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

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Brain

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I was doing my weekly search of eBay, an low and behold what do I see?
27133E-013F.jpg

Ford part# XL2Z-7B446-DA

Here's the link (3 available at $60/each)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=1467&item=5520988155&rd=1

Now, for those paying attention, I've gone off on the design/redesign/re-redesign of the OD planet carrier and OD spring retainer. I wasn't even aware that this part, strictly for the A4LD (because it doesn't have the sensor ring needed for the 4R/5R input shaft speed sensor), even existed. This one has the "bearing ring" that the later models have, but they still didn't fix the underlying problem. Note to Ford engineers: you wouldn't have to have so many revisions if you'd revise it correctly the first time.

I'd hate to be the guy who used this OD planet carrier with the old style spring retainer (which wasn't meant to be used as a bearing). That said, with this part and the newest style of spring retainer, it is as good as the 5R version.
 


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Brain

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So I had everthing put back together (without the valve body in place) and was going to put it back in when I decided that I was going to go one step further. Since I suspect (even remotely) that the 3-4 shift solenoid was/is a potential failure point, I didn't want to just put in a new one and let it go at that. I wanted to be able to see and test its funtioning without too much trouble. I decided that I wanted to monitor the pressure applied to the OD servo using a gauge. Since I was going that far, I figured it wouldn't hurt to monitor the pressure of the Intermediate servo as well (and wouldn't cost but an extra $40 for the sending unit and switch). So this is what the dash (where the stereo used to go) will look like when I'm finished with the instrumentation:

27133l-006-med.jpg


The pressure gauge on the left will display (depending on how the switches are positioned) the following:
1) control pressure
2) OD servo pressure
3) Intermediate servo pressure
So I'm going to use three sending units with a single gauge head.

The temperature gauge on the right will display the temperature of fluid being sucked up into the intake tube at the bottom of the filter element (that's one reason I put the drain plug in the pan in that location).

The two LEDs will indicate whether or not the two solenoids (the only two electrical parts in this tranny) are activated.

I can't think of much else that I can monitor easily that will indicate the health of the tranny and possibly allow me to fix a simple problem before it cascades into a terminal issue.

To get the pressure sending units away from the HOT catalytic converter, I'm installing some fittings (1/8" NPT 27TPI, same as the sending units and as the control pressure test port) to pipe the fluid down below the converter. This will also make it easier to complete and check the wiring of the sending units.

Here's a picture of the tapped hole in the ZC cover (OD - it was thicker than I first thought):

27133l-001F.JPG


Here's a picture of the tapped hole in the AB cover (Intermediate - it was just thick enough for me to be comfortable with the tap):

27133l-002F.JPG


Here's a picture of the brass fittings:

27133l-003F.JPG


Here's the covers with the fittings installed (with a little super-black silicone sealant):

27133l-004F.JPG


Here's a picture of the fitting sticking out of the inside of the cover:

27133l-005F.JPG


Those parts that stick out had to be removed in both cases so that they don't interfere with the servos. I used a drill to get close, and a Dremel w/ abrasive disk to finish it up:

(insert picture)

I did get two new solenoid valves for the 3-4 shift and TCC lockup functions. Some people might think I'm crazy and going overboard for wanting to monitor new equipment, but 'new' is only 'new' until the first time you use it, then it is just differences in degrees of 'used'. If a $25 soleniod can take out hundreds of dollars worth of hard parts that are much more difficult to replace, then I want a way of seeing that it isn't malfunctioning. This was the most direct way that I could see.
 




Glacier991

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Brain... have you checked the heat shield clearance? (I guess you could MOD a shield too). (g)
 




Brain

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Acually, it was removed and lost someplace along the way at some shop (Colorado Springs is my guess). I never pulled it off, and yet it wasn't there when I removed the tranny, so either I buy one or build it. I've got plenty of aluminum flashing and pop-rivets to do the job....
 




JGAMBLE

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quick question... do you do this just for yourself or as a business. What I know about tranny's could fit on a one page book with room left over :D My A4LD's still good, but showing the first signs of wear and I'm looking for where it's replacement will come from.

:chug: :chug:
 




98explo

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Wow, some good info to keep in mind. I am just getting ready to attend college for auto tech and see now that i got alot more to learn about auto trans than i had expected. Will be checking back to see how it turned out.
 




turbowsr

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Brain, Looking at the 5R bellhousing, Glacier was right on with it being from a 3.0. Think about this, how much force does it take to turn over a 2.9 vs 3.0 vs the long stroked 4.0. So the 4.0 has a larger starter, hence the larger starter housing. It seems the 3.0 had the starter on either passenger or driver side of tranny, while the 4.0 had the starter ONLY on drivers side. But about the number of clutches? My 5R had only 4 cluches per direct/forward drums. This IS a reman tranny, and the rebuild shop DID forget the torsen bearing between the center support and intermediate drum. All parts have the ford logo on them, so maybe this is a Ford Reman.
Lack of this bearing, the drum contacted the support, and somewhere, somehow the clutches were destroyed. Along with the gear on the forward drum.
Thanks both to brain and Glacier for their incredibly detailed tranny threads.
 




monkeydude3

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wow is all I have to say about this post. I'm amazed at the knowledge of automatic transmissions.... excellent work, Brain. I'd love to see up close, but I'm from IL.

(aspiring technician here)

Take care

George
 




Jefe

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turbowsr said:
Brain, Looking at the 5R bellhousing, Glacier was right on with it being from a 3.0. . .
It sounded good ;) , but its wrong. That 5R came from my truck, so it was off a 4.0 OHV. My theory was that the 4.0 SOHC block is different so the starter was modified to clear, and that modification was copied over to the OHV to keep everything similar. The actual mounting locations are identical to the older bellhousings though.
 




Kris Guilbeaux

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nay updated on this transmission. very interested to here if it made it in the truck and how well it worked. since I have two A4LDs at my house and can get a 5R pretty easy if I wanted.
 




JGAMBLE

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yes, also interested in how it worked after this big of a write up. Might send ya an A4LD so I have a spare sitting around.

:chug: :chug:
 




scott93EB

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Brain, I just noticed your in Golden. Im at Mines here with my X, doing the most you can at college. I've seen a few nice explorers here, what Mods on yours?

Oh man, just got back from the E-days fire works, Im guessing just about all denver heard them.
 




milehighxr

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I too am not too far from Golden, and would be interested in how this turned out. I have 1 junk A4, and another that is in use, and want to build a hybrid for my daily driver. I'm not into explorers, but what you are doing can help me a lot.
 




Brain

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IT LIVES!!!!! :D
I know I haven't updated/responed to any of the posts here in many months, but I started a new job this past spring and this project fell back on my list of priorities, until it came back to the top of the list with a vengence. My four-vehicle family was down to a single vehicle. :(

Long story short (with more to follow later) - first drive was yesterday, and I couldn't be happier with the performance. Control pressure is higher than stock (as expected because of the pressure regulator mod), the shifts happen at the "right" time in the "right" order (not piled up, missing shifts, or over-reving between shifts), and the TCC locks up and drops the engine RPMs down to about 2250 while cruising at 74 mph.

Having it work "right" (without even having to adjust the vacuum modulator) takes a load off of my mind because of the extensive modifications I made to the lubrication passages. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't have enough flow to feed all of the larger lube circuits and still have enough pressure/flow for the control system to function properly.

Putting the drain plug in the pan was a good thing because I overfilled the tranny by about 1/2 quart and it made it easy to drain out the extra fluid. I had estimated that between the much larger tranny cooler and the deeper pan, I would need about 12 quarts instead of the normal 10....it was actually about 11.5.

No leaks, grinding noises, etc...I still haven't gotten all of the pressure gauges and manual override switches installed yet (need to find some smaller sending units), but for now Frankentranny is working and accumulating miles. :thumbsup:
 




Glacier991

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CONGRATS GUY! Great to see you again after all this time!
 




Brain

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Thanks. No doubt I'm not the first person to get sidetracked from a project because of other things life throws out. First 100 miles down and the wheels are still spinning!

Glacier- you have been one busy bee since these posts started. Real nice job on the other writeups.
 




Glacier991

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Thanks, from you that's high praise.
 




Kris Guilbeaux

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Awsome I am Glad every thing worked out like it should I might be getting into building one simular for future use.. Thanks Great write up.
 




milehighxr

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That is great to hear that worked first day out. I can't wait for more info.
 


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neville76

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hi my name is nev how do i get the top two bellhouseing bolts off
 




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