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How to: Project Frankentranny "AKA" A4LD / 4R55E / 5R55E Hybrid Project - A MUST READ!

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Stic-o

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Jefe said:
Perhaps from putting it into park while moving? I know I did that far too often because of the Atlas T-case. Think that'd be enough to shove it cock-eyed and contact the case?


It's better then putiing it into reverse at 40 mph. :rolleyes: That's what kiiled mine. Although it took about a month after that to kill it :banghead:
 


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Glacier991

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OW. Dare I ask why anone would DO that? Geeze. (and THANK YOU for getting us to page 4... that 3rd page was getting long and full os pics and was a long time loading.)
 




Stic-o

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Glacier991 said:
OW. Dare I ask why anone would DO that? Geeze. (and THANK YOU for getting us to page 4... that 3rd page was getting long and full os pics and was a long time loading.)


this is really dumb :rolleyes:

I had an itch at the bottom of my foot that was really bothering me, and I didn't want to stop......So i went to shiff it into neautral....and well I shited it to revese.... :rolleyes: It compleatly disinagated third gear and the pieces were rolling around it there....and I drove it to Ford...Barely!....Oh yeah and it happend 1 week before Christmas :banghead:

Even after it cost me $2700 from ford for a new one it took me about 2 months to figure out what happend. :roll:
 




Brain

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Itchy Foot Strikes Again!!! I've had the itchy foot (felt like an ant was biting me) while driving a manual...not fun. But then again you need two feet to drive a manual ;) ....$2700 buys one heck of a lot of foot powder :D

Really, I'm just kidding. Sorry to hear about the mishap with reverse (and the repair bill). It is true that you you can go from a slight roll forward to reverse (but still not good for the tranny), but 40 mph forward to reverse is a little outside the design parameters.

Did this happen in the '99? It should have had a safety to keep reverse from engaging while going forward that fast....maybe not. I would have put it in there if I were doing the programming for that completely electrically controlled tranny...some logic like "if output speed sensor is reading greater than 1 mph, do not engage reverse". I'll explore that more when I get to the 5R's valve body.
 




Brain

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I recieved the carbide tool for the lathe that I needed to turn (cut) down the pressure plates for the overdrive and the reverse/high clutch packs. With the overdrive it is a matter of cutting back the piston and the pressure plate, while with the rev/high pack it is a matter of cutting back the pressure plate and using thinner steels. So I'm getting my 150% OD clutch pack (going from two to three frictions) and my 125% rev/high clutch pack (going from four to five frictions). These pressure plates were made of high carbon steel (with possibly some other hard elements such as chomium, cobalt, etc.) and the tool wear showed it. It went through about one carbide bit per plate (but bits are reletively cheap, and rebuilds are not).

I had an idea of putting a ledge to retain the snap ring in the ring groove. It allowed me to cut less material away (faster), leave more material in place (more heat sinking capacity and structural rigidity), as well as keeping the snap ring in place (although I haven't heard of this being a problem before). Below are some pictures of how things turned out (both rings look the same, so I'm only showing one for simplicity).

Stock on left, modified on right:
27133S-009F.JPG


and
27133S-010F.JPG


Here's one with the snap ring shown in place:
27133S-011F.JPG


Now I've corrected the problem with this page not having any pictures. :D
 




Brain

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Another thing I did was to clean up and take a good look at the pans. At first glance they look pretty much the same, but they are not. Both trannies use the same filter, same pan gasket, and the same pan bolt pattern, but the pan from the 5R is deeper in some places and has a flat spot next to the pickup cone (sump). I looked at the valve bodies to see if there was a need for the extra depth, but couldn't immediately see a reason to add half an inch to some portions. What this means for Frankentranny is that the 5R pan that gets used will hold between one and two more quarts of fluid (more than one, but not by much more than that). Both pans have been drilled for drain plugs (no more tranny fluid showers from trying to remove a full pan). I'm changing the fluid on the non-Frankentranny Explorer soon, so I'll have the second pan ready to swap in at that point.

Here's a picture of the "piggyback" style of aftermarket drain plugs ($3-5 at Checker). I used some RTV silicone when I installed them to make sure they wouldn't leak.
27133S-008F.JPG


Here's a shot of the A4 pan top (w/ drain hole drilled):
27133S-002F.JPG


Here's a shot of the 5R pan top (w/ drain hole drilled):
27133S-001F.JPG


Here's the passenger's side of both (5R upside down on top):
27133S-005F.JPG


Here's the driver's side of both:
27133S-004F.JPG


Here's the front of both:
27133S-006F.JPG


Here's the rear of both:
27133S-007F.JPG
 




Glacier991

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I see a market for turned down pressure plates <g>. Good Job!
 




Jefe

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Brain said:
Did this happen in the '99? It should have had a safety to keep reverse from engaging while going forward that fast....maybe not. I would have put it in there if I were doing the programming for that completely electrically controlled tranny...some logic like "if output speed sensor is reading greater than 1 mph, do not engage reverse". I'll explore that more when I get to the 5R's valve body.
I'm pretty sure reverse is not computer controlled, but I'd still think that there should be a hydraulic safety, or even a stop on the column shifter. I never understood why you have to have the brake on to get out of P, but not in any other direction. They changed that in the 2004 though, so now it has a noisy solenoid in the column every time you push the brake.

Glacier991 said:
I see a market for turned down pressure plates <g>. Good Job!
I agree, that is some beautiful machine work. :thumbsup:
 




Stic-o

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Brain said:
Itchy Foot Strikes Again!!! I've had the itchy foot (felt like an ant was biting me) while driving a manual...not fun. But then again you need two feet to drive a manual ;) ....$2700 buys one heck of a lot of foot powder :D

Really, I'm just kidding. Sorry to hear about the mishap with reverse (and the repair bill). It is true that you you can go from a slight roll forward to reverse (but still not good for the tranny), but 40 mph forward to reverse is a little outside the design parameters.

Did this happen in the '99? It should have had a safety to keep reverse from engaging while going forward that fast....maybe not. I would have put it in there if I were doing the programming for that completely electrically controlled tranny...some logic like "if output speed sensor is reading greater than 1 mph, do not engage reverse". I'll explore that more when I get to the 5R's valve body.

No trust me! She went in revese! The screetch and left scratch! :eek:
 




Brain

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I'm sorry Stick-o, I wasn't very clear....I'm not saying I don't believe you, I'm just saying that if the Ford engineers had their heads in the right place (not inserted into a posterior orfice) that they would have made a lockout of some sort to keep this from hapening....but maybe I expect too much out of designers (or the bean counters that constrain the designs).
 




Stic-o

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Brain said:
I'm sorry Stick-o, I wasn't very clear....I'm not saying I don't believe you, I'm just saying that if the Ford engineers had their heads in the right place (not inserted into a posterior orfice) that they would have made a lockout of some sort to keep this from hapening....but maybe I expect too much out of designers (or the bean counters that constrain the designs).


No ..no...I'm not say'n you didn't belive me...I was just say'n trust me I knew what I did When felt like it hit a wall! It was only in gear for about 2 sec., my hand was still on the shifter. At least she had over 112k on her ;) And for my $$ I got a New tranny....not a rebuild! :D
 




StickmanC

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Read for the first time, pat yourself on the back ;) Excellent tutorial!
 




Brain

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Just a short update on a little (and I mean very little) progress on this project. It is back together back up to the pump.

-forward clutch pack. I was able to fit seven friction plates (instead of six stock) into the clutch pack by doing the same modification of the pressure plate that I did for the overdrive and high/reverse pressure plates. In addition to this, I cut back the top of the piston and shaved off a little bit (maybe an eigth of the stock height) of the rubber bumper that sits into the groove of the forward clutch piston. I did this because I think that it is possible that the rubber cushion lets the forward clutch slip for too long a period, causing the frictions to wear/burn. The 5R doesn't have the same potential problem with the manual valve (the one that causes the forward clutch to be engaged when in reverse or neutral/park), but it does still show the greatest amount of wear for the miles put on it.

-overdrive planet carrier. I did finally figure out a way to machine back the inner part of the OD clutch basket where I saw evidence of rubbing (the location that I ranted about Ford not fixing even though they have changed snap-ring retainer designs two more times). This was not an easy job but it turned out OK. I'm hoping that between the third generation snap ring retainer and the relief I cut into this basket that it won't be the cause of a failure in the future.

-reverse servo v-cut rings. I thought that by the description that these would be the elusive double-lip seals for the reverse servo, but after waiting 2+ weeks for them, they ended up being D-rings instead of V-cut (double-lip) rings. That's only a little bit better than the stock O-rings so I was disappointed that I waited that long for them to start the final build-up, but so goes life. It is a cheap part that can be replaced if I ever have problems with it or find the true double-lip seals.

-assembly hints. I put the reverse band in place and held it in place with the servo (cover installed, but it will have to be removed to install the valve body). I wanted to make sure this band wouldn't slip out of place during the rest of the assembly process.
When installing the OD and intermediate servos (before inserting most of the guts), I put the servo in the cover, spring in the case (horizontal position with servo bores up), and then put the servos into place. There is a servo compression tool (it has a J shaped bolt) that Rotunda put out to aid in the installation (the intermediate servo has a pretty stiff spring), but I didn't have this tool. I had some free weights handy so I loaded up ten pounds on a hand weight, placed it in the center of the cover, and after some slight taps with a hammer, the retaining rings were easy to get into the grooves in the case.
When installing the input drum and intermediate drum assembly, I put the two togther and placed it in the case vertically. This way I could make sure all of the clutch plates were engaged and the two shells were mated together properly. There isn't enough room in the case to fit your hands in to place this assembly, so I used some nylon cord to make a cradle that would allow me to put it into place vertically and then pull out the cord (thinner than rope but thicker than thread). I haven't moved the case from vertical during the entire build-up process.

-#1 selective. I was hoping to use a bearing in this location, but the parts warehouse could find it even though they told me it was in stock. I'm OK with using the plastic #1 selective. It keeps me from having to machine back the OD drum. The selective I ended up using for a 0.07" front end play value was only 0.074", and the thinnest selective #3 bearing (which is what I was going to use in the #1 position) was 0.110", so I didn't have as much slop in the front as I thought (I assembled it initially with the used 5R pump and had more end play than when I assembled it with the "new" 5R pump - only ablut 0.02 difference, but enough to change my mind about wanting/needing the bearing in the #1 position).

-center support/body seals. I fabricated a tool to cut a groove for O-rings around the three ports at the bottom of the center support, but when I tried to use it on an old center support, it didn't work as well as I thought it would. I came up with an easier solution, which is dabbing a little RTV sealant (applied in a very thin layer using a parer towel) on the body before inserting/tightening the center support. I wouldn't suggest using too much, because if it squishes out and plugs any of the three holes, that would be baaad.

-transmission cooler. Because of the metallic contamination from the tranny failure, I was going to replace the stock auxilary cooler and radiator. I ended up flushing the radiator really well (degreaser and high pressure water) and using it in my '91 Explorer, so the '92 will get a new radiator. Just a couple days ago I bought a new auxilary cooler that is made for the Duramax diesels. The thing is absolutely huge....30" X 12" stacked plate. It is going to run from headlight to headlight and darned near cover the A/C condenser. If I have any problems from overcooling, I can add in a thrmostatic bypass valve, but since synthetics work well even at low temperatures, I'm not expecting any problems from overcooling. I'll shoot some pictures after it is installed.

-torque converter. Still working on this but I know that the pilot (crankshaft bushing) is different. It has a different shape and diameter. This is the last thing that I need to get to work before I can consider this project a true success. The TC snout is just different enough so that a TC for the A4 won't work w/ the 5R small pump gear (without modification). This is the gear that has a sealing O-ring on the inside and fits snugly to the outside of the TC snout.

We had our first snow of the year here last night (7" and still going strong), and I have the pleasure of having a wisdom tooth removed today, so I probably won't be updating this thread for a couple of days. Sorry about not having any new pics up...there will be more.
 




Glacier991

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Brain - a couple of comments... you are wise in putting the reverse servo in to hold the reverse band... I nearly had heart failure when I found that my band had slipped out of position after I had everything in the case and assembled. Luckily with some ingenuity I was able to get it back in position and didn't have to tear everything down (again). Also I wouldn't be too worried about the plastic thrust washer... everything I have heard recommends its use...One rebuilder recommends using a C-3 plastic in place of the bronze thrust in the A4LD (I overcame this by using the upgraded support). Would like to know more about the machining in the OD planet carrier.

I feel your pain on the double lip seal issue. I ended up using a new FORD O ring, like you I figured it was easy to replace at a later date.

Oh, and, FYI... I've shovelled 5 feet of snow in the Sierra so far this year.... (g). Hope your oral surgery goes ok.
 




V8BoatBuilder

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Amazing Thread.... Between this one and Chris' threads, I'm psyching myself up for tearing into the 4R70W one of these days to install the AA output shaft. It can't be that different. :)

-Aaron
 




Glacier991

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Aaron, they are ALL different, but cousins under the skin. Sometimes close cousins, other times so radically different as to make you wonder if they have ANY common lineage. Esp true with FWD trannies.
 




Brain

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Well, the extraction went better than I had expected.

I'll take some pictures of the modification I did to the OD planet carrier before I bolt the tranny closed. The plastic #1 selective washer for the 5R pump has a slightly larger inside diameter so that it fits easily over the roller bearings, so I didn't have much choice. It was either the plastic or the #3 selective bearing for the 5R (which in it's thinnest form is thicker than the thickest form of the #1 selective).

Thanks Aaron, a 4R70W would be fun to modify ; )
 




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Hello Brian, I have just read half of this thread. Thanks in advance for all of the details that you have discovered.

If you might recall, I asked on another thread about using a 5R55W in place of a 5R55E. I just commited to buying a wrecked 99 Limited 4x4 for $2000. This will be going under my 93 Limited 4x4 mail vehicle. The mileage is supposedly 37K, so I hope to do as little as change fluids.

The 99 is a switched 4WD with 4.10 gears. I'd prefer AWD because I often have my right rear tire on grass or mud.
Do you have any suggestion on how I might make it AWD. I did not know that the wiring for the trans went through the interior, so I will have to splice some cut wires already. I would expect that the V8 AWD transfer case won't bolt to the 5R55E.

Have you had any chance to think of what starter and torque converter could be used with a 5R55W to bolt to the SOHC? If I thought it would easily work, I would hunt a 5R55W, and install it to start with. This would save me the wiring for the transfer case and the dash switch. It would also make me want 3.55 gears also, and the job would be easier on a bare chassis.
Thanks for any thoughts,
Don
 




Glacier991

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Don, bear in mind that your ECU won't operate the fully electronic trannies. The 93 (as I understand it, where you plan to put the 5R55E coming out of the wrecked Explorer) had an ECU that only controlled 3-4 shift and TCC lockup. The 5R55E had everything electronically controlled. You will need an ECU compatible with engine operation and trannie operation. Not saying it cannot be done, just didn't want you finding that out later.

[Note it might be better to continue this discussion in another thread outside the thread going, it IS a little off topic]
 


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Brain

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It's been a while since I added picures to this post, so here are some new ones. First up is the modified OD planet carrier, which was machined back to not rub on the snap ring retainer.
27133W-020F.JPG


Here's a closeup:
27133E-003FB.jpg


I would have taken even more off, but I ran into some limitations of my lathe setup.

Here's the modified OD drum assembly:
27133E-004FB.jpg
 




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