1998 Explorer - No Reverse

Pooh BearMay 23, 2008

Drove the SUV over to a neighbors house to pick up some stuff.

Pulled up the driveway and into the turn around.

Put the transmission in reverse and heard a pop noise

Just sat there like it was in neutral and it wouldn't back up.

Luckily, the area in front of me was clear and uphill.

So I put it in drive and drove up the hill a bit, then put

it in neutral and coasted backwards enough to turn it

around and drive it back down the driveway and drive it home.

It drives forward with no problems. Just no reverse.

I have no idea what to look for. I would like to inspect

what I can on the outside before I have to take it to a

transmission shop to work on the innards.

Can someone here give me any ideas of what to look for.

1998 Ford Explorer, 2 door, automatic transmission.


Pooh Bear

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Pooh Bear

Is there anything on the outside of the transmission that
could have went wrong or messed up.
What I know about the innards of an automatic transmission
would fit on the head of a pin with plenty of room left over.
I was hoping maybe a linkage problem or maybe a vaccuum
hose developed a problem. Not likely but anything I might
could see just from crawling under it and looking.
The alternative is it will sit in the driveway
until I can save up the money to get it fixed.
It rarely gets driven anyway so no big problem there.
But it sure would be nice to have it available if needed.


Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 3:25AM
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There would be nothing on the outside of the transmission that could cause this. lucky is correct in thinking about the low/reverse band as a possible cause. While the OD, and intermeadiate bands are not as robust as the low/reverse and are very prone to breakage, it can still happen to the low/reverse band.

If you drop the transmission pan you will see a large circular servo housing at the Right Rear corner of the valve body that is held in by four bolts. Take that off and you will see the low/reverse band going around the drum that is now partially exposed. The hidden end of the band simply locks into pins in the transmission case, the "free" end of the band is just above the lever that the servo pushes on. If you can move that band around the drum at all, then one of the anchor points has failed. Essentialklky this was probably the "pop" that you heard.

You may even find pieces of the band anchors in the transmission pan.

When the intermeadiate band failed in my 5R55W, I definately heard it go just after a 2-3 shift, and then of course I had an engine flare. I knew right away, "something broke" similar to how you described your loss of reverse. Unfortunately there is no way to replace the bands on this transmisison without tearing it down. If you have never been taught how to do it, I would advise against attemtping it yourself. Besides, even though technically only one part has failed, you still want to overhaul the transmisison while it's apart.

For a pro, it's actually a very easy transmission to service. There is far more work to do, pulling it out and putting it back in.

BTW, one note. "Transmission Flushes". This would be one of many transmissions that still has adjustable bands. You can tell just how experienced a shop is by whether they actually perform this step or not. No Quick lube that I know of ever checks/adjusts the bands, and the worst part is it's a relatively simple thing to do.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 9:25AM
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Pooh Bear

I definitely won't be doing the work.
20 or 25 years ago I would have remove/reinstalled the
transmission myself and let someone else rebuild it.
I'm just not up to doing that kind of work anymore.

At least it drives forward. I can drive it to a shop
when I get the money and find who I want to work on it.

Thanks for the info.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 10:52AM
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