Sudden 1-2 slipping, '96 XLT 4X4 4spd AT w/OD | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Sudden 1-2 slipping, '96 XLT 4X4 4spd AT w/OD


Active Member
August 5, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
Richboro, PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 XLT

158k, A/C (if that makes a difference), not sure of the model transmission but A4LD rings a bell for some reason (perhaps its in the owners manual, I've read it a bunch of times).

I was driving around tonight and at one intersection, I set off to accelerate and it wouldn't shift into second. It only will do so if you get the RPMs above about 3000 and then let off almost all gas. The O/D OFF light started blinking shortly after. Later when almost home, I almost got the revs to where it should shift but I was approaching an intersection I needed to turn on and slowed to a stop. While waiting for it to clear a few seconds later, completely stopped, the whole truck slammed and felt like someone hit me in the rear. No one was behind be so the only thing it could be is the tranny was trying to shift about 10 SECONDS after I started to slow below where it should have shifted. This happened once more before I got home.

All this started quite suddenly and the transmission was shifting normally up until when the problem started.

Any ideas?

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

valve body issue, look up the 5r55e valve body rebuild....

you most likely have a 4r44e, but it is nearly identical to the 5r55e

What's the difference between the two?

Would installing one of the kits mentioned in that rebuild thread solve the issue?

Also, is it OK to drive until I can get it fixed?

A transmission specialist hooked the truck up to a diagnostics machine and came to the conclusion that:

-There is no second gear as opposed to just a slipping into second.
-The solenoid responsible for 2nd gear is not responding.
-He also thinks a band is probably broken.

A guy at NAPA however says this transmission doesn't even have bands. Who is correct?

In any case, is it possible to replace the solenoids without removing the valve body, and if not, does the valve body detach so that its open and exposed when removed, or is there an additional cover?

A full valve body rebuild is a bit outside my abilities and having it done is a bit outside my budget.

Your 4R55E transmission has 3 bands. The one in question is called the intermediate band. A band adjustment will let you know if the band is broken without having to drop the pan to look for broken band parts. You could have a broken band, leaking servo piston, or a valve body problem as previously mentioned. The 4R44E is used on the 3.0L engine. It's rated at 440 Ft./Lbs. of torque while the 4R55E which is used on the 4.0L engine is rated at 550 Ft./Lbs. of torque. They are 4 speed transmissions. The 5R55E is a 5 speed transmission. 5th gear is a "virtual" gear which is a trick of modern computer control.

What would be the symptom of a broken bad with respect to adjustment? The screw would keep tightening with no resistance way beyond where there should be?

Also, assuming I have to replace the solenoid, do you suggest I replace any other 'problem' solenoids (or all if necessary)?

Also again, I don't know if the solenoids are replaceable without removing the valve body or not.

If you go to adjust the band and it is broken, the bolt will just screw in and you will feel no resistance. If the band is good you will feel resistance as the bolt tightens. (look up thread on how to adjust bands) I would not believe anything that they tell you at at transmission shop. They are notorious rip-off artists.

Only use a torque wrench to adjust the band. Over tightening it will cause it to break. As far as the solenoids, you could check their resistance, and the wiring harness for broken wires. The solenoids could be removed without removing the entire valve body. Check # 4, and # 5 in my list of useful threads for information on adjusting the bands.

...or like mine the band could be off it's anchors. I get the same symptom between 1 and 2 as far as having to let off to make it shift. I've still got tension in the band though....long story...thread is 4R44E Band Trouble. I am pulling the pan and valve body in a few minutes to see if I can get the apply side re-anchored. I'll let everybody know. BTW if you do pull the pan you can look up right by where the shifter linkage is, and you will be able to see the band itself and the adjuster screw. You can manipulate something in there to check tension on the band to see if it is broken. I'm not an expert but this is what I have learned so far.

ooops...I better add this: If you do push something in there to check tension and move the anchor off the strut that comes off the adjuster screw, the strut will drop off the anchor and you will have to fiddle with it to get it back on. It's a royal pain. If the band is broken however that strut is probably laying in the pan. It is about 2" long and 1" wide with a paddle on one end and a thicker place on the other to hold the round end of the adjustment screw.


I have almost the exact truck as yours, except mine is 2WD. That means the transmission is exactly the same, except you have a transfer case where I have a tailshaft connecting to the rear driveshaft. What you have described is exactly the same as what happened to me about a year and a half ago (minus the bump, I have no idea what that was about). You're just revving the engine to the point where it can drop down into third, you don't have 2nd. With mine, I took off my valve body and did the TSB, replaced solenoids, added a shift kit, you name it, but it didn't fix it. It's all in Glacier's rebuild diary. I took it to a shop, they electronically tested it, the solenoids were moving, but it wasn't shifting. I posted pictures today in the diary. Hope you're problem isn't the same as mine, but I'm afraid it sounds too similiar, especially considering the miles on your truck. If I were you, I would attempt to replace the malfunctioning solenoid (if there is one), and see if that fixes it. Your going to take a bath in MERCON V, but working on a valve body isn't too difficult. One piece of advice: the first time you drop the pan, install a drain valve in it. Good luck!

Well my father bought a solenoid at NAPA (I hope the right one, he said NAPA said it was the "shift solenoid") and brought it to our mechanic to have it put in. Well it didn't fix the problem but I don't know if the solenoid will stop the flashing overdrive light and/or check engine light.

Very interesting are the two large metal pieces the mechanic found in the pan when servicing it. He said he didn't know what they were and that he couldn't find where they would have come from.



Any ideas? The one piece looks like maybe its the head of a scraper, though the end is rounded off with a notch in the middle. I did have the fluid and filter changed about a year ago. In any case, these probably have something to do with the issue, causitive or resultant.

SCB: I know exactly what those are, and I hate to say it. The one with the notched end on it is the intermediete band adjuster strut. The other piece is the anchor side of the band itself. The anchor broke off the band, and the strut and anchor fell into the pan. The only fix for it is to pull the tranny and rebuild it. You have to take the guts out to get to the band. There is no quick fix or bandaid approach to it.

I just went through this except in my case the band was fine but I caused the strut to drop when I tried to adjust the band, and then I knocked the band off kilter by driving it in that condition.

Sorry buddy, but the piece on the left is the end of of one of your band brackets. Look at the pictures I posted in Glacier's "5R55E Rebuild Diary".

You're going to need a rebuild. Don't know what the other piece is, though. I do know that if the mechanic you are referring to is a tranny guy, you need a new one. He should have recognized that band end immediately. Good luck on your rebuild. Make sure that the tranny shop reduces the price based on the parts you've already replaced.

I don't have the money so I guess that's that for a while. Guess I have to deal with it.


Well, is it possible for the strut and anchor to be replaced alone without necessitating a FULL transmission rebuild, as in I'm a transmission shop, I know this needs replacing, and while its more complex than a solenoid I know what guts to remove and can get it replaced in a fraction of the time of a full rebuild?

If thats the case, I may be able to get it done sooner than otherwise (especially considering otherwise may mean it stays this way until the truck dies).

Thanks, Ford… the steel for this thing looks pretty crappy for something under a lot of tension. It broke like one might expect stone to (a clean textured snap).

Of course I mean the band too.

Well the technician can just replace the band, and strut, but to get to it he has to drop the tranny, and disassemble it. That's what they are charging you out the yin yang for. The rebuild kit parts are only about $200.
If they are going to tear it down, why not get the full kit put in instead of just the band? They are typically going to charge at least $1000 to pull the tranny and disassemble, repair and reassemble it even if all they replace is one band.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!