Need '91 Taurus Auto Transmission help. (Won't shift)

Hi, I have a '91 Taurus that just quit shifting automatically. It will drive in any selected gear but just won't shift out of low gear by itself. I looked for a vacuum modulator or something but could not
find one and was told it doesn't have one.
What makes this thing shift by itself? I know nothing about transmissions except that they're expensive as hell to fix.
Could this be a logic module issue? Or maybe a clogged screen or something? Sensor? The Haynes book I have doesn't say anything about shifting problems and I was hoping maybe one of you guys / gals might have an idea on what could be causing this.
I'm in denial right now - just hoping it might be something relatively simple and cheap to fix. Voices in my head tell me the dang thing is toast, though. <heavy sigh>
Please help.
Mikey_P
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1991 was the worst year for Taurus transmissions. It's the first year of the AXOD-E electronic controls. I'd say you're in deep on this one.
CJ

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wrote:

Could very well be. Had the car for about 8 months and the inner seal leaked when I would take it for a long ride or when it was real hot out. Think that was due to a bad cooling fan relay and sensor and everything getting too warm. Since replacing those parts and the fan working again, it hasn't happened.
I'm gonna try and replace the speed sensor and wire but, yes - I think it's over for this car. I heard in general that Ford transmissions are the absolute worse in any vehicle. Don't know if it's true, but this is the second Ford I had with transmission problems.
Thank you for getting back to me.
Mikey_P
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I would disagree that ford makes bad transmissions in general. Every manufacturer had problems with the changeover to electronic shift. Chrysler had a terrible run on transmisssions in the late 80's and early 90's. GM had a hard time with several, as I can attest personally. You just happened to pick the wrong year Taurus.
On the bright side, if you get it rebuilt, all the updates and upgrades will be installed so you should have a better experience.
CJ
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Mikey_p wrote:

hey i have a 93 taurus and had the same problem, stays in first gear... will not shift up.. the cause is: VSS, vehicle speed sensor... well in my case it was the wires going to the VSS.... i changed the motor mounts about one month before and stretched the wires when jacking up the engine.. this broke or frayed the copper wires inside the plastic/rubber covering on the wires and it used to drive at 35-40 mph and then very sharply seemed like it shifted into first gear, and then continue to drive back at 35-40.... finally one night at work the thing(wires must have broke for good and i had to drive home at 5 mph for 25 miles).... go to auto zone and get them to test your "Check Engine Light" the light does not come on but the computer will catch a code for the VSS... you might either need a new VSS(cost about $35) or you just fix the wires going to it.....hope this helps... get back and let us know how you made out... alot better than a new transmission.. and yes you right there is no modulator, the trans. is electrically controled...
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Dude, I'm not getting my hopes up but I'm gonna check it out. I'm not sure what the sensor or wire looks like but I only saw two things going into the top of the trans that it could be. One looked like a multi-wire plug that comes from some kind of harness. The other one was just a single, thick black wire (or cable) that goes straight down into the top of the tranny.
If it was the speed sensor though, would the speedometer **NOT** work? My speedometer appears to work fine. I'm curious if the sensor controls both things. I know a guy at Advance Auto so I'm sure he'll let me return it if it doesn't do the job.
Thanks for the tip, I'm off to the parts store and I'll get back here soon.
Mikey_P
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Mikey_p wrote:

aon my taurus the speed o meter worked fine, it has a cable inside the VSS that goes into the trans...... on some models they have the digital dash with a digital speed o meter that they dont have the cable........ and then you would have problems with the meter also, but in your case it is probably just the VSS... what did the guys at auto zone tell you the trouble code was when you went for the free check????
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Truth told, it's too far away to drive the dang thing to get it tested. I got the sensor yesterday, but could not find where the old one is. And to top it off, it appears that all this time I thought it was a '91 - turns out it's a '90. Luckily, they both take the same sensor and I don't have to take the sensor back. Now if this rain would clear up, I could pull the driver side wheel and poke around in there. Maybe it's on the underside in the back or something. Lying on a wet ground this time-o-year isn't a good thing. Will probably wait till tomorrow morning to replace it.
Thanks for staying tuned in though. Will let ya know how it all turned out sometime tomorrow.
Mikey_P
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If it is a 90, you do not have an electronic transmission. The speed sensor will do nothing for you.
wrote:

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Mikey_p wrote:

On that old of a Taurus, if you have analog gauges, you have a speedometer cable; my 1993 GL wagon has one. The VSS in this case is mainly for shifting and the cruise control. I don't think Ford switched over to "digilog" gauges on the Taurus until 1995 or 1996, though you could get a full digital I/P for a while.
-lee
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 00:42:37 -0500, Lee Cremeans

Thanks for the input Lee. Seems this sensor may be the source of my problems after all. Will find out for sure tomorrow when I change it. Couldn't locate the sensor on the trans yesterday, and today it's too damp and rainy. Looks like a New Years Eve job - hehe.
Mikey_P
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