F250 Transmission issue

Ryan313

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
I have a 2003 F250 5.4 automatic that is acting up. About a month ago, while plowing I noticed that my transmission felt like it was slipping in forward gears. The reverse was fine, and has stayed strong throughout the issue. After a few minutes, I lost forward gears. I sat for 10-15 minutes while I pondered my options, before trying again. After sitting, it went into gear and I drove home; after I backed into the driveway, I could not go forward again. The truck sat for a few hours, and I decided to try again. This time, everything worked as it should. I was able to plow my driveway without it acting up. Fast foreword to the next storm, and it had the same issue, with the exactly the same results. It seems as though it is a hot problem, as it is fine after sitting. The OD light on the shifter does blink, but my scanner doesn’t pick up any helpful codes. Does anybody have any insight? Thanks
 

larrybl

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
My scanner won't read transmission codes, I think a shop or dealer can. How does the fluid smell?
 

FixItCharlie

Well-Known Member
Member
When was the last time you changed transmission fluid & checked the filter. I have seen reports that if you are working a transmission hard like plowing snow or even towing a heavy trailer that some recommend changing the fluid every 35 thousand miles. If you have the trailer package with an external cooler it would last a longer. With a train plug in the transmission pan it is not very hard to change the fluid & if you have a flywheel tool you can drain the torque converter. I have done it my self on my 2001 my F350.
Charlie
 

Ryan313

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
I forgot to mention the fluid, it looks good. I’m not sure if it was ever changed, 140k on it. The fluid is a good color, good level, and doesn’t smell burnt. I suppose a flush would still be a good place to start.
 

Ryan313

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
Yesterday I wasn’t going to do the fluid and filter, but the pan is pretty rusty. I figure taking it off and reinstalling will probably make it leak; for $26 on rock auto, I don’t see any reason to not replace it. I will order it and get it replaced.

I remembered I have a Bluetooth scanner with FORScan for my phone. I plugged that in and didn’t get any useful codes. It allows me to monitor the shift solenoids, and monitor faults. I figured if I could recreate the issue I could see if there was an issue. After almost an hour of driving, I could not get it to slip. I even drove back and forth in my driveway a few times riding the brakes to simulate plowing the best I could... nothing. The whole time the OD light was flashing.

Murphy’s law says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Ryan’s laws of mechanics says that anything you want to go wrong, will go right.
 

jabelman

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
from what quickly searched is that aftermarket scanners won't read ford Trans codes, also a dirty mass air flow sensor could send a trans code too
 

dodge trucker

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
flashing check engine in a ford is engine misfire
that is supposed to be anything with OBD-II (96-newer)
My Snap on scanner will read "some" trans codes but not all. Mine's a bit older, trying to make a deal with my Snappy guy for a newer one....
he had a brand new one on a he11uva sale and I him hawed the week he showed it to me, he had 2 to sell and 1 left then..... another week went by before I asked to take it for a trial run..... the new one is out on loan for someone else to do the same right now, if they buy it I might be interested in his old one (that is still newer than mine) that he will get on trade. Im hoping it does things my current one won't, any more.
I also have an Actron "code reader" that isn't much more than that.
 

Ryan313

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
I called a tranny shop that my neighbor recommended. I called and they said they would read the code for me with no charge, even if I don’t have them do the work. Today I went over and they hooked it up, he told me about the P0500 code which I knew about for the last year, it’s my speedometer. I told him what was going on and he said I need a tranny, no question. I’m always nervous about mechanics, I’m sure most are truthful but you never know. They charge 2200, 1750 if I bring the tranny already out. I found a tranny with 104k on Craigslist for $200 just under 2 hours away. I can’t justify spending 2200 on a truck that’s probably not worth much more than that, so I’ll take the gamble.
 

Dougt

Tractorologist
Staff member
Moderator
Did you ever change the filter? A filter that is plugging up will quit pulling and then when it sits the crud will drain back out and let fluid through before it sucks back up. Of course, that should affect fwd and rev both when it happens.
 

Ryan313

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
Did you ever change the filter? A filter that is plugging up will quit pulling and then when it sits the crud will drain back out and let fluid through before it sucks back up. Of course, that should affect fwd and rev both when it happens.

No I didn’t, I doubt that’s the issue since it’s ok 98% of the time... but I can’t say for sure. Once I get it out I’ll take it apart and see if there’s anything visible to an untrained eye. I figured for $200 I’ll just swap it, March seems to bring one or two good end of season snow storms Andrew I don’t want to be caught with my pants down.
 

Gtractor

Tractorologist
Senior Member
Member
I'm no tranny expert but I'd have it flushed. The thought of putting in new fluid with new detergents dislodging the "crud" is a recipe for disaster.
What you describe screams fluid problem -or- computer problem in my head, since its not a constant malfunction.
Last place I worked had a 2005 F450 with auto-overdrive tranny. Every once in a while it seemed to slip. Was so slight and/or quick I never got to play with it when it was acting up, to confirm. Did that for the entire 7+ years I worked there. The last day I worked at that job, I hit 468,000 miles on the truck and that tranny had never been touched.
Best of Luck!!
 
Top