Transmission Replacement

1989 Mercury Cougar XR7

I had a very productive, yet costly day on Saturday. My weekend work actually started Friday night. I didn't feel like tearing into the transmission work yet, so I took the time to fix a couple of small issues that I had been putting off for quite a while. I replaced a temperamental rear taillight bulb, a burned out climate control bulb, adjusted the brake cut-off switch so the cruise control would work, and fixed the passenger side seat bolster/lumbar support that had not been working. Turned out to be a unplugged harness on the seat.

My goal for Saturday was to have the replacement transmission bolted into place by the end of the day, and use Sunday to finish putting everything else back in the car. I think that would of happened if I had not found bad things once I got the transmission pulled. The replacement transmission is from my 1993 SC that has been sitting for a few years now. It is a stock unit with about 20K on a rebuild. I added a Lentech valve body and hardened input shaft previously, and will retain those items for the Cougar. It was rather easy to remove as there is no engine, exhaust, or rear drive train in the car. Before removing it, I drained the fluid and changed the filter. I noticed that the fitting where my OD delete wire passes through appeared to be leaking slightly, so I added a little RTV for good measure.

April 17-19, 2009

With the replacement transmission out and ready to be installed, I focused my attention on removing the current unit from the Cougar. The car was still drivable, but had been having issues that continued to worsen, including slipping in higher rpm under load, not wanted to shift into OD, flares when coasting to a stop, intermittent downshift difficulty, and previously extended 1-2 shifts. Rather than try and diagnose the issues further or worry about a rebuild, I opted to install the other transmission that I know is good and has the valve body I planned on using already installed.

Everything went pretty well on the removal of the transmission. No broken bolts, no major fluid leaks, etc. Once I had the transmission dropped, I discovered bad things. I found a nice imprint of the flex plate bolts in the face of the torque converter. Apparently the TC had ballooned at some point, pushing the face of the converter forward into the flex plate. While everything should be fine on the flex plate and motor side, the converter is junk. So, it looks like I will be dropping way too much money on a new converter and not getting the car back together as soon as I had hoped.

I went ahead and took care of a few things so I can install the transmission as soon as a new converter shows up. I replaced the original dried out bushings on the cross member with some new poly ones. The rear trans mount is already an upgraded solid piece, so that did not need any attention. I also took the time to replace the rear main seal and apply some RTV to the back of the oil pan. Once the converter arrives, everything should be ready to go back in.

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