No drive or reverse gears in 4̶R̶5̶5̶E̶ 5R55E. Line pressure all over. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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No drive or reverse gears in 4̶R̶5̶5̶E̶ 5R55E. Line pressure all over.


Well-Known Member
March 30, 2020
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 2-DR Sport 4x4 4.10
Hey guys. I was pulling out of my place today and was able to back out just fine but when I went to go forward I just barely started moving and then nothing. I found that forward would not work and reverse had also disappeared.

I had noticed issues a couple times before but didn't think much of it as it only lasted for a second or so, but now here we are. If you ease into it super slow forward and reverse will still catch just a bit but basically don't do anything.

Definitely not burnt up discs as it didn't ease out of functioning like I felt before, not to mention the transmission fluid looks fine and is filled to proper levels as well

Went and got an oil pressure tester and found that the pressure was kind of all over the place. In reverse at idle it sat around 90/110 PSI and at wot it sat in the neighborhood of 200 to 230.

Drive started out with an idle at 90, then I went to do wot and saw it around 140, however then I floored it again and saw it around 240. At that point it almost felt like it was going to try to overcome the breaks instead of just sit there.

I went back to check reverse and it floated around, them tried drive again and I was back to nothing.

I don't have any lights or codes to go with this. Anybody have any input?

Just running the test again to make sure.

Reverse at idle started around 120 then jumped to 180 when the engine revved up, then settled about 135. At WOT it peaked up and then settled around 230. Going back to idle it settled around 60.

Drive at idle started at 60 then eased its way up to 90/110 then after letting it sit for a bit dropped down to 55. At WOT it started at 70, peaked at 150, then went back down to about 90. It then settled into idle at about 50.

First and second both do about what I would expect. They started off at a constant idle, then slowly increased in pressure with throttle, topping out a little above 300 peak. I didn't keep it there long as first gear was able to overcome the brakes and didn't want to toy with it on 2nd.

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As I continue to think about this I keep wondering if what I thought was normal behavior might actually have been early signs of this.

I know that previously I haven't always come to a full stop before shifting from reverse to drive when backing out of a parking spot. On the occasions I did this it would never engage drive all that quickly. It would slowly and gently come to a stop and then start easing forwards. This was with low to no throttle. I know if you do that on my dad's truck it will come to a stop quite quickly and you will know you did something wrong as soon as you shift out of reverse.

I've also noticed that occasionally when I come to a stop on a slight grade (eg a stop light) I was sometimes able to let off the brakes and the car would sit in place without rolling forward while still in gear. Additionally, I noticed that on mildly steep inclines if I did not have my foot on the gas or the brakes the vehicle would roll backwards went in gear. Slightly and slowly but it would.

I'm also wondering about a few times where it would be slightly slow to accelerate coming out of a light. I always thought it was because my engine runs rich and itself is a bit slow to accelerate out of idle occasionally. Nothing dramatic, but I usually accelerate pretty hard and it's not always instantly responsive.

I'm seeing articles with similar issues on the 5r55e, but not many about the 4r55e. I'm hoping this might just have something to do with the EPC solenoid or part of the valve body. It definitely doesn't feel like discs are slipping or anything like that, definitely don't want to have to pull the whole thing out.

Well I figured out why all the problems I had seem to be common on 5r55Es and not 4R55Es.

Checking out the door code I found I do actually have a 5R55E or 'D' transmission.

I was under the impression that if your dash had selections for Drive, 2, 1 you had a 4R55E and that the 5R55E had options for Drive, 3, 2, 1.

Guess I'll go and do a little more research then.

Well going off what I've read on the form in the last few hours I believe it's probably a valve body gasket issue.

I know it can also be the sprag in the back of the housing, however once I get up to speed if I shift into drive it still won't kick in so that leads me to believe the sprag is not the issue.

I'd love to get some confirmation from a more experienced member, but I guess the real question at this point is if I should just get a new valve body separator plate with the fused gasket, or if I should go for a whole new valve body. Only planning on keeping this transmission for another 6 months or so before I swap it out anyway so I'm leaning towards just the plate.

Well unfortunately I had a ways I had to go before I could actually get home. By the time I did I had lost second. From what I'm hearing that means I probably just ruined the whole thing. Yay! Now I got to chase down a new transmission.

I'll go see if there are any codes for the hell of it with a more competent reader, but kind of doubt it.

Well, checking it out I do have an error code P0733, no surprise, but doesn't really tell me anything.

I will probably go ahead and order the bonded separator plate and pull it apart just to see what I find but I'm not really expecting that to help now.

Searching around a little more I see that loss of 3rd and 2nd along with no engine braking on first is the definition of TSB 03-22-10.

I don't know. Do you guys think it's worth tearing it apart and throwing a new separator plate on it? That and the pressure regulator bit.

I had a thought, what if I disconnected the battery and reset all of the shift settings that the engine learns?

Well as a surprise to no one drive and reverse did not come back, however I have second gear and engine braking on first again. That's promising.

Ok, new day. Im no longer freaking out about this. Got back under the truck and checked the solenoid resistances just to verify. That clip on the connector was a pain to deal with for sure

TCC: 9.4
EPC: 4.5
SSA: 24.3
SSB: 48.1
SSC: 48
SSD: 48.1

Based off this diagram from the '99 5r55e service manual found in THIS and a post from JK080 post everything is in range.

Screen shot 2009-12-31 at 11.52.34 AM.png

I find it strange that SSA is so much lower than the rest, but it is in spec. If I was planning to keep this transmission long term I would probably just replace them while im in there, but for the ~$200 it costs i'll roll the dice that it will last 6 months.

Went ahead and contacted the local ford dealer and am ordering the seperator plate with bonded gasket. They only wanted $20-some dollars for it and will be here in 2-3 days so you can't really beat that. They did tell me that the 3L5Z-"7M203"-JA service kit from FSB 03-22-10 has been discontinued, but the guy I was talking with didn't seem very knowledgeable about their parts system, so take that with a grain of salt. I did just give him the 7M203 part of the part number to start with so he should have tried to find any revision, but who knows.

Hopefully I can swap that this weekend and hopefully that takes care of it. I do already happen to have the oil pan gasket and oil around, so that's a plus.

So, today I finally got the new seperator plate with bonded gaskets in.

I pulled the pan down and found a bit of stuff on the magnet

Moving on I removed the valve body and did find a few spots with missing gasket chunks


Took a bit to get the last bits of gasket off the valve body itself, but wasn't too bad.

The rest of it went together fairly well. The reverse servo fell out on me when putting it back together, so I slid it back in. Made sure to align the manual valve with the selector pin on reasembally. Put on a new gasket and filled with new merc V.

I started off with 3 qts, then started the truck up and worked in another 3. At that point I thought I was getting close as I read somewhere that it takes a bit under 7 qts (incorrect) so I took it on a ride around the block. I found that Reverse and Drive were back, but they were slipping. Manual 1+2 were still great.

I continued around the block to get back and was trying to run in drive. Drive did not seem to be switching gears, but had a bit of a bang and then just spun. 1+2 had issues as well. Had to let it sit for a moment, then limp it back in reverse.

I was hoping that drive just slammed into a new gear a bit hard, then filled the matching passages with fluid and ran low. But after topping it off I still had next to nothing in any gear.

All gears still moved the vehicle, but it was like 85% slip and 15% drive.

Threw on the pressure tester and found that D, 1, and 2 all were about 90 on idle and 120 WOT. Rather low.

Kinda thinking of just replacing the whole valve body, but I probably can't get one shipped till monday. Ill pull the pan back down this weekend and see if I can find anything off about it.

Alternatively there is a trans off an 03 sport trac locally for $100 with 185K on it. Also see a 2000 ranger trans with 78K for $400 and a 6 hour round trip drive over a mountain pass. Might just go with one of those and swap it. My support bar is bent though, so that could be fun.

That pass is set to get 4-6 inches of snow tomorrow and this is what it was like this morning. Probably more like a 10+ hour drive.

Don't bother with a valve body its not going to fix it, the debris on the magnet tells me the problem is inside the transmission.

Don't bother with a valve body its not going to fix it, the debris on the magnet tells me the problem is inside the transmission.

Spent 8 hours today in 20 degree weather ripping the transmission out and starting to crack it open.

Front sprag is dead and OD clutch died when testing the whole thing out. Overdrive band also not looking too hot



Will tear more into it soon. Thinking I might just spend the time and rebuild it instead of replacing it depending on how the rest looks.

The sun gear is definitely marked up and I can feel it, guessing that would probably need to be replaced. PXL_20211227_065927099.jpg PXL_20211227_070651242.jpg

Yes I recommend replacing that overdrive planet it will just tear up the new sprag.

I got the rest of it broken down. Getting used to this weather now. lol

The 5r55e is a lot smaller than the 4r70w on the inside. Kinda crazy.

Most of the rest looked solid. Clutch packs were good, could even still read some of the printing on them. Intermediate band was starting to get a bit black. Needs center support to forward drum bearing and forward drum to planet bearing (wonder if there is a cause for both of those going out). They still turn fine, but look black.

Anyway, all parts are ordered and /should/ be here friday, but we will see how that goes.

I ordered:

Rebuild kit w/frictions and steals
Forward/intermediate bands
Bushing kit (does not look like I will need to use many if any of these)
Overdrive Sprag
Superior Shift kit (might as well)
Forward drum to ring bearing
Center support to drum bearing
Overdrive planet

Got some extra parts as had to get a few things in eBay listings with a few parts each. Guess i'm starting a pile for next time.

~$400 + oil for a like new trans. Not that bad.

What about the servos they tend to harden over time and the low/reverse band like to flake its lining as well and your going to reuse the converter.

I did not think of the molding on the pistons. Probably worth getting. I will see what I can do. Looks like I need to go check the bore size before ordering (truck is not at my house atm).

Reverse band was looking good. Can get some photos when im over there.

I was planning on reusing the torque converter. Haven't had any stuttering or other TC issues. Let me know if I should reconsider this.

AB for the intermediate band and ZC on the overdrive band on my 98.

Took a bit of a hit on shipping, but should still be here on time.

Now to pray to the shipping gods. lol.

Starting a new job on Monday so i'm hoping to have it all patched up by then. Will see how that goes.

Oh, forgot reverse band photo. Looks good to me.


Well, small update. Still waiting for parts

Of 8 shipments 6 are here on time. The rebuild kit that was supposed to be here Thursday got stuck outside of SLC though so I can't do much of anything. Also don't have the pistons yet, but I could have started without those.

When the forward drum to ring gear bearing showed up it was also black. Im realising that it was probably just painted or coated and mine is probably fine too. Will take another look here in a bit.

Hopefully I will get some time to work on this monday night. It should be a bit warmer then at least. Almost above freezing.

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So the rebuild kit showed up Sunday evening. Got started on that

Got everything that goes inside the transmission ready. All looked good. It took a bit to clean all the clutch material out of the OD drum, but was basically just there. Turned out both of the berrings I was wondering about were just painted or coated black, and it had rubbed off where the bearing contacted the parts. So they were fine. Still waiting on the new pistons. Pump went well too. I replaced the TC bearing and oil seal and popped it back together.

Moving on to the valve body I had some trouble getting out some of the valves.

I was able to get the parts out for steps 1, 2, and 5 without too much trouble.
For steps 3+4 I was able to get the clips and caps out, but not the outer valves. It almost seemed like it would not fit out the exterior hole. They would slide around inside the VB ok, but would not slide into the last bore to get out. Any tricks to get them out? Might just skip them.

Will try to get it together tonight, then in the truck Tuesday if i'm lucky.