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Ford E4OD Automatic Transmission Shifting Issue

Ford truck Ford F-truck F150 Ford Ford small-block Ford F-series how-to Ford troubleshooting F-Series Ford Ford truck forum F-Series forum

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#1 biggman100

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 05:14 PM

Ok, we had an issue with my step dad's 1994 ford f-150 4x4. It is an extended cab, with a 302 v-8, that a couple weeks ago revved up on its own, which has since been fixed. It was due to a sticking throttle cable, but, when it revved up, the transmission jumped into reverse on its own. Since then, it has happened a couple of times, even with the sticking throttle issue resolved. My question is, has anyone ever heard of this happening? If so, how common is it, and what are possible fixes for this issue?



#2 Moses Ludel

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 06:46 PM

Hi, biggman100!  A Ford E4OD shift problem like this can be solenoids, wiring or sensor issues.  It is unlikely a mechanical issue other than bound or damaged shift linkage.  There is a PCM (powertrain control module) that can throw codes.  Use your Snap-On MT2500 to read codes if possible.  I know of possibilities with the shift solenoids, perhaps a loose connection inside the transmission pan if you cannot find anything obvious in external wiring or visible plug/wire junctions.

 

Let me know the codes thrown.  If you need interpretation or analysis of problems and components related to a code(s), I have a wealth of Ford service data from this period.  My Ford F-Series Pickup Owner's Bible published in 1994 (Bentley Publishers).  Though the book is a companion to factory workshop manuals and not a "shop manual" in itself, I have the research data that includes OEM shop manuals for the F-series truck years from 1948 through your F-150 problem child.

 

Pleased to help, the first step is any codes thrown, I checked the flow charts for your symptoms, there are peripheral problems and not anything "specific" to what you describe.  Give me some fodder, and I will provide an interpretation.

 

Moses



#3 biggman100

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:15 PM

I went to move my step dad's ford to the side of the garage, where it usually sits. The shifter was in park, and the engine started up fine, but before i could do anything, i watched as the shifter jumped into reverse, and the truck tried to jump backwards. Luckily i had my foot on the brake, and it didn't go anywhere.

 

I thought maybe the throttle sticking was why it kept jumping into reverse, but i have since fixed the sticking throttle, and twice now it has done the same thing to me. I have checked the linkage, and found nothing out of place there, and no bad bushings, so i am at a loss.

 

As for getting the codes, my brother removed the battery, so i can't retrieve any codes. A few months ago there was an issue where the starter solenoid would just engage on its own and start the truck.



#4 Moses Ludel

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:49 PM

biggman100...This sounds like a shift linkage problem, either external or inside the transmission case.  From what you describe, "The shifter was in park, and the engine started up fine, but before i could do anything, i watched as the shifter jumped into reverse, and the truck tried to jump backwards."

 

The manual shift valve, detent lever and the spring-loaded detent are not fully engaging Park when the column shifter reaches "Park" position.  If the column shift linkage is adjusted properly and the engine cranks over in Park or Neutral only, then the problem is either the linkage on the outside of the transmission case or inside.  This can be due to loose, misadjusted, damaged or broken shift linkage, or a loose or damaged detent lever, defective spring-loaded detent or other issues with the linkage. 

 

The linkage has the transmission partially in Park, and the manual valve in the valve body is headed for Reverse.  Any vibration or even the shake of the engine starting is enough to cause the linkage to move away from Park and into Reverse.

 

Chock the wheels, set the parking brakes, drop the transmission pan and drain the ATF.  Have someone move the shifter from Park down through Reverse to Neutral, then up again.  Note the movement of the internal linkage, check for loose retainer nuts or roll pins.  Make sure the parking pawl engages in Park position, test by rocking the truck.  The pawl should lock the transmission output shaft from rotating.

 

Your problem is a transmission not fully engaging Park.  Simultaneously, the manual valve in the valve body is not aligning properly.  If the manual valve is not aligned properly, the transmission's fluid circuits will route fluid incorrectly...At the transmission end, you should feel a distinct click and spring-loaded tension when the shift linkage engages each gear position within the transmission.  The internal transmission linkage, manual shift valve and the column shift linkage must act in sync, otherwise what appears to be Park is actually somewhere between Park and Reverse. 

 

The manual valve at the valve body must align properly with each gear selection at the column linkage.  In Park, the pawl must engage.  Let me know what you find...You want to isolate a very specific problem.  This is a safety issue that sounds mechanical, not electronic.

 

Moses



#5 biggman100

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 08:24 PM

I assumed it was something mechanical, but after moving his truck today, i think replacing the transmission would be the better option, due to other things i noticed. When i started it, no matter how many times i shut it off and restarted it, it sounded like a rod knocking, but after a couple minutes it would go away, so i started really listening, while having my brother start it with his foot on the brake 4 or 5 times, and found the noise is coming from the torque converter.

 

The noise would completely go away after a couple minutes, and wouldn't come back, except in reverse, so im thinking there is an issue with the torque converter at the very least. Had the linkage checked today at a transmission shop to make sure it wasn't out of adjustment, and the guy at the shop says the knock was more than likely torque converter, im thinking replacing it will be the best option. He does have a spare transmission that he had a shop rebuild for his 1995 f-150, when that transmission was acting up, but it never got put in the truck.



#6 Moses Ludel

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:19 PM

Sounds like the flex plate might be cracked or damaged.  When you change transmissions, replace the converter and closely inspect the flex plate for cracks and fatigue.  The flex plate is a relatively inexpensive item when you've already stepped up for the cost of a transmission rebuild and a fresh torque converter. 

 

If you replace all of this, and the linkage, motor mounts and transmission mounts appear okay, this should work out.

 

Moses



#7 biggman100

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:41 PM

The rebuilt transmission out of the 1995 already has a new torque converter, so im going to just use that one. As for the flex plate, i didn't think of that, but in light of the fact that today i got under the truck and checked a few things, and found the torque converter to flex plate bolts were extremely loose, and re-tightening them, with lock tite, and only 2 of the 4 actually seemed to get tight, and realizing that the torque converter has been banging against the flex plate for who knows how long, that would make sense.

 

My plan, once a couple other issues are dealt with on other vehicles, is to pull the transmission out of the ford, replace the trans mount, and more than likely the flex plate, as well as all the shift linkage bushings, and transmission itself, as well as the motor mounts, because i have suspected an issue with at least one of them for awhile now, and then see if anything else needs to be done. The problem with this truck is that it is an older one, and my step dad does not want to spend money on it, but at the same time, he expects it to be reliable and safe.



#8 Moses Ludel

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:15 AM

Sounds familiar...Of course, it's cheaper to not buy a new vehicle; however, you need to constantly perform preventive maintenance and inspection if you want the vehicle to perform as reliably as a new one...Unless you're in a position to do professional-grade work on your vehicle, there's the added cost and dilemma of subletting the work.  When considering a used vehicle, shop hourly rates, even for independent shops, now hover around $75-$100 per hour flat rate.  Considering just the cost of a DRBIII scan tool or equivalent, new or used, it's understandable why.

 

So, this is an issue, because safety and reliability are essential, especially for our 4x4s used in remote backcountry, and every part of any vehicle has a lifespan or duty cycle. Having a fleet truck maintenance and restoration background, I have been fortunate, and realistic enough, to stay on top of our vehicles.  We've never been stranded nor had a total vehicle "breakdown" or tow in our family vehicles, and this is actually most unusual.  (Minor trailside fixes don't count, we kept going without a glitch.)  

 

The closest event was a limp-in drive to the dealership under warranty when the Dodge Ram had 800 miles on it, and the Cummins ECU decided to quit, not just on our truck but on a whole slough of '04 models.  (Recently, Chrysler extended the warranty on the ECUs for these vehicles.)  A change out of the PCM under warranty, a flash of the new Cummins Recon computer, and the truck has run flawlessly for the following 120K plus miles.

 

This is the "price" of used vehicle ownership.  When you have a family and children, safety and reliability are of the utmost importance.  Maybe we should start these two new topics:  "Used Versus New Vehicles" and "Preventive Care"?

 

Moses



#9 biggman100

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:37 PM

Both of those topics would probably end up being hot debates. There are people who have valid points on both sides of the coin, and there never seems to be a consensus on either topic.

 

Some swear by new vehicles, and some swear by used vehicles. Preventive care is one of those issues where there are so many factors, it's sometimes hard to say who is right, depending on what part of preventive care you are bringing up.



#10 fredford

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:22 PM

I'm having a shifting problem with my 1990 f=150. I think the tranny shop said it's an E4OD.  I had some seals and filter replaced a few months ago. Drove several thou miles with no trouble. Lately it started not shifting from 2nd to 3rd when it was cold. It seemed like it was in neutral-revved high without going anywhere- until it finally did shift.  It's gotten worse the last couple of days and now it doesnt want to up shift. Can barely get  past 35mph. Unfortunately Im 200 miles from home.  Any suggestions?



#11 Moses Ludel

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:47 PM

Hello, Fred, welcome to the forums.  Sorry to hear you're stranded away from home.  Let's see if we can target that problem and get you home...

 

From what you describe, at worst this could be a more serious direct clutch or center support assembly issue, which would require a teardown/rebuild.  Before jumping to that conclusion or testing hydraulic and mechanical components, I would check the PCM for any stored codes. 

 

Loose or damaged electrical connectors, defective SS1 or SS2 shift solenoids, loose or damaged vehicle wiring, the PCM module itself or the vehicle speed sensor (not likely the VSS, as the problem is only on 2nd/3rd shift) can each create shift issues.  There is a specific set of diagnostic codes related to the E4OD transmission malfunctions.  See if a code is stored already and run the diagnostic sequence for the PCM and the transmission specifically. 

 

I can provide a list of mechanical/hydraulic trouble spots for the E4OD if you cannot find a simpler electrical or electronic issue.  The SS1 or SS2 solenoids or wiring circuits could be an issue; electrical problems can be fixed without a teardown.  If no electrical, PCM, wiring, VSS or solenoid issues exist, and if you do need to tear into the E4OD, the likely cause of this 2nd-3rd shift issue is the valve body, 2-3 shift valve, an SS1 or SS2 solenoid or circuit malfunction, a damaged center support assembly, overall wear or a faulty direct clutch assembly.  In any case beyond the valve body and solenoids, major work would be involved. 

 

Always attempt the simpler, in-chassis diagnostics and fixes first...Do not drive with the transmission "slipping", as severe damage will occur rapidly.  Let us know what you find.

 

I'm here for any additional help.  Looking forward to your participation at the forums...

 

Moses



#12 fredford

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 09:40 AM

Moses,

Thanks. That's good advice.  The VSS is interesting to me. I found that if I was able to get up to around 50mph (down hill) it would upshift to high gear (OD?) and I could cruise at 60 to 70 no problem-so it seemed that vehicle speed was somehow related to shift problem.  I drove from SF bay to North Tahoe. Going up hill if I had to downshift manually when I went back to OD the upshifts happened as long as speed was sufficient.  The really odd thing that happened when I got off the freeway was that it didn't want to come out of gear when I approached a stop. Luggin motor as if it was a manual tranny in high gear.  I popped in neutral to keep it running. Then it was back to the same trouble when I got going again-no up ( or very delayed)shift in mid gear unless I could get up to speed.

I was hoping to drive it back home to go to my tranny shop that did the seals and filter. That sounds ill advised.  I could tow home or find a local shop to check it out. Do you know anyone in North Tahoe/Truckee area? I could take a look underneath if I knew what to look for.

Thanks again, Fred



#13 Moses Ludel

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:32 AM

Fred, sounds like a VSS possibility...Check the wiring and connections to the vehicle speed sensor.  Check wiring in general.  The coming to a stop issue could be the lockup converter staying locked, and this might also be a VSS problem.  Before replacing parts, look for the simpler fix around the VSS:  wiring and connections.  If the VSS tests defective, replace it.

 

As for shops at the Tahoe Area, I suggest Levrett Transmission at Reno on E. 4th Street.  They are a multi-generation family business, and the E4OD is a mainstay for this rebuilding and troubleshooting shop.  Levrett Transmission enjoys a good reputation locally:

 

Levrett Transmission

832 E 4th St

Reno, NV 89512

(775) 323-6151

http://www.levretttransmission.com/

 

A chat with the Levretts by phone might cast some light, they work on the E4OD day in and out, especially Ford F-trucks.

 

Keep us posted, Fred...

 

Moses



#14 95Mudder

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 08:29 PM

Alright so i started to have a problem with my 95 F150 351w (has 109k miles on it) with the E4OD transmission yesterday. It took more rpms to get it into drive and when at a stop it was not wanting to move under its own power. Today i had put some shutter fluid in it and it seemed better but not completely unsolved, while i was goin up a steep hill i had completely lost drive but had only reverse and park left, what would cause me to completely lose drive?



#15 Moses Ludel

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:35 AM

95Mudder...Have you changed the filter and fluid recently, not just a top-off?  A clogged or loose filter can cause this problem, and if left unresolved, you will burn up clutches.  The Levritt Transmission idea is making even more sense, getting a fluid and filter change with an inspection at the same time.

 

There are distinct causes for loss of drive.  However, the fact that it does this on a grade raises suspicions about fluid level and the ability to pick up fluid.  Can you drive safely into Reno and have Levritt drop the transmission pan?  The symptoms are not good...

 

Moses



#16 keithfromphilly

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:38 PM

I have a 91 F150 RWD E4OD that is throwing a 624 code. I've replaced the VSS, RABS,MAP, Neutral Safety Switch, TPS and IAC and it's still shifting hard through the gears. Think it's the wiring harness or could the EPC solenoid be shot?

#17 Moses Ludel

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 08:25 AM

Keithfromphilly...The 624 code can indicate either:

 

1) A "short circuit that can cause minimum EPC pressure (minimum capacity).  Limits engine torque (partial fuel shut-off, heavy misfire).  Flashing TCIL." or

 

2) "An open circuit that causes maximum EPC, harsh engagements and shifts.  May flash TCIL."

 

Sounds like you have the open circuit, as this does fit your transmission symptoms.  You likely have either an EPC circuit "open", a shorted circuit or an output driver issue.  Check the wiring, connector plugs and the output driver.  The problem will be somewhere in that circuit or the output driver.  Don't spend additional money on solenoids at this stage, they're probably not the trouble.

 

Moses



#18 keithfromphilly

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. I pulled the harness today and found a loose connection on the plug that connects to the trans. Reseated the loose wire and problem solved. I'm glad it was something simple and not a solenoid.

#19 Moses Ludel

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 05:50 PM

Great when this works out well.  This is an instance where Ford's OBD troubleshooting was spot on!  The 624 code coupled with your shifting symptoms gave us a positive and useful lead...

 

Good job, Keith.  Looking forward to your participation at the forums!

 

Moses



#20 keithfromphilly

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 05:48 PM

Thank you for steering me in the right direction. Thankfully these older trucks are easy to work on.

#21 Moses Ludel

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:31 AM

Funny you say that Keith...I've been a professional light truck wrench since the late 1960s.  At that time, we serviced and rebuilt very conventional trucks, and in my first professional role, I was a light and medium duty truck fleet mechanic.  (Yes, journey-level professionals were called "mechanics" then, not "technicians", and I'm okay with either moniker.)  The fleet was 1949-64 vehicles, all breaker point ignitions, drum brakes, grease-able chassis points or at least steering linkage and drivelines, manual linkage transmissions, vacuum modulators on the automatic transmissions, very fundamental to work on.  Trucks were considered utility vehicles and had to be serviceable with accessible components.

 

I've witnessed and been hands-on with the complete evolution of vehicles.  Frankly, today's "light trucks" are no longer fleet engineered for ease of service.  In fact, this is the era of electronics and passenger car accessories, including your '94 Ford with MPI/EFI and a transmission controlled by electronics.  You're right, it's a matter of "degree".  Electronics did not end ease of troubleshooting.  The code you pulled from the '94 is actually very helpful.  OBD (onboard diagnostics) can be quite useful, though certainly not always able to pinpoint a problem or offer a solution.

 

What I consider ease of service is when you can still access components in the repair and rebuilding process.  When the heater core of a 2012-up Jeep JK Wrangler takes a dealership professional 8 hours to replace, at the expense of tearing half the under dash apart, I have trouble calling this traditional Jeep utility model a readily serviceable vehicle. 

 

Like other professional techs and fleet operators, I'll always expect my trucks to be serviceable.  Bad enough that cars have such a poor track record for service/parts access.  Visualizing my head downward under the dash with feet over the seat tops while servicing the heater does not appeal to me.  I'm sure that dealership techs doing warranty work (been there, done that, GMC truck line and warranty mechanic in the early S/T-truck era) would fully agree.

 

Moses





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