Ford Transit Will Not Go Into Gear (12 Problems Explained!)

When it comes to vans, Ford Transit is one of the popular ones. 

Ford Transit provides good cargo capacity, passenger comfort, good interiors, cheap maintenance, and a nice exterior design.

But like any other vehicle, there are always some problems to deal with.

In this article, we will explain: “Ford Transit Will Not Go Into Gear (12 Problems Explained)” experienced by Ford Transits owners: 

Why Ford Transit Will Not Go Into Gear?

  1. Brake Blown Fuse Or Switch.
  2. Broken Shift Cable.
  3. Clutch Master Cylinder.
  4. First Gear Synchro Unresponsive.
  5. Broken Shift Solenoid.
  6. Ignition Key Failure.
  7. Broken Shifter.
  8. Low Transmission Fluid.
  9. Failing Solenoids.
  10. Clutch Disc.
  11. Misaligned Gears.
  12. Broken Gearbox.

Brake Blown Fuse Or Switch.

Check the brake lights, if they are not working, it can be a blown fuse or a faulty switch.

With a blown fuse or a faulty switch, the shifter is not receiving the signal that you are pressing the brake, and therefore the shifter interlock is not allowing the change of gear.

After 2010, all vehicles are equipped with this security measure.

Broken Shift Cable.

If you can move the shifter to all gears but the transmission doesn’t shift, is probably because the cable that connects the shifter handle to the transmission is stretched, corroded, or broken.

If the cable is stretched, the transmission could be still functioning but slipping.

If the cable is corroded, shifting is going to become very hard or impossible.

If the cable is broken, shifting is completely impossible because there is no resistance in the gear selector lever.

Clutch Master Cylinder.

The clutch master cylinder generates the pressure needed for the clutch to work. 

In a manual-transmission Transit, if the clutch pedal is not coming back as high as before or not coming back at all, it can be leaks or air in the system that needs to be bled out from the master cylinder in the clutch pedal, or the cylinder itself. 

Some symptoms that your clutch master cylinder is about to need a change are: 

A constant loss of clutch fluid, softer clutch pedal, the changing gear point is suddenly different or the clutch fluid gets dark.

First Gear Synchro Unresponsive.

This is a part inside the transmission that synchronizes the gears on both sides of the transmission to fit correctly. 

If it doesn’t go in when you try the first gear, try the second and quickly back to first, if this is “solving” the problem it’s a clear sign of the issue, that practice can help you temporarily until you get it properly fixed by a professional. 

Broken Shift Solenoid.

This is a safety piece that you can find in most new automatic transmission vehicles to prevent the driver from shifting out of “park” without pressing the brake pedal. 

The fuses send the signal to the solenoid, and if this one it’s not working properly, the signal that you are breaking the van is not being sent. 

Ignition Key Failure.

Besides starting your van, the ignition key is also blocking the steering wheel when the key is taken out.

In automatic transmission vehicles, a shift interlock solenoid is a part of the ignition system, and if it’s not working, it will not release the shifter lock. 

Broken Shifter.

If the shifter itself is broken, the center console has to be removed to be able to access it and look for broken parts in its mechanism, which could have maybe been damaged for spilling liquids in the center console. 

Low Transmission Fluid.

If your transmission fluid is low, your van can’t generate much pressure, and this can cause gear slippage and create a failure to accelerate. 

It can also cause trouble shifting gear, in both automatic and manual transmissions, or an overheated transmission with smoke and a burning smell. 

In an automatic transmission, you can experience a delay of 2 or 3 seconds when you change between “drive” and “reverse”. 

If your fluid is low for a while it will start leaking, and the gear transmission will start being harder and harder, making it impossible to shift in the long term since the moving parts are not well lubricated.

Failing Solenoids.

Electric components, such as solenoids, are meant to send and receive signals from the transmission control module.

A solenoid, it’s a valve that controls the amount of fluid flowing in and out of the automatic transmission of your Transit.

There are three of them: the shift solenoid, lockup solenoid, and transmission control solenoid. 

The transmission control module use sensors to calculate the inside working of each electrical part in your van. 

If a solenoid starts malfunctioning, your van will completely prevent going into gear.

Clutch Disc.

The clutch disc or plate delivers power from the engine to the transmission and is located between the flywheel and the pressure plate.

It helps the transmission from the shock of the clutch changes. 

When the clutch is pressed, the pressure plate is pushed against the clutch disk and this one against the flywheel.

Therefore, it starts to slip over time with the use, failing to transmit power from the engine to the transmission.

Instead of slipping, it can also stick, preventing your Transit from switching gears smoothly.

If you hear noise when you press the clutch pedal, it’s a sign of the disc and flywheel grinding against each other. 

Misaligned Gears.

Misaligned gears are caused either by manufacturing defects, driver’s bad use, or stretch of the gearbox components by age.

A gearbox needs to line up precisely to work properly. When a gear teeth start cracking, the gearbox can start to tear down and eventually fail.

Signs of a gearbox misalignment can be gearbox excessive vibration and leaks. 

Broken Gearbox.

In the very worst-case scenario, your gearbox has reached its lifetime. You can either replace it or rebuilt it. 

It is very important that you consult a mechanic expert in the area that can run tests before making a decision.

A wrong diagnosis can lead you to rebuild or replace a gearbox that is not even broken.

With a gearbox rebuilt, the entire transmission will be taken apart to replace the faulty pieces, clean everything in detail, and make everything “like new” before reassembling the gearbox.

If the rebuild is not possible due to too much damage or not worth it if the price difference is not big, you will need a replacement.

This means, buying a gearbox that has been 100% refurbished by a specialized factory.

Some symptoms that your gearbox is near to break can be excessive and unusual noises and a strong burning smell, directly from the gearbox, the gears are constantly difficult to put, or you suddenly feel it very different than before.