I am John, a Ford dealer technician.
I hope I can help solve your problem quickly and accurately.
This is a fairly common issue with these transmissions. The reason I say this is because you were describing a surge, this is the converter trying to lock up. If it was not trying you wouldn't feel anything. This being the case it means the solenoid is working. You will need to replace the converter. You can get these converters for a decent price at http://www.wittrans.com/ I am also posting the full instructions on how to remove and install the transmission. Once out you pull out the converter and then put the new one in while turning it.
Click here for removal instructions
Click here for install instructions
If you have any more questions please feel free to ask, it's what I'm here for!
important to me so please leave accurate feedback for others to see my job performance.
John - thanks for your quick response and the procedures for removal and installation. I have a few more questions.
1. No this shouldn't cause more damage, it will just lose the ability to lock up and sooner or later the surge will go away. Nothing else to change but the filter and fluid.
2. Sorry but this is about as detailed as I can get. This job is actually easier than it looks. The most important part is to hang the engine or it will come out with the subframe. Everything else is basic trans removal.
3. An autozone converter is fine and $98 is a great price.
4. Yes safe to drive and will act as described in number 1.
A couple more questions.....
1. You are correct, this is a gas mileage feature.
2. Over time it will stop trying to lock up due to wear. It won't cause anymore damage to the transmission. No when the surge stops it will still have the light and code.
I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to help the converter lock up like it is supposed to.......1) Is there an 'additive' I can put in the transmission that will help the converter lock up 2) Would it help if I replaced the filter 3) I forgot to mention that I had the transmission fluid changed (old fluid removed while they put new fluid in at Goodyear with a machine). It was shortly after this that I noticed the surging. I read that sometimes these 'flushes' can dislodge some debris that can actually cause more problems......is that correct?
If theres nothing I can do......short of replacing the torque converter......it sounds like its safe to drive and I'll only loose out on some gas mileage. Does that mean that the converter will just forever continue to slip at high speeds?
If the code always stays on........will I be able to pass emission testing?
No not much you can do via additives. You can try friction modifier, part number xl3 from a ford dealer. This stuff stinks really bad but can swell the clutch maybe just enough for it to work properly. I doubt the filter will help as you have just had the fluid changed. Yes on the flush, it could have caused some material on the torque converter clutch to wash out. You will need to replace but if you don't it will just not lock up. Won't hurt anything but gas mileage. If you have emission testing it probably won't pass, not sure because we don't have emission testing here in SC. They do check for codes so if it shows it will probably fail.
I'm posting the instructions out of the 03 model. The trans is the same and so is everything else, just better more illustrated instructions.
Click here for removal
Click here for installation
John - these instructions look much easier to follow.......the pictures will be very helpful. This is my first time to use justanswer.com and I'm very pleased with your quick and thorough responses. I will certainly consider using it again in the future. Thank you very much for your help.