1996 Ford Explorer – Do I have Automatic Transmission Trouble?

Reader Question Dear Austin,

I have a 1996 Ford Explorer,V-8 with all wheel drive and automatic transmission.

With the trans in overdrive doing about 55, than slowing down to about 38-40 mph the engine sputters if I gently accelerate.

The trans.is still in overdrive while the rpm is about 1100-1300.This is the only time it sputters.

I changed the gas filter(which was clogged)and it still sputters.

Could it be the transmission,bad gas or the torque converter?



Hello Randy,

It could be an internal transmission issue, like a torque converter problem, but you might want to have a look at the spark plug wires first. A spark plug wire will “break down” under a heavy load like you describe. Its like riding a 10 speed bike, but having it in a too high of gear, it take a lot of energy to push the pedals. A spark plug wire that is weak, will break down and fail under this heavy of load…..and will cause an engine miss that can feel like a transmission problem.

You mist some water on the plug wires with the engine running to see if you can get one of them to break down and arc when the water hits the wire, or you can just replace them as maintenance and see what happens. Might be a good time to look at a spark plug as well if you just want to replace the plugs and wires.

This is similar, take a read. Automatic Transmission problems?


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