Do I Need A Transmission Rebuild? - 2016 Ford Edge

Hey all -

When I bought my 2016 Ford Edge SE EcoBoost 2.0L from CarMax in 2019, it wasn’t long after that I noticed a “knock” sound and a physical jerk when it shifted into 3rd gear. I’m not a mechanic or even very car savvy, and I didn’t think much of it. It started at 36k miles, and now it is 90k miles with proactive maintenance. (I put 44k miles on it over 4-ish years, most of the time with this “knock.”)

Last week I was getting ready for a road trip to Oregon, and I took it in for a preventative transmission service when a friend recommended it, not knowing that this 3rd gear “knock” was a big deal. The transmission shop drove it around and identified a major “flare,” or, as I understand it, a “slip” in the trans when it shifts into 3rd gear.

They told me absolutely not to go to Oregon (I would likely end up on the side of the road somewhere), and that I shouldn’t even drive it around town before getting it completely rebuilt (quoted $6k). They also said a fluid service would not even be worth it because the trans was too far gone.

I visited 3 more transmission shops - and this is the conflicting information I received from each:

- First shop: Trans needs to be replaced immediately, and it isn't possible to buy "new" transmissions, so they have to order used ones that have pros and cons (# of miles on it, quality of fluid)
- Second shop: Don't drive it at all; we re-build entire transmissions in-house, so bring it in sooner than later because we can possibly salvage parts
- Third shop: Trans needs to be rebuilt, but you can drive it until it breaks, and then come get it "rebuilt" (not sure if that means ordering a used one or having it taken apart and then put back together in the shop)

So, my questions are:
- What am I dealing with here?
- What is the truth about rebuilding transmissions? Are they ordered or physically rebuilt?
- Is it true that I can drive it until it breaks, or is it true that a shop could salvage parts if I get it fixed now?
- How much should a rebuild cost?
- How much longer could my car last with this trans “knock” into 3rd gear?


I wouldn’t put $6k into this vehicle. I’d get rid of it instead. Either do one of two things: 1) Trade this in toward a new or CPO vehicle with warranty at a dealer or 2) Sell this thing as-is on Craigslist and buy a cheap used car (about $3k or so) such as a used Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, etc.

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I don’t know why you’d ask this. Clearly 3 shops think the trans is on its way out.

Can be either. I personally would prefer a shop that can rebuild it. I would not install a used transmission.

If you drive until it breaks, the repair will be more expensive.

No clue on cost. Ask your trans shops for estimates. Don’t be surprised if that can’t lock it down to a single figure. They don’t have xray vision.

The trans will last all the way to the breakdown location. No one can tell you that, let alone strangers on the internet that have never seen, touched heard or driven your car.

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I’d install a used transmission.


Most people think of a transmission as a box full of gears, and that a transmission failure is therefore a gear failure. That’s true for manual transmissions, but an automatic transmission is a completely different animal.

Automatic transmissions are hydraulically operated. Yes, they still have gears, but the gears are always engaged with each other and never disengage with respect to each other, so they don’t grind or even wear as much as you’d think, as long as the fluid is maintained. Shifting is accomplished by hydraulically applying or unapplying wet clutches or bands. When a transmission slips it’s because the clutches or bands are worn. The friction material on either of those parts is typically about the thickness of one or two business cards, so they cannot wear much before they’re destroyed. Since they’re applied hydraulically there are seals needed to contain the hydraulic pressure. It’s those seals that cause most of the trouble. They get hard over time because of heat and cold, especially excessive heat (read that as a strong recommendation for auxiliary transmission coolers). Once they’re hard they can’t seal, so lowered hydraulic pressure makes the clutches/bands apply with less pressure, which makes them slip, which destroys them. The fix is to replace the seals and the clutches and the bands. All of them.

High mileage transmission fluid contains stuff that can revitalize old seals, but it can’t replace worn clutches. The time for that fluid is BEFORE the transmission slips. Long-time members on this board will remember from years ago a guy called Transman618, who recommended a little Berryman’s parts cleaner in the fluid, which would temporarily restore the seals. I can’t recommend that, since it wouldn’t take much to completely dissolve those seals. But he was really very good with transmissions and he swore by it.

Bottom line is simple, your transmission really does need overhauled. It is warning you now. When it fails completely it won’t move at all.

Just wondering, does OP’s vehicle use a Ford’s (sort of) automatic dual-clutch transmission, or does it use a conventional automatic?

As far as what to do, I’d start by phoning up some of the local auto parts recycling businesses and asking if they have a compatible used trans extracted from a low-mileage wrecked vehicle.

The trans shops have a conflict of interest, so it still might make sense to try a basic trans service first, replace the trans fluid and install a new trans filter (if applicable).

If the problem hasn’t gotten worse, I would put fresh fluid in it and keep driving it as is. If you do replace it, $6000 is likely too expensive for a rebuild. The full list price on a new one from Ford is around $4000, and I can’t imagine that it would take $2000 in labor and incidentals to install.

If the OP opts to rebuild the trans now, close to home, he can have it done at his convenience, at a shop of his choice. When the trans fails on that long trip, he will have to choose a shop about which he knows nothing, and he will likely have the added cost of several/many nights in a motel.

The opinions that you were given were not “conflicting”. Even though their words were slightly different, the net meaning from all of them is that your transmission is close to failure. How close? Nobody can tell you with any accuracy, but–IMHO–you would be very foolish if you took a long trip in this vehicle.

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I saw 3 trans listed for 2.0 motors. Fwd and awd and with and without auto stop feature. Some used ones were $5-700 and some were $1200 to start. Awd? Once it’s in car it’s fine. Pulling a trans is a pain. I think the theory of awd was misguided.

The various guides I look at call for about 10 hours to R&R a transmission on this vehicle.
If that number is correct, then with labor rates approaching $200/hour, it gets to $2000 fairly quickly.

Does anyone know if 10 hours to R&R a transmission on a 2016 Ford Edge is accurate?

Looks like it is a 6F35 gen2 Transaxle and if I am reading it correctly, 2015-2018 are the same (interchange)…


Application Labor Wty Skill
All In-Line4,FWD 9.1 0.0 C
All In-Line4,AWD 11.1 0.0 C
FLYWHEEL - R&R 0.2 0.0 C

It is a real good chance that it will loose reverse next as the D2 checkball is known to blow through the separator plate which ruins the plate and results in the no reverse as well as the 2-3 cut loose conditions.

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So in a nutshell, get rid of this thing ASAP while it still runs!

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