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servo-bore fix, 5r55w

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'02 4.6L EB
Be safe

I wish you safe passage through these stormy times.
 


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Vinman1871

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2002 Ford Explorer EB 4WD
Modified servo fix

I just installed the servos with o-rings on my 5R55W. Did both servos, changed fluid(filthy) and filter, and adjusted bands. Used to have the same symptoms others were mentioning. They have now disappeared though I think I need to check the adjustment on the intermediate band-very subtle slippage there. Hard to believe something this simple would work but it did. With parts and fluid it was about $300. Did want want to put much more into an Explorer with 183,000 miles.

Those snap rings on the servos are a real pain with the tight spacing down there-especially for the intermediate servo. The only parts I removed were the heat shields-had a hoist to work on it with.

Just wanted to share my experience with you guys since these forums have been a great source of information for me.
 




tmaher

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Update:
Well I finally found some time to tackle this project. After jacking up the rig and taking a good look I decided to not remove the cat. and decided to just remove the two heat shields around the passenger side cat. This gave me enough room to get to the servos on the passenger side of the trany and actually use the cat as a leverage point for pushing the servos in with a standard pry/crow bar.
I started with the OD servo as this was the one that was acting up and giving me the shift problems from 2nd to 3rd and a occasional OD warning light. Removal of the original servo was fairly easy, the hardest part was getting the snap ring out. The replacement O-ring servo went in nice and smooth with a nice pop as the O-rings passed the inside journal.
This is when things got hard. Getting the snap ring back in was a bear. It took me about a half hour wrestling with the snap ring to get it seated back into the slot. An extra pair of hands while doing this would have come in handy (no pun intended) but I was solo on this project.
With the OD servo complete I decided to not attempt the intermediate servo since I wanted to see how the OD servo was going to work, I was also running out of time and still had the band to tighten and filter to replace.
Tightening of the OD band fought me as well. The lock nut was seized onto the tightening bolt and needed some finesse to get it loose enough to tighten the bolt on the band. The info I had on the square tightening bolt said it was a ¼” square head, well its not exactly ¼” square as I couldn’t fit the drive side of a ¼” socket over it. I ended up using a slightly worn 10mm socket and slid it over the head. This gave me enough grip on the head to get my torque wrench in and tighten to the recommended 10ft/lbs and then back off 2 full turns. I had to remove the shift linkage bracket that is around the OD belt tighten bolt to get enough room to do this.
The filter was fairly straight forward. I pulled the center allen head drain plug from the 7/8” pan drain plug. About 3.5 quarts drained out. I decided to leave the rest of the fluid in the pan since it didn’t smell or appeared to be burnt. I carefully removed the pan bolts and lowered the pan keeping in mind there is still a lot of fluid still left in the pan. The filter was just two bolts, in and out and then carefully bolted the pan back up. Since I only removed about 3.5 quarts of fluid I only had to put back in 3.5 quarts of fresh fluid.
Something that I found out through my research on these tranys is that they have an allen head fluid fill plug on the passenger side of the trany just before the transfer case. Filling with a hand pump from this plug was way easier than the other methods I have read about.
Results:
Before the fix, under normal accel., the engine would go to about 4500 rpm between 2nd and 3rd gear. If I stomped on the throttle, it would nearly red line with a lot of noise and not much forward progress until it got into 3rd gear.
After the fix the trany shifts normally. Much like I assume it would have from the factory. It seems to stay in 1st longer and shifts from 2nd to 3rd with no long delay or hesitation. Granted I have only put on about 30 miles since I did this fix yesterday but I would have to say it has been well worth it. I don’t have to granny the throttle through 3rd gear any more.:D


Just ordered my new OD servo from AJ1E Superior Solutions. Will attempt the replacement a week from this Saturday. So all you did to gain access was remove the CAT shields? No exhaust cutting or removal? BTW, i bought a cheap set of 90 Degree Bent Nose Pliers to attack the snap ring. You don't have a pic of the servo access with the shields removed? I don't want to have to remove the right side exhaust by cutting the crossover and disconnecting the O2 sensors.
 




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Just ordered my new OD server from AJ1E Superior Solutions. Will attempt the replacement a week from this Saturday. So all you did to gain access was remove the CAT shields? No exhaust cutting or removal? BTW, i bought a cheap set of 90 Degree Bent Nose Pliers to attack the snap ring. You don't have a pic of the servo access with the shields removed? I don't want to have to remove the right side exhaust by cutting the crossover and disconnecting the O2 sensors.

Yes you are correct, I did not remove any exhaust piping or sensors. Removing the two heat shields from around the cat was enough to get to the servos. It is a little tricky weaving the heat shields in and out but they do come out. Having the cat still in gave me a better fulcrum point to use a crow bar and push the servos in while wrestling with the snap rings.
Also, you might want to have a large bathroom style mirror handy. It helps to wedge it up there to better get a visual on the snap ring positions.
So far I am still happy I did this job. It has been 8 months and about 5K miles and it is still shifting fine!:)
Good luck with your install.
 




tmaher

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when you levered the cap how far does it move? I pulled on it very hard and saw little movement inward. do the bands need to be loosened first?
 




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They should move in about 3/32nd - 1/8th inch. I didn't loosen the band first. Try soaking some WD40 around the cup to see if it is just some oxidization holding the cup in.
 




tmaher

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Update: After removing the heat shields and struggling with the "C" clip for 2 hours (i broke one ear off the clip :-( ) I took my explorer to a local shop and asked them to install the new OD server from A1JE. 2 hours of labor and $150 later all is fixed!! Really made my day. All i had to do was clear the DTC code, P0775. Beats having someone tell me it'll cost 3 grand for a rebuild!

Having a lift makes a huge difference i guess....

Runs like a scalded dog!!! I will monitor for a while but all appears in good order.
 




v8focus1

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I don't mean to shoot down everything about this "FIX" but have any of you ever thought about what that band looks like with it slipping for any amount of time? That servo fix might work ok for a little while, but without removing the transmission and having it overhauled, that band could be burnt so badly it's just causing more damage. I've been installing the correct case repair bushings for several years now. I am a Ford Senior Master technician, so I have seen these problems with as little as 60k miles where the case has worn and burned the bands. The reworked servos may cure the symptoms for a little bit, but face it, the aluminum case is worn, it isn't going to get any better.
 




BrooklynBay

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Welcome to this forum! Ford should come out with a new case which already has the servo bore repair kit installed. The O ring servo should be an OEM part too. I don't know why Ford never caught onto these ideas to modify their own flawed designs.
 




tmaher

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i agree with you, v8focus1, about the burnt bands. But i didn't let the problem fester for a long time, only a couple of weeks with very little driving as well. So the damage to the bands should be minimal. The servo repair sealed the leaking blowby so i don't see how the bands will be any worse for wear. Worse case, i need a complete rebuild some time in the future requiring the tranny to be dropped. If i have to pull the tranny down the line, I might as well rebuild the entire thing for the minimal extra cost of the parts.

BTW, all is working well. I'll keep my fingers x'd for now. All i need is another year out of this heap untill i get my wife a new car.
 




v8focus1

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I do agree, Ford should have the servo pistons o-ringed to begin with and the cases should already have bushings. The bushing repair isn't a Ford solution, a transmission rebuilding company came up with the repair and Ford adopted it as an approved repair. Many vehicles suffer from the same issues, a steel pin moving in an aluminum bore. The Focus and Fusion automatics also have a bushing repair for the case for the 2-4 servo- also not a Ford designed fix, but they have gone along with it.
 




scottydog1

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Interesting thread. I just bought a '04 Explorer with a 5R55S transmission and 99,000 miles. The transmission works great at this time, but I'd like to avoid the all too common problems that are out there. Should I go ahead and do the O-ring servo piston fix now, put in the new bore sleeve or should I wait? Judging from some of the posts, I don't think I'll tackle it myself. Do you think I'd be able to talk a transmission specialist into doing it?

On another note, I've been told that I shouldn't have the tranny power flushed if it has so many miles. Also, in the owners manual it says that cleaners shouldn't be used, as they may damage the transmission. Any thoughts on either of these issues would be appreciated.

Thx
 




BrooklynBay

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v8focus1

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Power flushing these transmissions are difficult since the transmission does not allow full flow through the cooler until the temperature of the fluid gets hot. Flushing- at least with a BG or similar service- will not hurt anything if done correctly. The person doing the flushing just has to make sure to set the fluid to the right level in the pan after the flush is complete. As a preventative measure, the oringed servos might be a good idea, and they can be done in the vehicle.
 




meangreen23

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I just had the aftermarket oringed OD servo put in with success. Cost was parts + $150 for a mechanic to perform the install. Well worth it. My problems arose quite quickly. Both 2nd and 5th gear were missing. This fixed it. The mechanic noted no bore or band wear. My explorer is an 02' XLT 4.0 4x4 automatic with 106,000 miles.
 




tmaher

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Good for you, meangreen23. Mine is still purring. Wife is happy, so by definition, i am happy. :)
 




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Mine is shifting fine too...... So far. Definitely worth the trouble of install.:burnout:
 




v8focus1

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I just had the aftermarket oringed OD servo put in with success. Cost was parts + $150 for a mechanic to perform the install. Well worth it. My problems arose quite quickly. Both 2nd and 5th gear were missing. This fixed it. The mechanic noted no bore or band wear. My explorer is an 02' XLT 4.0 4x4 automatic with 106,000 miles.

Not much of a "mechanic" in my book, the bore had to be worn or you would not have had the problem, also he cannot see the band unless he takes the trans apart.
 




meangreen23

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Not much of a "mechanic" in my book, the bore had to be worn or you would not have had the problem, also he cannot see the band unless he takes the trans apart.

Let me clarify exactly what the mechanic said:
-Adjustments were made to the OD band. Adjuster was loosened and then tightened back to exactly where it had been prior to adjustment with resistance, indicating to the mechanic that the bands were ''fine.''
-The OD servo cap had broken circularly along the outward-face and separated completely from the rest of the servo. Almost like the piston punched through it. He didn't explain why this happened, just that there wasn't any wear on the bore. He maybe meant there was ''minimal'' wear. IDK.

I am not sure how thorough he was at checking the band and bore, but this is what he told me.
 


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v8focus1

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The "mechanic" should have replaced the locknut if he loosened the adjuster(it has sealant to prevent leaks and from backing off). I have seen the servo piston break like you described, chances are that it would not have damaged the band since the broken piston would not allow any application of the band.
 




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