Is the 5 speed crap? - Page 4 - F150online Forums

Is the 5 speed crap?


Old 08-28-2001, 01:51 PM
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Location: Madisonville, KY
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Question Crash, got a question for you!

Hey everybody,
I just recently bought my '98 F150 SC Lariat 4.6 4x2 5-speed (is that a hard combo to find?). Anyway, I wanted to comment on some of the remarks I've read in this post. I know I'm no straight-shifting expert by any means, but I thought I was as good as most. This truck seems a lot harder to launch smooth and get moving rapidly than other sticks I've driven. To me 1st gear is almost too low, and there is a huge gap from 1st to 2nd (3.90 to 2.25). First runs out of steam quickly, but by the time I get a smooth shift into 2nd I've lost all my momentum and rpm. There go all the automatics right past me. In the cases where I am trying to move quickly, I shift to 2nd at 3000 to 3250 rpm. It's wrapped up fairly tight. That still doesn't seem to give me enough "shove" to make my 1-to-2 shift without losing my momentum. I don't feel like revving it up any higher will do the trick; that just tells everybody around that you're struggling to keep up with them. I know, as someone else said, that these are not speed-shifting demons, but how do you drive it in a semi-sane manner and not get left far behind?

Once upon a time I had a '95 Silverado extended cab 1500 4x2 (I know, I know) with a 350 5-speed. The main reason I traded it was because it just didn't "pull" in any gear, no matter how you revved it. I blamed it on the 3.08's it came with, and promised myself that I would never buy another truck without looking at the rear end ratio first. Well, my '98 4.6 Lariat 5-speed has a 3.55 rear end and it kinda gives me the same feeling. It just seems to "flatten" out, like I'm missing a lot of those ponies under the hood. It is still bone stock with 60k miles. I wonder if it could possibly be geared too low, if that's possible. Like I said earlier, 1st is very low, and 5th (OD) is pretty low for an OD gear (0.80). Everyone talks about wanting to gear their trucks down, to 3.73 or 4.10. On an automatic, that's probably one of the best things you could do. But has anybody put 4.10's in one of these 5-speeds? I can't imagine how many rpm you're turning at a good highway speed, and 1st is probably through by 10 mph. I think if I did any re-gearing to this truck, I'd go a little higher, to maybe a 3.31. I actually had bought a set of 4.10's to go in my '97 automatic 4.6, but since that truck's for sale, I had to sell the gearset, 'cause I sure wasn't putting them in the 5-speed.

Crash, I remember seeing that you had and intended to keep the 3.08's your truck came with. Is putting my Powerdyne from my '97 onto the '98 5-speed a way to help this "problem" I described above? It just seems to be lacking something. I appreciate your or anybody else's comments/suggestions on these comments. Thanks a lot.
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Old 08-29-2001, 04:51 PM
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I just wanted to respond to my original post.

I donít think itís a bad transmission so far. I know that this truck can smoke the automatic version of it. I donít think the shifter has a long throw either. I have about two thousand miles on my truck and have no grinding problems yet. When I am shifting I pause before slipping it into gear, I do this because it seems to make it a bit smoother.

I am very happy with my truck and especially with the choices I made in the engine and transmission. I have driven the 5.4 auto and the 4.6 auto and I know for a fact that the 4.6 matched with the 5-speed will definitely beat them both to 70 mph.

Iíll have to see how the 5-speed does in the long run though. Hopefully it will last a long time. Iíve only had the truck for a little over a week so I have a long way to go.

I would defiantly recommend the 5-speed to anyone who is not sure. Itís performance is way better than the automatic. I canít imagine how fast my truck would be if it had the 5.4 and the 5-speed. As far as towing is concerned, I donít know yet.

Oh well, hope this helps anyone who is still not sure what to get.

Black 2001 F-150 4x4 Sport, 4.6, 5-speed, short bed, regular cab, side steps, bed cover
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:16 PM
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Another pic
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:17 PM
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one more
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Old 08-29-2001, 08:46 PM
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I just wanted to say congratulations 2001 F150 Sport. You've got your truck. It seems like you have been talking about "when" for some time now. The truck looks great! I jelous of the color. I got mine slightly used so I didn't have a choice. I didn't remember you were getting a 4x4.
Yes I have thought the 5-speed was ok. It does fine for me. It's no sports car trannie, but it'll get you movin pretty good.
Any plans for mods. The ones I got were reletivley cheap and they make the 4.6, 5-speed feel even better!
Have fun!
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Old 08-30-2001, 07:14 AM
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Thanks Wittom,

Yea it took allot longer than I expected to get my truck. Five months to be exact, I guess the sport is a hard truck to make.

I have no plans for any real performance mods in the near future. I think the first few things I will get are a Line-X spray in bed liner and maybe some rubber floor mats. I want to slowly add stuff so that I can appreciate each one. I donít want to go crazy and end up with a truck that has too much.

As far as engine and exhaust mods I think I will wait till my warranty runs out. I donít want to start messing with the engine for a while, Iím considering a flow master muffler after I am out of warranty. And probably some Rancho 9000 shocks.

I love the way my truck looks in black but it is a real pain to keep clean.
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Old 08-31-2001, 11:11 AM
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The only thing that I have noticed about my 5 speed is that the shift from 2nd to 3rd has been what I would call "notchy", not real smooth; but not grinding. Now that I am approaching 10M miles, I have noticed that the notchyness is going away and the shifts are becoming smoother. My 5 speed seems to be getting better with some wear-in.
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Old 08-31-2001, 12:49 PM
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I feel that notchyness too. I figured out how to stop it though. When you take the shifter out of second and let it go it will automatically center itself into the 3rd 4th row, so instead of forcing it diagonally just pull it out of second, let it go, then push it up to third. I started doing this a few days ago and it works great. You just canít shift as fast.
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Old 08-31-2001, 12:50 PM
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Re: Is the 5 speed crap?

Originally posted by 2001 F-150 SPORT

Head gasket leak on the passenger side on the 4.6
Rear whine in the 3.55
Door crack (supposed to be fixed in the 01ís)
CD player being a piece of crap
Synchro problem on 5 speed
Cheap shifter **** on 5 speed
Gear grinding between shifts on 5 speed
I wouldn't worry about a thing. I've got a 98 with 65,000 miles, never had a problem yet whatsoever. I've got the 4.6, no head gasket leak, no slapping, no door cracks, no rattles, nothing... The truck runs as good or better than the day I bought it new. Do your maintenance and take care of your truck, it'll take care of ya! Overall these are extremely reliable trucks... If you don't believe me checkout just about any publication that reports on expected reliability such as Consumer Reports. (The 2000 and 2001 models look like Toyota Camrys in reliability with the 97 thru 99's just right behind.)
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Old 09-15-2001, 04:59 PM
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Unhappy 5 spd, 2nd to 3rd gear squeak

I just wanted to throw my 2 cents into the transmission problems I've been reading about. Specifically the squeak sound coming from the transmission when going to 3rd gear. It is not a grinding sound like gear grinding though that is how it has been portrayed by others here, if we're talking the same problem I have.

I have been driving manual transmission vehicles for 29 years including a number of Fords: two Explorers, Ranger, Contour, Escort, and a manual shift Ford UPS delivery vehicle (70 miles a day). What I am trying to say is that my transmission problems are not associated to operator error or inability to drive a manual transmission.

That said, I took my 99 F150, 4.6L 5spd in for transmission service this last April with 29K miles. There had been a squeak going from 2nd to 3rd gear from almost when it was new, though it was random. It was always on my mind to get it looked at before the warranty was up. Like so many others, it was hard to get the dealership to acknowledge the problem. It wasn't until I personally rode with someone that they witnessed the problem. I have always been willing to live with the notchiness of the shifting but the mechanical squeaking sound bothered me. My squeak is not gear grinding and only occurs between 2nd and 3rd gear and specifically when I'm in a hurry (RPM up to 3000) before shifting, and usually after everything has warmed up. Thus the tendency of not being able to generate the problem at will. Naturally if you want to take a lot of time going between 2nd and 3rd gears you can avoid it. I agree with a previous poster that it is absurd to accept this in today's technology. Also from the looks of it you stand a 50/50 chance of not having this problem. My transmission is the Mazda and I do have the synchro problems as stated herein.

Last April the dealership replaced the following parts:
I talked to the technician and he saw visible wear and said the oil was black. Rather unusual that transmission fluid turn black that soon. Keep in mind my transmission functioned fine when I took it in. Who's to say what may eventually happen to it though.

After getting the truck back, I did not notice a bit of difference in the way the transmission shifted (still notchy though I believe that is inherent by design). The squeak was gone. And that was my concern anyway. However over the course of the next several months (a couple of thousand miles), the squeak starts to show back up. I have 34K miles now and am approaching the end of my warranty. The squeak isn't as bad as it was prior to service but I'm almost confident that it will get worse.

So now I am pushing for a new transmission in hopes of fitting into the other half of that 50/50 ratio. I'll post when I find a resolve. Any comments? I do love the truck. Love the ride. I don't have any other problems. I do not like automatics. But I also do not like or trust this specific transmission. Starting to get slightly disillusioned about manual transmissions these days. Hope this information helps others.

Just a comment on those leaky plugs on the Explorer manual transmissions. They started leaking on my explorer and when we had the clutch replaced, they replaced those plugs with metal caps (hasn't leaked since). My daughters explorer had the same problem and since we were not ready to replace the clutch we held off. Unfortunately the transmission only holds 2.8 qts and it only took us 9 months from when I topped off last to leak below the splash lubrication level and we toasted the trans. It cost $1100 to repair and that was after I took the transmission down to them myself.
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Old 09-16-2001, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Highland Lakes NJ USA
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Thumbs up

I have a 98 4.6 SC 4X4 with the 5spd, and have had no problems with it for 3.5 years, and 69K miles. I tow with this truck also. I believe the key is to change the fluid often, and use a good synthetic ATF. My 2 cents.
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Old 09-18-2001, 11:59 PM
jwl is offline
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I am glad to hear that some of you have good transmissions. I like the truck and hope that I can be in that catagory too. I also hope I am not coming across with bad mouthing it. I have owned a lot of Ford vehicles and have been satisfied for the most part. I'm just a little dissapointed after having paid out so much money for a new vehicle. I've been driving manual transmissions for 29 years and this particular transmission really does bug me. It started having problems at 5k miles. I know it was not due to me. Anyhow the dealership is contacting a Ford representative to get a replacement transmission as I have been pretty adamant to having it replaced.
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Old 09-19-2001, 05:46 PM
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I have had 2 F-150s now and both were 5 speeds. The latest one has the improved shift feel tranny. Well both of them shift like *****. Both trucks had at least one tranny replaced under warranty. I suspect the long throw shift lever applies too much leverage and damages the internals. These trucks are not designed for fast shifts. The reason you can not get a 5.4 with this 5 speed is the bigger engine is too powerful and would destroy the tranny. I would gladluy pay extra for a better tranny.


Jean Marc Chartier
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Old 09-19-2001, 07:35 PM
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Location: Friendswood Texas
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i now this is a shot in the dark. i had a 86 mustang gt that after about 20k started shifting rough. i replaced the actual shifter with a hurst shifter, much more positive shifts but still not smooth, at about 25 k I put in redline synthetic fluid, after that it was as smooth as can be. i sold the car with 70 k on it and it was still silky smooth.
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Old 09-21-2001, 03:42 PM
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the redline synthetic atf (D4) improved my shifting quite a bit too... after I did it my roomate put some in his '91 trans am GTA and also installed a b&m ripper and its like a new transmission. its hard to believe but that redline atf really seems to work very well. the guy at our local speedshop said it really improved shifting in his '99 vette as well.
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