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What in the world causes the transmission on a 97 4.6 v8 to shudder?!?! feels like im running over a wash board or rumble strips. Its done it since i bought the car in 2008. I have to pull out of my driveway like a bat out of hell to keep it from shuddering. Every time it shifts into O/D, it does it. Even disabled O/D with the button on the gear selector and it still does it between 3rd and 4th gear. In city driving (stop and go) it shifts really hard. Sometimes sounding like you bottomed the car out. Shudder fixer or any other additive is only a temporary fix. I want to know what causes it and what will fix it for good! Does anybody have any idea? Is this shuddering gonna hurt the car?
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Very common problem. Old/burnt transmission fluid is the cause.

To fix it "for good", do the J-mod, add a trans cooler and change the fluid every 30k miles.

Or just change the fluid for now. Use Mercon V only.

If the O/D off button is pressed the car should not ever shift into 4th gear. Does the light on the dash come on if you press the button? What shifts are hard? The 1-2 and 2-3 accumulator springs often break and cause hard 1-2 and 2-3 shifts.
 

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I'm a newb to the forums here as well, but from what everyone has told me the J-mod is the fix for that just like Brandon said. As well as making sure you use Mercon V fluid and change it on time.

I know I just repeated you Brandon but it made me feel smarter to know the answer as well :D

TJ
 

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I have the same issue with the 97 tbird I'm driving.

I'm trying to decide if I want to spend ~$50 for fresh tranny fluid, or swap in the 02 tranny in the garage.

Swapping a tranny means I have to swap a tranny, and that's a lot harder than the fluid. :)

If a Mercon V fluid change doesn't fix it, you need a new tranny.

Mercon V fluid only; Additives won't work.

The jmod did a lot more for the clutches and shifting for me than it helped the tc shudder.

I ended up swapping the trans, TC, driveshaft, and differential as a fix. :facepalm:
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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The cause of the shudder is actually the friction modifiers in the fluid being "used up" through thermal breakdown and age of the fluid. Keeping the heat down increases fluid lifespan, and the best way to do that is to add a trans cooler and to do the J-mod (which decreases clutch pack slippage during shifts, and hence heat). You could keep the shudder at bay simply with on-time fluid changes, but you can alleviate the problem further by keeping the fluid cooler, longer. Thus, the reasoning behind my answer. Rarely though the shudder has actually been a bad TC.
 

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I agree the jmod will help all issues with the original transmission, but it depends how bad it is.

If it's been shuddering bad since 08... A jmod and fluid change might not help too much. :zdunno:

The way this one I'm driving feels going into 3rd is pathetic; the fluid looks good, but it's not merc V. Mercon V has a unique smell, lol.
 

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Please read the forum rules as there is no need to post this question in two different places. I'm sure a moderator will eventually merge these together.

Since it's been doing it for 3 years I'd invest in a rebuild or low mileage newer transmission AND a new tc. If it had just started I'd recommend a mercon v complete transmission fluid change and possibly a tube of dr trannys shudder fix. However it would be helpful to know about the maintenance and up keep of this car during the diagnostic as well. Could be bad motor, trans, diff mounts, u-joints, bushings, bad tires, etc... (or all of the above) adding to/increasing the shudder that your feeling.
 

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1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
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I have rebuilt a bunch of 97 4R70W's. Some of them still have the old style accumulators. The "bottoming out" shifts could be a bad O ring on the 1-2 accumulator. I agree with everyone else. Do the J-mod and fill it with Mercon V. When you drop the pan and check for debris. So long as there aren't any metal pieces in the pan, it'll likely respond to the J-mod well.
 

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95% of the time it is the torque converter,but an engine miss will do the same exact thing. It could also be a bad transmission, bad spark plug wire, bad spark plug, bad engine(broken ring or ring land), bad coil, bad injector or failed pcm. Not to mention a bad egr or an exhaust leak causing issues. The maf can not be outruled either.
Alan
 

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Ford even has a couple of TSBs regarding this problem:


Article No.
96-25-17

12/02/96
FORD:
1992-95 CROWN VICTORIA
1994-95 MUSTANG, THUNDERBIRD
LINCOLN-MERCURY:
1992-95 GRAND MARQUIS, TOWN CAR
1993-95 MARK VIII
1994-95 COUGAR
ISSUE:
Torque converter clutch shudder or vibration may occur under light to moderate acceleration above 56 km/h (35 mph) while in 3rd or 4th gear or on 3-4/4-3 shifts. This condition may be more noticeable on higher mileage vehicles (24,000+ km (15,000+ mi)) when the torque converter clutch engages or disengages on light to moderate acceleration.
ACTION:
Perform normal diagnostics and change the transmission fluid. Changing the transmission fluid should reduce the possibility of shudder/vibration. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.
SERVICE PROCEDURE
1. Drain all transmission fluid including the torque converter. Completely drain the cooler and cooler lines. Refer to the appropriate model/year Service Manual, Section 07-01, for more details.
NOTE : IF TORQUE CONVERTER SHUDDER OCCURS BELOW 11,250 km (7,000 MILES) OR ABOVE 32,000 km (20,000 MILES), THE CONCERN IS DUE TO AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID CONTAMINATION AND/OR BREAKDOWN. PROCEED TO STEP 7.
NOTE : IF TORQUE CONVERTER SHUDDER OCCURS BETWEEN 11,250 km (7,000 MILES) AND 32,000 km (20,000 MILES), THE CONVERTER MAY BE AT FAULT. PROCEED TO STEP 2.
2. Remove the transmission and replace the torque converter.
3. Remove the transmission pan and clean the pan and magnet.
4. Inspect the transmission gasket and filter. Reuse the pan gasket and filter if they are not damaged.
5. Reinstall the transmission filter, pan gasket and pan.
6. Reinstall the transmission.
7. Verify that bulk fluid does not have moisture contamination. If suspected, use quart containers of MERCON(R). Refill transmission with the proper amount of Motorcraft MERCON(R) Multi-Purpose Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) (XT-2-QDX).
NOTE : REPLACE THE TORQUE CONVERTER IF THE SHUDDER RETURNS IN LESS THAN 16,000 km (10,000) MILES FOLLOWING THE FLUID CHANGE.
PART NUMBER PART NAME

F6AZ-7902-ARM Torque Converter
F6ZZ-7902-ARM Torque convener
F4LY-7902-ARM Torque Converter
F4SZ-7902-BRM Torque Converter
XT-2-QDX Motorcraft MERCON(R) Multi-Purpose
Automatic Transmission fluid (ATF)
OTHER APPLICABLE ARTICLES: 95-23-4
WARRANTY STATUS: Eligible Under The Provisions Of Bumper To Bumper Warranty Coverage
OPERATION DESCRIPTION TIME

962517A Remove And Install Pan Refer
To Change Fluid To
SLTS
Manual

962517B Replace Torque Converter Refer
To
SLTS
Manual

962517C Additional Time To Drain 0.2 Hr.
Torque Converter And/Or
Drain Cooler Lines

962517D Additional Time If Catalytic Refer
Converter Must Be To
Removed - Not To be SLTS
Used With Operation A Or Manual
B
DEALER CODING
CONDITION
BASIC PART NO. CODE
7902 49
OASIS CODES: 501000, 502000, 504000, 610000, 703000, 703200, 703300



Article No.
98-8-7

04/27/98
^ VIBRATION - SHUDDER OR VIBRATION UNDER LIGHT TO MODERATE ACCELERATION ABOVE 56 KM/H
(35 MPH) WHILE IN 3RD OR 4TH GEAR -
VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH AODE OR 4R70W
TRANSMISSION
^ TRANSMISSION - AODE - 4R70W - SHUDDER OR VIBRATION UNDER LIGHT TO MODERATE
ACCELERATION ABOVE 56 KM/H (35 MPH) WHILE
IN 3RD OR 4TH GEAR
FORD:
1992-97 CROWN VICTORIA
1994-97 MUSTANG, THUNDERBIRD
LINCOLN-MERCURY:
1992-97 GRAND MARQUIS, TOWN CAR
1993-97 MARK VIII
1994-97 COUGAR
This TSB article is being republished in its entirety to add models and applicable service parts.
CALIBRATION
6-16F-R10, 6-16T-R10, 6-18F-R12, 6-18H-R12, 6-18I-R10, 6-18M-R12, 6-18N-R12, 6-18B-R11, 6-18J-R11, 6-18E-R11, 6-18P-R11, 6-180-R11, 6-18S-R11, 7-18B-R10, 7-18F-R10, 7-18H-R10, 7-18M-R10, 7-18N-R10, 7-18J-R10, 7-18E-R10, 7-18P-R10, 7-180-R10, 7-18S-R10, 7-181-R11
WARNING THIS MODIFICATION IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FOR THE LISTED ENGINE(S). PERFORMING THIS MODIFICATION ON OTHER ENGINE CALIBRATIONS IS UNAUTHORIZED AND COULD CREATE LIABILITY UNDER APPLICABLE FEDERAL OR LOCAL LAWS.
All prior calibration revision levels to the calibrations listed above are also included in this TSB.


ISSUE
Vehicles equipped with an AODE or 4R7OW transmission (refer to Vehicle Application Chart) may experience a torque converter clutch shudder or vibration. This occurs under light to moderate acceleration above 56 km/h (35 mph) while in 3rd or 4th gear or on 3-4/4-3 shifts. This may be due to temperature related automatic transmission fluid breakdown.
ACTION
Perform normal diagnostics and refer to the following Service Procedure for required service.
NOTE IF QUESTIONS STILL ARISE AFTER REVIEWING THIS TSB ARTICLE, CALL THE LIVONIA TRANSMISSION HOTLINE AT (800) 821-5046. PLEASE HAVE THE VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (VIN), BUILD DATE, MILEAGE, AND PAST HISTORY AVAILABLE. HOTLINE HOURS ARE: 7:00AM TO 7:30PM EST.




Parts Block
OTHER APPLICABLE ARTICLES: 95-23-4, 96-25-17, 97-10-6, 97-5-11
SUPERSEDES: 98-4-10
WARRANTY STATUS: Eligible Under The Provisions Of Bumper To Bumper Warranty Coverage
OPERATION DESCRIPTION TIME

980807A Drain And Refill 1.2 Hrs.
Transmission, Torque
Converter, Cooler And
Lines, Road Test

980807B Additional Time To Clean, 0.1 Hr.
Inspect, And Reuse Pan
Gasket

980807C Additional Time To 0.2 Hr.
Reprogram Powertrain
Control Module (PCM) -
1996-97 Crown
Victoria/Grand Marquis,
Town Car,
Thunderbird/Cougar

980807D Additional Time To Install 1.3 Hrs.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1995-97 Crown Victoria,
Grand Marquis (Base
Only)

980807E Additional Time To Install 0.5 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
1992-94 Crown Victoria,
Grand Marquis (Base,
Police, And Trailer Tow)

980807G Additional Time To Install 1.4 Hrs.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1995-97 Town Car
(Without Trailer Tow)

980807I Additional Time To Install 0.8 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1992-94 Town Car
(Without Trailer Tow)

980807J Additional Time To Install 1.2 Hrs.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1993-96 Mark VIII

980807K Additional Time To Install 0.8 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1994-97 Mustang

980807L Additional Time To Install 0.9 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1994-97
Thunderbird/Cougar

980807M Additional Time To Install 0.6 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1995-97 Town Car (With
Trailer Tow)

980807N Additional Time To Install 0.5 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler
- 1995-97 Crown
Victoria/Grand Marquis
(Police, Trailer Tow)

980807O Additional Time To Install 1.0 Hr.
Transmission Fluid Cooler -
1997 Mark VIII
DEALER CODING
CONDITION
BASIC PART NO. CODE
7902 42
OASIS CODES: 501000, 502000, 504000, 610000, 703000, 703200, 703300

Service Procedure


Perform Steps 1-10 for listed model year vehicles operating in mostly stop-and-go traffic, areas of high ambient temperatures and humidity or the following states:
^ Alabama
^ Arkansas
^ Florida
^ Georgia
^ Hawaii
^ Louisiana
^ Mississippi
^ North Carolina
^ Oklahoma
^ South Carolina
^ Tennessee
^ Texas
Perform Steps 1-6 and 8-10 for vehicles that are not normally operated in stop-and-go traffic, areas of high ambient temperatures and humidity or the previously listed states. If you have questions regarding the vehicle operating parameters, call the Transmission Hotline.
1. Perform normal diagnosis and repair of all Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) prior to continuing with the following Steps.




2. Verify concern. Torque converter shudder occurs during 3rd or 4th gear under light to moderate acceleration. If vibration or shudder occurs only in 1st or 2nd gear, or when brakes are applied, then it is not torque converter shudder.
NOTE RESIDUAL FLUID IN THE SYSTEM (CONVERTER COOLERS AND LINES) WILL CAUSE SHUDDER TO RETURN.
3. Drain all transmission fluid including the torque converter. Completely drain the cooler and cooler lines. Refer to the appropriate model/year Service Manual, Section 07-01, for more details.
4. Remove the transmission pan and clean the pan and magnet.
5. Inspect the transmission gasket and filter. Reuse the pan gasket and filter if they are not damaged.
6. Reinstall the transmission filter, pan gasket, and pan.




7. For vehicles operating in mostly stop-and-go traffic, areas of high ambient temperature and humidity or the previously listed states, install a new Transmission Fluid Cooler and Transmission Fluid Cooler Installation Kit (refer to the Transmission Fluid Cooler and Fluid Cooler Installation Kit Application Chart for correct part usage). Refer to the Instruction Sheet included with the installation kit for details.
NOTE FLUIDS LABELED MERCON(R)V ARE RECOMMENDED FOR SERVICING 1992 AND BEYOND AODE/4R70W TRANSMISSIONS WHICH ORIGINALLY SPECIFIED MERCON(R). SERVICE FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL OTHER FORD TRANSMISSIONS AND/OR POWER STEERING REMAINS UNCHANGED.
8. Refill transmission with the proper amount of Motorcraft MERCON(R)V (XT-5-QM) or equivalent.




9. For all 1996-97 Town Car, Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, Thunderbird/Cougar vehicles, check emissions decal to verify vehicle has the latest calibration. If it does not, reprogram the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to the new calibration level using Service Bay Diagnostic System (SBDS) or New Generation Star (NGS) Tester with latest CD-ROM. Refer to the Recalibration Cross Reference Chart for the correct PCM calibration.

10. Road test vehicle at normal operating temperature to verify repair. If shudder is still present, vehicle may have to be driven up to 80 km (50 miles) for break-in. Torque converter should return to normal operation.
NOTE PCM REPLACEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY THIS TSB. REFER TO THE POWERTRAIN CONTROL/EMISSIONS DIAGNOSIS (PC/ED) SERVICE MANUAL FOR APPROPRIATE DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES IF PCM HARDWARE CONCERNS EXIST.



Obtain an Authorized Modification Decal (FPS 8262 - obtainable through DOES II, 25/pkg) and list the date, dealer number, and summary of modifications performed. Select a prominent place adjacent to the Vehicle transmission Control Information Decal suitable for installing the Authorized Modifications Decal. Clean the area, install the decal, and cover it with a clear plastic decal shield.
 

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Good info; that goes along with my experiences as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When i bought it, Unknowingly to me, the intake manifold was cracked. Had that fixed and all new plugs and wires. Mechanic said the engine is running like a top. The transmission kept shuddering, so I had him look at that. He dropped the pan and it was clean, The fluid was the normal deep red color. He said it didnt need changing, but i told him to do it anyway because buying used, you have no idea whats been done to it. No go. worked well for roughly 3 months, but then back to the way it was.
 
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