Hi guys (and girls) I've been lurking in this forum for years, but I think this is my first post. I have a 2003 Ranger and absolutely love it. It is my 4th one in 20+ years.
I have a problem which I'm almost certain is the transmission slipping. I'm trolling for advice for getting it fixed properly, yet also inexpensively as I am on an extremely limited income.
* Its a 2003 Ranger, 3.0L flex engine, 5R55E (code D) transmission.
* Currently at 129K miles. I bought it at 89K miles. Can't speak for the previous owner, but I have not abused it. I'm a conservative driver and don't tow anything. It could really use a good wash though!
* Problem started when I left the country for 7 months and the truck was parked in a friend's yard. Although he did occasionally start it to move it. I've had the problem since I got back 5 months ago and started driving it again.
* At approx 42-45 MPH while accelerating (usually gently) the truck 'bucks' or 'lurches' a few times. This is the only speed at which it does this. I assume this is when the tranny goes from 4th to 5th.
* Problem does not seem to be getting any worse (or any better) in 5 months.
* I have never changed the fluid in the 40K miles that I have had it. Dunno about previous owner (Probably not).
* Fluid on the dipstick appears clean and clear red (not cloudy) and does not smell burnt. It is at the right level.
* RPMs do not jump when it does it. I have one of those bluetooth OBDII adapters and have driven it with my tablet connected while I experience this problem. Do not see any spikes in any of the sensor readings. All OBDII numbers and graphs appear normal best as I can tell.
* I was about to get my professional mechanic (whom my whole family has used for many years, very honest guy, trust him) to change the fluid and filter, but he said NO! Sez that changing the fluid in this particular situation often makes it WORSE. A friend who is an amateur mechanic with a lot of Ford experience said the same thing. Doing some research on the web also seems to validate this.
* The vehicle is drivable and the problem is not so bad that I can't just live with it if I have to. If I need a rebuild and it's gonna cost a lot to fix, I will just live with it until it breaks completely.
* Lucas Transmission Fix has been suggested by the two above mentioned mechanics.
Don't think it's related but:
* Runs a little rough sometimes when first started until warmed up. Only takes a minutes or two, then runs fine.
* Every great now and then get check-engine light when it runs rough at startup. OBDII code is 301 or 303, cylinder 1 or 3 misfire.
Should I risk changing the fluid & filter? Could it be the bands need adjusting?
Thanks in advance!