Transmission goes to nuetral


Nox
09-02-2012, 06:46 PM
I have read many post here and taken some action, but still having same issue so I need some help.
Symptoms:
Start up, put into reverse to back out of driveway, out into drive and take off. The van shifts from first to second. Come to stop sign, take off again. all is normal. About 1/2 mile later, it is as if van shifts into neutral. There is ZERO engagement from engine to transmission. Then, I turn off engine, turn back on and the transmission is now working again. So then there is a repeat.

From the posts on this site, I tried changing the Transmission Range Sensor. I still had the same problem.

I have not done a lot of research yet from manuals, but need some advice from those of you who have been through the trany. I see some talk about the shift solenoids, but not sure, logically, if there failure could cause this symptom.

wiswind
09-03-2012, 08:38 AM
Let's eliminate a cheap & easy solution......fluid.
Place the vehicle on level ground, engine running, Gear select in PARK.
Check the transmission fluid level.......add if needed.
Make SURE that it is all the way to the FULL indication.

Another thing that has happened is the filter INSIDE the transmission case can become dislodged if it was not installed properly.
The gasket on the neck of the old filter can become stuck in the transmission, preventing the new filter from seating fully into place.

I have pictures in the pictures that the link in my signature takes you to that show the transmission filter, and the gasket on the filter that becomes stuck.

If one of these 2 things causes your transmission to draw air up from the pan instead of fluid, you can have the symptoms that you mention.

I do not know if this is the cause of your problem or not.....but I like to check the cheap/easy things off before moving to expensive things.

Nox
09-05-2012, 12:37 AM
Thanks for your insights Wiswind. I took to dealer, and of course they say the transmission is gone. However, I still do not have any good explanation for the symptoms. I thought that possibly, when the transmission gets to 3rd gear, then it free wheels as if that gear is not engaging and therefor seems like it is in neutral. However, I drove in low gear (1) and drove a short distance and same thing happened. Again, after I turn off and back on, everything works fine for a short distance again.

Trans fluid looks in good shape and at the right level and I never see leaks, so I'm thinking I'm good there.

I will check the filter dislodge idea.

Questions going through my head: Should I take to tranny shop for second opinion? and where is the best place to get rebuild tranny?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Nox
09-05-2012, 02:50 AM
OK, just did some reading on different forums and it seems that at least one person out there(very old post) seemed to indicate that changing his output speed sensor fixed the problem that was similar to mine. Just thought I would throw that out there if anyone has had any experience with the output speed sensor causing an issue as I described above.

Thanks again for any input.

carrfixr
09-05-2012, 07:44 AM
can you please provide the year of your windstar and motor. it makes a difference as certain produced transmissions had certain faults built in. then i can help you further.

Windstartled
09-09-2012, 10:00 PM
OK, just did some reading on different forums and it seems that at least one person out there(very old post) seemed to indicate that changing his output speed sensor fixed the problem that was similar to mine. Just thought I would throw that out there if anyone has had any experience with the output speed sensor causing an issue as I described above.

Are you referring to the turbine speed sensor?

tomj76
09-09-2012, 11:28 PM
Are you sure it goes to neutral and not 1st? The Ford Service Manual says that a stuck solenoid can cause it to drop back to 1st when attempting to shift to third. Since that shift point is at around 30 mph, the sensation is like it's in neutral.

majordadsage
01-28-2013, 08:18 PM
1999 Ford Windstar....starts fine and accelerates fine until shifting out of 2nd gear. Then, it seems to go into neutral and won't engage again until I slow down to less than 20 mph. It seems to do fine going up a hill until it needs to shift up.

Could this be a "speed sensor switch"?

12Ounce
01-29-2013, 08:19 AM
I'm no expert, but your symptoms do sound like a well worn tranny to me. As the clutch pack wears, more and more pressure is required to keep it engaged.... so any dip in pressure results in a release. As you reach speeds where the engine revs dips briefly...

You still haven't shared how many miles are on your tranny. ?? Depending on service ... hilly terrain, trallering, poor fluid maintenance ... etc, etc., a tranny can wear out in less than 60k miles or so.

majordadsage
01-29-2013, 10:23 AM
Let me give you some more information. First of all, the vehicle has 228K miles on it and we taken pretty good care of it. We got it with 80K miles.

Now, back to the problem. We drove it home yesterday. Our son was using a few days while his vehicle was in the shop. We were probably 10 miles down the road before we started having problems. It got so bad that I had to get off the main highway and take the country roads home. One thing I noticed is that the vehicle did better going up a hill. It didn't have a problem until we got over the hill and on the flats.

I drove it to our mechanic this morning and it did just fine. He lives just up the road from our house; maybe 1 mile at most.

I think there is something electronic that, after the vehicle runs for a while is heating up and causing the problem. If it sets for several hours, overnight, it seems to drive fine.

If there were serious issues with the transmission, the problem would be all the time from the "very get go".

12Ounce
01-29-2013, 11:14 AM
The engine revving up the hill ... the fluid stiffer when cold ... this all points to pressure/wear issues to me. At the mileage, your tranny doesn't owe you much.

If you want to keep the vehicle, I would recommend a Ford reman replacement. Comes with all the updates and even full of new fluid. Warrantied for 100k miles. I am driving one that has approx 140k miles on it ... I change the synthetic fluid every 60K miles or so. So far very little wear indicated in the fluid changes.

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