ATX issues - 2000 ZX2, 130k Miles

Hey everyone,

I’m new here, and have done some searching, but haven’t found anything exactly related to my issues, so hopefully you all have some input on this.

First off, the ZX2 is new to me, It’s been in my family since brand-new, but my sister didn’t maintain it real well. Now I’m trying to sort things out, and get it caught up to date. It’s bone stock with 130k miles, automatic transmission.

I have two main issues:

  1. Heavy vibration while the car is in gear, and stopped. My first thoughts were motor mounts. The issue seems to be somewhat intermittent. Sometimes I’ll drive it all day and it wont vibrate, other days it’s practically unbearable to be in the car while sitting at a traffic light. I also thought that motor mounts would vibrate all the time, not necessarily only when in drive and sitting at a light. Nearly no vibration when in “park.”

  2. Transmission issues. Seems like the transmission sticks in 2nd or third sometimes at a stop, and then has a delay and drops it into 1st hard. This doesn’t happen all the time, but this is my first automatic car in about 8-years, and I could be making this a bigger deal than it needs to be.

What I’ve done with the car so far:

  • Replaced both front wheel bearings.
  • I had a transmission service done, due to transmission fluid being “brown” (Replaced filter, gasket, and fluid).
  • And lastly, a fresh oil change the day I bought the car from my parents.

That being said, where should I go from here? I am more worried about the transmission, than the vibration, however the vibration is ridiculously annoying. I have read that there are some solenoids that can go bad within the transmission, that could be affecting the shifting as I have stated. What all is included in replacing these? Is there a place I can go to look up the part numbers and such for the frequent items like this?

Also, not being familiar with these cars, how difficult is replacing the motor mounts, particularly on the ATX cars? I read that Ford released an updated document for positioning the motor? Where could I find this document?

Thanks for the help!

oooooooooo . . wheeeeeeeeee, where should I start. First, let’s talk about the tranny. Ford has an issue with a couple of areas in my experience, especially in high mileage units. This first started showing up on the heavier Taurus and Sables. Specifically I am talking about accumulator piston and piston bore wear. Also, worn sealing rings can play havoc. My transmission has mostly stopped the shift flares and 1st gear bomb drops since treating it with fresh Mercon (not Mercon/Dexron general purpose type shit) and adding Lube-Gard per their application chart. Then I just drove it a little on the hard side, nothing abusive mind you…just scrubbing off the varnish. The only symptom I have left is that as very low speeds it will sometimes hunt between 1st and 2nd, sometimes violently, but I have accepted that I will never be able to chemically remove the 160,000 miles. As to the vibration issue, yes it can be sporadic because it is load and temperature related. First, I’d unload the drive belt and check all the pulleys for looseness, you should not be able to rock the pulley on it’s bearing. Next, give 'em a spin and listen for any metallic noise. AC pulley bearings and water pump bearings are of particular concern. Also, look at the pulley alignment. When the belt tensioner begins to wear in it’s pivot joint it will wander out of line and contribute to belt vibration. Crank pulley dampers have also been known to slip. Yes, Ford does have a technical service bulletin regarding mount part numbers and engine positioning routines dependent upon what manufacturing run your vehicle is from. Do you have a mechanic friend with access to Alldata or Mitchell On-Demand? If so, see if they can print out that particular TSB for you.