DIY 5r55e rebuild....Info? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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DIY 5r55e rebuild....Info?


May 29, 2009
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City, State
Portland OR
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT
:help: Can't seem to find any info on actually rebuilding the 5r55e. This will be my first attempt on a FULL rebuild. I've already tried adjusting the bands, testing the servos, VB rebuild w/ kit to fix the 2-3 flare. Nothing seems to be fixing my problem. Truck takes forever to get moving forward, barly shifting, if at all. Has a real strong reverse but shifts hard into it.
Would like all the info available to tear down and replace everything I can on the inside. Any special tools, tips and tricks would be helpfull as well.


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When you say VB rebuild what do you mean? Did you get a rebuilt one that was resleeved? Some of these so called "rebuilt" valve bodies are not at all what I would call rebuilt. Have you checked or EPC pressure?

As far as the rebuild, it's pretty easy. I just did it after my torque converter came apart and sent metal everywhere. Everything went really well except my overdrive doesn't work so I have a missing 2nd and 5th gear. Will mess with it tomorrow. Didn't need any transmission specific tools. Maybe the right size drivers if you're planning on changing bushings and a piece or 4 sockets and c clamps works well for taking the clutch circlips out. You can use the torque converter for aligning the pump.

I used a factory service manual. It's pretty good. If you plan on taking your valve body apart, make sure you take a picture of how each valve goes and don't get things mixed up.

Welcome to this forum! Do you have any codes? We have a 5R55E valve body rebuild diary sticky thread on the top of the transmission section. There are special tools for aligning the pump gears. It's not recommended to use the torque converter in place of the proper alignment tool. An improper alignment will ruin the bushing, torque converter, and possibly the bell housing.

I bought a transmission service manual when I rebuilt my 5R55E. Walks you through the process step by step.

Not sure exactly which one...I'll have to look for it in the morning.

That was my first time working on an auto trans and everything worked great.

There are special tools for aligning the pump gears. It's not recommended to use the torque converter in place of the proper alignment tool. An improper alignment will ruin the bushing, torque converter, and possibly the bell housing.

Why? The torque converter centers it out well; unless you have a damaged bushing or torque converter. The tool is pretty much just a torque converter snout anyway?

I set the torque converter level on some wood, then lower the bellhousing/pump onto it. You can turn the whole assembly to make sure it centered itself out. Do several sequences to tighten the pump bolts.

Unless I've been lucky, I've never had any vibrations/gear whine/bushing damage.

Although it never hurts to have the right tool.

No, I dont have any codes. The O/D light flashes but I haven't had them read yet. I tried taking it to a tranny shop but he wanted to charge me $40 just to scan. I thank you all for your help. It's greatly appriciated. My trucks been down since Oct and I kinda miss it. I thought I had it figured out but after about 20 miles back and forth from work I drained the fluid and it was burnt again.

Got another question....Airbeast mentioned something about his torque converter. How do I find out if mines crap as well? The tranny and converter has just about 200K miles. I'd hate to do a rebuild, reinstall in to the truck and find out the converter is dead.

With that many miles, I'd replace the convertor while you have it out.

Ok. So I've got the tranny out of the truck. Gonna give it a good pressure washing before I start the disassembly. Recieved a ATSG manual yesterday but they sent me the one for the 5R55S/5R55W so I've got to send that back for the correct one. My master rebuild kit arrived as well. It's currently sitting at the postoffice awaiting pick-up. Torque converter should be here any day. Looking forward to this project and getting the truck moving again.
Thanx again for everyones input. Feel free to put your tips and tricks in here if ya have any. :thumbsup:

Just make sure to take EVERYTHING completely apart if you find any metal. Pop out the one way bearings, etc. Mine had a ton of metal in them. Also, if you make sure you put the valvebody checkballs back in the right spot. That was the problem with my shifting afterwards. Mine had 4 checkballs and 5 spots where you could put a checkball. One bath stays empty and looks like that's where a ball goes, but no. Shifts great now.

Also, if you found metal, make sure to install an inline filter into the return line before you start it up. Even if you didn't, I'd install one anyway. A 3/8 magnefine filter works well. Or a wix 58953 from Oreileys. I opened my first filter apart after ~50 miles and it caught a good bit of metal. This was after flushing the cooler lines for about 20 minutes.

Thanx! I'll keep all that in mind. Still waiting for my manual to come back. Seems their whole back stock was misslabled. Once that comes in I'll begin.

Ok, Manual came in. Trannys apart! Found a parts washer on craigslist so I'll be picking that up tomorrow.
Havent done any cleaning but simple inspection hasn't shown any metal laying around.


Love to here how this works out for you. I've never dug into an Automatic trans and really would love to. I have 2 5R55Es that I need to fix. 1 in a 2000 Ranger that reverse is completely gone and the other in a 1999 Explorer that is slipping badly and shudders. The Ranger works 100% in all forward gears just no reverse. Looks like a master rebuild kit is around $140? Anything you guys can steer me towards would be much appreciated.

Also if I was to look for a replacement would any 5R55E work? I notice when I look up these 2 vehicles on it doesn't show the same ones, but it does list both as 5R55Es?


Got it all put back together and installed about 4 days ago. Just driving around town and a couple short freeways trips I've put around 220 miles on it. First day and about the first 14 miles was kinda scary. Didnt shift right and had that 2-3 flare. Second day was perfect!!!. Must of had air or something cause now there hasn't been a single problem. As for the rebuild, it was alot easier then I expected. Very straight forward and I didn't need to use any special tools. So with the torque converter, Master kit, and fluid I probably spent just under $300. Not bad if ya ask me.

Thanks - you already had a rebuilt Valve Body so I'm assuming the rebuild kit doesn't hit that? Sounds like there is a mod kit for the VB I'd want as well. Anyone have opinions on what rebuild kit and what VB Mod would be preferred? I've just started going through the VB diary, but haven't gotten to a point where a conclusion is drawn yet.