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  #1  
Old 11-20-2014, 12:44 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Ticking automatic transmission?

For the past few months, I kept hearing a ticking sound from the back of my engine. It sounded like it was coming from the #4 cylinder, but I could never pinpoint that area as the actual source. Taking a closer look around underneath the truck, I heard the same noise much clearer from the middle of the transmission. I could hear it when I was right under the pan, but it's clearly not coming from the valve body. It seems to be coming from the case above it, and just echoing down due to the shape of the body it's mounted beneath.

Does anybody know anything about this? I've looked around, but just found bunches of "maybe?" ideas out there that didn't seem to make sense. Someone said it could be the parking pawl ticking away, but the parking gear is at the very back. And my driveshaft was nice and solid, so I doubt it's having trouble. Could it be a loose bearing or something in there? I did find little metal pieces on top of the valve body a while back that looked like they could be fragments of a needle bearing.

For now, everything works. Shifting is sluggish throughout, and I get occasional hard shifts, but it's otherwise fine. That unit has a dark history though, so I'm wondering if this an early sign that it's getting ready to gloriously fail.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2014, 05:29 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

All right, at this point, I'm pretty much decided that a rebuild is imminent. The shifting is just all over the place, although still functional if I'm willing to put up a fight. My goal for now is to try finding a high-mileage junkyard 5R55E for cheap so I can attempt to rebuild it myself. Does anyone have any worthwhile reading material or general info on the XRXXE rebuilding procedure? I have both the workshop manual and ATSG manual for it, but straight instructions from the manufacturer only tell so much.

I also bought a shift kit for the valve body (the TransGo kit) that I plan to install regardless of rebuilding. I've read nothing but good stuff about it, and just about everyone claiming to be a pro who works with these transmissions says they always make sure to install it whenever they rebuild.

EDIT: Oh, and clarification of differences between the 44E and 55E would be helpful. I see so much conflicting info out there. From what I've heard, the core difference is the number of pinions on the planetary gearsets (4 for the 44E vs. 6 for the 55E), but it seems they use different numbers of plates in the clutch packs too.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2014, 05:41 PM
Fordzilla80 Fordzilla80 is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

The 5R55E was only on 4.0 Rangers. So you need to stick with a 5R44E from a 2.3, since all of the Ranger engines have different bell housing patterns.

Now, one thing that might be considered is whether you can swap front pumps and bellhousings. If the way the transmission pump and bellhousing bolts to the transmission case is the same between the 5R44E and the 5R55E, then maybe you could Frankenstein a 5R55E to fit your 2.3?
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:51 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
different bell housing patterns.
I keep hearing that, but then I keep seeing evidence that goes wildly against it. I've seen some claim that the bellhousing pattern is the same, or that it can bolt up. Let's not forget, the transmission mounted to my truck right now is not utilizing 100% of the available bolt holes on that bellhousing, and it's to my understanding that few actually do. So do those bolt holes that actually matter still line up? Or is it perhaps the same bellhousing that bolts on in a different way to the 4.0, leading everyone to think that it's different? I've been searching for confirmation all over the place, but all it's turned up is conflicting claims from different people across different forums.

I've yet to see any evidence that the pump differs between models. It does look like the torque converters all have slightly different stall speeds though, so I'm wondering if that perhaps the variable between them.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2014, 07:48 PM
Fordzilla80 Fordzilla80 is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?



As for the bell housing patterns, I really don't know enough about them to make an accurate declaration on their differences. But I do know that the bell housings on the manual transmissions are all different. So I imagine the automatic would be similar.
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Old 11-28-2014, 01:41 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

Yeah, the 55 was only used on the 4.0 Ranger and a few variants of the Explorer. The rest use the 44, but I'm still trying to figure out what the differences are. What I've found to be an insanely good reference so far are a few of the videos from this guy:



He only covers teardown and inspection, not rebuilding. But he does go out of his way to explain the differences between the 4R and 5R, as well as the 44 and 55. I just want to find a few more details to know if the 44 and 55 are interchangeable. Again, I keep hearing that the bellhousings are different, but I don't know how. A side-by-side comparison would be nice. If push comes to shove, I wouldn't mind reusing my current 44 bellhousing with a new 55, I'd just need to know it would work.

-------

As for my current transmission, I think I've narrowed it down: first gear barely works. It seems that it keeps skipping straight to second, so first only engages maybe 40–50% of the time. It doesn't look like there's any engine braking in first either, and any shifts between first and other are incredibly sloppy and very rough. I've also found that if I floor it when I can confirm it's in first, it shifts through the rest of the gears waaaay too fast. The RPM shoots up to about 5500 in first, falls back to like 4500 for second, and just keeps shifting from 4500–5500 from there. Very very weird.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2014, 08:05 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

Almost lost fourth gear last night. Never had a slip that bad before, so it made me kind of cringe. Blegh.

I'm gonna try installing that valve body shift correction kit to see if it helps. Just haven't had the time lately. I've got a pretty important position at work, so that truck can't be down for long. No way am I going to rush a mod on a part that critical.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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  #8  
Old 12-20-2014, 07:13 PM
riscorpian riscorpian is offline
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Default Re: Ticking automatic transmission?

Kit installed. Transmission is FUBAR though. It does seem to shift a little better, but it's really screwy right now. Looks like I just didn't dump enough fluid back in though. I'll pick up another quart and some Lucas fix tonight to see what happens.

It amazed me just how much black there was in there. How the hell was none of that showing up in the fluid? The fluid itself was a nice, normal-smelling red. Every surface that wasn't polished to a mirror shine was covered in black. The magnet in the pan was about 3x its thickness in carbon build-up. I had to scrape it all off of there. Good gravy. :S

So yeah, it looks like my transmission is shot. It'll chug along for a bit longer, but I'm estimating its remaining life can be reasonably measured in weeks. Let's just hope it's good for a few more cross-town trips.
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2003 Ford Ranger XLT
2.3L I4 Duratec DOHC, 5R44E 5-speed auto, RWD, 7.5" Open w/ 4.10 Ratio, Gibson split-rear catback
Sonic Blue Pearl with dark gray trim
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