pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
24,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford service dealer, normal for this transmission ??? (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
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2017 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2017 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Apr 172019

Explorer XLT 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


This was a 2017 Ford Explorer fleet car issued as a company to another employee who left our company. The Explorer was given to me as a replacement company car with 42,000 miles. I left my company December 31, 2017 and bought the car for personal use with about 43,500 miles and was running fine.

We went on vacation in April 2017 to Gulf Shores and the car transmission started to hesitate during highway driving while acceleration and braking in some heavy traffic. Continued during vacation until we got back home and continued to hesitate and jerk at times when transmission was shifting.

I took the car into Ford Dealer and explained the problem but they found nothing during technician diagnostics In October of 2017 I started experiencing the jerking problem again except this time it was during my first morning start up and accelerating from 1st to 2nd gear and would get a substantial jerk.

Problem continued on morning start ups and decided to take back into the Ford Dealer and explained the transmission problem again. This time i explained how my car was parked in the drive way, front end up at about 3 or 4 degree angle (little incline) and back out to side drive, cost down 20 feet to street level, turn left and accelerate and large jerk between 1st and 2nd gear.

Ford Dealer tried to duplicate but did not have the same experience as me but did diagnostics on the transmission again with the same result, nothing found second time. Outside temperature at the time of testing was blow 50 degrees and considered that a factor in why the Ford Dealer simulation did not develop the same jerk in transmission shifting 1st to 2nd gear.

Warmer weather now June 12, 2019, called Same Ford Dealer to report problem is still occurring and would like them to check the transmission a third time. Same complaint during first start up and acceleration from 1st to 2nd gear experiencing a jerk (this is not hesitation but a jerk as twice before).

This time the service manager experienced the jerk after several hours of the car sitting after servicing the Explorer for other recall notices. Car was parked in the Ford Dealer parking lot over night to have the transmission technician check the car the following morning. When the technician started the car and accelerated he experience the same jerk. Finally someone believes i am having a problem!!

Ford Dealer transmission technician performed diagnostics again and still nothing found.

Ford Dealer decided to check trouble shooting board from Ford Service bulletins and found the following service bulletin advisory: SSM 45239 - 2013-2016 Various Vehicles - 6F35 Equipment - 2-3 Shift Hesitation After Cold Soak Remember, I explained this is not a hesitation but a jerk in shift 1st to 2nd gear.

Some 2013 to 2016 vehicles equipped with a 6F35 Transmission will exhibit a 2 - 3 shift hesitation on the first few shift events of the day after extended engine off period or cold soak. Verify the transmission fluid level is correct using the transmission fluid level check procedure outlined in the WSM. Section 301-01 with the fluid temp between 85-90 degrees Celsius (185-200 degrees F). these hesitation events should be deemed a normal characteristic and does not cause any abnormal wear or durability concerns. The hydraulic circuit can partially drain back during an extended off engine condition and could take a couple of applications (2-3 Shifts) to work any air out of the hydraulic circuit . No further work on the transmission should take place for that condition.

This means to me that there is a design flaw in which when the engine is off the transmission fluid can partially drain from the circuit and cause this condition. This should not happen and is an unexceptionable, irritating and possibly a dangerous condition if an infant was in a car seat and needed to accelerate quickly after that first start up (cold soak) could injure the babies neck or even cause a concussion by the head striking the back of the baby seat headrest.

There is something seriously wrong with this transmission to allow such a performance condition to effect the pleasure of driving this Explorer. Where is the Ford Quality that i have experienced for over 35 years and have never driven any car that does this kind of a jerk (not hesitation) during first start up. This should never be considered normal. How can this type of jerk not have any effect eventually on the wear of this transmission.

This is a serious problem should be considered a defect worthy of a recall and warrants replacement of the transmission or a fix that will compensate for this engineering flaw in the design of the hydraulic circuit. Hard to believe this has been going on since 2013 - 2017 and will continue unless Ford redesigned the way this hydraulic circuit functions and allows the flu

Update from Jun 15, 2019: Continued: hole to always stop at the right high point to prevent fluid from draining from the circuit.

Explained to me by Service Manager as follows: The transmission Fluid Circuit has a hole that allows fluid to circulate in the transmission at proper pressure and temperature while transmission starts operating. If the transmission fluid hole is high when the transmission stops, fluid circuit will retained pressure and no problems should occur during first driving experience. However, If the fluid hole is low when the transmission stops, some fluid from the circuit will drain and this is what supposedly causes the hesitation in the transmission until fluid is completely pressurized back into the transmission circuit after starting. It appears this low pressure is what causes the transmission to hesitate resulting in the jerk between gears until the fluid circuit is completely filled again.

If this is only happening to a select few 2013 - 2017 Ford cars, which models and what transmissions do they have. If it is happening to only some of the same type of cars with the same transmissions, I would think this is a defect and should be a recall to fix or replacement of transmissions. If this is a design flaw by the engineers at Ford, there should be a recall and replacement of the transmission. If this is a defect (which is what I think) because the fluid circuit hole is no longer stopping at correct high position in the transmission and allowing fluid to partially drain, this should be a recall to fix the problem or replace the transmission.

I am thinking cost is one of the obvious factors for not properly addressing this problem, there is a lack of educating Ford Car Owners this is not the norm for their cars shifting system, and the flipped response from my Ford Dealer that this is normal for a transmission and nothing they can do????

Update from Jun 21, 2019: Looking on line and noticed the manufacturers of my transmission has identified the fix for my transmission that Ford says is considered normal operating, no fix needed as follows:

Problem – Some Ford vehicles may experience sluggish acceleration or a hesitation feel during a rolling stop, followed by a harsh bump or slip feeling. This can be caused by a design flaw in the 6F35 valve body / 6F50 valve body.

Solution – On transmissions originally built for Mercon LV transmission fluid (listed on the dipstick), the valve body will have to be modified by deleting one hole in the valve body separator plate, and removing the check ball in the area of the deleted hole. If this modification is not performed properly, the transmission may experience a loss of reverse or a 2-3 shift flare

Note: Common Problems with the 6F50 / 6F35

1). Slipping, Erratic Shifting, Harsh Forward or Reverse Gear Engagement: Some of the most common 6F50 / 6F35 transmission problems are slipping between gears, erratic up or down shifts, or a hard slam when the 6F50 / 6F35 transmission engages Drive or Reverse. There are a number of design flaws in this transmission, and any one of them could be causing these symptoms.

2). Another common problem is overheating. This happens when the moving parts inside the transmission are creating more friction heat than the ATF can remove. The most common cause of this condition is towing heavy loads, driving in stop/go traffic, or on mountain roads where the transmission has to shift a lot.

Updates to Remanufactur

- Gery G., Carmel, US

problem #1

Jun 112018

Explorer Sport 3.5t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles

Thought I would share. Purchased a 2017 Explorer Sport AWD April 2018 with 125 miles. My wife used it for work and errands and we took a trip to NC. Before the trip we noticed the trans started shifting really hard at 40-50 mph after it warmed up. It progressively got worse, up and downshifting. After the NC trip called the dealer and they said it just needed reprogramming. Took it in, got it back started doing the same thing. Took it in again, Dealer found shavings in trans fluid, said it needed to be rebuilt. We appealed and said we wanted a new trans since this was a new car with approx. 3k miles on it. Dealer called Ford Corp & said they would authorize rebuild and sending parts. Took 3-4 weeks, thanx to dealer for authorizing a loaner. Dealer called and said it was ready in July, I asked them to drive it for awhile to get it hot. Sure enough the mechanic called and said it started doing the same thing. Now we play the wait game again. To make a long story short, this is August 24th and we are still waiting for FORD to buyback the 17 Explorer. We found and acquired, with the dealer's help, a 2018 Explorer Sport, which is now our loaner until we get the buyback paperwork completed. We went thru the Ga lemon law prgm, but the FORD Corp has dragged their feet from day 1. Numerous customer service rep turn overs, dropped the ball and now we are on our 3rd, 10 day payoff faxed from the bank. Bottom line beware of FORD transmission issues. BTW the 2018 is much smoother!

- liv2_ride2001, Macon, Ga, US

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