A couple of months ago my car lost third gear. No grinding or any abnormal sounds. It just lost third. When you shifted into that gear, it was like being in neutral. My car is at 75k miles so warranty wasn't an option. I'd also just replaced the clutch about 6 months earlier so I knew how to pull the transmission out in a timely manner. I did not want to spend the $2500 for a brand new unit. My transmission had never really shifted that badly and a new one could be worse. I also didn't feel like rebuilding the entire thing. If aftermarket parts were available, I probably would have. Since I only had OEM parts to work with, I decided to just replaced the failed parts.
This is not a complete step by step guide, but more about tips on how to do it yourself. It will also give you an idea of what's involved and lets you get the tools you will need to do it.
I started by draining the fluid. This would give me an idea of how bad it was. The fluid came out fairly clean. This was a good sign that something wasn't still grinding itself to death. I did have to drive the car sans third for a week until I could replace the head on my Jeep.
Pulling the transmission is fairly straight forward. There are instructions on the online service manual. Basically you remove the driveshaft, shifter and bushing bracket, starter, move over passenger side exhaust with cat (remove two cat bolts, loosen sleeve at h-pipe), remove cross brace, take off clutch line, disconnect all the sensors and where the wires are supported, support trans
, remove rear mount, remove all the transmission bolts, pull back transmission and drop. Easy. One thing you might have trouble with if you don't have a lift, is getting the car high enough to pull the transmission out. The front of the bellhousing is very tall. Even with my jack stands at full height, I couldn't get it out. I have to use my large jack and raise the front of my car all the way and pull it out.
Now the transmission dis-assembly instructions are missing on the online service manual. After the service tool list it ends. I went ahead and bought the Alldata subscription to make it easier. Well worth the $22 for the year. Great step by step.
Service tools you will need:
- A large three jaw puller. I bought the $29.99 one you can get at Advanced Auto with a gift card. Not the greatest quality, but it worked. This is mainly for the rear output shaft flange. The even larger two jaw puller you absolutely need may work... I didn't have it at that point.
- As mentioned above. A very large two jay puller with very long legs. I bought the one that Ford calls out in the dis-assembly procedure. The OTC version from Advance Auto online is $75. #OTC 1036. Not too bad for a special tool. This will be used for splitting the case.
- Slide hammer. I bought the cheap harbor freight kit. This will be used to hammer out the five detent pins. There is a Ford attachment to go on these, but I was able to use one of the HF attachments with a worm clamp around it to drive them out.
- Shop hydraulic press. You will need a heavy duty press to get the shafts apart. I bought the 20 ton Harbor Freight press. It worked great for what I needed it to do. You also will need to get a large bearing separator to use with the press. Also bought at HF.
- 12mm allen socket. 1/2” drive preferred. Most sets only go up to 10mm and you can't get this at Lowes or HD. Again HF.
- The Ford synchro driver. This is used for pressing things on the shaft. I did not have this tool and had to get creative with the arbor plates on my press, but it would have been way easier just to get this. You could also just get a steel tube with the correct ID instead.
- Blue Medium loctite, Red permanent (262 or equiv) loctite, anaerobic gasket maker.
- 3 qt. XT-11-xdc fluid and 1 bottle XL-18 additive. Might need the dealership to order the additive.
Things that might be good to have:
- Air or heavy duty electric impact. I don't have air in my garage so I had to get the $50 HF electric 1/2” impact. I have a nice Dewalt cordless impact that can do ~130 ft/lbs, but it was not enough. For 50 bucks the HF one did the trick.
- Heavy duty work top or table. I did my transmission rebuild on the garage floor. It would have been nice to have a proper work area.
- Transmission jack. Unless you like doing crazy heavy chest presses, it helps to have a transmission jack. Especially for re-installation.
- Seal driver set. You can use different large sockets for it doesn't hurt to have a proper seal driver kit. HF has a few cheap ones. I used the handle pressing a few things in place of the synchro driver tool.
First thing about taking the transmission apart is DON”T PANIC. You can do it. Just pay attention to the details in the manual. The transmission is actually quite simple. The best thing to do is stay
organized. I laid everything out in the order I pulled it off the transmission. It made it easier when going back together. You will obviously need to open it up first to figure out everything you need to replace. My repair was just 3rd gear and the synchro. I did not replace any of the bearings as my fluid was clean and I had no abnormal noises. You may need to replace more or less depending on your situation. If too much is trashed, you may just need a whole new transmission.
One thing that sucks about this transmission is the lack of aftermarket parts right now. I replaced everything with OEM parts. As of writing this, there are not any aftermarket parts. There are a couple companies that offer “performance rebuilds”, but they wouldn't tell me what they use or sell me the parts. I'm guessing they are just cryoing OEM parts. If any of your shifts are not smooth, now's the time to replace that synchro pack to cure that problem. None of mine felt bad so I only replaced the one on the failed gear. Expect about 100 bucks a gear and 50-60 bucks for each synchro pack. Since I had no leaks, I didn't bother replacing the input shaft and output shaft seals. You may want to do those.
Now for the fun. I recommending taking pics of things you might want to look at upon reassembly.
- Caution. The transmission likes to try to roll over on its side. You can damage the output shaft speed sensor if you let it. I had to replace mine after I broke the connecter off.
- Remove the throwout bearing.
- You can remove the shift linkage. Two bolts. Push the transmission into 4th by moving the shift shaft forward into the transmission.
- Next, below the input shaft is the counter shaft cover. You have to drill a hole in the center and use something to carefully pry it out. Don't scratch the bore it comes out of. Now use the impact and 12mm allen socket to remove the counter shaft bolt. It has permanent loc-tite so it took a few hits with the 230 ft/lbs impact to get it out. A nice air impact shouldn't have much trouble. This bolt has to come out before you can remove the counter shaft later.
- Next is the rear output shaft bolt. This is a large bolt that needs a large socket. Like a 30mm or something close to that. This bolt is a little less tight since I could use my Dewalt impact. You can use the smaller 3 jaw puller to get the flange off the shaft. It's on pretty tight so I had to use the impact of the puller. This is not recommended by the puller instructions, but it worked fine. Just make sure the jaws are on a place where they won't slip off.
- Next you can remove the three sensors off the transmission. Don't forget to pull out the little spring and piston from the skip shift solonoid.
- Using the 12mm allen socket, remove the two rear shift fork pivot bolts. Now use the slide hammer to remove the four smaller detents.
- Now you can remove all those transmission case bolts. Use the large two jaw puller to pull the case apart. Make sure you put it the jaws on two flat areas near where the case splits apart. The rear case should come off pretty easily. If you pull on the wrong spot, you can break a piece off the case off. After the case is off, you can use a punch to drive out the dowels.
- You can remove the reverse shift fork and shaft. Next, you will have to use the slide hammer to drive out the large shaft detent on the case. Once that is out you can remove the shift shaft.
- Now you have to remove 1st, reverse, and the reverse synchro with the two jaw puller. Make sure you put the jaws on first and pull all three off together.
- Pull off the needle bearing and remove 1st gear synchro. The three little detents like to fly out so make sure you keep an eye on those while taking them out.
- You can now remove the 1st/2nd shift fork and shaft.
- You should be looking at the synchro hub. Since it is splined of the shaft, the manual wants you to index these so they go back the same way. I didn't, but it's not a bad idea.
- Next take out the two large allen bolts and remove the shift interlock plate.
- Now you can remove the three bolts that hold on the large aluminum plate.
- Before you can press this apart, you need to remove the snap ring above the synchro hub. Once off, you use the two jaw puller to press it all off. You put the jaws under the aluminum plate.... but the jaws are barely not long enough. Now you can get another special Ford puller or you can do what I did. I drilled another set of holes at the top of the puller jaws. I split the difference between the end of the jaw and the top hole. Worked great. The jaw is fairly easy to drill through. It should all come off fairly painlessly.
- Now you should be able to see down into the trans. There are two large roller bearings that have to come off both shafts. Split the race and pull them off.
- Next, remove the remaining four 12mm allen shift rail pivot bolts on the outside of the case.
- You can now remove the remaining shift forks and rails. You are now ready to remove the two shafts. Inspect all the plastic pieces for the shift rails. Replace as necessary.
- You can use the Harbor Freight press to press down on the counter shaft and free both shafts from the case. It should not take much pressure. It is very important not to let the shafts fall on the floor when doing this. Have a 2nd set of hands would help.
- If you need to get it apart further and remove the input shaft, you remove the snap ring on the IS and press it out.
With everything out, you should have a pretty good idea on what need to be replaced. Remember when ordering parts, you need to replace the counter shaft plug you drilled a hole in. The instructions for disassembling the shafts are available on the free online manual. This is mainly where the hydraulic press is needed. The gears are on the shaft are extremely tight. I actually heated up the gears with a little torch to help get them off. It helped. When putting the gears back on, I warmed them up in the oven to 200 degrees. Just something that will make it a little easier.
Re-assembly is the opposite of dis-assembly. Some tips:
-When you lock it into two gears to torque the counter shaft bolt, press the two shafts together to keep them from jumping teeth. There's enough movement in it without the aluminum plate to allow it to jump teeth before you reach the torque spec without pressing them together.
- When putting the shift fork pivot bolts back in, make sure the they are lined up in the hole before threading them in.
- Another thing I found was once I had it almost all together. Everything felt really tight. I could barely spins the transmission when it was in 1sts/2nd/reverse. Also neutral didn't seem to let the input shaft spin freely. It wasn't until I installed the rear output flange that everything freed up. That's pretty much the last step. So don't worry until that's on.
- The gasket maker for the case sets in about ten minutes so you have to get it together in that time. Also make sure both surfaces are clean.
- I also found it easier to fill the transmission with fluid with it out of the car. It takes 2.7 qts. Plus the additive. Don't fill it to the fill hole. It just takes the 2.7 qts. of fluid. Obviously you can use the fluid of your choice, but I've found the XT-11 and XL-18 much better than my original 2010 fluid.
If you take your time and pay attention to the details, you will end up with a transmission as good as new for way less than buying a new one and have the dealership do the work. Plus you'll have a bunch of new tools and a better understanding of your transmission. This is also a good time to replace the throwout bearing and upgraded the clutch. I had just replaced the clutch with an Exedy 6 months earlier so I didn't mess with that. I did upgrade to the stainless clutch line. It's a ten minute swap.
Good luck and I can answer and questions you may have! Sorry for any spelling or grammar errors.