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Seven Common Problems With The Ford 4R55E Transmission

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About This Transmission:

4R44E / 4R55E The name 4R44E means 4 forward gears, rear-drive platform (or 4WD, with a different tailshaft housing), rated for 440 ft/lb torque (after torque converter multiplication) and electronic shifting. 4R55E is the same but heavier duty and rated for 550 ftlbs.

For the 1995 model year, the A4LD was upgraded to feature full electronic controls, resulting in a new transmission family. The two major versions of this new transmission were the 4R44E and 4R55E. The transmissions are fundamentally similar in design, varying only in the durability of key components based on the type of duty they were to be used for.

The 4R44E was used in lighter-duty applications, namely with 4-cylinder or 3.0 L V6 models of the Ford Ranger pickup.

The 4R55E was used in heavier-duty applications, specifically with the 4.0 L Cologne V6 used in vehicles like the said Ford Ranger or Ford Explorer.

The 4R55E was short-lived however as it was replaced in all instances where it was used with the newer 5R55E during the 1997 model year. The 4R44E continued on through the end of the 1990s before being replaced by the 5R44E (5R55Es relative).

Most Common Problems:

1) Solenoid failure: The 4R55 is an electronic transmission and as such, it contains a few solenoids. All solenoids are subject to failure. The two most likely to fail are the transmission pressure control solenoid and the torque converter solenoid. All of the solenoids can be easily checked with an ohm meter. The reading on a good functioning solenoid should be around 20 to 30 ohms. A low reading means that there is most likely a short in the internal wiring and no reading means the wire is broken. In either case, the solenoid will need to be replaced with a new one.

(Solenoid Part# XL2Z-7G383AA)

2) No 2nd or 4th gear: This is often caused by the solenoid regulator valve being out of position. The shop manual will show you the correct position.

3) No 3rd or 4th gear: If the 2 3 shift valve spring is missing, or someone has installed it wrong, you will lose 3rd and 4th gear.

4) No up shifting: This problem can be caused by the solenoid regulator valve being out of position.

5) Slips on the 2 3 shift: There are two different issues that can cause this problem. Either the bore in which the intermediate servo pin rides in is worn out, or the spring on the intermediate servo piston is too strong.

6) No reverse: If the transmission has no reverse you most likely have a bad SSA solenoid.

7) Delay going into reverse of a forward gear: Has the valve body been removed recently for any reason? If so, there is a possibility you did not align it correctly with the alignment pins. This will cause an internal leak that will result in a drop in the transmissions line pressure.

No automatic transmission is designed to last forever. The 4R55E is no exception. If you find yourself in the position where you need to replace a 4R55E transmission, I highly recommend you consider replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission over one that has had a simple rebuild.

Like all things mechanical, a transmission will not last forever, regardless of how well you take care of it. If a decision has to be made to replace the transmission, I highly recommend you consider a re-manufactured transmission as your first choice. They differ from a rebuilt transmission in the fact that they are as good as a new transmission at a greatly reduced price and often include modifications and upgrades that make them much more durable. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

Valve Body Gasket:

The valve body gaskets on these transmissions are known to decay and blow out. CLICK HERE for more information.


Identification (Photos):






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