transmission won't shift or engage


Asked by Jun 12, 2007 at 07:57 PM about the 2003 Ford Taurus

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

my car just stopped and won't go  in to gear forward or reverse

51 Answers


Check out these sites. Maybe they will be able to help you troubleshoot whats going wrong with your transmission.

146 of 146 people found this helpful.

Same thing happened to me last year coming back from New Orleans to Houston. According to the dealer, the catalytic converter went out. Fotunately I had bought it as a cetified used car in 2005, warranty was still in effect.

32 of 32 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the answers. I went to Ford and was quoted $2900. To rebuild at a local shop was $1800. I ended because of finances getting a junyard unit put in for $1200, I had to find the transmission myself because they were hard to get in my area. It was $500 at a salvage yard but the garage charged me $700 plus $500 to install, thus the $1200. I hope it last.

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

HOLD THE PHONE My Ford Taurus gets in a mood every now and then and starts slipping in gear. Usually all I need to do is get on a highway and it somehow resets the computer to sync the transmission back up. The other day, I was working on the power window in the driveway and vola!, the transmission stopped completely, except for reverse. I jacked the car up and found the transmission pad was leaking so I replaced the filter and transmission fluid and it took over 7 and a half quarts to bring it to full level with the engine running. But the interesting thing was I found a little known blog that said, disconnect the battery (clear the codes) and the transmission would still kick into gear, even when the transmission fluid was low. Evidently the torque converter, if it doesn't catch too well or not at all, sends a message somewhere to not try at all. Clearing the code, started it searching again. Too often, most of the mechanic's kept saying the transmission needed complete rebuilding. In this case, this was not needed. Michael

71 of 71 people found this helpful.

could be the tourk converter,a bad scensor,or the tranny is gone out .

34 of 34 people found this helpful.

well our car have a good tranny but we need the following to make it last change fluid on a regular basis like 40 000 60 000 km and add a tranny cooler and when you start to have prb like slipping the mostly newer tranny have some time a bad piston seal and they need to be rebuilted did 800 000 on a rebuiltted tranny on a 40 000 km oil change interval with synthetic and a secon dary cooler cuz heat his the worst for our tranny and even i you dont have prb with your now and youre not towing any thing plzzz add a tranny cooler on the secondary line this will help portect your tranny or any automatic tranny

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

sounds like it is toast,when was the last filter and fluid changed.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Step one is to make sure there is fluid in it. The transmission cooler lines run almost behind the front bumper. I have seen some get scraped against tall parking curbs and spring leaks. Check the fluid with the car RUNNING in park fully warmed up. Read the dipstick it will tell you where it should be. With the car off and the key in, foot on the brake pedal. Rapidly go through all of the gears. Sometime the PRNDL switch can get gummed up. How many miles are on the car and when was the last time the fluid and filter were changed? Th is should be done AT LEAST every 60k on this car, but its better to do it every 30k. $100 every 30k will save you a big bill in the future.

15 of 15 people found this helpful.


18 of 18 people found this helpful.

you ran the transmission too long with old fluid in it and it wore out.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

Although this is old, for anyone like me googling this problem, please see the following website: I'm going to try disconnecting the battery as one commentor on this site suggested, but I don't hold out much hope.

21 of 21 people found this helpful.

May someone help me I have a 98 ford it will not stay in drive but I to drop into frist than second an than drive but when I stop it slip so I go back into frist gear.

22 of 22 people found this helpful.

You got to get your transmission rebuilt. I had mine rebuilt for $1200. Thats the cheapest I could get it done for.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

I just calledcthe ford dealership and told them bout my ford Taurus transmission doing what everyone else's was doing and they said if everyone who had problems would call then they could make it a recall and fix it for free so please call and report it. 18003923673

17 of 17 people found this helpful.

yeah my 2002 has doen this ughhh tauruses r notarious for tranny issues

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

i changed radiator watter pump plugs and wires trany filter new muffller k&n air filter both bottom o2 sensors elecric fans oil and filter serpenten belt and now it wont go in gear at all

30 of 30 people found this helpful.

I have a 2004 Ford Taurus, and the transmission did the same as yours. There was no gears that would engage, forward or reverse. I looked on the Internet to find what the problem was, and found most was saying it was the torque converter. And most said it would cost around $1800 to replace it. They also suggested that the torque converter being replaced should be bought at Autozone because it is made with better splines for the pump shaft. The part is made in Tennessee by a company called Dacco. I bought one for my car for $174.99 Found a guy to put it in for $100 My total cost was around $350. I give all the thanks to God for the blessings of it just being $350 instead of $1800

53 of 53 people found this helpful.

I was driving and my 2003 ford Taurus went out of gear and never went into any gear after that. what should I check before replacing the transmission?

84 of 84 people found this helpful.

you could check the wiring harness connectors at the trans for good connection,along with fluid level at least showing a bit on stick, the fuse box has atx listed fuse also check it if equipped with

45 of 45 people found this helpful.

What is the answer

14 of 14 people found this helpful.

I went and had the transmission rebuilt - apparently, it had been sitting too long and all the fluids that had settled went up into the transmission, completely screwing up the seals and gears. Cost me $2500. I paid $4000 for the car. Next time, I'll just get another dang vehicle.... sheesh!

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

Typical answer Papa - The worst case scenario Forget about A to F It's shot. I can't tell you how times that Kind if answer is totally wrong

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I just bought a 2003 ford Taurus with 161 thousands miles on it, I had it for two days and it drove great, I was on my way home last night and it just stopped going, it was in gear and still running but would not go ANYWHERE. im super pissed about the situation, not mentioning that this is my first car. it cranks with no problem, it has oil and tranny fluid and nothing else seems to be wrong with it. I bought it from a buy here pay here place, and im hoping their going to fix it for free, cause they should have done some kind of check to make sure it was go to go before I walked off the lot.

15 of 15 people found this helpful.

The torque converter is suspect. They will be fine one second, and dead the next and often die without warning. The splines for the pump shaft wear out. Known issue on these as well as Windstars. On one Taurus it was clockwork.. 80k failed, 165k failed. Another Taurus 160k failed. Seems like 80k is the magic number. I also have had a few that went 200k without issue, as well as one with almost 350k. There are aftermarket converters now that use a thicker surface so they no longer strip out. Here is a video that shows the common problem...

42 of 42 people found this helpful.

Parts arent bad, labor is what gets you. Dealer cost here is $900 700 to 800 of that is labor. Sadly many places will say its the transmission... charge $2000 to 3000 for a rebuilt... when they are just doing a $150 torque converter. -.-

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Torque convertor n spline issues 950$ - 04 Taurus

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I've got a 2004 Ford toures and i was driving and it wouldn't go over 35 and now makes a noise when you start it. What could it be and how can I fix it.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

Tried disconnecting the battery. Worked like a charm.

13 of 13 people found this helpful.

I have a 2005 Ford Taurus se, was driving n outa the blue it was as if i nocked it into neutral. Pulled over an took a look...went through the gears testing each one...wouldn't engage into any of them besides park. Idk if the gear linkage is has a striped gear so slipping....or trans is shot. Guy at a rundown shop (btw only one in area who could help at time now stock in his lot with storage fees getting it out soon.)...anyway he said hooked it up did a dynastics n said could be tq converter n a pump...n said he looked up common trans problems an what he found was a tq converter n a pump could be wrong so guy dont even know for sure whats wrong. An this is why like to work on my own cr bc of money hungry dbags like him... Tows me to shop sted of my house now got storage fees so yeah what ever is wrong mey self n i or a better shop will be fixing it. Would any of you have a idea what may be wrong.....?

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

some autocorrect problems ect in first post.... He charging $95 for the dynastics, paying $150 for tow and by first of May ill have $120 in storage fees. Wants $300 start the job of replacing tq-converter and a pump in trans $400 or more to pay for everything so almost $830- $1000 in work that may be may not be wrong ... I found a shop that thats a shop i can trust todo work but wont have my car back till the first of May so figured ask about what could be what could be wrong guys any idea? (Tried resetting the car, an trans fluid, but when trying to put it into gear drive or over drive n or reverse it wouldn go into gear... Be as if i was in neutral Still. Could it be the linkage gear stripped maybe...? Please help gotta get back home to have a check up for Cancer Apt is on 27th Got A all day almost two day drive back home. Hope this is a easy fix. Worst timing ever...

10 of 10 people found this helpful.

Christopher, aftermarket torque converter what one would you suggest...(note that i drive a lot so gets put into gear very often.) .... Any MT that can bolt to the motor in my '05 taurus? Rather have a MT 5- speed.... (2005 Ford Taurus se V6) A manual transmission ? AT to MT? Possible with out changing the motor in the car now?

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

I found out what the problem was with mine: the 2005 ford taurus had the issue that all the seals had broken down in my transmission, requiring a rebuild that cost me nearly $2700. However, I went with Aamco, a company that's been known for years to handle transmission repair and is dang good at it. When I had a transmission fluid drop 6 months later, they fixed the whole thing for free as a garauntee of their work! It was worth every penny, car runs like a charm now and hasn't had an issue since!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I drive a 1999 Ford Taurus and everything was fine until yesterday when I was driving and I put my foot on the gas, and nothing happened. I could rev and change gears, but it wouldn't shift! I am getting mixed answers... torque converter or transmission rebuild? I need some help please! I can't even get to work!

49 of 49 people found this helpful.

I have a Pontiac 2002 and the gears are all loose and the car want move.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Has anyone tried to replace the transmission range sensor? doing some studding on this very issue right now, and what I am finding is that this sensor is bad about going out and not letting the trans to engage.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

I am doing this change on a Taurus tomorrow and will let you know what the outcome is

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Lee, what was the outcome???

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Same thing happened to 05 (70k miles) last night. I could shift into all gears but nothing seemed to catch when I pressed the gas. Engine just revved. No check engine light at the time or typical tranny warning signs beforehand. Awaiting diagnosis at the dealership right now.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

fudge, I can't wait to hear what they told you. I am wondering as to what to do with mine. The mechanic says it is the entire trans, but it feels like the linkage. So I am awaiting anxiously to what they tell you.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The problem could be as simple as changing the fluid and adding Trans-x to it and running it in drive at idle for 30 minutes, drive it some, start and stop local in all gears if it will go into gear, and then let it sit for a day, then run it in drive again (always be sure to put the parking brake on and tire chucks on the front wheels.). I have salvaged many dodge, jeep, saturn and ford transmissions with this process. It is long and sometimes tedious, depending on how bad the old fluid got. The old Dex III fluid used in the older vehicles is only good for 25,000 miles. The Trans-X is a mild varnish solvent that dissolves trans fluid that has baked out into a sticky varnish that keeps the valve body hydraulic spools from moving smoothly and rapidly. Once they get stuck it can act like a dead transmission when all it needs is several transfusions using the process above. Hydraulic valves hate dirt and varnish!!!

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

I have thought I had the 96 ford Taurus fixed three times now. The first time was from using Trans-X and several flushes as the fluid really bad. Did this after replacing all three broken engine-Tranny mounts.... Got a few days out of it here it there and then nothing again. Tried a new range sensor and then it worked flawlessly for 2-3 weeks, then dead again. This time I got the transmission service manual and ran diagnostics that indicated it migt be the variable fluid pressure control solenoid valve, which we replaced and now it is working again, for now. How long ???? I have not tried the battery disconnect trick, if needed we will try that next. If that fails, it leaves the valve body as the next most likely suspect. I seriously doubt many of these problems, including our is the torque converter as ours, when it finally shifts, is a hard slam into gear, not a slipping torque converter. It is an all or none thing, that must be valve body or valve body solenoid issues. for the most part. In out case, it is not a 100% dead all the time event. And there is a simple 1/8" npt pipe thread tap on the front of the transmission near the side pan that you connect a high pressure hydraulic hose to and 300 psi or higher pressure gauge (liquid filled) and test the actual fluid pressures versus the factory specs to see if the pump is working. In my case the pressures indicated the pressure control valve (electric) was going bad as the fluid got hot.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

2004 Ford Taurus with 56k miles on it. Transmissions stopped engaging while driving. Pulled over and would not engage into any gear. Took off oil pan and oil/oil pump was clean and did not smell burned or have metal shavings. I am going to replace the torque converter and will let the tread know if it works.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Replaced the Pressure control solenoid valve, 96 ford taurus, and it worked again, then after a good long test drive about 6 randon codes showed up. Disconnected the electrical connections at the transmission, and the large bulk one that we disconnected to reach and replace the valve, and cleaned the contacts, reconnected the connections all the code but one stayed gone after clearing them. Only remaining code was range sensor out of range. Reset the transmission cable (bolt was loose) and now all codes are gone. Now to solve the new problem stiff steering, air in the lines from disconnecting the return line to service the Tranny. Always something.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Preludecro88. Any luck?

2002 ford Taurus Shifter won't shift out of park when lever is pulled it glides over the (R N D) but will switch manually from under the hood . But can be put from D-P using the shifter


Preludecro88 try the pump shaft that goes into the torque converter. Same problem and I didn't have to take out the whole transmission to fix it.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

My 04 Taurus was running great until a couple days ago. It started revving really high before it would shift and then didn't want to shift out of 3rd gear .I would be doing 35mph at almost 4000rpms. I got home and put it in park and then it sat at about 1000rpms and just kept revving between 800rpms and 1200rpms. The car has 127,000 miles and this is the first issue I'm having. I checked the fluid and everything's good there. It's not leaking any fluid or throwing any codes .Does anyone have any idea what my problem could be?

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Found out the issue was vacuum leak. I had a cracked upper intake that was causing the leak. The part on was $167 and then a gasket kit was $17. A hell of a lot cheaper than the garage wanted.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi I have a problem my brother was driving back home and the car was flashing the oil warning light and he felt the car weard not running over 40 mph so he got home and the tranny had a lil oil in it so he put some on but in when u run it the first shift feels like it slips but then it runs normal don't know if maybe he put to much oil fluid or something else is a 2005 Taurus

hi i have problem with my 99 ford Taurus wagon i was driving it and they all of a sudden out of the blue it was as if i locked it into neutral. Pulled over an took a look...went through the gears testing each one...wouldn't engage into any of them besides park . i am on fixed income and people are telling me it the transmission that went and i don't know what to do since i use this car a lot for my pets and to get back and forth to doctors


Torque converter are the issue. Just changed 3 converters in 3 diff Taurus. Do not rebuild unless you have other gears that do work. If all gears are out, change the converter.

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