Car is stuck in limp mode

Asked by Dec 25, 2014 at 02:01 PM about the 1997 Mercury Tracer 4 Dr GS Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 97 mercury tracer that i bought for my daughter and the engine had a
knock to it so i changed the motor and found out the transmission wasnt working
right. Wouldnt shift and stayed in 2nd gear the whole time. After changing the filter
and adding new fluid it still continued to do the same thing. So i bought another
engine and transmission together and installed it just to find out it was still staying
in 2nd gear. So as i studied some online forums to find out that the car may be in
limp mode. So i switched the ECU from a 97 escort with the same motor size and
transmission and put it in the tracer and no change after i left the battery unhooked
for 20 minutes.I used all the sensors from the motor and transmission that i bought
so i didnt use the same ones. What makes this process hard is that i get no codes
so i cant even get a idea what it could be.

2 Answers


When you change the PCM on an OBD II vehicle (1996 and newer) it must be programmed to the car using your vehicle identification number. At this point, the transmission not shifting could be almost anything! But I suspect an electrical problem. A bad connection, broken wire in the wiring harness, or incompatible parts being installed. Not trying to sound harsh but if it were me, I'd get rid of this 18 year old car and get my Daughter a newer car that wants to run. HTH. -Jim

I had a similar issue years ago on my 93 tracer and it was trunk wires rubbed together creating a faulty signal that it was in reverse.

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