1994 Sable LS transmission not engaging

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  #1  
Old 04-27-04, 12:53 PM
SableGuy
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1994 Sable LS transmission not engaging

I have a 1994 Mercury Sable LS, and it's having a very strange transmission problem. Automatic btw

I'm wondering if this is just a sensor that's out or if anyone thinks it is something more serious. When the transmission is cold, it engages just fine. However, after reaching operating temperature when I come to a complete stop, it seems to disengage. I try putting it in neutral, and then back into drive and it seems to try to engage but then immediately disengages. When I remove my foot from the brake and apply to the throttle it sometimes will catch and the car will lurch forward as if it were a standard h transmission and I let off the clutch too hard.

Also, when going downhill and I move from overdrive to drive it doesn't engine brake anymore.

Any ideas? My fluid levels are good, the only thing done to the transmission is that about 10,000 miles ago the fluid and transmission filter were changed.

Anything helps! Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 04-27-04, 02:34 PM
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The tranny in the Taurus/Sable from that vintage were junk when they came off the assembly line (the one in my brother's Sable failed with less than 40,000 miles on the counter. In the last 5 years we've towed more of them to tranny shops than any other make/model. Recommend you take it to a good tranny specialty shop to get checked out, but don't be surprised if it's trashed.
 
  #3  
Old 04-27-04, 02:35 PM
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The tranny is probably toast but have a local trans shop take it for a ride.Those trans were not very good for the most part.Good Luck and welcome aboard.
 
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Old 04-27-04, 03:14 PM
SableGuy
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Hey thanks for the welcome,

So, I'm under the assumption there's any number of problems. I'm wondering if it is even worth taking to the dealer.

Thanks for your input guys!!
 
  #5  
Old 04-28-04, 07:00 AM
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Stay away from the dealer. Many dealerships farm out their tranny work anyway. Find a good independent. Depending on your area, an overhaul will probably run you $1200-1800. Avg retail on NADA is about $2600. If you've got the 3.8L engine in that beast you may also be on borrowed time for head gaskets (known problem). If it was mine I would make an appointment at the nearest crusher or donate it to Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 04-28-04 at 07:19 AM.
  #6  
Old 05-01-04, 09:02 PM
SableGuy
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Giving to junkyard.

I got a good look at it from several experienced tranny mechanics. The consensus is that the sprag clutch is worn, mainly due to the aluminum piston that is factory assembled. Since it's metal on metal once that goes, repairing it won't help because it has by then distributed tons of metal shavings all over the transmission. This is what happened to me and I bet what has happened to all the other poor *******s out there.

The head gaskets were replaced on warranty, however, just a matter of time.

Never buying Ford again, mainly because of the condescending attitude they have had towards me when I made inquiry of why this issue wasn't recalled. They are aware of the problem and have been since 1996. This affects 1 in every 20 cars by estimates of all the complaints around the internet. Ford has lost my trust in their ability to engineer reliable car design, and in my trust of their engineering competence.

My wife's dodge dynasty has 147,000 miles on it, original engine with original transmission. The thing purrs even today.

I hope Google gets this thread and it moves to the top, Ford, you're lucky you don't have a serious class action lawsuit on your hands. This flaw is present throughout a large portion of your cars throughout all years. Your engineering aptitude is pathetic to have put out such a disgrace of a vehicle.

Thanks for the info btw, and uh, looks like the 3,000 I just spent was all for naught. From now on I'm sticking to Dodge and Toyota.
 
  #7  
Old 05-02-04, 06:20 AM
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I repair trans and so you know I have repaired alot of trans with metal debris floating around cleaned them well and they are still on the road today.Those are GM trans though so I can't say for sure what damage the metal may have caused in a Ford trans.They probably don't want to have to offer a warranty on that trans because of the history.The saga continues blame Firestone for the tires causing rollovers(yeah right)now the trans and headgasket problems.No one died from the latter 2 so Ford will let sleeping dogs lie.
 
  #8  
Old 05-05-04, 03:51 PM
SableGuy
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Took the car in to a tranny shop anyway and here's what the problem was.

It was all due to the aluminum piston that Ford used. It slowly starves the transmission for fluid until overheating starts. What goes next is the sprag clutch('s) and then the metal gets distributed. This then complicates things by the fact metal debris is starting to contaminate the fluid holes on the planetary gearset assembly, mainly on the sun cover and on several teeth where the fluid holes are really small. Then there are clogs and highly uneven line pressures start flaring up. Next thing to start getting trashed was the torque converter. I was shown what it looked like and there was tons of scoring all over it and it had started to warp. It started burning the fluid because it was so starved for fluid and had no way to cool. Next of course was the bushings and some of the teeth on the clutch assemblies. The bushings that were brass were almost completely destroyed.

I am actually consulting with a lawyer who thinks I may have a case. I was advised to go ahead and pay for the transmission to be fixed and he was going to file a complaint on contingency for me. See, the aluminum piston is considereda tertiary part and is prone to failure in so many sold cars it's just a matter of time. I was advised to keep all the old parts and the mechanic was fine w/that.

Ford has updated the design CONSIDERABLY it turns out. The piston is replaced by a steel one, the planetary gear assembly has no plastic parts, but also hardened steel. On the sun cover it is also hardened steel, but there are about 2x as many fluid holes, and the filter spec was updated. The torque converter is also of a new design, and the output shaft's pinion assembly was fine but revised as well.

Ford was making automatic transmissions for years, quite simplistically, there has to have been some turnover at Ford during the 90's, and the design houses must have had alot of newer people in them. This car is really a fine car, I love driving it (when it works), it's just that there were so many tertiary components that were put into it. These are also acknowledged by Ford due to the revised designs.

I really do hope this gets googled, and that someone else who had this problem will at least know.
 
  #9  
Old 06-04-04, 01:32 PM
BostonSableGuy
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Having Transmission Problems - but not dead yet

Hi,
I bought my sable about 4 years ago for about $3500.00 and it was a GREAT deal (at the time) for having about 74K miles. Not more than 4 months later -it blew a hose ehich destroyed the entire engine. I had to dump an additional 3K into it at that point. Good news was I had a brand spankin new engine - bad news was that everything else started to go on the car ever since that fateful day. Replaced the brakes twice (full brake jobs), miscellaneous things like window motors, exhaust system overhaul, air conditioning twice. Now the tranny is starting to go - and I am not sure what to do. I would really like to know if you have feasability for a Class Action Lawsuit - after researching the car online - I found that it had more things going wrong with it than going right. Please let me know if you have had any more information as yet - I would like to avoid dumping another 2K into it unless I think I can possible have Ford reimburse me or do the work for free.
 
  #10  
Old 06-04-04, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SableGuy
Never buying Ford again, mainly because of the condescending attitude they have had towards me when I made inquiry of why this issue wasn't recalled. They are aware of the problem and have been since 1996. This affects 1 in every 20 cars by estimates of all the complaints around the internet. .
Recalls are mandated for only 2 reasons, safety or emissions. I don't think that tranny problem would fall under either of those. Don't confuse a "recall" with a "campaign". That is voluntary and rarely publicized.
 
  #11  
Old 06-05-04, 10:11 AM
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Not to defend Ford (that'll be the day!), but after they had heard from 50,000+ dissatisfied customers because of premature failure of (a) tranny, (b) head gaskets, (c) motor mounts, (d) ac components, or (e) all of the above, you couldn't really expect them to jump right up and do something for the 50,001st complainant.

If there is a worse example of poor automtive engineering in the last 20 years I don't know what it would be.

Of course, as a professional matter, we LOVE (towing) them.
 
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