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99 Explorer Sport Automatic..NO REVERSE


New Member
February 20, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
Totowa, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
'06 EB
Starting today, my truck wont go into reverse anymore. I switch it to revers, it feels like its in neutral. Took it to a ford dealer, they tell me they ran some tests and i need a NEW transmission, $3800 estimated. Can this be true?? I drove the truck there, no problems driving forward, shifting gears, etc, just cant get it to go in reverse. We had alot of flooding here, it wasnt driven thorugh any high water but there was alot of rain here
Couple of things to note
4X4m 80K miles, V6 4.0L, checked trans fluid level it was OK, All the lower gears work

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You have manual 1st and 4th gear?

The list of possibles here is not real long. IF you have Manual 1st gear.... then your reverse band and servo are ok since they are also used for manual 1 AND reverse. If you have 4th gear, your direct (the old language was reverse) clutch is ok, since it is used for 4th gear AND reverse.

So eliminating those, and you said the fluid level is ok.... here is the list

1. Low line pressure (probably valve body related, like a blown gasket)

2. Fluid filter plugged, seal cut or missing (possible, not high on my list of suspects - how does your fluid look?)

3. Main control (Valve body) screws out of torque spec... gasket damaged - blown out (my guess as to the main possible culprit)

4. Pump assembly - Screws out of torque, pump damaged (low order of possibility in your case)

NEW tranny is a bunch of BS most likely. They do not undertand how to diagnose and can scare you into doing something stupid.

How handy are you? I'm betting you have a blown VB gasket. An easy DIY repair. You WILL need an inch lb torque wrench... easy enough to come by.

I'd really recommend the 5R55E VB REbuild Diary and the Stairway for a good fix to add life to your trans.

[OH DUH! The above is advice for a 5R55E, if you are a 2006, that does nto apply....]

OH wait you are a 2006! Are you running a 5R55W ?

thanks im pretty confident in repairing most things but transmissions always come of as being way too complicated, but after reading alot of threads about the VB gasket, etc, it doesnt seem all that hard and its worth a try at this point. really appreciate your quick response. btw, i have an 06 and a 99, the 06 is fine and better stay that way for a while lol
Also, would there be any codes thrown? i have a reader but have not taken a look at it yet

[OH DUH! The above is advice for a 5R55E, if you are a 2006, that does nto apply....]

OH wait you are a 2006! Are you running a 5R55W ?

this actually for my X. 99 sport. hes my brother. thanks for the info by the way!

Ok what I said is all about your 99. The main diff in the 2006 is that the solenoids are one untiary "block" and get replaced that way.

Get a cold beer and read the stairway to the Diary and the 5R55E VB rebuild Diary. There are about 5 fixes in there and some have done some of them (but not all) and it worked some have dome some (but not all) and it didn't work... most who did all had it work.

I think you will find a blown gasket.... and if not, think about the VB rebuild and replacing the EPC solenoid at the same time. While you are there is a good time to replace the low reverse servo O-rings with D rings too. YouCAN do this. Stop the "trannies are too complicated" madness. I am sure folks who did it will chime in and tell you it ain't black magic.

Id like to try the VB TSB and replace the bracket while im in there
so i basically need
Ford VB Kit:3L5Z7M203JA
Ford Solenoid Braket Update:XL2Z7L491AA
Seperator plate 1L5Z-7Z490-GA (should come with bonded gasket)
the a trans fluid filter and pan gasket
also an in/lb torque wrench

sound right?

I've not double checkedyour choice of Sep plate, which is easy enough for you to do... but yeah, sounds right. I'd seriously consider replacing the EPC, or waiting and be a participant in the study group for the new design one..

well i just got i back from dealer and confirmed that i do have manual 1st gear, and it shifts through all gears on the highway including overdrive. so it looks like we are gonna do the TSB kit. 1 question about the sep plate. the parts listed are

98/00 4.0L - EI Explorer Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-GA 98GT-CB/DB; XL2P- EA/FA
98/00 4.0L - SOHC Plate - Valve Body Separator 1 1L5Z-7Z490-HA 98GT-AA/BA; XL2P- CA/DA

i have a 99 sport with the 4.0L SOHC, does that mean i need the second one? Where can i check to make sure i get the right one?

thanks again for all your help. you probably saved me at least 2 grand!

Get the HA plate

actually went ahead and got a remanufactured VB. Im confused as to exactly which gaskets i need when reassembling. Is there a gasket that goes between the VB and the transmission that I need? do i need a new gasket for the low/reverse servo piston cover? obviously I need a pan gasket as well. The manual also mentions guide pins when installing the VB, do i need these?

There are two VB gaskets... one between the VB and sep plate, and anopther between that assembled unit (VB and Sep Plate) and the main case. Often the reverse servo gasket is reuseable. They are not expensive however.

You can repalce the VB without pins... they help insure alignment of the gaskets and that they do not move. A little vaseline and some care and you will be fine without the pins.

we are stuck trying to get pan out. it wont come down. it seems that the exhaust and front drive shaft are blocking it from being lowered all the way.

I had to remove the front part of the front driveshaft and swing it out of the way to get mine out. Piece of cake after that.

Welcome to the posting side of the Forum Dave. I'm hoping you will find good fortune and can continue to assist others here, as you have already done in your FIRST post !

Not easily dismissed when a FIRST post is a helping post!!

heres something i found when it came all apart. the top picture is the low/reverse servo cover gasket. the bottom is the piston that was in the low/reverse severo. the top is chewed up a little. is this a problem?


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ok heres how it went

replaced entire valve body with a re manufactured one from central valve bodies
replaced low/reverse servo piston and o-rings
replaced filter
replaced pan gasket
put in 7 quarts of fluid

i have reverse now, it goes into gear! however, it seems that reverse doesnt have that much power now? could it be not enough fluid? i checked the stick it looked still a little low. i have to go get more fluid. could this be the problem?

Did you get the correct servo? There are a few different sizes. How does low feel since all of this was done? Did you torque the bolts in the proper sequence?

the servo piston i pulled out had 1 groove on the shaft, so that the one i put back in. i also made sure i torqued the bolts exactly the way the manual said.

there is some engine braking when i shift to manual 1, it takes a few seconds for it to kick in, thats why i thought it might be fluid level related. i feel it shift into reverse, and the truck moves, it just doesnt have much power.

i added some fluid so its within the crosshatches and i still have the same symptoms. very little engine braking, and very slow reverse. i dont know what the hell is going since i replaced the entire valve body and the low/reverse servo piston

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