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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I started this with my 97 cougar xr-7 with the 4.6. Car has a prob 200k on it. I just did a filter kit with fresh mercon v. All went smooth. No leaks. Before the filter kit I started getting weird shifts. Mostly just 1-2 but reverse felt awful and sometimes 2-3 would be hard shift also. I just did the filter change and full drain and fill of new mercon v. Old fluid was dark and the dipstick plug was in the bottom of the pan and the magnet was super covered in stuff. One small chip from something was on the magnet (didn't get pics but should have) so I cleaned all and put it back together. Now I have no second gear when selector is in drive. It shifts from first to third after reving out past 3k even babying it. All other shifts are decent. Now I had full funtion of second gear before. Now I can get second if I put the selector into second and take off from a stop it'll hold second fine. But if I take off in first selection then shift to second it goes in, but feels like there's slippage. Like the power is blowing thru the converter. I have no idea what happened in this. HELPPPP! PLEASE
 

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All that material on the magnet was probably clutch material. Chunks and shards are a horrible thing. The dark color of the fluid was also probably due to suspended clutch material. The transmission has more than like been LONG burnt out but the material suspended in the fluid helped it get by. Now that that material is not there, its slipping completely.

If its 200k miles and the plastic plug was still in the pan, you are for sure the first person to have been in there since it was built in 1997.

Lack of maintenance from the previous owners have essentially doomed that transmission.

Hopefully someone more experienced than me can pipe up and say something thats not as disappointing. But if I were you Id start looking at transmissions. Used 4r70ws can be had for $500, or you can have yours rebuilt for $1500.
 

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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It shifts every other gear fine tho. Smoothly and since I put in the mercon v I don't have any more shudders. I did some reading around on her and wasn't sure if maybe it has something to do with the 1-2 accumulator. Or a solinoid. If it was the clutch wouldn't I have issues with all gears? I'm sure that was a large amount of neglect in maintenance. But I'm curious of what would cause it. And if it's something like a accumulator or to have to do with the valve body if having parts replaced in the valve body or having the jmod done would solve issues. And if so, how much does the jmod run and how hard it might be.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Read through Jerry's Thesis (OD transmissions 101) in the transmission articles section. It goes into detail about the J-mod, as well as describing the operation of the 4R70W. Hopefully after reading it, you will see how the different clutches work together to create the different gears.

The pre-98s have the one-way intermediate clutch as a part of the reverse drum assembly and is a known weak link. In 2nd gear it needs to lock and not counter-rotate - if it's busted, that will cause issues with 2nd gear.

An issue with the 1-2 accumulator manifests as either a late or absent 1-2 shift.

There are a few issues going on that a J-mod won't solve, likely a culmination of worn/slipping clutches or the roller clutch going out.

Don't bother with a rebuild of your current trans - it's got some improvements but the best ones came a couple years later. Get your hands on at least a 99, up through 02 (you can get a later model if the shop knows what they're doing and can take parts from your current trans) and have it gone over (even if the clutches are OK, the seals are 20 years old and should be freshened up), and install it.
 

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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll definitely go check that out. As this happened to me today I'm still learning the quirks of it. So if I'm going at 20 or so and put it in second it goes in just fine. Just as soon as throttle is applied it kinda "blows thru" and climbs rpm. But in drive it don't even call for the shift to second. Just goes to third. Now.... If I lock it in second and take off from a stop then second gear will climb all the way up thru with no slippage untill I lift throttle then get back on.... I'm so baffled on this. I love this car and I've only had it maybe 4 months. I wanna do jmod either route I go (replacing trans or rebuilding) I just wasn't sure if getting to the jmod sooner might fix this issue.


Guys your help and responds is so much appreciated.

I do alot of mechanical work. But never dove into the trans side of work. Never torn one down. But I've done plenty of trans filters and pans and trans swaps (mostly chevy trucks and E-150 vans) so I'm sure I could figure out how to do what I need with some instruction.
 

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Read Jerry's articles carefully.

Then, I'd hit up the TransmissionCenter videos on 4R70W rebuilding ( Start at AODE 4R70W Class Part 1 Lesson 1 - YouTube ).

Then think carefully about what do you want to tackle, and what do you want to farm out.

I'd grab a 1999 to 2002 4R70W from behind a mod motor (4.6 or 5.4) and rebuild that, then swap them out.

(Shucks, I'm grabbing one from behind a 3.8 Mustang to rebuild for my Cougar, to control with the 94/95 Mustang GT ECU ... )

Do be careful - carefully selecting quality stock parts >> cheap "hotrod" parts off the Internet, but careful selection of premium parts >>>> stock. IMO, of course.

RwP
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Manual 2 uses a different set of clutches that allow for more intense engine braking than auto 2. That's why it acts differently than 2nd in normal drive range.
 

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1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
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In manual 2 the Overdrive band holds the Reverse drum to keep it from upshifting to 3rd. Everyones advice is good. Just start planning for a rebuild. That is where you are at right now. You won't get around it.
 

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Before throwing in the towel, I would pull the pan and make sure the filter has not fallen off. Sometimes the rubber ring from the old filter remains on the car, and the new filter cannot push all the way into position. And one that's been on there for 200k is a likely candidate to still be stuck on there.

Al
 
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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Before throwing in the towel, I would pull the pan and make sure the filter has not fallen off. Sometimes the rubber ring from the old filter remains on the car, and the new filter cannot push all the way into position. And one that's been on there for 200k is a likely candidate to still be stuck on there.

Al
I'm 100 percent sure the old o-ring from the old filter was taken out. It didn't come off with filter but I got my pick set and got it out. Literally rock hard. But got it out. Made sure the filter went in the right way and all the way in. I'm just lost for words with it cause I hate being down one of the dailys. But I drove it all day after the issue yesterday and all drove fine. Every shift is smoother then it was before, no more shudder into OD. I just have no second gear. Everything else is working better then it has transmission wise since I bought it. So I don't know my moves right now. But what I do know is I'm gonna have to try and make it last a bit longer before I put her on the lift and have her down for a bit. Its really difficult being down a car when I only got two and the other is for the wife to lug the kids around.. we shall see.. Thank you all bunches tho.
 

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Broken springs in the 1-2 accumulator can cause some weirdness; but no 2nd at all usually means the one way ratcet assembly is freewheeling.
There would have been lots of chunks of stuff in the pan if that was the case.

Like gordo said, start saving for a rebuild; but you also want to find an 02 tranny to rebuild. If you drive it a bit, it may improve as the one way clutch cleans up in the new fluid, but I doubt it.
 

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1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
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None of us want you to have to rebuild your trans. But experience is pointing to a rebuild.
 

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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I understand. Y'all have been great and I've been thru many posts and threads that was here before I even made my account and I could tell this car community on tccoa is great. Alot of posts have helped me already. I appreciate all y'all's inputs and advices. I'm starting to look for another trans now. I wanna have everything freshened up and have a jmod done. I'm gonna need engine work done eventually. It smokes a little when I first give it gas after it's been idling for 5 or so minutes. Not for this post tho. I just know now that I got a good community behind me and what I hope to have a good build on. I don't plan on getting rid of this car for a long time even if the trans or engine goes cause I kinda fell in love with it. And knowing I have a great group to go to when I need advice is very comforting. So thank you all!
 

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My 95 trans was worse than that and it came back.
Somebody mentioned looking to see if your filter dropped out...that happens often.
Since the plastic plug was there, that trans ain't never had no love. It is absolutely filthy with clutch material throughout the trans, tv, radiator, lines and pan.
I flushed mine, pumping out the old fluid, new filters and cleaned it 3 times. It showed life, and I gave it a full JMod, again with a debridement and flush. That trans has not had even a small issue since then.
I will say during the JMod, I cleaned a ton of **** out of the valve body and remember I flushed it 3 times prior so that stuff is insidious like drywall dust.
Rebuild it for a thousand or flush it for a few hundred and see what happens...

It's a risk but it worked out for me when mine was refusing to engage any gear, then sporadically grabbing for a bit then slipping again with intermittent hard grabs. It seemed hopeless, but all that crap in there was a sign to me that it just needed love and serious cleaning.
 

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Every one I broke was leaking on those seals, with the direct clutch dying.
 

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the major problem with these tranny's are the scarf cut teflon shaft seals, Check this out:How to: - 4R70W Transmission Rebuild Diary
I believe you.
I am pretty sure I have been lucky. We are under powered.
That 95 trans of ours is about to get 4 valve power and I know I need to get the spare ready for the event.
I know so little about these, but they don't seem terribly complicated. You guys that work on them know what to expect and how to be prepared.
 

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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Alright so I got a 97 coug 4.6 and my trans is running on it's last leg. Already lost second gear right after a fluid change to Merc v and finding out at 210k the pans never been dropped and it's the same factory fluid in it. Super dark and allot of metal debrees on the magnet. So after the fluid change I magically had no second gear but all my shifts felt much better. Especially into OD. But with still driving it around being easy on the ole girl, the trans is starting to whine gradually getting louder starting about 2.5k. Driving or in park/neutral. I'm pretty sure this one is toast. So I'm going to a "U pull it" to grab a trans. But what I'm wondering is what's the best donor car to pull from as a direct fit in my coug without changing anything. And if there's something beneficial to change other then j-mod(not comfortable doing that myself yet and don't have a trans guy). My car being down for longer then a few days isn't a great situation. I'm wanting to be able to bring the trans home and whatever else I need and drop mine and put it in the same day. Most likely in the driveway. Help.
 

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97 Mercury Cougar Xr-7 4.6
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm about to do a trans swap and I keep hearing about jmod and I'm just unsure if it's something I could do. And if not, could I just buy a jmodded valve body and install it. Or about how much it cost.
 
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