2001 Mercury Sable Torque converter clutch engagement

Tiny
RUSTYOO
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 MERCURY SABLE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 67,500 MILES
Last week, I purchased a 2001 Mercury Sable. I did not notice it during the test drive, but now I find that whenever the car is in DRIVE at a stopped position, the torque converter clutch seems to constantly engage and disengage from the engine, causing an annoying "thumping" sensation the whole time the car is stationary. The needle of the tachometer fluctuates with the thumping. Now, the ENGINE light is on. Aside from this, the engine and transmission runs smoothly. Someone told me this is normal. However, I find it hard to believe that Ford can sell a car with this problem as normal. What is your diagnosis of this?
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Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 AT 3:29 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
First thing you need to do is have the codes read, Autozone does it free, Post the results with the code number(s). Even if the service engine light is not on, there should be freeze frame data stored.
If it won't make it to Autozone, buy a cheap scanner, they can be had for 30-40 dollars, a good investment, since they cover all cars sold in the USA from 96 on.
If you come up with a P0741 or P0744, your tranny may have the wrong parts in it right from the factory, there is a Technical Service Bulliten on 96-03
Tuarus and Sables
TSB Reference # 03-12-3 Call Ford to have it checked! If you have different codes post em here so we can have a look!
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Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 AT 6:54 AM
Tiny
RUSTYOO
  • MEMBER
The code I retrieved is P0302 (cylinder 2 misfire). So it appears that this is an independent event from my complaint of the engaging and disengaging of the torque converter clutch to the engine. Since I am not familiar with the 2001 Mercury Sable, I am now wondering if this a NORMAL annoyance with this car, or whether there is something really wrong. Any input would be most appreciated!
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Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 AT 3:36 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Inspect the plug and coil, look at the boot, if any cracks or whitish powder replace it, when was the last tune up?
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Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 AT 4:22 PM
Tiny
RUSTYOO
  • MEMBER
I inspected the parts as you suggested. Everything looks OK. I don't know when the car was tuned last, since I just bought it a week ago. But the ENGINE light was erased and has not come back. However, my original concern remains. When the car is at idle and the transmission is in DRIVE and a lesser degree in NEUTRAL, I feel what seems like the clutch engaging and disengaging randomly with the engine, causing the tachometer to fluctuate about 50 rpm's with each thump. When the car is in PARK, I don't feel this problem. Otherwise, the car drives and shifts smoothly. I am wondering if this is normal for this car or if there is something wrong. It would be quite distressing to know that it is normal for a car to do this in this day and age! Has anyone heard of this? Please comment.
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 AT 11:53 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
The transmission range switch, or formerly known as the neutral saftey switch, could be slightly out of adjustment, or you are low on tranny fluid.
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Monday, June 23rd, 2008 AT 2:37 PM

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