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95 Mercury Tracer Transaxle woes


whoiswes's Avatar
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09-24-03, 02:45 PM   #1  
whoiswes
95 Mercury Tracer Transaxle INTERMITTENTLY dead...

i'm a newb here, so thanks in advance for putting up with me

anyways, here is the deal. i have a 95 mercury tracer, 1.9L inline four, with the four speed auto transaxle.

the car was bought used two years ago and has been a phenomenal car (especially since the purchase price was $100) - the only time it has failed me was when the timing belt snapped unexpectedly. otherwise, i've had nary a problem.

that is, until about a month ago. we're out shopping, i pull up to the curb to let my GF out, pull away to park, and the tranny starts slipping. i'd never had that happen before (in any car) so it was somewhat unsettling.

pulled into a spot, got out, did the shopping, and hoped it was a fluke and would be fine when we left. car started fine, went into gear, and got about 1/8 mile down the parking lot road before the transmission started slipping again. within 100 feet, i had NO drive whatsoever.

called a friend, hitched a ride home, did some research. went back and changed fluid and filter with new. car started fine, went into gear fine, and we got about 1/2 mile down the road before we got stopped at a red light. when light changed, car had no drive.

shut it off and put the blinkers on...waited for about a minute, started car, and problem was gone. we got another 1/2 mile down the road and it did the same thing. i'd start to lose power to the wheels, pull over, shut it off, and restart after a minute or two - car would act normal for about 30 seconds or so, then start to slip until there was no drive anymore.

after starting and stopping about 10 times, we gave up (because of a big hill ahead) and just had it towed.

car has sat since. today, i go outside, start and put in drive - goes into gear right away. i switch between R and D a few times, moving just in the driveway. head inside to grab keys to other car to move it, and when i came back, i had no drive (no suprise).

here is what i noticed, though - as i headed inside, the car started sqealing/whining - not sure if it was a belt or something internal, but it lasted about 30 seconds. looking back, the sqeal corresponds to losing power to the wheels. i'm not sure if they're related, but i'm betting they are.



so, what do you think??? my next step will be to pull the tranny and rebuild, but i wanted opinions on what it MIGHT be before i go to all that work. we don't have alot of money invested in the car, but it's a great little vehicle and i hate to junk it if i can fix it for under $300-$400.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.

thanks!!!

wes

 
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billys68ss's Avatar
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09-24-03, 05:43 PM   #2  
Wes,
Sounds to me like you could have a pump problem. Pull it and rebuild time. Be sure to get all the updates as im sure there are plenty with this unit.
Good Luck,
Billy

 
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09-24-03, 10:28 PM   #3  
mike from nj
transmissions 101

the pump inside the trans needs to draw up a lot of fluid to make everything work inside. when the filter gets clogged solid, the pump cavitates and makes a whining noise, because it is starving for fluid. shutting it off, lets some of the junk fall off the filter and it will work temporarily until it gets sucked back up again and is once again clogged. this is true for all kinds of cars with automatics. sometimes it's sucks the filter so hard, it will suck it all up together(scrunched)

unfortunately, the bad news, what is clogging the filter is what's left of your internal clutches, each gear has it's own little clutch, similiar to a motorcycle or dirtbike clutch, and when one burns up, all those friction element particles circle around through the fluid, until it all ends up on the filter. then you have what you have.

maybe the trans randomly went bad, more likely it was run low on fluid, or was overheated, or a bearing went bad from old age, anything to start a problem has multiplied for you to the point of a failure, i'm sure if you took the pan down now, you would see all kinds of metel glitter and parts on the bottom(and stuck to the filter too)

if the pan comes down easy, it would be the cheapest repair now(cleaning the filter)but i don't see how it would last more than a few more miles, like what just happened for you already.

on some style filters(gm!) the filter has a long neck with an o-ring on it, if this o-ring is missing, doubled, ripped or not seated fully, you will have very similiar problems. i've never seen inside a ford trans, but if your design is similiar, it might be something to hope for. it also depends on how long you drove it while it was starving for fluid---on how much damage you did to it.

 
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09-25-03, 05:23 AM   #4  
whoiswes
i'm going to assume that the tranny is pretty much trashed.

what both of you said makes sense - when i dropped the pan (in the target parking lot, no less) there was quite a bit of metal on the two magnets...

assuming that those clutches are bad, how much to rebuild the tranny myself - all i'm looking for is a ballpark number. it may be cheaper to trade the tranny in for a pre-rebuilt one (local guy does good work for cheap).

THANK YOU BOTH for your insight. if anyone has any other ideas, solutions, or two million dollars i can have, please let me know.

thanks!!!!

 
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09-25-03, 06:12 AM   #5  
Joe_F
The tranny sounds wasted, rebuild time as these others have said.

This is not a DIY job. There are special tools and pullers required to do tranny work. Their cost would exceed the savings on the job and likely the value of the vehicle in real terms as you'd probably never use them again.

Best bet: R&R the unit yourself using a service manual to guide you, have it rebuilt by a competent shop and reinstall it yourself.

Make a clear assessment if the car is worth fixing. If the rest of the car is in bad shape, no sense putting 500+ bucks in it for a rebuilt tranny.

 
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