Has anyone experienced this problem with their Falcon Transmission?

We had a comment posted today from Zachary regarding his EL Falcon with a transmission that suddenly starting slipping and lost all drive. I am far from a Automatic expert so I thought I would throw the question out to our readers and see if anyone has had the same drama. Zachary wrote;

Talking about problems.. Mine is a 98 el Auto with only about 135 000 km on the clock. Out of the blue, and under normal conditions it started losing power (slipping). Before I could get home, lost power all together and not even one of gear settings would engage. Imagine getting stuck in the middle of a busy intersection, at night, while lights turning red and car is moving backward instead of forward!! Bloody dangerous scenario, especially if you don?t expect it. Now if I turn engine off and wait for a few minutes gears would engage, but only for about half a mile?s drive, and then same thing all over again. Went looking for dip stick but it looks like designers forgot to put one in!! Haven’t been to a mechanic yet, but has anyone else experienced same problem? I would appreciate any feedback..

My thoughts are a possible fluid pressure problem caused by a failed pump or perhaps a complete overheat of the fluid but as I am not experienced in transmission repair I can only guess.

As Zachary stated any feedback or comments on this problem would be appreciated.

10 thoughts on “Has anyone experienced this problem with their Falcon Transmission?

  1. Hi Craig
    I had to totally rebuilt transmission.
    Apparently clutches had disintegrated and transm fluid turned to sludge, although level was correct.
    Limb Home safety feature never kicked in, and never had any warning symptoms prior to catastrophic failure.
    This wouldn’t had happened if there was a dipstick there to at least periodically check condition of fluid.
    These transmissions are badly designed and have to be serviced (fluid flushed out) every 20k Km’s or so.
    My previous Toyota 4 Runner I had done 350k KM and Auto transmission had never been touched or ever needed to be topped up. Fluid was still clean and bright red the day I sold it.
    So, a warning to every one out there: While at hoist, get mechanic to check condition of fluid at every service and replace fluid every year. Then you might get a longer than 140K KM life out of it.(!
    Thanks for your help.
    Regards Zachary.

  2. HI Craig, probably a bit late to post now. I too am not an expert on the Borgwarner LE95 auto in these falcons. I have heard of the trans going into third (limp mode ) and Ignition off can reset this. What I find strange with this symptom is that when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module)goes to limp mode it reverts to a hydraulic transmission,hence drive. Inside the trans their is a mechanically operated spool as well as all the electric solenoids. This complaint however had no drive, which as you rightly suggest is a fluid or pump problem causing low pressure and no clutch or band application.
    I would be interested to hear what the final outcome was.

  3. John,
    Unfortunately it was game over for that particular transmission, requiring a complete overhaul. The reason given was that the fluid had turned to sludge and the clutch facings had disintegrated. Basically it came down to lack of servicing and I believe that many mechanics and vehicle owners alike are not educated in the importance of servicing late model transmissions every 20,000km.
    I think because it was a ‘mechanical’ problem that the PCM couldn’t detect (clutch lining deteriation, sludgy fluid) limp home mode wasn’t activated not that I think it would have helped – the damage was already done. Please tell me if you think otherwise!
    I feel this highlights the need for all transmissions to be fitted with a dipstick. Either the owner or the mechanic servicing the vehicle would probably have picked up on the poor condition of the fluid before it was too late.


  4. John, I also hve this problem but with a 96 falcon futura.

    Also when this occurs for me is that there isn’t a complete loss of drive. I feel the problem lays with my car is in the electronics.


  5. Similar problem – mine (98 el fairmont) works fine at low speed but after a high speed run (80+Km/h) the torque converter remains locked and almost causes the car to stall when coming to a stop. A quick nudge into neutral and back to “D” fixes things … WTF?
    Any ideas how to fix this?

  6. I have also had this problem, my 98 Fairmont gets stuck in 3rd, and often needs 10 minutes to think about it’s behavior, sometimes even then it will get stuck straight away. The worst part is it doesn’t throw any codes when plugged into the diagnostic, and has continued to play up even after a complete trans service. Any ideas (without needing to replace, as I have two young children and we don’t have a huge income) would be greatly appreciated!

  7. My mum has an EL FUTURA and she has been driving her car then it just loses power and she finds it hard to steer the car as the power steering stops also! she has had the RAC run a full diagnostics on it but they said no CODE came up so they couldnt find anything wrong with it

  8. G’day ppl,s. I know this post is way outdated but the problem is all the same. I too have a 99 AU falcon wagon fitted with same transmission and,yes of course,equipped with this same problem.I am no mechanic but I know enough to know what to do when the suggestion was made,quite often,to check transmission fluid.Its quite funny&a little embarrassing the way people will look at you when you reply with,’there’s no dipstick!’Alternatively you feel like that missing’DIPSTICK!’
    Anyway,I wonder to myself ‘HTF’ do you refill fluid or even check level of fluid in these transmission’s!

  9. Too easy Transmission oils have different ratings which makes them useful for a certain list of cars. Find the correct one acording to the owners manual or the apps book in the store. Most store clerks generally know the oil to choose.

Leave a Comment