Ford Sport Trac transmission repair - what to do?

We just bought it a year ago. 2008 125k miles.
It’s been flawless, went to Yellowstone and back to PA. It’s stuck in West Virginia where the Ford dealership says it needs a new transmission and quotes us $6600.


Junk it.

Replace tranny at the Ford dealership (400 miles away)

Replace at a random tranny shop (also 400 miles away) for $4k

Get it towed to our trusted mechanic at home. (He quotes us 4800, don’t know tow cost yet).

What would you do?

6 of one, half dozen of the other. Were I in that situation I’d ask a few shops in the area for recommendations which is the best inde transmission shop in town; i.e. which local shop the techs would take their own cars to. I might also ask people which belong the same organization I belong to back home, church, lodges, etc. I wouldn’t use an unknown transmission shop w/out a solid personal recommendation. If that’s the only local option in WV, then I’d tow the vehicle back to the PA home mechanic. Sorry you are having this frustrating difficulty.

Suggest to post the symptoms, maybe somebody here has an idea.


Personally i’d junk it. And I’d never dream of taking a trip of that length with a vehicle that old with that kind of mileage.

I’d have an independent shop install a used transmission.



It is worth maybe $10,000…

I’d use the random trans shop 400 miles away.


That’s what we paid for it - about $9600 if I recall correctly.
We are leaning toward the indie shop, and then we’ll be planning to sell it within a year or two.
We always buy used and drive into the ground, but we have really hit the bad-luck jackpot right now.

I routinely take family road trips in cars that are 15 years old with 200K miles on them. But then I’m a mechanic. :grinning:

The way to get the value back from spending that much money fixing the car is to use it for several years and then sell it. Or at least that’s what I would do. If the goal is just one more year of service see about getting a used trans installed.


Thanks, good point.
(And yes, we dropped our kid off at college 1400 miles away in August in our conversion van, 2002, with 165k on it.)

Looking at the resale value $6,600 is about the same as the resale value BUT

Can you locate an Independent in WVA to do the repairs or a used/rebuit swap? Labor rates tend to be a whole lot less and the quality tends to be as good or better than in the metro areas.

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Remember that not all replacement engines or transmissions are the same. There is a big difference, both from a price standpoint, and from a reliability standpoint of going with a quality remanufactured engine or transmission, versus a used pull from a junkyard.

If the Ford dealer is offering to install a genuine Ford remanufactured transmission with a Ford-backed warranty for $6600, I’d strongly consider that if the rest of this truck is in good condition. At today’s prices, you can’t buy another used truck with 125,000 miles for that amount of money, and $6600 is less than a year of typical loan or lease payments.

Otherwise, I’d have the truck towed home to my trusted mechanic, and have him repair or replace the transmission.

I would not use a “random tranny shop” that is 400 miles away from home, unless they are proposing to install a brand-name remanufactured transmission with a decent warranty, such as Jasper. A used transmission from a junkyard? Forget about it.

And once you fix this truck, I’d keep it for as many years as possible. An investment of $6600 might seem like a lot of money, but at today’s prices, as long as the truck lasts another 2 years, you’ve covered your costs, and every month after that, if you keep it, it will put money back into your pocket.

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Any warranty? Will you be required to tow the vehicle back to the shop for warranty repairs?

The Ford remanufactured transmission has a 36 month/unlimited miles warranty, includes towing up to 35 miles.

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This is actually not a bad deal, assuming that the rest of this truck is in good condition. A Ford remanufactured transmission will likely last for many years of dependable service, and is not that expensive when compared to typical loan or lease payments.

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I’ve had a few transmissions done and they all were rebuilt at dependable local shops. However I had an engine go 200 miles away and I had the dealer put in a factory rebuilt. I suspect though the ford dealer will just drop a new one in and you’ll likely get av12 month warranty at any ford dealer. I would not trust an unknown trans shop, and been there.

Edit: Nevada says a 36 month warranty. Even better.

The difference in all of the options is $2000. None good but if you like the car and take care of the rest, you’ll likely get your money out of it. Of course if you just junk it, you still have lost.

And yeah I have traveled cross country with several hundred thousand miles. I just had cash along for the contingencies.

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Yeah I kinda had to laugh at that comment. We usually had fairly new cars and think I was probably 7 years old or old enough to read. I was sitting in our 54 ford with mom and I spotted maybe a 1950 Nash with faded paint across the street with Florida plates. I go gosh how could they drive a car that old all the way from Florida? She set me straight that many people drive older cars long distances and not everyone buys a new car. Life lesson.

Fast forward about 50 years and made many a trip in high mileage cars. The only problem I ever had on the road was a headlight and a bad tank of fuel, and that car had 20,000.

Ok throw in a little road rage. We were sitting outside the police station waiting for dad to come out after filing a complaint. We had the duck boat on the roof ready for opening day and someone cut him off and the boat shifted a little. Didn’t they know we had guns in the car? Same car we won a drag race downtown Duluth in. Dad was not to be trifled with. See a guy with a duck boat, be careful.

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The random shop has a two year warranty.
As said earlier, the Ford dealer has a three year warranty and it’s good at any Ford dealership.
So $2.5 k more for another year of service.
Still working on what exactly the random shop would be installing.
Will be back with updates later, hopefully.

I would just like to point out, for anyone wondering, that there is no way to check the transmission fluid on this truck - there’s no gauge or dipstick or window or anything. Really stupid design, if you ask me.

Well, there is a way to check the fluid level and condition, it just involves having access to the underside of the car. Many manufacturers have adopted this approach. There are some pros and some cons to it.

Found this on a Ford forum:
Fluid Check Procedure:

Drive vehicle until transmission is at operating temperature. Raise vehicle on hoist. Make SURE it is level. With the transmission in Park and the engine idling, remove Oil level check plug from bottom center of transmission pan as shown in Figure 1. (It is the allen head plug in the center of the drain plug. HOLD THE DRAIN PLUG WITH A WRENCH TO PREVENT LOOSENING IT!) When full, fluid should just trickle out this hole.

To me, this is ridiculous. You shouldn’t need your own personal shop to check a fluid level. I should add that we got this car for my 21-year-old daughter, who is fairly cognizant with checking oil and tires but I do not expect her to have this level of expertise at all. (Also, hahah, she’s in West Virginia and I do not think there’s a square foot of level ground anywhere in that state.)

Agree I have been told that if West VIRGINA was flatened out it would be as big as Texas. :grinning:

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I’ll just add that I saved $200 on a trans overhaul by having an independent shop do it that I hadn’t used before. It was a 12 month warranty and was supposed to be done in a week. Seven weeks later I finally got my car back. 4th gear did not work so cost me another $300 for another shop to replace the 4th gear solenoid. Three months later the trans started slipping again so paid a reliable shop another $1800 for an overhaul again.

A warranty is only as good as the shop. That’s why I said use the ford dealer. Trying to save $200 cost me an extra $2000. As the stock brokers say, your results may differ.

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Same with some of the readiness monitor configurations, no practical way for the car owner to get them into the ready state other than paying a shop or dealership to do it, in order to pass emissions testing. I believe some manufacturers seem to be aware of this issue and are providing a practical method for the car owner to do this themselves. Suggest in the future to investigate these sorts of issues when choosing which make/model to purchase. Are you able to determine the transmission fluid level easily? Are you able to turn all the readiness monitors to the “ready” state?