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  7. Ford Ranger Transmission Problems: 6 Causes & Solutions

Ford Ranger Transmission Problems: 6 Causes & Solutions

Ford Ranger Transmission Problems

Ford Ranger Transmission Problems: 6 Causes & Solutions

The Ford Ranger has been around for a while and is quite a powerful pickup truck with its unique off-road capabilities. The hauling and towing capacities make it a great option for hustlers and those who love outdoor adventures. However, Ford Ranger transmission problems are a completely different story.

The transmission problems became so prevalent that the 2002 & 2007 Ford Rangers saw seven and three recalls, respectively. Some users also had to rebuild the transmission entirely.

It’s not just an issue with older models —  newer Ford Rangers are also susceptible to transmission problems. Common transmission problems include fluid leaks, gear shifting issues, faulty torque converters/TCC solenoids, worn-out clutch, and overheating.

If you’re experiencing any of these transmission problems, don’t fret just yet. We’ve compiled a list of common solutions that might help you get your Ranger back in tip-top shape.

Types Of Transmission In Ford Ranger

Before we move to the transmission problems, let’s discuss what type of transmission will you find in a Ford Ranger:

1983-1984 2WD Ford RangerC3 — 3-speed automatic transmission
1983-1985 4X4 Ford RangerC5 — C4 with a lock-up clutch in the torque converter
1985-1994 Ranger with OverdriveA4LD 4-speed automatic — modified C4
1995-2000 4-Cylinder & 3.0L Rangers4R44E — 4 forward gears, rear-drive platform
1995-1997 4.0L Rangers4R55E — used with 4.0 L Cologne V6
2001-2009 w/2.3L & 3.0L5R44E 01 — for lighter duty applications
1998-2011 4.0L Rangers5R55E — five-speed transmission with adaptive shift control
2002-2011 Ford Ranger 4.0L5R55W

Signs of Bad Transmission

Are you confused about whether you’re experiencing Ford Ranger transmission problems or not? Here are some common signs that indicate that your Ranger’s transmission is going bad:

  • Transmission fluid leaks
  • Grinding or shaking when shifting gears
  • Transmission slipping
  • Check engine light is on
  • A burning smell coming from the transmission
  • Delay in shifting gears
  • Transmission slippage

Unsynchronized speeds and transmission slippage has been reported by multiple owners of Ford Ranger T6 3.2. Similarly, Ford Ranger T6 2.2 owners have experienced jerks when shifting from P to R, the truck being stuck in 2nd gear, and more. Let’s discuss the underlying causes of these issues:

6 Common Ford Ranger Transmission Problems & Solutions

Many Ford Ranger drivers have complained about experiencing transmission problems. Here are the most common issues and their solutions:

1. Fluid Leaks

mechanic checking engine bay for fluid leaks
Photo by Unsplash

Problem: Fluid or transmission leak is one of the most common reasons for bad transmission. Mostly it happens because of deterioration of transmission cooler lines, gaskets, or seals.

Due to reduced transmission fluid, you may also feel gears slipping at low speed (below 20mph). This could be one of the most common Ford Ranger transmission problems.

Fluid lines can also crack (or break) due to road debris or overheating. Make sure you check the durability of these lines after every few months.

The possible sources of transmission fluid leakage are:

  • Transmission oil sump
  • Faulty torque converter
  • Loose gearbox cap
  • A misaligned transmission pan gasket
  • Faulty valve/solenoid
  • Punctured transmission pan or drain plug
  • Cracked fluid line

Solution: If you want to fix this issue yourself, you can locate the leak origin and then replace the damaged part with a new one. Typically, it’s the spy seals that go bad.

It’s always better to take your Ranger to a professional mechanic for a thorough checkup. It will cost a bit as the mechanic will have to take the transmission apart to pinpoint the source of leakage.

2. Gear Shifting Issues

Photo by Unsplash

Problem: Is your Ford Ranger refusing or hesitating to shift gears? If yes, then it’s a sign of a serious transmission problem.

This could be due to low transmission fluid, worn-out clutch, or damaged shift fork. The other possible reason is worn-out shifter cables in old Rangers. On the other hand, faulty bushings can cause your transmission to pop out of gear.

Solution: If you face gear shifting issues, make sure to lubricate the shift cable. After that, check the transmission fluid level and top it off if necessary.

You should also consider replacing the shifter cables if they are old. If the problem persists, you must take your Ranger to a professional mechanic for further diagnosis.

3. Faulty Torque Converters

car engine
Photo by Unsplash

Problem: The torque converter is an important component of the transmission system. It is responsible for transferring the engine’s power to the transmission.

A faulty torque converter can cause many problems like shifting issues, delay in gear engagement, and overheating of the transmission fluid.

Solution: You can fix a damaged torque converter by replacing it with a new one, and we would recommend an OEM replacement.

To diagnose the problem, expect the mechanic to check the electronic control module, solenoid, and the torque converter itself. Also, if your transmission has been overheating, you need to consider contacting a professional mechanic for further diagnosis.

4. TCC Solenoids

clutch disc
Photo by Pixabay

Problem: The TCC (torque converter clutch) solenoid is responsible for controlling the fluid pressure in the torque converter. When this solenoid goes bad, it can cause many transmission problems like slipping, hard shifting, or delay in engagement of gears.

Solution: When the transmission cannot slip, your Ranger engine may start stalling when it stops. It will set a trouble code and illuminate the check engine light. Here are a few possible solutions to fix the TCC solenoid.

  • Try replacing a torque converter or clutch.
  • Change or top-up the transmission fluid.
  • Replace/repair ECU and TCM
  • Clean the TCC solenoid valve.
  • Install a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission

5. Worn-Out Clutch

a clutch
Photo by Pixabay

Problem: The starter is usually attached to the transmission shaft. If the clutch wears out, it can cause transmission problems like delay in gear engagement or failure of the clutch release mechanism.

Even if a broken starter is not causing any symptoms on your Ford Ranger, you still need to replace it with a new one as soon as you notice any signs of wear and tear.

Solution: You need to replace the starter/clutch as soon as you notice any signs of wear and tear. Even if a broken starter is not causing any symptoms on your Ford Ranger, you still need to replace it with a new one.

6. Overheating

mechanic looking at faulty car
Photo by Unsplash

Problem: Overheating is one of the most common transmission problems in Ford Rangers. It can happen due to heavy use, faulty radiator, climate, restricted airflow, and issues with the cooling system.

When the transmission overheats, it can cause many problems like gear slippage, hard shifting, and delay in engagement of gears.

Solution: Fix the overheating issue as soon as possible. Perform regular inspections and replace the radiator if necessary. You can also try cleaning the engine cooling fan and repositioning it correctly to get more airflow to cool the engine.

Final Thoughts

ford ranger driving through the snow
Photo by Unsplash

Ford Ranger transmission problems can occur anytime, especially if you have a heavy load and difficult road ahead. Remember, proper maintenance is the key to avoiding transmission problems. Therefore, regularly check your transmission fluid level and change it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

We don’t suggest you keep driving your truck after experiencing any of the above-mentioned problems. Yes, you might be able to squeeze some miles out of the faulty transmission, but it’d be like punching one more nail in the coffin.

If you experience these transmission issues, don’t hesitate to take your Ford Ranger to a professional mechanic. They can fix your transmission problems very easily and quickly.


Do Ford Rangers have transmission problems?

Yes, Ford Rangers can have transmission problems. The most common transmission problems include shifting issues, delay in gear engagement, and overheating of the transmission fluid.

How long does the Ford Ranger transmission last?

The transmission on a Ford Ranger, on average, should last between 130,000-180,000 miles on the trip meter before a transmission replacement is needed.

How often should I change my transmission fluid?

You should change your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.

How to detect transmission fluid leakage?

The P0842 error signifies that there’s an issue with the transmission of your Ford Ranger. Here are a few other trouble codes to keep in mind:

Trouble CodeDescription
P0705Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction
(PRNDL Input)
P0711Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit
P0712Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Low
P0713Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit High
P0730Incorrect Gear Ratio
P0731Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio
P0732Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio
P0733Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio
P0734Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio
P0735Gear 5 Incorrect Ratio
P0745Pressure Control Solenoid ‘A’
P0775Pressure Control Solenoid ‘B’
P0795Pressure Control Solenoid ‘C’
P0797Pressure Control Solenoid ‘C’ Stuck On
P0798Pressure Control Solenoid ‘C’ Electrical

What are the symptoms of a faulty torque converter in a Ford Ranger?

The most common symptoms of a faulty torque converter in a Ford Ranger are shifting issues, hard shifting, and delay in gear engagement.

How do I fix a damaged TCC solenoid in my Ford Ranger?

You can fix a damaged TCC solenoid by replacing it with a new one or cleaning the TCC solenoid valve. You can also try installing a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission.

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