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My 5R55E VB rebuild


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February 2, 2006
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Good day all.

Im new here... Hi all.

98 XLT 4.0L SOHC, 4x4 w/ 96k, and the dreaded 2-3 shift flare. Getting really bad, especially in cold weather.

Firstly, 5R55E Rebuild Diary Great Great info, ManyMany thanks to all responsible. Saved me a ton of money... Hopefully. In any case I never would have known enough even to try the rebuild w/o this info. Again, thank you.

Yesterday I Installed it all:
Separator plate (moded per Superior instructions) 1L5Z-7Z490-HA
Superior Shift Kit 4R/5R55E
EPC Solenoid (from
Ford TSB valve 3L5Z-7M203-JA
Ford Solenoid Bracket XL2Z-7L491-AA
Sonnax (OEM ratio) valve: 37947-01K

How do you all get the transmission pan off?? There is NO clearance with the exhaust pipe in the way at least on my model (98 XLT SOHC). I managed to twist it through by grinding a bite out of the support cross member, and a small corner off the CAT. Not recomended, but it beats taking the exhuaust pipe off.

Step 5 of the Superior kit, getting the piston out from behind the shift solenoid was impossible. I ended up skipping this. I wonder if this step
would have cured the flare?

After a brief test drive last night, the shift flare was better, but still there. :mad: The delayed reverse engage is actually worse. I hope this will work itself out as the double lip seal wears in a bit?. The flare must be coming from something else. Maybe next Ill have to adjust the bands.

I have a bunch of pics but cant figure out how to post them.

Let my know your comments / suggestions / experience. Im interested in Bigg_Billys resuts... his description of the shift problem is exactly what I have. About 30MPH the shift misses and engine revs up until you let off the gas... trans then engages around 1k RPM and your on your way.

Let me know what else you think might be wrong...

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Hey Ted,

While I'm waiting for my parts, and after doing a lot of reading here, I decided to try a few things. I adjusted my bands, changed my transfer case oil, and added a bottle of Lucas Tranny fix. All of my symptoms are nearly gone. Reverse is normal now, and the tranny only slips about 1 in 10 times. My wife reports her MPG going from 12.3 to 15.8, so she's getting happy. I should have mentioned somewhere along the line that I bought my 2000 Explorer on Ebay for $4,000, and although it looks mint, I knew there were tranny issues. The transfer case oil was black, never changed, and after adding the Lucas, even though the tranny fluid looks good, I'm sure there is probably not Mercon V in the tranny. So when my parts arrive, I'll do the valve body rebuild. But for your message, I know I've read the the tranny has to be out for the servo spring to be changed, so most skip that. I know from also having a Honda that you have to use the right fluid, Mercon V in this case. I'm pretty sure at this point that if I replace the EPC and put in fresh fluid, I'll probably be set, but I'm going to do the rest as soon as the parts arrive. Did you splice in the resistor Superior supplied? How did the double lip seal go on? It looks like the toughest job will be getting the heat shied off before dropping the tranny pan? I can bearly even see the nut.


Hello Bill,

The toughest part was getting the pan out from under the exhaust pipe. Removing everthing else wasnt bad.

The rebuild wasnt bad except for step 4 (I said step 5 before.. meant 4) which is the "coast clutch valve retaning plug". Seems like this might be the source of the shift slip. I couldnt get the piston out w/o feeling like it would damage something. Maybe that Tranny Fix would get it working better.

I did not do the temperature splice. I do see some cold weather, and better to leave that alone since im sure thats not causing the problems.

The next hardest was getting the valve body back on and torquing the 26 bolts back in the right place, and then getting the pan back in place. Big pain.

Last night I left it a couple quarts short by mistake. I filled to the correct level today and it feels nearly correct. The 2-3 slip is better. Not gone, but better. The reverse engage is at least consistent.

Thanks for the ideas. Ill have to get some of the Lucas Tranny fix.



also my heat sheild broke off... so I need to rivet the brackets back on and install... Sounds like yours is different.

I did not do the Intermediate Servo. I couldnt reach it from underneath the truck. Sucks b/c I really wanted to use the blue spring :)

The double lip seal on the reverse servo isnt bad... just slips on to the piston into the groove... not bad... but when installed it to the bore it seemed much tighter then when I removed it with the old o-ring seal..I had to tap it in place with a mallet. I wonder what the tighter seal does for performance?

ok i'm no expert thats glacier911's job but i did figure out how to remove the pan easy, all you have to do is get a 10" extension and i think it is a 16mm? deep socket loosen the front exhaust from manifold sway well with oil first, then remove the bolts from behind the cat now it will slide far enough away to remove pan but before you do remove the tranny cross member nuts then pull pan back towards rear of truck and you will have plenty of room, sounds like alot but it aint only takes twenty min, if that to remove on mine. install drain plug!!!! so much easier now and glacier told me to def. use merc. 5 not 3 if you are careful you can go ahead and drill the plug at the back left corner if you were under truck head pointed at front of car just be careful do not slam though it or it will cost you alot!!! drain plugs at advance for like 3 bills def. worth the money. and glacier when he sees this will probally know how to fix this dont worry someone on here can help you. ;)

I hear you .... man I sprayed that joker w/ WD40 big time and got a 10" wrench on it... still couldnt budge them. The cat side is very rusted. If removed would need replacement bolts/gasket etc.

I was so worried about the re-build I forgot get a drain plug at AutoZone.. Oh well. Next tranny oil change Ill get it.

dude that sucks i used a breaker bar on mine and reused the old gasket it doesnt leak maybe i just lucked out well dont forget the plug next time you do you'll thank yourself when you dont have hot fliuid all over you! hope you can fix your problem

How do I post an image?

Disregard, .. I found the img post info in New Member FAQ.