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How to: 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary

hjthaboss2020

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January 27, 2020
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City, State
Lampasas, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 explorer eddie bauer
so i just bought my 99 explorer a week ago i went to pull out of my driveway and felt a pop now it will not engage in any gear.... any one have any ideas on where i should start at. it does have 265000 miles from what the odometer says. but i do know that the motor has been rebuilt
 


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JohnH55

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2001 Explorer Sport
Most of the issues will be in the VB and other parts you can work on or change, but the mileage may have worn out the clutches by now. You could do everything possible and hope the clutches are still okay, but be ready to do a full rebuild if it doesn't shift great at that time.



I'm at 178k miles with my newest 98 truck, and the shifting is too soft. I need to make time to do the VB servicing and hope I caught it in time. The clutches can last 300k and more if the shifting never becomes too smooth/soft etc. Smooth shifts are slipping shifts.

I will probably still do the VB work, and upgrades then tighten the bands. The fluid doesn't smell like it was burnt, but just looks black and definitely old. I only plan on doing the work later down the road. Right now it only flares under slow acceleration, i.e. shifts 1-2 at 2400rpm, but if I let it go to 3000 it shifts fine. If need be I will do a full rebuild, but you can drive on a bad transmission for a long time.
 




waren

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October 4, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer EB
Most of the issues will be in the VB and other parts you can work on or change, but the mileage may have worn out the clutches by now. You could do everything possible and hope the clutches are still okay, but be ready to do a full rebuild if it doesn't shift great at that time.

I'm at 178k miles with my newest 98 truck, and the shifting is too soft. I need to make time to do the VB servicing and hope I caught it in time. The clutches can last 300k and more if the shifting never becomes too smooth/soft etc. Smooth shifts are slipping shifts.
I have a very new to me ‘99 5r55e with 100k miles that seems to function normally other than a very slight 1st gear engagement delay (1s) when cold. The records I have suggest the trans was last dealer serviced at 55k miles.

Fluid is visually in good condition with no burnt smell, but slightly overfilled.

I changed the fluid in my ‘00 4r70w every 50k miles and it ran strong for 16 years for me. Based on this I planned to change the fluid and filter on the 5r55e to correct the overfill condition and maintain the same regimen.

While I’m in there I was thinking about updating the trans with the TSB bonded plate and a sonnax zip kit, as it seems to me to be more reversible than the transgo kit which includes drilling in the event I make something worse.

I assume the sonnax and transgo are still the go to options, ie. a newer solution hasn’t surfaced in the last 15 years.

The objective would be to firm up shifts and try and maximize the friction life of the unit.

I wonder if a proactive EPC replacement would also be worth while or wait until the next 50k mile interval.
 




CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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City, State
Knoxville, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 Limited AWD
The EPC solenoid is a critical control device for the trans, I'd replace that at least every 100k miles. The 4R70W an expert suggested those should have the EPC replaced as often as 60k miles. He said the normal vibrations can cause some wear of the EPC outside surface where it goes into the trans case, and if that wears, the case can also and that's not repairable.

The early 5R55E had a different kind of EPC as the replacements available now. We here on the forum were part of a test program to final test a new EPC by Borg Warner for the 5R55E. That new one is a better solenoid, all original EPC's should be replaced no matter the mileage. The EPC was expensive back then, about $110 or more as I recall.

If the solenoids have never been replaced, they should all be after this age and a good 100k miles.
 




waren

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2000 Explorer EB
Ahh ... great information I better understand the BW EPC recommendation now.

Ok I will plan to purchase the same as Paul
1) EPC Solenoid BW 50155
2) Valve body separator plate with bonded gaskets 1L5Z-7Z490-HA
3) Solenoid bracket XL2Z-7L491-AA
4) Sonnax 4R44E-5R55E-ZIP kit
5) Low/reverse servo piston D-Ring kit seals 23256K
6) Reverse servo cover gasket 23128
7) Transmission Pan Gasket 23141D

I am little confused by the difference between the separator plates 7Z490-GA vs HA. On the TSB it lists Explorer vs SOHC? I assume -HA is correct.

Also I wonder if Paul had trouble because he didn’t do the ford TSB mods with the updated plate?

I know that the sonnax kit is supposed to contain all the upgrades but which plate Is it intended for the TSB update? If so shouldn’t it specify only for updated plate?

Its just odd that he swapped the valve body and it ran perfect, makes me think something wasn’t right there.
 




CDW6212R

Hauls the mail.
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I can't help with the bonded separator plate questions, I had installed the TransGo kit before I had heard of those. Many of the kits overlap in what they do. Sonnax and TransGo are the best companies to follow for improvement products.
 




Runnin'OnEmpty

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2000 Sport
I think the Ford letters after the part numbers simply refer to a later design or version,
so the HA updated the GA. But either version should work fine. The bonded plate's
purpose was to reduce blown gaskets, and apparently they worked since mine
has over 100K trouble free miles with the bonded plate installed.
 




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