Transmission Problems

ford
explorer

#1

My 2002 Explorer LTD with 155K miles on it is in terrific shape except for a worsening rough shift into overdrive (automatic transmission) and a clunk which occurs with increasing frequency when I shift into reverse. I would love to keep the car but don’t want to spend the money for a new or rebuilt transmission. Is there any hope for a less expensive repair and if so what would you suggest? There is no access for owner approach to transmission fluid - I have already looked in the manual. I would need to take the truck to a garage as I cannot do repairs myself. Thanks for your help. Midge


#2

You may actually have two different problems.

The “clunk” when you shift into reverse could be the result of a worn-out U-joint on the driveshaft. This is not a very expensive repair, but it should not be deferred. If the bad U-joint is the forward one, if it breaks the forward end of the driveshaft will hit the pavement and your vehicle could wind up doing its impersonation of a pole-vaulter.

The rough shift definitely needs to be checked out by a transmission specialist. If you have faithfully changed the trans fluid (and filter) every 3 yrs/30k miles, you may luck out with low-cost repairs. If this transmission has not been serviced as I described, then at 155k miles, you are right on target for trans failure.

I suggest that you take the vehicle to an independent transmission shop that has been in business for at least 3 years. Whatever you do, DO NOT take it to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain operation. Those “chain” places are notorious for telling you that you need a new/rebuilt transmission, even if cheaper repairs are all that is needed. And, both their workmanship and their guarantees are usually questionable.

A trans shop can take care of a U-joint problem, in addition to diagnosing your trans problem. Maybe you will luck out, and normal trans functioning will be restored by a fluid and filter change–although that is not likely if the trans has not been serviced properly in the past.

Good luck!


#3

Thanks for the prompt help. The truck has been serviced VERY regularly over the 155K miles so I hope your suggestions will resolve my problems.
Thanks again.
Midge