1991 explorer transmission issue?

Asked by Sep 09, 2016 at 09:14 AM about the 1991 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XL 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi. Just bpught a 1991 explorer, automatic, drove it
home fine. Next day, wouldnt drive, just revved, no
matter if it was D or R, it would take a minute, then
engage. I checked fluid, bone dry. I added fluid
properly, let it work its way through. Drove great.
Same night, almost home, it just all of a sudden
disengages and just revs like in neutral, I limped
home. Checked fluid again, only looked a little low.
Added fluid again, still wont drive. Just revs and
wont even let me limp anywhere. Just wont go.
What is the problem?

3 Answers


You need to check the level properly. Warm the SUV up to operating temperature, about 15mins. With the engine running , SUV in park, on a level surface, pull the trans dipstick and see if it is in the cross hatching. If not, add a small amount at a time. Once full, see if you can get the trans to engage. Check for leaks, if it is low, you have a leak. Hope that since it was low to begin with, damage was not done to the transmission. AS heat/friction is a trans killer. You might be looking at replacing with a used trans or rebuilding as a worst case scenario.


So what tom says. Make sure the level is good. 5R55 transmission have a very commen leak at the servo covers. Their you will find them on the passage side of trans. Right in line with the cat. Converter. It's is easiest to replace the "0"-rings by removing the converter. I also get new covers when I fix one. You can get them from the dealer but they will need the numbers off the old covers. I think they are about 10$ a pieace with "0"-rings. Just hope that their was not damage to trans by running it low on fluid


Agree with Tom. Tranny fluid does not evaporate or get used up. If it is low, or was low, there is a leak. If you can get it moving again, bring it to a shop. I suspect the previous owner of the 25 year old vehicle has already done so, and probably got an estimate.

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