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Old 06-21-2004, 09:22 PM
4 Jaw Chuck's Avatar
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First time trans rebuilder...need tips!

I've decided to take my 1994 Taurus SHO off the road while I rebuild the trans, it's been slipping excessively when hot and has been performing pretty poorly lately, with 100K miles on her it's definetly time.

I've been around the good shops in my area and all of them have given me estimates of $2000-$3000 CDN for a complete rebuild (depending on parts replaced), for that price I think I will tackle it myself and throw in a few HIPO goodies to make it worth my while. Although I have never rebuilt an automatic trans before I am confident I can handle this job myself with my existing tools.

The trans is a variant of the AXOD-E I believe and I have all the technical bulletins and rebuild specs/manuals from Ford in my Mitchell Manual CD set. I have found a supplier for a reprogrammed control module that apparently solves the slip shift issue with the factory programming and a few other tricks for modified SHO's, at $250 US it's pricey but others who have bought the controller have said it's a must especially if your going to boost it.

Which leads to the next mod I will be investing in...supercharger, but thats an entirely different thread. I should mention that the only mod on the car is cat removal and a free flowing aftermarket exhaust using the stock tips.

My question(s) are;

-Has anyone out there rebuilt an AXOD or one of it's variants on the forum? If so what kind of pitfalls should I be aware of? Any tools you recommend I buy before I start?

-I found a shift kit made by TransGo for this trans that is similar (I think) to the ones of yore, are they? If they are, why would you need a shift kit when the trans is completely computer controlled? Does it really help shift quality or is it a hardcore only type of mod for these tranny's?

-I expect to just replace components instead of recondition, where is a good place for parts? Ford? What parts can I reuse and recondition safely when 300HP is my goal?

-Are there any "must do" mods that I shouldn't forget?

-I will never tow with it but how big a cooler should I put on there? The car is already airconditioned and there is not much room under there for a traditional huge "RV" style. Are there any compact "pancake" style coolers with thermostats you can recommend?

-Am I asking for trouble doing this myself? I am a qualified machinist but hey, if it's truly cheaper for some else to do it (due to parts markup etc.) I'm not married to the idea of getting greasy just for the sake of doing it. I believe in letting professionals do their job if it cheaper in the long run, pulling the trans to repair my screwups would be a PITA!

Thanks for your replies.

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Old 06-22-2004, 06:13 AM
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axod e

this is a big project for a first timer and someone that will only do it once as you posted before and I answered before. Your safety is what I am thinking about first this unit require motor support and frame removal this is a task on sho engine.... you need valve body line up tool with pins good rebuild kit dont forget about a torque converter and shift improve kit with lube dam and new pressure valve for v/b I use superior products here ...
makes this tranny shift nice and crisp and you can over do shift feel for those who like a hard bang for the buck. planet failure will be a hard part most likely here drum will need to be checked for sealing ring wear point along with driven sprocket for wear

LISTEN UP take it to a pro they do it day in day out. your hands make your living like mine do here lose a finger or a hand you life will change, spend a few bucks
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Old 06-22-2004, 06:40 AM
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If you take it to be done it will get a warranty, do it yourself and any messups you will have to sort out.
When I took my 700R4 out and disassembled it, which was very awkward without a rotating stand, I decided to get a decent one from B/M.Four years ago it cost me 1200 dollars I think they are getting near 2000 now.

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Old 06-22-2004, 08:16 AM
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sounds like quite a project for a first job. I am by no means an expert, but I think if you wanted to learn how to build a trans you should probalby start with a TH 350 or something simple.

Hex though man, you're a rodder, and if you're a pretty detail oriented person (which you seem to be) where there's a will there's a way. My grandpa always said (Big stocky dutch immigrant who worked as an engineer, smartest guy I've ever known): If one man built it, I can re-build it.

Do it up man, you may only have to rebuild half the trans.

K
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Old 06-22-2004, 04:49 PM
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I hear ya guys, the warranty issue has crossed my mind many times. The kicker is unless I have the shop remove the trans and install it I would still have to remove the trans for any repairs, from the looks of it rebuilding the trans is the easy part once you get it out of the chassis...there are some seriously tight quaters under that hood. The other side of the equation is if I get another shop to rebuild the trans I blow the budget on the rebuild with nothing left over for the reprogrammed controller, you could say doing it myself gets me a free "required' speed component that adds life to the trans and prepares the car for further improvements.

My biggest worry is I drop a big pile of cash on the professional trans rebuild and the shop reuses parts I can't see leading to an expensive failure 50 000 km down the road...just out of warranty, you could say I don't trust any other outfit to rebuild the component as well I demand, heck even motors come back to me unassembled just so I can check the clearances etc. before I am satisfied. I guess I am a bit of a micromanager when it come to performance precision component assembly. Amazing what I find since I can afford to be picky and time is not an issue, the thought of putting total trust in some shop I visit once for work does not thrill me. $2-3000 for a rebuild sure seems expensive for a transmission rebuild!

As for my fingers..after 12 years as a machinist and millwright I still have them all!
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Old 06-22-2004, 08:49 PM
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axode

you make it sound as if no one can do your repair as good as you why ask for advise when you've made your mind up already?????
even a part you yourself can install can fail, and as you are certainly able to read measurement doesn't mean you can understand the use of the hydraulic system and do what needs to be altered to correctly restore this transmission as well as someone with years of training. no need to alter computer here someone with knowledge can make this trans shift with motor mount braking results..... just a thought
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Old 06-22-2004, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4 Jaw Chuck


My biggest worry is I drop a big pile of cash on the professional trans rebuild and the shop reuses parts I can't see leading to an expensive failure 50 000 km down the road...just out of warranty, you could say I don't trust any other outfit to rebuild the component as well I demand.
THAT'S WTF I'M TALKING ABOUT.

4Jaw, i paid a shop to do mine, not sho, but taurus, it was 1200. the fn thing went out a day after i got it back. ****** left a shop towel in it. got it back the second time, it slips turning right from a stop, when it shifts into second.????? wtf right? the shop owner tells me to drive it till it goes out. FU. i guess i mean F ME.

spooki has a fwd manual tranny car, he, we have pulled and swapped the damn tranny and motor in that thing at least three times, and have totally disassembled the entire front end, had the tranny apart, and back together, and it still goes, were goobers, and if we can i know you can. in fact, when the tranny goes out in the taurus, i'm gonna do it myself. i have no doubt that i can. i've seen the ''pro's'' in action, and i'm NOT impressed.

no one will take care of my stuff as well as i will. maybe they take good care of their stuff, but they don't seem to give a rats arse about mine. there is one guy locally that i would trust with my truck, (mechanically speaking) and he tell's me that he'd just f a ford up. thanks for your honesty.

Quote:
why ask for advise when you've made your mind up already?????
cause he's doing it his self, and want's to know the best way?

not everyone has a mechanic as good as you around to do their work. if i had a good mechanic around, i'd probably be one of those people who pay to have their work done.
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Old 06-22-2004, 10:49 PM
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Re: axode

Quote:
Originally posted by airworld2
you make it sound as if no one can do your repair as good as you why ask for advise when you've made your mind up already?????
even a part you yourself can install can fail, and as you are certainly able to read measurement doesn't mean you can understand the use of the hydraulic system and do what needs to be altered to correctly restore this transmission as well as someone with years of training. no need to alter computer here someone with knowledge can make this trans shift with motor mount braking results..... just a thought
I know what your saying AW and I understand that these guys have specific knowledge I am not privy too (i.e. of years of experience). But (and this is a big butt) we are talking about a hydraulic pump with a differential in the center of the case are we not? I have much experience with all the above and have all the required measurement tooling to do the clearancing etc. What else is there I need? A 55 gallon drum to stand it on and an engine stand to bolt it too?

Got em and a decent set of tools to go with it, and a lathe if I want to custom machine my own drums out of billet if needed. What I need is a "How to rebuild your AXOD-E transmission, SHO Edition" manual, you know the "HP Book" kind you read once and then shelve for future reference. (My collection is quite large ) Something with a big HIGH PERF MOD Section, if you get my drift. Maybe I should take a quick evening college course and bring it with me and get certified at the same time as fixing my trans.

As for the installation part I have considered having the trans dynoed but can't find anyone here who has such a machine. I figure that if I dyno the rebuilt trans I do myself then I can trust it and install with confidence.

If I need to fabricate a wack of tooling/fixturing to do certain parts of the rebuild that in the end cost more than the rebuild then I agree I'll shelve the project. I would need a good reason other than "warranty" to stop me though, most of the time those warranty's cover nothing for modified transmissions anyway.

My rational is (better write this down) Do it once, do it right. From the experiences others have had around here these local rebuilders don't have such a good reputation, although the high end of my quotations was from a reputable shop around the corner known in the old days as "the tranny man", the sons running it now don't seem to be quite the same unfortunetly.

Hmmm...wonder if the college campus nightlife is still the same? I really do need the education. Who wants a Vodka Slurpee!
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:15 AM
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When I visited Edmonton I saw several transmission repair shops
that would tear down the trans, tell you what needed to be done
and if you decided not to go for it, replace the whole thing.........
no charge.
I was last there in ´95.
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Old 06-23-2004, 08:21 AM
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I would love too but Edmonton is almost 900 miles away. Basically what I want is a complete rebuild that replaces all the worn parts.

To heck with it, Larry says "do it!" and thats good enough for me, ripping and tearing will begin this weekend. Perhaps I will photograph the exercise and post it on my own website since I can't find anyone else who has done this kind of overhaul themselves. Looks like I might start here.

I'll call the site "Tranny Virgin" and put a couple pop-ups on the page, the perv hits will likely pay for the rebuild!
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Old 06-23-2004, 08:29 AM
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I have attacked major rebuilds on at least 7 different GM auto trannys ('54 Dual-Range Hydro, Powerglide, TH200, TH350, TH400, TH7004R, TH200R4, other?) and came out the other end unscathed. I have no qualms opening any tranny if I have the right info to begin with. These guys offer parts, personal consultation and most importantly, a how to video. With a video tape to guide you it become a very doable project.

Drivetrain Doctors
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Old 06-23-2004, 09:37 AM
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I've used Whatever It Takes Transmission for parts. I could never find a website for them, but here's the # (800) 940-0197.

They carried a full rebuild shift kit for my Ford C5 (kinda rare) and the price was right. I HIGHLY recommend picking up the Ford Automatic Transmission Manual from Haynes. It's a blue cover book you can pick up at any Auto Zone. They have your transmission in there as well as the RWD ones.

I have to say, I was a LOT more confident about doing it myself after reading through the section I needed to for my trans before I started.

Oh, and you can get kits from W.I.T. that include new valve bodies, so there's no need in rebuilding yours valve by valve. Just make sure you have an accurate torque wrench on hand to adjust the bands, and some snap ring pliers. Take your time, and you should have it apart and back together in about 8 hrs total.

But like you said, the hard part is getting it out of the car. Godd Luck there.




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Old 06-23-2004, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by willys36@aol.com
I have attacked major rebuilds on at least 7 different GM auto trannys ('54 Dual-Range Hydro, Powerglide, TH200, TH350, TH400, TH7004R, TH200R4, other?) and came out the other end unscathed. I have no qualms opening any tranny if I have the right info to begin with. These guys offer parts, personal consultation and most importantly, a how to video. With a video tape to guide you it become a very doable project.

Drivetrain Doctors
For less than $500 I can get the video and the rebuild kit, thanks Willys...that is very reasonable.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:32 AM
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Oh, Chuck I had a dream about you last light. Seems you and Chick were in B'field for your son's soccer tournament (big league!!) and you stopped by my shop and bench raced. As I recall, we all got out of the shop w/o major injury which is a miracle you would agree if you saw the mess it is in at this moment.

Keep us informed. Better yet, post a photo essay in a journal.
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Old 06-23-2004, 02:29 PM
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Better yet, post a photo essay in a journal.
Going to do just that, I have to make use of this new digital camera somehow!
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