97 Taurus - Intermittent 1st Gear Problem

  • 1997 FORD TAURUS
I have a 97 Taurus with a 3.0L vulcan and auto trans. The vehicle has 165,000 mi on it. I have put on the last 100,000 or so.

The car never had trans problems before. In the last yr or so, I started experiencing an intermittent problem. When rolling to a stop, as the transmission lets go of 2nd gear and engages 1st, it seems to forget half the operation - it gently lets go of 2nd and doesn't engage 1st.

A couple times, on slowing to a stop, I felt a "bump" as the transmission did a late engagement of 1st gear. More often, when the problem manifests itself, I won't know anything is up until the traffic light turns green and I try to accelerate. Complete slippage.

When this happens, flooring the car will get you through the intersection at about 6000 rpm (the wife did that once when I wasn't with her). Sitting still and cycling the gear selector through all the gears doesn't correct the malfunction.

The only way to recover is to close all open windows, then shut down and restart the Taurus. Did Bill Gates ever work for Ford?

Seriously, putting the gear selector in Park, shutting it down, and re-starting corrects the problem every time. Then I'm good for a month or two until it surprises me again at a busy intersection.

Other than this intermittent failure to engage 1st gear, the trans works great! No slippage at all, smooth but positive shifts, the torque converter lock up works as it should. Is it possessed? Thanks in advance!
Do you
have the same problem?
Friday, November 9th, 2007 AT 7:29 PM

1 Reply

Hitekrednek". I have a 97 Taurus with a 3.0L vulcan and auto trans.

To all, I've not received an answer, but further surfing eventually answered my own question. I'm posting it here for the benefit of those who might experience the same problem.

There is no easy fix. Ford published a TSB on this, (Article No. 98-3-7). The symptom is caused by intermittent leakage past the bonded seal on the forward clutch piston during the downshifting process.

Basically the answer is a transmission overhaul, replacing the original cast aluminum forward clutch piston with the new steel unit (F8DZ-7A262-AB).

The last guesstimate I had to overhaul this trans was around $2500.00. Ouch.
Was this
Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 AT 7:42 AM

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