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Old 10-06-2009, 09:09 PM   #1
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Location: Southeast Central Florida
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Vehicle Year: 1997
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Vehicle Model: Ranger Reg Cab XLT
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Default 1997 Ford Ranger Hard Shifting Transmission

I just a 1997 Ford Ranger Reg Cab XLT 4x4 w/ Automatic Overdrive transmission (not sure of the numbers.) It has the 4.0L V6, w/ the OD button on the shifter and push button (actually twist) 4x4. It has few hard shifts. It shifts hard start off from a start, and also from first to second. It shifts fine from 2nd to 3rd and from 3rd to 4th. It also has a hard shift from 4th to 5th intermittantly. It also seems to have a hard shift about a second or two after I stop at a stop sign/signal. It has been sitting for approximately 6 months. It was started once a week, but not driven. I am thinking that it may be a sticking valve or something. I wanted to know if anyone agrees and if draining the fluid (knowing it all won't get drained) and changing the filter will solve the problem. Also, I checked the fluid yesterday and it looks like it may be overfilled. Just wondering if either of these could cause the problem. I would appreciate any solutions.

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:56 PM   #2
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Being that the truck is a 97 , I believe that it has the 5R55E automatic.

The first thing i would check is the overdrive servo piston , as this is the easiest to start with , on the outside of the transmission , no pan removal involved.

Now , you may ask 'Why the Overdrive servo , the problem is from 1st to 2nd , and 4th to 5th ?' well that is because there are only 3 forward speeds in a transmission , now , that may not sound right but let me explain.

Your transmission is a C3/A4Ld/4R44E/4R55E/5R55E , they are all the same , the difference lies in the 'gears' , they all have 2 planetaries , and 2 sun gears , and 3 clutch packs , where the differences lie is the Overdrive. In the C3 , there is no overdrive , the A4LD got an additional band stuffed into a C3 case to make it electronic overdrive , and the 4R and 5R transmissions are just full electronic.

Now on to the point , a 5R55E transmission has the following 'shift pattern' , 1-OD1-2-3-OD3 (OD=Overdrive) , this is how they achieve the feel of 5 speeds , so if you are experiencing hard shift from 1-2 and 4-5 , i would start with the overdrive servo piston.

The piston is located on the driverside of the transmission , there are 2 large round button like pieces , the forward one is your overdrive servo piston , it applies the overdrive band to give you the feeling of 1-2 and 4-5.

To remove the piston , tap it lightly with a rubber mallet to break it free , once you have it broken free , push in on it slightly (works easier with 2 people ) there is a snapring near the outer edge , remove it , the release the pressure off the piston.

When you remove the piston there should also be a spring in there , the thing you want to check is the rubber lip seal , if should me pliable , if it is hard to the touch , replace ( my cost was $9 at the local dealership) then drive it , you may loose some fluid in the process.

If this does not solve the problem , i suggest taking it to a tranny shop just for diagnosis

sorry for my long speil , i get carried away when it comes to transmissions
2003 Ranger FX4 Level II 4.0 SOHC M5OD BW1354M 278k miles-R.I.P. 11/11/10
1995 Bronco 302 Auto 244k miles- winter daily

Non Ford:
1972 C-10 350 3-speed - Fun toy
1987 BMW 325I 2.5 5-speed - Fun and Economy
1971 BMW 2002 2.0 4-speed - long term restoration
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