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5R55W transmission servo piston removal

Discussion in 'Explorer & Ranger Transmissions, Transfer Cases, &' started by Metrix, December 6, 2009.

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    1. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      New guy here, fantastic amount of information here.

      I have a 03 Explorer with 150k on a 5R55W. It has the 2-3 flare issue. The plan was to replace it with a rebuild but if I can diagnose the fault I might just try a repair.

      So far, the pan is off and it's clean aside from some clutch material on the magnet. There's somewhere around 45,000 since the last work was done it. The solenoid pack is off and everything ohms out correctly per the manual. I can see the bands and bottom out the adjuster side so they don't seem to be broken.

      At this point, the trans mount is off and the y-pipe has been removed.

      What I want to check next is the intermediate and overdrive servo pistons.
      What I'm not sure of is, can the servo pistons be removed without the band struts falling off.

      Thanks
       
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    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Welcome to this forum! It's possible to remove the servos without causing any interior damage just as long as you keep the transmission horizontal without too much movement. Replace the solenoid block first before you touch the servos. The solenoid blocks tend to act up around 60K miles. The bores get worn down, and will require a repair kit from WWW.ServoBore.Com or http://www.northlandtransmission.com/servobore/5rw.asp. The transmission has to be removed in order to fix the servo bores. Here's some more information: http://www.sonnax.com/tech-articles/TS7-BW-090-093.pdf
       
      Last edited: December 6, 2009
    4. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Thanks for the quick reply BrooklynBay.
      Great info.
       
    5. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The servo bores tend to have a lot of wear in these transmissions for several reasons:

      1. The servos are very large, and have a lot of apply pressure which causes constant rubbing inside of the bores with a lot of abrasive force.

      2. The shafts of the servos are made out of steel, and the case is aluminum.

      3. The design from Ford causes the servos to apply/release on a slight angle instead of in a straight line. One side of the bore will always be uneven, and look a little egg shaped when it wears down.
       
    6. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      That's what I plan on checking next. Originally the codes I pulled off it were P0733 and P0745.

      The truck belongs to a friend and he plans on keeping it for a long time. If it were my own I wouldn't mind throwing some parts at.

      After reading the Sonnax pdf I can see the possibility of the valve body being worn out too, a lot of city driving. If I could find a cheap fix I could get him by for a while.

      If I have to pull the trans it will probably be better to just replace it with a rebuild. I'm looking to pull the trigger on that if I don't find anything outstanding.
      I'll see what the servos look like tomorrow.
       
    7. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    8. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Found it. A bad intermediate servo.
      This one was the hardest to remove. The snap ring notches are tough to get to when they're at the top. After I oiled up the ring and slid it around to where I could see the notches things got a lot easier.



      Here's the intermediate servo. The smaller overdrive servo was OK but I'll be replacing that too.

      [​IMG]




      I used the broken off piston to check the bores. The intermediate bore seemed pretty tight.
      I'll guess at a couple thousands horizontally and a little more vertically. The overdrive side was slightly tighter.

      [​IMG]


      A few pictures to help out the next victim.

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: December 28, 2009
    9. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    10. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    11. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    12. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Thanks for the information.
       
    13. ranger7ltr

      ranger7ltr Elite Explorer

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      Metrix I thank you for the visuals...

      And I have a question for you.. On removing the servo covers, did you use a special tool or did you just remove the snap ring and press in on the covers? This is probably the best visual I have seen on the servos and the problems with them..

      When you replaced the servos, did you move the adjustment bolts first or did you leave them as they were and just pull and replace the servo itself?

      Thanks again for the pictures... It will really help me get a better idea of what I am doing when I replace mine to fix the 3-4 flare I have... I suspect the servos are bad/weak on my 5R55E since the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts are soft at part throttle, firm at full throttle, and the 3-4 shift flare at teh beginning of the shift when the band should be engaged still.. The direct clutch kicks in firmly to complete the 4th gear shift though...
       
    14. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      For removing the snap rings I used a $9 pair of 90 degree needle nose pliers filed down to fit in the snap ring grooves. The correct tool wasn't immediately available so I had to make one, more on that later. Also, the snap ring grooves are about 1 1/8" apart and my 1" snap ring tool wouldn't spread far enough.

      My parts should be in later today and I'll start assembling it tomorrow. I'll have more pictures on how to remove the snap rings and what might be the minimal amount of components to remove in the next few days.

      The biggest problem is that the floor pan hangs down below the top of the intermediate servo cover and if the ring notches are at the top it's impossible to see without a mirror.



      To illustrate the problem, this picture shows the floor pan with the transmission mount removed and the trans lowered to where the drive shaft is resting at the crossmember.

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: December 28, 2009
    15. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Uh oh, it might be worse than I thought.
      The intermediate servo will not go far enough in the bore to put the cover on.
      It's the same length as the old one.
      I can see the strut through the bore and it's lined up but the piston only moves about 1/8" when pressed in. Compared to the overdrive servo which moves a good 1/4".

      I'm wondering if the reason the servo cracked was something may have forced it out against the cover.
      The adjustment side of the band has about two threads of play at the strut.
       
    16. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    17. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Seems as though the band should be loose enough but I'll try giving it some slack and see if the the strut will fall into position on the servo side.
      The strut appears to be magnetic so I may be able (with a magnetic pickup) to let off some slack on the adjustment side without having the band strut (servo side) falling out of position.

      I still think I should pull the trans though. I'm past the point of return now anyway. There must be something that caused the band strut to lock up and I'm pretty sure it would do me well to find out why. I'll find out more in the next couple days.
       
    18. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      That was it. I loosened the bands up and both servos went right in.
       
    19. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    20. ranger7ltr

      ranger7ltr Elite Explorer

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      So ...

      How does the transmission work after replacing the servos? Is there any sign of shift flare at all now? Are the upshifts any firmer or more pronounced than before changing them?

      Thanks again for the information...
       
    21. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Good news. I took it out for a test drive today, it shifts fine through every gear. I wouldn't say it's any firmer, just nice smooth shifts through all the gears, and, no flashing dash lights. So far I'm calling it a success.

      I still have a fluid level check to do and repair a couple broken off bolts at the trans crossmember. I'll have some pictures to put up after I get some free time this weekend.
       
    22. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Hopefully there are enough pictures here to give you a basic idea of what’s involved to replace the intermediate servo, or, run like hell, which ever you choose.

      To recap, my friend had a 2-3 flare with a flashing OD light on his 2003 Explorer. He said that his transmission problems started at around 110k and it slowly got worse until the flare started about 6k miles ago. The codes pulled were P0733 and P0745.

      For working under the truck, the higher the better. I put the frame on jackstands set at 15” off the floor. The valve body can continue to drip for weeks so put the pan back on with a couple bolts when you’re not working in there.

      Here the pan is off and the connector to the solenoid pack is removed. Because of a transmission case rib, there’s not much room to get a ratchet on the connector bolt. A ¼ inch drive flex head handle worked fine though. Also, a mirror is going to come in handy throughout this project.

      [​IMG]


      Here’s a view of the valve body and solenoid pack. At this point you can also check for a broken intermediate band with the procedure shown farther down. If it’s too loose you’ll need to go through band adjustment procedure to determine if it’s broken.

      [​IMG]


      I tested the solenoid pack first since it’s one of the prime candidates for the 2-3 flare.
      All the solenoids tested in the middle of the range for resistance.

      Shift solenoids A-D can be tested for movement by momentarily applying 12 volts and listening for a click. The PCS and TCC solenoids are Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) and cannot be tested with a 12-volt source. Applying DC voltage to a PWM solenoid can damage it.
      Not a complete test but I decided to move on to the intermediate servo.
      Here is a list for resistance values between the connectors terminal numbers.

      [​IMG]


      With the heat shield unbolted at the top of the frame and slid over tight to the converter there is very little room to get to the intermediate and overdrive servos.
      It may be possible if the ends of the snap ring are at the bottom of the servo cover. If the ends are at the top you may be able to use a pick to pull the ring around (in compression) to where you can see it. This is where the mirror comes in. Wire-brush the ring and spray it with penetrating oil to loosen it up. Using a dowel cut to push on the servo cover (explained later) helps in getting a better grip on the ring.

      [​IMG]


      You may be able to get about another inch or so of clearance by unbolting the Y-pipe and moving it off to the side. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to remove the pipe altogether.

      To remove the Y-pipe, support the transmission at the transfer case with a jack and remove the transmission crossmember. There are 8 bolts to the frame and a couple miscellaneous shields.
      You’ll probably need some heat to remove the exhaust manifold bolts. I tried penetrating oil (not shown here) and it had no effect. There’s plenty of room for a torch but you’ll still want to watch where your heat goes. I used about 30 seconds of Mapp gas on the nuts and they broke free fairly easily.

      [​IMG]


      Here you can see the O2 sensor needs to be removed to get to the left side manifold bolts. Heating up the pipe around the bung will help with removal.
      Unbolt the front driveshaft from the differential, from there you can slide it over and out of the way. In my case the u-joint was trashed so they all got replaced.

      [​IMG]


      The O2 sensor connectors are hard to reach. With a long flat blade screwdriver, insert it between the two halves of the connector and give it a slight twist, then press on the tab, alternate between the two several times and the connector will unlatch.

      [​IMG]


      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      With the Y-pipe removed there’s a lot more room to work on the servo. You can lower the trans to the point where the rear driveshaft rests at the fuel tank crossmember.

      A ¾" dowel cut to press the servo cover in helps in getting a better bite on the snap ring. You’ll also need it to hold the cover in later on when you go to replace it.

      [​IMG]


      I used a pair of 90-degree needle nose pliers and filed the tips to fit in the snap ring.

      [​IMG]


      As BrooklynBay mentioned above, clean the bores out along with the snap ring grooves.
      And yes, that’s frost on the servo bores from my breath. I need more heaters.

      [​IMG]


      Here are the new servos. The old springs measured out at only .05 less than the stock spring height so I reused them.

      [​IMG]


      Coat the bore and the edges of the servo with trans fluid before you install them.
      The servo cover needs to seat all the way to the first step in the bore.
      The piston seal should be able to be pushed in a little ways past the first ridge. Shown here, the servo isn’t going in far enough for the cover to fully seat. The band adjustment needed to be loosened up to get it go in farther.

      [​IMG]


      I removed the spring from the servo and installed it temporarily to hold the band strut in position then backed off the adjustment bolt about ¾ of a turn.
      Here you can see the band strut and the adjustment screw on the outside of the case.
      Before I backed it off I used a screwdriver to check the play in the strut. It bottomed out at about the distance of two threads of the adjuster screw, which would be the correct amount of adjustment.
      Be careful moving it, if there’s a lot of play the strut could fall out. You can see the end of the adjustment screw through the slot in the strut, just don’t move it too far. If the strut does move too far the band may be broken at the servo side. If the band is broke it will never torque to 10 ft. lb. in the band adjustment procedure mentioned later on.

      [​IMG]


      Loosening the band let the servo piston go in far enough to put the cover on.
      I used new o-rings on the servo covers. There’s one o-ring on the intermediate and two on the overdrive servo. Lube them up before you install them.
      I used a wood block on the cover and a bar against the floor pan to press the covers on then blocked them into position with the ¾" dowel.
      It helps to wear gloves when installing the snap ring. Insert one end into the groove while compressing the other end and spiraling it in around the circumference.

      [​IMG]


      After the servos are installed you’ll need to adjust the bands. The ATSG 5R55W/S manual states, while holding the locknut, torque the adjustment screws to 10 ft. lb., then back the adjustment screws out exactly 2 turns. (For the W and S models in trucks)

      It also states you should replace the locknuts. I backed them off enough to clean them with some carb cleaner and then applied some RTV on the backside of the nut.
      While holding the adjustment screw, tighten the locknuts to 40 ft. lb.

      [​IMG]


      Torque settings.

      Solenoid Pack bolts; 71in. lb.
      Filter; 89in. lb.
      Transmission pan bolts; 100in. lb.
      Band adjuster locknuts; 40ft. lb.

      Assemble everything back together then go to the fluid fill sticky here.
       
      Last edited: December 22, 2009
    23. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    24. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Thanks for the great information!
       
    25. Metrix

      Metrix New Member

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      Thanks guys.
       
    26. MarksMountaineer

      MarksMountaineer New Member

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      i have a 04 Mountaineer with the 4.6
      ill be driving and it will shift in and out of overdrive once its hot and i have been driving for a long time.
      i dont have any codes yet..
      i believe the overdrive servo is the culprit.

      so do i have to put the brass sleeve in or ..buy a new servo from ford or ?
       

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