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5R55E lifetime?


ekrampitzjr

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In your experience, how long (miles) will the 5R55E in later Rangers hold up?

The truck had 101,000 miles when I bought it. The very next day after delivery a local shop flushed and changed the ATF and filter for me. The shop had a BG machine, so I'm sure the trans has BG's ATF (I believe it's synthetic). This was probably the first ATF change in this truck. That makes me cringe a bit...

The trans seems to shift fine. I took the truck for a 4–hour trip at highway speeds last weekend and all went well.

Eventually my plan is to drop the trans pan and either install a drain plug or a new pan that already has a plug. I intend to start changing the ATF with Amsoil full synthetic by regular pan drains, which would be about 4 qt at a time. Might also add Lubegard Red, as I've had good luck using that in the past (220,000 miles on original '98 Taurus wagon trans, car went to salvage yard over engine failure). I installed drain plugs on previous transmissions, including that Taurus, without problems.

Earlier Rangers with the 5R55E had some trans problems. Those seemed to show up at much earlier mileages than my truck has now. Looks as if the good ones could go 200,000+. How many miles are you seeing for this trans in later Rangers before big problems? Any advice for extending the life besides my plan above?

Thanks!
 


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DILLARD000

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240kMiles+ here on an original 2001 5r55e Tranny, knock on wood.
Seems if a 5r55e gets past 50kMiles, sees an occasional ATF+Filter change, & is not abused with excess towing, it typically will go 200kMiles+.
If your 2011 still has a TrannyDipStick, you can hand pump 1~1.5qts of used fluid from the DipTube & replace with fresh MerconV;
I do this as part of my 5kMile\6mth maintenance routine, along with an Engine Oil+Filter change.
It's really a matter of reasonable maintenance & just dumb luck in a crap shoot.
 

Dirtman

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Put a cooler on it, change the fluid often, use motorcraft Mercon V and not "universal" fluid and it should last over 200k if it wasn't previously abused. Lubeguard red is good stuff but don't use amsoil, use motorcraft.
 

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For the price, amsoil is crap.

Not saying amsoil is bad oil... it's just that they charge WAY too much for their products.

At 10$ more a quart than the Motorcraft stuff.. feel free to waste your money.. but.. itll be no better than the ford stuff.
 

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Not sure what the difference is between the Ranger and Mustang 5R55. The one in my Stang failed in March this year. Drove it to work fine, backed in to a spot. Came out to go home, nothing happened when shifted into any gear. Yes, the fluid and filter had been changed, summer last year. Don't know what the previous owner did though. A friend rebuilt it, got it back in April. Failed again Memorial Day weekend. Talking with my friend Rick at ACE Transmissions about just yanking the stupid worthless POS auto and replacing it with a manual. He tells me the 5R55 is not one of Ford's better designs. Refers to it as JUNK.

The Stang's cooler is stand alone, sandwiched in between the radiator and condenser. No connection to the radiator.
 
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Dirtman

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Cool story.
 

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Behave.

Earlier Rangers with any automatic had some trans problems.
Fixed it for you... actually by the mid-late 90's they were quite a bit better. I'd be shocked if you didn't get 200k or better out of yours with good maintenance.

I've only had a couple RBVs with automatics. My fiance's '95 has a 4R55E that would be kinda similar to yours. Allegedly it failed sometime around 70-80k and was "rebuilt" and now has 89k on it. I hate it. It either shifts really hard or really soft and nowhere in between.
 

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I got my ‘01 Ranger with 80k miles and no reverse. Replaced the blown out valve body gasket and did the Ford valve body update. I sold the truck with close to 200K on the original trans.
 

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Ive only ever had 1 ranger with a automatic, it was a 97 reg cab 2wd 3.0 with 180-some thousand on the dial. I bought it with no knowledge of any issues, it wasn’t running so I rented a tow dolly and towed it home. ( with another ranger btw) After adding gas and changing out the driver solenoid for the starter it ran but had no 1st gear, could start in 2nd and shift to D above 30 mph. was sluggish to say the least, had a 3.45 axle.
Automatics are a crapshoot, Ive abused some in my life and theyve held up (mostly the “old school” full hydraulic 3-speeds) and theres the ones I had failures with and I didnt abuse, best you can do is run a quality fluid, have a auxiliary trans cooler and hope for the best. The hhr lost all forward gears at 120K, no warning. Came to a stop on a trip and wouldnt go forward again, had reverse. Ive drove it harder since the transmission replacement and its not had a issue. The escape I dont abuse but its became my main tow vehicle (mostly because it has the best brakes ) Im not convinced that todays electronic controled auto overdrives are better than the old 3-speeds, esp the C6/ TH400.
 

19Walt93

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We had practically no trouble with 5R55 transmissions, we also serviced them at 60k instead of the 150k in the manual. BG doesn't have a transmission fluid, they have a "cleaner" that's supposed to be added, run for 20 minutes, then flushed out. Then the trans gets filled with fluid and a can of their additive goes in. I chased the BG salesman out of my shop. Nothing belongs in an automatic transmission except fluid, if it's mine it gets Motorcraft. There is no such thing as universal fluid, when I retired in 2017 we stocked 8 different Motorcraft fluids. Ford wouldn't spend the money to use different fluids unless it was necessary. Henry Ford insisted his vendors ship parts in wooden crates and he'd use the wood for floor boards in cars. He's long gone but that mentality is still around.
 

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Mercon V is a synthetic fluid. So swapping to another fluid just because it’s marked synthetic won’t make a difference.

Take 19Walt93’s advice on the fluid changes. The OEM recommendation is way too long. Transmission shops love it. It keeps them in business. Vehicle owners love it too until they have to foot the bill to replace transmission or get it rebuilt.

Me personally, I would go 30,000 miles for changes but I’m a bit OCD on preventative maintenance. I would defer to 19Walt93’s recommendation as the minimum. Even the manual transmissions in my vehicles get fluid changes at 30,000 miles.
 

19Walt93

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I do my own at 30k, too, I just didn't try to sell it to retail customers. That's not OCD, that's good maintenance. I also flush out my brake fluid every 2 years and clean and lube my caliper slides every spring, too. I had caliper service on our maintenance schedule every 15k and we didn't actively sell brake fluid flushes, trying to balance the cost against the benefit to the customer. I can sell anything I believe in and nothing I don't- see comment about chasing BG away.
 

ekrampitzjr

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Actually, BG does have a universal fluid, and those shops with the BG flush machine use it. That's not to say I like that. BG calls it "Universal Synthetic ATF" on its website.

Since many of you favor sticking with Motorcraft Mercon V, I think I'll do that. Haven't done anything with the trans yet and it might be a little while.
 

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What kills automatics is fluid temps above 200degF, at 205degF you are knocking miles off it's "life", at 220deg its THOUSANDS of miles coming off per minute

This is why a 2nd trans cooler is required, not just recommended, on any automatic

The radiator trans cooler is there to keep fluid in the 180-195degF range, cold trans fluid is also an issue, but not a big one
So 2nd air cooler won't hurt, it only helps, best $60 you will ever spend on an automatic trans, and adding a Fluid temp sensor with it is not a bad idea
1995 and up Ranger automatics have a internal fluid temp sensor which can be access with OBD2 as far as I know, but its odd that I never see any of the temp sensor codes(P0710-P0714) show up before or after transmission issues


Torque Converter generates alot of the heat, especially when stopped, it has to slip, slipping = heat, also when pulling a load since it has to slip more before its locked at speed, but the Ranger itself is a 3,500lbs load
Same happens if Bands or Clutches are slipping, extra heat
And the bands and clutches will slip more as fluid heats up so its a very bad spiral UP for fluid temp

250-300k would be life expectancy for bands and clutches in an automatic
When rebuilding you ALWAYS need to replace sprag clutches(one-way clutches), Pump(Ford), and usually OD drum, that will give you another 200+K miles, assuming you keep fluid temp in range, under 205degF

A "standard rebuild" will only replace soft parts(bands and clutches) if this is all that's done then trans "may" last 12 to 18 months, if that, so SELL IT after this type of rebuild, and NOT to someone you know
 
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