1996 4x4 auto trans slipping, HELP | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1996 4x4 auto trans slipping, HELP


March 27, 2007
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Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
I have a 1996 Explorer with the 4 L engine ( X engine, 8th vin letter ) with a Auto Trans, ( 4X4 ) with 249,000 KM ( 150,000 miles ) I seem to be having a intermitnt trans slip issue. I am going to do my best to try to descride the issue, but as this auto trans slip issue is intermitant its difficult to describe,

Some times the trans works perfictly for days on end, doesent slip at all and shift thought all the gears normally, other times ( cold or Hot ) I have the folow issues,

- No slip in 1st gear ever ( cold or hot ).
- Shifts from 1st to 2nd gear normally ( cold or hot).
- Slips while in 2nd gear slightly some times ( cold or hot ).
- Slips while ****ing from 2nd to 3rd gear some times.
- One time I did notice that the trans didnt wont to shift into 3rd, I was going about 60 KM/ Hours, no slip but wouldnt shift. I drove like this for about 1/4 mile then it shifted into 3rd gear.
- Never slips while in 3rd gear.
- Shifts normally from 3rd to 4th gear.
- Never slips in 4th gear.
- Shifts normally in to OD, never slips while in OD.

I should also mention there are no trans external oil leaks what so ever

I removed the trans oil pan to change the oil filter and oil, when i had the pan off I did not find and metal shavings, losse parts in the trans pan. I did notice the oil was a bit discolored. But this could be from normal wear as I do not know when the trans oil was last or if ever changed.

Any suggestiions or hep would be greatly appreated, I ahve hear all kinds of possibablys,

Leaking 2nd gear servo.
Faulty or sticking 2nd gear sol. valve.
Ford Explorer trans are junk and should be rebiuld ever 50,000 Km.


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95 and 96 were changeover years. Some Explorers had the 4R44/4R55 and some had the 5R (5 speed) version. I need to know which trans you have, the 4 speed 4R or the 5 speed 5R.

I believe its a 4spd with over drive, on the cluster all I have is P R N D 2 1, While driving starting from a stop, I can count the shifts and all i get is 4 shifts plus over drive,


I believe its a 4spd with over drive, on the cluster all I have is P R N D 2 1, While driving starting from a stop, I can count the shifts and all i get is 4 shifts plus over drive,


I checked the date of manufacture is is 01 / 96, not sure where else to look to find out exactly what i have?????????

What is the trans code on the door jamb sticker ? (was hoping you might figure this one out on your own).

ps. These trannies 4R and 5R NEED clean fluid - changed frequently to do their best.

What is the trans code on the door jamb sticker ? (was hoping you might figure this one out on your own).

ps. These trannies 4R and 5R NEED clean fluid - changed frequently to do their best.

VIN, 1FMDU34X9T2A81711

I am not sure which on to look at so I got them all

_EXT Paint_____________________________________RC___DSO__________
WB = 112
BRK = 4
AXLE = 45
TR = T

Not sure which one is the trans code, I think it is TR = T.

Thanks for your paitents.

I should also mention this afternoon the following issues started, I backed the SUV off the drive way, when I put the SUV into D it took a long time for it to do into drive ( 15 seconds or so ) this happened two this afternoon.

Hey are you right in Sac, I am in Lodi about 30 minutes south of Sac

Thanks again

I believe you have the 4R44 or 4R55. These are 4 speed automatic rear wheel drive transmissions. 4th GEAR *IS* overdrive.

Let's clear something up. From those of us used the manual gear boxes that had an "overdrive" function - we are at a disadvantage....

Overdrive: When the engine output in RPMS is LESS than the driveshaft speed. Eg, like the 4R's 0.75:1.0 ratio.

4th gear in the 4R IS Overdrive. YOU have a 4 speed tranny.... the 4th gear is just at a ratio below 1:1.

OK. We cleared that up.

2nd gear in the 4 speed version of the 4R/5R is accomplished by applying the intermediate band. A shift solenoid is involved is this shift, as are a couple spools in the VB, a servo to apply the band, and the band. And as always in high mileage 4-5r's the EPC (electronic pressure control solenoid can be a problem child).

Shift servos are pretty stout puppies and are not high in the usual list of suspects. When they go bad, they usually throw a code - as shown by a flashing OD light.

The spools in the VB can present a problem....Not REAL high in the usual suspects list but slow ones can cause the problem for sure. So, ON the list.

The servo gets fried by the CAT. Often a leaky servo can be a problem.

Band adjustment can sometimes help.

I'm betting a Valve Body rebuild with the FORD TSB and a shift kit and a fluid change (new EPC servo too) and a band adjustment will make your problem disaappear. See the 5R55E VB rebuild Diary at the top. It applies 100% to your VB.

Ok then, do you have any suggestions on where to get the necessary parts / kits from??????

Valve Body rebuild with the FORD TSB
a shift kit
new EPC servo too


TSB parts from your FORD dealer or fastpartsnetwork.com. For the rest I suggest you read the 5R55E Valve Body rebuild Diary.

Don't shoot the messenger.

I do this for free.

I have been here for years, answering the same Q's over and over... 8,757 posts worth. You have 7. Be nice to me.

I found this at http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/AutoTrans.html

C3 Code V (1983-1984 3-speed Overall length is 24-inches
C5 Code W (1983-1984 3-speed
A4LD Code T (1983-1994) 4-speed Overall length is 28.687-inches
4R44E Code T (1995-1997) (2.3L & 3.0L 4-speed
4R55E Code T (1995-1997)(4.0L) 4-speed
4R70W Code U (1996-1997 5.0 Explorer) 4-speed
5R55E Code D (1997-) 5-Speed

The transmission codes can be located on the safety compliance certification label on the drivers door post.

Ford's use of Automatic Transmissions in the Ranger, BroncoII and Explorer:

'83-85 - 4x4 Rangers/Bronco2(2wd also) with NON-OVERDRIVE Automatic transmission will be a C-5
'83-85 - Ranger 2wd automatic will be a C3.
'85-94 - Rangers/Bronco2/Explorer 2wd & 4x4 with OVERDRIVE will be an A4LD
'85-88 - Rangers with NON-overdrive automatic trans (essentially 2.0 carb engine ONLY) will be a C-3
'85-94 - Aerostars (all engines) will be equipped with the A4LD trans
'89-94 - 2wd & 4x4 Rangers/Bronco2/Explorer will be equipped with the A4LD Overdrive automatic trans with the exception of SOME '88-90 special-ordered fleet vehicles with 2.0 engines that will have C3 automatics.
'95-01 - Rangers (2.3/2.5) will have the 4R44E trans.
'95-01 - Rangers and Explorers with the 4.0OHV or SOHC will have the 4R55E trans standard Some trucks were also equipped with the 5R55E (5speed automatic)

According to this my explorer will have like you said a 4R55E, 4 speed trans.

I hear ya, I didnt mean to be rude, if it seems that i was I applogize. I can only imagine being asked the same question over and over and over.

I did find a couple of VB rebiuld kits ( some on Ebay ) around 35 bucks or so.

I am gona ask you one more question, whats does TSB stand for?

thanks again for all of your help, you have been very helpful.

Rob , frustrated with this Explorer tranny, ( I should change it out for the 5spd manual trans that i have in my wreched 95 Explorer )

TSB = Ford Technical Service Bulletin, suggest you read through the 5R55E rebuild diary (http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140987) at least a couple of times.

Also see this sticky also:


As far as parts, try these vendors for the shift kits:


For Ford parts use your local dealer or this site:


Good Luck

Thanks for the info BillJ,

I am on my second time reading throught the 5R55E VB rebiuld thread, wow this is a long one. A lot of info.

UPDATE ON THE 4R55E trans slip / shift issues, I was going to just rebould my valve body but after going of the thread many time I decided to just buy a rebiuld valve body from a local trans shop ( $375.00 exch ). I also changed the trans oil and adjuted the two bands.

The trans seems to be working great now, I have driven about 2500 miles on since completing the repairs and all seems to be working normal.

thanks to all for the advise and comments.


Thanks for the update! For many this is a great route to good functionality! Congrats!