Ford Ranger Auto Gearbox Problems (3.2 AND 2.2)

Ford Ranger T6 3.2 Auto Gearbox Problems

If you are in the market for a Ford Ranger T6 2.2 or 3.2 with the automatic transmission you might want to read the following article first. This article might give you a bit of insight as to what potential problems you could experience with the auto transmissions on these very popular Ford Rangers.

There have been numerous reports of the Ford Ranger T6 3.2 and 2.2 with the automatic transmission experiencing a few issues related to the torque converter. Torque Converters locking up and gears being jammed in 2nd and 3rd are common on certain year models. Jerky shifting has been reported when changing from (P) Park to (R) Reverse and from (P) Park to (D) Drive.

If you would like to know what the exact cause of the above-mentioned phenomenon is and how it can be rectified, please continue reading.

Let’s kick start with the Ford T6 3.2 version of the Ranger equipped with the auto transmission.

Ford Ranger T6 3.2 Auto Gearbox Problems

Owners of the 3.2 T6 Ford Ranger have been reporting unpleasant driving experiences with the automatic transmission. The engine is reported to feel underpowered and the acceleration delayed. Reports of unsynchronized speeds and slippage between engine speeds and actual speeds have been common. Drivers report that the phenomenon is more evident when the engine is under load. This effect becomes more apparent when there is a slight movement of the accelerator (gas pedal) between 500rpm and 1000rpm. 

Unintentional Wheel spin has been reported as a result of the internal slippage when the RPM rises to 2000rpm and sudden internal traction is achieved.  Reports of the engine going into idle mode when travelling under low speeds up to 80km/h and releasing the accelerator.  Once this occurs and the vehicle goes into idle at low speeds and any touch of the accelerator causes erratic rises in RPM and immediate gear shifting with violent jerking or thuds. This could become a safety risk when navigating in heavy or slow-moving traffic.

Often times drivers report having to revert to manual mode in order to maintain control and consistent speeds.

Also, many drivers have reported that driving at higher speeds of 100km/h or higher with a slight touch of the accelerator causes the gearbox to shift down and the RPM to jump up to 3500rpm + without any significant change in speed.

So what could be the possible cause of this strange behaviour?

Let’s find out!

Possible Cause

  1. Faulty TCM (Torque Converter Module)
  2. Faulty TCC Solenoid
  3. Faulty Torque Converter

The possible cause of this can be either a faulty solenoid or electronic control module or the torque convertor itself malfunctioning.

But what is a torque converter and how does it work?

The torque convertor basically sits between the engine output shaft and the input shaft of the transmission. Sort of like a middle man or negotiator. This amazing piece of engineering genius decreases your fuel consumption and keeps your gearbox oil temperatures nice and cool. So during the gear-shifting phase as the gears are coupled, the converter shell is locked to the turbine shaft inside the convertor and slippage is prevented. There is a clutch inside the torque converter case which does the locking up and this is controlled by the TCM. The TCM communicates to the TCC solenoid by sending voltage signals and together they allow the gears to shift and disengage without causing the engine to stall.

So how are the problems solved?

Possible Solution

Take your Ford Ranger to your nearest automatic gearbox specialist to carry out tests on the solenoid, electronic control module as well as the torque converter. You might need to visit your dealership if the vehicle is still under warranty. Good luck with that!

The latest software update might also be a quick and easy solution.

Ford Ranger T6 2.2 Auto Gearbox Problems

Similar to the 3.2 automatic Ford Rangers, the 2.2 automatic transmissions have experienced similar issues.

Owners have reported violent jolts when shifting from park to reverse coupled with the vehicle shaking from side to side. The gearbox could become jammed in 2nd gear forcing the driver to operate the vehicle in the selected gear only. Selecting the manual shifting option is not possible.

After driving the vehicle in the jammed gear for some time and then restarting the vehicle seems to have resolved the problem. This is again another typical example of the torque converter locking up.

But wouldn’t the engine stall if the torque converter locked up and the car was parked?

Turns out, if you select a gear with the TC locked up the clutch will still operate but the engine RPM will decrease low enough for the oil pump in the gearbox to lose enough pressure, causing the clutch to start slipping again, resulting in the engine staying running. This will, however, eventually burn out the clutch.

How about the manual gearbox on the T6 Ford Rangers? Are they any better?

Let’s have a look and see what potential issues owners have reported.

Ford Ranger T6 Manual Gearbox Problems

So the manual gearbox on the T6 Ford ranger seems to be a lot more robust. Owners seem to be quite happy although many have complained about a sticky 1st gear and notchy gear shifting from pull-off.  Ford has been known for problematic gearboxes in past years, however, the Ranger has been equipped with a heavy-duty transmission which means it can tow and haul heavy loads with ease, however, it comes at a small price. You can’t have it all.

Down South in Oz, a few years ago around 2017, Ford Australia has recalled 5655 2015/16 Ford Rangers fitted with the manual gearbox. This comes over concerns of a faulty gearshift clip which could lead to a loss of drive.

Ford reported that the gearshift cable retaining clip could possibly work itself loose, possibly coming into contact with the rear driveshaft. If left unresolved, the prolonged contact between the clip and driveshaft could damage both components. This makes gear shifting difficult for drivers and, in the worst case, cause a loss of drive.

Conclusion

There appears to be an auto gearbox issue with certain Ford Rangers that results in the gears slipping between 2nd and 3rd and between 3rd and 4th. The feeling or phenomenon is similar to that of a slipping clutch plate in a manual gearbox with the gears hunting up and down or the feeling like you are in the wrong gear. This slip is not due to normal torque converter operation.  The cause of this effect can only be established after having opened the gearbox.

Sticking torque converters in the automatic transmission and notchy gears in the manual have been widely reported across all T6 year models. Apart from these reported issues and recalls the Ford still remains one of the top all-round work-horse Utes or “Bakkies” in its segment.  The engines are well proven and its power outputs are well within the limits of the gearbox and the differentials.

They still remain one of the more popular Utes in its segment.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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