97 Ford Explorer Transmission issue

I am doing my best to pollute the planet by driving a ten year old, innefficient gas hog that is in need of a tune up.

Actually, I drive it because it is paid for.

Last winter I noticed that the transmission did not want to engage when it was cold and the car had just been started. When I put it in reverse to back out, and again in drive to drive off, it hesitated maybe 10 seconds before going into gear. For the first minute or so it also seemed like it was slipping a little. But after that it drove like a charm.

Spring came and went.



The 70 degree January.

But February was cold as a witch’s titty in a brass bra. The same issue arose.

Today it is in the 60s and it engages just fine.

So, any rookie "Click and Clack"s out there?

Transmission fluid level is fine.

Appears it’s time for a fluid and filter change. A dirty filter makes it more difficult for the colder and thicker tranny fluid to flow till it warms up a bit. My son in law’s Ford Ranger had the same problem, the filter changed worked wonders.

Most likely it is a issue with the valve body. One of the check balls may be sticking, or due to warpage there is pressure bleed off cold, or some of the valves may be sticky cold.
We had one model car that had a similar problem back in the early 80’s. A rubber check ball would get forced through the hole it was supposed to be checking resulting in either no drive for the first 10-15 seconds cold, or slipping cold.

You can try and oil and filter change, like racer72 suggested, but it may require surgery to fix.

What you describe is a common textbook case symptom of internal transmission seals getting old and losing some of their flexibility, to this is another possibility. The cure for which is a tranny overhaul.

If the fluid condition is poor or questionable, and/or it’s been well over 30,000 miles since it was last serviced, a fluid and filter change (note that this is different from a flush, which will not address the filter) is a reasonable step. Just be aware that it might not help. Of course, it will be next winter before you could tell, anyway. :stuck_out_tongue: