4R55E rebuil diary helppp ! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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4R55E rebuil diary helppp !


September 22, 2005
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City, State
Constanta, Romania
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 XLT 4.0v6 4wd

I have a 96 explorer control trac. I want to rebuild the tranny. I suppose i have the 4R55E - i have a 4 gear transmission. Some dealer told me so.

Is there any similarity between the two transmission described here (in the diaries? ) 4R70W or A4LD, so that i could use those informations presented by our colleagues?

if not, can anyone help me with a rebuild diary for my type of tranny?


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no,but follow the a4ld diary its just about the same that would get you through it.

The 4R55E has some different bearings, but with the exception of the governor and modulator on the A4ld (which are missing from the 4R55) pretty much identical. Using the A4LD rebuild diary, and with reference to "project frankentranny" you shuld be able to rebuild your 4R44E.

Valve body rebuild is covered by the 5R55E Valve Body rebuild Diary.

Thanks glacier, i will follow the a4ld diary. What is the "frankentranny" project ? :navajo:

It is in the stickies. Brain put the guts from the 4R/5R series into an A4LD case. By looking at it you will see the actual guts you deal with....

Yesterday i removed the pan, and guess what. It was full with metal particles and carbon deposits. The tranny fluid smells like hell. I started to remove the gearbox from the car. Removed the transfer case, but had some trouble removing the upper bolts from the gearbox, as it won't lower so i can acces the bolts. Also unscrewing the torque converter through the starter motor hole, is quite nasty. I will start a diary soon, and post some picture.
Help will be appreciated allong the diary.
Wish me luck :D

Good luck and keep us posted. if you need help feel free to ask.

Thanks glacier. I'll come back soon with further info and pics. I'm shure i'll need your support along the way to a new tranny :)

Hello guys,

Yesterday i managed to remove the gearbox from the car. I have a few questions. What type of solution can i use to clean the transmission fluid cooling pipes that go through the radiator? And the torque converter can be cleaned, considering that i have no drainage bolt? And if yes, also what type of solution can i use? (for ex. can it be cleaned with gasoline or painter?)

I have a picture of the tranny, but it seems i can't post attachements. :(

Well, i took the guts out.......and hell came out.
Let me explain what i found inside, and then i will submit some questions, for which i need a DESPERATE answer.

1.So, i have three BIG parts. First one shows after removing the bellhousing & oil pump. It's quite light, and it has only two frictions and 3 steel plates. I suppose it is the reverse clutch. It also has a band. This part has no damage.

2.Then we find a hard part, like a plate, separating the first drum from the other two. I removed this too, and i could see another BIG drum, composed of two pieces. First one looks fine and has 5 frictions and 6 steel plates. However i don't see any wave plate. Shouldn't there be one? I suppose this one is the forward clutch? - looks fine too.

3. Inside this drum there is another one, with 6 frictions and 7 steels. Still no wave plate. The 6 frictions are all worn out - which i presume is the cause for the bad oil smell and lots of carbon deposit - and there is a clearance of about 5.5 mm between the pressure plate and the lower edge of the gap for the safety retainer. Is this ok? It seems to me that the clearance is alitle big. I measured a new friction and it's about 0.5 mm, so 6 good frictions will decrease the clearance with about 3 mm, but there still remains a 2.5 mm clearance. Is it ok?

-Is it possible that this gap caused the bang felt when changing from the 2nd to third?

4. After removing the safety the last part comes out, and at the same time the most unpleasant surprise. After removing the planetary from this third DRUM, i could see a very damaged retainer - i mean extremely damaged -. I suppose that it didn't get oiled. The outside retainer of the bearing is also damaged because of this. I can't explain very well in words. I have some good pictures, but unfortunately, can't post them.
My problem is what could have caused this retainer to wear so much?

I found several valves stuck in the valve body - so stuck that i couldn't even remove them with a BIG hammer . I will for shure buy a new valve body and shift solenoids.

I would like to know the apropriate clearance for the clutches, and exactely how many frictions should i have in each clutch, and also if there shouldn't have been wave plates somwhere there.

Appreciate the help.


First of all, I would suggest getting something like the ATSG manual, or the Ford 3 ring binder. Second, if you read through the A4LD diary, it will give you a better idea of the individual sections since they are similar to a certain extent. Now for the questions. For #1, the first area is the overdrive section. For #4, that is the reverse section. Now that this is cleared it, there are various thrust washers which were replaced with torrington bearings. I think the washer you are referring to is all of the way in the rear. That washer is always eaten up. The rear is one of the high wear sections. There is also a one way sprag which you should test to see if it is still only one way.

yes, you are right, the damaged washer is the very last one. However, what can i do to stop the tranny from wearing it like that? And also, why were the 6 frictions damaged, and the other ones ok? Could it be because a faulty valve body?
I read the A4LD, but it is quite different. That's why i asked you about the wave plates, because in my tranny there aren't any of them.
I posted the question about the allowed clearance, because A4LD has different number of frictions and plates ....

P.S. O/D clutch has only two frictions w/ 3 steels?


These friction plates wear out after a while. They are coated with a special kind of paper like a cardboard, so they are not as tough as something like a brake pad. If you read the thread about the Z link on the A4LD, you will see a part that is added to prevent excessive movement of the manual linkage while it is in park. This helps prevent some of those clutches from running while in park, and acts like cheap insurance to help prevent them from overheating, and eventually burning up.

Yeah, that z link sounds interesting, even though i don't know if i can get that from Romania...
I am aware that the friction plates wear out, but i changed the kit 3.000 km ago, so i gues it's quite soon for them to wear out. I gues the faulty valve body and lack of oil pressure caused them to wear so soon.

Is there a possibility to replace that last washer with a torrington?

You could still order parts from America, but shipping would cost a lot. Somebody here posted a few days ago that he had to order a thermostat from Rock Auto since they didn't have it locally (in England). He paid a total of $37 American money for a $6 part! The part that is in the picture in the Z link thread is about $18 before shipping. WWW.TransmissionPartsUSA.Com sells it.

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Thanks for the links. I see that the selector from A4LD is quite different from the 4R55E, so i should check if the z link will fit mine.
I am aware of the shipment cost as i ordered a cooling harness for my MB S320, but i paid $20 for shipping and $ 80 for the part. So it was worth :D

I'll go today and seek for the reverse drum including sprag, washer and planet carrier. I have a friend that has a gearbox for spare parts. I hope i will be lucky.