'94 T-Bird Tranny Shudder

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  #1  
Old 04-22-09, 01:33 PM
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'94 T-Bird Tranny Shudder

1994 Thunderbird 3.8L V6 2-door coupe non-supercharged.

Along with my rough idle problem in another post, I have this shudder that happens in the tranny usually at low speeds as it shifts into overdrive. Car has always done it since I bought from a friends parent once his wife died. It was ten years ol dwith only 24k original miles on it. It now has roughly 63k going inot it's 5th year with me. Right after i bought it I had the tranny complete flush service including filter along with a host of other preventative maintenance itmes done to start on a clean slate. But it didn't fix the shudder.

I had a similar problem happen on a 1994 F-150 w/351 I owned 6-8 years ago. Turned out to be the torque converter. This sounds and feels like the same problem though it seems to get no worse after all this time.

Besides torque converter are there any suggestions like a tranny additive, or elctronic something or another needs changed etc.etc. i could try?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-22-09, 05:06 PM
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Change the fluid, be sure to drain the torque converter. Do not flush the trans, pull the pan drain the fluid and replace the filter. What you are describing is a classic symptom of worn out fluid.
 
  #3  
Old 04-22-09, 05:15 PM
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Even though this was happening to a slightly lesser degree 4.5 years ago when I first bought it and changed the fluid and filter? The only thing this car went thru since new before I got it was a very long period of sitting. The elderly previous owenr was anal about taking it in for it's warranty intervals and had the documentation to prove it.To the point of dry cracking the side walls on the original tires it came with. My plan was to change fluid/ again anyway. Is there a recommended fluid additive that might help the torque converter?

BTW when you say be sure to drain the torque converter, hwat do you mean by that? Is there something besides dropping the pan that needs done?
 
  #4  
Old 04-23-09, 04:17 AM
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you need to remove the access cover between engine and trans, then rotate engine until you find the torque converter drain plug, it should be near one of the studs that attach the converter to the flywheel. Get a big drain pan and remove the plug, about 7 to 8 quarts of fluid will drain out of the converter. When you refill it, it should hold 11 or 12 quarts total, pour in 5 quarts, start the engine, and add the rest checking the level often, DO NOT overfill the trans.
 
  #5  
Old 04-23-09, 07:15 AM
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Wow, so there's only 4-5 quarts that will initially come out by just dropping the drain pan, then there's another 7-8 that needs drained from the converter itself? I never would've known that. I wonder if the shop 4.5 years ago knew to do that when I had it changed after I bought it.

I'm assuming to refill it all goes in via the dip stick tube correct? I'm curious as to how the fluid gets in the converter the same way it gets in the pan area, but it won't all drain out the pan?

Any recommendations of fluid additives that "might" help as well? Back when I had my F-150 issue, it was recommended byu the tranny shop to try a cetain brand of additive first before spending for the converter change. Needless to say it didn't work and had to change it, but I appreciated being recommendfed an alternative to the $700 it ended up taking.
 
  #6  
Old 04-23-09, 04:57 PM
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The trans front pump pushes the fluid into the converter, that is why you put in 5 or 6 and crank the engine then add the rest, it will not drain out of the converter, which is why you need to pull the drain plug on the converter. I do not use any additives so I do not know which one to recommend. Hope this helps your problem.
 
  #7  
Old 04-23-09, 07:56 PM
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I understand shudder shifting into overdrive is a common problem with older Ford AODE transmissions. I have this problem in my '94 Bird. I've lessened the shudder by doing a valve-body rebuild, replacing most of the electronic components, and a complete fluid change. I still have some shudder but it is far less than before. Spending $2000+ for a new tranny is not in my budget.

Good luck!
 
  #8  
Old 04-24-09, 02:49 PM
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Interesting stuff.....I may take this on over the weekend to see if new filter and fluid will make a difference. I will add probably some Slick-50 tranny additive that says it helps shudder just for kicks. Can't hurt i guess.

tbird94 what electronic componoets did you change? Did you do these yourself, or had a shop do it?
 
  #9  
Old 04-24-09, 03:43 PM
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bought my 94 bird new. It had the same shudder going into overdrive. They worked on it twice under warrentee and it came back later on. I changed the oil, filter and drained the converter. I added some type of tranmission friction modifier. Never have had the problem again. Might try searching for the friction modifier.
 
  #10  
Old 04-24-09, 10:43 PM
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Well, I don't know how much good the new electronic components did. As I said, after making the valve body/electronic changes, my T-Bird's shudder was reduced, but not eliminated.

I would encourage you to do extensive research before attempting any transmission repairs. Research Slick-50 too, it gets mixed reviews. Transmission work is not for the faint of heart. However, I've had many bad experiences with transmission shops, so I figured fixing my tranny was worth my time and effort. I have no formal training in this field, but I feel anyone with mechanical aptitude can make basic transmission repairs, provided you have the correct parts and good instructions. You'll also need ramps, the necessary tools and lots of time. A garage also helps.

I bought a rebuilt valve body and solenoid kit from Transmission Exchange, and did the install myself. You can also buy valve body kits and many other transmission rebuild/enhancement kits for do-it-yourselfers depending on what you need for your particular situation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you drop the pan and see "excessive" metal fragments in the pan, it may be time for a total rebuild. Some metal is normal.

Good luck!!

TRANSMISSION EXCHANGE
Rebuilt Transmissions Transmission Parts
 
  #11  
Old 04-28-09, 09:27 AM
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Good insight guys, thanks for your inputs.
 
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