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5r55w downshift issue


New Member
May 1, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Calgary, AB
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 Limited
As a long time reader, thanks for the excellent posts and the help you experienced and knowledgeable posters have given us Explorer owners over the years. I've learned so much about my beloved ride and saved so many $$$.

2003 Limited, 4.6, 5R55W, 200,000 KM's. I had the overdrive servo break on me and just replaced both of them with the o-ring fix, and it works and shifts fine...just like it always did. Fluid was not burnt at all, just "normal" for that mileage. Did a fluid and filter change (got about 5.5L out). Adjusted the bands to spec as well. I've got about 600 kms on it since the fix.

Today, after a hard brake for a stupid driver, the trans did not shift into 1st, rather seemed to be in neutral. Selecting 2nd gear, it moved fine and everything works. I started watching for this, and noticed that under "normal" braking (deceleration) the trans finds first normally. Under hard deceleration, it can't seem to find it. It seems to be in no gear at all.

Any ideas?? Valve body sticking perhaps? Bands not adjusted right? Hopefully one of you "smart" people can point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!

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I would double ck fluid level also as mentioned above.

I would double ck fluid level also as mentioned above.

Excellent thought! Hard braking, all the fluid in the pan (what there is of it) sloshes forward, exposing filter inlet to AIR instead of fluid, for the time during which deceleration is happening. Pump sucks in air instead of juice, trans. stops working for a short time, until the air gets purged back out of it's guts. imp

Update on the fix, (I was away on travel for the last 7 days)

As the guru's here thought, it was a fluid issue. Had to put nearly 3 liters into it and now it works great! The funny thing was that I had measured exactly the amount of fluid had drained out, and replaced it the same quantity, and the level check seemed to be good.

The transmission sat for 2 weeks while I was getting the fix prepared, so as much fluid as possible had truly drained out, but I don't know why I needed the extra. I did two separate level checks this time, and I'm sure the level is exact now. I rechecked the bands and after all was said and done, the trans now shifts better than it has for several years. Andy's o-ring servo fix has really smartened things up and I hope the get a few more years out of it. Thanks for all your help.