Waffling in "5R55E hell" (post-rebuild) - No 1st, reverse or OD | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Waffling in "5R55E hell" (post-rebuild) - No 1st, reverse or OD

tac40

Elite Explorer
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Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 Ford Explorer Sport
Hi all. I'm new to the forums and am having trouble with a 5R55E that I recently rebuilt. Am hoping that someone here can share their insight on a few items in question. I've tried to provide as much detail as possible below.

Recently purchased a '97 Explorer with a "blown" trans; (4.0 SOHC/5R55E with ~161K miles). Great condition (and price, due to the trans). When I bought it, it only had 1st & reverse and it slipped in all forward gears, but I only had to drive it 4 blocks to get it home so not a big deal.

Had no prior experience with the 5R55E, but after a successful prior career building trannies, (and still having all the tools) I figured I'd give it a shot. Spent a few days researching the typical issues with this model along with recommended parts, mods, etc. That's actually how I found this forum. :)

The fluid was the typical "stinky brown mud" found in overheated units and I could tell that someone had recently had the pan off. I pulled it apart and since I hadn't worked on one of these before, I photographed everything along the way.

The most obvious problem was that the forward clutch pack was toast and the directs were badly worn as well. One of the two brass sealing rings on the forward clutch hub had worn thin, and pressure to that drum was dumping at the hub. This seems to be a known issue with this model. Looks like Ford switched from brass to plastic sealing rings in 2004 for the fwd hub, so I used plastic during the rebuild. The other clutch-packs weren't *great*, but not as bad as the forward. Also had to replace the output-shaft-ring-gear-and-hub-assembly. The needle bearing, had come apart and the hub was scored.

For parts, I used a TransTec kit, and replaced all frictions. Also replaced the steels in the forward and direct clutches. I replaced the front & intermediate servo pistons and made sure that the heat-shield was properly reinstalled on the passengers side. Up front, I replaced the pump bushing and went with a rebuilt torque converter. I used a TransGo shift-kit and replaced the TPC solenoid just because it was recommended to do so. I couldn't locate a separator plate with bonded gaskets, so I reused the existing plate, made the TransGo mods and went with new gaskets from the TransTec kit. I mock-assembled it first, and checked all critical clearances and made the necessary adjustments where needed as well as air-checked the application of every clutch-pack and band servo. I tried to be as careful as possible and photographed and recorded everything during the reassembly. I measured/tested the resistance of all the solenoids and all seemed fine. I also used an inch-pound torque wrench for the valve body and 1st/reverse servo cover and was very careful about the tightening sequence of the VB.

I flushed the cooler lines as well as possible and reinstalled the beast. Added 5 quarts of Mercon-V, started it with the rear wheels off the ground and let it idle in reverse while I added just a little more than 4.5 more quarts.

It didn't make any noise, but also didn't have reverse. Also, the OD light was flashing. In drive, there were no delays, but I could only detect two upshifts. I rechecked electrical connections at the trans and also disconnected the shift linkage and tried moving the shift-lever manually to check for reverse and also cycle through forward gears. No change. On the ground, I realized there was no first gear either. Since first and reverse use the same servo and band, I wasn't really surprised. I was really careful with the positioning of the rear band and never heard any loud bang noise, so I'm not thinking broken band, but could it have slipped reassembly? .. maybe...

So it's starting out in second, shifting to third, then fourth, and no overdrive. I'm suspecting valve body. I went to put a pressure gauge on it last night but lost the needed fitting so I'm going to get a replacement this morning and check pressures before pulling the valve body and checking 1st/reverse servo and band position. I'll post pics and any discoveries and will undoubtedly have questions. Would sincerely appreciate any comments, advice, guidance, etc. Thanks in advance. :)

Regards,

--mike
 

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I assume you removed the separator plate? Do you have the ATSG manual for the correct location of the L keepers also the check balls? It is easy to put these back in the wrong locations and of course that will cause problems. Some of the valves have to be held in the correct position when putting in the L keeps.
 






I assume you removed the separator plate? Do you have the ATSG manual for the correct location of the L keepers also the check balls? It is easy to put these back in the wrong locations and of course that will cause problems. Some of the valves have to be held in the correct position when putting in the L keeps.

Hi. Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you mentioned that. Yes I removed the separator plate and I *do* have the ATSG manual. Everything was really clean when reassembled, but the multiple "L keepers" and their location and required position in the cavities they sit, in remains a source of confusion for me, and I have some follow-up questions on that topic. Since I hadn't been into a 5R55E VB before, I highlighted in neon marker the locations of every L-keeper, U-clip, check-ball, shuttle, etc. What confuses me most isn't so much the *location* of each L-keeper, but whether or not each "L" is supposed to just be dropped in at its required location, or should it be under some tension (being held in place by a spring-loaded valve in the VB), or some combination of both? Thanks again.

Regards,

--mike




Here's how I was highlighting the VB locations-of-interest as I was reassembling. I do this for most every VB I rebuild as it helps me remember what has to be installed where:
 

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Some are held by tension and will not fall out if the valve body is turned over, the others will. I don't remember which ones stay in.
 






Pic. of L keeps in relation to internal valves.
 

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Some are held by tension and will not fall out if the valve body is turned over, the others will. I don't remember which ones stay in.

Ok, thanks. Kind of thought that would be the case. Will have to research further.

I just finished the pressure test and am about to drop the pan. Very revealing...
Here's what I've got:

Pressures (Cold fluid / battery disconnected 24hrs prior)

Line pressure:

R - Idle: 72 - (Required range = 102-132)
R - WOT Stall: 65 - (Required range = 282-350)

N - Idle: 59 - (Required range = 75-105)

(D),2,1 - Neutral: 55,55,59 - (Required range = 93-123)
(D),2,1 - WOT Stall: 69,65,65 - (Required range = 228-263)


EPC pressure:

R - Idle: 0 - (Required range = 55-65)
R - WOT Stall: 0 - (Required range = 112-134)

N - Idle: 0 - (Required range = 22-32)

(D),2,1 - Idle: 0,0,0 - (Required range = 39-49)
(D),2,1 - WOT Stall: 0,0,0 - (Required range = 112-134)

... EPC test port not fun to access... ;-)
 

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I don't use the Transgo shift kit but from what I remember isn't there a EPC blow off ball and spring? If you have this in backwards you will loose all your EPC pressure and this low pressure will keep reverse from engaging.

Yea some of the "L" pins are just loose sitting in the valve body.
 






Pic. of L keeps in relation to internal valves.

Hi again, and thanks for the pic. I found that one as well when searching for info during the reassembly. I just got the pan off, pulled the filter and already see something that looks wrong. The plug in the bore next to the EPC solenoid (towards the manual valve) looks like it's pushed in too far. I believe that's the "2-3 or 3-4 Shift Valve". The plug has 2 grooves in it, and I think I put the u-clip that retains it in the wrong groove, holding the plug in too far. Also, the solenoid retainer bracket is pushing on the plug-end. Does anyone know if the bracket is supposed to push against the end of the plug or maybe hook into the outer groove in the plug? Not sure if this could even contribute to any of the symptoms that I've got, but it can't be good....
 

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Looks like you have the plug in backwards and the bracket should clip the plug also.
 






I don't use the Transgo shift kit but from what I remember isn't there a EPC blow off ball and spring? If you have this in backwards you will loose all your EPC pressure and this low pressure will keep reverse from engaging.

Yea some of the "L" pins are just loose sitting in the valve body.

Hi,

Yep, I installed their EPC blow-off mod but it doesn't look like it could go in backwards since there's a cotter pin on the outer end holding the spring and ball in. The assembly pics are below but I'll double-check as soon as it cools a bit more and I have the VB on the bench. Thanks.

--mike
 

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They must pre-assemble that blow off valve now, I remember installing the ball and spring and then the cotter pin at one time.

Is that a crack in the valve body right near this blow off valve?
 






Before you remove the valve body blow air into the EPC port and look for a big leak on the valve body.
 






They must pre-assemble that blow off valve now, I remember installing the ball and spring and then the cotter pin at one time.

Is that a crack in the valve body right near this blow off valve?

Nope, no crack. That's a misleading photo. I posted a close-up below. Looks like a casting ridge.

And, you're right about the blow off valve. You still assemble the ball & spring and then cotter pin, and then the assembly into the bore. But that part looks correct to me. But now that I have the VB out and on the bench, I can definitely see the plug next to it is in backwards:
 

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Before you remove the valve body blow air into the EPC port and look for a big leak on the valve body.

Sorry, I pulled it before reading your post. Darn, I should have done that. I have the old solenoid and could easily fab an adapter to blow air in there.
 






I dont think I would bother with that, just something else to try ifs its not the plug.
 






I dont think I would bother with that, just something else to try ifs its not the plug.

Ok cool. So.... it looks like I didn't have the plug in backwards, but I did have it's U-retainer in the wrong groove of the end plug which positioned it too deep in the bore. When I turned it around and reinstalled it, the manual valve hits the end plug. (top photo) So I returned it to the way I'd originally had it but moved it's U-retainer to the inner groove and hooked the solenoid bracket into it's outer groove. (bottom two photos).

I think this is how it's supposed to be. Does this look better now? Thanks again.

--mike
 

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Thats looks better!

2013-07-16145235_zps7f356c2e.jpg
 






Just ordered a VB from Donny

... and also just drilled my pan and welded a nut on the inside and installed a drain plug.....

So naturally, 2 hours later I stumbled upon a local source for a deep pan from a 4x4 5R55E for next to nothing. Lol

So....... I'm doing the drain-plug mod (again :rolleyes:) on the deep one now.

VB should arrive in a few days.

To be continued......
 






Use a 4x4 filter.
 



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