Help a Lady out....2004 Explorer Transmission issue | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Help a Lady out....2004 Explorer Transmission issue


New Member
February 9, 2021
Reaction score
City, State
Park Rapids, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Ford Explorer Limite
Long story short, my son was driving my 04' Explorer Limited in the freezing (-25 degrees) Minnesota weather and the transmission overheat light came on and various other lights came on the dash and it lurched and rolled to a stop. Every time he hit the gas it would not go into gear or drive at all but it would run.
I pulled him home with my f150 and waited until the weather let up. I put on my ODM reader and it wasn't throwing any codes so I pumped it full of tranny fluid and the residual fluid smelled burnt. As an after thought I looked into the pan of excess drained fluid and did see some metal; but more of a glitter type than actual shavings. But the pan wasn't that clean when I grabbed it so I'm not sure how much was already there. I've never had any slippage in gears or any transmission issues until this. After filling with tranny fluid, It still will not go into any gear or even engauge the tranny and I did look and the gear shifter is fine and operating on the outside of the tranny and inside the vehicles steering column.
My thoughts are to put in a new solenoid pack, which I can do myself, but after some digging I am thinking it's the TC because of the burnt tranny fluid smell. Anyone have thoughts on this, before I start to tear it all apart???
As a side note: I do most of my own mechanical work myself, and yes I'm a woman and understand engines very well, but at this time I'm not able to drop the transmission on my own and dont want to waste the time and money with the solenoid pack if it's the TC in the end...thanks for your thoughts guys!!

I'll bite as I I cant get a response either.

If the fluid smelled burnt? It wont heal over time.

"Son was driving"...Want to continue?

All warning lights are working?

Without having any codes to point you in a direction, what is wrong with it probably won't be known until it is apart. The 5R55 transmission isn't all that reliable to begin with and if I had to bet it would be on it needing replaced with a remanufactured one. Then I would consider if this is warranted based on if it has the V6 engine (timing chain guides typically need replaced between 100k-200k miles and this requires engine removal), mileage, amount of rust etc. You could easily have much more money into it than the vehicle is worth. I have seen a lot of people here throw parts at a fix for the 5R55 and ultimately end up installing a remanufactured transmission.

About 1.5 years ago I replaced my 116k mile 2002 V8 Explorer with my current 2010 Mountaineer because of the 5R55's lack of reliability. I wanted to avoid having to either pay for a remanufactured replacement or sell it for peanuts with a broken transmission. I am not telling you what decision is best for you because only you can know this. I am just giving my point of view on what I considered when owning an Explorer with the 5R55 transmission and adding in other factors to consider like having the V6 engine etc. After researching a good amount I concluded the best path for me was replace the 2002 with a 2009-2010 4th gen model with the V8 4.6L 3V engine. These come with the 6R80 transmissions which are proving to be very reliable if a fluid drain and refill is done regularly. I rambled some in my reply but hopefully you can find something useful in my blabbering.