A4LD Transmission overhaul. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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A4LD Transmission overhaul.


December 31, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Littleton CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 XLT
To simplify the story... I am 19 and a student so I have a budget of less than 500$. My tranny is starting to slip on 1-2 and when rpms are high 2-3.
It also has the usual problem of not wanting to get out of 1st when first driven in the morning. it also has a delayed harsh initial shift that is thought to be caused by servo and piston gaskets. Has been recommended by ammco and others for a re-build.

The Car is a '92 Explorer 4x4 with the lovely A4LD tranny. 195k miles.

Goal= basic overhaul. clean, inspect, paint, and otherwise restore it. This is not a bullet proof rebuild so I will only be replacing parts that are damaged or worn. I will also not be doing any upgrades at this time, only rebuild to stock.

here I will post step by step pics as well as questions and whatnot.

any advise or feedback is appreciated. I will likely be asking a lot of questions.

And as always if this would be better in a different place, move it and let me know.

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First things first…
The car is up, 21” off the ground on Jack Stands.
I will not post pictures because it looks like every picture on this site and in every Haynes/Chiltons manual.

Every wire, cable, and tube going to the tranny has been disconnected. The Drive shafts are off.

The only things remaining are the cooler tubes and the dipstick. The cooler tubes are cramped, but I can get them off.

How is the best way to reach the bolt holding the dipstick tube to the motor? I cannot get leverage to get it off. It has been there for 17+ years and is stuck, any suggestions?

i would just get a bunch of anti-sieze things like WD-40 and soak the **** outta it for a a while, if you can try and take a wire brush to the head to clear out any crap (easier for the WD-40 to get to in, i would think)..


The bolt is still stuck. spent all morning pulling on it but cannot get any leverage. it is not rusted or stripped. I have soaked it in wd-40.

The problem it that it is way down there and I can't get any pull.
can the tranny safely come out with out disconnecting it, or will it be hanging from the tube?
The only way I think I might get better access is to remove the whole intake manifold... not at all wanting to do that...
any ideas?

ok, had a day off, and was able to remove 6 tranny to engine bolts. Also got out the dipstick bolt.

The Transmission is really loose on the passenger side, I can pull it off of the dowels. On the Driver side, also starter motor side it is still flush with the engine. I have removed the 4 drive plate nuts. I have also removed 6 bolts holding it to the engine.

What might I be missing? all electrical connections, the vacuum tubes, the cooler tubes, the shift linkage, the dipstick have all been removed.

are there more than 6 bolts?

I cannot find these bolts... will check


bolts 1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10 are removed. 6 and 11 do not line up with engine holes, they are just holes, I could put tassels on them or ribbons through them or something.

12 and 5 have no bolts either.

I used a winch and pulled it out. had to put about 1.5 tons on it... said the gauge.

anyway, new problem... Torque Converter...

Tried pulling. even put handles on it with the drive plate nuts. I can pick up the whole tranny with it and it won't budge.

any secrets?

sorry, bolt 5... converter spins fine. am trying to drain fluid from it, and will see if that and some well placed slide hammers will help.

thanks for the suggestions

also the tranny still ran ok, but was going out... slow shifts, and some slips. was getting worse weekly and monthly, not daily, the time was right for an overhaul though because I cannot have it go out during landscaping season. would that still mean jammed?

I know that... wow big pictures...

but how to tell for sure if jammed? what parts would lack function, how to tell if it's still on there?


Damage on TC, and on bell housing near and on bolts...
slide hammers got it off... look at the damage... what are some possible causes / other damages?

pump comes apart next... will post pics


not seeing any warps or cracks... what specifically should I look at for the damage to pump and shaft?

bad close up of gears... they look good, not chewed up at all.

A guy at the local AMMCO will align the pump and also give me new spacer washers if end play warrants for like 20-40$ plus possibly parts, but maybe not.


Flex Plate... old, rusty, but looks good.

the car was rolled into a pole several years ago, the radiator pushed into the crankshaft... broke the fan, but the engine was still running through it all. I am still using the same radiator and no known engine damage... is it possible that the TC only temporarily was pushed back, and now might be good and not rubbing or anything?

It's possible that it was just a failed torque converter. Remove the flexplate, and check the crankshaft to flexplate spacer for damage. You should get a Sonnax replacement which is made out of billet steel since the Ford spacer is made out of powdered iron. Check the rear main seal at the same time.

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Thank you for your help.

Will check all of that.
Also Tranny is apart and it appears to have very little damage.

The valve body was filled with thick sludge, pudding consistency. Looks just like the grease used by ford in auto hubs...
I have not yet taken apart the valves and plungers but will do that tonight.

The gears are all in good shape.
Friction Disks are not. They are nearly bare metal, very little friction material left. Lots of friction material everywhere, very few metal shavings though. Most of the metal came from the TC.

Torque converter fails tests, especially end play. still functions but was on it's way out.
One is coming from napa on monday.
Car Quest had one for 250$ plus shipping (they could not tell me how much shipping was). I must bring them the old one.
Napa has one for 145$ plus about 16$ shipping, plus a core rebate if I bring them the old one.
I asked some questions and both use the same supplier for re-built TC's, noone could explain the difference in price.

It appears for now that my hopes were right, not much damage, but worn friction and steel plates, and lots of sludge. Hope I'm right.