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Old 06-27-2017, 02:56 PM   #1
gavin
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Default Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

1997 Explorer, 5.0 V8, 4R70W trans, BW4404 AWD t-case, around 220k on the ticker.

Since at least 2008, the thing has had a constant harshness in the drivetrain.
It is only really noticeable when the vehicle is moving.
Even when coasting in N.
There is a shudder when idling, in P, N, or D, but I can't tell if it's the same feels when moving.
The harshness is felt in the steering wheel, seat, and floorboard.

Transmission was rebuilt by Hansen in 2005, due to harsh and erratic shifting.
From what I remember, they told me some bands were shot, pistons were toast, and maybe something about a broken mid-shaft?

Anyway I don't remember exactly when the harshness started but it was between 2005 and 2008.

Since 2008, the transmission and torque converter are the only things that have not been touched.

Front and rear axles have been replaced plus re-geared and rebuilt, transfer case has been rebuilt, CV shafts have been replaced, front and rear driveshafts replaced and/or had u-joints replaced.
Driveline angles are fine.

Back towards the end of 2015, I believe, got new tires.
I swear the harshness was gone for a day or two, was excited, but then it came back.

Most recently, harsh shifting has somewhat returned.
Saturday evening on the drive home from camping, either the 1-2 or 2-3 shift was quite delayed, and RPM was hitting around 3000 RPM. I was driving like normally, which usually shifts at around 2200RPM or so. Issue continued Sunday morning, but almost appeared to be worse when cold.

I went ahead and dropped the pan and did the filter and fluid on Sunday. Filter did seem a bit plugged, as airflow through it wasn't as easy as a fresh filter; but not extremely difficult. It did not look all that bad. Magnet only had minor catchings.

Sunday and yesterday shifting seemed fine.
Today though, it seemed to do the delayed shifting again on my drive home for lunch. Hit around 3500RPM or so before the 1-2 shift.

Is it possible that my harshness issues have been caused by an additional transmission, or even torque converter issue?

I'm at a loss.
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Last edited by gavin; 06-27-2017 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

If the torque converter wasn't replaced was it flushed? If not the crap inside it could be circulating around in the tranny.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbear View Post
If the torque converter wasn't replaced was it flushed? If not the crap inside it could be circulating around in the tranny.
No idea if it was flushed. I imagine it was?
Hansen was recommended by a few here so I would imagine they did.
Invoice didn't provide a lot of detail.

Fluid had been clean though.
I just cut open the filter I replaced on Sunday, and it's actually not that (visually) dirty.
There are a couple chunks, but I'm not sure if they may have been from cutting it with tin snips.
I also had an external filter for quite a few years and changed that filter regularly. Never did cut any open though.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Who recommended Hansen?! I wouldn't ever use them.
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
Who recommended Hansen?! I wouldn't ever use them.
Well I thought it was here.
But this was 12 years ago now, so it's not exactly fresh in my mind.

You did use them though?
http://www.alaska4x4network.com/show...ghlight=hansen

a couple recommend Hansen to me.
http://www.alaska4x4network.com/show...ghlight=hansen
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Last edited by gavin; 06-28-2017 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

[QUOTE=gavin;619241]Well I thought it was here.
But this was 12 years ago now, so it's not exactly fresh in my mind.

You did use them though?
http://www.alaska4x4network.com/show...ghlight=hansen

Link doesn't work, but yes used them, which is why I said not to.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Well regardless of that.

As I'm not particularly knowledgeable with transmissions and torque converters...
Is it possible the constant harshness is caused by one of the two?

Those are literally the only things that haven't been touched since the issue started.

With all my searching though, I haven't been able to find anything that can or does correlate to the trans or tc causing the harshness.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Do you have any way to lift the vehicle on four jack stands and safely run it with the wheels off the ground? Might let you get a pair of chassis ears on stuff underneath while its rotating, let you play Mr. Goodwrench on a Ford...

Sometimes physical inspection or listening pinpoints problems fairly easily. Please be careful of rotating parts when underneath while its running on the jack stands.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolling View Post
Do you have any way to lift the vehicle on four jack stands and safely run it with the wheels off the ground? Might let you get a pair of chassis ears on stuff underneath while its rotating, let you play Mr. Goodwrench on a Ford...

Sometimes physical inspection or listening pinpoints problems fairly easily. Please be careful of rotating parts when underneath while its running on the jack stands.
I do. I want to say I did that before, but I cannot recall if I put the stethoscope at the bellhousing. I know I had checked front and rear diffs and there was nothing out of the ordinary.
At the time, I bet I was sure the issue wasn't the transmission or torque converter, so I didn't check those.
Though I also want to say that I was unable to feel any harshness when there was no weight on the tires and transmission in D.

I have recently put it to the bellhousing, but in park, and couldn't really tell if I was hearing any strange growling-type noises.

I did try a stall test a couple days ago and heard a fairly loud clunk from somewhere up front.
Vehicle certainly stayed stationary, so that couldn't have been axles/diffs.

Idling in P, there is a bit of a shimmy/shake; kinda sorta consistent. I had been assuming it was just the engine and/or motor mounts.
The shake/shimmy is impacted by RPM.
Could possibly be TC related though, I imagine.

There's a bit of a high-pitched whine when cruising on the highway.
Was able to get this one since that part of the highway had been freshly resurfaced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TLjZd3xzeI

Here's the vibe seen/felt in the steering wheel when at cruising speed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpo5yRy5Sl4
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Temporarily retired: 1986 Bronco 2, getting an SAS. Finally getting some progress.

Last edited by gavin; 06-29-2017 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Only odd noise that I can hear, is a click/tick that is more prominent at the bellhousing.

No harshness is felt with the tires in the air.

There is a whining noise with increased speed, but can't tell where it's coming from. No helpers handy.

Attempted stall speed tests... not too particularly sure what to think.

Stall speed test in reverse results in a clunk. Stall speed is around 2000RPM.
Stall speed in 1 was around 2066RPM.
Stall speed in D was around 2073RPM.

OEM stall speed, per FSM is 2438-2838RPM.
Still has OEM torque converter as far as I'm aware. No mention of it getting replaced when Hansen rebuilt the transmission, and no recollection of it being mentioned.
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Last edited by gavin; 07-02-2017 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

dropped it off at Quality Transmission for diagnosis.
They think maybe a bad bearing. The "rear #9 Torrington" has been known to go bad. They do hear a noise but cannot pinpoint.

Quoted around $3000 for a rebuild.
Does... does that sound right? Reasonable?
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Isn't that more than the blue book for a 97 Explorer?

I'd look for a $200 used tranny wAAAY before paying $3K!

Dunno about interchange, but:
https://anchorage.craigslist.org/pts/6190864904.html

If you must pay them, can you drop the trans yourself and get a "bench rebuild"? A bit cheaper if they don't have to do it...

From FB, 'Alaska Offroad' group, updated July 1st:

Quote:
https://www.facebook.com/greg.giffen.7

1997 ford explorer 4.0 auto pics in comments

Wasilla, AK

If anyone needs this explorer for parts, I'm pulling the 3.55 8.8 out of it and then I'm done with it. I can drop it off in the valley for gas $ if anyone needs it for parts.
PM IF INTERESTED.

was told it ran great before it rolled, but has been sitting uncovered. good trans already pulled in the back of it. rear hatch, bumper, hitch are good, grey interior. ??
THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS for a professional opinion of " Maybe that's it...?"

They should be able to check your line pressures and use a solenoid breakout box and tell you exactly what's going on with the late shifts. Or you can. Google it, done all the time.

What's your alignment status? "harshness in the steering wheel"?
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by subybaja View Post
Isn't that more than the blue book for a 97 Explorer?

I'd look for a $200 used tranny wAAAY before paying $3K!

Dunno about interchange, but:
https://anchorage.craigslist.org/pts/6190864904.html

If you must pay them, can you drop the trans yourself and get a "bench rebuild"? A bit cheaper if they don't have to do it...

From FB, 'Alaska Offroad' group, updated July 1st:



THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS for a professional opinion of " Maybe that's it...?"

They should be able to check your line pressures and use a solenoid breakout box and tell you exactly what's going on with the late shifts. Or you can. Google it, done all the time.

What's your alignment status? "harshness in the steering wheel"?
I checked Craigslist and junkyards. I have the 5.0 V8.
$750 from a junkyard with I think 140k miles.
The couple 5.0 Explorers on craigslist were a "runs, but won't move"
car-part.com doesn't show an interchange, or provide the option, for any 4R70Ws from F150s.

Alignment is good, and that has been checked numerous times.
Harshness is steering wheel goes away when front driveshaft is removed, but has no impact on harshness in seat and floor board.

Literally, the transmission is the only thing that has not been touched since 2005.
There is nothing else in the drivetrain that has not been rebuilt or replaced.

The only thing I haven't checked myself is line pressure. EPC, per the PCM, appears to be within spec. I don't currently have a gauge for checking line pressure.
PCM never threw any codes or errors for the transmission.

The invoice does state "audible noise from transmission" which they believe is coming from one of the rear-most bearings.

$3,000 may not be particularly unreasonable, though.
A rebuilt from Napa is a touch over $2k. Add in labor to remove/replace, fluid, cleaning lines, etc. Plus giving work to a local shop.

Yes, that is 3x the worth of the truck, but it's cheaper than a new vehicle. Plus if it gives me another 5 years with the thing.
They also have a 2yr/24k miles warranty.
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Last edited by gavin; 07-12-2017 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:44 AM   #14
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

I totally get putting money into a known quantity vehicle, regardless of blue book. I DD a Reconstruct 95 Grand Cherokee. It still beats a payment!

"Back when I was a kid!" sticker shock, I guess.
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

That sure sounds like a trans or torque convertor issue. The torque convertor should be replaced anytime you have a transmission go out. All the parts from the transmission failing go right into the torque convertor. Not to mention the cooling lines/cooler need to be properly flushed for the same reason.

For $3,000 I would buy the required tools and a manual or two and maybe a DVD and do the rebuild myself. It will be way less money.
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Constant Harshness in Drivetrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
That sure sounds like a trans or torque convertor issue. The torque convertor should be replaced anytime you have a transmission go out. All the parts from the transmission failing go right into the torque convertor. Not to mention the cooling lines/cooler need to be properly flushed for the same reason.

For $3,000 I would buy the required tools and a manual or two and maybe a DVD and do the rebuild myself. It will be way less money.
as this is my only vehicle, and I've not done anything with transmissions, I'd rather it get done right the first time.

I was thinking about it, but the harshness seems to be getting worse so I kinda need it to be done sooner rather than later.
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