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You don't have to remove the entire transmission. Take a look at the sticky threads at the top of the transmission section called the A4LD valve body rebuild diary, and the 5R55E valve body rebuild diary.
I saw your other thread about problems with the transmission going into reverse, so maybe you can reference this thread too where I offer some advice on checking the linkage and condition of the reverse servo:
Just make SURE that you tighten down the valve body to the proper torque or you'll be doing it all over again and wasting expensive Mercon and time. Use a NEW filter and make SURE it either comes with a new O-RING when you buy it or at least use the old one to make sure the seal is tight.
my trans goes into reverce fine then wen iput it in drive it hesitates one drive engages it shifts fine untill ishift i to reverce or park then istart over changed and adjusted modulator and fluid but still same problem
BrooklynBay is one of the wisest people on here! Pressure is vital in auto transmissions, and after you have verified the proper fluid level (not too high or low) the next best step is to hook up an oil pressure gauge and check against spec through various gears. low pressure usually indicates leaky valve body, sticking valves, clogged filter or a failing pump. the first three can be fixed with the transmission in the car. the pump is a doozy, requiring removal of the trans and the use of a special alignment tool for proper installation (although i used a pvc coupler for alignment like others have). i realize that you said reverse works fine, but the reality is that there is a lot more pressure for reverse than the forward gears. verifying the pressure may save you the expense and time of a rebuild.
if the presssures are all within spec, then it could be a forward clutch on its way out if the fluid color is somewhat darker than normal. the clutch piston can also be leaking as the seal tends to fail when the clutches get too thin and travel distance increases.
while you are down there, properly torque the bands to spec as it is an easy fix too. i had the same symptoms as you, and after a vb rebuild (without verifying pressures) i ended up having to drop it all again and rebuild the transmission as the forward clutches were fried and no friction material left. rest was actually in great shape except for the overdrive band (another cheap part). transmisions can be fun to work on, and that was my first. just make sure you have the time, patience and space to do it first and you'll be very happy!