Overdrive - '98 Ford Explorer Automatic Transmission

My O/D (overdrive) light has started flashing for several miles at a time and then stops. I'm usually at a slower speed when it occurs and can't really tell if I'm losing my high gear when this happens. Any ideas?

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Dave wrote:

The OD light actually serves 2 functions. It indicates OD being locked out (by the driver pressing the switch), and also functions as as a malfunction indicator light for the transmission. If it is flashing there is an electronic concern with the trans, but not necessarily just with OD. The electronics can also pick up certain mechanical problems. There will be a Txxxx fault code set, which is retrieved via the OBD II port much like Pxxxx codes for the Check Engine light. The proper scan tool can also read live data when the concern happens to help with diagnosis.. The Ford Dealer is your best bet for non-generic OBD II issues like this, but a good local independent or transmission shop should have the proper scanner (and training) to help diagnose the problem. The key word here is "good. There are many fine indy shops and transmission shops that can help you if you want to avoid the dealer. They can be hard to find, though. "Word of mouth" is their best advertisement, so ask around and find out who other folks trust in your area. Even though you don't sense (hear, feel, smell) a problem when the light is flashing, you need to get it checked out right away. It could be simple and not much of a problem, but it could also signal an expensive repair if left unattended. Good Luck, and let us know what you find out.
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Tom - Thanks for your reply. I took the truck to a transmission shop. They had the scan tool hooked up when the O/D light was flashing and the code set was: P0741 - Torque Converter Clutch Performance or Stuck Off. They told me that probably means the Torque Converter has gone bad and usually it sends material into the transmission that ruins that too. The next step in the diagnosis is to remove the pan and see what kind of contaminants are in the transmission oil. From that they say they can determine how extensive a repair is necessary but probably I'm going to need a new torque converter and a rebuilt transmission $2-3000. The vehicle is only worth $5000 at the most but is in great shape other than this. Does their diagnosis seem reasonable to you? The truck runs fine but I do lose the O/D gear when the light is flashing. I appreciate your comments. Dave
Tom Adkins wrote:

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I think $3000.00 is a bit steep for a new or remaned transmission. You should be able to pick up a re-manned trans for about 1500.00, they are pretty common transmissions.
As for crap going into the rest of the trans, I would just make sure they flush the cooler real good (back flush it) and flush the whole tranny, and put a new TC and filter in, and your trans should be good to go..
I doubt you would need a new trans for a TC problem, the fluid flows from the TC to the cooler and back to the pan to be sucked up by the pump. So the filter should stop any debris that doesnt get caught in the cooler.
Ford Tech
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Ford Tech wrote:

is correct in saying that you can "buy" a reman for $1500. You have to then have it installed, which is no small feat on an Explorer. Usually about $1000. You have to find someone willing to install your $1500 trans with some liability.
If the converter spit debris into the trans, it's often done for due to the contamination. You could pay someone to replace just the converter for ~$1000 in hopes that it will solve the problem. It might. It might not. As you can see, $3000 is about what you will have to spend if the trans has been compromised, one way or the other.
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Once again thanks for helping me with this issue. The transmission shop told me that they would need to pull the transmission along with the T/C and with that done they would go through the transmission to see what needs replacing (if anything). Most likely there would be some problems and I would end up with a rebuilt transmission (they do the rebuilding) as well as a torque converter. No sense they say to pull the transmission and not take a look at it to see what might be wrong. Their estimate is $2100 - $2600. Another shop that I trust estimated $2000-$2200 for the same thing. The truck is in great shape, it's paid for, and I could probably get several more years out of it so I'm inclined to go for it. If I wait a while do I stand to do more damage to the drive train and end up with a higher bill at a later date? Or worse yet, get stuck somewhere? As I've said the truck runs fine even with the O/D light flashing occasionally. Is there any likelihood that that light is an erroneous indication and the code set is sensor malfunction? The shop says no. Dave
Tom Adkins wrote:

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