1L54 Transmission Problems - my struggles - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 03-26-2011
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Post 1L54 Transmission Problems - my struggles

Just as a note to everyone:

I have a 2002 Ranger Edge 4x4 with the 4.0 V6 and manual transmission with ID# 1L54. I have had problems with this transmission since I purchased 3 years ago. Just to give everyone some information on this transmission. IT SUCKS!!!! Reasons listed below:

1. Uses Mercon ATF
2. Inside is a plastic tray "designed" to oil the input shaft bearing... which the tray is ABOVE the fill level, so the only way it gets fluid is by the gears slinging fluid into the tray.
3. This is aluminum cased, so removing and replacing bolts are tedious.
4. The bearings and syncros have held up well for 140k miles... problem I had at about 90k miles was shifting into 1st and 3rd... espically towards meltdown.

MY STORY

I was headed to work on 1-24 here in middle Tennessee. I topped a hill to have my truck begin to decelerate, no warning sound (no noise, knock, or any kind of movement), no nothing from truck. I coasted to a stop, where I turned off the truck. Once I started it back up, it went into all gears fine and drove as though nothing happened. I got off the interstate (a very short distance) turned right and made it about 1/4 of a mile and "GRINDING" quitely started.

I pulled into a publix and parked. I had a ride coming to get me to take me to work. He returned to pick up my truck and managed to drive it 20 miles home. Every gear made a horrible noise. Even in neutral you could hear a "schschschsssscccchhhh" noise, like something was rubbing wrong. But once you disengaged the transmission it got quiet.

This happened back in January. I didn't get to start working on it for about 3 weeks (my brother was putting his dodge stratus back together) so it just sat. I have done all the work by myself, except for some help removing the rear driveshaft bolts and the rear end and help getting the bearings pressed off of the transmission. I found the problem once I pulled the shift cover off... the input shaft gear was blued and teeth worn down to sharp points. Once i disassembled the transmission the rest of the way, i found that the first gear on the countershaft was also worn.

My trans had been leaking fluid for about 2 years, which I checked at every oil change and added every 3rd check. I had a clutch kit and slave cylinder put in a year ago in February. When the shop I took it to saw I was leaking fluid from the fill plug (idiot friend stripped the case when I changed for the first time... put too much pressure on it - he should be paying for this replacement) they put a 2nd washer on the plug to "help stop the leak" which in turn made it worse. I removed the extra washer and I also tried a compound purchased at a napa store to fix the ruined threads, which didn't work very well (probably my fault).

I take great pride in working on my own vehicles. The only reason I took it somewhere a year ago was because my truck was owned up north for 4 years and I was terrified of trying to work on it because of rust and salt. I regret it as they screwed up my transfer case in 2 places. One bolt (very bottom) they cracked the housing on transfer case and the top driver side bolt was cross threaded and when I had that repaired (my uncle thank goodness - saved me lots of money) it cracked it there also. My uncle owns a machine shop and has an excellent aluminum welder who fixed both places on the transfer case.

I went to ford with the input shaft - told them I needed it, the counter shaft, and showed them a picture of the inspection plate from inside the bellhousing. Once they saw it, they stated I needed to replace it also - there's a seal built into it that had melted down. They explained what probably happened was my fluid level got low, letting the input shaft bearing get hot and break down which let the input shaft wiggle and tear it and the countershaft up.

Input Shaft $362.87
Counter Shaft $621.85
Inspection Plate $287.31

TOTAL $1,272.03

I had been looking for a used transmission, which here in Tennessee - there was only 2 or 3 listed. Supposedly you can cross this transmission over to one from an explorer. This transmission was only used in the Rangers from 2001 up and Explorers 1997-2001 and 2001 and up. This transmission is KNOWN for breaking down due to fluid loss from the shift plate *rubber plugs on end of shift rods* that leak fluid. The mazda part number for mine is M5OD-R1HD. There is a dorman part # to fix the leak on the shift plate, replacing the rubber plugs with 16.2mm freezer plugs. Of course it has to be a weird size, and no one has them .....

Found a used transmission - drove the other side of Knoxville, TN to get it. Now I am waiting for Ford to get my gasket for the shift plate in, which I ordered Thursday. My clutch came in to my advance auto parts today, which I will pick up tonight. I have to have my flywheel resurfaced, then hopefully Monday I will get most of the work done, install the transmission and the crossmember. I will upload pictures later as I work on the weekends and will hopefully get it installed Monday.

ANYONE WITH THIS TRANSMISSION - IT IS A VERY TOUCHY TRANSMISSION. EASY TO REBUILD IF FORD DOESN'T WANT TO RIP YOU AN ARM AND A LEG.
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Old 03-26-2011
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from what you are explaining here it does sound like your fault it failed. you said it leaked for 2yrs and the shaft was blue from heat because of low oil level. common sense would normally dictate that you fix the leak in your trans before you get a problem like this
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Old 03-30-2011
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Yep common sense says to fix it... but tell me HOW DO YOU HELI COIL a fill plug without getting metal shavings in the case that would fry the transmission!? I appreciate the comment, but when ford makes a casing out of ALUMINUM, its going to strip out a WHOLE LOT EASIER than using cast iron or steel, espically when you use a steel/cast iron plug. Yes I admit it is my fault for letting it leak, but with the extra washer on the fill plug it let it leak more. I tried all different kinds of ways to fix it with compounds and whatnot... IT DID NOT WORK!!!

THE SHAFT WAS NOT BLUED, ONLY THE GEAR BUILT INTO THE INPUT SHAFT, AND ONLY PART OF THE BEARING WAS BLUED. I WAS ALSO RUNNING 80MPH ON THE INTERSTATE WHEN THIS HAPPENED DUE TO BEING LATE TO WORK.

You might want to ask before you start being RUDE next time...




PLUS IF YOU NOTICE I ADMITTED IT PROBABLY BEING MY FAULT SINCE I HAD TRIED THAT COMPOUND AND TRIED AND TRIED AND TRIED TO FIX IT AND THE FILL PLUG WOULD CONTINUE TO BACK OUT AND LEAK FLUID... PLUS THERE WAS SO MUCH FLUID ON THE SIDE OF THE TRANSMISSION BACK TO THE TAIL SHAFT, EVEN IF IT WAS LEAKING SOMEWHERE ELSE I COULD NOT TELL...

RANGER 4.0 - MAKE SURE YOU READ THE WHOLE POST NEXT TIME BEFORE COMMENTING...
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