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Old 04-18-2016
DrWizard's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Orange Park, FL
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Icon5 Transmission Slipping, need advice

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. Anyway...

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!
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Old 04-18-2016
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You will have a 5R44E just FYI, 5R55E were only used with 4.0l engines.

Same trans code

The 5R transmissions are fully computer controlled

5R transmission is a 4 speed, 4R44E, that had a "faux" 2nd gear added.
Trans starts in 1st, then OD(5th) is turned on, so 1st + OD = 2nd gear, then as speed increases OD shuts off and 3rd is used.

Because the 5th(OD) shift solenoid is being used then I would expect that is not the problem in the 4th to 5th shift.

Automatics run on pressure, generally if you have a pressure problem you notice it in Reverse first as that requires the highest pressure.

If your reverse is working fine, i.e. not slow to engage or "clunky" then slipping doesn't make sense.

I would add some Lucas, it softens the seals so they hold pressure better, which may be needed since it sat for awhile, seals can dry out.
For sure won't hurt anything.

Could even be an engine issue, I would expect RPM changes with slipping trans.
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Old 04-19-2016
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 2

Wow, thanks for the info. My 01 4.0 has that 1st to 3rd (OD) issue, I was thinking a trans issue, but you may have put my mined at ease. I will do some driving with the OD off to see if it still does it.
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Old 04-19-2016
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5R would still shift OD on for 2nd gear, OD off just stops the shift from 4th to 5th(OD)
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