'98 Ford Ranger tranny question

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  #1  
Old 01-05-13, 05:41 PM
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'98 Ford Ranger tranny question

Hi all,
Vehicle is a 98 Ranger XLT
4 wheel drive
4 litre engine
Auto trans
260,000 miles

Problem: Driving to work and the Overdrive Off light came on. Got to work and shut off engine, started it back up and the light stayed off. Drove fine though, with the light on.

Month later it happened again, so I pulled over, shut off, started up again and drove. Light stayed off and drove and shifted normal. Happened again later that day (light came on) and I kept driving it. As long as I stayed at highway speed it drove normal. If I had to come to a stop, and then accelerated it shifted rough and wouldn't go into overdrive.

As time went by, it happened more frequently so I would just pull over, shut the engine off and when it started up again it would drive and shift normally. Every time I would restart the truck, the light would stay off as though normal.

I brought it into a tranny shop and the tech said that the bushing on the torque converter was going bad and that was causing the problem. He said the best bet was to rebuild the transmission. He wanted $1500.00 to rebuild it. Closing in on 300,000 miles I was hesitant of putting that much money into the truck. So, I just left the truck in my yard.

Not long ago, I was talking to a guy who restores cars and trucks. I mentioned this issue to him and he said I should just put a new converter in it and I should have no problems with it. He knew exactly what I was talking about when I described the problem. He said the seal around the converter neck was going bad and if I replaced the converter and the seal that it should shift and drive just fine.

Any opinions on this? I wouldn't mind risking a couple hundred bucks on a converter if the opinion is that this will probably fix the truck, even if it is just for a while. I use this just for plowing the driveway, and short town trips. When the light is off, it shifts good and solid and there is no indication that anything is wrong until the light comes on. I had thought at first that there was just a bad shifting solenoid and that it would be an easy fix, until the tranny shop guy said the converter was bad.

So, what do you think? New converter? COULD it be a bad solenoid? How would I test for that? The tranny guy hooked a tester up to a plug under the dash to come up with his diagnosis.

Thanks much in advance for taking the time to read this and more thanks for taking the time to reply.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-05-13, 07:48 PM
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I don't know about the converter being the problem. The trans is going into ( Limp Mode ) when you see the OD light flashing which only uses enough gears to get you home. By turning the engine off you are resetting drive parameters but they won't stay long as you have noticed. I would do a search on Ranger transmissions and you might just fine that they have issues with valve body gaskets to blow out and leak internally causing the issue you are having. I rebuilt my valve body and installed a shift kit along with new solenoids and so far so good for the last 20K miles.
 
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Old 01-05-13, 09:34 PM
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i would like to know what the code was
 
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Old 01-05-13, 11:09 PM
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The tech never did say what the code was. He just said that the torque converter bushing was going bad. I asked him how long it would hold out and he said it could go on like that for a long time, or it could just quit working the next time I drove it. I have since driven it around the place here and up in the woods and have had no troubles, although most of the driving is at very low speeds and seldom does it even shift into second gear, and certainly never to overdrive.

When the OD OFF light came on, it didn't flash, but stayed on steady.

Thanks for the replies and advice.
 
  #5  
Old 01-06-13, 08:03 AM
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Again I direct you to do some searching on the Ranger transmissions and the problems they have. The next time the OD light comes on pay attention to how many gears you have because I know that the truck will not start off in first gear and I believe it will only use 2nd through 4th gears if I remember correctly. With that many miles on the truck I would not be surprised if you find more than the converter bushing being the problem. As far as the OD light flashing, mine did and would quit every time I would restart the truck. Your mileage may vary but there are A LOT of problems you will discover if you search the issue further.
 
  #6  
Old 01-08-13, 05:48 PM
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I have 2 questions

1. What is converter bushing? I know seals and O-rings, but bushing?
2. You relaize you'll have to pull trannie out? Unless you DIY this job, how much someone is going to charge you for it? I mean, the truck is worth what? $2500? $3000 maybe? Yeah, just scoped them on craigslist. At that mileage...
 
  #7  
Old 01-08-13, 07:27 PM
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converter bushing is a copper insert that sits in the inputshaft housing to suport the converter. but i dont see how that could cause anything with out a massive leak into the bell housing.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 08:46 PM
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Hmmm.. Thanks. Sounds like soft metal bearing to me, but if they call it bushing, then bushing it is. Things I learn.
Yeah, looks straight like connecting rod bearing:
ACDelco 24241470 Torque Converter Bushing : Amazon.com : Automotive

OK, learned something.
 
  #9  
Old 01-08-13, 11:02 PM
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I did some additional research on it and found out about a gasket that blows out in the tranny, but have to read some more about diagnosing that part.

Yeah, I know I'll have to pull the trans out. I'm a pretty competent fixer once I know what the problem actually is. If I knew for sure that the converter just needed replacing I'd do it in a flash. i just don't want to go through the trouble and expense and find that it isn't the problem.

Could the converter itself just be bad? The converter is basically just a pump isn't it? Is there a seal in it that could be causing a loss of pressure?

As far as the worth of the vehicle, that's the sticking point. The mileage is high, but the front end has been rebuilt and the four wheel drive is outstanding. The body is rock solid with some minor surface rust just starting, and it is also my plow truck. So, it is worth putting some work into, but probably not worth paying someone to do it.

That's why I asked about it here, because i am a DIY'er and have found good advice here in the past. I have not had good luck in bringing cars to shops and have some amazing stories of incompetency of some of them. Pay big bucks to have something fixed and then I have to end up making things work that didn't get fixed right.
 
  #10  
Old 01-09-13, 08:36 PM
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i still would need the code/s to futher help. what you describe to me is an elcetical issue. turning off and restarting fixing it. nothing mecanical would fix its self due to a key cycle.
 
  #11  
Old 01-15-13, 02:34 PM
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Does the ABS lite come on ?
 
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