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1-2 automatic transmission shift

11-05-2004, 10:13 PM
I have a curiosity about my transmission performance. I have a 2003 P71 and have had it for about 3 months now. My question is in regards to how it shifts from first to second gear.

If I gun it from a standstill, or from a speed where it is still in first gear, or is slow enough to kick back into first gear the transmission shift is very sluggish. What I mean is that the transmission slides into second gear ( time is about 2 seconds), and it feels like the motor at the same time is losing performance. I have heard that the engines will retard spark to prevent accessive detonation,..but would it affect transmission performance?

If I'm driving along and I and gunning it in first gear and let off the gas at about the shift point in the rpm for second gear, the shift is nice and tight and crisp ( instantanious). The car bangs into second gear, and the serpentine belt does it's little squeal. I'm not complaining about the hard's the weany shifting that I don't like. Is it a tranny problem, or is it the motor retarding the timing?

I guess as a side question is there a way to tighten up the shifting in the transmission. I have thought about buying a product from Super Chip where I can reprogram the transmission and the engine performance, but I don't wanna spend a chunk of dough right now. I'm a college student and am poor already.

Thanks :grinyes:

11-06-2004, 10:06 AM

Ford programmed the shifting that way deliberately, so grandpa and grandma would not complain about the belt squeel. Also, yes there is "shift retard" programmed into the timing tables, this reduced the Tq during shifts, which helps the trans live longer (lots).

For the straight scoop on your transmission, see: and

The articles written by A-Train and Jerry are from two of the BEST ford trans people in the world. In point of fact, Jerry was the engineer for the 4R70W at Ford, and there is not a single person in the world that knows more about them then he does, period. He now is the brains behind "Superchips Custom Tuning" (SCT for short). This IS NOT Superchips, but an associated company. You CANNOT get Jerry's knowledge thru Superchips.

11-06-2004, 12:28 PM
Thanks Modmech

I am a little confused about tranny life now. I thought that soft shifts are great for grandma and granpa, but hell on the shift clutch. I am under the impression that hard shifts prolong the life of the clutch. I could see that it would be harder on the drive line and u-joints, but is it hard on the mechanics of the transmission?

I am a performance freak and I love hard shifts when the pedal is to the floor. I don't hammer it regularly, but I like to have the ability to have optimum performance when the need arises. Is my quest to tweak my transmission gonna seriously reduce the service life of my tranny?


11-06-2004, 02:44 PM
It depends on how you do it.

Soft shifts are NOT hard on clutches, but slippery shifts are. If you follow the crownvic link above, you will see how to firm up your shifts for under $10 + ATF. No, it is NOT a "shift kit". I could go into grave detail about why you should NEVER EVER install an aftermarket shift kit, or use a "flasher" (other than the ECT products), but suffice it to say that the "J-mod" is the ONLY correct way to improve shift quality with the pan off, and the SCT programming is the ONLY correct way to do it with software. Sure others offer "improved shifting" with software and or hardware, but they do it the WRONG WAY, such that it can and WILL damage the trans over time, if not immediately. This is because they don't care, or really know how the 4R70W works, and is controlled (properly) by the EEC.

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