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wizdumb

Getting stuck in 5th.

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Well, I did a pretty decent search for a similar issue but haven't turned up anything. I have a 98 Contour LX Zetec, 5-Speed. I don't drive this car much anymore but had it out on the highway last week. As I came off my exit, and tried pulling her out of 5th to merge with traffic, the shifter wouldn't budge. I was locked in 5th and couldn't get it out of gear until it slowed down to roughly 30mph. Not fun, as the exit I was getting off of is a major interchange where people tend to drive like maniacs. Anyway, I was able to get it out of 5th and work my way back up in gears, only for the same thing to happen again. I did notice when I was driving that the shifter felt loose all around, more loose than I can remember anyway, like I said, I don't drive this car that much anymore. Also, just finding the gears didn't seem a smooth as I remember it. She's an older ride, 150,000 miles, I bought it at 87k and have now way of knowing if the clutch/trans has been serviced. I will admit, I know next to nothing when it comes to clutches and transmissions. Which is why I've come here. Does this sound like a big issue, or get it just be worn shift cables? What do I need to look for and where should I start? I wanna make sure I'm looking for the root cause and not just throwing parts at it, lol. I'm trying hard to avoid taking it a shop because the last time I did I got bit hard financially only to end up fixing it myself again 2 weeks later.

 

This may be a big order, but any help would be greatly appreciated. I have some other small nagging issues with the car that I will try and address later, but I feel that this is more important.

Edited by wizdumb

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..check the shift cable ends at the trans end..If the white bush has fallen apart then you will loose gear stick movement.If the cable ends are OK then it could be an issue within the trans. What lube do you have in it?

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..check the shift cable ends at the trans end..If the white bush has fallen apart then you will loose gear stick movement.If the cable ends are OK then it could be an issue within the trans. What lube do you have in it?

 

 

Trans fluid was changed at the same place I get my quick lube service done at about 110k. I made sure that put they put the one specified, which if I remember correctly was a Mercon trans fluid. (Not at home to check the manual in the car). It was a texaco, so, without looking at reciepts and just using deduction it is more than likely Havoline ATF. I do remember looking for the Motorcraft Mercon a while back but hearing that it's no longer made but that Mercon/Dexron III were interchangeable. Which Havoline ATF meets that, so hopefully it's the right fluid.

 

I will check the cable ends when I get back home to the car. Hopefully the Haines manual I have will have the location, if not I guess I'll be back here asking :P

 

Thanks for the reply Terry.

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ATF fluids are no longer the correct Ford spec for the MTX75. It should be Ford Motorcraft fluid # XT-M5-QS or Royal Purple 'Syncromax' lube..

 

 

..look at these posts.

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=10077

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=6925&st=0

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=6454

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ATF fluids are no longer the correct Ford spec for the MTX75. It should be Ford Motorcraft fluid # XT-M5-QS or Royal Purple 'Syncromax' lube..

 

 

..look at these posts.

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=10077

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=6925&st=0

 

http://www.fordcontour.org/index.php?showtopic=6454

 

 

Oh, well then regardless of what I find, looks like a fluid change is in order. Been laid off of work for the past 2 weeks. Atleast this car is giving me something to do. :D Still not at home yet to check the cables, but I will come back here as soon as I take a peek. Thanks again.

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Well, unfortunately, the sun left before I got home (I lack a garage, all driveway work) so I wasn't able to get under the car today. But I took the time to putz around the forum and read some more of your posts about the ATF fluid. Sounds like the stuff has some pretty detrimental effects on the MTX trannys. I hope it aint too late for mine and that this isn't the main cause of the problems I've been having with this car. Otherwise this looks to be a pretty expensive fix. Not a cool thing to think about when your laid off. I can't be taking a transmission apart in a dirt driveway. So if this is the issue, unless one of my buddies will let me make camp in their garage for a bit, I may have to shelf the car for awhile. Or in worst case scenario, sell it. Don't wanna do that, she was the first car I ever bought. :(

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OK, well the weather has finally broke so first thing this morning, I tried blocking and jacking. However, the ground outside is still way too saturated from the snow/rain we've been getting here in southern NJ over the past couple of weeks and I just can't get a hold on the car that I am confident enough to get under. So, with that said, I decided to start taking care of some things that don't require a jack and decided to replace my valve cover gasket. This was replaced at about 120k when I was forced to take it to a shop and have the water pump/timing belt replaced when it crapped out on me 40 miles from home. But, I noticed it had a small leak, and well, it turns out the bone heads at this shop snapped 3 of the bolts. They had to have noticed. It's impossible not to notice when you snap a bolt by the fact that it will keep spinning. They just decided not to do anything about it and left it to me to take care of. Really a top-notch shop. It goes without saying that one needs to avoid Mr. B's auto in Atlantic City.

 

The Bolts are completely sheared, flush with the camshaft housing. I got one of those fancy "Grab It" bits as a gift and got some cellophane to cover the camshaft so no metal bits would get in there. To my surprise, the As Seen on TV tool worked quite well. Got all of the bolts out fairly easily. Now is just the matter of getting new ones. I did notice when I pulled the cambelt cover over a bit to take a peek that there was a good amount of rubber "dust," I guess you would call it. This belt is the same age as the valve cover gasket and really is the 2nd timing belt in since I replaced it myself at about 90k (figured that the water-pump going is what shredded the one I put in). Is seeing this shreaded rubber normal? Or could there be a bigger underlaying problem? The Alternator, Tensioner Pulley and Water pump have about 60k or substantially less on them.

Edited by wizdumb

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