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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all and happy new year,

I've read a lot here about transmission shudders and it looks like I have a common problem and am looking for the best next step to take.

Here's the situation. I developed this problem a couple of months ago. It only happens in certain circumstances.

After I drive for a long while (30 mins or so) on the interstate (consistent 70mph with O/D engaged), and then get off the interstate and back into stop-and-go driving, I have a shudder, or a "delayed shift", when upshifting from second to third. I'm not sure the best way to describe it, but it almost feels like it begins to shift but pauses for a second or two before it completes the shift. You can kind of feel it in the seat of your pants, like there's a brief lack of momentum and then it kicks back in.

All other upshifts (1-2 and 3-4) are fine. All downshifts are fine. It's only 2-3. Also, I've noticed that if I accelerate firmer the 2-3 shudder doesn't occur. The normal stop-and-go driving I do (e.g., before hitting the interstate) doesn't seem to cause a problem.

On another day, after doing a ~15-mile Taco Bell run (YUM!) I checked the tranny fluid. It was bright red, no discoloration at all, the fill level was fine, and was of a kind of thin watery/greasy texture (not thick, sludgy or gooey). When I touched it I was surprised to find that it wasn't really that warm. It was like "room temperature". I figured it would be hot?

Some history:

I bought the car at 48k, it now has 93k. I don't know if the trans. fluid was ever replaced before I bought the car. I have never had it done. I'm not sure if I should do it. I think the fluid looks okay and then I hear these horror stories about how if it's never been changed you shouldn't change it because the tranny will be toast.

Most of my driving is short trips of insanely ridiculous stop-and-go driving. Literally by the time I get to fourth gear I need to bring it to a halt for the next stop sign or red light. Then as soon as I get stopped the light turns green. (WHY?!?!?!?!) About once a month or so I take it for a long interstate drive.

I was naughty over the summer and ran the whole time with the O/D disengaged thinking "hey, it's less shifts!". Then Katrina hit and I got real. Now I'm thinking that might have been a bad idea.

So I'm wondering where to go from here? Should I try flushing the fluid? Is maybe the TC or tranny going bad? If parts need to be replaced, how much are we talking? If I take it in to the stealership I want to pretend to be at least half-educated.

I can't tell you how many problems I'm having with the bird all of a sudden, but this one I think is the most serious. Don't shoot me but... I'm beginning to seriously consider... ummm... "replacing" her with a Lincoln LS (hey, it's RWD). Damn now I feel so guilty for saying that. Somebody quick smack me around so I can come to my senses!!!

Thanks,
John
 

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Amateur Expert
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1,662 Posts
I'm far from a transmission expert, but I would suggest two things - first, your 2-3 piston spring might be broken causing the delayed/harsh 2-3 upshift. Also - I had a friend who had never changed the fluid in his T-Bird in 115K and he had the shudder. We dropped the pan, drained the converter, did the J-mod, put in a new filter and 14 quarts of Mercon V and his trans problems have been gone for 6 months. I would also suggest a trans fluid cooler - your transmission has seen a lot of heat and that might give it some extra life.
 

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Premium Member
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6,617 Posts
I would suggest dropping the pan and doing an ispection. If it's full of garbage get a new trans. If it looks okay remove the epc solenoid and inspect it. It likely is worn causing low pressure. I would suggest also replacing the mlps and changing all of the fluid.
Alan
 
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