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Old 01-02-2018, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default 5R55E Issue

I don't know if this is where I need to be but here is the issue:

Veh: 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 4.0 4x4 Auto with Overdrive. 185K

I was driving to Seattle on I82 @ 75MPH. I was 51 miles from home (Granger) when the RPM's jumped up to 5500 rpm! I immediately began to slow and pulled off to the side of the interstate. I kinda knew instantly that the transmission went out but I still had 1st gear and limped off the interstate. I sat on the offramp and called my insurance to find that they would cover my towing at a radius of 14 miles.

Needless to say I wasn't thrilled to find out that the tow was going to cost over $200. I made the decision to limp down the road trying to get closer to home. I had 1st gear and stayed at 20MPH which put me around 3k RPM. I limped into Prosser (23 miles from Granger) and stopped at the Gas station. I shut off the truck and she was done. I had to call a tow truck to get her home.


What might have gone wrong?
The truck recently suffered from a thermostat housing leak which i replaced the entire unit. Before that, the truck would climb up in temp at idle. I had planned on a rebuild of the engine soon (tax time). I have kept up on fluids and recently checked all. I am not afraid to pull the trans and replace it if needed or get inside to replace parts.

What are the common problems with the electronics?

What do I need to look for?

The engine will turn over but did I damage it if the Torque Converter was damaged?

Please help me out since I don't know anything about the newer rigs.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:13 AM   #2
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Highly unlikely that any engine damage occured. With that many miles your trans is probably just worn out and something broke, it happens. I'm assuming you had the cruise control on when your RPMs jumped, what you saw happen was essentially normal - it would be like shifting into neutral with the cruise set at highway speed.

Time for a trans rebuild in any case.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:17 PM   #3
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yes, +1 ^^^

Automatics just have 1 gear set, there are no "gears" like a manual transmission
They have bands(brakes) and clutches, that are activated by PRESSURE
The pressure is created by the Front Pump(main pump), it spins/pumps at engine RPMs since it is powered by outside case of torque converter.
In electric assisted transmissions the solenoids direct the pressure by opening and closing, this used to be done by springs only, and vacuum as well on some.
The 4R and 5R Ford transmissions are A4LD's with full electronic shift control added, so solenoids were retrofitted to a spring and ball transmission
The solenoids allowed for smoother shifting and lasted much longer than springs and balls, lol, but nothing lasts forever, except Love
Solenoids direct the pressure in the valve body for shifting, but in a retrofit they can be bad and trans will still shift but it will be a harsher shift, not smooth

The fact you have 1st, and I assume Reverse, means the Pump is working.
Reverse requires the highest pressure which is why it is often the first to give problems when trans starts to get internal pressure leaks, if reverse is slow to engage(have to raise RPMs) or won't engage at all, means rebuild time.

In your case it is possible just the valve body gasket or seals blew out, but dropping the pan should give you more info, i.e. look for metal filings in drained fluid, not good of course.

But as Shran said, I would budget for full rebuild
Yes, you always put in a new torque converter when trans is out, it isn't your problem but good to replace this every 200k or so
And if fluid has metal filings then so will torque converter, so..............also flush trans cooler and lines

Last edited by RonD; 01-03-2018 at 12:23 PM.
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