Transmission behaviours - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 10:24:PM Thread Starter
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Transmission behaviours

This is my first modern Ford auto transmission... I live at the top of the Niagara escarpment in Hamilton Ontario, my morning drive always includes a descent down the 8% grade on a somewhat winding 2 lane road. Usually, I'm jammed up behind a bunch of ding dong's doing 30km/h while riding the brakes. In my old Sprinter with it's NAG-1 5 speed autobox, I'd routinely downshift to 4th or 3rd to get some engine braking down the hill, and avoid riding the brakes... especially with some weight in the van. I have noticed that in the Transit, if I use the rocker switch to lock out, say, 4-6 gears, the van will continue to more or less sit at idle or slightly above and provide no engine braking whatsoever. If I stab the throttle, the revs will come way up, since I'm locked in the lower gear, but only occasionally with the torque converter lock up and provide any real engine braking. It's the same whether I use full manual mode to select a lower gear, or simply bump the rocker switch to lock out the higher gears. It's as if the tranny is disengaged until I get on the gas again. Alternately, at higher speeds, when not on a grade, and a lower gear is selected on deceleration, the tranny will provide engine braking, when I don't necessarily need it. Anyone else notice this behaviour?

And I know... Gears are for going, and brakes are for slowing, but It's still an odd behaviour.

RIP Lemmy. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

Long tall cargo 250 3.2 3.73lsd

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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:26:PM
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Do you have the tow haul transmission or just the regular trans. I thought I read somewhere that the trans that comes with the trailer brake control/trailer hitch equipped vans would downshift and use engine braking on decents
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:33:PM Thread Starter
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I have the tow package trans. Putting it in tow mode makes no difference. It's like there's a speed threshold for the tc lock up. But it's too high.
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:33:PM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown View Post
This is my first modern Ford auto transmission... I live at the top of the Niagara escarpment in Hamilton Ontario, my morning drive always includes a descent down the 8% grade on a somewhat winding 2 lane road. Usually, I'm jammed up behind a bunch of ding dong's doing 30km/h while riding the brakes. In my old Sprinter with it's NAG-1 5 speed autobox, I'd routinely downshift to 4th or 3rd to get some engine braking down the hill, and avoid riding the brakes... especially with some weight in the van. I have noticed that in the Transit, if I use the rocker switch to lock out, say, 4-6 gears, the van will continue to more or less sit at idle or slightly above and provide no engine braking whatsoever. If I stab the throttle, the revs will come way up, since I'm locked in the lower gear, but only occasionally with the torque converter lock up and provide any real engine braking. It's the same whether I use full manual mode to select a lower gear, or simply bump the rocker switch to lock out the higher gears. It's as if the tranny is disengaged until I get on the gas again. Alternately, at higher speeds, when not on a grade, and a lower gear is selected on deceleration, the tranny will provide engine braking, when I don't necessarily need it. Anyone else notice this behaviour?

And I know... Gears are for going, and brakes are for slowing, but It's still an odd behaviour.
You might try setting cruise control. I believe I read someone here, that said this produces an effect similar to the tow haul mode. Let us know.

Transit 250 Cargo MR LWB 3.5L w/3.31

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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:47:PM Thread Starter
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Yes the cruise will downshift to maintain speeds going downhill. It seems this is more a function of the torque converter lock up programming.

RIP Lemmy. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

Long tall cargo 250 3.2 3.73lsd
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 12:47:AM
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I live 200 vertical feet above the city below. The streets down are 6% grades. With my manual transmission vehicles I used 1st or 2nd.

When first I had the Transit I went down in drive riding the brakes. Then I tried shifting into low and it behaved the same as my manual transmissions going down slowly with my foot off the go pedal. Next time I go I will watch the tach as I have no idea what rpm it was.

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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 02:20:AM
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Mine holds back well when downshifted manually- definitely has the TC locked up. Used it a lot in the NC mountains recently.

"Beluga" 2015 350HD 3.2D, 3.73, EL, HR.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 05:00:AM
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Ditto to Budsky. I use the rocker switch on the shift knob all the time, even around town to downshift like a manual transmission, to start slowing down before stop signs etc.. The Wagon provides excellent engine braking on all kinds of downhills, especially on my recent trip in the Appalachians towing the trailer home.

Cruise control will do the same thing on long downhills, but I don't like to give the choice over to this automatic system, as it cannot see the road ahead, nor trucks in the slow lane (uphills), or other traffic in the way up ahead on downhills, etc..

Most of my early vans (VW and Ford) were manual transmission, so I feel comfortable with my hand on the shifter, ready to rock into a lower gear. This is very intuitive and I find that sometimes it happens without much thought, like the old days of manual shifting . . .

Now, if I could only stop using the rocker switch to fast forward to the next tune on my phone playing over the BlueTooth stereo!



PS -- So hammerdown, after reading this thread again, it sounds as if your programming may be off IMO.

2015 XLT 150 Wagon, 3.5EB/3.31LS, 130" WB, low roof, 8-passenger, full trailer tow incl. brake controller, ordered 12/14, delivered 4/20.

Last edited by PeterR; 09-22-2015 at 05:11:AM.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 06:48:AM
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Many of the newer vehicles "learn" shift patterns- I wonder if disconnecting the batteries for 30 minutes or so will reset PCM and allow it to relearn how to work the transmission. This has been the case on many vehicles in the past- might be worth a try.

"Beluga" 2015 350HD 3.2D, 3.73, EL, HR.
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 08:57:AM Thread Starter
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I find this condition only occurs at low speeds, 40mph and less... so i'm pulling down into 4th and third gears, but getting no engine braking. Higher speeds, it works as it's supposed to. I have noticed that doesn't want to lock the TC when I begin the grade in drive, and then switch to manual, or lock out while in drive. I'm going to try selecting manual before I start down the grade.

It's kind of like this transmissions TC lock up programming is the opposite of my old Sprinters. The Sprinters TC would stay locked up for ages, almost lugging the engine before downshifts at lower speeds. The Transit, I feel, could lock up earlier, and hold the higher gears, using the broad torque curve more. But perhaps as it learns, my driving style, it will adjust. 10200kms on the van currently.

RIP Lemmy. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

Long tall cargo 250 3.2 3.73lsd
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