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How to: 5R55E Valve Body Rebuild Diary

Prefix for threads which are instructional.
There are lots of workarounds possible. Thanks for sharing yours... it will be helpful. Sam has the FORD tool winging its way to him as part of the Forum Ford Transmission tool loaner program. I have a teenage daughter who rolls her eyes whenever I say "Can you give me a hand with something?" <g>
 



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Nice to have friends in high places

Thanks for the double-check on those part numbers, Frank. And big thanks to glacier, for loaning an expensive tool to a relative stranger. You guys are lucky, having daughters who will turn a wrench for you. (I imagine daughters don't qualify as cheap labor, though!) I'm only 27 and a bachelor, so I don't have those problems yet. However I do have plenty of buddies who will work for free if you keep them plied with cheap beer. You just have to ration or you might end up with a few backwards installed parts. We installed half of the rods backwards and notched six water jackets on my buddy's' Chevy 383. Ouch. We got it put together right, though, now it's sporting tunnel rams and makes about 450 hp on motor. With some good aftermarket heads it should make 550. Anyway, hopefully I won't need any help for this, with the Ford tool. I'm ordering from Ford Parts Network today, already ordered the Sonnax boost valve and Superior kit. I hope this fixes it, I am really sick of dreading stop lights. I'm still trying to find a good tranny shop, in case it doesn't fix it.

Sam
 






Pressure Riser

Just got off the phone with Superior about the pressure riser.

This increases the line pressure 5psi and helps stabilize the EPC. If you installed the correction package without the pressure riser and your trans is working properly then it can be left out.

I mentioned the diary Glacier and I will be talking to the VP of Superior next week to get info on each item of the kit and what each part changes.

I just might install the pressure riser in a few months. That way I have knowledge of how the tranny acted before and after.

Matt
 






Matt, thanks for your time to add to the "knowledge base" here.

I too left out the pressure riser with no ill effects. Since the Superior kit installation (w/plate and valve), the trans now has 12K miles on it and still shifts great.

ROE
 






I am looking forward to hearing what Matt and Glacier find out from Superior. I will also post an update on my installation. It has been over two months ago since I installed all of this, with one wheeling trip, a hwy trip (with 1000lbs of engine and tranny in the bed) and a lot of city driving. Everything has worked very well, I just wish I would have done all of this about 2-3 years sooner!!
 






Practical question

Hey guys. While I am waiting for my parts to come in, I have a question for all of you. I am not allowing my planning for rebuilding my valve body and replacement of the servos to make me overly optimistic that it will be a panacea for my transmission. While I would love for that to happen, this transmission has almost 140,000 miles on it. It will need a full rebuild eventually. I am only doing this work to: 1. possibly postpone the full rebuild as long as possible, 2. I normally do as much of my vehicle work as I can to save money, learn things, and be assured it is being done correctly. That being said, a full rebuild involves replacement of clutches, steels, friction bands, forward one-way clutch, pump, etc. (Name anything else anyone feels is mandatory on a quality rebuild.) How much can I expect a partial rebuild to cost, assuming I have already installed the TSB, superior kit, new servos and gaskets, and new EPC? I have friends who think that no transmission shop would be willing to take on a partial rebuild at a reduced price with their normal warranty, due to the fact that they did not do the valve body work. It seems to me that a fair and honest shop would simply check the valve body to verify that it was done correctly, rebuild the rest, and charge for the time and the actual parts. However, I am not naive and generally detest the automotive repair industry, and my gut tells me that most shops will either insist a flat price for a rebuild, or not take on the job. What do you guys think?

Sam
 






samrebel said:
I am not allowing my planning for rebuilding my valve body and replacement of the servos to make me overly optimistic that it will be a panacea for my transmission.
Sam

pan·a·ce·a

A remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties; a cure-all.


We're learning more than just transmission stuff here guys.....thanks Sam. :p

Even on a remanufactured tranny, putting in your own VB voids all warranties. In my experience, shop will only do a full rebuild and will only warranty a full rebuild. These are usually 12/12 warranties, but you can purchase additional time and mileage in 12/12 increments.

Probably the only partial rebuild you'd get is a VB/tranny split. Nothing partial in the tranny itself, that would be an entire rebuild. This basically includes replacement of warn parts only and no upgrades. That's what I was told anyway.

Before I did my VB rebuild I went to Mr. Transmission(franchise) for the fun of it. I went on a ride along with the so call master tranny tech, he drove. When it flared in thrid he immediately said that the bands were burned up and it needed a rebuild. Just what I have learned from Glacier made me chuckle when he said this. Needless to sy when I got back to the shop I asked more questions. Basically this place was a complete repair shop and not a 'specialist' so to speak even though the name leans in that direction. their rebuild price was $2500 with a 12/12 warranty. When I spoke of the VB he would chaneg the subject and or say that VB is usually not the problem area. This is why I lose trust in so many shops because I research it first and then go see if they know what the deal is. Am I wrong for doing that?

Anyway, good luck Sam

Matt
 






As for daughters as helpers, mine is motivated since the Explorer is what she wanted for her first car. We found it on Ebay for $1200.00 with a blown engine. With used engine and transmission parts we still have less than 2k in the entire truck and my daughter can talk motors and transmission parts to her friends at school! That should impress the guys or intimidate them, I am not sure which! She can change her own oil and tires as well!

Frank
 






All parts in now

Hey guys. I've gotten all of my parts now, and my inch-pound torque wrench (hope +/- 4% accuracy is good enough) and I have a another question. My TSB kit did not contain the spring shown by Glacier in Post #20. I have the dimpled valve, and the retainer, but no spring. The kit doesn't refer to the spring in the parts listing, or say anything about replacing a spring with a new one in the instructions, either. Is this an updated kit in which they determined that replacing the spring was not necessary, or is it an obsolete kit before they determined the spring should be replaced? The release date on my instructions sheet says 4/3/03. Has anyone gotten the kit without the spring?

Sam
 






Job supplies

I am thinking about trying do the job over this long weekend. In addition to transmission fluid, vaseline, standard mechanics tools, etc., what other tools come in handy for this. Do I need some spray gasket stick (my gaskets are not bonded)? What would you suggest for my leaking drain valve?

Sam
 






Sam-
If I recall correctly, that spring was the stock spring and was not addressed by the Ford TSB kit. That spring is changed out by the Superior kit, unless you opt for the heavy duty option, which resuses the stock Ford spring. Glacier, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the spring that you show in post #20 the stock Ford spring?
 






Yes, it is. I need to change that picture. The picture in either post 44 or 45 (forgot which) shows what the FORD mod consists of, which is the popoff valve, retainer and instructions only.
 






Sam,

My TSB kit did not have the spring either and like you I was a bit confused, but the parts list does not list the spring so I wasn't worried. It's actually the deleted EPC limit vavle spring in that picture.

Glacier, I don't believe your post with that photo has a reference to the spring, just a generalized "this is what you get".

Details on the heavy duty option...

Superior's kit does have the heavy duty option, but you cannot use this option because the stock spring is installed between the piston and against the TSB valve screen. Because the spring rests against the screen, quite tightly I might add, it can't be used without damaging the screen. I haven't called Superior yet, but my guess is they did not incorporate the TSB when designing their kit.

You'll need about 7 qts Mercon V to fill it back up.

Did you get a filter? If not, get one.

One thing I would like to add and I think Ford should change is the diagram error. If you look on your TSB diagram of where the valve goes is shows BORE 207 above the actual bore you will be working on. Then the written instructions say to remove the plug from bore 207, but the exploded view shows it going next to bore 207. Glaciers photos helped to resolve this issue. Just didn't want you to get confused. Maybe Glacier can elaborate on this?

Make a piece of cardboard shaped like the gasket and holes, use the holes for each bolt when you take them out. They are different lengths. Trust me, the prep time is worth it.

Good Luck,
Matt
 






Well, the FORD diagram IS a little confusing, until you actually look at the VB. The diagram has an arrow next to the words "Bore 207" that appear to point at the end most bore.... the exploded diagram shows it going into the next bore inboard. If we look at the VB, the end bore is the manual valve.... the "shifter" if you will. THAT is one piece and is not coming out. So the written words and arrow are misleading. It goes into bore #2, and this makes sense because that bore is an EPC Boost valve bore. So, question answered.
 






Matt... the spring from Superior for Bore 207 goes inboard of the spool, so NO Spring rests against the screen on the FORD MOD. I did both in that bore. Check out the pic in post 47.
 






Glacier991 said:
Matt... the spring from Superior for Bore 207 goes inboard of the spool, so NO Spring rests against the screen on the FORD MOD. I did both in that bore. Check out the pic in post 47.

Yes, but for the heavy duty mod the stock spring is placed outboard of the spool, between the spool and the TSB valve screen. This according to Superior's diagram and text.

I believe it shows an arrow and text "heavy duty" with the arrow pointing to the outboard side of the spool.
 






First off let me say that I'm blown away by this forum and in particular this thread. My hat is off to everyone. Here is my situation, I have an 01 Sport Trac that only has 46K easy miles on it. Other than occassional odd or delayed shifts, all seemed fine. Out of the blue last week the trani slipped on my twice, no flashing OD or CEL, fluid is fine. It's been perfect since. I would like to do the Ford updates as described as a preemtive strike on future problems. I have a few questions I would appreciate any help on.

1) I'm not too comfortable mixing and matching fixes, that is why I plan on doing the Ford only mods (kit, bonded plate and probably the bracket). Am I missing out on anything else that will help preserve the transmission? I'm not looking to improve anything, just extend life.

2) All the kits (Ford, Transgo, and Superior) seem like they address overpressure with the EPC. Another forum that I frequent has suggested that adjusting the pressure regulator on the EPC itself (1/4 to 1/2 turn clockwise) can help with flare and shift problems, thereby increasing pressure. Won't this compound the problem?

3) While doing this project I may or may not get new solenoids, low miles after all and she really is running good. Someone mentioned you can get all six for a pretty good price, does anyone know where and how much?

4) Can I buy the double lipped reverse soleniod seal by itself and if so, where?

5) Lastly, I plan on installing a drain plug and remote filter, is there anyway that the filter can do any harm like restrict flow or something like that?

I've been on alot of forums but this one is stellar. Thanks in advance for any help.

Tim
 






I have an answer to question # 4. WWW.TransmissionPartsUSA.Com has 2 kits available for the low/reverse servo piston. The first one is the double wiper style that you just mentioned for $1.52, and the second one is a viton seal kit that is made by Transtec for $2.70.
 






2) All the kits (Ford, Transgo, and Superior) seem like they address overpressure with the EPC. Another forum that I frequent has suggested that adjusting the pressure regulator on the EPC itself (1/4 to 1/2 turn clockwise) can help with flare and shift problems, thereby increasing pressure. Won't this compound the problem?
Tim, I believe it's an UNDERpressure problem with the EPC, if indeed it's a problem at all.....? At least the Superior kit "Pressure Riser" part indicates that.

As to an EPC adjustment, I'm fairly certain there's no way to adjust the EPC solenoid. I eyeballed it pretty good when I replaced it, and there was no apparent way to adjust....?

Since you're doing only the Ford parts, I would also include a new EPC, since one poster here seemed to cure the 2-3 flare with a new EPC. These problems show up after 40-80K miles, so they could be caused from wear, possibly in the EPC.

ROE
 



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Thanks guys, I'm definately confused though. As far as the EPC goes on our Sport Trac 5R55E's (Still an Explorer) there is a torque screw right in between the connectors for the harness. When Glacier referred to the Ford kit he showed the "pressure relief valve for the EPC" and the Transgo kit had an almost identical valve. The Superior kit he states: "pressure riser" (which apparently reduces the electrical voltage to the EPC and is how they reduce over pressure".

I take it the Sonnax boost valve increases pressure for other functions, here is what they say on the transmissionpartsusa website "Reduces delayed reverse engagement and improves line pressure rise." Very confusing, some parts limit pressure, some blow off excess pressure and this one raises it.

I also did a search on transmissionpartsusa for the reverse seal and can't find anything. I searched 5R55E, Viton and Transtec.

The more I look into this project the more I think I'm getting in over my head. I mean I'm certain I can perform the work properly but what's really getting me nervous is it seems that not all 5R55E's are created equal and I don't want to toast my trani. What do you guys think?

Thanks again!!!
Tim
 






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