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5R55W -2002 Ford Explorer - Servo Replacement Saga.

Usually_Jeep

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Hi I am Curtis Legroulx and they say persistence pays off. And in this case it truly did.

- I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. It has a 5R55W transmission. At 210,000.KM the transmission started slipping. In that the shifting was delayed. I'd rev higher between shifts. In particular shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Also I completely lost the overdrive. My overdrive light on my dash blinked, and I had a check engine light on. The longer I drove it the worse the transmission got.

Enter the internet:
I had started looking on the internet about a possible solution. Then the clouds parted and I found this website/forums board.
In Particular http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2350694 is an awesome resource. But below is my version.

My plan was to replace both Overdrive and Intermediate servo's with a new pair that was re-designed by a clever guy. Here is the product I bought: http://www.fordservoboretransmissionfixsolution.com/.
I highly recommend doing business with this guy.

I received the Servo's shipment, and I started in:

1. Lifted truck off the ground.
2. Remove oil from transmission. (3/16 Allen key or T30 required)
3. remove oil pan.
4. Removed transmission oil filter for replacement.
5. I chose to remove the solenoid plugin by removing the attaching screw.
5. I also chose to remove the valve body and solenoid block.
6. With the oil catcher under the Tranny, I used compressed air to blast out the transmission oil cooler. That helped remove some of grit. Here is a pic of the cooler line connections:
IMG_20130220_162649_zpsf9a09d16.jpg


7. Cleaned valve body with kerosene. Lost one of the rubber balls called checkballs in the process. I went to a local tranny( B&D) shop. They gave me two for free!
8. Replaced the separator plate.
9. Reinstalled valve body. I over torqued the crap out of it by mistake. I even broke a bolt. I re-torqued, drilled out the broken bolt and replaced it.

Servo Rplacement:

10. I tried for hours to remove theses things. The problem I had was removing the snap rings.
IMG_20130220_162824_zpsbc5e8602.jpg

I just couldn't get rings to pop out. [Edit] If you are bold and desperate you can use a Dremel with a cut off wheel and cut a gash into the upper outer lip of where the ring is recessed. Get it deep enough to get a pick under the ring and pull the ring out. Obviously do not cut too deep. Just enough to get access to the ring. It never leaked for me afterwards or anything. The servo's O rings are what seal the servo covers and they are far enough down the servo bore hole that leaks should not be an issue. Below you can see a picture of the servo's cover and the cut I made into the lip of the retaining clip lip.

IMG_20141106_220934_zps8365a5d2.jpg

[End Edit]:hammer: After trying to remove the muffler and failing at ever bolt to do so, I opted to take my angle grinder using a metal cutting disk, and cut out a section of it. That section was the Catalytic convertor section. Here you can see a recent picture of the catalytic convertor reinstalled with the muffler clamps. You can see the heat shield in this picture.
IMG_20141116_154506_zps6928f5f5.jpg


At the time I unbolted and removed the heat shields. Now having clear access to the snap ring area I cleaned the area some sand paper, compressed air and PB blaster. Using some needle nose pliers (ones I bought from Andy at the servo store), I compressed the snap ring. The ring finally popped out an hour later at the side furthest from the rings opening. I pried it out from there.
If you are having difficulty getting the rings out, I highly recommend using a pick set. When you have the ring compressed use a pick to help pry the rings out. Another thing is to use a wrecking bar or any good leaver like tool to press down on the servo covers. You will see them move in and out a tiny bit. I found doing this helped. Sanding around the snap ring groove might help as well. Obviously this job would be much easier if the transmission was removed.

11. With both snap rings removed, I removed the servo caps. They want to pop out for you just buy pushing them down. Push down and let them pop back up a few times. They are under pressure to pop out from the servo spring inside.
103_5438_zpsd28eb95f.jpg


103_5437_zps533ccd1f.jpg


12. I removed the intermediate servo with a pair of vise grips clamped on to the top servo seal and an Allan key wedged in the hole of the servo pin. I rotated the servo while pulling. It popped out. I could see wear on the pin. Thank you to the imagineers at Ford. :mad:
13. I removed Overdrive servo next. It really didn’t want to come out. I used the Allen key again, and a screwdriver sized nail pry. No joy. I eventually tried shoving a plastic wall anchor in to the center of the servo pin hole. I put the screw in good and tight and then used a wrecking bars nail hook to gently remove the servo.
Putting it back together: :salute:

14. I followed the instructions that came with my new servo’s and installed them. However, I was slow to realize that I had not put the springs onto the Servo’s! So I pulled out the servo’s again, and it was just as difficult as the first time. Removing the Servo’s again hurt the o rings. Fortuntely, Andy’s servo fix product comes with spare o rings. I replaced the o rings and put the stupid springs onto the servo pins this time.

15. I replaced the solenoid block. This was by choice. It really wasn’t bad. You test the solenoid block or pack by removing it and measuring the electrical resistance of each coil. If it is way out of spec then toss it. I also have seen some pretty sketchy looking rebuilds on the internet. Be careful where you buy these. Look for tried and true. I was surprised to get one at NAPA in Cornwall. I paid $280, if I remember right. It came bagged in tranny juices. It also came with a new screen.
16. I put everything back together, including the catalytic convertor.
17. Putting oil in a 5R55W is the most ridulous thing. You need some mode of transfer pump to get the oil in it. Here is what I recommend. Pour all the old tranny fluid into containers and measure how much there is. Pour that amount plus a bottle into the empty transmission oil pan. Gingerly reinstall the oil pan. It is actually very easy to do without spilling.
18. I took it for a spin and it worked well.
19. Later I checked the levels and remove about a half quart.
20. I couldn’t adjust the bands because the adjustment screws simply would not turn. I would pay dearly for this later!


I drove the truck for 5 months or so and then one day, driving on the highway my overdrive kept slipping in and out by itself. It did that for about 50 repetitions then stopped working completely. The shifting turned to garbage again.
ONE MORE TIME!
So I started over. Which in the end was completely unnecessary, but I decided I wanted to check to the OD servo. Andy from http://www.fordservoboretransmissionfixsolution.com/ sent me free set of o rings and I was ready to go. I am not implying there is anything wrong with his product. But I just needed to see the rubber seals on the servo pins for myself. I pulled out the intermediate servo. It was in perfect shape except for where I nicked the orings on it from the servo removal. This is a common result of pulling a modded servo out. Unfortunately however, I broke the servo pin on the OD servo, leaving half of the pin still inside of the borehole.:eek:

Here is a pic of the broken pin inside the bore hole:
20130223143148_zpse6688b87.jpg


Here is a pic of the broken servo:
10323238_0_zps4b5a77ce.jpg



So I had to get the pin out. After much thought and despair I cam up with the following solution.
1. Bought some Cold Weld epoxy.
2. Flushed the bore hole out with break cleaner, contact cleaner, or something similar to clean the hole. This is very important. Flush out all the lube in the exposed bore hole.
3. After everything is good and dry, get a q-tip with grease on it and carefully rub the walls of the bore hole so that you grease the hole but NOT the exposed part of the broken pin.
4. Mixed up some of the cold weld epoxy and place a bead of it on a piece of post it note. I rolled up the post it note so that it would go in the bore hole like a sleeve.
5. Then I shoved a drill bit into the Cold Weld. I put some paper towel in the whole to keep the drill bit parallel and centered with the bore hole.
6. I let it fully cure plus some extra time.
7. I pulled the drill bit out, bring with it the broken servo pin! If you choose to try this method remember to pull the drill bit out as evenly parallel as you can. You don't want any of the pulling strength wasted on an angular pull as this might break the bond of the Cold Weld epoxy.
8. Drank like 10 beers right after.

The beer is optional but recommended.
Here is what the drill bit and broken pin looked like after the process was completed:
IMG_20141017_172514_zpse7403d44.jpg


IMG_20141017_172450_zps96dd2fcc.jpg


:salute:

I could have avoided a lot of work just by not inspecting the servo's. I only needed to adjust the two screws for the OD and intermediate bands on the opposite side of the tranny. Hind sight is 20/20. I torqued both to spec. The Over Drive adjustment screw traveled pretty deep before I reached the proper torque. I worry that the OD band is worn or even perhaps damaged. Having said that it's been about a year later now and the truck shifts pretty good. MUCH MUCH better than it did before the repair.

On the advice of my peers that use this website, I have decided to install a Derale remote transmission filter with temp gauge. This filters out the finer debris in the transmission oil. The internal filter that comes with the 5R55W catches the larger particles. Anyway, installing this is supposed to improve the shifting even more. I am a big fan of knowing the temperature of the transmission and also having a cleaner tranny. I have it mounted. But the lines are not connected yet.

Update: The remote Derale filter is installed now. I was nervous to cut the cooler line. I originally was going to use all the compression fittings to do the work. Then I realized that with all the bouncing around the truck does, it would be better to not and use the hose fittings to just run the hose over the steel piping. I did put a small flare on each end of the steel tube to help seal the connections. Compression fittings are nice, but I question how well they would keep their seal in that kind of jittery environment. The truck does seem to shift nicer already after 400Km. I ended up adding 2.5 liters of transmission fluid. I was thinking I was running a bit low since if I noticed that my transmission would disengages after a hard stop, or stopping on a sharp incline. I'd have to give the engine a good rev or two to get it to re-engage. Adding the extra fluid resolved this annoyance. Some of you might say, "You could have just checked the fluid level". The thing is I always jack the front of the truck up when working on it so it is never level. When the truck is not level you can not trust the ford fill tube as an indicator of the for the level of transmission fluid. I'd like to have a little talk with the engineer who came up with that brilliant fill tube idea.

By the way. The bottom cooler line is the hot one. So it is the input to the filter. Also, you can push transmission fluid into the truck through the top line. So when I cut the line I connect my air gun to the remaining line that fed to the cooler. This flushed out the fluid and maybe some grime. Then I connected a small hand pump to this line and pumped in 2.5 liters of tranny fluid. I then cleared the line again, so it wouldn't leak on me while I worked. A stopper would work too. I actually used one on the tube going to the transmission side.

I'll have to do a different blog in the proper area one day and show you the pics of the install. It is WONDERFUL to have a temperature gauge for the transmission. I feel much more confident about the state of the transmission with it installed.

Cheers,

Curtis Legroulx
 


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bigbillyboy

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how did you get the remaining piece of the servo out? I went to replace my intermediate servo, and it was already broken. Only it's waaay deep in there. I have tried magnets and that thing won't budge. This is the orginial and not the one with the o-rings. Any suggestions on how to get that last piece out without complete transmission removal and dismantle?
 




BrooklynBay

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bigbillyboy

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You could push the broken pin out if you remove the bottom pan, then apply pressure from the inside of the transmission against the broken pin.

Really? I'm assuming I'd have to remove the valve body to access? That would be great if that worked. Anyone done this? I'm assuming its just a very tight fit and that's why it won't budge.
 




BrooklynBay

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bigbillyboy

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Thanks, Brooklynbay. That was a good read. I see where you can access the top of the band from the adjustment side, just hoping its as accessible from the servo side. I'll let to know.
 




bigbillyboy

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I tore into it today and, unfortunately the backside of the servo is not accessible even with the valve body removed. You can easily reach the band adjustment on the drivers side, but not the servo on the pass side . looks like I'll be pulling the trans. Anyone know how difficult it will be to dismantle the tranny down far enough to reach in there?
 




BrooklynBay

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An entire rebuild is a lot of work just for reaching the servos. You have to remove all of the internal hard parts. I guess if you can't remove them any other way then it has to be done. Did you try using compressed air in the valve body to push the pin out.
 




bigbillyboy

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An entire rebuild is a lot of work just for reaching the servos. You have to remove all of the internal hard parts. I guess if you can't remove them any other way then it has to be done. Did you try using compressed air in the valve body to push the pin out.

Yep. Sadly it snapped off just inboard of the port. I'm open to any other suggestions, as there s only about an inch left in there. Spent 3 hrs today trying figure something out, but to no avail.

Brooklyn, do you still have the pdf you sent to some others? I'll pm you my email, if you do.
 




BrooklynBay

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Which PDF do you need? I don't know if you want to try this, but if you remove the transmission, then you could drill into the pin, then use a slap hammer to remove the pin. A body work style stud gun will minimize the amount of work plus you won't have metal debris. This tool welds a stud onto the broken stud.
 




bigbillyboy

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I think it spins too freely too drill. My first thought was to drill into it, but I like the idea of removing it and trying. I wonder about using some sort of epoxy on a rod. I'm just worried about boogering up the bore.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the input!
 




FirefighterJose

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So I'm about to pic up a 2002 xlt 4.6 with 97,000 miles. Test driving it there was a slight delay changing into 3rd gear.

I will have some extra money to put towards fluids and filters and had planned on changing the tranny fluid.

Would is be worth the money and a good idea to go ahead and replace these two servo's or should I wait until it becomes a problem.

If it will extend the life of the transmission and possibly prevent it from failing
then it'd be worth every penny.
 




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Usually_Jeep

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How I got the Pin out of the servo bore hole

Hey Guys,

Sorry I missed that comment. To get the servo pin I did the following:

1. Bought some Cold Weld epoxy.
2. Flushed the bore hole out with break cleaner, contact cleaner, or something similar to clean the hole. This is very important. Flush out all the lube in the exposed bore hole.
3. After everything is good and dry, get a q-tip with grease on it and carefully rub the walls of the bore hole so that you grease the hole but NOT the exposed part of the broken pin.
4. Mixed up some of the cold weld epoxy and place a bead of it on a piece of post it note. I rolled up the post it note so that it would go in the bore hole like a sleeve.
5. Then I shoved a drill bit into the Cold Weld. I put some paper towel in the whole to keep the drill bit parallel and centered with the bore hole.
6. I let it fully cure plus some extra time.
7. Pulled the drill bit out, bring with it the broken servo pin.
8. Drank like 10 beers right after.

The beer is optional but recommended.

I'll send you a link to a picture of it tomorrow.

Curtis

Here is a pic of what the broken pin looks like after being pulled out by the drill bit with the Cold Weld Epoxy.

IMG_20141017_172432_zps065e5e3f.jpg


IMG_20141017_172450_zps96dd2fcc.jpg
 




bigbillyboy

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Usually,
Thank you. I see now you posted the solution. I missed that the first time i read this post. I'm assuming you just used the two part JB weld? I tried something similar with jb weld, rolled paper and a nail. It was a failure, but in looking at yours, I didn't use anywhere near enough epoxy. Have the second attempt curing right now. Greases up the sleve, put in an ample dose of epoxy and used an old drill bit. I'll let you know how it works out
 








bigbillyboy

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Still no luck with the pin. I do have a chance to get a working tranny from a 2004 explorer same engine as mine. I think this is the 5r55s? Is it plug and play to put this tranny in?
 




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bigbillyboy

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What did you try so far?

I have removed the valve body to see if I could push it out from the bottom. No access from that side.

I have used the strongest magnet I could find that would fit. No luck.

I have tried the epoxy thing twice. No dice.

Tried drilling it, just spins.

I know its somewhat loose, since I can turn it with a screwdriver. Kinda looks like I'm going o have to pull the tranny no mater what. I can get the 5r55s with 50k miles out of a wrecked 2004 for dirt cheap. That way, at least I'd be back up running.

I thought about the weld thing, but its too deep for any of the guns I've seen.

Any other suggestions? Or else its coming out.
 


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