To keep the Transmission questions rolling...
I have a 2004 Single Cab 2.3L XLT.
I bought this truck brand new from the dealer, within the first three months, there was a recall for the transmission, the recall claimed that Ford had put the wrong type of fluid in them. The dealer said the transmission was toast and put a new one in.
Shortly after that, I lost my job (I was 21 and in college at the time) and my mom needed a vehicle so she took over the payments and drove the truck for years.
Around 2009 she bought a new F-150 and I got the truck back, I found out that she had never changed the transmission fluid, ever. I was advised by a Ford tech as well as a tech at Firestone and a local transmission place in Nashville not to change the fluid, just to drive it until it died and get a new one or get it rebuilt.
Around March of this year, I noticed that the truck was starting to shift kinda hard, it wasn't bucking or jumping, but you could feel it shift. It hasn't really changed much at all since then, I haven't had the money to get a rebuild and have been scared to go to a transmission shop for fear that they'll want to take it apart to diagnose it, then there's no going back.
I went out tonight for the first time in six-eight months and checked the tranny fluid. It's brown, it's not red, it's not black, it's brown. It smells burnt, but it's not gritty, it's slick, smooth, and there's no visible pieces of metal on the dipstick.
While driving home tonight (I went out specifically to drive 25 or so miles so I could warm it up, being that it's Sunday night, there was minimal traffic on the road, so I was out testing it.) I decided to try to test it out. I had been noticing that when it would go to shift gears, it would go up to 3,000rpm's before shifting, and you could feel it change.
Tonight, while out just playing around with it, I noticed that it really only goes up to 3,000rpm's if I'm trying to get up to speed quickly, (which most Texas and Florida guys can likely relate to, having to pull out onto a highway with a 55mph or 60mph speed limit) it rarely ever goes past 3,000rpm's unless I gun it and try to pass someone, which I've only done once in the last six-eight months because I don't want to kill it, and when I did it, it didn't have much power, atleast imho it didn't.
When I'm sitting in my driveway, cycling through the gears (with my foot on the break) I find that it shifts into most of my gears fairly easy, when I shift into reverse, it takes a couple seconds and you can feel it jump, I'm not sure if that's normal, but to be honest, I can't ever remember a time when it didn't have any of these symptoms.
What am I looking at ? The truck is currently sitting just shy of 147,000 miles. I'm prepared to have the tranny rebuilt, there have been a couple shops that told me, everything out the door for less than $1,500.
Should I try to have the fluid changed ? (not flushed, but changed) would that make a difference with the shifting ? I noticed when I checked the fluid that it was overfull by a little bit, which is weird considering it hasn't ever been changed. The only thing that's ever gone wrong with this truck in the past was it needed a major tuneup and a Co2 sensor went bad. I'm wondering if, since I'm getting up in the miles, if it's not about to turn into a money pit.
If you were in my shoes, what would you do about the transmission ?
Part of me wants to just leave it alone, drive it until it dies, save my money, and just buy something new when it does, then again, it's been in my family for eight years and I love the truck.
Thanks for reading, looking forward to you guys advice and comments.