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Diesel World - - Q & A -

I own a 2000 Ford equipped with a 7.3L Pow­er­stroke and 4R100 trans­mis­sion. The trans­mis­sion fi­nally needed to be re­built, so I took the truck to a rep­utable shop in west­ern Wash­ing­ton State that spe­cial­izes in per­for­mance diesel en­gines and trans­mis­sions. I was told that this 4R100 was built to han­dle 450+ hp, which is more than I’ll need. The trans­mis­sion build in­cluded a triple-disc bil­let torque con­verter, Transgo Tug­ger-shift-kit, Banks Transcom­mand, and a fluid top-off with their rec­om­mended syn­thetic ATF.

Since the trans­mis­sion re­build, our fam­ily has moved to Seabrook, Texas, where I be­gan a new job. From the first test drive, the trans­mis­sion has had a busy shift­ing prob­lem, but I sup­pose that all the miles driv­ing from the North­west to Texas has made the busy shift­ing prob­lem all the more an­noy­ing. Around Seat­tle, I never drove the truck enough for the prob­lem to be as grat­ing. When I ac­cel­er­ate, I can find a com­bi­na­tion of speed and throt­tle po­si­tion that causes the trans­mis­sion to con­stantly search up and down for the best gear. The truck will do this even when us­ing more power and throt­tle po­si­tion. I have taken the truck to sev­eral shops here in Texas but they can’t find a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem. I spent nearly $4,000 the first go-around in Wash­ing­ton. I don’t want to do that again.

Jeff Sy­phurs Seabrook, TX We be­lieve that a big part of the prob­lem in find­ing a so­lu­tion is be­cause of the num­ber of non-stan­dard parts and prod­ucts in­volved with your par­tic­u­lar truck and trans­mis­sion build. A per­for­mance trans­mis­sion re­build usu­ally in­volves mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the valve body and/or the ad­di­tion of a shift kit that al­ters hy­draulic clutchap­ply pres­sures and some­times shift sched­ul­ing, and a per­for­mance bil­let torque con­verter can some­times op­er­ate or lock up dif­fer­ently than a stock unit. Also, the Banks Transcom­mand elec­tron­i­cally al­ters op­er­a­tion in some im­por­tant ways, though usu­ally for the bet­ter. In short, these non-stock vari­ables com­bine to make it hard for even a well-trained and ex­pe­ri­enced Ford 4R100 tech to find a so­lu­tion to a

prob­lem. When some­one wants a per­for­mance au­to­matic in­stalled in his or her truck, we rec­om­mend work­ing with a qual­ity shop that has devel­oped a good rep­u­ta­tion over some num­ber of years. Al­ter­nately, when buy­ing a pack­age from out of state, we rec­om­mend a com­plete per­for­mance trans­mis­sion pack­age from a rep­utable ven­dor who is used to deal­ing with long-dis­tance cus­tomers. They have the ex­pe­ri­ence to know what prod­ucts or what com­bi­na­tion of prod­ucts will work to­gether to pro­duce the re­sults the cus­tomer is look­ing for. And they have enough tech­ni­cal sup­port on hand, as well as an in­cen­tive, to trou­bleshoot most any prob­lem that might de­velop. Ob­vi­ously, the shop that did the pri­mary work would nor­mally be our first choice in help­ing to solve this prob­lem. If that’s not pos­si­ble, we’d re­move ev­ery af­ter­mar­ket prod­uct that al­ters pro­gram­ming or per­for­mance that you or some­one else added in an ef­fort to get the trans­mis­sion and the en­gine back to a base­line that a shop in Seabrook would be fa­mil­iar with. Try to get the trans­mis­sion op­er­at­ing nor­mally with as few non-stan­dard vari­ables as pos­si­ble. If the trans­mis­sion can­not be made to op­er­ate nor­mally when the truck is brought back to a clean base­line, the prob­lem is def­i­nitely in­ter­nal to the trans­mis­sion. That said, and be­fore pulling the trans­mis­sion, we’d ask a qual­i­fied Ford-trained 4R100 tech to go for a “ride-along” with a scan tool. There is a wide range of trans­mis­sion-re­lated func­tions that can be viewed and an­a­lyzed in real time. We’d want to know that the Throt­tle Po­si­tion Sen­sor (TPS) and En­gine Speed Sen­sor (ESS) are re­lay­ing the cor­rect throt­tle po­si­tion and en­gine speed in­for­ma­tion to the ve­hi­cle’s Pow­er­train Con­trol Mo­d­ule (PCM). Shift so­le­noid func­tion can be mon­i­tored, and the scan tool can even be used to se­lect gear­ing and torque con­verter lockup man­u­ally. There’s a lot to be learned by a ride-along. You didn’t men­tion any trou­ble codes, but we sus­pect there may be one or more. Any codes you dis­cover would help to nar­row the pos­si­bil­i­ties. Good luck.

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