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How to: Project Frankentranny - A4LD / 4R55E / 5R55E Hybrid Project

Brain

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Next up is torque converters (seems to be a hot topic lately).
Here's a picture of the A4 TC:
27133W-010F.JPG


and here's the 5R TC:
27133W-011F.JPG


They look pretty much the same at first glance, but there are a few differences. The pilot on the front (engine side) has different lengths and shapes. Here's the A4's:
27133W-016F.JPG


and here's the 5R's:
27133W-017F.JPG


The difference is only on the very tip, where the A4 has a short stub that is chamfered (angled) where the 5R is longer and pretty square on the corners. I thought this was going to be an easy swap because I thought the bushing just pulled out of the end of the crankshaft, but that isn't the case (unless I'm doing something wrong). Here's a picture of the plate that the torque converter bolts up to:
27133E-001F.JPG


and here's a closeup of the "bushing" that the pilot goes into (yes, the plate has cracked off material around the edges):
27133E-002F.JPG


Once I pulled the plate off, I thought I'd be able to get the bushing out, but it is a single piece with the crankshaft as far as I can tell. The problem with that is that the crankshaft pilot hole is made for the shorter pilot, so the only way to use the 5R torque converter is to cut off part of the pilot stub (or machine the crankshaft...which do you think is the easiest?).

(edit)-Glacier991 has pointed out that I was incorrect on how far the pilot stud actually goes into the bushing. The 5R torque converter will fit in without modification. Keeps me from grinding off the good stuff :D . (end edit)

Back to the torque converters. The pump gears are turned by the flat sections on the TC snout. It fits into the inside of the small pump gear.
Here's a picture of the A4 snout:
27133W-012FB.jpg


and the 5R snout:
27133W-013FB.jpg


The torque converter also has a lockup clutch (TCC, or torque converter clutch), which means that it must have a way to energize that internal clutch. Here's a look inside the snout of the A4 unit:
27133W-014FB.jpg


and the 5R:
27133W-015FB.jpg


The space that the front pump seal rides against is more clearly visible in the 5R photo. So what do these seals look like? The one on the left is from the A4 (black w a angled split), the center one is from the 5R (yellow with a blunt cut), and the one on the right is the updated one for the 5R (grey teflon impregnated without a cut). The grey one is a b1+(h to get on, and I'm not completely sure stretching it over the end of the pump didn't permanently deform it, but it is on there now.
27133W-009F.JPG


Here's a closer look at the front of the pump (5R):
27133W-018FB.jpg


and the back of the pump (5R):
27133W-019FB.jpg


The things pointed out in these two pictures are the same for the A4 and the 5R.
 


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Brain

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Alright, I am done with the parts of the transmissions that are acted upon (clutch packs, servos, etc.), and now I'm ready to tear into the things that do the acting - namely the valve body. The transmission is a hydraulic beast. It gets it's power from the engine to drive a pump that then allows pressure to activate and deactivate the clutches and bands in a tight timing scheme. All of this intricate timing is controlled by the valve body in one form or another.

In the A4, the valving includes two major things that the 5R doesn't have, namely the govenor and the vacuum modulator. The 5R, on the other hand, has four solenoid (electrically operated - on/off type) valves that the A4 doesn't have. This allows more computer control over the operation of the transmission (which has pros and cons). Along with the elimination of the govenor in the 5R comes the requirement of the output shaft speed sensor (which was shown earlier) to let the computer make the shift decisions (along with input from various other sensors such as the MAP sensor, TPS, etc.).

(more later)
 




CDW6212R

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Hello Brain, you had a while ago suggested that the 5R V6 and 5R V8 transmissions have the same bolt pattern. Have you seen the torque converters of each enough to suggest whether they are a bolt on swap? That would be the largest hurdle to my using a 5R55W in place of a 5R55E trans. If so, I would begin trying to find an AWD version immediately. I will have a bare chassis to work on soon. A trans swap then would be extremely easy. I think the starter problem would be less difficult.
Thanks for all of the time you spend with this,
Don W
 




Crankcase

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Was this thread ever put in the useful threads forum?
 




Glacier991

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I submitted it as I felt it should be a companion thread to the A4LD Rebuild Diary... it somehow didn't make it. Several folks may need to chime in to get it there... that forum kinda gets backwatered sometimes. The Mod is vey busy with some other things....(I appreciate all the efforts of the Moderators here btw!)
 




Glacier991

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Brian.... I think you might be making an error assuming the crank is part of the TC pilot.... maybe the 5R is different, but here are some pics of the A4 and 4R crank pilot....

15286DSCN5315.JPG


and another

15286DSCN5316.JPG


this fits perfectly on the pilot end of the TC.... so there is no crank involvement other than the bolts.... I'd be surprised if the 5R is different. HTH. Hope you have recovered fully from your oral surgery. Regards... Chris
 




Brain

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Sorry about the long delay in getting back on this post. Family came into town, I had a friend end up in the hospital, etc..

Chris, I was mistaken about how much of the TC pilot actually went into the bushing. I though (incorrectly) that the entire pilot stud went all the way through the bushing and part of it extended into the crank. That's not the case. Now that I have put the flexplate onto the TC, I can see that only a small part of the pilot stud actually engages the bushing, and none of it sticks through the bushing and into the hole in the crankshaft. It looks like it should work without modification. Thanks for pointing that out.
 




Brain

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OK - back to the valve body. The transmission pumps in the A4 and the 5R are gear type pumps, which means that the speed of the gear rotation dictates how much fluid and pressure they put out. That means that with the engines ideling they put out much less volume/pressure than at higher RPMs. The transmissions have to be able to apply clutches and bands even at low engine speeds with out having them blow up from over-pressurization at high engine speeds. This is where the first control elment comes into play - the pressure regulator assemblies.

The main pressure regulator valves and springs by themselves (without boosting elements) would keep constant pressures all the time by venting all of the excess fluid back to the top of the filter. Here is a picture of the regulator valve assemblies for both the 5R (top) and A4 (bottom):
27133R-001FB.jpg


Here's a closeup of the A4's main regulator valve and spring (the boost spring is in there also):
27133R-007FB.jpg


Here's the 5R's regulator valve (it is a little different in dimensions, but same concept):
27133R-004F.JPG
 




Brain

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To muddy things up a little bit, it was found that raising ("boosting") the pressure up for certain periods would be a good thing. This help get stonger clutch and band application when you need it most. The way the boost valve works is by having some fluid enter into the boost valve sleeve through some ports on the sides of the sleeve to push the boost valve against the boost valve spring. Moving this valve towards the main regulator valve compresses the boost spring and increases the spring force on the main regulator valve, which increases the "regulated" pressure required to start the regulator valve venting fluid to the top of the filter.

Here's a closeup picture of the A4's boost valve:
27133R-006FB2.jpg


and the A4's boost valve sleeve:
27133R-005FB.jpg


and because this is a comparison, here is the 5R's boost valve:
27133R-003FB.jpg


and the 5R's boost valve sleeve:
27133R-002FB.jpg
 




Crankcase

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Glacier991 said:
I submitted it as I felt it should be a companion thread to the A4LD Rebuild Diary... it somehow didn't make it. Several folks may need to chime in to get it there... that forum kinda gets backwatered sometimes. The Mod is vey busy with some other things....(I appreciate all the efforts of the Moderators here btw!)

Remember....ANY Mod can post to that forum:D

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1077834
 




slydogge

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man i want to hear this thing work!!! i have one question, well two first for this to bolt onto my 1994 OHV engine i need the 4r bell-housing right? also what vehicles came with the 5r so i can begin my search through the junk yards. awsome thread thanks guys
 




Brain

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slydogge - for your first question, I believe so but just ot be sure you need to get under and check and see what the starter paocket looks like....compare it to the pictures on the first page. If you have a starter pocket that looks like the 5R, you might not even need the 4R's bellhousing (but I did for my '92 Eddie B).

5R vehicles ->I've only tried this with one that came off of a '99 Explorer (5R55E). Here's a alphabetical rundown of vehicles that use the E version:
1) '97 Aerostar w/ 4.0L engine
2) '97-'01 Explorer
3) '01-'03 Explorer Sport/Sport Trac
4) '97-'03 Ranger w/ 4.0L engine
5) '98-'01 Mercury Mountaineer w/ 4.0L engine

Now, there are a bunch more that use the W, S, and N versions, and I can list them for you if you want, but I don't know firsthand how they will work...I can only vouch for what I've seen. Glacier991 is about to tear into one of those to see how it will work, so maybe wait and see (we might be able to get better gearing ratios).

I'm also curious about the innards and general swapability of a 5R110W, as that seems to be the heavy duty version currently used on the F-250/350/450/550 Superduty trucks (and the Excursion) with the 6.0L V-8 diesels.....that tranny should be tough as nails (and awsome to tow with). :D
 




Brain

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Alright, now that we've gone through the main pressure regulator valve and boost valve, it is time for a modification ;) . First let me explain why a main control pressure modification in my situation is probably a good idea. We know that the forward clutch is always engaged in any forward gear, and the reverse servo is only applied in reverse, so these two things aren't really active in shifting during normal driving (in the Drive or Overdrive shifter positions). What IS "active" is the high/reverse clutch pack, the OD clutch pack (when in Drive), the intermediate and overdrive servos (bands). I'm not listing the one-way clutches (sprags) because they don't depend on pressure and aren't actively contolled - they just spin one way and not the other.

Now, out of those four active elements, I have increased the size of three of them (both servos and the OD clutch piston), which means that there is more volume to fill to get the same amount of linear movement than before. The timing of the active elements is important. If it takes too long to apply one element, I could have a situation where no element is applied and I'd have a problem with a temporary neutral where the engine might rev up because there is nothing to hold it back. The converse is also true - if it takes too long to disengage the element (servo or piston return), for a short period two elements might be engaged at the same time causing increased wear and possibly chattering. Either one of these situations is bad and I'm going to try to keep it from happening.

I figure that by increasing the control pressure, fluid will flow faster into the elements, be it a servo or piston. The servos work with pressure to apply and disengage the bands, so raising the control pressure should help those elements in both directions. The OD piston has return springs, and since there are more of them (20 vs. 15 stock) I don't think this will be a problem. So I think the only issues I might have to deal with is the 2-3 and 3-2 shifts because of the Reverse/High clutch piston being the original size. It might not even be a problem, but I won't know until I'm driving it.

So, now that I've explained why I want to do it, I'll get back to the issue of how to raise the control line pressure. At first I thought about a spacer that goes between the boost sleeve and the main regulator spring. This would add more "pre-load" to the main regulator spring by compressing it a bit more than normal. I did the calculations and made a part out of brass and then test fit it in the valve body. Here's a picture of that spacer:
27133R-011F.JPG


NO GO :( With the spacer installed, the boost sleeve wouldn't go into the valve body far enough. It just isn't the "right" way to do it.

Now I get to tell you the better idea :) . There is a cap/washer that connects the main regulator valve and both springs (main and boost). It looks like a valve spring cap from an engine cylinder head (where you put the valve keepers). I looked really close at the main regulator valve, and saw two rings.
27133R-013F.JPG


The way the cap/washer usually fits on the valve is at the ring further away from the boost valve and lines up with an edge of the cap/washer. Here's a picture of how it normally fits:
27133R-014F.JPG


The way the cap/washer is shaped it fits back over the shoulder of the regulator valve, so if you put a washer behind it, it goes a little past the second ring.....viola':
27133R-016F.JPG


The black mark is where the "new" edge is, which is 0.150" (or really close to it) away from the original location:
27133R-017FB.jpg


What this does is pre-loads/compresses both springs a little bit more - and it adds just over 10 psi of pressure for the cost of a washer (which I found in my garage...so free!). If you want to go higher, I would suggest not trying to use two or three washers, but instead find a stiffer spring(s) becase the travel is physically limited (fully compressed spring) and this washer takes it as close to the physical limit as I'm comfortable with.

For those geeks who like to know numbers, I found a spring constant of both springs (5.94 lb/in for the main and 2.56 lb/in for the boost), had the "reading" diameter of the regulator valve (0.398" for an area of 0.1244 sq inch), and an added compression of 0.150" (which will vary according to the thickness of the added washer). So -> ((5.94+2.56)/.1244)*0.150 = 10.25 psi.

Here are a couple more modifications that I did to the boost valve sleeve - I added 2 holes (and added some fluid ramps or grooves), and I cut a groove for an O-ring (would have done more, but what a PITA):
27133R-012FB.jpg
 




CDW6212R

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Friday I called Superchips about the computer functioning of the 5R55E, versus the 5R55W. The person that I spoke to said it would not work, but his statement was not very clear and to the point. He mixed in the concept of not mixing any factory parts into his answer. So I am not yet convinced that a V6 PCM will not operate a V8 transmission.
I also spoke with an expert in trans rebuilds for a big company, Drivetrain Specialists. He solved most of my problems by telling me that the AWD transfer case from a V8 Explorer will bolt to the 4x4 Explorer 5R55E trans. I need AWD more than the gearing or strength of the 5R55W. Hopefully some of those internal parts will be helpful though.
Keep up the good work,
DW
 




CDW6212R

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Oh yes, I forgot to mention that there was a 5R55E valve body on Ebay for $100. It was new, for an Explorer, and if someone needs it, let me know and I will get the item number for you.
DW
 




slydogge

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hey what is the model torque converter you are going to use. also as long as every thing looks good as far as bearings, gears, bushings, etc, should i just do a soft parts rebuild? with tc and new front bushing of course. what all really needs to be upgraded? i would want to just use the stock amount of clutches because i dont have the tools or know how to matchine all those parts. i am gonna be hard pressed to find one of these trannies.
thanks
 




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CDW6212R said:
He solved most of my problems by telling me that the AWD transfer case from a V8 Explorer will bolt to the 4x4 Explorer 5R55E trans. I need AWD more than the gearing or strength of the 5R55W. Hopefully some of those internal parts will be helpful though.
Keep up the good work,
DW

Careful - unless ford's 2002+ V8 AWD t-case is the 5bolt/25spline V6 style input, the 2001- V8 AWD t-cases used the full size truck, 6bolt/31spline input.
 




Glacier991

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Just a general observation - if your post does not relate to what Brain is doing with the Project, either PM him, or start a new thread and don't clutter up this one with off topic items (like this one - a necessary evil IMHO). Since this is in the Useful Thread forum, poeple wanting to know how to do the swap really don't want to read off topic posts. THANKS !

[Note to moderators - feel free to remove this post when it has served its purpose]
 




Brain

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More on the main regulator valve: I figured that I could post a couple of pictures on how it looks after it is installed and why two washers isn't a good idea.

Progressive Venting: The springs are just normal helical coiled springs, they aren't progressive (conical shape, tighter wrappings at an end) - they are plain jane as far as springs go. That said, the pressure regulation is progressive, which makes sense otherwise it would be snapping open and shut all the time and cause for more wear than necessary. The way it gets the progressive opening is by using small notches (V-cut) in the valve body itself, so that opening just a little bit will open the tip (bottom) of the V and the further the valve moves towards the wide part (top) of the V the more area is open to vent the excess fluid. Once it gets past the top of the V, the entire circumference of the valve is able to vent the excess fluid. This vent happens in two places. Here's an overview of where this valve is located in the valve body:
27133R-020FB.jpg


Here's a picture of the two V shaped notches and the valve. This is about how far the valve can open with two washers in place (the main spring gets to the point of being fully compressed):
27133R-021FB.jpg


Here's a shot of that same valve with only one washer in place (valve is able to fully bent excess fluid):
27133R-022FB.jpg


Now there is one more thing that I get concerned about when looking at the workings of the pressure regulator valve assembly. The passage through the seperator plate that feeds pressure to the head of the valve (where the pressure causes the movement) is really small. In a perfect world, it doesn't have to be big because it is a "dead leg", or a dead end. A lot of fluid shouldn't normally be passing through this port in the plate, but this isn't a perfect world, and valves leak and enough fluid has to pass through the port to let the valve move. Remember that if the valve moves 0.10", that the volume that has to pass though that port is (.10"X.1244 sq in) .012 cubic inches (pretty small but still there). The faster that fluid can travel in/out of that dead-end, the better/faster the pressure regulation will be. Besides that - if the itty bitty port in the plate gets plugged up, you could have over-pressurization problems (which could lead to broken bands). I enlarged this feed/bleed hole quite a bit. Here is an overview picture of the location of the hole in the plate:
27133R-023FB.jpg


Now here it is close-up:
27133R-024FB.jpg


Here's how big I drilled it out (notice the size of the ball-point tip of the pen between the two):
27133R-025FB.jpg


This might be too big (which could lead to valve chatter), but I won't know for sure until I'm driving it. It's always a comforting thought to know that if you screw it up somehow, the part is able to be replaced (in this case without even removing the tranny).
 


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Brain

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Well, I thought that I'd be done with the valve body by now, but I went to see about the solenoid valves and now I am stuck for a while. I had the two original A4 valves (TCC and 3-4 shift), a new replacement 3-4 shift from Neihoff (a decent brand I've had luck with in the past on other electrical parts), and the six solenoids from the 5R. Well, long story short, I tested the original valves and the TCC doesn't work (not even a click when 13V is applied), and the 3-4 shift valve does something kind of strange: it works fine in the no-voltage position, but in the applied-voltage position it works fine for about 15 seconds and then starts switching without fully disengaging (or making any sounds). What's really a head scratcher is that both solenoids have resistance values within specifications. The replacement 3-4 shift valve doesn't work either.

I wonder if this 3-4 shift solenoid going out is the original cause of my A4 dying a horrible death.....partially applied OD band, overheating the fluid, killing the front seal, burning the OD band even more, the OD band breaks, the band anchor wedges under the OD drum killing the OD clutch pack from running off-center.......hmmmm
 




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