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We have previously covered the Ford Ranger and a few of their common issues. Overall the ute is spectacular and we have reviewed it and informed people of this in the article located here.
We have also looked at the fault they are commonly known for amongst haters and thats the common issue of them catching on fire. This cause has been identified by Ford and there is a recall in place for this. You can read up on this fault by clicking here.
Whilst the Ranger is a sensational work and family vehicle, like all vehicles on the road there are some common issues with them. The Automatic transmission in these utes have been known to be somewhat problematic. In our experience there are a few causes for this and not every ute owner need to be fearful of this issue.
The fault itself is caused by an internal thermostat inside the transmission that acts the same way a cooling system thermostat works. Oil in the transmission remains in the transmission until a temperature of 92 degrees is reached at which point the thermostat opens and allows oil the pass through the transmission cooler and back into the transmission. This cools the oil and regulates the temperature the transmission operates at.
The thermostat is required as the transmission oil will remain too cool throughout normal operation if removed and this is not ideal for these transmissions. However, in cases where the utes are either neglected or doing a lot of hard work (towing caravans, lots of difficult off road terrain, prolonged periods of high revving or simply a large amount of load constantly in the tray) or in some unlucky cases the thermostat simply fails, the oil becomes far too hot and the result is the torque converter fails.
In most cases the fix for this is only discovered once it is too late. However, there is a solution to reducing the chances of this failure. A modified thermostat option is available that allows oil to enter the cooler at around 85 degrees. Whilst a few degrees seem marginal this is a substantial difference and keeps the temperature inside the transmission regulated at the lower temperature.
If you are towing a lot, taking your Ranger on adolescent off road drinking sessions and proceeding to destroy national parks or always have a heavy load in the tray we advise getting the modified thermostat fitted and save yourself several thousands of dollars in destroyed transmissions.
Please note this is not a DIY job. The part in question is inside the transmission.