Question about 1989 Lincoln Town Car

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1989 Lincoln Towncar 4 spd automatic with OD, will not go to OD

The tranny will shift fine up to and including 3rd, but then it will not go into OD automatically or at all. We had the tranny filter actually changed out to a new one and added new fluid and the fluid is where it should be, it is not low. We also had a shift link from the carb linkage to the tranny checked to make sure that it was not loose as we read that an old link connector on one end can become weak and break and maybe cause it to be a little short to put it into OD and that was OK. I read one location that this tranny MAY have a lockout feature so it can be set not to go into OD????? where maybe a button was pressed on the dash or the shift lever to set it this way unknowingly??.......but not sure, what do you think. It runs and shifts GREAT, but will not make it to OD

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  • dickl991 Feb 25, 2009

    Thank you for both ideas to check, hopefully it is one of them, hopefully the possible button on the end of the shift lever, it may have been inadvertantly pushed IF there is one there, if so, that may be it and alot cheaper and should make it work again, otherwise, it could be the electronic which may be the issue.

  • dickl991 Feb 25, 2009

    I was also wondering about it resetting each time you turn the vehicle off and then back on, was wondering about that or if it stayed in "lock out" till you made the change yourself. That being the case, it looks like it would not be the button needing to be reset or turned off when the vehicle is turned on, as that would be the case already........being put back to normal that way, so, the idea of it being the VSS sounds pretty good and being this recommendation is coming from a longtime Ford tech here makes it sound even more plausible, so thank you sir for that, I will have it tested and checked out and see what comes of it. Seems like the best chance as to what it may be. Thank You.

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 11, 2010

    Have u had the system tested for electronic trouble codes, the trans is electronically controlled.



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There is no OverDrive gear in the transmission. The fourth speed is achieved by locking up the torque converter while in third gear creating a input shaft to output shaft ratio of more than 1 (the infamous over drive). If you do not feel it shifting three times while accelerating up to 45 mph then there is probably a situation with the torque converter.

Posted on Nov 02, 2011

  • yadayada
    yadayada Apr 01, 2013

    There is a fourth gear.


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Check for button on end of shift lever.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009

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The button resets everytime the ignition is turned on, so it can't be left off, have the test done, it may be a faulty Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) that is the cause, this sensor is the signal the trans computer uses to know when it is time to shift to OD> Hope this helps. P.S. I am a 30 year Ford new car dealer technician.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009

  • patrick h nolan Mar 30, 2013

    i have a 89 continental will not go into overdrive my scanner tells me shift selinoid bad i have replaced vss & fluid & fliter changed how hard is selinoids to change & do i have to pull trans out

  • yadayada
    yadayada Mar 30, 2013

    I would never tell you to pull the transmission unless you are an trained transmission repair and diagnosis expert. If you are not then have a local trusted shop or the Ford dealer look into this, you could have a defective wiring harness, to check that takes special skills and a tool called a break out box.


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