No one wants to have comebacks or waste time with difficult diagnostic issues, but in the long term they are truly educational.
This third article in a series explores real world problems and fixes. This material is based on a huge volume of technical calls and field fixes that we live through in the course of doing business.
Many problems in particular noises confound the diagnostic routines. There is an inbred genetic code in all transmission men to instantly wish to pull out the unit. Force yourself to avoid removing any component until all external sources of the complaint have been examined.
This recent experience was brought to my mind as I spoke with a customer who told me of an issue he was having with a Ford Freestyle that seemed to be emitting an unrelenting noise similar to what I’d expect from our five boys and one girl (the “one girl,” by the way, is an “angel” and is never loud – HA!). The noise was unrelenting, not because it was loud but because it just wouldn’t stop.
Continuing with our third article in the series on manual-transmission diagnosis, we now concentrate on noise. Noise is a difficult and time-consuming problem if you do not follow a prescribed step-by-step diagnostic process. Every rotating or moving part in a vehicle creates some noise. The vehicle itself moving through the air creates noise. Tires, exhaust, and suspension parts create noise as part of their normal operation.
One of the toughest things in the transmission industry for any technician to diagnose is a noise problem. It’s even tougher to diagnose over the phone, and at times near impossible. In some instances, as with the 5R55S/W transmission, there can be several different things that can have you chasing a noise ’til you’re about to pull hair from your head.
By this time, I guess you’ve figured out that this article has to do with noise. I’m sure many of you reading this have your own noise-related horror stories. Noises are difficult to diagnose when you’re standing right there; on the phone, they’re next to impossible. (Have I mentioned that I hate noises?)