KC's 5R55E Valvebody Repair | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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KC's 5R55E Valvebody Repair


Well-Known Member
November 28, 2009
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Explorer XLT
Nothing special, just sharing what I found and what I fixed.

First off, my symptoms:
- Wont shift to higher gear after a downshift (ie. 5th to 4th, 4th to 3rd)
- Loss of ALL gears except manual 2nd/1st when at a stop
- Regained ALL gears for a short period (1- minute) after vehicle restart
- Regained ALL gears for a longer period (20+ minutes) after full vehicle cooldown
- Transmission "limp" mode engages while flashing OD OFF

Parts bought:
- EPC solenoid XL2Z-7G383-AA
- Valve Body Service Kit (Ford TSB Valve Mod) 3L5Z-7M203-JA
- 98/00 4.0L SOHC Valve Body Separator plate 1L5Z-7Z490-HA
- Revised bracket - XL2Z-7L491-AA (I bought this before tearing into my trans. I later found my transmission already contained the bracket. I changed the bracket anyways.)

I replaced both the separator plate and EPC Solenoid, and performed the Ford TSB Valve Mod(Thanks out to Glacier991)

Now to all of you with the same model as me - 1999 V6 SOHC XLT - the cat is below the transmission pan, making it impossible to drop without unbolting that section of exhaust pipe OR unbolting the crossmember that supports the transmission-transfercase. My exhaust pipe bolts were rusted into place and rounded so I dropped the crossmember and unbolted the manifold-pipe bolts instead. I then could slide the pan towards the transfercase.

After dropping my pan I then went onto the valvebody. THIS VIDEO helped me figure out dropping the valvebody and replacing the seperator plate - BUT I DO NOT recommend using airtools on the valvebody like he did, much too fragile in my opinion.

Upper part, whats above the Valvebody after removal. Nothing special here but Id thought Id take a picture anyways to show.

Found my problem. Facimeor was right "Whats more likely... a VB gasket or servo seal blowout." The gasket around the servo blew out pretty good, Im surprised I even got 20+ minutes out of it each cold start. Blowout can be seen at top right.

I finished the repairs and valvebody is now back in the trans. Since Im doing this at college during class, I ran out of time today. So Ill finish up Monday and let everyone know how it goes.

- Valvebody bolts - 70-90 in.lbs
- Separator plate torx bolts - 62 in.lbs as directed by Ford TSB Valve Mod instructions
- Transmission pan bolts - 10 ft.lbs

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It won't fix all your symptoms but good luck.

Possibly. Why do you think it wont? My Explorer has always been an oddball and looking at the blowout Im surprised I was able to shift at all.

Its all together and I put about 6L in the trans while letting it cycle. I have no gears and hoping that I just need to cycle some more do to no fluid in the valvebody( my guess.) I initially put 4L in then began the process, then had to put 2L more in during. Im guessing my torque converter was drained along with the whole tranny because of how long it took me to do the repair and with how much fluid Im putting into the tranny.

I know air in the valvebody could cause issues but the pump SHOULD purge the system and rather quickly?

College is done for today so Im back to the grind tomorrow.

Also, when I first went to shift out of park it would not go. It was stuck in park. I was able work it abit untill it finally went out of park and now it shifts fine from P to 1st and back but gears wont engage.

Damn lol. Its most likely that, that actually explains why I couldnt shift out of park too. I hope I didnt break it. Well, Ill drop the pan and see tomorrow.

Thanks Dale.

Another update to my situation.

I dropped the pan and with it the pin from the valve lever (sigh..) I had to remove the valvebody to get the lever out, but I got it out. Went to local Ford parts store and lucky me there are NO levers in Canada, so its ordered from Detroit( about 1 or so weeks.) I REALLY dont want to wait that long considering my eX has been sitting on the schools lift for over a week now and its my only insured vehicle. I ordered it anyways but I'm in the process of fabricating another pin. I hope to have the lever finished and everything back together tomorrow, Ill go into more about the fabbed pin with pics then.