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Thread: Transmission overheat?

  1. #1

    Default Transmission overheat?

    Sadly this may be the last post I make on the old '11 Crown Vic (320k). So yesterday I heard a quiet hiss coming from the front which turned out to be a very small radiator leak...in the middle of a fin somewhere. Doing errands around town today I kept extra coolant with me and added it as it needed. After filling it up I make a 60 mph trip to a nearby city about 20 miles away. When I get to a stop at the bottom of the off ramp, I hit the gas it it doesn't move. No extra lights on the dash except for the check engine light which was already on for something else. I put it in park and back in drive, tried all the gears but got nothing, not even in reverse. Thinking it might have something to do with my coolant situation I checked it and ended up putting in like 1.5 gal of coolant which is much more than it's taken before. Only thing I can imagine is that the leak got worse on the interstate and I didn't notice it. Did the no coolant issue cause the transmission to overheat somehow? There was a slight burning smell in the cabin so something definitely overheated. The overheat light on the dash never came on (I think I have one?) and the engine ran fine the whole time. I was traveling at 60 mph though so I wonder if that would be enough to cool the engine off while the transmission still overheated?


    What in the heck happened and what do I do, besides sell the damn thing.

  2. #2

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    I answered you on Ford Forums. If the fluid is fine it could be something as stupid as the mlps. I hope so anyway.


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  3. #3
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    Something that seems curious to me is that the engine apparently did not go into 'fail-safe cooling mode' in which four cylinders shut down to help with cooling (since they act as air pumps when no fuel is given). I would presume newer models still do that but don't know. I'm no expert, but my initial impression is that an overheat situation would not in itself kill the tranny outright. If you have a dead tranny fluid pump, that would leave you stranded like that, but I don't know if the pumps can fail like that in these cars. Definitely check to see if there is any cross-contamination between the coolant and tranny fluid.

    Dunno if any of the electrical gizmos in the tranny could cause this. There is a 'limp mode' that you can look into:

    https://www.transmissionrepaircostguide.com/limp-mode/

    Maybe try disconnecting the battery for a bit [edit: though check for codes first if you can] and see if it comes back to life after reconnecting. Or like 87GrandMarq said, you just might get lucky with an MLPS issue.

    What kind of burning smell was it? Electrical stuff tends to have its own unique kind of smell.
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 09-21-2019 at 03:30 PM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  4. #4

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    Hey 87 what's the MLPS? No experience with this one.

    And DIY, there's some room for error here but the smell seemed like maybe burned fluid, best guess. Didn't seem electrical.

  5. #5

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    Its another name for the neutral safety switch on the side of the transmission. It stands for manual lever position sensor. It can affect shift behavior and even cause freewheeling when it goes bad. Was it raining when this happened? If you can get under the car check the harness for frayed wires/water intrusion/alignment... Also how was the fluid level when you checked with the trans in park and warmed up?


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  6. #6
    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    Transmission cooler is in the a/c condenser in 06+ crown vics.
    "Vicky" 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX ..................................."Blue" 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

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  7. #7
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    I must have been thinking about power steering fluid being routed through one end of the rad. Even the tranny cooler on my older MGM is totally separate from the rad, so getting cross-contamination seems virtually impossible. I suppose one thing to consider is a problem with the tranny cooler thermostat if the newer ones still had them.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  8. #8

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    Ok more ideas, good.

    Sounds like I should be hoping it's the MLPS then as that's about the least worrisome scenario I've had mentioned so far.

    I'll be trying to start her tonight for the first time so we'll see. Crossing my fingers.

    The other possibilities that have been mentioned to me so far is a broken input shaft or the MLPS, and I don't know what either one of these is. Was told if it ws the MLPS that it would be throwing a code. So wouldn't you know I'm having a problem getting it read. Wonder if there is a way to get a multi-meter on whatever the MLPS is and test it?

    Also, what is the input shaft and is it something in the drive line?

  9. #9
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    The MLPS was explained by 87GrandMarq in post #5. It's basically a safety feature to prevent the car from starting in gear, though I don't know the ins and outs of it, especially for panthers. I don't know much about other tranny issues either, but the first stage of tranny operation is the torque converter (TC) bolted to the flywheel. That is essentially the interface point between the engine power output and tranny power input. The shell of the TC is always spinning with the engine, but it is generally the spinning fluid inside the TC that transmits the power to another part inside the TC that connects to what I presume is the "input shaft" that spins within the tranny. If there is some kind of break around there, the power would not get passed along. I suppose the break could be limited to the part inside the TC and still have the same effect. That sort of thing would seem to be a very unusual during normal driving.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  10. #10
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    The latest post on CVN for your issue by theperfectdrugsk (about making sure it's actually shifting) got me thinking. There is a known issue about bolts within the steering column getting loose and preventing proper movement of the shift cable:



    And you can get the tranny end of the cable breaking from rust:

    https://www.crownvic.net/ubbthreads/...Number=3086017

    OTOH, the fact that you said the tranny went dead while still in gear after getting off the highway suggests the shift cable is probably not your problem.

    I once had a Ford Tempo whose front transaxle did almost exactly the same thing as you described. I was going along fine but then got no response when giving it gas. The tranny fluid pump was driven by a hex shaft driven by a part in the TC that had rounded out, so there was no fluid pressure to kick it in gear. But I would guess an instantaneous pump failure like that would not happen with a panther transmission with its different pump setup.

    It seems you might not have any choice but to take it to a tranny shop.

    Edit: BTW, in your latest CVN post (#4031660), you mentioned in the first paragraph that you disconnected the battery and checked the fluid, and then in the second paragraph you said you started the engine. Did you check the fluid with the engine running? The level of the fluid has to be checked while the fluid is actually circulating. Also, are you sure that the tranny has the right fluid? I'm pretty sure your 2011 requires Mercon LV.
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 09-23-2019 at 06:51 PM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  11. #11
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    The MLPS is more than just a neutral safety switch. Its how the ECM knows what gear is selected so it can control the transmission. Without that you get either odd shifting, or the "limp mode" which I think is just second gear. It also does give the neutral safety and reverse light functions though.

    do you actually have enough trans fluid in there? If its way low it won't work either.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  12. #12

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    You're right DIY the engine was off. I was thinking to do an accurate check you needed to do a 20 mile drive to warm the trans up first. So knowing I wasn't able to do that I just checked the fluid level before starting. In hindsight I should have started it before checking. I did check it just the week before and it seemed up to where it should be, so I dunno.

    And yes I believe my car takes LV. Changed it out 15k miles ago and I def checked for the correct fluid.

  13. #13
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    Here's a link with pics of the older MLPS dissected:

    http://www.idmsvcs.com/2vmod/tranny/...res/index.html

    Edit: and here's a like with lots of older tranny part info, including the MLPS about halfway down:

    https://www.crownvic.net/ubbthreads/...Number=1460854
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 09-24-2019 at 01:00 PM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  14. #14

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    Wow after all this and it turns out to be the rear end. Just got it to my mechanic and he watched the driveshaft when I gave it some gas, in gear, and it turned. So I guess that's where the sound was coming from. Although my trans fluid smells a little, a mechanic who works on these crown vics a lot says the fluid always smells somewhat burned. I'm super easy on this car so I'm not sure why the fluid would smell like that. Newly changed out like 15k miles ago.

  15. #15
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    when you do a fluid change it gets a little under half of it so if it was burned smelling previously, its still half burned smelling.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  16. #16
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    The color of the tranny fluid is important too. If it's not dark, that's a good sign.

    Please do let us know what's up with the rear end. I don't think I've heard of such a problem before.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  17. #17

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    Im curious as well, the 8.8 is nearly bulletproof.


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  18. #18
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I'm going with the axle sheared at the outer bearing and the wheel is being held on by the brake caliper.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  19. #19
    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    I'm going with the axle sheared at the outer bearing and the wheel is being held on by the brake caliper.
    That sounds oddly familiar.
    "Vicky" 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX ..................................."Blue" 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

    Vicky
    Too much stuff to list in my signature...
    Blue
    Gone! But Parts from it will live on in others!


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