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Shift Solenoid???

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Old 05-19-2008, 09:02 AM   #1
choochoo
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Shift Solenoid???

The "o/d off" light started blinking on my 141K miles 1996 Explorer 4.0. I changed the tranny fluid and filter but that didn't help. The parts store did a diagnostics on it and it read a shift solenoid was malfunctioning. If I turn off the key and restart it, it goes off but not for long. Sometimes it slips from a stop light for a second or two before it engages.

Will the solenoid affect low gear shifting or does the solenoid only control O/D shifting?
Is it located in the pan?
Is it easy to change once the pan is dropped?
Is it a dealer item?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Ah-Choo
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:14 AM   #2
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Welcome to this forum! Do you know which code number it was? This will help us know which part is the one giving the trouble. You have to drop the pan to replace the solenoids. There is a sticky thread in the transmission section called the 5R55E valve body rebuild diary. It has all of the information on these parts. There are many places to buy transmission parts other than the dealership.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
choochoo
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didn't get the code number.

No.. I didn't get the code number. I should have. Just remember the message, Shift Solenoid malfunctioning.

Is that a hard part to get to once the pan is dropped?
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:51 AM   #4
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You have a few shift solenoids in there.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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I suppose I'm glad I'm not the only one...

1996 Ford Explorer 4x4 4.0L (Eddie Bauer)
~131,000

I believe I am having the same problems. As if my occasionally-lit check engine light isn't enough, very recently my O/D light started flashing on and off. I then had NO clue what that was about.

For a little background story, before this flashing O/D problem, I noticed some strange (awfully loud) noise burst through my front right speaker. I assumed my wiring for aftermarket stereo system was allowing some current to arch behind my passenger kick panel (where my aftermarket wiring met the factory wiring) possibly short ciruiting. I decided I had enough of my stereo setup anyway and yanked all of it out to see if there was any correlation to [the now] old wiring. Noise in speaker gone. I had thought that was the reason my O/D light was flashing, but I soon found out that this problem wasn't gone.

After some reading on the web, I read that this O/D flashing is a sign of tranmission component(s) malfunction and was instructed to get a reading. I did (although I hadn't thought of it b/c I thought readings were only if the check engine light is on...now i know). I show error code PO761 which states "shift solenoid 3 performance condition" and "ECM has detected mechanical fault with the solenoid energized, valve stuck off". So, it looks like the solenoid 3 is the likely culprit for this problem and it is my understanding that this solenoid is located within the transmission (or at least not outside where it's easily accessible to replace).

Questions:
Assuming I should replace solenoid 3, how many labor hours should this take (or more precisely, how much should I be charged if i drop it off)?

Is there anything else I should know before dropping my exploder off?? Is it even worth it to have a shop do it?? Are there any other known issues cleverly disquised behind my aforementioned problem(s)?

Maybe some other food for thought:
My check engine light comes on from time to time with the code reading something to the effect of "detected misfire in cylinder 6" (I think it was 6). I replaced plugs, wires, and coil (plugs were still good, wires looked new, and I assume the coil was probably still good too). I still get the check engine light (it does go away after a non-definite time). It looks like there is a slight oil leak from the motor towards the firewall side--I suppose it's possible the cylinder is losing pressure. HOWEVER, I have been considering the chance that it might be a computer malfunction--is this even likely at all?? If so, would that have something to do with my O/D light flashing??

Thanks in advance for any information you can furnish.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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Welcome to this forum! All of the solenoids are easily accessible once you drop the transmission pan. This job should take about an hour maximum. You could get them from WWW.TransmissionPartsUSA.Com. I would suggest that you check the internal transmission harness both visually for damage, and electrically for shorts or broken wires. Check the other solenoids while they are accessible.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the welcome and the info! Hopefully this will fix me up. I will post my results when complete.

**On a note for my problem, I too am experiencing the lack of shifting from 3rd gear to 4th when the O/D light flashes. I have also experienced a couple hard shifts when down shifting into 2nd/1st. This biggest issue is only getting to 3rd gear and not being able to switch into 4th (O/D functionality still works though). (maybe this extra info helps anyone else who reads this forum)
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:33 AM   #8
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You guys need to get the code pulled and WRITE IT DOWN

There are several transmission codes and several ways the shift solenoids or pressure solenoids can fail, the code will help you find your problem correctly the first time.

You can even just type the code into Google and read all day long

It could be a simple wiring issue, like a loose plug or pin, or you could need some internal trans work... but always start with the actual code, not what the Autozone guy tells you.. usually they just want to sell you parts




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Old 06-21-2008, 05:46 PM   #9
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You guys need to get the code pulled and WRITE IT DOWN
What I said:
"I show error code PO761".

What more do you want?
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BrooklynBay View Post
Welcome to this forum! All of the solenoids are easily accessible once you drop the transmission pan. This job should take about an hour maximum. You could get them from WWW.TransmissionPartsUSA.Com. I would suggest that you check the internal transmission harness both visually for damage, and electrically for shorts or broken wires. Check the other solenoids while they are accessible.
Hello again, I'm back with an update. I had a guy replace my solenoid 3 and he just told me the problem still exists! Before he worked on it, he said he would take my word (from my research) that it was the 3rd solenoid and only replace that. So, I don't know if he checked the internal wiring harness or not. He did mention that he found some "round pieces of aluminum" in the oil pan and had no idea what it was or where it was from--he said it was not internal components (I suppose meaning major mechanical components that could have broke). Any clue? Is there a way to check my computer or the electrical system?? I have a funny feeling about this problem...
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:16 PM   #11
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Do those fragments look like small disc shaped objects? If so, then it could be the spacers from a previous pan gasket. A picture would help confirm this theory.
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Old 08-10-2008, 01:17 AM   #12
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Do those fragments look like small disc shaped objects? If so, then it could be the spacers from a previous pan gasket. A picture would help confirm this theory.
I cannot say. I do plan on taking my camera when I meet up with the guy. So I will find out more soon.

After spending several more hours reading about problems online I came across two other similar stories--one in a ranger and the other in a taurus/sable. They both experienced the lack of shifting and flashing O/D light. On the cars, the problem was said to be the "retaining clip for the forward clutch control valve"--the clip was poorly designed and broke. For the ranger, the guy said a worn-out/shorted O/D wire in the steering column was blowing his O/D fuse thereby causing the transmission problem. Both had error codes P0761. I don't know how likely I can be victim of these problems, but I thought I'd just throw it out there.
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Old 08-10-2008, 02:14 AM   #13
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Wrong gen forum... sounds more like Under The Hood. (eXploderNoMore, you are very thorough. nice to read your posts




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Old 08-10-2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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eXploderNoMore, you are very thorough. nice to read your posts
Thanks. In forums like these I figure it is best to keep with the spirit of forums and document as best as possible to help someone else out down the road. Too many times I have read posts (generally speaking) and find information directly related to what I need, but not enough detail was furnished. Then trying to contact a person about it sometimes several years later can be fun all in itself.

So here's to quality posting!
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynBay View Post
Do those fragments look like small disc shaped objects? If so, then it could be the spacers from a previous pan gasket. A picture would help confirm this theory.
I took pictures of the tiny objects (I think the guy found a total of 6).


http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=gx2hGv2A


http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=Pq1WGwB0

Any thoughts?? These are obviously very tiny and perfectly cut--bearings maybe? Could these be some "additive" from BrakeMasters (where I received a transmission flush at 115k on 5/30/2006)?

The guy also checked the internal harness and said it was fine. He also took a reading from all solenoids and they are fine (even the original third one I thought to be bad). He thinks maybe the valve can be sticking. He has another transmission like mine (4R44E) and is willing to try his valve body (if that's the correct name for the part) and see if that works. Good idea?? Anything else come to mind?

I did check the O/D fuse and it was still good--so that theory doesn't sound like it'd play out. As far as the aforementioned Sable/Taurus retainer clip theory, I dunno.
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:36 AM   #16
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Those are the spacers from a previous gasket.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:09 PM   #17
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Update:

The swapped valve body went on today and it shifted; however, shifts were not as smooth as they should be. My guy told me some things about now having more pressure he can notice slipping and advised me to rebuild the transmission. He mentioned some things about the bands loose. I decided to OK the rebuild to get her running smooth. I figure that at ~131k, it might be worth it anyway. Perhaps the couple random rough down shifts I had experienced before were signs of "big" work to come.

If anyone believes this rebuild is really unnecessary, please say so. I am getting it for a good price though (this guy is a parts wholeseller). If my exploder runs the same after the work, I get 100% refund. Hopefully all goes well...
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:23 PM   #18
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Did the swapped valve body have a new EPC solenoid, boost valve with O rings, and end plugs with O rings? Sometimes worn valve bodies could have minor hydraulic leaks, so Sonnax has these fixes for them. Was a 1/4" drive In/Lb torque wrench used to tighten the valve body bolts?
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:19 AM   #19
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Did the swapped valve body have a new EPC solenoid, boost valve with O rings, and end plugs with O rings? Sometimes worn valve bodies could have minor hydraulic leaks, so Sonnax has these fixes for them. Was a 1/4" drive In/Lb torque wrench used to tighten the valve body bolts?
Honestly, I have no idea on any of your questions. I would assume the swapped valve body did not have a new EPC solenoid--I imagine he just did a straight swap. It just so happened that he had the same model transmission as mine sitting in his "office". So maybe that valve body wasn't up to par. I am COMPLETELY lost with transmissions--I tried to make the most sense of what he was telling me. As far as the torque wrench goes, maybe--he knew how and tested the ohms reading for the solenoids so I assume he has a torque wrench and used it. BUT, we all know about assumptions! I really wish I didn't feel so in the dark...but that's the way it goes when it comes to transmissions for me.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:38 PM   #20
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The only way to test an EPC or TCC modulated solenoid is to connect a special tool to it which simulates the actual modulated signal to see how the solenoid reacts. I suspect that the swapped valve body might have old solenoids, and possibly other issues. WWW.CentralValveBodies.Com gives members of this site a discount (I don't know the actual percentage), and is capable of testing both valve bodies for you. They will either tell you if they are good or repair them for you. I would suggest this if you are not comfortable rebuilding the valve body yourself or letting an average shop do this kind of work.
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