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Here are my random observations:
- 2500 to 3000 is really high for "idle"
- Putting it into drive or reverse engages the transmission and puts load on the engine through the torque converter. Since the RPM is high enough that the vehicle thinks it should be moving, the transmission will engage and rpm will drop since more power is needed.
What to do? How long since tuneup?
History? Did this just start immediately, or did it sneak up a bit at a time.
Make, model, engine, year, Kms or miles. Give us some info and someone who is a better transmission specialist will probably kave some more ideas.
If you're lucky, a linkage has become disengaged. Trace from the gearshift to the transmission.
What happens to the gearshift lever when you try to shift?
If it won't move and the linkage is not disconnected, try to manually move the shift levers where they enter the trans.
Also if you have a custom shifter it is possible that a pin has slipped.
Have fun chasing this one.
To check and add transmission fluid on your Ranger:
1. Drive the vehicle 20 miles (30 km) to reach normal operating temperatures.
2. If driven in hot weather or city traffic, allow transmission to cool for 30 minutes.
3. Engage parking brake, start engine.
4. Press the brake pedal and move the gearshift lever slowly through all gear ranges.
5. Shift to P (Park) and leave the engine running.
6. Remove the dipstick, wipe clean with a dry lint free rag.
7. Install and fully seat the dipstick into the filler tube.
8. Remove dipstick and inspect fluid level. It should be in the cross-hatched area.
9. If necessary, add fluid in 1/2 pint (250 ml) increments through the filler tube until the level is correct at normal operating temperatures.
Additional tips start on page 262 of the Owner's Guide: http://www.motorcraftservice.com/pubs/content/~WOARAN/~MUS~LEN/41/10ranog2e.pdf
The brake pedal and drive selector (gearshift?) are interlocked to prevent shifting into drive without a foot on the brake. You may have to really stop on the brake pedal with the engine running to free up the lever
one thing ive warned my friends to never do and that is to never have your trans flushed cause you may have new fluids but what about the trans filter its old and iots there for that reason to keep dirt and metal; shavings from the bands so try having your oil and filter in the transmission replaced , pull your trans dip stick and on a white piece of paper put a drop of trans oil that you have in your trans at that very moment it should be redish pink but if its brown and smells really bad then the problem is in the oil and filter . change it before u have to replace the whole trans
Sounds like a neutral safety switch in problem #1 and a sticky or faulty solinoid in problem #2
The tranny has quite a few solinoids that are electronic which sometimes burn out or fail with high mileage.
Hope this helps
I would check the transfer case. The transmission is shifting manually thru the gears okay. The transfer case 4x4 module is not communicating to release the case so the vehicle will move.
Make sure all the fluid levels are full.
The mechanic located the problem: A linkage in the steering column had worn out, which disabled the electronic connection from the key to the starter. Although it was much costlier to do so, I chose to purchase a new rather than a used steering column as I intend to keep the vehicle.