NA5R55E2-3FT (Not Another 5R55E 2-3 Flare Thread!) | Page 2 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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NA5R55E2-3FT (Not Another 5R55E 2-3 Flare Thread!)

CVB removed today - some "gold dust" in the pan, but there were NO chunks on top of the VB like before. So, it appears that the chunks/shrapnel is caused by the malfunctioning VB - based on the 150 miles we've got on the trans. I wouldn't take it as gospel, but based on the fact that the trans failed 2 weeks ago, and we are comparing one week’s debris to the next weeks - I think it is a fair comparison.

The trans was full of AMSOIL ATF, with the OLD VB, and the shifting failed IMMEDIATELY. No warm up or anything, straight to a 2-3 flare, and O/D flashing as soon as it entered OD. Off to the shop tomorrow...

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Let us know what the shop finds.

I plan on it!
They are supposed to do an assessment on it today, and have their "trans-guru" bust in to it tomorrow. I plan on posting their findings, parts list and options to help others in this situation.

"Official" diagnosis is in:
One shift solenoid and a VB separator plate with bonded gasket on order. This is based on the diagnostics, symptoms and codes (no trans codes). They "will know more when [they] pull the pan", but that won't be until tomorrow.
Funny, where have I heard that before? :D
We'll see what they say about the "gold dust" tomorrow.

Why would you repair the old valve body when you have a good one from CVBs?

Well, every experiment needs a "control", so this would be it. :)

Besides, it turns out that the truck is covered under a 6/100K powertrain warranty that we didn't know existed (vehicle was a lease return - purchased "as is"). After the repair, I had a conversation with someone at work who has a family member that works at a dealership, and he asked how I knew there was no warranty. Turns out that if you call the Ford Warranty Line, you can give them the VIN and they'll tell you what is available. The original owner paid extra for a warranty that was under the name "Certified Customer".

So, since I was expecting the worst with the "gold dust", I figured I'd take the gamble - risk a $199 diagnostic fee for the chance of getting the trans rebuilt under warranty. So far, it's paid off, they called today to state they found more problems with the trans and it wouldn't be ready until next week.
Fingers crossed...

Short version: "Servo failure" :(
Dealer is rebuilding - covered under extended warranty we didn't know existed.

OK, picking it up today, we'll see how it does on the way home!

Datalogging with the typically Ford Slush-o-matic 5R55E.

Air Temp 63*
Trans temp 131 to 167*
1-2 shift 11.5 to 34.5
2-3 shift 17 to 51
3-4 shift 21 to 66
4-5 shift 43 to 89.5
EPC 9 to 88

More later....
Upcoming data: W/O OTA cooler, CHT vs ECT vs Trans

Fredness, what does your data log figures represent? Are those pressures, if so Line or EPC?

(As reported by the PCM)

Air Temp 63*f
Trans temp 131 to 167*f - from EPC Solenoid Connector Thermistor (Fluid Temp in pan)
1-2 shift 11.5 to 34.5 MPH - Believe these to be a PCM function, will know when I install the CVB part and retest
2-3 shift 17 to 51 MPH
3-4 shift 21 to 66 MPH
4-5 shift 43 to 89.5 MPH
EPC 9 to 88 PSI

How's that? Sorry, should have listed them that way in the first place.

"Masked" OTA (Oil-To-Air) External Cooler: (Cooler is blocked with cardboard, and sealed in a plastic bag with duct tape)

Air Temp 63*f
Trans temp 105* to 188*f - from EPC Solenoid Connector Thermistor (Fluid Temp in pan)
No change in shift points/EPC

Here's some new info:
With an InfraRed Thermometer:


Trans Pan: 104*
Coolant: 184*
Air: 63*
Inlet tank: 140*
Outlet tank: 86*

Radiator Trans Cooler:
Inlet: 86* (Indicative of no flow)
Outlet: 85* (+/- 1*f of Radiator Outlet tank)

Trans Pan: 179*
Coolant: 188*
Air: 63*
Inlet tank: 163*
Outlet tank: 118*

Radiator Cooler:
Inlet: 138* (Indicative of ATF flow)
Outlet: 118* (Same as Radiator Outlet tank)

From that we get:
-The factory Oil to Air (External) cooler is good for at least 23*f of temperature drop in hilly terrain @ 40MPH.
-Engine Coolant Temperature is much higher than the radiator inlet tank temperature (Measured at the aluminum core since the plastic tank doesn't transmit heat well).
-ATF heats up MUCH faster than radiator. Based on this, I would NOT recommend using the radiator to try to "warm" ATF, it just won't work.
-Radiator cooler at idle is good for at least 20*f ATF temperature drop.
-5R55E 150*f T-Stat (according to Sonnax) opens at fluid temp from after the Pump/Torque convertor, not "pan temp" which is much lower (How much lower I don't know yet).

No OTA (Oil-To-Air) External Cooler: (3/8" hose loop)

Air Temp 56*f
Trans temp 110* to 181*f - from EPC Solenoid Connector Thermistor (Fluid Temp in pan)
No change in shift points

With an InfraRed Thermometer:

Trans Pan: 110*
Coolant: 130*
Air: 56*
Inlet tank: 103*
Outlet tank: 95*

Radiator Trans Cooler:
Inlet: 98*
Outlet: 87*

Trans Pan: 158*
Coolant: 185*
Air: 56*
Inlet tank: 170*
Outlet tank: 124*

Radiator Cooler:
Inlet: 169* (Indicative of ATF flow)
Outlet: 130* (Radiator not absorbing all the heat)

Here we see the first time that the trans inlet temp is above the pan (we knew this, but this is the first time I logged it). It is also the first time the radiator cooler output temp is ABOVE the radiator output temp (more heat coming from trans than the radiator can handle).

When the T-Stat opened (194* dropped to 186*), the trans was at 128 degrees.
I have to keep my eyes on the pan temp... my theory is that there will be a slight drop in the pan temp just as the thermostat opens as the flow through the lines increases, this is going to dump a quart or more of COLD fluid in to the pan. At .5GPM, that's going to go pretty quick. I see a spike in the data log where it goes from 155* to 128* and back within seconds. It may be a glitch, but we'll see if it is repeatable!


This is using to put the Trans Pan Temp in relation to the Water temp (since the datalogging shows a centered image of each, not based off of one scale), I then used the 61* temp difference from the ECT vs. Radiator Outlet temp to make a line representing the guesstimated plot.
ECT is in yellow
ATF is in Red
Orange is the Estimated Radiator Outlet Temperature based on InfraRed Temps.
Obviously I'm going to have to get a way to use this as an Analog input to get "real" data - this is interesting!

Cooler upgrade:


Lower mount was broken and cooler is "flopping in the breeze".


Using the packaging from the cooler to build a template to transfer to aluminum diamond plate.


Existing holes were opened up from #14 self taping screws to 5/16" to accommodate the new stainless bolts, washers and Nyloc nuts.

Once the weather dries up, I'll be removing everything, sanding, priming and painting the bolt holes to ward off rust. There was some minor surface rust on the spot welds behind the grille. Looks like I have some work ahead...

There is some jumping around here, but I'm doing the Superior Mods to the CVB.
I want to make sure I'm not defeating any existing mods, so anyone that is looking to have "all the Bling" for the valvebody, here goes: (will update as I go along - don't take it as final until the CVB is reinstalled)

CVB - cleaned and flat sanded and tested.

FORD TSB Overpressure fix (EPC 6 port valve with dimple, EPC Riser and spring removed)

Sonnax updates: (as per Instructions) - "Installed" by CVB.
- Pressure Regulator Sleeve Kit 37947-05K: Delayed engagements due to poor converter fill
- TCC Modulator Valve Sleeve Kit 37947-07K: No TCC apply, code 1741, erratic TCC, converter overheat
- TCC Regulator Sleeve Kit 37947-09K: Converter apply issues
- EPC & Engagement Control Kit 37947-11K: Poor shift quality, delayed forward or no reverse, 2nd gear starts, Flare on 2-3, 3-4 (5R), Repeated code 0741 TCC slippage
- End Plug Kit 37947-13K: Loss of 4th gear, No 3rd gear, hot, erratic shifting.
- Oversized Coast Clutch Valve Kit 37947-33K: No 2nd or 5th gear (5R)
- Boost Valve & Sleeve Kit (Increased Ratio) 37947-03K: High or low line pressure, low cooler flow at idle, overheat conditions.

Superior Updates: - Red "Covered" (Reason), Black "*" possible.
- Outer pressure regulator spring (Covered issue in Sonnax kit -03K and -05K)
- Forward engagement control valve spring (White) (Covered issue in Sonnax kit -11K, different method, better overall engagement control)
- FORD EPC limit spool and Ford spring - HD Mod (Covered issue in Sonnax kit -11K)
- Coast clutch retaining plug (Removed part in Sonnax kit -09K)
* "Thermo blocker" Thermostat Bypass (Covered issue in Sonnax kit -01K, different method, increase flow at idle rather than bypass)
- Drill separator plate (.062" and .086") (Covered issue in FORD TSB Overpressure fix)
- EPC pressure riser (electrical) (Covered issue differently in Sonnax kit -11K and -01K, reduced leaks in -13K)
- Servo return spring (Must remove intermediate servo) - Not sure about this one.
* Double lip reverse servo seal (Covered issue in Sonnax kit -11K, different method)
- Direct clutch drum springs (20) (Must disassemble trans) - Not sure about this one either.

OK, based on these results, IF ALL THE SONNAX MODS ARE DONE, I think I'll be putting the complete Superior 5R55E kit up for sale (local trans shop, "All sales final"). I'll be making a "Thermo blocker" out of a Russian AK-47 Gas Piston (no, really...) if I decide I need to do the "Full-Flow" filtering and external T-Stat. But, if you just want to patch it up, and get it out the door, the price is right for the Superior kit.

Based on this diagram from Sonnax, it appears that there is always flow to the cooler, just MORE when the Thermostat bypass opens at 150*f of Torque Convertor output fluid temp.

It's looking more and more like I'm going to leave the thermostat as is, and run the line from the trans to the filter, radiator, then the external cooler.

(Snip) I'll be making a "Thermo blocker" out of a Russian AK-47 Gas Piston (no, really...)

I know, Internet Rule #32 "Pix or it didn't happen":


This is a well used Gas Piston from a Russian AK-47 (Saiga in 7.62Nato). Due to Title 18 of the US Code (18 USC), Chapter 44, Section 922, Paragraph R (AKA: "Install this part, go to jail"), it is basically useless - or is it?


A local machinist friend needed his lathe moved from the old shop to the new shop, so a couple of us went over and provided lunch/labor in exchange for "making shavings". First cut (large OD) finished...


Smaller OD cut...


Center hole was started with a pilot, and bored 6 steps to a final .316" ID


Here it is on the left (or is it the right? ;) ). Ready for some finish sanding to knock any burrs off - test fit was just fine.
How tough is it? AK-47 Tough! :D

O.K. new, REALLY clean way to drain the pan... 3/8 drill bit and a cordless drill. :D - pix to follow.

Since I've been getting in there so frequently, I decided to install the PML pan and if I was going to use the 4x4 pan again, it was going to get a plug installed.

[derail] Treating the rust while its up on stands anyway...


Been cheating, waiting on the external T-Stat, I didn't want to put the ENTIRE front end back together, so I've been running around in "barely legal" mode... (from first teardown)


Very quickly it strips down... (from first teardown)


Here's the bumper cover, napping in the grass... (from first teardown)


Just pull the lights (2 screws and 4 pull tabs).


Then 2-10mm bolts that were holding the mount in place.


Plastic was pulled and waiting for the missing hardware (from a previous owners "crunch")


Everything was roughed with 100 grit sandpaper/drill mounted "scrubby", and then wiped down with rubbing alcohol. Worked well, I got good coverage, and no fisheye or orange peel.


I chose Rust-Oleum White Primer - it shows up better over the silver paint to ensure coverage. It is also easier to cover with the silver Rust-Oleum Paint afterwards. I'm going to toss a single coat of Duplicolor Perfect Match to blend with the "real" paint.

There are a lot of areas up front that have overlapping seams that were rusting due to water collection - these would get seam sealer - if there was a budget for that, instead it's Indoor/Outdoor Clear Silicone leftover from a weather proofing job.


CVB reinstalled and the PML deep pan is on. I installed some adhesive magnets in the pan, and used teflon tape with the copper crushwasher. Got the pan torqued to 110 in/lbs in 2 steps with a new cork gasket using adhesive to bond it to the pan. Even 3 quarts low, the trans shifted briskly and on time. MUCH better than the Dealer Rebuild.
With the fluid just touching the dipstick, the level is up to the base of the VB, so the filter and the 2" snorkel are completely submerged - no worries with a 4x4 filter; 2 wd may have less of a margin for error. Ordering 6 qts of fluid to make up for the 3 low, 1 qt filter being added, T-Stat, new lines and cooler. That should have me with a qt to spare for topoff or the next filter change (500 miles for the first).


This is the day after, with a 30 mile test drive. Pan is clean, with the only marks on it being from my grubby mitts during the install.
Drain plug is on the accessible (driver) side as is the extra boss. being at the back of the pan (lowest portion) also helps in draining.

Thermostat is still not here, so I'm holding the filter/cooler install until then.

Again, more diamond plate, bent on a workbench using a piece of angle iron and clamps.
Using existing factory holes.


Bosch Filter is mounted for the first 100 miles (or so).
Routing is temporary until this weekend. T-Stat arrived yesterday.
Plumbing is from the radiator outlet to the filter inlet and back to the trans.
Fluid is hot within 5 minutes of idling. Shifted without issue.

Have a P0741 with flashing O/D light. No impact on shifting but there is an OD light... again. Installed the filter to rule out a particulate contamination issue.

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Isn't this a Torque Converter Clutch or TCC solenoid error? Are you using the CVB unit too? Could this be a problem with the wiring harness or was that replaced when the tranny was rebuilt?

And did you install your machined thermo blocker into the vb?