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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #1
This is on the Cougar. I just changed the tranny fluid a couple days ago, but the issue was persistent before and after the change. First off, the 1-2 shift is just as quick and snappy as my J-modded 97 and this is an untouched valve body, so would I be correct in assuming this would most likely be a broken 1-2 accumulator spring? The main issue for my post however is that occasionally the car seems to slip out of 1st gear when I come to a stop then start moving again. I'll open the throttle a bit after a stop and the engine will just rev, then a second or so later the transmission will engage again and I'll procede on my way. This has happened maybe half a dozen times in the 300ish miles of city driving I've done on the car thus far. Other than this, the transmission seems to shift as it should (although a bit slowly, especially when you're used to the J-modded shifts :D). Any ideas?
 

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I think that's a sign of a weak pump, but I'm no expert. :zdunno:

Maybe someone who know for sure will chime in.
 

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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #3
Weak pump kind of makes sense, actually. The engagement to 1st after coming out of reverse is excruciatingly slow (3-4 seconds) with the engine RPM around 600, but with it in park at 800 RPM it engages a good second or two faster. I'll also add that I have not had any issues getting it to engage 1st from another gear. Would a pump being weak be a sign that it's on its way out?
 

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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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9,579 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'll add one more thing that I've noticed - occasionally I'll catch a whiff of transmission fluid. Initially I assumed it was simply the fluid I got on the exhaust pipes burning off but it comes back for a few seconds every now and again. The fluid level looks good and I haven't noticed any leaks.

Anyone have any other ideas? I have plans to eventually upgrade to the deep sump pan and replace the accumulators/springs as well as drill the separator plate. Are there other things I should look for while I've got the pan and VB off?
 

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IMHO, I wouldn't take a 94 tranny apart.

The 96+ are better, but you really want an 02+ tranny; Swap a few parts, minimal jmod, and it rocks.

I bought a jmod kit with everything from Alan very reasonably. There are some additional mods you can do to the valvebody while you have it out; check out the sonnax site. :)

While not dissing your car, The clutches in your 94 are all very old, the one way roller clutch is trash (even worse than the 96 one, lol); other than the lever and sensors off the side, it's scrap, IMHO. Even if you totally rebuild it, there are still limitations in the casting that make it less desirable.

I bought 3 so far (over 10 years, lol), one for each car. The oldest now has ~100k on it, and feels new. I paid ~$400. A low mileage Gran Marquis with some major damage is a great candidate. :) We have to have non-police trannys.

If you haven't replaced the stock driveshaft, it will kill the rear seal, and will always be low on fluid; that killed one of my originals. It also wasted the diff gears, and put an interesting pattern on my rear wheel bearings. (The other cars' bearings didn't have the pattern, and it looked kinda like the pattern on the gears... weird)

Good luck either way!
 

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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, figured I'd toss a little update into the mix.

I haven't had it slip out of first and I haven't been smelling any transmission fluid for at least a month now, however it has started doing something new on occasion...

Say I'm moving along in 4th gear, getting ready to make a turn. I slow down to have it downshift into 3rd, then 2nd which happens as it should. After I get back on the throttle, it comes back in and catches 2nd for about a second. Then something happens and the engine spools up to like 2500-3000RPM (no change in throttle position), trans snaps back into gear kicking the RPM back down to something like 1800-2000, the trans shifts into 3rd a half second later, then the TC locks and I proceed on my merry way.

As I said, it probably happens once every two or three days... but I know it can't be good. Fluid and level is good with about 2000 miles on it. As I said above I'm 99% sure my lower 1-2 accumulator spring is busted; could this be in any way related? I already know I'm on borrowed time with this 94 trans.

Edit: I'll add that this only happens immediately after a turn. Might this be caused by fluid starvation that the deep sump pan would cure?
 

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649 Posts
I say POS Roller Clutch on the way out - Direct Drum Bushings seizing - Pan Starvation... etc... Basically you are not on "borrowed time" anymore with this 94 Tranny - You are OUT OF TIME ~!.... Welcome to the club.
 
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