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got the transmission blues


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Have an '02 Ford Taurus that's been grandma driven for all of it's 95k miles. After doing some very easy driving in town for a couple hours today I accelerated up to about 50 and noticed the car didn't seem to be responding to the gas pedal anymore. Looked down and the engine was doing 4k rpm so I let off the gas. Pumped the gas a couple times to see if the car responded and got nothing. Coasted to a stop in a safe lane and tested it in all the gears...nothing. The car stays put if you put it in park but you can roll it back when in any other gear position. The gear leaver on the tree does still give resistance when you move between gears. No music was playing and there was no noticeable sound whenever the breakage occurred.

Called a friend and was advised to check the gear shift linkage at the top of the transmission. I'm not familiar with what the arm's full range of motion is supposed to be but I noted it's position while in park and low 1 and it seems to be moving well. Felt the connections and they seemed solid.

Without the benefit of being able to do a proper run-up to a transmission fluid check I wiped and re-dipped the stick and it read fairly high although I hadn't added any fluid for at least 10k miles. The fluid was just a shade darker than light pink and although I didn't check specifically it didn't seem to have a burnt smell.

There's no way low engine oil could cause something like this is there?

Any ideas?

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I don't think this would have anything to do with it but it's worth mentioning. Two months back I did a slow speed rear end into the back of a lifted pickup. The front of my hood hit his trailer hitch right at the hood latch point which crumpled the hood and broke and pushed back the upper radiator support...what the hood latches into. The equipment on that support, radiator ect were also pushed back but luckily nothing came in contact with the engine. Pushing the upper radiator support back had the effect of pushing both front fenders outward about 3/8 inch.

Just yesterday I got the car back from having the front bumper plastic and that upper radiator support piece replaced. I was referred to that shop but I'm not too sure how good they are..definitely cheap though. What I'm wondering is...is it possible something got disconnected then not reconnected properly from that job that's resulted in my transmission misbehaving?

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Any check engine or other lights on? When you shift into drive, do you feel any engagement? If the fluid is good, you heard no noises, might be the shift cable or other shift issue. Torque converter would still shift into gear but rev out. I would have someone look at the shift lever on the tranny and see if its moving when you shift into drive. 

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