AOD Troubles

1987 Crown Vic, 5.0FI, AOD, 87k original miles.
This is my dad's car. Last week, I gave him my five kids and my van for a week, and he sent me home with this car. That was Saturday. On Monday, I
noticed the transmission shifted very hard from first to second under light to moderate throttle. On Tuesday, we drove it maybe a total of 10 miles. It was acting VERY badly. Here's the symptoms:
Slipping, shudder, or a hard shift from 1 to 2. Very early shifts, and no desire to downshift. It will not downshift from 3 to 2 under full throttle unless the car is going less than 20mph! Shifts from OD to D are present, but slip horribly. To give it enough throttle for it to shift out of OD, it will shift to 3rd, but not engage completely, i.e. it keeps slipping.
Fluid is full and pink. I have no idea how long it's been since a filter or fluid change was done, if ever, but the fluid looks great. When I called dad, he said that he had noticed the occasional hard shift, but never had noticed any slippage. Of course, I just drove it 350 miles...
Now, here are my questions:
I haven't had the time to look yet, because of the dark last night, but I'm wondering if the TV cable is broken or disconnected. I know there was at one time a problem with the retaining clip at the throttle body. But if it were that, I wouldn't get any downshifts, right?
I know that a stopped up filter can cause slippage, but would it also account for the other symptoms?
I seem to remember someone once saying that the seals in the valve body can rot and crack, causing problems. Would that cause the low transmission pressure? Would it explain the problems?
Lastly, what would you do now? I'm thinking: 1. Check the TV cable, and maybe tighten it up a bit just to see what happens. 2. Change the filter and fluid in the pan. I'd drain the converter too, but the fluid has no signs or smells of burning or contamination. 3. I'm wondering if a person could replace the seals in the valve body without removing the transmission, or maybe even a shift kit. Anyone know?
By the way, I'm supposed to drive it back to him, all 350 miles, on Saturday...
Thanks,
CJB
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CJB wrote:

Look at the end of the TV cable where it attaches to the lever on the throttle body. You'll probably find that the bushing has disintegrated. Get the brass bushing kit from Ford and hope the trans isn't fried. Drive it and see how it feels. Damage will happen very quickly when the cable falls off, so if this is the problem don't drive it at all until it's repaired.
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Guess what? That's exactly what it was. I was so glad to see that cable loose when I looked under the intake tube. The thing that confused me was that it still downshifted some. I didn't think it would do that at all without some feedback from the throttlebody. When the cable popped out of the rotted bushing, it hung in part of the throttle body linkage, and so it moved a *little* bit when you moved the throttle. That probably saved it from frying the tranny.
I've had that same drivetrain in two other Panther body cars, so I knew what to look for. It's just that the symptoms were not quite what I expected, and it got worse over a period of days, instead of all at once like I would have expected.
The only "bad" part was that the dealer didn't have the brass bushing, but another rubber one. This one is almost clear in color and looks more like silicone instead of the old black rubber one. I figure if the old one lasted 21 years, this new one will probably outlast the car.
CJB
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CJB wrote:

Yea, the new rubber bushing will likely outlast the car. I just usually get the brass one because it's only about $5. I'm glad it didn't toast the trans. If the cable disconnects completely, I've heard that damage can occur in just a few miles.
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 17:46:25 GMT, "CJB"

You probably have a bad bushing where the throttle cable attached to the throttle lever. This is a known problem. It is available at dealers and possibly from the aftermarket. There is also a TSB out on it - I do not have the number but the draler should be aware of it. If it has been run this way very long, the trans may be damaged. If not already, operating it w/a bad bushing will kill the trans. The throttle cable controls the operating pressures in the trans. When the bushing craps out, the pressure goes low allowing the trans to slip and do several other crazy things. The part is cheap and simple to install. Be sure you find out how or get someone to properly adjust the cable when the bushing is replaced. You trans may be fine. A complete service including a filter change and draining the torque converter would also be a good idea just in case it has been doing this for a while. Your savior may be whether your dad is an easy driver of a regular drive-it-like-you-stole-it-driver.
Good luck Lugnut
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