Runs fine in Park and Neutral. Runs so poorly it cannot move itself in D and R.

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Asked by Apr 04, 2015 at 05:14 PM about the Ford F-150

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2001 5.4 Ford F150 was running fine and then suddenly became undrivable. In park and neutral, truck runs normally. Starts right up, idles smoothly and pressing the accelerator will result in the engine smoothly running faster, RPM can go all the way up the safe range. In gear, things are very different. Truck runs so poorly that it cannot move under its own power. No codes in computer, according to a shop I towed the truck to. Check Engine Light is on. Overdrive Off light blinks constantly and clicking Overdrive button on gearshift knob does nothing. Checked fuel as it comes out of fuel filter because some people suggested that it might be fuel starvation but fuel flow out of the filter seems ok. Sprayed starter fluid in air intake and truck ran good enough to move while starter fluid was being applied which makes it seem like fuel starvation again. Once the starter fluid was consumed truck returned to running too poorly to move itself again.

Any ideas why and how I can fix the problem?

3 Answers

210,715

Your problem is not fuel related. I know it's transmission related due to the fact that the O/D light blinks because the trans is overheating and or has a stored fault code. It might be as simple as a trans shift solenoid went bad locking up the torque convertor at idle, or something in the trans went south. Have it looked at by a reputable trans shop in your area for a correct diagnosis.

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Thanks for the quick response. How sure are you that this is a transmission issue? Are you basing this entirely on the Overdrive Low light? In support of your suggestion is the fact that the shop I took it to said that there was a transmission code read out of the computer but they made a point in insisting that it was unrelated to the problem.

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And also, any idea why spritzing starter fluid down the truck's air intake gave it the ability to move under its own power again?

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