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Questions and Answers

Ford Ranger Transmission Problem

Q. Hello Vincent! I own a 1997 Ford Ranger XLT 4.0 liter V-6, 5 speed automatic transmission with 55,000 miles on the truck. Okay, here is the problem. Initially when I got the truck, it was winter. And I remember on the really cold mornings, I would pull out of the driveway, stop, put it in drive and it would take about one or two seconds before the truck would move forward.

Ford Ranger Transmission Problem

I thought "well, it is extremely cold so I will see what happens". I never have this problem when it's warm. This is not my problem but I am telling you to hopefully help me with my big transmission problem.

Recently I have began to get a loud high pitched whirring sound coming from the transmission. The pitch of the sound changes with each gear of the trans. And then, just yesterday, I took a 45 minute trip on the expressway, and when I exited to a light, coming to a stop the I heard/felt a large thump come from the bottom of the car when I got down to around 20 mph.

I though nothing of it, so when I took back off, when the car switched from 2-3 the same thump happened this time while accelerating. This happened a couple more times, then I turned off the truck and went inside a store, came back out and drove it and it was fine. Now today, I drove on the expressway way again and the same thing happened. My questions are:

  1. What do you believe is causing this? I only have 55,000 miles on the truck, I thought the transmission should last a LOT longer than this.
  2. Do you think a whole transmission rebuild is necessary?
  3. Would it harm the truck if I continue to drive the truck until I have the funds to take care of it.

Any response is appreciated, and I would like to thank you for such an informative web site. You have answered every one of my questions and you even answered one of my question correctly, while the dealer mechanic, who could physically examine the truck could not figure it out... You are THE MAN!

A. First off, in my estimation, yes, driving your vehicle for extended periods with these occurrences could cause damage to your transmission. A thorough inspection underneath is in order. Just to rule out the possibility, I would inspect the rear mount of the transmission to ensure that it is still holding tight and the rubber is in good shape.

55,000 miles is in the mileage range for a vehicle's first transmission service, I would get it properly flushed with new fluid. Finally, it would be a good idea to get the codes extracted from the computer to determine if anything is being detected amiss.

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