Niagara Gazette — EDITOR’S NOTE: The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday’s editions. We're kicking things off with a reader question and answers.
TRACI FROM WILLIAMSBURG, Va.: I just purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer Limited Edition with 4x4 and automatic transmission with overdrive. It goes into reverse at an idle, but when the selector stick is put into any forward gear it has to be revved to 2000 RPM in order to go into gear. Once in gear it stays in gear and the transmission shifts tightly with no slipping. My question: What could be causing this issue and how can I fix it? By the way, it has a 4.0-liter V6 engine. I hope I don’t have to replace or rebuild the transmission. Thanks for your help.
TOM: Unfortunately I think you’re going to be looking at rebuilding or replacing the transmission. What you’re describing sounds like a pressure leak in the forward clutch inside the transmission. When you raise the rpm's up, the transmission pump puts out enough pressure to overcome the hydraulic leak; this allows the clutch to fully engage and thus the vehicle moves forward. Once the pressure has built, it will continue to be fine until the fluid pressure bleeds down again, requiring the hydraulic pressure to be built again to apply the clutch. Sorry for the bad news. Confirm my suspicions by having a fluid pressure test done while driving. Also, have a scanner hooked to the vehicle’s data port to see if any codes pertaining to transmission malfunction come up, after which you can proceed in an informed fashion.
GREG FROM LEBANON, TENN.: I own a 2002 Toyota Camry. The heater doesn’t work too well; the air never really gets hot, just lukewarm at best. The cooling system is full. What’s wrong?