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2000 Explorer 5r55e transmission issues, drive and reverse.

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Old 02-05-2013, 09:40 PM
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2000 Explorer 5r55e transmission issues, drive and reverse.

Hello all,

My 2000 Ford Explorer is having 5r55e transmission issues. It has been giving me issues with the overdrive for a couple of years, blinking OD light but I usually don't drive it far so I was trying to get by with it. Then about two months ago it slipped while I tried to pass a car and then went back into gear doing about 50mph. Thought it was done but when I stopped at the light up the road, it was back to normal. I clearly saw their was an issue and immediately changed the fluid and filter. This didn't change the blinking OD but I thought it would take care of the slipping, at least that what I was really hoping for.

Now a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly lost drive and reverse while I was leaving my house about half a block down my street but noticed that the OD light was no longer blinking. I was able to get it home by shifting into low 1 and found that I still had low 2 also. Both Low 1 and Low2 were solid. Low 1 seems to stay in one gear, while low 2 seems to be a higher gear and shifts up. I don't really know how far it shifts this way, I think 3rd but the gears seem solid.

I checked the forums here and found a couple of different threads about the valve body, the separator plate and gaskets and shift solenoids it may have been all in the Valve Body Diary thread I don't remember for sure. A lot of good information which seemed to be comparable to my issues.

I sent away for the kit, an updated separator plate with bonded gaskets, blow off valve, retainer, and directions. In two days they came in the mail, so I then took the pan back off removed the valve body and checked my coast clutch, shift, tcc and the ecp solenoids, which all passed the ohms tests. The Gaskets on the old separator plate may or may not have been bad. After I removed the plate I tried to see anywhere there may have been damage, they looked to be missing little pieces here and there but it could have been done during removal, they were really brittle.

So at this point I am thinking that the gaskets were the culprit and that it might have been losing hydraulic pressure to drive and reverse. Backtracking my steps I installed the new Separator plate, installed the blow off valve and removed the small screen and spring per instructions. After installing the fluid again, I removed both pos and neg cables from the battery and let it sit for an hour to reset the computer. Again, hoping I solved my issue...

When I started the Explorer up, it seemed to be still having the same exact issues. No drive or reverse, no OD light blinking and solid Low 1 and Low 2. After sitting with it idling and checking the gears, I thought to try to drive it to see if it would change a symptom. When I drove I started in Low 1 and when I got up to 20mph I changed to Low 2, it switched gears. As I picked up speed I felt it switch again, I tried drive and it was slipping a little so I didn't want to chance it and switched it back. Then I had an idea, the OD was blinking before and figured that meant it wasn't able to work and didn't have overdrive, so I pushed the button to turn off the overdrive. Now when I switched it to drive it worked. So now it switched from the high side of Low2 to another Gear. So it seems like I have 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, with OD off and no OD?

I ended up at Home depot about two miles from my house and went in to get something. When I came back out and started the truck, I went to back out and tried reverse but of course it still didn't work, so I through it in neutral and let it drift back. I shut down the OD and put it in Low 1, thinking I had it figured out and there was no Low1? I shifted to Low 2 and no Low 2? Shifted to drive hoping like hell I wasn't going to have to call a tow and it went into gear and seemed like it was going to now work in drive. At first it did seem like it would, I got up to about 45mph when I first noticed it slip a little, so I slowed down. Then if I tried to go faster at all it would slip a little, until I was close to around 30-35mph. So I kept it at that speed so I wouldn't have any slippage.

When I got it home, I called my cousin who does some work at a garage and asked him to bring the shops Snap-On scanner down and help me run the diag tests on it, he did and the results came back as a bad Solenoid C. So again I thought I had it figured out, here it was on a very expensive scanner slapping me in the face. I called Napa, gave them my credit card info and picked the Solenoid up the next morning. I was a man on a mission by now and had the experience to back it up. I tore into that pan and pulled the Solenoid out like a bad tooth, gently laid the new one into place, bolted the bar into place that holds it and reinstalled the pan. I refilled the fluids and pulled the pos and neg batter cables to reset the codes. Again, hoping I solved my issue...

Now when I started it back up, I have Low 1 and Low 2 solid. If I turn off OD, drive will kick in at 30-35mph, no reverse. Back to square one....

I talked to the mechanic at the shop, he explained to me that he had an issue similar to mine with another Explorer and it turned out to be the computer, so he changed out he computer and had to have Ford code it to work together. $220 for the computer and another $80 for Ford to code it. He suggested that I check it with the scanner again and if it comes back with the same code, Solenoid C, after replacing it with a new Solenoid then it was probably the computer having issues...

At this point I don't know, not that I ever did but I am usually pretty good at finding the issue and correcting it but I really don't have much experience with transmissions. I was almost thinking that it had something to do with the overdrive going out of it and tied into that somehow, maybe through the computer? Or the valve body had something in it causing the valves to stick?

It seems like I have all the gears now except reverse again and they are solid but I have to shift it myself. It is strange and alien to me now. Every time I thought I might have it, it beat me to the ground, lol... I have done all the reading and researching I could find online, tried to do some of the low cost fixes and now I am at a point where I have to ask for help. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:59 PM
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A flashing OD light means there is an issue, not that OD isn't working. It's like a check engine light. Pulling the codes is the place to start when diagnosing an electronic transmission. I'm not sure what you mean be solenoid C, do you mean the EPC? That is the pressure control solenoid, which sounds like your issue, but it may also be a failing pump or internal pressure leak.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 PM
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The scanner came back saying that shift solenoid C was bad. May be the EPC, would that be what controls the switching between switch solenoids because it seems like I am just having to do it manually. I thought from the beginning that it was a low pressure issue...
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:51 PM
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This transmission does not require the use of the solenoids to engage in forward and reverse, you could leave them unplugged and it should still engage in forward and reverse.

Worry about the solenoid code later, its not the reason why this thing is not moving.

You are describing how this transmission would work if the input sprag has failed.

The input sprag has to hold for 1st and reverse, the reason why it engages in low and 2nd is because in those ranges the coast clutch is applied and that supports the sprag. Having the overdrive cancelled in 4th gear will apply the coast clutch also so that's why it can shift to 4th.

What probably happened was when it down shifted to pass that car the sprag has to hold for it to go from 5th to 4th and it slipped and was damaged, it didn't take long for it to completely fail. This is a known failure spot in this transmission.

The Front One Way Drive Clutch is the input sprag

Name:  5r55e Clutch and Band.JPG
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:34 PM
yorky yorky is offline
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I was having similar problems a few months back. Baby it and no slip at all, mash it, it slipped like crazy. Then the only way it moved was to manually shift. I had the tranny rebuilt and when I got it back I was told that the, I guess clutch plates for first were next to shot. He asked what all I did with it and when I told him that I tow a 3k lb. boat (in a mountainous area) he told me to drop it down to 1st manually (on an incline start) to take strain off it because of it applying the band. Since the rebuild the only issue I have is once in a while I get a code of incorrect gear ratio (1st). Other than that it is like a new tranny.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:22 PM
bandit11 bandit11 is offline
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i had a similar prob after much searching found the earth wires in the wiring loom, about 8 of them were not fuse welded together they were just pushed together, therefore they gave intermittant probs as the earthing function was sent via other components, it was in the loom behind the radio and i found it when i accidently touched the loom and things worked, i opened up the loom and securley joined the wires, that was at about 80000 km it has now done 190000km city driving and high speed towing no probs
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:11 PM
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No Reverse and locked up

My ford ranger will not back up. It is locked if you try. I can spin the wheels backwards on the stand while in park. It will drive forward. I have it on stands for the rear axle.

I have a 5r55e. I do not want to get ripped off at a tranny shop.

What should I do? I had thought about rebuilding it my self but have never done a transmission. Is it really that hard? I have a college education and I am very good with my hands. I have worked in the oilfield, I was a custom boot maker for 20 years, and worked in the film industry for for many years fixing equipment.

Why is a transmission repair so scary? I have been ripped off by shops before saying they rebuilt it, when I could tell they did not even drop the transmission because of the bolts.

Agh! I need help here guys.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:03 PM
0ldman 0ldman is offline
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I'm pretty mechanically inclined, done everything but the tranny and the rear end myself. I took mine to a reputable tranny shop and got them to rebuild it.

Got around 20k miles on it and someone totaled out the Explorer for us.

As I understand it the problem is fairly typical of Ford. They love their smooth shifting transmissions so the wear and tear is greater than it would be with a moderate shift kit. There generally isn't a single component failure, it is just wear on a lot of components.
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