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Ext User(goose)
21-02-2007, 01:23 AM
Hello all

I posted this in alt.ford.falcon but someone suggested I
repost it here.

I have a '97 model (South Africa) falcon with an auto transmission.

The problem I'm having is extremely rough shifting (some
flaring) but only when the car warms up fully (+- 15 mins
of driving from cold-start). After a little while of this, it drops
into limp-mode - jams into 3rd gear. Disconnecting and
reconnecting the battery resets the limp mode; merely
switching the car off then on again does nothing.

I've checked the oil level. I suspect that it may be the
solenoid(s) so I would like change them one at a time
using a new one (apparently all but one of them are the
same).

What I'd like to know from the regulars here is how
hard is it to change the solenoids. The transmission
workshop says that it could easily cost me +- 8500ZAR
to change a single solenoid if they did the work so I'd
like to attempt it myself if it isn't too difficult.

The transmission workshop also says that it isn't a
DIY job, but I find it hard to trust mechanics :-). They
reckon that the sump has to come out, then the valve
body itself has to be removed from the car to replace
the solenoids. Can anyone here who has done this
confirm that this is what has to be done? I was also
told that taking out the valve body without having the
workshop manual handy is begging for catastrophe.

Another helpful item would be a wiring diagram, so
that I can confirm that the correct open/close signals
get sent to the box (and solenoids) from the ecu.

In fact, anything you can remember about the auto
transmission on the EL falcon would be helpful (e.g.
the location of the actual ecu, the colours of the cables,
etc).

Thanks

Lelanthran

Ext User(Noddy)
21-02-2007, 02:33 AM
"goose" <ruse@webmail.co.za> wrote in message
news:1171973768.972493.296320@p10g2000cwp.googlegr oups.com...
> Hello all
>
> I posted this in alt.ford.falcon but someone suggested I
> repost it here.
>
> I have a '97 model (South Africa) falcon with an auto transmission.

Does it look like this?

http://www.trueblueford.com/EL_GLi_16sF.html

> The problem I'm having is extremely rough shifting (some
> flaring) but only when the car warms up fully (+- 15 mins
> of driving from cold-start). After a little while of this, it drops
> into limp-mode - jams into 3rd gear. Disconnecting and
> reconnecting the battery resets the limp mode; merely
> switching the car off then on again does nothing.
>
> I've checked the oil level. I suspect that it may be the
> solenoid(s) so I would like change them one at a time
> using a new one (apparently all but one of them are the
> same).
>
> What I'd like to know from the regulars here is how
> hard is it to change the solenoids. The transmission
> workshop says that it could easily cost me +- 8500ZAR
> to change a single solenoid if they did the work so I'd
> like to attempt it myself if it isn't too difficult.

I don't know what kind of transmission workshops you have over there, but by
my calculations that figure equates to around $1500 Australian, and you'd
get an entirely new transmission for that money here. Cold comfort for you,
sure, but it seems like an *extremely* excessive amount to change a single
solenoid.

Have you approached a Ford dealer?

> The transmission workshop also says that it isn't a
> DIY job, but I find it hard to trust mechanics :-).

Don't blame ya' at that price :)

How common a car are they over there? What are the used tansmission options?

> They
> reckon that the sump has to come out, then the valve
> body itself has to be removed from the car to replace
> the solenoids. Can anyone here who has done this
> confirm that this is what has to be done? I was also
> told that taking out the valve body without having the
> workshop manual handy is begging for catastrophe.

It certainly can be, as late model electronically controlled transmissions
can be complicated affairs

There are 7 solenoids in the Ford auto controlling various functions of it's
operation, and unfortunately in your case the valve body needs to be removed
to service them. It's not a difficult task, but "difficult" is relative. As
to whether or not you're capable of doing this I can't tell you, but if it's
something you've never tackled before I probably wouldn't recommend it as a
first time learning curve.

For what it's worth, solenoid number 5, which controls line pressure, is the
most common to fail in these autos, and it causes exactly the symptoms
you've described when it does. However, that's not a given, and there can be
other faults (and failed solenoids) that can cause similar symptoms.

> Another helpful item would be a wiring diagram, so
> that I can confirm that the correct open/close signals
> get sent to the box (and solenoids) from the ecu.

I used to work on these things for a living but it's been quite a while
since I did, and with my memory being what it is these days I'd be reluctant
to try to recall anything specific and lead you on a path of totally useless
testing.

What I can tell you though is that Ford autuomatics from this period are
prone to some problems not always immediately obvious, such as wiring
connection continuity and engine sensors. For example, if the throttle
position or engine speed sensors are out of spec, the auto can react oddly
by expecting an engine condition that never eventuates (like anticipating
full throttle acceleration and adjusting the line pressure accordingly).

Ford is also somewhat famous for lousy wiring and connectors, and one of the
normal "factory" procedures is a "wiggle test", whereby connectors going to
various components on the engine & transmission are given a twist & push to
see if it makes a difference to continuity.

With the auto's, the wiring harness & connector is particularly prone to
dirt & moisture from the road surface, and there's been many a strangely
behaving transmission that's suddenly returned to normal by simply
disconnecting the wiring harness and cleaning the terminals.

> In fact, anything you can remember about the auto
> transmission on the EL falcon would be helpful (e.g.
> the location of the actual ecu, the colours of the cables,
> etc).

I used to know this stuff, but these days have trouble remembering what day
of the week it is, so I'm sorry I can't be specific about any of it.

You can try Ford forums, or do a google for EF or EL Falcons as there's a
few forums around specialising in these models that have technical sections
which are quite helpful.

One last point that just sprang to mind.

The auto in these cars requires a specific transmission fluid (which I think
is TQ95), and using fluid other than that will cause irregular running and
eventual damage. If you've recently changed your transmission fluid (or had
it done), then checking that the correct fluid was used would be the first
thing I'd be doing.

Good luck,

--
Regards,
Noddy.

Ext User(goose)
26-02-2007, 07:53 PM
On Feb 20, 3:37 pm, "Noddy" <dg4163@(nospam)dodo.com.au> wrote:
> "goose" <r...@webmail.co.za> wrote in message
>
> news:1171973768.972493.296320@p10g2000cwp.googlegr oups.com...
>
> > Hello all
>
> > I posted this in alt.ford.falcon but someone suggested I
> > repost it here.
>
> > I have a '97 model (South Africa) falcon with an auto transmission.
>
> Does it look like this?
>
> http://www.trueblueford.com/EL_GLi_16sF.html

Yup; it's even the same damn I'm-not-blue-but-I'm-certainly-not-green
sort of colour :-)

>
>
>
> > The problem I'm having is extremely rough shifting (some
> > flaring) but only when the car warms up fully (+- 15 mins
> > of driving from cold-start). After a little while of this, it drops
> > into limp-mode - jams into 3rd gear. Disconnecting and
> > reconnecting the battery resets the limp mode; merely
> > switching the car off then on again does nothing.
>
> > I've checked the oil level. I suspect that it may be the
> > solenoid(s) so I would like change them one at a time
> > using a new one (apparently all but one of them are the
> > same).
>
> > What I'd like to know from the regulars here is how
> > hard is it to change the solenoids. The transmission
> > workshop says that it could easily cost me +- 8500ZAR
> > to change a single solenoid if they did the work so I'd
> > like to attempt it myself if it isn't too difficult.
>
> I don't know what kind of transmission workshops you have over there, but by
> my calculations that figure equates to around $1500 Australian, and you'd
> get an entirely new transmission for that money here.

I've been browsing every site that google searches return
about this problem and I've noticed that these transmissions
seem cheaper to keep running in australia :-(

> Cold comfort for you,
> sure, but it seems like an *extremely* excessive amount to change a single
> solenoid.
>
> Have you approached a Ford dealer?

The ford dealers that I've approached informed me that
they don't do the auto box anyway - they send it to
the transmission workshops, which is where I've been quoted.

It's fully possible that it would be cheaper to go through
the ford dealer to the transmission workshop than to
try and get them to fix it directly.

>
> > The transmission workshop also says that it isn't a
> > DIY job, but I find it hard to trust mechanics :-).
>
> Don't blame ya' at that price :)
>
> How common a car are they over there? What are the used tansmission options?

A used transmission was (IIRC) quoted at 8000ZAR. A rebuilt
one was quoted at 25000ZAR and a rebuild on my current
one is quoted at 13000ZAR.

It sucks being a falcon owner in SA, even though they seem
to be fairly plentifull (we did only get 2 or 3 generations of
the falcon here and they've been discontinued since 2001
or thereabouts).

>
> > They
> > reckon that the sump has to come out, then the valve
> > body itself has to be removed from the car to replace
> > the solenoids. Can anyone here who has done this
> > confirm that this is what has to be done? I was also
> > told that taking out the valve body without having the
> > workshop manual handy is begging for catastrophe.
>
> It certainly can be, as late model electronically controlled transmissions
> can be complicated affairs
>
> There are 7 solenoids in the Ford auto controlling various functions of it's
> operation, and unfortunately in your case the valve body needs to be removed
> to service them. It's not a difficult task, but "difficult" is relative.

Thats all very helpful. I'm still not sure what the complexity of this
is, though.

> As
> to whether or not you're capable of doing this I can't tell you, but if it's
> something you've never tackled before I probably wouldn't recommend it as a
> first time learning curve.

Well, I've done most DIY tasks in the car (replace clutch, replace
head gaskets, replace gearbox, replace engine ... see a pattern
there?)
but I was told that this is not a DIY job so I am trying to find out
exactly
what I could break if I attempted it myself:
1. Does this require any special tools?
2. Do I have to watch out for any springs/ball bearings
flying out when I remove the sump?
3. Do I have to watch out for any springs/ball bearings
flying out when I remove the valve body?
4. If anything does fall out (springs, etc) do I need
a diagram to put it back or do they go in one way
only?
5. Is it at all possible for anyone reading this forum
to tell me if the workshop manual (the 250$ one)
covers the removal of the valve body? If there is
a diagram, can you at least mail it to me (or post
it on a website somewhere?)
6. Can anyone with the manual/experience summarise
the steps in removing/refitting the valve body? For
example, something along the following lines:
a) Undo bolts (there should be "X" bolts).
b) Disconnect the cables going to the solenoids.
c) Gently lower the valve body taking care to
keep it horizontal.
d) Once VB is on the floor of workshop, carefully slide
it out from under the car, taking care not to disturb
the position of ball-bearings on top of it.
e) Once out from under the car place VB on table
and mark position of springs/bearings/etc.
f) Remove solenoids by twisting/unscrewing/whatever.
...
etc ...

In fact, if you want to just modify any of the above or
add steps in, feel free :-) We could build up a thorough
guide together, and when I attempt mine, I'll take piccies
to go with the guide :-).

>
> For what it's worth, solenoid number 5, which controls line pressure, is the
> most common to fail in these autos, and it causes exactly the symptoms
> you've described when it does. However, that's not a given, and there can be
> other faults (and failed solenoids) that can cause similar symptoms.
>
> > Another helpful item would be a wiring diagram, so
> > that I can confirm that the correct open/close signals
> > get sent to the box (and solenoids) from the ecu.
>
> I used to work on these things for a living but it's been quite a while
> since I did, and with my memory being what it is these days I'd be reluctant
> to try to recall anything specific and lead you on a path of totally useless
> testing.
>

No testing is totally useless; I'd at least be able to confirm or deny
my speculation about whether something is working or not. I've got
a decent multimeter, a 20KHz oscilloscope (which I know how to use),
a full box of tools (only missing 1 #16 spanner that got borrowed and
never returned), a well-lit garage to work in, six axle stands, two
hydraulic 2-ton jacks, a rather ancient bottle jack and an iron beam
across the front of the garage (over where the cars bonnet lies)
to help lift out engines.

Also various power tools: drill, angle-grinder, etc.

> What I can tell you though is that Ford autuomatics from this period are
> prone to some problems not always immediately obvious, such as wiring
> connection continuity and engine sensors. For example, if the throttle
> position or engine speed sensors are out of spec, the auto can react oddly
> by expecting an engine condition that never eventuates (like anticipating
> full throttle acceleration and adjusting the line pressure accordingly).
>
> Ford is also somewhat famous for lousy wiring and connectors, and one of the
> normal "factory" procedures is a "wiggle test", whereby connectors going to
> various components on the engine & transmission are given a twist & push to
> see if it makes a difference to continuity.

I've had it over to ford this morning so they could run a diagnostic
on it; they said the diagnostic says it's the solenoid (didn't say
which
one) and they proceeded to clean the connectors on the side of the
gearbox. This has not made any difference, so for now I'm assuming
that it is, in fact, the solenoids (or one of them).

>
> With the auto's, the wiring harness & connector is particularly prone to
> dirt & moisture from the road surface, and there's been many a strangely
> behaving transmission that's suddenly returned to normal by simply
> disconnecting the wiring harness and cleaning the terminals.
>
> > In fact, anything you can remember about the auto
> > transmission on the EL falcon would be helpful (e.g.
> > the location of the actual ecu, the colours of the cables,
> > etc).
>
> I used to know this stuff, but these days have trouble remembering what day
> of the week it is, so I'm sorry I can't be specific about any of it.
>
> You can try Ford forums, or do a google for EF or EL Falcons as there's a
> few forums around specialising in these models that have technical sections
> which are quite helpful.
>
> One last point that just sprang to mind.
>
> The auto in these cars requires a specific transmission fluid (which I think
> is TQ95), and using fluid other than that will cause irregular running and
> eventual damage. If you've recently changed your transmission fluid (or had
> it done), then checking that the correct fluid was used would be the first
> thing I'd be doing.

I don't think that the fluid was recently changed (I just bought
the car +- 1000Km ago) and when I wanted to top up the
fluid, the existing fluid was not pink/red; it looked just the
same as the tq95 fluid (make a little darker).

>
> Good luck,

Thanks :-) I at least have a clearer idea now of where I stand.

Regards
Lelanthran

Ext User(Noddy)
27-02-2007, 12:13 AM
"goose" <ruse@webmail.co.za> wrote in message
news:1172476024.116404.246120@k78g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com...

> Well, I've done most DIY tasks in the car (replace clutch, replace
> head gaskets, replace gearbox, replace engine ... see a pattern
> there?)

Kind of :)

> but I was told that this is not a DIY job so I am trying to find out
> exactly
> what I could break if I attempted it myself:

Not much.

As I said, it's not difficult, and if you're capable of replacing a head
gasket and the engine functions normally then I'd imagine it wouldn't be a
task that's beyond your capabilities.

> 1. Does this require any special tools?

The only special tools you need are the Ford diagnostic tools designed to
read fault codes and pinpoint actual problems. Without them it's a bit hit &
miss, but a dead solenoid can be located fairly easily.

> 2. Do I have to watch out for any springs/ball bearings
> flying out when I remove the sump?

No.

> 3. Do I have to watch out for any springs/ball bearings
> flying out when I remove the valve body?

No, the valve body is fairly easily removed and there are no parts that will
suddenly fly out and mysteriously get lost or not easily identify where they
live.

> 4. If anything does fall out (springs, etc) do I need
> a diagram to put it back or do they go in one way
> only?

The only thing that may fall out if you're not careful is a locating pin
that secures the valve body in it's correctly aligned position. When
removing the valve body, do not turn it upside down until you have
identified and removed this pin, and memorised where it lives.

It's also important to remember to put it back priot to assembly :)

> 5. Is it at all possible for anyone reading this forum
> to tell me if the workshop manual (the 250$ one)
> covers the removal of the valve body? If there is
> a diagram, can you at least mail it to me (or post
> it on a website somewhere?)

I believe it does, but it's been a while since I've seen one, and I don't
have a copy.

> 6. Can anyone with the manual/experience summarise
> the steps in removing/refitting the valve body? For
> example, something along the following lines:
> a) Undo bolts (there should be "X" bolts).
> b) Disconnect the cables going to the solenoids.
> c) Gently lower the valve body taking care to
> keep it horizontal.
> d) Once VB is on the floor of workshop, carefully slide
> it out from under the car, taking care not to disturb
> the position of ball-bearings on top of it.
> e) Once out from under the car place VB on table
> and mark position of springs/bearings/etc.
> f) Remove solenoids by twisting/unscrewing/whatever.
> ...
> etc ...

As I mentioned in another post, I worked on these things long ago and have
done a bit of auto repair work. To remove the valve body on an EF/L Falcon,
you would do the following:

1. Remove the oil pan (being carefull of the fluid spillage as you go).
2. Remove the transmission filter
3. Disconnect the wiring from each solenoid (make a note of the colour
coding arrangement)
4. Disconnect the manual valve mechanism
5. Remove the bolts securing the valve body to the transmission housing and
remove the valve body.

Reassembly is a reversal of the removal process, with attention to the
following:

*Ensure* the valve body locating pin is installed in it's correct position.

Once you've got the valve body out, 6 of the 7 solenoids are easily accessed
and tested. Solenoid number 7 lives in the pump cover, and requires the
transmission to be removed for access.

Unfortunately, I can't recall the correct bolt tension figures.

> No testing is totally useless; I'd at least be able to confirm or deny
> my speculation about whether something is working or not. I've got
> a decent multimeter, a 20KHz oscilloscope (which I know how to use),
> a full box of tools (only missing 1 #16 spanner that got borrowed and
> never returned), a well-lit garage to work in, six axle stands, two
> hydraulic 2-ton jacks, a rather ancient bottle jack and an iron beam
> across the front of the garage (over where the cars bonnet lies)
> to help lift out engines.
>
> Also various power tools: drill, angle-grinder, etc.

You should be all set.

> I've had it over to ford this morning so they could run a diagnostic
> on it; they said the diagnostic says it's the solenoid (didn't say
> which
> one) and they proceeded to clean the connectors on the side of the
> gearbox. This has not made any difference, so for now I'm assuming
> that it is, in fact, the solenoids (or one of them).

My money would be on number 5 as being the culprit.

A manual would really help you here, but I don't have access to one, or know
anyone who does I'm afraid. It certainly sounds to me as if this task is not
beyond you, but I would advise that you tread cautiously and take many
photo's along the dismantling path with a digital camera (if you have one)
as you can, as it will be a remarkable assistance in putting it all back
together again.

Especially if the reassembly doesn't take place for a few days and you've
done a million things in between.

--
Regards,
Noddy.

Ext User(goose)
27-02-2007, 09:23 AM
On Feb 26, 2:02 pm, "Noddy" <dg4163@(nospam)dodo.com.au> wrote:
> "goose" <r...@webmail.co.za> wrote in message
>
> news:1172476024.116404.246120@k78g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com...
>
> > Well, I've done most DIY tasks in the car (replace clutch, replace
> > head gaskets, replace gearbox, replace engine ... see a pattern
> > there?)
>
> Kind of :)
>
> > but I was told that this is not a DIY job so I am trying to find out
> > exactly
> > what I could break if I attempted it myself:
>
> Not much.
>
> As I said, it's not difficult, and if you're capable of replacing a head
> gasket and the engine functions normally then I'd imagine it wouldn't be a
> task that's beyond your capabilities.
>

Well, yeah ... I learned to do those things many years
ago under the guidance of a mechanic so I *know*
I got it right :-)

OTOH, I was never shown how to replace auto-trans
parts, which is why I'm so afraid of killing the box!

<snipped>
>
> > 4. If anything does fall out (springs, etc) do I need
> > a diagram to put it back or do they go in one way
> > only?
>
> The only thing that may fall out if you're not careful is a locating pin
> that secures the valve body in it's correctly aligned position. When
> removing the valve body, do not turn it upside down until you have
> identified and removed this pin, and memorised where it lives.
>

Lovely :-) See, this is the type of thing that might've
tripped me up. I was totally unaware of this sort of
thing.

> It's also important to remember to put it back priot to assembly :)
>
> > 5. Is it at all possible for anyone reading this forum
> > to tell me if the workshop manual (the 250$ one)
> > covers the removal of the valve body? If there is
> > a diagram, can you at least mail it to me (or post
> > it on a website somewhere?)
>
> I believe it does, but it's been a while since I've seen one, and I don't
> have a copy.
>

Maybe I'll buy it then; I was trying to avoid buying it
because I'm undecided whether or not to keep the
car.

<snipped>

> As I mentioned in another post, I worked on these things long ago and have
> done a bit of auto repair work. To remove the valve body on an EF/L Falcon,
> you would do the following:
>
> 1. Remove the oil pan (being carefull of the fluid spillage as you go).
> 2. Remove the transmission filter
> 3. Disconnect the wiring from each solenoid (make a note of the colour
> coding arrangement)
> 4. Disconnect the manual valve mechanism
> 5. Remove the bolts securing the valve body to the transmission housing and
> remove the valve body.
>
> Reassembly is a reversal of the removal process, with attention to the
> following:
>
> *Ensure* the valve body locating pin is installed in it's correct position.
>
> Once you've got the valve body out, 6 of the 7 solenoids are easily accessed
> and tested. Solenoid number 7 lives in the pump cover, and requires the
> transmission to be removed for access.
>

Thanks a million! I feel like I should just have a bash
at this. It doesn't sound *too* complicated - the problem
I have is that I've never seen the inside of an auto-trans
before. I don't know what to expect, really.

> Unfortunately, I can't recall the correct bolt tension figures.
>

I can probably google them.

<snipped>

>
> A manual would really help you here, but I don't have access to one, or know
> anyone who does I'm afraid. It certainly sounds to me as if this task is not
> beyond you, but I would advise that you tread cautiously and take many
> photo's along the dismantling path with a digital camera (if you have one)
> as you can, as it will be a remarkable assistance in putting it all back
> together again.
>
> Especially if the reassembly doesn't take place for a few days and you've
> done a million things in between.
>

I've been bitten by this syndrome; I stripped my bmw 2 months
ago (head warped) and now after putting *everything* back together
again, I'm trying to remember the small details ... the firing order,
the order for the injectors and, most frustratingly, which of the two
identical-looking fuel pipes coming into the engine bay is the one
that is the return (other one being fuel+ pressure sensor) to the
tank. Plus, these 80's beemers had connectors under the bonnet
that were all identical and fit into each other!

I can probably figure out this stuff with enough effort (tracing the
fuel lines from the rear of the car, etc) because I know how it
is supposed to work anyway; with the gearbox if I get it wrong,
I'll never know what I did wrong (well, now I will, thanks to you:-).

Which is why I spent the last 3 weeks knocking up google for
every bit of info I could find on this car and the btr gearbox before
finally finding this ng.

Anyway, thanks for your time; rest assured that time spent
imparting knowledge is never time wasted. I'll be sure to
pass on the knowledge I've received from you if I do strip
the trans myself (I intended to post details of all my repairs
to my website some time back - only ever got around to
posting one repair job).

I'll try to get the piccies and perhaps put it up on the website
with detailed instructions so that the next poor bloke to
experience this can decide if they are capable of replacing
the solenoids themselves. If I do, I'll post the link here
so that corrections can be made if necessary :-)

Once again, thanks. I've gotten more detail
from you than from searching a ton of forums
where the only topic that people seemed interested
in were /modding/ their gearboxes.

Bye
Lelanthran

Ext User(Noddy)
27-02-2007, 01:13 PM
"goose" <ruse@webmail.co.za> wrote in message
news:1172524258.272009.161860@a75g2000cwd.googlegr oups.com...

> Once again, thanks. I've gotten more detail
> from you than from searching a ton of forums
> where the only topic that people seemed interested
> in were /modding/ their gearboxes.

No problems.

Hope it works out well,

--
Regards,
Noddy.

crazyed
24-08-2008, 11:07 AM
I hope you are still monitoring this thread because I have discovered a guy on Oztion (like ebay but Australian made :) ) who sells the workshop manuals on a disk (same manual my mechanic uses) for only 3.99aud + postage

I hope you read this (for your sake at the prices you are paying).

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