My 4R55E has a problem shifting. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 4R55E has a problem shifting.


New Member
February 28, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Duluth, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 Limited 2wd
Hi All, My first post here.
I am having shift problems with a '96 2wd Explorer, 4R44E automatic, 165k miles. Sorry for the long post, but thought a full history might help.

About a year ago trans started slipping in to neutral when pulling up to a stop sign, especially when cold. Some time after that my "check engine" light came on and trans would not shift into second. Had the code read, said it was SS2 solenoid. Could not afford to fix right away so drove it for awhile - just did not have second gear. Would run to about redline, let off the pedal, and it would shift into 3rd. Would not downshift to second.
About a month ago I parked it while I studied how to fix and ordered parts. This weekend I dropped the pan. The fluid was thick and dark -sure it was never changed - but no pieces or parts in the pan. I replaced the SS2 solenoid, the filter, flushed the old fluid, and added some Lucas. Filter/fluid/Lucas seemed to fix the slipping into neutral problem, as least for now. "Check Engine" light went off, but could be from diconnecting battery.

The trans still will not shift into 2nd when accelerating. If I run up the rpms and let off the gas pedal it will slowly shift into 2nd - if in "D". If shift lever is on "2" it starts in 1st and stays there, not matter what I do. It will shift down from 3-2, although doen't feel right. 2nd seems to be working, just is not shifting right.
I have searched for hours for a similar thread, but have not found anything specific to the 4R44E.
Posts on other trannies list possible problems as a governor or possibly a vaccum problem. Could these be problems with the 4R44E? If so, can the governor be changed with tranny in vehicle? Is there a particular vaccum switch to look for - rather than randomly replacing hoses? I know there is a vaccum pot in the dash that controls hot/cold air that is leaking. Otherwise vehicle runs fine.

Thanks for any help.

Welcome to this forum! I've renamed your thread, and moved it into the transmissions section. You have a 4R55E because you have a 4.0L engine. The 4R44E was used on the Ranger, and the Aerostar with a 3.0L engine. Your transmission doesn't have a governor or a vacuum modulator. Adjust your intermediate band, and find out what the code numbers are. Don't disconnect the battery. It will clear the codes.

Thanks for the reply, and the correction on the 4R55E.
Will try these and post results.