.

additional info:

-all other gears are up/down shifting well in any situation.

-while in 3rd gear, if I manually engage the 2nd gear it shifts normally every time.

-no trouble codes from both scanner and self-diagnostic.

-did a partial fluid change a couple of thousand miles ago but it did not helped much. I’m using the Mercon/Dexron III-H. The fluid color was starting to get a light brown color before changing.

Appreciate any ideas!

Offhand it sounds like the transmission is on its way out. You may be lucky and it’s only a bad control solenoid but a qualified transmission shop can tell you for sure.

Have you verified that the fluid is still at the correct level?
A low fluid level will produce very hard downshifts.

I checked and the level was a bit high in fact, then I removed around 1/2 liter, drove for 2 miles and the level was in the middle, I noticed better shifts but it is still quite hard.

Speaking of which, the hardshift occurs at 4-3 and NOT at 3-2, that was my mistake since the 3-2-1 was always good, I didn’t realized the problem was with the last gear.

A couple of weeks later I further removed another 300 ml to add a full bottle of LubeGard Red, now after 50 miles I can tell the 1-2-3-4 and 3-2-1 are perfect and I noticed a decrease of slippage, my milage also improved a bit.

However it had a strange effect with the 4-3 ‘kick’, now the hardshift is almost unoticable if the A/C is turned off, when A/C is on, it still kicks hard when coming to a stop UNLESS you start to brake very earlier.

I’m confused, I know that A/C affects vacuum and idling, also reduces power, etc… but why does affects the shifting of 4th gear (4-3 only, 3-4 is perfect) and not the other gears as well?


Having the a/c on increases the Idle speed a bit. Some transmissions are very sensitive to idle speed while decelerating to a stop. This shouldn’t cause any trouble, but if it’s very bothersome, you’d need a good transmission tuner to attempt to minimize it.

Maybe if you stop that practice of turning off the overdrive and trying to use engine braking you might have the transmission last longer . Or at least until you are ready to have the transmission replaced.

This transmission doesn’t have adaptive learning, but I’m not sure if anything can be done through a scanner tool. In your opinion, is there anything that can be done at the engine side?

I don’t do that this is nonsense, it was only for testing purposes, but after the additive & level correction, manually turning off O/D results in a much better downshift than the automatic way. Still, I don’t want to press the button every time I have to stop.

If it feels like it’s “hanging” in the higher gear, and then reluctantly downshifting, the only way that gets corrected is by a really skilled transmission tuner. Very tough to find.

1 Like