On my way to work, my 2003 Ford Taurus decided it wasn't going to actually move anymore.

Some Context

It has been having some transmission trouble for a while now, jerking when I first accelerate (but not between 1st and 2nd gear, which is a common problem with the VSS on these cars). I was just beginning to accelerate out of a stop sign when there was a quiet clunk and there was no more power. Luckily I had gained enough speed to safely clear the intersection, but the car has not been able to move under its own power since.

What I do know

  • The car has the 3.0L DOHC engine (with the AX4N transmission), and is sitting at around 130k miles.
  • The transmission fluid is probably OK. It has been changed a little more frequently than recommended.
  • The transmission pump is OK. I've tested the pressure in the transmission and it is within spec (albeit barely) for the vehicle. I think this rules out the very common problem (for this transmission) of the pump shaft splines getting worn out.
  • The shift linkage is OK. When shifting between gears, the transmission pressure changes accordingly, and we can see stuff moving with the shift selector.
  • None of the drivey gears work. That includes reverse, drive, overdrive, and first.
  • Neutral and park do work. I can easily push it in neutral, and definitely cannot in park.
  • It's not worth the cost of a transmission rebuild. It has loads of rust, the tires and rims are worn out, it has some cosmetic damage, and I suspect other parts of the vehicle will be failing soon. If repairs come out to more than $700 or so, I will be in the market for a new car.
  • The check engine light is not on when the vehicle is running. There are no codes readable by my OBD-II reader.

What I Don't Know

  • What is wrong with my car?
  • Failing a definitive cause, are there any more diagnostics I can do personally to narrow it down?

There's definitely SOMETHING wrong that will require you to pull the transmission. I would assume getting pressure readings would mean the torque converter is working. How loud was the pop? The gears inside are not all on the same shaft. The park/neutral are on one by themselves. There are a few things internally that could go wrong. I'm going to suggest the chain broke. This transmission connects the input shaft to the gears with a chain.


Do you have any lights on the dash? (Like an engine light) Have you tried pulling any codes? It might throw a couple codes that'll help diagnose.

  • This isn't an answer, it should be a comment to the main post @Henry.
    – GdD
    Jul 10 '18 at 9:31
  • @Henry sort of. The Check Engine light has been on for years now for the O2 sensor, so nothing out of the ordinary. When I was trying to diagnose it, I disconnected the battery for a bit. It didn't help, but it did clear the codes. Editing main post to add this information.
    – snsiox
    Jul 10 '18 at 10:57
  • @GdD I know, but up until yesterday, I actually didn't have enough reputation to comment. Will be sure to comment when appropriate going forward. Thanks
    – Henry
    Jul 11 '18 at 18:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.