I have a 96 Explorer XLT that has recently developed a problem. The automatic transmission seems to be slipping only when the engine is cold. When I back out of the driveway and put it in drive and press the gas pedal, there is hesitation before the gear engages. It seems to only occur when shifting into first gear (not between 1st and 2nd like some other people have reported). This is particularly a problem when going up a steep driveway (it takes 3 or 4 tries) or pulling out into traffic. It only occurs once or twice when the engine is cold. With the engine warm, no problems. I have had the ATF flushed and replaced with no improvement. There seems to be no leak or at least no fluid on the ground and the transmission fluid level if full. Does it sound like the transmission is going out or is it some other problem? Please help. Thanks in advance. Dudley
Have you tried putting the selector in 1 and seeing if there is any improvement? It could be that your linkage is not adjusted correctly. Try it in the other gear positions and see if it changes the shift. It may also be a torque converter problem since it's main purpose is to get the vehicle going from a dead stop (like letting out on a clutch). It has internal fins that may be bent (for whatever reason) and will not let the transmission engage properly. Or it's fluid level may be high or low which will change the shifting dramatically. Post back with more detailed info on your problem and we will see if we can help out some more...
I have tried in all of the lower gears, D,2,1 with overdrive off and on with no difference. The strange thing is that it just doesnt happen when the car is warm, which makes me think that it is not the transmission. Maybe the torque converter? The fluid level is fine. Thanks for the reply. Dudley
Here is something you can try which is a cheap alternative to a rebuild at this point. Since you mentioned that problem is not present when engine/trans is warmed up, most likely you have a sticking valve in the transmission due to gum buildup due to lax maintenance.
This product has been on the market for at least 30 years that I can remember and it works well in all but the most extreeme cases where actual physical damage is present.
1. Go to your local auto supply and find a can of "Trans-X" and pour it into transmission. (you may want to remove some fluid to avoid overfilling). It is a Benzene based product that will cut the gum off the internal surfaces (and recondition rubber seals too). Benzene is some really nasty stuff though and should be used with care (read carcinogen). If it works, you should notice an improvement rather soon.
2. Drive the vehicle 100 miles or so then (read the directions carefully) take it and have the trans pan dropped and do a COMPLETE fluid & filter change.
3. If this does not do the trick, you are probably looking at a re-build sooner or later.