Clicking noise from Trans pan 5R55E | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Clicking noise from Trans pan 5R55E


Explorer Torture Tester
Elite Explorer
April 3, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Gloucester City, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 2Dr,2,000 & 04 4dr xlt
So this is for my 4 door explorer, not supercharged.
I have a loud clicking noise coming from the transmission pan. It sounds like a solenoid. ( a 6 foot tall one. lol)
A month or two ago there was one day where the transmission decided it would slip in 2nd and O/D, then it stopped going into O/D altogether. Then it cleared up all by itself all in the same 40 mile drive to work. I never had a problem with slipping or shifting since then.
Sometime after that drive to work I noticed the clicking noise, but no symptoms.
Today I finally listened underneath with a stethoscope to the engine and transmission, it is definitely coming from the transmission pan.
You can not hear it from the engine compartment. You can hear it loud when next to a concrete divider in the road, but can still hear it when the window is down. At fast food windows it is embarrassing.
At 132,000 I put a brand new from Ford Valve body in this truck.
At 230,558 I rebuilt the transmission but reused the valve body (new bonded gaskets of course). See here
I now have 240,000 miles on it.
I expect a solenoid to be bad or coming apart or another valve body problem.
I do have a drain plug in my trans pan to make dropping the pan much more pleasant.
Has anyone had a very loud clicking noise coming from the transmission pan and found what it was?

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So today I drove to work and all was fine but still clicking. I backed into a parking spot and went in to work.
Tonight I came out and the truck started but wont go into any gear at all. I mean nothing. Park works lol.
No more ticking though.
Got towed home 42 miles, time to pull the pan down.....

poor timing

There's never a good time to have vehicle problems but in your case the timing is particularly poor since you have your Sport in the middle of the blower upgrade. It's too bad your transmission problem didn't escalate while you were on vacation. I hope you have alternative transportation and that the transmission repair is a simple and inexpensive fix.


It's not too bad, I still have my 2000 Ranger to drive to work today. It only has 170,000 miles on it. lol.
My plan is to get the supercharged Explorer running, pull it out of the garage and push the 4 door Ex in. I am hoping for something very noticeable like the EPC falling out or something.

Before you pull the pan check the fluid level with the engine off and then again with it running. If the fluid level drops with the engine running you know the pump is working, and the failure is something else inside the transmission. If it does not drop then the pump is not working.

Either way it will have to come out, but at least you will have an idea on what might be the problem. Its not going to be anything electrical or solenoid related.

fluid level

Thanks for the tip, I will do that before I drop the pan.
The loud clicking noise that was coming from the pan makes me believe it is the EPC solenoid coming apart or falling out. Funny how the clicking noise is gone and it wont move now. lol.

uh ohhh

The fluid did not drop when started. I am working on getting my supercharged truck out of the garage so I can get this one in to pull the pan. Don't know if I will get to it this weekend.


OK, Got the truck in the garage and drained the fluid, looked clean.
I dropped the trans pan and filter and inspected the solenoids. None were falling out. Darn! There were no codes in the PCM at all. I switched through all gears with key on engine off and the manual lever position sensor showed all correct ranges. I had battery voltage at the solenoids with the key on engine off (JK080 already stated it would not be electrical, thanks for your help).
The fluid did not seem to drop when started so it may be a bad pump, if so the transmission has to come out. I am hoping it is not but it will probably be the pump.
I pulled the valve body down and found a few things that seemed to be binding in it. One was the forward modulator valve. So my question is could that or anything else in the valve body cause a ticking noise with no symptoms and then cause a no go in all gears with no fluid drop when started.
The valve body has over 100,000 miles on it since I replaced it, so I ordered a replacement but I have to wait till it gets here. Should be here by Saturday so I can get back to it then. Also I rebuilt this thing a year ago (10,000 miles) and I used the best looking pump of the two that I had. I also used the pump aligning tools etc, I bought all the special tools off ebay last year. I even have the pressure test plate that bolts to the transmission where the valve body goes.
So what are my chances of putting this valve body in and having it work? Will I end having to pull the transmission?

The pump should be able to move fluid regardless of the valves in the valve body. Fluid goes through the filter and up through a large opening through the valve body and straight into the pump. The pump will make pressure and at that point the valve body controls the delivery of fluid to the different components.

I don't think replacing the valve body will fix this, but if you do put it back together to try it you could remove a cooler line and check for flow there. Also you can install a pressure gauge on the line pressure port to check for anything there. If you have nothing still I cant think of anything else other than the pump.

A clogged filter can choke off the pump and prevent it from making pressure, but if the filter is clogged you have bigger problems and it will still have to come out.


So I put the valve body in, still no go in any gear as predicted. lol.
JK080 just so you know I was not doughting the fluid dropping test, I was doughting my ability to check the trans fluid on these 5R55E's. I can never get a good reading on the dipstick and I have three vehicles with the same
Guess what I am doing tonight? Pull that trans out! lol.
I will post what carnage I find.


So today I removed the torque converter bolts, trans lines, cross member, and bell housing bolts. Then I removed the transmission using my harbor freight trans jack. (best $150.00 I ever spent). Last night I had removed the transfer case, starter, driveshafts, D/S cat, etc.
Looks like the pump gears broke. Maybe that was where the ticking noise was coming from. (it did sound loudest from the pan with a stethoscope).
Too bad the torque converter is ruined, it was new a year ago (10,000 miles).
Two questions, Is it normal for a pump to break like this after 240,000 miles?
and The torque converter bushing in the bell housing, Ford's work shop manual says it can not be replaced but the new bushing comes with the rebuild kits, do the square notches have to be lined up a certain way? (see square notch in picture).
Here are the pictures.


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O rings

Does any one know the size of the orings for the Bell housing to trans case bolts, there are 8 of them?

Edit: I found the O ring size, I had a bunch from the last time I had this transmission out.
The size is 5/16 I/D 7/16 O/D x 1/16 Wide.

The bushing can be and should be replaced, it does not have to be clocked in any certain way but I do put the lube slot opening towards the pump gears so if I can remember that would put those notches facing the front of the bellhousing like they are in the picture.

Pumps can fail at any time, its not a very common failure but I have seen it several times, maybe yours got damaged when the replacement converter was installed last year. I would think the pump gears was the ticking noise you heard.

The pump bolt o rings have a Ford part# E804595-S200, ask the dealer if they are available. Transtar has a part# 56312. You could use the A4LD pump bolt washer/seal, its what they used before the o ring came out, it does work with the bolt that has the groove for an o ring, Ford part # E830124S.

It might be worth it to get a paper and rubber kit, which is a overhaul kit less the clutches and steels, I would not think it would be too expensive. This way you get all the gaskets, o rings and seals.


Thanks JK080,
I will install the bushing the same way then.
Parts are ordered, should be here before next weekend.

Back in

I got the transmission back together and installed tonight.
I ran it through the gears up on jack stands and all were there. No fluid leaking out so far.
I pulled it out of the garage and called it quits for the night.
Tomorrow I will spray some engine degreaser all up under the vehicle and hose it down after letting it soak for a while. Then it is road test time and then time to check for leaks again. If all goes well I should be cleaning my garage by tomorrow night.


I cleaned everything up today and checked for leaks. No leaks!
Shifts fine through all the gears, even shifts a little faster from gear to gear than it used to. Feels like it should now. I checked the fluid with it running and topped it off. later I checked it again with the engine off to see how much higher it was, then started it to see where it drops when running for future reference. Still hard to get a good reading on the dipstick. Cleaning it with brake clean made it a little better. Now I can spend some time with my supercharged truck tomorrow in the garage.


Thanks 2000streetrod,
Not skills though, its tools. lol.