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Old 04-27-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
Skyagusta
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Default 99 3.0L V6 (Auto Trans) won't shift out of first gear

Hey guys, I have a not-so-quick question for the group. Before I get started, I'll say that I have done numerous online searches, both here and elsewhere, and talked to every local mechanic I can find to try and find a solution to this issue, and I have recieved so much conflicting advice that I have finally decided to post it here. Thanks in advance for any help.

First off, for the last few thousand miles my Ranger (99 3L V6, auto trans, 124,xxx miles) has produced a fairly loud whining sound while in first gear only. I did some research on this, and what I found indicated that it was no big deal, so I put it out of my mind. About two weeks ago, while checking the fluid level, I noticed lots of bubbles (the fluid itself looked good and had no smell, by the way). This convinced me to change the fluid, since I wanted to try and fix these issues and I had no idea how long it had been since it was last changed.

So after draining the fluid, I put back the same amount that was drained. However, this did not bring the level up to even the very bottom of the dipstick. Also, the truck had a very hard time shifting into any gear at all, needing a long rev just to get it out of neutral. I figured I would add more fluid. This fixed the problem, however I needed to put in about 5 bottles (!) while I had only drained about 3. No idea where the other two bottles' worth of fluid went. Since then, the fluid level looked good and I have had no issues with the transmission.

Until this morning. About halfway to work, there was a loud thud underneath somewhere and suddenly the truck wouldn't shift out of first. I revved it to about 4500 rpms and it just wouldn't shift. I crawled the rest of the way to work at about 30 mph. Additionally, I heard sporadic loud grinding sounds from underneath, not sure where exactly. After parking, I checked the fluid level and it seems really high, and also the bubbles are back. Reverse also doesn't work.

Sorry about the long post, I just wanted to put in all the information I felt necessary. Any ideas as to what I can do to attempt to fix this?

Replace speed sensors? Try and drain some fluid? I have an appointment next week at a transmission place but would like to try and fix it myself before then if at all possible. Thanks again!
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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hey bud.....i'm sittin here with my bro.......we both are thinking torque converter.......the fluid level should chang with heat....i would not ever drive it with the tranny stuck...... but on a up note the auto tranny should be easy to find and i'm sure you can find a write up on it........
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlarr81 View Post
hey bud.....i'm sittin here with my bro.......we both are thinking torque converter.........
I'm thinking not. What the OP describes is not what happens what converters go


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyagusta View Post
Until this morning. About halfway to work, there was a loud thud underneath somewhere and suddenly the truck wouldn't shift out of first. I revved it to about 4500 rpms and it just wouldn't shift. I crawled the rest of the way to work at about 30 mph. Additionally, I heard sporadic loud grinding sounds from underneath, not sure where exactly. After parking, I checked the fluid level and it seems really high, and also the bubbles are back. Reverse also doesn't work.

^This^ here makes me think none of the follow will be likely to fix your issue.

Quote:


Replace speed sensors? Try and drain some fluid? I have an appointment next week at a transmission place but would like to try and fix it myself before then if at all possible. Thanks again!

Given what you describe I find it very likely that you broke a gear set. Drop the pan and look for large pieces of debris in the pan. If you find that, just go get a new tranny.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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hey adsm...
i'm no pro and alwas trying to learn something new.....i see you all over the site and seen to alwas be right so i'm not 2nd guessing at all.....
"About halfway to work, there was a loud thud underneath somewhere and suddenly the truck wouldn't shift out of first"
the "thud"....if the TC popped off the tranny in first gear....would it shift into 2nd?
" broke a gear set"...i've never done this one but would that be likely to be grinding?......
not 2nd guessing.....just trying to learn
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nlarr81 View Post
hey adsm...
i'm no pro and alwas trying to learn something new.....i see you all over the site and seen to alwas be right so i'm not 2nd guessing at all.....
"About halfway to work, there was a loud thud underneath somewhere and suddenly the truck wouldn't shift out of first"
the "thud"....if the TC popped off the tranny in first gear....would it shift into 2nd?
" broke a gear set"...i've never done this one but would that be likely to be grinding?......
not 2nd guessing.....just trying to learn
A lot of that question only makes sense if your understanding of an automatic is something like a manual transmission with a torque converter (which you may not fully understand the workings of, I can't tell) in place of the clutch assembly.


Basically the torque converter alone cannot cause the trans to be stuck in one gear. The converter, in it's simplest form, can be described as two fans pushing fluid at each other. Set two fans in front of each other. Turn one on and watch what happens to the other. Now replace the electric motor with an engine and the air with tranny fluid. That is a torque converter.


The guts of the trans are one or two (sometimes but rarely more) planetary gear sets, either Simpson (simple) or Ravenaux (sp?) style, depending on the trans. A single planetary set can produce up to 5 different gear ranges, under drive, direct drive, over drive, reverse and reverse over drive, depending on which portions of the set are driven, held, or used as the output.

There are multiple clutch packs, attached to different parts of the gear set and a band that can hold the drum. Hydraulic pressure, routed through different passages and controlled by solenoids and valves in the main control, is used to apply the different bands and clutches. Loss of any one of these bands or clutches or solenoids, even a stuck valve can cause the trans to stick in a given gear or slip badly enough to make it seem like it is only shifting so high.

A loss of a portion of the planetary set, particularly a split or stripped planet will make the trans appear to be missing any number of gears depending on how the trans is set up.

None of that is conclusive to what actually happened in the OP's trans, but the thunk is what makes me think he split a gear. What he described is reminiscent of a hard part breaking.



I just went through this with a Cobalt at work. Guy punched a hole in his tranny pan driving down a "dirt road" which I actually suspect was a farmer's field. After his dumb horse/donkey hybrid drove the car to the dealer I told him he needed a pan and fluid so I could drive it and see if anything else is wrong. I put a new pan on, filled it up, and it was actually shifting and driving very nicely until I got about to where I turn around on my test drives. It made a particularly hard shift and then acted like it was progressively loosing gears until I could only get it up to what felt like second and wouldn't go faster than 30 MPH, just slipped and the engine free-wheeled after that speed.

I took it back, took the pan back off, and found the pan full of planet gear teeth from where the planets locked up and got their teeth stripped off.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
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thanks adsm
and please keep us updated skyagusta
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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Default

Thanks for the advice fellas. The truck is still parked at work, so I will go down tomorrow to drop the pan.

Let's say I drop the pan and it looks clean. How would you proceed in that case?

EDIT: Also, I forgot to mention in the OP, but the CEL never did come on. Not sure if that is a valid clue or not.

Last edited by Skyagusta; 04-28-2012 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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Cool Same problem?

I have the exact same issue with my '03. Truck would be fine for days, then it will have an "episode." Couldn't go faster than 30 mph. I would pull over, put it in park, wait a few seconds, put it in drive, then when I would accelerate it would "clunk" and lurch forward as if stung in the backside. But, after all that it would be fine...for a few days, until the next "episode." This morning I checked fluid, it is low, so I checked for leaks. I discovered I have a leak towards the front of the tranny. It is clearly a very, VERY slow leak, so it has been leaking a while. So I know I am looking at a pan gasket at least, maybe even a front seal (insert explicatives here, lol). I am taking it to the shop this morning to have it looked at since I do not have the means (garage) to do it myself. I will let you know what we find when we drop the pan...I hope i didn't strip the truck, ya know? I have the 5R55E tranny, and would like to think it survived this stupid oversight on my part.
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