17 Continental rough shifts 2-3 light throttle

Todor

Member
So I have been experiencing those sudden hard shifts from time to time.
The situation is: light throttle, going slowly in the neighbourhood, passing by playgrounds etc, maybe very slightly downhil 10-15 mph, and precisely 12-13 (20-21 kph) and the shift from 2nd to 3rd is sometimes really nasty.
I read about that issue all over the internet, especially in press reviews. It did it even in the Doug Demuro review. Car and Driver, Edmunds, everyone reports that kick of a shift.
So, how are yours, and did anyone been able to get rid of it?
 

m1nkyb0y

Member
72
18
8
Westerly, RI
This is happening to me too, I was thinking that it was just my driving, As it continues to happen I've been trying to analyze it so I can tell the dealer in more detail what I am experiencing. I thought transmission at first too. As I continue to figure it out it seems like a driveline "slap", something I would expect with a bad bearing on a driveshaft. I'm still trying to figure it out.
I have a driveway that is up hill, I sometimes stop on it to get out and get my mail, whenever I put it back in "D" it feels/sounds like the tranny or driveline or whatever, is going to fall out. As I type this it occurs to me that this might indicate a motor, tranny, or some other kind of mount might be bad, hmmm. I'll have it checked the next time I go.
In the meantime just remember, use full throttle at all times, lol.
 

Todor

Member
You are mixing out of park without parking brake (in your driveway) that would happen to any car on some kind of slope with the shifting issue.
I think that the shifting issue is due to slight mismatch between engine programming and transmission operation. Like torque converter is too big to provide enough cushioning and 2 to 3 clutch is too big to slip properly with almost no load. Maybe that's why one of the oil companies suggests Mercon V instead of LV. Have to write them a letter.
I also have this clue that advancing the TPS a little or increasing the minimal rpm to shift with 100 would cure it for good. Some other 6 speeds would hold 2nd well beyond 2.000 rpm.
 

m1nkyb0y

Member
72
18
8
Westerly, RI
I remember having a hard shift problem with my old Lincoln LS and they replaced solenoids for the hard changing gears. Yeah, that driveway thing is probably my not using the parking brake in that situation, but to be honest I never use it. Is TPS throttle position sensor? Doesn't it seem like increasing the RPM would increase the harshness of the shift? I would think that TP would determine the shift point. Like if you are hammering it, it will shift at a higher RPM. Also are you certain it is the 2-3 shift, at one point I thought it might be 1-2, since it happened at such a low speed. It is quite annoying when using the ACC in slow traffic too..
The big problem is that it seems random which makes it very hard to have it display the condition for the technicians at the dealer.
I hope you can get to the bottom of it.
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Town

Senior Member
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Ottawa Ontario Canada
No shifting or driveline slap problems with my car.

If the shift is the problem then you will see the rpm drop after the shift. If there is no rpm change then the problem may be the trans attempting a shift but failing and returning to the prior gear making an abrupt feeling from the trans snap, or possibly elsewhere in the driveline.

The driveshaft is in two parts with the center secured through 2 bearings to the chassis, so unlikely a problem at only 20 kph. The rear differential on the 3.0 AWD has 2 limited slip clutch packs, one for each half shaft, and there is gearing on each half shaft. So possibilities there for driveline snap without a gearchange. The torque converter lock/unlock/lock could cause a transmission snap too.

Sometimes when slowing for a stop light the light changes and you accelerate and the trans will backshift a bit roughly, could that be a similar feeling to what you are experiencing? Your dealer can hook up a portable scanner/recorder to let you drive around for a few days until the problem occurs and then return to the shop for a diagnostic.

Good luck.
 

m1nkyb0y

Member
72
18
8
Westerly, RI
2.7 AWD here. That idea of checking the rpm during the event sounds good, but it is seemingly so random that it would be difficult to do.. I will attempt it, however.
Your redlight example sounds exactly like what is happening. I will ask if my dealer has the diagnostic scanner thingy, that sounds like a great idea actually.
Thanks.
 

MarkX

Member
39
8
8
I'm relatively new Continental driver but I think I know what you mean. I recently purchased an ex-X-plan Continental Reserve with the 3-liter engine its only option with just under 10K miles on it. I think it is a software problem. The tranny gets a bit confused as you go up the revs/speeds through the gears on part throttle and it gets a bit indecisive as to whether the ideal shift point has been reached or not. I have found this most noticeable in city stop/go environments. My personal work-around is to be a bit more involved in the shifting decisions by usually operating the tranny in the "S" mode in city driving and sending shift instructions via the steering wheel paddle shifters. That way, I can hold on to the current gear, say second, even if I drop the engine revs a bit due to traffic conditions and only shift up when I can anticipate that as being appropriate. This is a small issue in an otherwise superb and under-rated car.

My previous Continental was a Mark IV Mark IV.jpg
which my employer, FMC, provided at the time. The interim stretch of wheels under me has been dominated by Mercedes but it is good to be back.
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Todor

Member
I made a video and I'll make another one:

Recently I changed the whole oil with proper specification PAO based LV oil on a machine.
They replaced 10.5 liters, i.e. there were approximately 10.5 or less liters in the tranny and they added the same quantity. One of the reasons to go for it little prematurely (42.700 km instead of 48k km/30k mi) was this issue. Mechanics said old oil was looking OK, not dark.
First 1.000 km/600 mi, the issue was completely gone and impossible to replicate. The tranny just wouldn't do 2-3 unless the speed/rpm were a little higher. Exactly how the 09G Aisin 6-speed behaves in my wife's 17 Jetta 1.4 TSI (marvelous torquey silent and efficient car BTW) and again BTW the Jetta would produce hard up and down shifts 4-5-6 and back in long spirited journeys in mid summer heat.
Back on the Lincoln, it would hold 2nd a little more and the feeling is very smooth and turbine or EV like.
600 mi gone and it began to reappear and soon it was exactly the same as with the initial fill oil. - little scary some times.
From the shop they gave me the remaining half liter/quart. This Saturday I poured it in. Didn't bother to make oil level check because the sun was too strong Infront of my garage.
Severity of the issue was reduced. Ha! It's still there especially if you let off the accelerator just in the right moment, but perceivably softer "jump shift".
So tomorrow I'll order another quart and pour it in just to see what will happen.

From the manual of the car I get the suspicion that Ford's dipstick game is not very good. For instance the ones on the drawings are not the ones on the cars, at least on the first edition print the 3.0 engine oil dipstick is completely wrong.
Homegrown wisdom:
1. On the bottle of the Mercon LV it is clearly stated that some kind of highly volatile alkohols and fractions are initially present. Also highly toxic and poisonous. So oil level drop after several days of driving is quite possible. Also initial fill might have been insufficient.
2. Many times checked and double checked at the shop new oil level is lower on the next day. I don't know whether it is due to some emulsion of air, polimers or whatever. It's a fact. Synthetic oil level drops after a short initial period. Not always, but often enough.
3. Adding 0.5L reduced the severity of the phenomenon.

I am quite inclned to try another change with Mercon-LV as the one I purchased (Ravenol F-LV) has just been dropped from the product line and replaced by Mercon LV which includes 6F55. The former one stated all Motorcaft numbers, Mercon LV, etc, but quoted transmission codes only up to 6f50. And also I made the mistake not to supervise the shop so I am quite confident they didn't shake the bottles of oil well if at all before pouring in - expressly prescribed for ATF presently as strange as it might sound.

Best regards!
 

m1nkyb0y

Member
72
18
8
Westerly, RI
I've had less of a problem with it because I try to drive around like an old man (which I am). Putting it in "S" sounds like a good workaround. When I was getting my new tires mounted at the dealer I had an oil change and the PTU oil changed as well. I have too few miles on it since or I would be able to tell you if this helps. I'm still going to try Town's troubleshooting tip about the recorder but I haven't been in touch with my dealer yet in reference to that.
 

Todor

Member
Doing anything different than driving normally according to the situation is unacceptable.
Based on what I read on the Internet I have come to the following firm facts:
1. One group of problems is related to new low mileage cars;
2. Another group of problems is related to high mileage cars and sporty cars;
3. The 6f55 will take allot of abuse in tuned cars, both 3.5 and 3.0 without breakdowns.

Based on that my conclusion is:
Our problem is some kind of non worked out, non foreseen break in period glitch. The only topics that had continuation were related to replacing some solenoids and sensors. Not complete overlap with our symptoms though.
Other similar topics never got continuation.
So the outcome should be rather unimpressive, either re-learning, finally breaking in, transmission fluid replacement or something like that.

Mine sometimes does it and sometimes it's smooth as warm butter. My biggest suspect is need of relearning at some point, some kind of TPS incompatibility either pedal or actual throttle position or load map in the ECU and/or old fluid was spent and the new fluid did not get the prescribed bottle shake at the shop, thus not enough additives.
The fact that initially it was impossible to replicate the problem leads me again to the fluid. Basic automatic algorithm is to monitor slip in the torque converter - slipping sometimes is a sign of torque excess, either upshift or continue on present gear, depending on mapping. Also little input/output speed difference is a upshift condition with open converter. Slight deviation in fluid characteristics could lead to such glitches.

One more suspicion: tyre rotation. The transmission might get speed readings from abs sensors as well, at some point and very slight acceleration it might get contradicting information whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or cruising. My feeling is that at low speeds you really don't have to press the accelerator, but barely touch it. Allot of US market cars are mapped to imitate the V8 might at low speeds (that one quite successfully). BTW, the Mustang GT doesn't jump that much from low revs with it's sporty cammed free revving V8.
 
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Todor

Member
Continuation of my investigation...
Today I confirmed one of my suspicions - the Motorcaft OE battery (Carfax stating it was replaced in my vehicle)
I have two different smart chargers and one conventional. Used all chargers on the battery in all possible scientifically accepted ways i.e. noting and adjusting current and voltage settings based on the state of charge (SOC), leaving it on floating current/voltage for extended periods, such as every night or if possible for a couple of days, using automatic modes at low and higher charging current, etc.

Battery is Motorcaft BXT-94RH7730
And it refuses to go over 12.6V open circuit voltage. Driven every day, weekly longer journeys, monthly even longer.

Video of power on and ckranking voltages:

Description:

Conditions, cold start at 29°C (84.2F) ambient (i.e. very easy), recharged and conditioned with smart charger several times, driven 50-60 miles previous day with just a few starts.
Charging system working perfectly, 14-14.2V initially, dropping to 13.4-13.6 after longer journey (perfect floating voltage/current for 100%SOC standard battery)
I noticed that the Motorcaft battery is not able to hold open circuit voltage of more than 12.6 volts and when installed in vehicle it would be at no more than 12.5 volts after 1-2 hours. Test method: connect test leads, route them out and then leave the multimeter on the windshield to obtain no consumption voltage.
Typically at opening doors, the voltage drops at 12.3V, accessory power on drops it to 12.1-12.2 and ckranking dropped it to 10.6 (those are slow cheap multimeters) so maybe lower even in those ideal conditions.

* * *

I bet if driven on shorter trips previous day and with colder night temperatures, the ckranking voltage will drop below the universally accepted minimum of 9.6 Volts.
Imagine what that does to self learning memory of the transmission.

* * *

Another possible cause (cumulative):
This car doesn't cool off overnight, especially in the summer and especially in a garage.
Most self learning procedures that I know require a certain non negligeble (20-30) number of cold startups and that dates back to cars of early 90's vintage such as 1993 Cherokee XJ 4.0. Present engine ECU's learn faster, but for present day transmission management I doubt it as they rely on fluid with highly temperature dependant properties.

* * *
Okam' razor argument
Simplest observation/explanation embracing all symptoms is the following:
After a good 2 day cool off in the mountains with well charged battery, the harsh 2-3 minimum throttle shift is very hard or impossible to replicate. All other shifts being also improved.
Previous observations: some days it will do it, on the same days all other shifts would be felt as appreciably less smoother, and other days it would be all smooth with none 2-3 shift incidents. - observation leading to the conclusion of an outside causative agent.

This hypothesis also corresponds to the observation of intermittent non persisting user complaints that have no conclusive continuation. - similar to the vacuum pump noise in 2.7-3.0 engines that freaked everyone in the first month's after the launch of the nano EB engines, panic ceased, no continuation, a year or two later a user overwhelms the shame and confesses it was a normal sound from a vacuum pump.

* * *

Principal cause: too hot under the hood, maybe the OE battery is sub industry standard on some parameters. It really preserves CCA ability and takes charge better than other batteries, but maybe it has reduced capacity and voltage. - normal condition for a battery that's on it's way.
Heat kills batteries.

Remedy:
Enhanced flooded battery (EFB) - withstands heat better than any other battery and is the best possible option for underhood installation amongst all starting batteries: Exide Technologies Releases New Research that Challenges Conventional Battery Wisdom in the U.S. - fact checked and cross checked with other sources by me in the past several months.
EFB batteries are the best out there for partial SOC cycling, heat resistance and high voltage endurance (100% SOC and cold start, the charging system will go to floating current only after full warmup, doesn't really monitor battery resistance or current draw as it is in parallel with all vehicle consumers (or maybe it does? At least the Mustang is mapped to go to floating with prognosed battery temperature and not any actual parameter))

Q: can someone or more of you who are still using OE battery check my voltage results?

Good luck!
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Todor

Member
It's a result of investigating the shift issue. If the transmission forgets it's adaptive learning once or twice a week and in summer it never cools down to "cold" startup criteria, then we've got the present situation.

It would be interesting other people to do the same test on their Motorcaft BXT-94RH7730 batteries to see whether it could be really the source.
 

Town

Senior Member
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253
83
Ottawa Ontario Canada
@Todor 12.6 volts is normal battery voltage when fully charged and the charging voltage is allowed to dissipate after an hour or two. The battery drain from operational computers is 0.03A on my car according to my dealer so there is no errant discharge. My dealer was checking what I thought a problem in the winter when I get the message to turn off ignition or start the engine to save the battery. This never happens in the other seasons. No transmission issues or any other issues. My dealer says that everything is working well, but I do check the battery more frequently. It appears the battery monitor is very sensitive to operation in very cold weather.

When checking/charging the battery the service manual says to use the positive battery terminal and the ground strap attached to the left McPherson strut tower. It says not to use the neg ground terminal on the battery itself since it interferes with operation of the battery monitor. My battery is the one that came on the car so is 3 years and 9 months old (build date to current date).
 

kkriskal

Member
75
13
8
I had a 2017 Ford Explorer few years back and it had the exact same problem (I mean literally the exact same) where it throws the shift from 2nd to 3rd at very light throttle. My 2019 Continental also does the exact same thing. I guess it is just the way this transmission is designed. I have around 10K miles on it now.

I guess it is just the way this transmission is designed or it is still in it's adaptive learning period. This is from owners manual -

Automatic Transmission Adaptive
Learning
This feature increases durability and provides
consistent shift feel over the life of your
vehicle. A new vehicle or transmission may
have firm or soft shifts. This operation will
not affect function or durability of your
transmission and is normal. Over time, the
adaptive learning process will fully update
transmission operation. Additionally, the
strategy must be relearned whenever the
battery is disconnected or a new battery is
installed.
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Todor

Member
Can you measure the power on and ckranking voltage?

As I read further, there are opinions and statements on the Internet that on highly equipped modern car the voltage should not drop below 11V under no conditions and 11.2-11.3V is normal.

12.6V open circuit means 75-85% SOC, for 100% it should be 12.85V. and actually it is rarely 12.6, more like 12.4-5.

See here, after 2.35:
Actual voltage drop is 8.8 which is unacceptable.

Someone has to test and report.
It seems our adaptive learning is reset daily or weekly.
 

Town

Senior Member
4,584
253
83
Ottawa Ontario Canada
@Todor while 12.85V is the theoretical 100% charge for a 12V battery, a car's electrical system will not support that charge level ongoing. If the battery supports a 12.6V reading in the real world it is considered "fully charged" for a good battery and electrical system. Short trips tend to drop the voltage that the car can sustain.

I don't understand why a less than perfect electrical system would cause a hard shift but not affect other aspects of the car's operation.

There is a procedure you can follow to set the base Adaptive Learning process, see attached procedure. It is normally required when transmission internal components such as valve body are replaced, and the trans strategy software needs to be downloaded and matched to the identification plate. It is the PCM that is doing the learning with the base settings in the procedure. As far as I know the PCM then learns how you drive the car and adapts its strategies accordingly. My car's shifting appears perfect and roughly mirrors owner manual expectations. I have not noticed any "Adaptive Learning" that has changed anything.

Good luck with the shifting issue.
 

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m1nkyb0y

Member
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18
8
Westerly, RI
When I got the tires mounted and an oil change a couple weeks ago, I also had the oil changed in the PTU. I haven't seen the issue since. (Perhaps it has finally learned how I drive.) Mysteries abound.
On another note, I have been having a problem with the SYNC3 3.0 update and the dealer is flummuxed, they said I should remove the negative terminal for 10 minutes to reset it! I'm not doing that because it resets way more than SYNC3. I was thinking of all the data I would have to re-enter and the tranny training which would be reset too. The Sync3 problem I have is not a big one and I can live with it much easier than all the hassle of what they suggested.
 

kkriskal

Member
75
13
8
Hi m1nkyb0y,

Regarding the transmission, I am also hoping that it will eventually learn completely because this problem became more noticeable after the pandemic started because I wasn't driving that much at all.

Regarding Sync3, for some reason, my entire sync3 updated and the entire layout has changed, I mean everything, the front sensor warning (when parking close to a wall), the A/C display, Audio Display etc. literally everything. I did Not do anything, it did it over the air, I was surprised. I don't know if your display is the same but will post a picture a little later in the night, I will be doing leather wipes for my seats in a while so will take couple of pics.
 
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