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Ford E4OD Transmission Will Not Engage After Sitting

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Newly purchased 1994 ford e-150 van will not engage when put into any gear after sitting for  awhile. after engine running for about 5 minutes or so it finally engages and runs and shifts fine. Any ideas on what would cause this?

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vanman...This sounds like a lack of fluid at start-up.  Common causes are a clogged oil filter pickup screen, a loose or leaking oil pickup tube or filter, or a converter that has drained back and takes time to fill.  A variety of converter troubles or a front pump check valve issue could be involved.

I would begin with the simplest possible approach:  a fluid and filter change.  Debris in the pan can be assessed for excessive hard parts or clutch material.  If excessive, that is a clue.  If the filter is not at fault, we can go from there.  I'd like to know what is in the oil pan.

Moses

 

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Hi Moses,

I have the same exact problem, same year and everything. except mines got 197,000 miles.  5.8 engine.

Shifts perfect through all gears, it just started doing exactly what was described above.

I pulled the pan and the magnet has some dark shavings attacthed to it.  Also found a few slivers of aluminum .

Does the E4OD have a torque converter drain plug? Transmission oil does not smell burn,  but it had like a dark oil greasy substance in the bottom of the pan.

Should I just replace the fluid and filter or get another tranny?

I use this mainly for camping on like 100-250 miles trips.

Never gave me any problems before and it cruises at 80 mph.

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Alcatraz...I would change the filter and fill to full as required.  When changing the filter, also change the sealing O-ring to make sure that the filter seals and picks up oil.  If fluid is clean now, pass on draining the converter even though it should have a drain plug.  Try placing the shifter in Neutral after the engine starts to see whether you get a quicker gear engagement.  This would indicate that the converter is not filling properly in Park position.  

Do not overlook a shift linkage issue.  Engagement in reverse and normal function in the forward gears after the transmission decides to work suggests this is not the problem, but check the linkage adjustment anyway.  Be safe and have the vehicle on level ground with the wheels chocked before horsing around with the shifter beneath the vehicle.

Before condemning the transmission, as a last test before a tear down or replacement, run a line pressure test on the unit.  If pressure is low and the pump is suspected, it would be time for a rebuild.

Please update on your findings...

Moses

  

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Thank you for answering me.

Update:  I actually went ahead and drained the torque converter before I checked back here.

It did have a drain plug and it was an easy task to drain it.

I also changed the filter and everything is working fine now.

I was concerned with so many miles and it being used for long trips that it was on its last shift.

Thanks once more for your input .

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Alcatraz...Amazing what a new filter and fluid can sometimes do!  Apparently, you did not damage the clutches when the transmission was starving for fluid.  Sounds like you caught the issue in time.

Thanks for the update...Others will benefit.  Wise that you did drain the converter, especially with this turnout.  You won't need to change fluid and the filter for a while.

Moses

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My 88 bronco 2 is having the same issues aND the fluid, filter and modulator valve were changed.  Drove fine for a Lil while now back to square one.  Cranks up fine but will not engage in any gear

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This does sound like no pump suction, which on an E4OD could be the internal oil pump screen—either restricted or blocked.  Accessing the oil pump screen (not the service replacement filter) requires the equivalent of a rebuild on the E4OD transmission.

Before taking it that far, do a test gauge pressure check of line pressure and other external pressure port tests.  Port tests are a quick and reliable way to narrow down a shift or overall performance issue.  Since you note elsewhere that the transmission does not slip (great!), line pressure and pressure tests in each gear mode would be valuable, help narrow down the problem and preserve the transmission.

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