How to: - 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

How to: 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary

Prefix for threads which are instructional.


EF Tranny Guru
Moderator Emeritus
February 8, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Sacramento, CA 95827
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT
Well I have kinda finished what I have to offer on the A4LD.... the last of which are 10 years old.... so maybe I should move on....I do not have a 5R55 trannie to rebuild yet, but I do have a VB, so let me start there.... (4R70W is up next for you V-8 guys)...

I am going to start by a simple top disassembly, sharing my thoughts as an A4LD kinda guy.... first off, sign of the times.... instead of a hex bolt, we have a torx (t-30 to be exact)


as an aside, I noticed the gasket came off easily.... a rarity in A4LD's!

same as in the A4LD there are 3 sep plate bolts... using a torx bit I broke em loose and removed them by hand....


underneath is a common looking VB pathway network. I want to offer a word of advice here. things STICK to the separator plate or gasket (pucks, valves..) be careful and watch for these hangers on (that fall off on disassembly)! When I pulled the sep plate, I found there were two "relief" valves, seemingly just as on the A4LD....


see the black one one the lower right ? Here is a better view, plus the bank of 4 solenoids (of 6) in this VB


The other one was just a spring valve...


Was it missing ? no it just fell out when I removed the separator plate (see why I warned ya?). I did find it odd that the one was black


and the other one (that fell out) was silver....


there is only ONE puck in this tran VB (A4LD has 2)


This one also has a passageway (turns out it is the EPC) filter.... seen here


and removed here


also only 3 check balls...(some have 3, some 4, more later)







and 2 empty holes




also a different style of retainer makes it appearance...


Oh yes there are still some of the old style, but this is a new idea.

The manual valve is way different, no more Z link...


and for tonight... here is the A4LD versus the 5R55... A4LD is the top one.... notice the sprouting of solenoids on the 5R55... the advent of computer controlled trannies! (even the A4 had SOME computer control - not like the 5R which is ALL computer control... and not a BAD thing necessarily).


Next up. We'll tear down the 5R VB and note the common features, as well as the new ones. Stay tuned.

[And for you 4R70W guys, same is coming up, with J Mods! - It will be at the end of the 4R70W Diary, already underway in the stickies at the top of this forum]

[postscript.... someone asked about computer control when things go bad. It is called limp mode. The computer will command "limp mode" when all hell breaks loose (in other words stuff just isn't seeming "right" to the computer)... It goes to a default program that maxes out pressures (to insure engagement) and uses gears designed to "get you home" As I understand it starts in 2rd and stays in 2nd or only shifts to 3rd. (Not sure about this though.) The shifts are horribly hard. Anyway there is so much to learn...

(But in all I think computers are where we are headed, as well as continuously variable transmissions... but I digress)]

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Chris, create plenty of remarks and pictures about the "L" shaped retainers. They very easily fall out when the valve body is tipped over, and a detailed picture is needed to reinstall them. Subscribing, good night.

Don, will do. As I was thinking about it, I remembered a TSB that Eneurb was kind enough to post, about this VB, so I found it and am posting it here for reference.

Here it is... TSB 03-22-10...

FORD: 1995-2001 EXPLORER
1995-2002 RANGER
1996-1997 AEROSTAR

This article supersedes TSB's 03-11-9, 02-13-8 and 02-08-2 to update the model coverage.

Some vehicles built prior to 12/1/2001 may exhibit the following shift and engagement conditions:

No 2nd Gear
No 3rd Gear
No Engine Braking In Manual 1st.
Out of specification pressures controlled by the transmission main control valve body separator plate may be the cause.

Verify the condition, the main control valve body separator plate may need to be updated to the latest level. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.





Verify that one or more of the following conditions exist.
Low Line Pressure While In Drive At WOT
No 2nd And/Or No 3rd Gear
No Engine Braking In Manual 1st
DTC P0732, P0733 Or P1762
Install Kit (3L5Z-7M203-JA) to update the main control valve body assembly, refer to the installation procedures found in the kit.
Reinstall the main control by continuing to follow the installation steps listed in the Workshop Manual, in-vehicle service, main control valve body.
After completing the procedure, verify the condition has been corrected.
Clear all DTCs.

Part Application Chart
Vehicle Application Engineering Description Qty. New Service Part Use on Transmission Application 7000 -Reference Only-
95/96 Models ONLY
95/97 Models Separator Plate to Case Gasket 1 2L5Z-7C155-AA ALL
95/97 Models Separator Plate to Main Control Gasket 1 2L5Z-7D100-BA ALL
95/96 Models - ALL Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F5TZ-7A008-CA 95GT-AA/BA/CA/DA/EA/FA/ GA;96GT-BA/CADB/EB/FA/ GA/HA/KA/MA/NA
97 Models ONLY
97 2.3L Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F77Z-7A008-AB 97GT-GC
97 3.0L OHV Ranger/Aerostar Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F77Z-7A008-AB 97GT-EC/FC/MC/NC/RE/SE
97 4.0L OHV Ranger/Aerostar Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F77Z-7A008-CB 97GT-KE/LE
97 4.0L OHV Explorer/Mountaineer Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F77Z-7A008-DB 97GT-KF/LF
97 4.0L SOHC Explorer/Mountaineer Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 F77Z-7A008-EB 97GT-AE/BE
1998-2001 Models ONLY
98/01 2.5L Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-DA 98GT-GA; XL5P-CA
98/00 3.0L Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-EA 98GT-EB/FB; XL5P-AA/BA
98/00 4.0L - EI Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-FA 98GT-KB/LB; XL5P-DA/EA/FA
98/00 4.0L - EI Explorer Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-GA 98GT-CB/DB; XL2P- EA/FA
98/00 4.0L - SOHC Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-HA 98GT-AA/BA; XL2P- CA/DA
2001-2002 Models ONLY
2001/2002 2.3L Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-AA 1L5P-CA
2001/2002 3.0L Ranger Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-BA 1L5P-AA/BA
2001/2002 4.0L-SOHC - ALL Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-CA 1L5P-DA/EA
1995-2002 ALL as Listed Above Valve Body Service Kit 1 3L5Z-7M203-JA ALL

3L5Z-7M203-JA Valve Body Service Kit


03-11-9, 02-13-8, 02-8-2

Eligible Under Provisions Of New Vehicle Limited Warranty Coverage
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Courtesy of Donnie Arbogast, here is a tabular listing of some of the above info.



Someone also posted that Ford Parts Network (a site sponsor and good place to get FORD parts) had the kit for about $14 and the sep plate for a like amount. Didn't mention gaskets...

Chris, most people will look at that long list of parts, models etc, and frown, thinking a trans expert, or dealer, is needed for that.

I am very impressed with TransGo for building their valve body correction kit to address all of those issues, for all models of 5R55E. The cost for the TransGo kit is very little more than buying those factory kits and plate, and the improvements are greater. Regards,



Don, I plan to buy both the Superior Kit AND the Transgo kit, and like I did for the A4LD note what they offer and what crossovers there are. I am not aware that the Transgo kit was duplicative of this TSB, but we'll check it out! We'll upgrade and mod this VB to the maximum practical extent.

Excellent thread Glacier, and one that has been needed for a long time. (The dreaded shifting 'flare' seems to be a very common problem in the 5R55E.

Someone also posted that Ford Parts Network (a site sponsor and good place to get FORD parts) had the kit for about $14 and the sep plate for a like amount. Didn't mention gaskets...
The gaskets for the revised plate are bonded to the plate, so it can be said they are 'included'. :)

I did this Ford (revision) kit update a while back, along with adding the Superior shift kit, and I must say it was well worth it. After almost 20K miles, it still shifts great.

Thanks ROE... I always like collaborative threads.... My problem is this... I guess when I am done I will sell this VB... but won't know what plate to get until I know what year it is going into....what the buyer needs....but.... I'd really like to show the plate with the gaskets you describe and everything....

Don raised an excellent point about the old style (notice how I am now calling the A4LD style "old") L retainers. there are 6 of em, and he pointed out that they tend to fall out leaving you cllueless where they belong.... so I decided to illustrate them all, best I could... so I used BBQ skewers.... here is a view of 4 of the 6 on the left hand side


in more detail from bottom to top


and moving up (lower one here is top one above)


on the right side there are two, use the accumulator puck (I now know this is a lube circuit puck) as a point of reference...


Here is a better diagram of all of em'



Solenoids..... 6 of em. 4 on one side and 2 on the other, all held in place by some reasonbly flimsy brackets... here the the ones on the 4 side.... a TCC on the far left (very similar to the A4LD setup, wait and see) 2 shift solenoids (of which there are 4 all the same and interchangeable 2 on this side and 2 on the other) and the big Daddy of them all, the EPC solenoid (far right).... capable of producing varying pressures by computer command! (oh baby). This is one that the experts all recommend you replace while you are in there, it is a fast wearing part due to what it does..


here they are all pulled out.... notice the built in screens on the TCC and EPC....


There is an updated bracket, BUY IT.


and on the other side 2 more shift I said same exactly as the two in the middle of the other side...all interchangeable.


and for what it is worth out of curiosity I turned it over and 2 of the "L" retainers fell out, At least I can read my own posts and figure out where they go ! Good call DON.

When I did my 99 5R55E, I called the TransGo Tech line, to ask about the compatibility of their kit, and the two Ford TSB parts that I was about to buy. They informed me that I didn't need any Ford TSB parts, that the TransGo kit covers all of the factory problems to date.

The TransGo Tech was the one who suggested that the EPC solenoid should be replaced. Thus I only bought the TransGo kit, gaskets, Sonnex boost valve, and an EPC solenoid. Let me know if you discover anything else. Good reading,

well, that's good to know. I still think I will get everything and do a side by side and see what shakes out. I find it interesting that there are so many different separator plates, and the fact that the gaskets are bonded to the plate is a noteworthy find, since torn gaskets was such a bugaboo.... Thanks for the info Don.

Yes Chris, my 99 separator plate had the most stuck gaskets I have ever removed. I spent over an hour removing them, and sanding. Regards,

Well here's what the non-separator plate FORD upgrade consists of... let's start with the 3 pages of instructions




We'll show this hands on as I get time...

Don, were you experiencing the shifting flare, to cause you to install the TransGo kit? That was my problem (a 1-2 flare), and I went in the other direction with the Ford blow-off kit plus adding the Superior shift kit.

I also installed a new EPC solenoid and bracket, since I didn't want to do the job twice. Because of all the new parts, I can't say for sure which one cured the flare, but I suspect it was the new blow-off valve plus the revised separator plate.....(?)

Does the TransGo kit also include a new separator plate, or give modifications to the old one?

Well I bought the Transgo AND Superior kits today and have been checking them over. Don is absolutely correct (his usual), the Transgo kit has it's own (and similar to that devised by FORD) fix for the EPC limit problem. They approach the blowoff solution differently and allow reuse of the old separator plate (use new gaskets). They change a couple springs in two valves, and have you drill the VB passage in one location. They give you a rivet to plug up a hole in the separator plate. Their usual excellent instructions accompany the kit.

Superior on the other hand, changes a number of things, only one of which is addressed by Transgo. The Superior kit has an electrical gizmo to splice into the EPC circuit wires .... I am wondering if this is their fix to the EPC overpressure issue? [Edit - NO it is designed to up the line pressures by 5 PSI.] Oh and...I am like a kid at Christmas, Superior has the DOUBLE LIP LOW/REVERSE SERVO SEAL !!! YEAY ! Superior also has you drill the sep plate in 2 places.

Both kits also address some rebuild items not part of the usual VB rebuild, more so with Superior than Transgo.

[Edit: if you go the route of doing the FORD TSB using the FORD supplied parts, it largely renders the Transgo kit useless to a great extent. I'll talk about this later]

Anyway I'll lay everything out tonight and share more info and we can puzzle this all out together. Ain't this fun?

I will say that in spite of Transgo's separator plate reuse, I am pondering if the FORD "bonded gasket" plate may not be a better idea... but we can debate that later.

Each kit was between $30 and $40. The Transgo was $32.33 and the Superior was $38.42 The Sonnax Boost Valve upgrade for this one was $36.22. I do not have a price on the upgrade bracket, nor have I priced the replacement EPC solenoid, but am prepared for something pricey. [Edit - Try $112, ouch]

Ok I did learn a few things. The two different colored "relief valves" ? The black one is the same as on the A4LD, TCC relief. The silver one was EPC limiter... a new function and one which both FORD and TRANSGO fix (and remove the silver valve and spring) the reddish "puck" is extension case lube circuit - not present in all of these but was in this one. Transgo gives you a replacement of aluminum, as they do for all the fibre pucks in their kits. Transgo is a quality outfit, and I will point out other reasons for my opinion later. [I know Don agrees].

Some of the VB's were 4 check ball and some 3... there's a way to tell, I'll share it with you. Mine was 3. I'll be taking pics of the kit contents to share later....

stay tuned, film at 11.

The Superior kit has an electrical gizmo to splice into the EPC circuit wires .... I am wondering if this is their fix to the EPC overpressure issue?
Glacier, I didn't install this part, which Superior calls a "pressure riser". I figured it must be either a resistor or capacitor, but since the installation polarity isn't an issue, it must be a resistor. The ceramic housing also points to it being a resistor.

I figured that I could always install it later, if need be. Since the trans shifts fine, and the flare is cured, the pressure riser apparently wasn't necessary in my case.

If it indeed is the Superior fix for EPC overpressure, then the Ford revised blow-off valve I installed might have done the same thing......?

Yes, I took one look at it and figured the overpressure was being caused by some electrical issue and this was a ballast resistor to splice in to moderate that (though if it were just an electrical spike causing it, that might have suggested a capacitor instead of a resistor,) but like you I looked at the ceramic and said - "resistor", as you will see, it had a resistance of 75 ohms <g>. Thinking out loud.... would it hurt to add it and do both ? Ideas and thoughts solicited.

ok, gonna move to a new post and start in with the FORD upgrade, the Transgo kit and then the Superior kit and end with the Sonnax Boost Valve. Should be an interesting evening of pix.

(haveta upload pix on a dial up, so bear with me)

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

OK.... the FORD idea was to eliminate the previous relief valve for the EPC (they pulled the spring and valve head that was existing and gave you a new plate without any hole where those used to exist) and add a "blowoff" valve elsewhere.... (all in all not a bad fix).... Here is what they give you for hardware (read their 3 page instructions above, if ya got good eyes, also find the "dimple" in this valve)


Here is a closeup of the backside of the valve, notice the screen and under it the checkball, this is essentially a pressure controlled checkball blowoff valve....


Here is the Transgo idea, very similar.... you may notice the paper clip and laugh, ME I love these guys. They provide everything, even the "rat's ass" tools ya might need.


A closeup of their valve and checkball nested in it.... no offense, my choice is FORD's offerring on this....(still I love these guys).


Ok so much for this comparison, in the next post I will show the rest of the Transgo kit....