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Ford Transmission Woes


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I’m honestly looking for suggestions here. My boat is a 2014 23LSV. I weighed it when I first bought it, no fuel, no gear, and it was 6300 pounds on the trailer. I figure I’m under 7000 pounds with the lead I added, gear and fuel. 
 

Primary tow vehicle is a 3500 RAM, but I tow a lot with a 2019 Expedition MAX (has the HD tow package, 9200 pound tow rating). 
 

When we head out for the weekend, my wife drives the RAM and pulls the 5th wheel. I take the Ex. 
 

I’ve had very high engine and tranny temps towing over the Rockies (like 245 is the highest I’ve seen). It’s been to two different Ford dealers when I’ve complained about the temps and the way it shifts,  but they tell me there is nothing wrong. 
 

Coming back from the holiday weekend I stopped for less than 5 minutes at a AIS checkpoint, got back on the road towing about 70 MPH in 80* air temps and scroll through the gauges only to see the transmission temp at 261* (no dash warning ever came on). This was on a flat interstate with no wind.

I slowed down to about 60, tried locking out all gears above 6th, and when that didn’t drop the temps I pulled over, kept it running in N, and let it cool down to 225* before I started driving again. 
 

The next 90 miles home it ran 210-220* (which doesn’t seem much higher than it normally runs or than other Expeditions I’ve had as rentals). 
 

The boat trailer is well maintained, has electric brakes so it isn’t a surge brake sticking issue. I’ve had the transmission fluid changed twice (once at the dealer, end of last year by a local mechanic I use and I supplied OEM parts). I’ve also had the thermostat upgrade people talk about. 
 

I’ll call the dealer again tomorrow, but from past experience I am not optimistic.  I have about a month of power train warranty left, and the extended warranties are more than I really want to pay. 
 

Any other suggestions?  I shouldn’t need another HD truck just to tow a 7000 pound boat. 

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And I should note that mountains have caused engine and transmission temp issues. So I’m very reluctant to add an auxiliary cooler that would block air flow to the radiator and cause higher engine temps. I ran into that with my 2011 Yukon Denali, which is how I ended up with the expedition. 

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Does the 2019 expedition have a trans cooler?

if not I’d consider and aux or aftermarket cooler to help keep those temps down.

either way I think most would agree with you those temps are way too high

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, RyanB said:

And I should note that mountains have caused engine and transmission temp issues. So I’m very reluctant to add an auxiliary cooler that would block air flow to the radiator and cause higher engine temps. I ran into that with my 2011 Yukon Denali, which is how I ended up with the expedition. 

you Added this as I was typing ..

but where is the trans cooler in the ram 3500, or the super duty in relation to the expedition ??? 

this seems to be a viable option in a brief forum search, and should be compatible 

https://www.mishimoto.com/ford-raptor-transmission-cooler-2017.html?fee=1&fep=12403&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7Nj5BRCZARIsABwxDKLm0UshxTjF5uQ4rhgReJqAZMiUY3g7EQF_d7tln82Kia4U_AUP2mAaAsCOEALw_wcB

Edited by Stevo
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I’m assuming it’s the same 10-speed transmission that I had in my Raptor, and I never saw transmission temperatures like that pulling my G.  Now I don’t tow mountains, but I did do a 5 hour in 100 degree heat a couple summers ago and temps remained elevated, but in normal range.  The only minor issue I ever had was pulling up long grades and the engine temp would climb, but never to the point where a warning appeared (just started to display the actual temp above the gauge).  

Something doesn’t seem right with the transmission, but if dealers aren’t willing to address it, it’s probably time to move on from the vehicle.  

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Nick55

Ryan, I have a few thoughts on this and I think you have some options. 

First, I'd call Ford and ask if you will get a temperature overheat warning in your vehicle and what that temperature is (I read through the 19 Expedition manual and couldn't find it).  If you aren't hitting that temperature, you are ok according to them.  The expedition doesn't have the same cooler as the F150 from what I can tell.  If you aren't overheating according to Ford, I'd plan on every 50k miles changing the fluid and filter and run it. Confirm if using Tow/Haul mode.   If you are overheating, you may need to have a discussion with the dealer and explain to them a symptom of a problem is just as relevant as a fault code (in fact, symptoms are often a very good indicator of problems).

Second, I'd confirm your options do actually include the max tow package.  From what I can tell, the 9200lb rating is only with a load distributing hitch, otherwise it's limited to 6000lbs if it's a 4WD (6300lbs if 2WD).  2019 Ford Expedition Owner's Manual -Towing - Recommended Towing Weights If you are overweight (tongue weight or overall trailer), in my opinion and legally, that's that.  

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Stevo said:

you Added this as I was typing ..

but where is the trans cooler in the ram 3500, or the super duty in relation to the expedition ??? 

this seems to be a viable option in a brief forum search, and should be compatible 

https://www.mishimoto.com/ford-raptor-transmission-cooler-2017.html?fee=1&fep=12403&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7Nj5BRCZARIsABwxDKLm0UshxTjF5uQ4rhgReJqAZMiUY3g7EQF_d7tln82Kia4U_AUP2mAaAsCOEALw_wcB

Online, it looks like the HD Tow Package in the Expedition might not include an aux transmission cooler?  I did see that it includes an upgraded radiator.

I don't know where the trans cooler is on my 3500, but if you compare the grilles on any of the HD trucks they are HUGE compared to the Ex.  I'm sure the radiator is significantly bigger, coupled with more air flow, and it is a different beast.

5 hours ago, DAI said:

I’m assuming it’s the same 10-speed transmission that I had in my Raptor, and I never saw transmission temperatures like that pulling my G.  Now I don’t tow mountains, but I did do a 5 hour in 100 degree heat a couple summers ago and temps remained elevated, but in normal range.  The only minor issue I ever had was pulling up long grades and the engine temp would climb, but never to the point where a warning appeared (just started to display the actual temp above the gauge).  

Something doesn’t seem right with the transmission, but if dealers aren’t willing to address it, it’s probably time to move on from the vehicle.  

I'm pretty sure all the 150 platform mates use the same 10 speed (and it was co-developed by GM, so very similar to what is in their 1500s as well)

At one point the dealer did tell me that engine and tranny temps are cooled the same way, and that because of this, they will always be within a few degrees of each other.  When towing in the mountains in the past, both engine and tranny got hot, and the temps displayed instead of the useless analog gauge.  Photo below of a trip over I70 in Colorado last year.  I never thought 241* tranny temp would seem cool. 

57 minutes ago, Nick55 said:

Ryan, I have a few thoughts on this and I think you have some options. 

First, I'd call Ford and ask if you will get a temperature overheat warning in your vehicle and what that temperature is (I read through the 19 Expedition manual and couldn't find it).  If you aren't hitting that temperature, you are ok according to them.  The expedition doesn't have the same cooler as the F150 from what I can tell.  If you aren't overheating according to Ford, I'd plan on every 50k miles changing the fluid and filter and run it. Confirm if using Tow/Haul mode.   If you are overheating, you may need to have a discussion with the dealer and explain to them a symptom of a problem is just as relevant as a fault code (in fact, symptoms are often a very good indicator of problems).

Second, I'd confirm your options do actually include the max tow package.  From what I can tell, the 9200lb rating is only with a load distributing hitch, otherwise it's limited to 6000lbs if it's a 4WD (6300lbs if 2WD).  2019 Ford Expedition Owner's Manual -Towing - Recommended Towing Weights If you are overweight (tongue weight or overall trailer), in my opinion and legally, that's that.  

Good thought on the overheat warning.  I didn't think to ask that.  But the service writer commented that he believed that temps should be in the 220s.  Honestly I'd need to see something in writing that 265* for transmission temps is within specs to believe that.

Yes I am running in Tow/Haul mode.

Yes, I do have the max tow (or HD tow, or whatever it is officially called in the Ex).  That package is required to have the integrated trailer brake controller and the pro-backup assist.

If you or anyone can explain to me how weight distribution has an effect on engine and transmission temps, I'd love to hear it.  That would be an absolute BS cop-out if they claimed that.  Fortunately, they haven't done that yet.

 

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Edited by RyanB
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Nick55

Ryan, kudos to you for having done some homework on this.  As far as trusting a service advisor, I understand that but if he “believes” 220 is normal, I’d push to back up that data.  He (as well as his techs) have the “phone a friend” option by calling Ford.  You do too.  My comment on weight distribution was more along the lines of “be careful, if you are towing outside your vehicle limits, Ford and the dealer will quickly wash their hands of your situation”.  
If I’m correct, 2014 was the first year for the new 23’ hull, so my 08 is a different weight than yours, and I use an F150 so my experience is a little different than yours, but not too far off. 

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I have a 2019 Expedition Max with the HD tow package as well. I tow a 2007 v-ride, so it is a much smaller boat. I think Florida is the flattest state. I have towed a few times to Tennessee, so I have been through some of those big hills that the locals refer to as mountains. I seem to remember that the transmission temperature never went above about 220 degrees in those conditions. I did have it get to the 240’s on me once, but it was on a 5 mile stretch of steep hills. Some of them were 16 degrees. It had delayed shifts from park for a few drives immediately after that. 

1. Transmission is cooled by the engine coolant, so it will always be about the same temperature as the engine unless something is wrong. A larger radiator is the only cooling system upgrade for the HD tow compared to the standard. The F150’s are the same setup. The F150 Raptors have their own dedicated air to transmission oil cooler. Some people on the expedition forum have managed to install the Raptor cooler on the expedition. 

2. Did any fluid come out when it was 264 degrees? Possibly check the fluid level.

3. In the top picture, the engine temperature isn’t displayed above the gauge, so it was less than about 230 or 235 degrees. This large delta I think signals that something is wrong with the transmission. I think there are two common issues with the 10 speed transmission on the expedition. One is something in the valve body. The other is a CDF drum failure. Does it slam into any gears or have rough downshifts? Are there delays in shifting from park to drive or park to reverse?

4. The second picture with the 239 engine temp and 241 transmission, was this taken before or after the thermostat upgrade?

5. How close are you to the your power train warranty ending? I believe it is 5 years 60,000 miles. If that has not passed, you may want to be a little louder with the dealership. 

6. From some information others have posted on the expedition forum, I believe they indicated that the 220 degree temperature was normal for these transmissions. Mine runs under about 200 in most situations not towing. I do have the updated thermostat. 

A couple things to consider. 1. Use forscan to show the engine temperature all the time above the gauge. This can help you determine if your situation is an overall cooling issue or transmission only. 2. I always lock out 9 and 10 while towing by pressing the downshift button. I find that towing at highways speeds, the transmission temperature will drop a little further if I lock out 8 as well. The mileage is almost indistinguishable between the 3 gears. 

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Posted (edited)

Have a 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum with Max tow package. Currently only 46k miles..Never towed with it. But the transmission is already having issues. Always tow with my Ram 1500 Hemi with ZF Hurth 8 Speed transmission 4 corner air suspension which is an amazing tow combo, I don't recall tranny temps over 192.. The Hurth transmission always knows which gear to be in. 

Back to the Ford. I am so disappointed. First we test drove the Max (longer wheelbase) but purchased the shorter wheelbase and boy was that a mistake.. it rocks front to back over bumps. Wheelbase too short. Can't believe they still make cars that do this...I can only drive it in Sport mode, stiffens up the suspension and doesn't hunt for gears. The transmission tuning and gear hunting under 'normal' or 'ECO' drives me crazy. The 10 speed was developed with GM and I'm hearing GM tuned it WAY better!

It got pretty cold here in the PNW this winter and this is when I noticed the transmission slipping when cold. If you start it up and don't let it warm up enough, It slips out of first gear. One time it just revved up and didn't go anywhere, I let off throttle and loud chunk into gear. If you let it warm up, it won't slip but Drive to Reverse takes too long which isn't a good sign. Also some hard, weird shifts under normal driving.

What I gather is it needs TSB 23 -2250, which is a BIG job requiring a VERY detailed technician... Makes me want to trade it in on something else. Not a fan and will probably never buy another Ford. 

 

Edited by skurfer
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Posted (edited)

Change your trans fluid if they will not honour a replacement under warranty. The fluid is likely very black and burnt. My 16 F150 was shuttering very badly (likely torque convertor) and after a fluid change it completly stopped for 3k until I evenly traded it in. 

Edit: I can't read... You already did the fluid.. I would look at getting torque convertor replaced. 

Edited by Cole2001
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11 hours ago, RebesMalibu said:

Does it slam into any gears or have rough downshifts? Are there delays in shifting from park to drive or park to reverse?

 

Yes.  I took it in for that about a month ago.  Technician said it is operating normally.

 

11 hours ago, RebesMalibu said:

4. The second picture with the 239 engine temp and 241 transmission, was this taken before or after the thermostat upgrade?

5. How close are you to the your power train warranty ending? I believe it is 5 years 60,000 miles. If that has not passed, you may want to be a little louder with the dealership. 

Second photo was before the Tstat upgrade.  Warranty expires mid August.

 

10 hours ago, skurfer said:

What I gather is it needs TSB 23 -2250, which is a BIG job requiring a VERY detailed technician... Makes me want to trade it in on something else. Not a fan and will probably never buy another Ford.

I can't find anything on that TSB.  Your link shows what the problem is but doesn't really describe the symptoms.  Wish I knew what they were because I am not getting any satisfaction.

I also have a ZF8HP transmission in my Hemi Grand Cherokee.  ZF makes a great transmission.

Right now I would just like to get this issue figured out.  I don't want to have to replace the Expedition, but that seems to be the road I am headed down.  I've always been a MOPAR guy.  I don't see me buying another Ford again.

10 hours ago, Cole2001 said:

Change your trans fluid if they will not honour a replacement under warranty. The fluid is likely very black and burnt. My 16 F150 was shuttering very badly (likely torque convertor) and after a fluid change it completly stopped for 3k until I evenly traded it in. 

Edit: I can't read... You already did the fluid.. I would look at getting torque convertor replaced. 

I'd like to wait and see if I can get any movement with Ford/the dealer, but yes I am sure the fluid needs to be changed again.

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I spoke with the service writer again this morning.  What he told me was not what I wanted to hear.  He says that the transmission tech basically told him that if a "wrench light" didn't come on, everything was probably fine.  "You're just towing too much weight".  I guess 2200 + pounds under the max tow rating is more than the Ex can handle........

He told me to call 1-800-392-3673.  I called and they won't do anything until it's back at a dealership.  There are only 4 dealers in the Denver area that have a transmission technician.  I ruled one of them out when they had the Expedition for 8 weeks two years ago to replace the rear transaxle.  I think I am going down the road of ruling the current dealership out since the tech thinks I am towing too much despite being significantly under Ford's tow rating.

I've reached out to the service manager and am waiting a return call.

Despite never really loving the Ex, the plan was to keep it.  Not looking forward to having to replace a vehicle right now with the state of the economy and interest rates, but I also don't want to be stuck on the side of the road with a blown transmission that will soon be out of warranty and a $10k repair bill.  

I am a very unhappy Ford owner.

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Nick55
Posted (edited)

I think you are doing the right thing by trying to talk to the service manager.  And to refute what the service writer and tech are saying...... they should be able to bring the data.  Maybe not the tech, they are paid flat rate and calling Ford doesn't get them paid. But the service writer should have an avenue to get answers that you need.  Ford doesn't do business on hunches and "probably's", and the warranty isn't going to be supported by that on either side. 

As for the call to the 800 number, I'd call back and ask why your vehicle needs to be at a dealership to answer some basic informational questions regarding towing.  Ask for the regional reps name as well.  I think it's worth starting that relationship on a positive note, not screaming about how bad service is and how bad the vehicle is, more out of concern that you DON'T want to break it.  You don't have to LOVE a vehicle to keep it.  It "usually" does what you need it to do, and that's worth a lot when it comes to ownership.  

I'll add that I'm the Powertrain SME in Service Engineering for a vehicle OEM.  Not Ford, GM or Stellantis, but we build trucks that tow. Most of my work is with manual and automated transmissions due to sales volumes, but I also deal with fully automatic transmissions in some of our most severe service and municipal applications.  Be careful stating hard numbers for towing weights, make sure that they are in line with everything your specific vehicle limits (payload according to the driver's door jamb sticker, hitch tongue and overall trailer weights).  

Edited by Nick55
Clarifying not a pickup truck manufacturer
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Nick55
1 hour ago, bretcole said:

Call a lemon law attorney!

If he wants all discussions with Ford and the dealer to stop, that’s a great move.  Ryan needs answers, and going nuclear at this point will stop that communication.  All questions and answers will have to go through is attorney and Ford’s.  If he has a breakdown, the dealer it goes to will have to call Ford to determine how much or what work they can perform. Remember, his vehicle has not left him stranded, and it hasn’t sat for months in a shop with thousands of dollars in parts being thrown at it.  

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The truck is almost 5 years old, and while it’s spent more time at a dealer than probably any other 2 cars I’ve owned combined (8weeks two years ago waiting on a new rear transaxle) I don’t think this is a lemon law case. 
 

I do need to give some thought about what I do want as resolution, but I’m sure it involves repair or extended warranty over any sort of replacement.  I don’t want another Ford or any variety. 

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Posted (edited)

RyanB

Maybe check out some "independent Transmission shops" around town and see If others suffer from the same issue. 

I found that sometimes you get the truth from a guy who works on the trans and not some service writer at the dealership.

Join a Ford expedition forum like the MC. lost of info on it.

It sounds like your ready to throw in the towel. If you really like some of the features of the truck other than the trans,then you might think about rebuilding the trans for 10-G's

What else would you buy and get what you have. You would lose over 10-G's  if you sold it and bought new, but you would get a new warranty. 

I recently took a 8-G hit on a four year old car that was still under warranty with four recall notices. Some they can't fix due to part delays, and an well known issue with oil dilution that they won't address.

 For my wife's safety and my peace of mind we purchased a new car from different manufacturer and I sleep better at night. Money well spent.

 

Edited by Rack
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According to this Ford master tech, the TCM doesn't consider the transmission over temp until it reaches 275f.  You were close, but didn't quite get there.  https://www.justanswer.com/ford/f1on3-currently-8hr-road-trip-2018-ford-expedition-3-5l.html

Google this issue and you find all sorts of references to the Expedition and high temps.  Mustang guys with the 10 speed regularly see 250f on track days.  These newer transmissions are designed to run hot, and the fluids are supposedly up to the task... supposedly.

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If you like the thing otherwise - maybe invest in some sort of "bulletproofed" trans.  I'd assume that someone is selling them by now and it is gonna be cheaper than a new vehicle.

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15 hours ago, Rack said:

If you really like some of the features of the truck other than the trans,then you might think about rebuilding the trans for 10-G's

What else would you buy and get what you have. You would lose over 10-G's  if you sold it and bought new, but you would get a new warranty.

I have a number of thoughts going through my mind for replacement.  Me spending $10k to rebuild a transmission that has known problems that won't be acknowledged when it is still under warranty is not something I am willing to do.

 

12 hours ago, UWSkier said:

According to this Ford master tech, the TCM doesn't consider the transmission over temp until it reaches 275f.  You were close, but didn't quite get there.  https://www.justanswer.com/ford/f1on3-currently-8hr-road-trip-2018-ford-expedition-3-5l.html

Google this issue and you find all sorts of references to the Expedition and high temps.  Mustang guys with the 10 speed regularly see 250f on track days.  These newer transmissions are designed to run hot, and the fluids are supposedly up to the task... supposedly.

I'll have to google some more.  I know some transmissions run hotter temps.  But 275*?  That is hard to believe that the fluid wouldn't be toast running that hot.  

The ZF8HP in my Grand Cherokee I don't think has ever been above 210*.  The Aisin in my CTD runs 165* up the passes towing 16,000 pounds.  Its. hard to wrap my head around 265* being acceptable.

3 hours ago, oldjeep said:

If you like the thing otherwise - maybe invest in some sort of "bulletproofed" trans.  I'd assume that someone is selling them by now and it is gonna be cheaper than a new vehicle.

Honest question.  Why should I need to do anything to a properly functioning transmission to tow below (I'd say well below) its weight rating?  I see people in my area all the time towing heavier boats than mine with 1500s.  Maybe I am just overly cautious/observant?

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I left a message for the service manager at the dealership yesterday am, no call back as of yet.  I called the 800-392-3673 Ford number and they won't offer any help until the car is at a dealership.  I've called several dealerships and all of them have told me that they are at least a month out to get me in.  Really makes me wonder how many problems are happening or if they are just understaffed.

From another group I found a technician at another dealership who I have been able to speak with.  He told me that he has worked on the 10r80 since they came out.  They overhaul 3-5 of them per week.  He's not a fan of the transmission, and agrees from what I have said that mine is not running as designed.  He thinks it should run 210*-220*, and be up to the task of my boat.  That is the better news.  He also told me that they are 2 months out, but to drop it off and they should be able to get to it within a couple of weeks, and then another week or so for repairs.  So we are looking at another month without the Ex.

My plan is to use it to tow the boat to the lake this weekend, then drop it off Monday.  We have camping/boating reservations the two following weekends, so I guess I'll be pulling it with the Grand Cherokee for those trips.  Hopefully the Ex will be back by mid-July.  That would get me through this summer, and re-evaluate my tow vehicle plan going forward.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, RyanB said:

 

My plan is to use it to tow the boat to the lake this weekend, then drop it off Monday.  We have camping/boating reservations the two following weekends, so I guess I'll be pulling it with the Grand Cherokee for those trips.  Hopefully the Ex will be back by mid-July.  That would get me through this summer, and re-evaluate my tow vehicle plan going forward.

Forthcoming 2025 Suburban with the 3.0L Duramax is the perfect option.

Edited by UWSkier
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