My 6R60 mechatronic replacement - saga continues, pictures.. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 6R60 mechatronic replacement - saga continues, pictures..


Explorer Addict
November 16, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Rockland County, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
06EB V8
Wow, lots of posts lately about 6R60's :)

As some of you know from my posts, about 2 weeks ago my tranny started to act up. It would violently kick or slam into gear, and then go to fail/safe mode and lock in 3rd gear.
I went to a dealer for diagnosis, and the verdict was I need new Mechatronic assembly. The part is about $ 1,950 plus 400 labor. So they recommended that for 2350 or better yet, a complete new tranny for 4,750. I got few more estimates and surprisingly they were all in that neighborhood. Then I started the research and found out that those tranny are usually mechanically very reliable, just the valve body or single solenoid would act up and mess the whole thing. I found a vendor who rebuilds them and ordered a rebuilt valve body with all the Sonnax updates. Ordered on Sunday, got it on Tuesday which was quite fast. It was 700 less 200 core, so for 500 I decided to take a risk before I shell out 5000. The job took me about 3 hrs. Very messy. I bought a largest cement mixing tray from home depot, that was a good move. Also, as you can see from the pix, some time ago I built those wooden ramps from some spare PT lumber I had around the house. Not only it gives me a nice clearance, but I feel safe. I have stands and metal ramps, somehow I never felt secure down there.
I also bought new filter, and new sleeve connector since those leak at some point. I got a dipstick as well since it was "borrowed" by some Ford tech when I was doing a tranny flush at some point with them.
I reused my TCM. In my year, Ford used T27 bolts for everything, so you need a diagram what bolts are for VB, and which ones are for TCM. In later years they changed the VB to case bolts to T40. Also, T27 strip easily, so you need to be cautious.
The car started after the whole job which was good sign. Sometimes when you do not connect the tranny harness all the way in, you'll have no crank situation. It is shifting much better, I would say it works in 95%, it's been only 160 miles and I know it needs to relearn the shifts, but occasionally it still hunts for gears or will kick and go to safe mode. But not as violently as before. The dealer said that he had issues communicating with my TCM (the black plastic part attached to VB), but how is it working now if it's bad. And most of the time, it behaves like a good new tranny. I disconnected the pos cable, and jumped it with the ground of the car to clear KAM, not sure if that worked. I do not know if I also should replace the TCM now, or have Ford re-flash it ? I am not completely happy yet. The only good thing is that after 213 k miles, there was almost nothing on the magnet, just metallic powder, no shavings of or chips of metal. Fluid was dark. I refilled it with 5.5 qrts of Mercon SP

Anybody has ideas what else can be wrong ?



New valve body

Old fluid

Old mechatronic

Old and new

Inside the tranny

Replaced the bridge connector, filter, sleeve and dipstick

Clean pan

TCM installed on new VB

"New" mechatronic bolted in.

I used a cheap transfer pump from Harbor Freight for $7 to refill, worked great

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Congrats on taking on the project and dropping the pan and changing out the mechatronic yourself, I was wondering where you were going to go with it. I cannot stand those t27 bolts, they are such a PITA because you can never get enough torque on them to break them loose without stripping one of them at some point. My thought would be to verify that the KAM was cleared and then go the route of reprogramming (if necessary, since it looks like you didn't reuse your old solenoids and the Sonnax documents suggest that it is hit or miss with the old TCM and new solenoids without reprogramming). It really doesn't sound like the TCM was a problem if the transmission is working as well as it is now. On another note the dark fluid makes me wonder if your clutch pack is shot and why it is searching sometimes since the dark material in the fluid could be from the friction plates being worn out.

I start seeing a pattern. In the morning when the car is cold, it will shift normally. After driving, when it gets hot, and I come back home and park the car for a moment, and then need to go somewhere again, it will go nuts shifting or trying to engage whether in D or R. I'll either go to Ford to have it reflashed or I'll buy a "new" TCM or will ask for another valve body since maybe that one is bad.

The fluid was flushed about 8 k miles ago, but since then I towed a lot so I am not surprised it was brown.

PL, hope you don't mind a few comments:

Yourself, Gibby and certain others have provided and shared a lot of very valuable info, comments, advice, etc to this forum for many years, please continue, I think most appreciate it.

2 thumbs up for your ramps, drop sheet/tarp and drain pan. May I suggest a couple pieces of angle iron as stops on the ramps? Would be a disaster to drive off the edge. How about wheel chaulks?

I agree with Gibby on the colour of the trans fluid. Way too dark, almost looks burnt. Since you work your truck very hard with a snow plow and towing a trailer, fluid should be changed probably once a year, regardless of miles driven. Not sure why you only got 5+ gts out of a pan and v/b drop with filter change, I needed 7+ qts without dropping the v/body.

Noticed the shop manual on the work bench. A must to have for any serious do-it-yourselfer.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but in the past, did you not say that you have had your trans serviced with a machine FLUSH?

Hi again

All comments welcome and appreciated :)
Too many times I thought I know everything, but turned out I do not yet, maybe in 20 years:)
Bill - You should be a psychic reader, I almost had a disaster a year ago when the car started rolling forward when I had it in another spot on the driveway - not sure what I was thinking - dumb. I usually put some blocks in front now, but in front of the garage, the incline is backward so the car rolls back, but I still need to modify the ramps as you said.

I had the tranny flushed at 60, 120, 180, and recently at 206k when replaced the torque converter. But if I keep the car (looks like it), I'll do the pan drop every summer since it's not that complicated, just messy.

I collected 6 qrts to the containers, but maybe I should add 1/2-1 qrt, maybe that will help ?

The weird thing is that I detect no slippage in clutches, just that stupid "gear hunting" and slamming into gears. Otherwise the tranny pulls strong.

Please keep adding comments and suggestions.
At this point I'll try anything.

Thanks all

I'll be following this post to the end, hope you get this sorted out soon and at minimal cost. Thanks for the pics, didn't know about the T-27 v/b bolts.

Now for the reason I asked about the fluid flush? Please go to page 307-01B-4 in your shop manual. Read paragraph 2 of "Description and Operation"

Unless you have checked fluid level yourself, maybe you were low on fluid?
Truck needs to be level and o/t at 175+ F.

Since I'm just a shade tree hack (now retired so insert older in there), what I have noticed over the last 10/15 years with an AODE, 5R55E and 6R60 trans is that they seemed to be very sensitive to correct fluid levels. Maybe because there are all electronic/computer controlled? Just my observations.

May I suggest that you install a drain plug in the left rear corner near the magnet) next time you have the pan-off? Sure makes changing/draining fluid easier with less clean-up.
Also, since fluid level needs to be checked when truck is at normal operating temp, as you are aware, the cat and piping around the pan will be extremely hot. This area can be loosely wrapped with a heat/welding blanket and/or header wrap to minimize the risk of severe burns.

Takes big stones to do what you are doing here. This is the first post I have seen in the 4th gen forums where someone has cracked the v/b bolts in a 6R60. Tons of info for the future. Thanks for sharing.

As others have said thanks for the detailed thread and bravo to you for the attempt ! I would add to the low fluid sentiment and make sure that the fluid is full using the dipstick. As Bill mentioned the trans has to be at least 175 for the reading to be accurate. I bought a pair of very long welding gloves to do the job - That exhaust is extremely hot next to the trans.

Hah, more than one way to skin a cat. (must be tig welding gloves)

I also though about installing a drain plug, it should not be that difficult or expensive.

Sometimes, when it goes into fail/safe mode it will also throw P0101 MAF sensor error, but I doubt it means anything.

Not much of an update but:

I added 2 quarts of SP. I am not sure how I measured it the first time, I wonder if I had the motor running, if it was not, then all the fluid was in the pan and I would be wrong with the readings of the fluid level.

It still hunts and hesitates when shifting but it did not kick the fail mode for the first time in 2 weeks.

I went to a tranny shop that has good reputation and the manager was very friendly and honest. Took it for a test drive and said that sounds like my valve body is acting up still, but would need to drop the pan to do further inspection.
They rebuild trannies meaning replace only what needs to be replaced, and give 12 month warranty, not so great on both points.
I just contacted the place I got the VB from and requested a replacement under lifetime warranty, I just want to give it another shot before getting a whole new tranny.

I also stopped by Ford dealer where I service my car occasionally with things I can't do. As some of you may recall, I got about 4 estimates, and they were all in 4700 price range.
My dealer quoted me 4750 originally. $ 3750 for the tranny, and about $ 1000 for labor.
I went back there and said that other dealers sell them for around $ 3000, so what is the best they can do.
The advisor went back to the manager and the new estimate was 3076 for tranny and 875 for labor - I liked that a lot. It comes with 3 year unlimited mileage warranty, it's a remanufactured, not rebuilt unit, and they of course do all the programming.
I may end up with them if things do not get better :)
When I was adding fluid, the new 6 quarts mixed with whatever there was in the tranny when I swapped the VB was already very dark after 300 miles. I am slowly growing to the idea that I may need a new tranny but I did not give up yet.

PS: On top of thing, the truck developed a humming/grinding noise yesterday. Now, I am not sure whether it comes from inside the tranny, front differential or bearings. It comes up after about a mile drive, so something warms up and then it comes. When I shift into N, it is still there so I am puzzled even more.