O/D off light on dash intermittent, no overdrive when this happens

Our 98 van has been in a transmission shop for 2 weeks now. Had diagnosis and was told by a shop that “does not do” transmissions, only electrical, that the transmission thrust plate is not responding to the shift signal when the light comes on… Shop now says they have not been able to determine the problem, maybe the solenoid gets warm and stops working. The light comes on intermittently sometimes not at all for short drive, and when light on dash is on the car will not shift into OD or 5th gear. Should we just tell them to replace the solenoid or can you help with other suggestions.

For 2 weeks your van has been in a transmission shop that doesn’t do transmissions? Get some full sentences and complete thoughts going. Its really hard to sort out what you are saying.

Not all transmission shops are created equal. The corporate chain places tend to be fairly bad. Find your best local, owner-operated shop that specializes in transmissions. If you get a diagnosis/recommendation of repair and you’re not confident with it, go get a second opinion.

Two points that need to be included. 1. A month before this issue we had another local shop we trust do a regular screen and fluid service (they did not have the computer equipment to read the codes from a 98 model. 2. We have had the engine check light reset twice because of a emissions issue that cannot be isolated. This light for this same reason came on right before the O/D off light started showing. The mechanic that tested in all cases for the engine check light was sure it was no problem and could be driven with no damage to the car. When reset the first time it was off for 5 months, now it will not stay off when reset.
From our primary mechanic who reset the “engine check light” we were sent to a shop that does electrical (computer) diagnostics. From there were told to take it to a transmission shop because the error was related to the transmission and not the computer or connections in the dash.
The van did not show the indicator light for "O/D off on the way to the transmission shop 35 miles away. We live rural and depend on good referrals from people who have used owner/operator shops.
At that point, we left the van with instructions to run full diagnostics and find out what the problem was, a week later when we called they informed us they had not made it duplicate the light on dash or error message for the O/D light off, thus the idea it might be after a solenoid in the transmission was getting warm/hot and not working (their only thought at that time). I told them to drive it until the light came on.

A week later and we have not hear anything.

I want to thank you for replying, I did not know if there would be an interest in helping so I made it as brief as possible. If there is anything else that would help to uncover what might be going on please let me know, the car has now been to 4 various shops for all issues listed above and we are calling the transmission shop to tell them we need to pick it up next Friday fixed or not. I would love to be able to throw out some ideas about what they might have checked for, if the issue has not been resolved at that point. Should get the price for the solenoid that is suspect and go from there? Thank you again

I, personally would not go throwing parts at it in the hope it will be the cure. You say that they are unable to duplicate the intermittent O/D light?? Has anyone ever pulled a code for the O/D light?? Can you post all the codes that were pulled from the computer since this all started??


Not sure if this will help in your case or not, but Mazda and Ford share a lot of the same parts. The point I’m trying to make is that on some Ford shifters that have the o/d off switch on the shifter, have a high rate of failure in the way of bad switch, chaffed wiring.

For transman618,
I will try to get the shops to email me the codes if they have a record of them on Monday. We were not given that specif information when moved along to the next shop…I will get back with you about that, if available. Thank you so much for your reply

For pete,
All suggestions welcome, thanks for the info on the Ford/Mazda switch chaffed wire on shifter.
This could be a real thing, we live on a dirt road that is 5 miles from the paved road and the dirt road gets rough (washboard) so there are all sorts of loose issues with mechanical things, did not think about wires rubbing or chaffing.