DIY Electric Car Forums banner

automatic transmission question

7005 Views 20 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Roy Von Rogers
I have an 1989 ford ranger that was converted in 1996, by professionals. When I got it the control card was bad. I had it repaired but it still doesn't run. The truck has a dash display that should show error codes, but I have no errors.
I think it is important that i learn how the auto tranny works. I am hoping you can help.
Should the motor start spinning when the ignition is on?
should it spinn when i put the shift to drive?
or when I press on the gas pedal?
let me know the info you need to find the answers,

here are a few pictures of the truck http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
I have an 1989 ford ranger that was converted in 1996, by professionals. When I got it the control card was bad. I had it repaired but it still doesn't run. The truck has a dash display that should show error codes, but I have no errors.
I think it is important that i learn how the auto tranny works. I am hoping you can help.
Should the motor start spinning when the ignition is on?
should it spinn when i put the shift to drive?
or when I press on the gas pedal?
let me know the info you need to find the answers,

here are a few pictures of the truck http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
When you crank the engine, the motor that pressurizes the automatic transmission system will start turning. Reason being, if it doesn't, you can't move. A common reason not to use automatic in an EV is because if you come to a stop, the electric motor doesn't idle and keep the system going like a ICE, and you need to put a second motor to account for that, otherwise you end up stuck at a stop light pressurizing the system fore a few seconds before you can move.
I have been running an auotomatic for over a year now. You need to let the controller know that the motor needs to "idle".

I cannot speak for your controller but on the curtis if you add like a 1K resistor in the line with your pot box it will idle. I added a switch so I could switch it to idle or not.

With the Zilla you can do the same however, you need to start the sequence and allow the zilla to go through it's start up process then you can switch the resistor in line and it will "idle".

I hope this helps. As was posted before me the motor needs to idle to build hydraulic pressure in the transmission for you to move.

If you cannot get the motor to spin it sounds like you may have other issues.

If it does spin, while in gear if you gently presse the acceorator you should hear the motor spin, with a slight delay you should begin to move forward as the transmission builds pressure.

I hope this helps!

MO
See less See more
see above first.
I need a wee bit more info on the "not running' part before I can help with any tranny issues. If it is really an 89 then you have a 2nd generation A4LD which is engine computer controlled and not generally thought to be one of Fords better ideas.
Thanks,
I went out there this morning and I tried the crank. I do hear a big contactor engage(inside the controller panel) and the big motor starts spinning, not very fast, even after holding for more than 5 seconds. The second I stop cranking, the motor stops and the contactor disengages.
does the shift need to be to a specific gear? i tried P and N, i was afraid to put it in to drive and then crank.

How does the transmission work?
does the motor need to idle to make it go, or does it just need to build the pressure and then it will hold for a few seconds?
if it needs to stay in idle, do you think I have a problem? because it will only spinn if i crank. and how fast should the motor idle?
is there an easy way for me to find out if I have the transmission you are talking about?
I have posted a couple of pictures of it here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

I don't really know if it is just that i need to learn how to make the truck go, or if there is something wrong? that is why i am trying to understand how the transmission is supposed to work.
Please let me know how I can provide more info so that you can help, thanks.
Thanks,
I went out there this morning and I tried the crank. I do hear a big contactor engage(inside the controller panel) and the big motor starts spinning, not very fast, even after holding for more than 5 seconds. The second I stop cranking, the motor stops and the contactor disengages.
does the shift need to be to a specific gear? i tried P and N, i was afraid to put it in to drive and then crank.

How does the transmission work?
does the motor need to idle to make it go, or does it just need to build the pressure and then it will hold for a few seconds?
if it needs to stay in idle, do you think I have a problem? because it will only spinn if i crank. and how fast should the motor idle?
If it only spins while you are cranking, I.e. you have the key turned all the way, then you have your ignition wired to the contactor wrong. You want to have it so the accessory position or the started position (one back from cranking) is connected to the contactor. That way, you turn the key, and it stays on. If you set it so the cranking position connects the voltage to the contactor, then there will only be power to the motor while you are holding the key in the cranking position.

However, the motor should not spin unless you press the accelerator. If it is spinning while you are not pushing on the accelerator, then you have two problems. You may need to check the settings on your potbox to make sure that you've got it correctly zero'd.

But to get to your other questions, yes, the ICE has to be idling to keep pressure in the system. As soon as the engine stops idling, pressure starts to drop and the system will stop working. As for how fast you should have the electric motor idling, I'll leave that to someone more experienced with automatics, but Mo_Bandy already discussed solutions he is familiar with.
See less See more
I didn't mention that the truck was converted by professionals in 1996 and I am trying to make it run again. I am not sure if somebody messed with it before I got it.
On the side of the steering wheel there is a switch, I am not sure what it does. One of the wire is connected to that and it goes all the way near the transmission, but I feel like I am missing something. Any idea?
I posted new pictures
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1
Good news/bad news.

I don't do electronics in the controller well yet. I kinda do trannies in Rangers {and I can play a mechanic or mad scientist on TV}.The trans is the 4R44E / 4R55E which wasn't the correct trans for an 89 (or at least that is the proper pan cover for it). the torque converter/motor must spin for it to build pressure and engage the gears.

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/AutoTrans.html Suggest you sign up and get familiar with these people

Jack it up and put the rear axle on some heavy duty jack stand so you can spin the wheels by hand.

Spinning slowly (800) rpm is what it needs to have the inner pumps work and engage the bands. There should be a transmission cooler near the front somewhere with solid steel lines and possibly a small fan. get it to idle with one connection kinda loose and see if that connector leaks. if it does, then the pump is building enough pressure. Next: find trans dipstick. pull it and check fluid level. cold, it should be about a quart low, bottom of hash marks if the cooler is full. You are mostly looking for evidence of fluid (more later) it also should be new trans fluid magenta and smell the end for and burnt or funny odors. Go and get a new bottle if you aren't sure of color or smell. if none of the above, it should at least go into gear if you bring the idle up some, usually with a CLUNK. one foot on the brake, parking brake fully engaged should not allow it to go anywhere.

The wire means someone put in something to make part of the tranny work. if it goes to the passenger side of the tranny it is the reverse set, if it goes to the front by the shift linkage, it is the lockup switch, and should only be engaged at speed. if it does to an 6 pin connector it is the start neutral override. if it goes to the rear drivers side almost to the end, it is either a tach signal or the speedometer.
See less See more
Part DEAUX

the hose in pix #4 is the vacuum modulator, which is where the ICE vacuum hose went the one in pix #5. not having one means the wee beastie will shift at about 3500 to 5000 rpm and is not now an issue.

dumb question: are the batteries charged (about 12-13 volts X number of batteries?)
Thanks guys!
I am learning a lot!
The controller thinks the batteries are 75% charged, so I am charging them now. the wire in the photo

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4961801096/

is connected to the switch next to the steering wheel, it goes all the way to the rear driver side, almost to the end. I don't know what the switch is for.
The transmission does have the cooler in the front and the fluid color, smell and level looks good. I will losen the cooler hose to see if fluid comes out as soon as I get the motor to spinn faster, right now I don't think it's spinninig more than 200rpm.

So, I am starting to think that I have some other problem.
It is strange that, if I crank, the motor spinns and if I stop it doesn't.

One thing I was afraid of trying was: put the shift to drive, then crank, and as I crank press on the gas pedal.

quote from rillip3

However, the motor should not spin unless you press the accelerator. If it is spinning while you are not pushing on the accelerator, then you have two problems. You may need to check the settings on your potbox to make sure that you've got it correctly zero'd.


I am confused, doesn't the motor need to idle at least 800rpm to keep the pressure on the transmission?
See less See more
Thanks guys!
I am learning a lot!
The controller thinks the batteries are 75% charged, so I am charging them now. the wire in the photo

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4961801096/

is connected to the switch next to the steering wheel, it goes all the way to the rear driver side, almost to the end. I don't know what the switch is for.
The transmission does have the cooler in the front and the fluid color, smell and level looks good. I will losen the cooler hose to see if fluid comes out as soon as I get the motor to spinn faster, right now I don't think it's spinninig more than 200rpm.

So, I am starting to think that I have some other problem.
It is strange that, if I crank, the motor spinns and if I stop it doesn't.

One thing I was afraid of trying was: put the shift to drive, then crank, and as I crank press on the gas pedal.

quote from rillip3

However, the motor should not spin unless you press the accelerator. If it is spinning while you are not pushing on the accelerator, then you have two problems. You may need to check the settings on your potbox to make sure that you've got it correctly zero'd.


I am confused, doesn't the motor need to idle at least 800rpm to keep the pressure on the transmission?
I overlooked the idling issue, I'm not used to people using automatics, sorry. ;)

My concern here is that the car could accelerate unintentionally. In a manual car, this is a common problem with the wiring and very dangerous. With your particular setup, as long as the wheels do not move unless you hit the accelerator, I will have to give whoever converted it the benefit of the doubt. Your wheels absolutely should not be receiving any power if you are not hitting the accelerator, however.
The switch could be adding the resistor to the pot box as I mentioned. If you have the "car" in park and key switch it on, try flipping the switch and see if the motor idles on it's own. It should... Perhaps the switch could be to enable the tourque converter clutch as well just a wild guess. Especially since it was mentioned that the wires go to the transmission rather than the pot box.

I had mine set to idle at about 400 rpms, this is to help from drawing more current than necessary to drive the motor. This i found is actually enought to maintain pressure while you are at a stop. Yuo are correct with an ice it would be from 500 -800 rpms.

There could also be an interlock on the potbox that disables things starting if you ahve your foot on the accelerator. Perhaps try starting the system with your foot off the accelerator? ~ just a thought...

MO
Raise the rear end so that the tires are free to spin and not touching anything on the ground. block the front tires for testing. truck won't move then.

I've had cars that would idle at 500 rpm and still run the internal pumps. I've spun the input shaft by hand and the tranny puked out fluid. motor rpm isn't an issue now, the controller is.

What is the source of the red wire/switch assembly in that picture. Does it come from a fuse or somewhere else? does it reach a contact on the motor perhaps? a real close look shows that it has a screw connection.
The wire goes to that switch next to the steering wheel. The switch has two other wires, one of them is ground and the other one goes to a fuse panel. before it gets to the fuse panel, it has it's own fuse(not sure why). All fuses are good.
I am not sure if the wire near the transmission has anything to do with the tranny, it looks like there was something clamped on the frame, something small. The wire doesn't have a screw connection, it is just a wire that goes straight to the switch.

I have not tried cranking with the gas pedal pressed, i was worried of damaging something. I only tried cranking in P and N, both times the motor spins when I crank. I charged and tested the batteries, still same problem.

Let me know if posting more pictures of stuff like the pot box or the fuse panel can help.
Also, i just tried cranking in park, and, as i crank i press the gas pedal, the motor spins faster.
Also i noticed that the old starter relay is still on the car. When i crank, the relay sends 12volts to one of the terminals of the controller. How is it possible that the motor spins only when i crank?
I have been looking on this thread and so far, suggestion are really great in terms of automatic transmission concern, I sometimes got some issues on my my car which is automatic transmission and I guess electric controller is really hard to troubleshoot that is why I decided to ask assistance from an expert. If you really can figure out what is wrong with your car, better seek help on experts, because suggestions through forum is sometimes confusing unless someone sees the exact problem that you have.
Thank you, that is a good advice. I just knew that the control card was bad, and, once i got it fixed, i tought i could get it to run, but obviously there are other problems. I wasn't sure if there is a specific way to start an ev, one with automatic transmission, but i guess every conversion is unique.
Well,
piotrsko was asking if I fixed my problem. The motor was only spinning when I was cranking. After spending some time following wires and studing the system, I finally found that the neutral safety switch of the transmission was connected to a miniature relay that was suppost to stay on after cranking. It is a pretty smart idea, since the truck has an auto transmission. In any case, I replaced the relay and now the motor stays on after cranking. I had some really old car batteries on it, so I only drove it a few hundred feet, now I am shopping for batteries, the toughest decision.

Thank you for helping me solve the problem.
Well,
piotrsko was asking if I fixed my problem. The motor was only spinning when I was cranking. After spending some time following wires and studing the system, I finally found that the neutral safety switch of the transmission was connected to a miniature relay that was suppost to stay on after cranking. It is a pretty smart idea, since the truck has an auto transmission. In any case, I replaced the relay and now the motor stays on after cranking. I had some really old car batteries on it, so I only drove it a few hundred feet, now I am shopping for batteries, the toughest decision.

Thank you for helping me solve the problem.
Glad you found the problem, and thanks for posting the solution, might help someone later on with the same issue.
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top