What’s Wrong with Your 4R44E Transmission? Common Problems to Look Out For

Posted by on Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The 4R44E is a 4 speed automatic transmission made by Ford.  It is designed for rear wheel drive vehicles and has a maximum torque capacity of 44o ft. lbs. This transmission was widely used in many light duty Ford trucks and SUVs. Let’s take a look at a few of the problems most commonly found with the Ford 4R44E Transmission.

Because this is an electronic transmission it contains a number of solenoids. All of them are subject to failure. The two to keep an eye on are the transmission pressure control solenoid and the torque convert solenoid (TCC). Any of the solenoids can be quickly checked with an ohm meter. The reading on a properly working solenoid should be around 20 – 30 ohms. If you get no reading, you have a break in the wiring in the solenoid. If you get a very low reading, then you have a short in the wiring.

The transmission slips, or flairs up on the 2 – 3 shift:  There are two things that can cause this problem. First, the bore in which the intermediate servo pin rides in is worn out. Second, the spring on the intermediate servo piston is too strong.

The transmission has 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.

The transmission has no 2nd or 4thgear: This can be caused by the solenoid regulator valve being out of position. Refer to the shop manual for the correct position of this solenoid.


servo piston in the 4R44E



No up-shifting:  Like the problem with no 2nd or 4th gear above, this problem can be caused by the solenoid regulator valve being out of position.

A delay going into reverse of a forward gear: If for some reason you have removed the valve body separator plate, there is a chance you did not align it correctly with the alignment pins. This will result in an internal leak that will cause a drop in the transmission line pressure.


4R44E valve body



No reverse:  If the transmission has lost reverse then you most likely have a bad SSA solenoid. Refer to the test procedure above.

The 4R44E is not the worst transmission Ford has ever made, but it still has its issues. No automatic transmission is designed to last forever. If your transmission is no longer serviceable I highly recommend replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission. They are just as good, if not better than a brand new transmission, but cost a whole lot less. They often include upgrades to fix common problems that the factory should have fixed in the first place.


One Response to “What’s Wrong with Your 4R44E Transmission? Common Problems to Look Out For”

  1. tony bortko says:

    have you ever heard of the intermediate servo cover blowing off?was in drive then shifted to reverse and retainer ring poped half off and cover popped out halfway and lost all fluid. any ideas to what could’ve caused this????????????

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.