Ford Ranger Gearbox & Transmission Problems

What is causing my 2013 Ford Ranger to shudder when it downshifts?

Answered by CarsGuide 17 Aug 2021

There have been plenty of complaints over this transmission, and a lot of them have been traced back to the valve body separator plate which, from the sound of things, has been replaced on your vehicle. However, was it replaced with a new part or a second-hand one sourced from another vehicle? Was the work done by a Ford dealership or a transmission specialist or a general workshop?

It’s not so likely to be the wiring that’s at fault. Wiring tends to either conduct electricity or it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean the computer that controls the transmission wasn’t damaged when the loom was burned. Fundamentally, the symptoms you’re experiencing could be from any (or all of) the causes you’ve suggested. Valve bodies, torque converters, electronic control units and gearbox internals all have to be working in perfect harmony in a modern automatic transmission. One little problem with any of those systems can cause all sorts of shifting problems. I’d take the vehicle to a transmission specialist who will be able to – hopefully – diagnose the exact cause of the harsh downshifts and do something about it.

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What could be the cause of vehicle shudder in my 2013 Ford Ranger XLT?

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Aug 2021

There have been plenty of complaints over this transmission, and a lot of them have been traced back to the valve body separator plate which, from the sound of things, has been replaced on your vehicle. However, was it replaced with a new part or a second-hand one sourced from another vehicle? Was the work done by a Ford dealership or a transmission specialist or a general workshop?

It's not so likely to be the wiring that's at fault. Wiring tends to either conduct electricity or it doesn't. But that doesn't mean the computer that controls the transmission wasn't damaged when the loom was burned. Fundamentally, the symptoms you're experiencing could be from any (or all of) the causes you've suggested. Valve bodies, torque converters, electronic control units and gearbox internals all have to be working in perfect harmony in a modern automatic transmission. One little problem with any of those systems can cause all sorts of shifting problems. I'd take the vehicle to a transmission specialist who will be able to – hopefully – diagnose the exact cause of the harsh downshifts and do something about it.

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Can an oil cooler keep the transmission cool in my 2014 Ford Ranger?

Answered by CarsGuide 13 Apr 2021

If you talk to automatic transmission specialists, you’ll soon be told that it’s impossible to over-cool such a gearbox. An aftermarket transmission cooler is designed to work in conjunction with the vehicle’s standard transmission cooling system, so disabling the standard cooler is probably not a great idea.

The problem with coolant entering the transmission is not an unknown one with some Ford (and other manufacturer’s) models and occurs when the standard cooler fails, allowing coolant into the gearbox and destroying the electronics and the gearbox hardware in short order. Unfortunately, this is a design thing rather than a maintenance issue, so the best thing you can do is service the vehicle regularly and make sure that the coolant is changed regularly. Even then, however, swarf from the production process (according to one theory at least) has been known to circulate through the radiator and cause damage to the piping that forms the transmission cooler. A radiator clean and flush might help stave off this process.

If the manufacturer of the aftermarket cooler you’ve fitted can guarantee that the unit will cool at least as effectively as the standard unit on the Ranger, then you might consider disconnecting the standard cooler. Even so, you’d be wise to keep an eye on transmission temperatures, particularly if you tow anything or travel at high speed in high ambient temperatures.

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What is causing the clutch to get stuck in my 2013 Ford Ranger?

Answered by CarsGuide 16 Sep 2020

A clutch pedal that won’t return is either sticking (due to friction) has a broken or weak return spring or is throwing out beyond the point it should (like an athlete hyper-extending their knee). How that’s related to the gear-lever locking up is anybody’s guess, but it’s true that if the clutch isn’t disengaging properly (which could be the case if the clutch pedal isn’t doing its thing properly) then the car will refuse to select gears and that can feel like the lever is jammed. Switch the engine off and see if the gears will then select. If so, I’d say the clutch is not disengaging and you may have to pull it all apart again to find out why.

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What is causing the automatic gearbox to clunk in my 2014 Mazda BT-50?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Sep 2020

This model Mazda BT-50 and its Ford Ranger counterpart (they’re the same vehicle under the skin) have had their share of automatic transmission problems over the years. There are known problems with the gears in the oil pump which are prone to wear, valve-body problems and a fault with the output shaft speed sensor which can also fail, forcing the gearbox back into first gear at relatively high speeds. All these problems could be contributing factors in the problems you’re seeing.

While EGR valves often need replacement (and I’m not disputing that yours did) I don’t imagine the EGR valve would have had anything to do with your gearbox problem. It’s not uncommon – nor unreasonable - for workshops to charge a diagnosis fee (it involves workshop time, after all) but servicing the transmission alone won’t fix it if it has any of the problems I’ve listed above.

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Why does the fifth gear pop out of my 2007 Ford Ranger when I drive on the highway?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Sep 2020

The problem could be in the gearbox selectors which, as their name suggests, are the mechanical linkages that allow you to select each gear. If the selectors for fifth gear are worn or incorrectly adjusted, you could have a situation where the car is not fully selecting fifth gear, allowing it to pop out of gear when you load the transmission.

The other possibility, of course, is that, at 428,000km (a pretty good innings for one of these vehicles) the actual internal bits of the gearbox are so worn that the thing is jumping out of fifth in protest. If that’s the case, an inspected, second-hand replacement gearbox from a wrecking yard would be the most cost-effective solution.

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Ford Ranger 2019: The gearbox is not engaging

Answered by CarsGuide 23 May 2020

I’ve heard of a couple problems with the ten-speed automatic in these Rangers; problems that could produce the problems you’ve noted.

From what I can gather through the trade, there has been a dealer bulletin regarding failures of and problems with the transmission’s torque converter. Without a functioning torque converter, it’s entirely possible that you could have experienced exactly the symptoms you’ve mentioned. The fact that the computer hasn’t logged a relevant code is a bit of a puzzle, but stranger things have happened. Apparently, there was a manufacturing problem with a batch of transmissions (some of which were sold in Australia) and that problem caused torque-converter failure.

The other problem my insiders have identified involves the front oil pump for the transmission. Again, without this functioning, the transmission lacks the oil pressure it needs to engage and provide drive. Like the torque converters, it seems there was a bad batch of oil pumps made with too much hardening applied to the teeth, which made them brittle and prone to breaking.

I’m tipping the dealership will have a pretty good idea of what’s going on and that it will involve either the oil pump or the torque converter. At least your vehicle is still under factory warranty.

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Ford Ranger: Can I flat-tow the Australian model?

Answered by CarsGuide 16 May 2020

I have some not-so-good news for you, David. The US-spec Ranger has a driveline that allows the transfer-case to be placed in neutral-2WD. Australian Rangers don’t. And it’s really that simple.

Flat-towing an Aussie Ranger would mean that the automatic transmission would be spinning internally without lubrication. That’s because the oil pump that lubricates the transmission only operates when the car’s engine is running.

Modern four-wheel-drive tech has all but eliminated the neutral position in the transfer-case, so the vast majority of vehicles are in the same boat. Technically, you could flat-tow a vehicle with a manual transmission (because the gearbox is splash-lubricated, not pump-lubricated) but my contacts at Ford tell me that you’d void your new-car warranty in the process in the Ranger’s case.

So what are your flat-towing options? Something like a Jeep Wrangler or Suzuki Jimny might be okay (but I’d check with the manufacturer first) or find something older with an old-school transfer-case set-up that allows for a neutral position.

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Ford Ranger XLT 2016: Grinding noise when driving

Answered by CarsGuide 28 Jun 2019

Call back and ask what was done to ensure nothing else was affected. I would want them to tear the gearbox down, flush everything out, and check the internals before putting it back together and installing the new torque convertor.

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Ford Ranger 2012: Loose gear shifter

Answered by CarsGuide 3 May 2019

It could be, but it’s impossible to now for certain unless you have it dismantled.

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