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Old 08-17-2015, 10:47 PM   #1
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Overdrive light

I had a transmission leak from a loose nut and the overdrive light came on. I was in the middle of nowhere and drove it 500 miles home without refilling on fluid. Fixed the leak, refilled on fluid and had the mechanic check the lines in to the tranny (I think, not exactly sure what they checked to be honest). All was well, it seemed.

The light was no longer on so I took it on the next trip. After about an hour the light came on again. Swore a few times, restarted the van a few times without any luck, and decide to drive to a dealership about an hour away to have them check the codes. As I eventually drive into the driveway of the dealership and see the dreadfully long line, I swear a few more times and realize it might not be the quick in & out I had hoped for.

As I'm debating my options, I look down and see the light no longer was on. Thanks ford! We drive off and have a great trip. The light has not come on since.

Now, what happened? Why did the light go on, and then off again an hour later? Anything I can check or prepare before the next multi-week trip I'm planning in a couple of weeks?

As a side note, the transfer case had been filled up completely by the old owner so I had the fluid replaced to the appropriate level not too long before this.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:44 AM   #2
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Re: Overdrive light

Since something sounded suspicious, I refreshed my memory from your other posts.

I wonder if you have a leak from the transmission output shaft seal into the adapter housing. I don't know much about the atlas, but on some setups this can lead to the fluid entering the transfer case and overfilling it.

What does your transmission fluid level look like? Also, the transfer case fluid level?
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:39 AM   #3
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Re: Overdrive light

What happens when the light comes on---does the transmission downshift out of OD or continue as normal?

My assumption is since no driveability issues are mentioned this is a light on only condition. If that's the case there is a (minor) problem with the OD switch wiring inside the steering column shrouds.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: Overdrive light

That's what I wondered too, when I was reading: What happens when the light comes/is on? Normally that means overdrive is locked out (i.e. OFF), so you'd notice not being in high gear if you were going highway speeds. ('course you wouldn't noticed if driving relatively slowly as there would be no difference).

OTOH, if the light is illuminated and you still have high gear, then it seems like it would be electrical or switch/wire related.

Unless it's all different with 4WD -- my experience is 2WD E4OD/4R100, with the standard Ford behavior of "shift stalk OD light on means OD is locked out" function.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: Overdrive light

I didn't notice any drivability issues, nor did I notice that it switched in/out of overdrive when the light came on, but I was going slow when it came on so I may not have noticed.

I think the manual states if the overdrive light comes on (and you didn't click it) there is a transmission problem and you should see a mechanic asap.

I think the OD light came on appropriately the first time and alerted me on the leak in the first place so it at least partially works.

MadScience - Interesting idea with the leak into the transfer case. Why would that trigger the light though and then go back to normal? I'll keep a close eye on both levels over the next couple of weeks either way.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Overdrive light

I had a problem with the OD light several years ago but I don't recall if it was staying on or not coming on (I suspect that the OD was disabled and the light on since I would have noticed that). It turned out that a wire from the OD at the end of the transmission lever had the insulation rubbed off and it was shorting out. Ford said that it was a "common" problem.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:10 AM   #7
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Re: Overdrive light

A transmission fault causes the O/D OFF light to flash. It sounds like its on steady? Can you tell if its shifting out of O/D when the light turns on? Does pushing the Overdrive button do anything when the light is on or off?
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: Overdrive light

Hmm, you said the light came on: I'm pretty sure the error condition, at least on the 4r100 is a blinking, not a solidly on light. On solid sounds more like an issue with the overdrive switch.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:24 PM   #9
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Re: Overdrive light

It's not on right now so I can't double check. I think it was blinking but now I'm not so sure. When this first happened before having the fluid refilled, I confirmed the OD function switching on/off when clicking the button while the light was on/blinking. I'll add that to my list to check if it comes on again. Thanks guys!
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