Common Problems for The Ford 5R55E Transmission: Do You Know What They Are?

Posted by on Monday, February 18th, 2013

The 5R55E is an automatic transmission made by Ford. It is the first 5 speed automatic made by any manufacturer, and was commonly used in both 2 and 4 wheel drive vehicles. It was extensively used throughout the different Ford brands, including Lincoln and Mercury. Because this transmission was widely used the changes of you running across a damaged one is pretty high. Here are a few things that every shop owner and vehicle owner should know about the 5R55E transmission.


internal components for the Ford 5R55E transmission


Common problems with this transmission are:

Failure of the solenoids:  This is an electronic transmission and it uses electrical solenoids to control many of the functions of the transmission, including the shifting between gears and the lock up torque converter.

There is an easy and inexpensive way to check your solenoids to see if they are bad. Get out your ohm meter and check the resistance of the solenoid. Hook the wires from your ohm meter to the two leads coming off the solenoid.  If you get no reading that means the solenoid has failed due to a break in the internal coil wiring.  If you get a very low reading that meaning there is short in the internal coil. Most properly functioning solenoids will return a reading of somewhere between 20 – 30 ohms.  Solenoids are fairly inexpensive as far as replacement parts go and are also fairly easy to replace.





The transmission is likely to overheat:  Similar to any other automatic transmission, the 5R55E is subject to overheating, especially if you abuse it.  Towing over the maximum recommended max load or staying into the throttle hard going up a steep hill on a hot day will cause the transmission to overheat.  If you suspect your transmission is overheating, pull over and give the transmission some time to cool down.  Overheating a transmission is the number one cause of transmission failure.

Recommended add-on items:

Transmission cooler: Buying a transmission cooler is great insurance to help prevent your transmission from failing due to overheating.  Coolers come in all shapes and sizes and most are of a universal design, making them relatively easy to install. Some are available with built in fans allowing you to install them wherever you want.  Remember; for every 20 degrees you go over 200 degrees, you cut the life of the transmission by a factor of two.


excessive heat can damage your 5R55E



Invest in a hand held tuner: A hand held tuner is a great accessory for your transmission. Because the transmission is electronic, the line pressure can be increased electronically. The higher line pressure provides more holding pressure for the bands and clutches, helping prevent them from slipping and creating excessive heat.

 In the event that your transmission has had a major failure, I recommend you look at replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission over one that has simply been rebuilt. Re-manufactured transmissions are the same or better than a new transmission at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, they come with upgrades to prevent or cure common problems that the factory should have fixed in the first place! A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

6 Responses to “Common Problems for The Ford 5R55E Transmission: Do You Know What They Are?”

  1. test says:

    Hey! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice data you’ve got here on this post. I can be coming again to your weblog for more soon.

  2. Kelly Reiser says:

    I recently purchased a 2000 ford explorer with a 6 cylinder and 4wd. When driving the car home the od light started flashing. I have had the truck for less than a week and have experienced no real slippage or hard shifting but I have seen the postings all over the net about the 5r55e transmission and various problems with blown valve body gaskets, bad servo, speed sensors and bore hole issues. What I was wondering is if you could help or point me to someone who can confirm a diagnosis prior to me ordering various parts.

    I did have the transmission scanned by a repair shop and the returned codes were p0732 and p0735 indicating slippage in the respective gears. I hadn’t noticed those codes referenced anywhere on your site.

    I am planning on trying to handle this repair myself with a mechanically adept family member and as I said I was hoping to have a better feeling on what the issue is before tackling it.

    Any help is appreciated.

  3. Scott says:

    Hello, I am at my wits end and was wondering if I could ask your expertise on the 5r55e transmission. I have a delay shift into forward and reverse. I have replaced the separator plate with a bonded one and put in the ford service kit.
    After that the symptoms still remained so I replaced the epc, tcc and shift solenoid.
    The trans now goes into reverse good but when I go to drive it has a long (1-5 second) delay. Any suggestions?
    Thank you.

  4. brandon says:

    Mine in my ranger seems to shutter i guess. It does it at cruising speed when barely holding the throttle . I thought it was only in od, but it did it taking off a couple of times . Im gonna change the fluid and filter tomorrow. Should i check the silinoids , it isnt throwing any codes. Heck honestly if someone has a clue give me a call or shoot me a text at 7068791518 names brandon.

    • Scartizzu says:

      Sure it ain’t a engine miss being misinterpreted as a shutter? Or maybe you have a bad ujoint that tight and shaking? Or maybe it the lockup clutch in the torque converter shuttering when it’s being applied?

      • All Superior Automotive says:

        Pull the tcc solenoid, and test for resistance. 20~30 ohms is normal. If normal, then you could hv a bad torque converter! Also research the j-mod rebuild.

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