i have a 2005 ford explorer sport trac. It is an automatic. It is extremely hard to shift the lever, what could this be

Asked by Jun 22, 2015 at 07:14 PM about the 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

it is hard to shift gears,  sometimes almost impossible, it is very stiff

4 Answers


Not certain about the exact solution, but I found this on "troubleshootmy vehicle.com and it may give you a start in figuring out what's wrong. The 4R70W automatic transmission in the Ford 4.6L or 5.4L usually fails in one of two ways: It'll either start slipping (when in Drive) or will go into ‘Limp In Mode’... ...And so, you may be asking yourself: How can I tell if my automatic transmission needs an overhaul? How can I tell if it's just a shift solenoid that's bad? These are some of the most frequently asked questions I get and if you're having an automatic transmission issue with your GM rear wheel drive vehicle... this article might have some of the answers you're looking for. Now, although in this article I won't be showing you how to tear down your transmission, it will help you to find out if your electronically controlled automatic transmission issue is due to a malfunctioning shift solenoid/sensor or internal damage. By the way... the info in this article can also be applied to older AOD-E equipped Ford vehicles with OHV V8 engines. Two of the Most Common 4R70W Transmission Failures 4R70W automatic transmission problems boil down to two basic types of failure. One, the most common, is caused by some sort of electrical failure and which causes the vehicle's computer to command the automatic transmission to stay in 2nd gear no matter what the vehicle's speed. The second type is when the transmission suffers some sort of internal damage and the transmission starts to ‘slip’ when in Drive. Here are some more specifics: 1.Transmission is ‘slipping’. •Internal mechanical failure is the root cause of transmission ‘slippage’. •A low level of transmission fluid (usually due to a transmission fluid leak) can also cause the transmission to slip. •In layman's terms, ‘slipping‘ can be best described as having the transmission go into neutral, although it's in drive, and not move the vehicle no matter how much you step on the accelerator. 2.Transmission does not shift out of gear. •This generally happens when the PCM senses an electrical problem and commands the transmission to stay in what is known as ‘Limp In Mode’. •In ‘Limp In Mode’, the automatic transmission will not downshift or upshift at all. •The usual cause of this condition is a bad shift solenoid... although some internal mechanical problem/damage can also cause this. Each one of the above conditions has a specific cause and in the next sections, we'll explore this a bit more in-depth. How Can I Tell If It's Just a Solenoid Failure? The 4R70W automatic transmission in your Ford car, pick-up or SUV is electronically controlled via several solenoids and sensors, all of which live inside the transmission (well, all except the vehicle speed sensor). If any one of these sensors/solenoids fail or the fuse(s) that supplies the solenoids gets blown... the automatic transmission will go into ‘Limp In Mode’. What makes it pretty easy to tell if the automatic transmission failure is just a solenoid/electrical related issue... is the fact that the transmission doesn't ‘slip’. Here are some very specific symptoms you'll see when a transmission solenoid goes bad: 1.The PCM is also gonna' light up the check engine light (CEL) and store a specific shift solenoid diagnostic trouble code. You'll see one or several of the following transmission diagnostic trouble codes: •P0700: Transmission Control System Malfunction •P0750: Shift Solenoid A Malfunction •P0751: Shift Solenoid A Performance or Stuck Off •P0753: Shift Solenoid A Electrical •P0755: Shift Solenoid B Malfunction •P0756: Shift Solenoid B Performance •P0758: Shift Solenoid B Electrical The above list is by no means a complete list... but it'll give you an idea of what to expect when retrieving transmission diagnostic trouble codes. 2.The speedometer does not work and you might have one of the following trouble codes: •P0500: Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction •P0501: Vehicle Speed Sensor Range/Performance •P0502: Vehicle Speed Sensor Low Input •P0503: Vehicle Speed Sensor Intermittent/Erratic/High 3.Your vehicle's automatic transmission will stay in only one gear no matter what the vehicle speed. 4.As you accelerate your vehicle, it feels very underpowered. This is due to the fact that the transmission is starting out in 2nd gear. 5.At speeds over 35 MPH, the engine feels like it's over-revving. This is also due to the fact that the transmission is staying in 2nd gear and the gear ratio provided by 2nd gear is gonna' keep the engine working pretty hard at any speed above 35 MPH. In conclusion, I want to emphasize that the most important things that will tell you that you have a solenoid or internal transmission sensor problem is: 1.You'll have a specific transmission diagnostic trouble code. 2.The automatic transmission does not ‘slip’, no matter how many times you road test your vehicle. 3.The automatic transmission stays in ‘Limp In Mode’. Let's turn the page and find out more about the specific symptoms an automatic transmission with internal damage (and that will require an overhaul)... How Can I Tell If It's Internal Transmission Damage? The number one symptom that will let you know that the 4R70W automatic transmission, in your Ford car, pick-up, or SUV has internal damage (and which requires an overhaul) is the fact that it ‘slips’. Your Ford car (pickup or SUV) may present one or more of the following symptoms: 1.Usually (but not always), the PCM will set a ‘gear ratio error’ transmission diagnostic trouble code. Here are some more specifics: •P0730: Incorrect Gear Ratio •P0731: Gear 1 Incorrect ratio •P0732: Gear 2 Incorrect ratio •P0733: Gear 3 Incorrect ratio •P0734: Gear 4 Incorrect ratio A gear ratio error trouble code is the PCM's way of telling you that it knows the transmission is ‘slipping’. 2.As you accelerate your vehicle, the transmission all of a sudden goes into neutral (in other words, starts to ‘slip’). 3.No 1st gear... specifically, you put the transmission in drive but no matter how much you accelerate the engine, your vehicle doesn't move. 4.The transmission shifts into 1st gear seconds after you've come to a complete stop causing a very noticeable jolt (this jolt is more pronounced the faster you've been traveling and the quicker you come to a complete stop). The normal behavior is the transmission shifting into 1st gear before you come to a complete stop. 5.No Reverse gear, although the transmission seems to work fine in Drive. 6.When you remove the transmission oil pan, you'll find sediment. This sediment is the friction material that has fallen off the friction discs (which are located inside the transmission). 7.You may find metal shavings in the oil pan mixed in with the sediment. 8.During cold mornings (usually any temperature below 45 °F), Drive doesn't work till the engine/transmission warms up completely. What will give you the definite proof that you have internal transmission damage (and in need of an overhaul) is removing the transmission oil pan to see if you have metal shavings and/or friction material sediment on the pan. Transmission with Both Solenoid Failure and Internal Damage It is possible for your Ford vehicle's automatic transmission to have an electrical issue and internal transmission damage at the same time. What usually happens is that the internal damage is in the components that create 3rd or 4th gear. What makes the ‘slippage’ (this damage creates) unnoticeable is the simple fact that the transmission doesn't upshift into its higher gears because it's in ‘Limp In Mode’. From personal experience... I have seen cases where the vehicle had a solenoid or transmission sensor issue, along with a specific transmission trouble code and a bad shift solenoid or bad transmission sensor... and yet once the failed solenoid/sensor was replaced and the transmission started shifting normally once more... it started to slip in 3rd or 4th gear. To find out if this is the case, in your particular situation, you need to: 1.Connect a scan tool and read any transmission trouble codes. 2.Diagnose and replace the failed shift solenoid or transmission sensor (if applicable). 3.Remove the transmission oil pan (if you haven't already) and check to see if there's friction material sediment and/or metal shavings in it. 4.Once the shift solenoid or electrical issue has been resolved (and the pan is back and the fluid topped off), road test your vehicle. In Conclusion Hopefully this article has given you the info you need to be able to say that the issue affecting your automatic transmission is an electrical issue or an internal issue (that requires an overhaul). Good Luck, /r marten

3 people found this helpful.

I had the same issue. Nothing about the tranny. The linkage connected to the lever on the steering column was all corroded at the bottom. When you pull the lever forward it raises a selector that allows you to move the lever to Drive or Reverse etc. Ours was not lifting fully. An easy replacement. I think it was $95.00 part and labor.

3 people found this helpful.

thank you mgguy56 We will try that

I have a 2005 Ford Explorer and it is slipping in 2nd. gear, so I bought a ODIMKIT with the parts we need to fix the problem, but the transmission still slip's in 2nd.gear.

Your Answer:

Explorer Sport Trac

Looking for a Used Explorer Sport Trac in your area?

CarGurus has 1,525 nationwide Explorer Sport Trac listings starting at $2,000.


Ford Explorer Sport Trac Experts

  • #1
    Wayne Foy
  • #2
    Tracy Hooks
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Ford F-150
2,398 Great Deals out of 200,117 listings starting at $1,300
Used Ford Explorer
943 Great Deals out of 71,545 listings starting at $695
Used Toyota Tacoma
446 Great Deals out of 50,197 listings starting at $2,695
Used Nissan Frontier
319 Great Deals out of 22,047 listings starting at $1,000
Used Ford Ranger
116 Great Deals out of 4,304 listings starting at $1,000
Used Chevrolet Colorado
289 Great Deals out of 39,212 listings starting at $1,500
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500
1,869 Great Deals out of 159,082 listings starting at $1,200
Used Honda Ridgeline
77 Great Deals out of 8,740 listings starting at $3,499
Used Ford Escape
1,264 Great Deals out of 111,659 listings starting at $1,300
Used Dodge Dakota
83 Great Deals out of 3,051 listings starting at $1,900
Used Ford Mustang
297 Great Deals out of 40,392 listings starting at $1,312
Used Dodge Ram 1500
342 Great Deals out of 9,284 listings starting at $1,800
Used GMC Canyon
114 Great Deals out of 15,423 listings starting at $2,750
Used Chevrolet Avalanche
144 Great Deals out of 4,131 listings starting at $1,499

Used Cars For Sale

2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac For Sale
122 listings starting at $8,400
2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac For Sale
3 Great Deals out of 43 listings starting at $7,997
2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac For Sale
10 Great Deals out of 169 listings starting at $6,000
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac For Sale
13 Great Deals out of 396 listings starting at $4,995
2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac For Sale
4 Great Deals out of 218 listings starting at $2,400

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.