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CD4E converter clutch and shift problems

March 3 2006 at 9:22 AM

  (Login FrameRotBlues)
from IP address 209.173.211.18

 
Hello, I've got a '98 Ford Contour, 2.0L with the CD4E automatic. It's got 113K on it and I bought it two months ago from a little car dealer. I'm not sure if it was a flood car or not: there's some really interesting corrosion going on in strange areas such as door latches, air cleaner latches, etc; but the paint is fine.

Anyways, the problem I'm having is when the car is cold, it's got lots of power, but while coming up to a stop it will downshift normally, right into first, and then the converter clutch won't unlock. If I ride the brake just right, the car will shudder and slow the engine down to the point where it kills the engine. When the car warms up, this problem disappears. Also, when the car is driven for around 40 miles, it starts shifting really hard, as if the line pressure went way up. Both upshifting and downshifting, computer- and manually-shifted, it'll slam into gear so hard that I'm afraid it'll twist off a CV joint.

These problems began soon after I bought the car. Two weeks ago I dropped the old fluid and put in a pint of KW Trans Sealer and refilled with Amsoil Synthetic ATF. I thought this would help the problem, but it made no difference. The only difference I can make is if I shut off the car while driving, letting it coast and start it back up. Then the hard-shifting goes away for a short time, but the power cycle doesn't affect the converter lock-up clutch.

Anybody have any experience with this problem? I would really appreciate anybody's ideas on this.

Thanks,
Dave King

 
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Anonymous
(no login)
165.247.82.86

Re: CD4E converter clutch and shift problems

March 3 2006, 1:06 PM 

Dave, instead of speculating what the line pressure is, why don't you measure it? An inexpensive $15 mechanical oil pressure gauge from Pep Boys will work in a pinch. NAPA sells a professional unit for about $70.

Line pressure at engine idle in first, 45 to 63 psi is normal. At idle in reverse, neutral, or park 64 to 76 psi is normal. The line pressure tap is at the back of the transaxle near the bottom next to the valve body cover.

According to Ford's CD4E troubleshooting chart Torque Converter Is Always Applied/Stalls Vehicle

  1. Powertrain control system electrical inputs and outputs, wiring harness, PCM, shift solenoids and transmission range sensor are faulty.
  2. Faulty main control valve body.
  3. Oil pump assembly damaged or leaking.
  4. Torque converter internal seals or piston plate are damaged.
  5. Transaxle case leaks from the clutch bypass circuit.

You might be on to something with regard to possible flooding. Have you done a Carfax check? You really need a shop manual to troubleshoot all the electrical stuff on this transaxle. Even if you were to replace the transaxle, a problem in the external wiring might result in the same symptoms. You might want to try unhooking the various connectors and spraying them with electrical contact cleaner. You could use a tiny bit of silicone grease on them before reconnecting them.


 
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Dave King
(Login FrameRotBlues)
209.173.211.18

Thanks very much!

March 3 2006, 1:46 PM 

That's the kind of information I was looking for! I think I can plumb a gauge into that port for testing, and if the problem turns out to be mechanical, I can probably fix it. I'll try your electrical suggestions as well and see what happens, but as far as testing signals and sensors, I don't have the tools for that.

Thanks!
-Dave


 
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Anonymous
(no login)
165.247.86.51

Re: Thanks very much!

March 5 2006, 4:10 PM 

A simple multimeter can allow you do a lot of tests like checking for opens or shorts, and solenoid continuity. One handy item to have when cleaning electrical connectors is some crocus cloth for buffing up the terminals. Probably your car is basically pretty sound; After a little TLC and some persistence in tracking down the gremlins, you should have a nice ride.

Below is the CD4E line pressure table as published by Ford:

CD4E Line Pressure PSI
GEARIDLESTALL
Park (P), Neutral (N)64 -- 76 --
Reverse (R)64 -- 76259 -- 294
Drive (D)45 -- 63168 -- 184
2nd45 -- 63168 -- 184
1st45 -- 63168 -- 184


 
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