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5R55E Transmission Slipping??? 2002 Explorer Sport w/ 4.0 SOHC

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Todd82TA, September 23, 2009.

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    1. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Hey guys,

      Really kind of sucks... (SOOO not prepared for this). The automatic transmission in my 2002 Ford Explorer Sport seems to be slipping. This morning on the way to work, perhaps 1/4 of a mile from work, first gear started to slip (from what I can tell).

      So, I'm at a dead stop, and I start accelerating, and the car doesn't have anywhere near the acceleration it used to have, the rpms went up to like 3,000 and I was maybe going 5-10 miles an hour.

      The entire rest of the way, the car's acceleration was just terribly sluggish in 1st gear. It really feels like it's slipping.

      The ONLY other symptom that maybe I can remember feeling is a couple of days ago when it went into overdrive, it sounded harsher / louder than it would normally sound.

      The car only has 38,001 miles on it as of right now, it's never been abused as far as I can tell... the transmission fluid is clean. I smelled it as soon as I got into the parking space at work and I don't THINK it smelled burnt? But it's been a really like time since I've had a transmission go bad (to be able to smell it).


      Any ideas?

      Thanks guys... really bummed out. I haven't taken it for a test run (figured I would wait until traffic calms down), but I might try to drive it back home and then pick up my Crown Victoria.

      Let me have it... if you guys think my transmission is definitely in need of a rebuild, then please let me know...



      Thanks,

      Todd
       
      Last edited: September 23, 2009
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    3. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Hey guys, I know very few people have had a chance to read this, but I made it home and I'm driving my other car 02 Crown Victoria. I wanted to give my observations of the drive home in my 02 Explorer Sport.


      Ok, so I got in the car and started it up. When it started up, it was rather awkward. The engine kind of shook, and it stumbled to life. Once it was running, the idle was smooth as normal. The immediate impression I get is that perhaps an injector was stuck open and it was running really rich (which could be the problem I was experiencing with lack of power, I don't know...)

      So, I put it in reverse, backed up (no problems, worked perfectly), then I put it into first gear and started to drive off. There was NO slippage AT ALL. The drive and acceleration was exactly as it should be, smooth, no problems. I drove the back roads to get back to my house and the car performed exactly as it should.

      I got on the main road, and started to drive a bit more aggressively to see if I could bring out the problem. No difference. About 2/3rds of the way back home, I had a split second slip from 2nd to 3rd gear. It accelerated fine in 2nd gear, but as I neared the top of the gear (at 1/2 throttle), the rpms went up maybe 500-1000 rpms more than normal (abruptly) with little to no change in engine speed, and then immediatly went into 3rd gear.

      After that, it drove perfectly fine the rest of the trip.



      So, here's my question. When a transmission is slipping... when it slips DUE to damaged or loss of friction material on the clutch packs. Once it starts slipping, it will ALWAYS slip like that, and only progressively get worse, correct?

      In this car however, it slipped a couple of times on the same drive in first from a dead stop, but after turning the car off and driving again (as I explained) there was no slippage AT ALL in first gear.

      Can I then "assume" that my transmission does NOT need to be rebuilt?

      Can I then also assume that the only problem is likely something to do with the solenoids?



      Any comments or advice would be REALLY appreciated. I'm really down about this... (not depressed or anything, hah... just that it sucks), and would appreciate any responses or comments.


      Thanks guys!!!
       
    4. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Hey guys, anyone have any thoughts? Any way that I can tell if it's the solenoids?

      Thanks... :(
       
    5. JOEZ33

      JOEZ33 Active Member

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      I'm pretty sure that the 2nd gear to 3rd gear split second rev up is a well known problem on the 5R55E tranny. I believe they refer to it as the 2-3 flare. I'd change the fluid or have it flushed somewhere so you know all of it's changed. See what happens then.

      Mine just had a problem with no power accelerating the other day. I think it was trying to start off in 3rd or 4th gear. I shifted to neutral and back to drive, same thing no power. Then I floored it and suddenly I felt a downshift and instant tons of power like normal. Problem is it shouldn't have to down shift at 3 mph, it should be starting in 1rst gear.
       
    6. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Hey Joe, THANK you so much for the response.

      How do you know that your car was trying to start off in 3rd or 4th gear???

      Based on what you've said, that sounds EXACTLY like the problem I had with 1st gear. It did it twice in a row, but then after shutting off the car and coming back an hour later, the car drove normal with the exception of a mild flare-up.

      The Transmission fluid is very clean, and my understanding is that it was changed just a day before I bought the car (and it looks like it too). That was about 3 thousand miles ago.

      I'll probably change it again though since you suggest it (no huge work... I mean, it's not like I even have to jack the car off the ground... hah, I just slide under it).

      I was thinking of installing a new transmission pan that already had a plug on it, do you know where I could get one? Cheapest one I saw was $350 bucks... seemed out of the ordinary?
       
    7. JOEZ33

      JOEZ33 Active Member

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      I installed a drain plug in mine, for about $5. Possibly whoever "allegedly" changed the fluid, didn't change the filter? Maybe they installed the filter wrong and it's loose? Maybe they used the wrong fluid...

      I could tell mine was in the wrong gear, if you manually put the shifter in "2" then you really are starting in second gear. Starting in second is noticeable, but not that bad. What mine did was much worse, the engine was really bogging down badly. When I floored it I felt it clunk out of whatever gear it was in and into first gear. It's been fine since then.

      I have only had one problem with the tranny for the last year, and it's slow engagement of reverse. Every morning I start the truck and then put in reverse to leave the driveway. After selecting reverse it takes about 4 seconds to actually engage into reverse. If I step on the gas before that, the truck shudders and shakes before slamming into reverse. However if I let it warm up in park for a solid 4 or 5 minutes, then reverse engages instantly. It does this every day, and is always fine once warmed up.
       
    8. my98nnj

      my98nnj Well-Known Member

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      My truck has been doing that reverse delay since I've owned it! :p:
       
    9. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Thanks Joe,

      Is that really how it works? I NEVER knew that. I had ALWAYS thought that if you put it in 2nd gear on an automatic shifter that it just meant that it could never shift OUT of 2nd gear (for example). The only car I've ever really tried that on was on my Crown Victoria, and I guess I just never noticed a difference because of the torque of the V8 (and not really flooring it).


      I'm going to change out the fluid this weekend I think and maybe add in a bottle of Z-Max. I hate using additives, but I figured it might help if I've somehow got a problem with the valve body sticking...

      Based on what I've seen, I've never seen anyone have a PROBLEM with Z-Max, so it can't hurt... at worst I waste a little bit of money.

      I'm going to change the filter too. Did you get that drain plug from Summit or something? I can weld, so I'll probably end up doing that. Just drill a hole in the lowest point of the pan and weld in the nut or whatever comes with the kit.


      Thanks Joe...
       
    10. 99Explanger

      99Explanger New Member

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      my 99 dose the 2-3 flare but it throws a code after words and if i put it in park then drive no problems tell it shifts again is it really a simple fluid glitch or something more expansive my local shop quoted three to five hundred to service and repair.
       
    11. htrdlncn

      htrdlncn Active Member

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      With such low miles it would indicate the vehcile sat for long periods of time, sometimes this can cause sticking in some of the components.
       
    12. jcwaters1

      jcwaters1 Active Member

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      what componented exactly? mine was sitting at the dealer for months and it has the same problem. mine like SLAM CLUNKs back into gear. its pretty bad, but it rarely does it when its warm outside. I cant tell if its the transfer case or transmission. any thoughts?
       
    13. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      For what it's worth, I have 5-6 thousand more miles on it since this post, and it hasn't done it since. It appears to have just been that one time... I'm guessing because it just sat for so long and maybe worked some junk loose. I still haven't changed the fluid, but it appeared to me as though the fluid had been changed just before I got it. The fluid is as CLEAN as what comes out of a new bottle. Bright red, and you can still see through it.

      I plan to replace it in the next couple of weeks anyway since I don't know the history. Plus, I'll put a larger pan in there anyway when I get the chance.
       
    14. jcwaters1

      jcwaters1 Active Member

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      and the transmission fluid level is actually above the fill line. can that cause slipping if theres too much fluid?
       
    15. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      I don't think so. Although... it's probably worth mentioning that one time I drained teh fluid from the transmission in my Crown Victoria. I then filled it up and it appeared "full" on the dip stick. It slipped like crazy and I thought my CV's transmission was going even though it only had 35k miles or something on it. Turns out, even though it LOOKED full, it really wasn't. I added yet another two quarts to it and then it stopped slipping.

      The holes in the dip stick need to be totally filled. Just because there is fluid on the stick doesn't mean it's really at that level.
       
    16. jcwaters1

      jcwaters1 Active Member

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      so if i check it and the holes are filled to where they're suposed to, then what? i'm not at home till thursday so i cant exactly check it right now.

      thanks guys
       
    17. Todd82TA

      Todd82TA Active Member

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      Well, like I said, the holes should be completely FILLED with fluid, just to re-iterate, if the fluid shows on the stick above the holes, but the holes aren't filled, then it's not to the proper level. (and of course, you know you need to check the fluid while the engine is running and the transmission is pumping at idle).

      That said, if the holes are filled and your transmission is still slipping in gear, then it's definitely the transmission going out and your only solution at that point is to rebuild it.

      It's possible though too that the pump might be going bad. I had this problem with a Th-350 on a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Shifted fine, but under significant load, it would slip... turned out to be a failing transmission pump.

      It's almost always the little dutch discs ("bands") that are slipping.

      Good luck...
       
    18. jcwaters1

      jcwaters1 Active Member

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      its been a while, but my tranny has gotten pretty bad these last few weeks. it has the 2-3 gear stumble but its more that a split second. its like a second and a half the the rpms spike and then it seems to land itself in 3rd gear. how much
      (roughly) would a rebuild run on this tranny?
       
    19. windsors03cobra

      windsors03cobra Active Member

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      I just ripped a "good" 4.0 sohc out of a 99 with a bad 5r5 and the owner said he was quoted $1800 for a rebuilt trans.
      He bought a clean 132k 98 with a bad motor for $500, putting his 159k 99 engine in it.

      Sorry to hear about your misfortune with such a young transmission.
      Oh and not all transmission start in second when you put them there but some do and its used as a torque reduction feature for use in low traction situations and probably most commonplace on overdrive Ford RWD transmissions.
      The 4R70W trans in your squad car should have second gear start, BTW the 4R70 is an absolute bulletproof trans from Ford and one of the reasons I bought a V8 Exploder, 205k problem free miles here. The taxi/cop/truck/Mustang/V8 transmission. :thumbsup:
       
    20. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      gasket blow out?

      My recent shift flare was due to gasket blow out. Using the valve body rebuild diary and other related posts I was able to upgrade my valve body for less than $100. 5R55E shift saga
       
    21. montana90

      montana90 New Member

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      1998 Ford Explorer experiencing burning metallic smell which is very apparent. No leaks in coolant, power steering. Think it may be the catalytic converter. 184k miles and never replaced cat or exhaust. Any experiences with this on a 1998?

      Thanks,
      Libby
       

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