Transmission problem: When cold, will not shift into gear.


Asked by Oct 04, 2008 at 06:16 PM about the Ford Ranger

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I changed the plugs / wires / dist cap in my ranger, (4wd) now in the mornings, I put her into reverse and she will move, but then when I go to shift her into gear, it does nothing, just sits there. Now I do not know if it is a coincidence, but I also have a 2000 ford ranger (2wd) and changed the plugs and wires in it also, and it does almost the same thing, will not shift into drive, just sits there.   Could this problem have anything to do with the plugs/wires?  Just seems kinda coincidental that it is happening to both my rangers now!  

9 Answers

Andrew Gilbert

How long does it take for it to finally get going? I don't know how plug wires would cause this, but I am not an expert.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Deven Prater

Possible the fluid may not be up to temp or they could possibly both be low on fluid. But i believe the plugs and wires would have nothing to do with the trans.


Since you worked on this yourself doublecheck all wire connections in the area that you might have bumped. It is easy to loosen one without realizing it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Double check fluid level , low level will cause delayed engagement into gear. Also double check you didn't knock a wire connector loose when working on the spark plugs and wires.


you could also check the transmission filter if it is clogged up it could cause it to seem like the transmission is going out

changing plugs and wires would not affect the tranny,if it was working before the tun up,you may have knocked off a vac line or unpluged a scensor connector.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I tend to agree with the thought you disconnected something. Perhaps go back though each of the steps you performed when changing the plugs wires. I think maybe command module in tranny. you should be able to get a code reader from local parts store plug it in and read codes.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I also tend to agree with the disconnect suspicion. (The first 3 times I responded to a check engine light on 2 different cars, it was disconnected O2 sensor after routine work. Can anyone suggest which connectors to look at? (I have the same problem on a ranger I bought just after the engine & tranny were rebuilt)


Your tranny problems are vacuum related or internal in the transmission. There is also a possibility that there is some type of solenoid that has gone bad. Depending on if it is automatic or standard

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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