Last post on Oct 31, 2011 at 3:14 PM
You are in the Ford Explorer
What is this discussion about?
Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, SUV
#3166 of 3348 Transmission Comment
Mar 25, 2006 (10:06 am)
I wrote to Consumer Reports about their drastic increase in reports of transmission problems on Explorers specifically. Other vehicles that use the 5R55E seem to be alright (Sport Trac for instance), however, the sealed units in the 2002-2005 generation seem to be very problematic.
My wife drives a 2000 Explorer 4.0 SOHC with the 5R55E and it has always shifted fine, but I guess I feel lucky. The internals of the transmission are great, but their are a few main problems from what I can gather.
1) To many electronic components (6 solenoids), and one that is variable (called EPC solenoid) that controls how your transmission shifts. This is the "learning" component that adjusts to your driving style.
2) Other valve body problems such as: Reverse servo seals (now double lipped instead of single lipped), valve body separator plate gasket breaches, and other more minor design issues.
3) Finally, I completely disagree with Ford sealing the transmission. I don't care what anyone says, this is plain dumb. Sealed for life, when life = 150,000 miles, isn't good enough. Average truck life is 180,000 miles now, get with it Ford. In addition to that, when the thing needs to be serviced, it is a labor intensive undertaking. I am waiting to see if the 6-speed in the new Explorer is sealed. If it is, I wont be buying one. Please don't try to defend Ford's use of them again, the posts I have seen here are evidence enough that this is a mistake.
With that said, I really really like the 06 Explorer. I sat in one at the auto show in Detroit, and was amazed at how nice and comfortable it was. The interior appointments put my wife's 00 Limited to shame. Since my Expedition's miles are starting to rack up, I will be seriously considering one of 06/07's in the future, given that Ford don't cop out on a dipstick for the transmission.
FWIW: The 00 Explorer has been a pretty darn good truck. I had to put on new upper and lower ball joints, in addition to new shocks. However, we go through suspension parts like water where I live. The dirt roads are brutal, and wifey driving 35-40 miles an hour down them to "skip" over the bumps, doesn't help. Switched to Rancho brand shocks, from the Edelbrocks(sp?). Working great for now at about 100,000 miles!
Mar 25, 2006 (11:45 am)
my neighbor just bought a 1997 mountaineer and it has the keyless entry on the door,,,the one with the electronic push buttons on the door,,anyway,,he was told in order to get the existing code it is located somewhere in the car ...does anyone know where the factory puts them,,,
#3168 of 3348 Re: Well, sadly.... [chuck1]
Mar 25, 2006 (2:40 pm)
Of course, I'll admit it! I'm not that kind of disingenuous poster who fabricates data. And, worse than that, it was not the pesky solenoid. I haven't heard of this since 1978, but it was the pesky second band separating. Herego; the entire transmission was rebuilt again. Smooth shifting again. However, I don't have a lot of confidence in this car anymore, and will probably give it back in a year when the lease is up. Other than the transmission, it's been perfect. But.....this is a major issue.
The thing is - I don't believe anybody on the planet makes a better designed SUV of this size. So, I may buy yet another one. One more thing - my dealer has never given me a single problem about repairs. No arguments, got a free loaner, and the repairs were done on time.
Mar 25, 2006 (3:56 pm)
This appears to be a sealed tranny, there is no dipstick and the service interval for changing the fluid and filter is 150,000 miles.
#3170 of 3348 Re: electronic entry [nycmystery]
Mar 25, 2006 (4:54 pm)
The code is located on the driver side in the cargo area behind the car jack access panel. After you take off the panel (you'll need a flashlight) look for a black or grey box sitting above the wheel well. On the outside of that box is a sticker with the 5 digit code. It is a bit hard to see, but I have done it two times with pre-owned Explorer's our family has purchased.
#3171 of 3348 Re: 6R60 Trans [mschmal]
Mar 25, 2006 (5:06 pm)
I have been trying to look for information on this tranny, but it has so far been a futile effort. Maybe I am looking in the wrong areas, but thought a google search would work-it hasn't.
The sealed part really is a let down. I just don't like it being that much harder to service if need be. I really want the V8 (like 292HP), but I want to be able to trust the transmission, and it seems like the 5R55W in the 2002-2005 Explorer was having its limits pushed with the 239HP in that generation's V8.
NVbanker: Sorry to hear about your woe(s), you've been a pretty loyal Ford owner (I think I recall you having a great dealer). Was it your 2002 that was a V6 that had strange shifts cured by a reflash?
If I recall correctly, the A4LD in the 1991-1992 Explorer's had a dual wrap band (overdrive) that failed frequently. In 1992, Ford switched to a better single wrap design.
Mar 27, 2006 (5:10 am)
You can find the manuals with all the information at the Automatic Transmission Service Group:
#3173 of 3348 Re: 6R60 Trans [electricdesign]
Mar 27, 2006 (7:24 am)
Thank you, I checked out the link this morning, and found it interesting. It looks like they want you to buy a book for information on each transmission. I may do that for at least one transmission I have currently ((4R70W) for good reading) to feed my growing curiosity about how automatic transmissions work. If you type in "project frankentranny" in a google search, anyone can see a rebuild of a 4R55E using 5R55E parts. I found it very interesting, because it helped me understand better how the automatic transmission works and the strengths and faults with the 4R/5R55E transmissions. There are numerous aftermarket modifications you can make to it with varying degrees of involvement and monetary commitment. If I remember correctly from the diary of the rebuild, the actual drums, clutches, and other rotating mass were well designed save for one minor area in the overdrive drum. The valve body is where the modifications were implemented. Some holes drilled larger in the valve body separator plate for quicker clutch activation, replacement of the EPC solenoid, among a few other things. I know I am throwing out all kinds of terms and words, with my point being that for those interested in how these hydraulic masterpieces work, the transmission rebuild diary was very enlightening.
Does anyone here know if the 6R60 is the transmission co-developed with GM? If GM is using it, I wonder if they are sealing it up in their applications? Is the 6R60 based on the 5R55* at all?
After I found out here yesterday that the 6R60 is sealed, I was trying to think in my head of why an automotive company would want to do that. First thought makes me think they want the transmission to fail. If its actual life is 150,000 miles, then Ford should warranty it for that period. I know, unrealistic. I was able to dig up a 2006 service suggestion guide for 2006 Ford vehicles yesterday. At 150,000 miles, Ford suggests changing the transmission fluid for the first time. Maybe that means that the fluid itself has a life of 150,000 miles. Not sure if I feel any better about that. I hope that the 6R's come with a giant transmission oil cooler to help slow the inevitable break down of the fluid from heat.
More: I know I'm rambling, sorry folks I'm almost done.
It's been a while since we've owned a Honda at our house (2001), but I don't recall us ever having to pay as close of attention to the maintenance on those as our Fords. When I say that, I am not talking about the oil and filter. That was religiously changed at 3,000-7,500mile intervals per the owners manual. With our Fords, I feel like I can't miss a beat. If I am right on top of maintenance, then Fords will treat you well. With that said, how many people do I know (lets say a few) that own foreign vehicles that barely do maintenance. Maybe that is where Ford's thinking is. Since many people may not know or remember to do maintenance, they will try an eliminate it as much as possible. Problem is, I don't think Ford has this down to a science yet. To date, I still haven't seen a 5R55W-S have more than 100,000 miles yet. I know it is rare that many people could do that in 4 1/2 years, but the lack of evidence surrounding the longevity of these transmissions isn't confidence inspiring.
Finally, are the days of Explorer's making it to 250-300K gone? Time will tell I suppose.
Mar 27, 2006 (9:45 am)
This is definately NOT the Co-developed with GM 6 speed which will make its debute in the Ford Edge this fall.
That tranny is FWD platform only.
It is my understanding that the 6R60 is a ZF unit from Europe.
#3175 of 3348 Re: 6R60 [mschmal]
Mar 27, 2006 (1:14 pm)
Thanks again for input!
I did some more looking around on the internet and came across Ford's media release for their new 6-speed automatics.
This is what I found:
New 6F Front wheel drive, six-speed automatic co-developed with GM,rated for up to 300HP
6R Ford developed and built in Livonia, Mich. Only application is in the '06 Explorer and Mountaineer so far.
Aisin front wheel drive, six-speed automatic:
Used in Five-Hundred, Montego, Milan, Fusion, and Zephyr.
ZF 6-speed RWD
Used only in the Navigator
Since Ford developed and is building the 6R, I wonder if it has links to the 5R's? Looks like I will have to buy one of those books to find out. Not that it matters. The 6R may be a 5R with all of the bugs worked out that plagued the 5R55W-S.