How to: - 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary | Page 52 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

How to: 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary

Prefix for threads which are instructional.
Just completed 5R55E valve body update

Wanted to thank everyone on this forum for the info on these valve body updates. I would not have had the courage to try these mods without the guidance and pics provided here.

My 1999 Explorer with 134K miles was having typical transmissions issues (slow to engage reverse, very bad 1-2 and 2-3 shift flare). However the gears seemed solid once they did engage so after reading this forum over and over I decided to jump in and try it.

From FordPartsGiant I bought the bonded gasket separator plate (1L5Z7Z490GA for my 99 model), the Ford TSB pressure relief valve update (3L5Z-7M203-JA), a new EPC solenoid (XL2Z-7G383-AA although this part number had been superceded by 9L2Z-7G383-A), and the updated solenoid bracket (XL2Z-7L491-AA)

Just a note: the Ford tsb kit does not include the spring shown on page one of the forum.

From TransmissionPartsUSA I bought the D-Ring seal set (#4962) for the reverse servo. The seals on my servo still looked ok when i got it out but the the d-ring set (in addition to the better inside seal of the d-ring on the servo) was slightly thicker which looked like it would provide better seal pressure. In fact, even with the seals lubed up i had to basically drive the servo back into the bore it was so tight. I even wondered if maybe too tight but it all seems to work ok.

After dropping the trans pan (which by the way i did not remove the exhaust and just unclipped and pushed the heat shield over and out of the way) and valve body, I discovered exactly what is shown in several of the pics here--the separator plate gasket was blown around the reverse servo and also several places beside the solenoids. It was a relief really to see that something visible was wrong.

So then I cleaned the valve body gasket surfaces, installed the Ford tsb pressure relief valve update (yes the tsb instructions do seem to indicate the wrong bore but the pics on this forum show the correct installation), installed the new EPC solenoid and the updated solenoid retainer. I would say also that it is important to really check well the valve body passages for bits of the blown gasket. I found several including up in the trans case side where the valve body bolts to.

Then re-installed everything. It is easy to miss making sure that the manual gear selector lever is in place on the manual gear selector piston when putting the valve body in place--thanks to this forum i knew to double check that.

Also i splurged on a really nice inch-lb torque wrench (about $50) with the click feature. Well worth the peace of mind to know that a quality tool should be spot-on with the calibration settings for a task this critical. Also the click feature really helped in going over the 23 bolts in 3 passes to torque the valve body tight.

I have driven a couple of weeks now and so far the updates seem to have cured the problems i was having. Reverse takes maybe a second to engage now and the shift flares are gone, even when everything is fully hot (that is when the shift flares were worst on mine).

I figure that i spent all totaled about $200 including all the parts, Mercon V trans fluid (7 qts) and new trans filter. Plus the $50 for the new torque wrench. This compared to a $2500 estimate from a trans shop who just said they would have to rebuild the whole trans. I can somewhat understand the viewpoint of a trans shop though, they have a lot of specialized equipment to pay for and in order to provide a warranty on the transmission they have to be sure of everything in the transmission. I'm just glad that my trans did not require it.

Just as a note, I did NOT install the Superior shift kit or the Trans-Go shift kit. I was hoping they would not be necessary and so far it seems that they weren't in my case. If I have further problems down the line i will probably try one of them.

So, again, thanks to everyone (especially Glacier991 who started the whole thing) who has contributed to the forums.

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!

Glad you were able to do the repair. I did the same to mine in 2006. I wonder if Glacier991 had any idea this thread would still be active 10 years later?

No third gear,dtc P1715, P0733

Hello, need some advice from you guys. I recently bought my explorer so not much maintenance history. It's a 99 4WD 4.0 SOHC.
I've been reading this forum for the last months now, because I was having some probs with the X. Succesfully fixed the rough idle problem with changing out the intake manifold gaskets(thanks for that).
And with the Valve Body Rebuild Diary by my side I was pretty sure I was gonna fix my 2-3 flare just as easy. So I ordered a new EPC, new VB gaskets, enough Mercon V, new transfilter and a shiftkit from Transgo. Normally I would be pleased to find nothing wrong when repairing my car but when I found the VB gaskets in perfect shape, all solenoids passing the 'ohm' test and the solenoidbracket in good condition, I began to doubt if my repair was gonna do any good. Continued anyway, put all the new stuff in and put everything back together.Then cleared all codes.
Now comes the fun change at all...!! Test drove it for a while, cleared all DTC's and then drove it again. No change.
Hooked it up to the computer and took it for a drive.
I got 2 codes, p0733 which was already there before the repair and P1715 which is new. The first time the P0733 kind of pointed me into the direction of blown gaskets and a bad EPC, but now in combination with the P1715 which indicates mechanical failure of SSB, I think I misdiagnosed the first time.
Instead of having a 2-3 flare i'm now pretty sure I got no 3th gear at all.
By reading PID's the following happens.....
Commanded gear; 1 SSA-on SSB-off SSC-off SSD-off
Commanded gear; 2 SSA-on SSB-off SSC-on SSD-off
Commanded gear; 3 SSA-on SSB-on SSC-on SSD-varying
Commanded gear; 4 SSA-off SSB-off SSC-off SSD-off
Commanded gear; 5 SSA-off SSB-off SSC-on SSD-off's the big question...; can the SSB not workin correctly cause the SSA and SSC not turning off and the SSD varying....?Cause normally in third gear only SSB should be 'on', the rest should be 'off'.
This only occurs while upshifting, when downshifting everythings normal.
In other words.....could this be solved by replacing only the SSB...?
Any help is appreciated.......
Grtz Mark

Help! Unidentified part hanging from above VB

what is this piece hanging down from above valve body? I don't see it listed on part schematics..

pic #1 - part hanging down at bottom right of picture

pic #2 - closer pic, still hanging in bottom right

pic #3 - looking up from below unidentified part

X2. Dipstick.

alright, so a second problem I've encountered so far.

I have finished reinstalling everything to spec and was pouring in new Mercon V ATF. I dropped roughly 6.5L so I have put in about 6L fresh when I hear a spilling noise. I look under and the iron pipe right next to the pan is gushing out ATF. assuming it's some type of designed overflow for when engine/trans overheats but I don't understand why it's overflowing.

here is a pic

Are you adding fluid with the engine running?

If not the engine has to be running to properly fill the tranny, it's most likely over filled and leaking out the vent.

Are you adding fluid with the engine running?

If not the engine has to be running to properly fill the tranny, it's most likely over filled and leaking out the vent.

yes, engine was running. I let it sit and pulled the dipstick 10 times to ensure I wasn't over, then took it for a spin.

still have the shift flares :(

I didn't have any gaskets blown but there was 1 small bit of metal, about 1/8" - 1/4" in size in the pan, though only the one, other than the pan gasket spacers.

I replaced the EPC, did the TSB fix, replaced plate, filter, and solenoid bracket. I might try to order new shift solenoids and see if that helps.

One thing I noticed, and I should have taken a picture, but does the low/reverse servo sit flush with the valve body? mine appeared to be at an angle, and the bore that the servo was in also had an indention that was angled.

Glacier991 is still alive

In response to "I wonder if Glacier991 would have expected this thread would still be alive 10 years later" - I can say:

I an delighted to see that it not only alive but has generated nearly a half a million hits. I know it helped a lot of folks, and many others have posted similar useful information in it after I started it so the credit is not all mine.

I suspect many trans shops wished this didn't exist.

Thanks for the remembrance <g> I am still alive. (and well).

Glacier991 (Chris)


Kudos to you Glacier991. And many thanks. Hope you are living happily ever after.

Kudos to you Glacier991. And many thanks. Hope you are living happily ever after.

I second that! This thread has helped me on numerous occasions and saved me more time and money than I can count. The fact that it has been this popular shows that this thread is one of the most(if not the most) relevant threads on the forum. Many thanks to Glacier991! If I am ever given the opportunity to meet him I would like to shake his hand and buy him a few beers(or beverages of his choice) to thank him in person.

alright, so a few days after my Ford TSB kit and I'm still having some issues that are a bit different than any others I've found out there..

Starting an engine cold, I can put it directly in drive and drive like a champ from point A to point B, as long as there are no stops/parking/reverse/neutral etc on the way. If I was to reverse at the beginning of a trip and then put into drive, or stop to get gas and take from park to drive, I will have a heavy shift flare from 1-2 and 2-3, essentially making it impossible to drive. I am however, able to put it manually in 2nd gear, and then up shift to drive once going and it will drive normally from that point on, with no shift flares at 1-2 and 2-3 from a full stop. If I am to take it out of drive again (reverse/park etc) then it happens again and I have to reset (put in 2nd then up to drive once moving) once again.

I completed the Ford TSB kit and did not find any blown gaskets, however the fluid was a deep reddish-brown, and there was one small piece of metal shard that was about 1/8"-1/4" in size. I replaced the EPC as well at this time. I am beginning to think I have a mechanical issue rather than a pressure differential problem like so many others.

A few areas I was hoping to get some feedback on..

1. Is the Low/reverse servo bore supposed to have tilted bores at bottom? I did not replace servo/or rings but it did fall out when VB was taken off. When I was putting it all together, I noticed the piston does not sit perpendicular to the ground but at a slight angle. I'm trying to verify I don't have irregular wear etc. Here is a basic sketch of a side elevation showing the bore and how it looked to me.

2. Could the regular shift solenoids (SSA, SSB etc) be causing the shift flares in low gears while in drive? I took all solenoids off and cleaned and reinstalled but did not replace any except EPC.

3. Why does putting the trans in manual 2nd and then upshifting to Drive cause it to work as normal? Is there something that engages mechanically from that shift that is not happening when in drive, causing the shift flares?

Thanks for all the help you all have already provided. Hopefully with these questions and possible answers we can provide some more information for others out there who never thought they could do something like this and are now diving in and figuring it out. Cheers.

I can't help with the reverse servo bore, it's been a while since I did mine and I don't remember. The other problem I might have some insight on however. That small piece of metal may be either a piece of the anchor strut or the apply strut from your bands. I had a very similar issue with my original tranny and when I dropped the pan I found the same thing as you. The small spot welds that hold the metal piece on the band that catches the apply strut had given out and it broke the strut. I had the same symptoms as you are having. If it is just the strut itself that broke you may be in luck, if it is the band that broke you're in for a rebuild.

The servo does sit at a angle when in the case, so what you are noticing is normal.

It would be unlikely to have the shift solenoids be the cause of the flares, I just dont see that with any that I have worked on, but I am sure it could happen.

I can't really explain why shifting into 2nd causes things to work, but selecting manual 2nd does apply the coast clutch and the intermediate band too, which just drive is only the forward clutch.

I think something has failed inside the transmission.

New member and need a little guidance. I have a 1997 Mazda B4000 that I purchased new, and it now has somewhere north of 250K miles on it (no idea, exactly, since it has had oversized tires most of the time I've owned it). 5R55E transmission (code D on the door) and it has always shifted a little 'sluggish' especially as compared to the 1996 Explorer I had with the 4speed auto. But it worked. I put a drain plug in the pan years ago and was pretty religious about changing out the fluid and filter, as you can imagine with that many miles. I did change out some solenoids years ago, after the computer threw some codes, but don't remember which ones. Probably ten years or more ago.

Recently, noticed an occasional 'stumble' while driving. Then, this morning, while taking off from a stop light, it refused to shift unless pulling it down into 2nd or 1st with the shifter. Limped on back home and found this thread on the 5R55E, great stuff. Driving around the neighborhood tonight, it sometimes shifted OK, sometimes very hard, and a couple of times the engine just revved like it was out of gear. Needless to say I didn't stray far from the house. My neighbor has a code reader, but I think the pan needs to come off, anyway....

So.... after reading the first ten pages of this thread, I have a pretty good idea of where to start. Drop the pan, test the solenoids (I'm thinking just replace them all), see if there are pieces of gaskets in the pan or chunks of anything else. Not planning on dropping the valve body unless the evidence suggests that is necessary (like pieces of gaskets blown out of it)... or the members think it should be done, anyway, based on the mileage. And if the VB needs to come off, what parts to buy to put it back, and where to get them.

Where I'm a little lost after reading about all the TSBs and whatnot is .... where to start. Where to get parts (some of the suppliers mentioned much earlier don't seem to be around, if they are, please point them to me). What TSBs might apply to a 1997. Like I said, it always shifted a little 'slow'. As far as I know, 1997 is the first year of the 5speed auto. Any big gotchas as far as things that 'must' be done when the pan is off, or the VB is off? I really don't care about changing the vehicle performance, just want it to go down the road in a reasonable fashion. Not a daily driver, so I can take my time. I'd rather not pull the pan off a dozen times, but I don't want to take the thing apart to the last nut and bolt if I don't have to. The truck is just a second vehicle that I use once in a while.

- Let me distill the questions a bit more - can I get all the solenoids as a kit? If so, where? (reputable vendor)
- Oh and 'servos' - replace those? No idea what the normal service life is on those. Not even sure what they are. Just saw it mentioned in one of the posts, something about testing with air pressure (I have a compressor).
- Critical parts for the VB? What/where to get? Any TSBs specific to 1997s?

BTW I rebuilt a 3speed RAT from a 68 Ford, but manuals are pretty simple. I can use an ohmmeter and have a fair amount of tools.

Favorite vendors, parts kits, and any other guidance welcome. Thanks a bunch.

This is part of a specific TSB that covers you vehicle. Also believe you will be wasting money on solenoids as they go bad very seldom.

1997 Mazda Truck B4000 Regular Cab 4WD V6-4.0L OHV

Vehicle » Transmission and Drivetrain » Automatic Transmission/Transaxle » Technical Service Bulletins » Customer Interest » A/T - No 2nd/3rd Gear/No Engine Braking in 1st Gear



Note :This bulletin supersedes the following TSB(s): 05-009/02. Please update your records accordingly.

BULLETIN NOTE This bulletin supersedes 05-009/02 issued 8/13/2002. The DESCRIPTION, REPAIR PROCEDURE, PART(S) INFORMATION and WARRANTY INFORMATION sections have been revised.


1995-2002 Truck / B-Series with automatic transmission built prior to 12/1/2001.


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 Gear

Line pressure that is out of specification may be the cause. Customers having this concern should have their vehicle repaired using the following repair procedure.

NOTE :This article does not apply to any other conditions or components that may cause similar symptoms and is only written to cover these specific conditions.


CAUTION : A new separator plate must be used when installing Valve Body Service Kit or additional transmission damage may occur. Refer to the PART(S) INFORMATION table in this article for correct separator plate part listing.

NOTE :An in-line service filter is not required to be added or replaced for this TSB.

1. Verify customer concern.

2. Verily that one or more of the following conditions exist:


^ Low Line Pressure While In Drive At WOT. See the LINE PRESSURE SPECIFICATIONS table.

^ No 2nd And/Or No 3rd Gear

^ No Engine Braking In Manual 1st Gear


3. Install Valve Body Service Kit (1F20-21-121B) to update the control valve body assembly. NOTE: Detailed installation procedure instructions are also included in the kit.

a. Remove the control valve body by following removal steps listed in appropriate Workshop Manual in 05-13 - CONTROL VALVE BODY REMOVAL / INSTALLATION procedures.

b. To update the control valve body assembly to the new level, install the Valve Body Service Kit 1F20-21-121B. A new separator plate, fluid pan gasket, and a pan filter must be ordered and used when installing this kit.

NOTE :All components in Valve Body Service Kit (1F20-21-121B) must be used.

c. Rotate the main control valve body so that the main control separating plate is facing up.

CAUTION :Valves may fall out when rotating the main control valve body. Damage may occur.

d. Remove the valve body separator plate screws.

e. Remove valve body separator plate.


CAUTION :The extension housing lube orifice and relief valves may stick to the separator plate and may be damaged.

NOTE :The old valve body main control separator plate has a bonded gasket.


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!

Thanks Brad, I found the TSB with images. What about the EPC? and TCC? solenoids? Lots of advice to replace them at (say) 50,000+ miles or whatever; at least the EPC. My truck is far beyond that....

Band adjustment? Needless to say, had no idea this could be done.... last 'bands' I had experience with was on a Model T Ford (seriously!).