The Ford 5R55S, 5R55N and 5R55W transmission was used in both 2 and 4-wheel drive Explorers, and the 6R60 in V8 models. After it switched over to a FWD/AWD platform in 2011, the 6-speed 6F35 was used. But they aren’t without their problems though, so let’s look at some of the most common Ford Explorer transmission problems, look at cost estimates and figure out what you can do about them.
Ford Explorer Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate
Replacement Ford Explorer Transmission Prices:
|Transmission||Street Smart Transmission|
|6F50 / 6F35||2480|
What are the DTC codes related to Ford Explorer transmission problems?
|P0703||Torque Converter/Brake Switch B Circuit|
|P0705||Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction (PRNDL Input)|
|P0707||Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Low Input|
|P0708||Transmission Range Sensor Circuit High Input|
|P0711||Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0712||Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Low Input|
|P0713||Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit High Input|
|P0714||Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Intermittent P0715|
|P0715||Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit|
|P0717||Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal|
|P0718||Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit Intermittent|
|P0720||Output Speed Sensor Circuit|
|P0721||Output Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0723||Output Speed Sensor Circuit Intermittent|
|P0729||Gear 6 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0730||Incorrect Gear Ratio|
|P0731||Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0732||Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0733||Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0734||Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0735||Gear 5 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0745||Pressure Control Solenoid 'A'|
|P0748||Pressure Control Solenoid 'A' Electrical|
|P0750||Shift Solenoid 'A'|
|P0751||Shift Solenoid 'A' Performance or Stuck Off|
|P0752||Shift Solenoid 'A' Stuck On|
|P0753||Shift Solenoid 'A' Electrical|
|P0755||Shift Solenoid 'B'|
|P0756||Shift Solenoid 'B' Performance or Stuck Off|
|P0757||Shift Solenoid 'B' Stuck On|
|P0758||Shift Solenoid 'B' Electrical|
|P0760||Shift Solenoid 'C'|
|P0761||Shift Solenoid 'C' Performance or Stuck Off|
|P0762||Shift Solenoid 'C' Stuck On|
|P0763||Shift Solenoid 'C' Electrical|
|P0765||Shift Solenoid 'D'|
|P0766||Shift Solenoid 'D' Performance or Stuck Off|
|P0767||Shift Solenoid 'D' Stuck On|
|P0768||Shift Solenoid 'D' Electrical|
|P0770||Shift Solenoid 'E'|
|P0771||Shift Solenoid 'E' Performance or Stuck Off|
|P0772||Shift Solenoid 'E' Stuck On|
|P0773||Shift Solenoid 'E' Electrical|
|P0774||Shift Solenoid 'E' Intermittent|
|P0775||Pressure Control Solenoid 'B'|
|P0777||Pressure Control Solenoid 'B' Stuck On|
|P0778||Pressure Control Solenoid 'B' Electrical|
|P0795||Pressure Control Solenoid 'C'|
|P0797||Pressure Control Solenoid 'C' Stuck On|
|P0798||Pressure Control Solenoid 'C' Electrical|
|P0817||Transmission Fluid Pressure Manual Valve Position Switch Reverse with Drive Ratio|
|P0817||Starter Disable Circuit|
|P0960||Pressure Control Solenoid A Control Circuit/Open|
|P0961||Pressure Control Solenoid A Control Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0962||Pressure Control Solenoid A Control Circuit Low|
|P0963||Pressure Control Solenoid A Control Circuit High|
|P0972||Shift Solenoid A Control Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0973||Shift Solenoid A Control Circuit Low|
|P0974||Shift Solenoid A Control Circuit High|
|P0975||Shift Solenoid B Control Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0976||Shift Solenoid B Control Circuit Low|
|P0977||Shift Solenoid B Control Circuit High|
|P0978||Shift Solenoid C Control Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0979||Shift Solenoid C Control Circuit Low|
|P0980||Shift Solenoid C Control Circuit High|
|P0981||Shift Solenoid D Control Circuit Range/Performance|
|P0982||Shift Solenoid D Control Circuit Low|
|P0983||Shift Solenoid D Control Circuit High|
|P0985||Shift Solenoid E Control Circuit Low|
|P0986||Shift Solenoid E Control Circuit High|
|P1762||Nissan DTC: Direct Clutch Solenoid Valve|
|P2763||Torque Converter Clutch Pressure Control Solenoid Ctrl Circuit High|
|P2764||Torque Converter Clutch Pressure Control Solenoid Ctrl Circuit Low|
Ford Explorer Transmission Technical Service Bulletins | TSB
TSB 01-10-2 – Fluid leak from the transmission cooler lines at the transmission case connection
2002 Ford Explorer – 2002 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – On vehicles built from 11/13/2000-4/2/2001, there may be a transmission fluid leak at the cooler line-to-case connection. This can be caused by contamination of the tube nut, threads, flare, or improper installation torque.
Solution – The transmission cooler line and tube nuts will need to be cleaned and an O-ring installed in the case fitting.
TSB 01-10-7 – Transmission control indicator lamp On with P0713 DTC, along with other OBDII codes
2002 Ford Explorer – 2002 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – On vehicles built between 11/13/2000-3/8/2001, various transmission trouble codes may appear due to water intrusion into the transmission solenoid body connector
Solution – Install an updated transmission wiring harness – part number 1L2Z-7C078-AB
TSB 01-22-3 – Buzzing noise from the transmission when the converter is engaged
2002 Ford Explorer 4.6L – 2002 Mercury Mountaineer 4.6L
Problem – On vehicles produced between 11/15/2000-11/11/2001, equipped with the Ford 4.6L engine and the 5R55W transmission, a buzzing noise may be heard when the torque converter engages, due to a higher fluid velocity inside of the valve body / main control unit.
Solution – Install updated 5R55W valve body
TSB 01-20-7 – Ticking noise coming from the front or intermediate servo cover area
2002 Ford Explorer 5R55W – 2002 Mercury Mountaineer 5R55W
Problem – A ticking noise may be present when the vehicle is idling in Park or Neutral.
Solution – The separator plate or valve body may need to be replaced.
TSB 02-08-03 – Transmission fluid leak at servo cover
2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac – 2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport – 2001 – 2002 Ford Ranger
Problem – On vehicles equipped with the 2.3L, 3.0L or 4.0L engine with the 5R55E transmission, operating in cold climates may cause a transmission fluid leak at the servo cover.
Solution – Install updated servo cover(s).
TSB 02-13-8 – Low line pressure at wide open throttle (WOT), slipping and or delayed gear engagement
1995 – 2001 Ford Explorer – 1999 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport – 2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac – 1995 – 2002 Ford Ranger – 1997 – 2001 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – Vehicles built prior to 12/1/2001 may experience a number of transmission problems including; no 2nd gear, no 3rd gear, no engine braking when in manual 1st, slipping and/or delayed gear engagements, DTC’s P0732, P0733 and/or P1762
Solution – Modify or install updated valve body
TSB 03-25-4 – No 3rd gear or slipping on the 2-3 shift
2002 Ford Explorer 5R55W – 2002 Mercury Mountaineer 5R55W
Problem – Certain vehicles may exhibit no third gear, slipping on the 2-3 shift and P0733 and P0745 DTC’s due to a broken intermediate band inside the transmission.
Solution – Install new 5R55W intermediate band, OD band and pistons. The direct clutch drum will also need to be inspected for signs of damage, cracking etc.
TSB 05-21-8 – Delayed or harsh reverse engagement – 5R55S Transmission
2004 – 2005 Ford Explorer – 2004 – 2005 Ford Thunderbird – 2004 – 2005 Lincoln LS – 2004 – 2005 Lincoln Aviator – 2004 – 2005 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – Some vehicles may experience a delayed or harsh reverse gear engagement due to improper pressure control
Solution – It may be necessary to place the solenoid body assembly, valve body and/or an in-line filter
2002 TSB 190029 / 04-24-17
Certain 5-speed auto equipped 2002 models built before 03-04-2002, may experience slipping on the 2-3 shift, or a loss of 3rd gear altogether. This problem is most likely due to a broken intermediate band, which could trigger diagnostic trouble codes: P0733 and P0745
To properly fix this problem, you’ll need to replace both the intermediate and OD bands, along with the pistons. The direct clutch drum should also be inspected for damage.
TSB 06-25-10 – Shifter requires manual override to get the vehicle out of Park – 6R60 Transmission & 5R55S Transmission
2006 – 2007 Ford Explorer – 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac – 2006 – 2007 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – Some vehicles may experience an intermittent condition where the shifter gets stuck in the Park position, requiring the use of the manual override function to shifted out of Park. This transmission problem may be caused by chemicals from the shifter lubricants corroding the shifter switch contacts.
Solution – If no electrical problems are found, a new transmission selector lever will need to be installed.
TSB 07-6-3 – DTCs related to the Mechatronic assembly – with or without the wrench light on – 6R60 Transmission
2006 – 2007 Ford Explorer – 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac – 2007 Ford Expedition – 2006 – 2007 Mercury Mountaineer
Problem – Some vehicles may experience transmission problems, along with the following diagnostic trouble codes: P0658, P0657, P0972, P0973, P0974, P0975, P0976, P0977, P0978|, P0979, P0980, P0981, P0982, P0983, P0961, P0962, P0963, P2763, P2764, P0985, P0986, P0711, P0712. This can be caused by contamination at the Mechatronic assembly (i.e. the valve body).
Solution – Install new protective barrier strip on the valve body.
TSB 11-12-10 – Sluggish acceleration from 0-5 mph (0-8 km/h) followed by harsh bump or slip on takeoff – 6F35 Transmission & 6F50 Transmission
2010 – 2011 Ford Taurus – 2009 – 2011 Ford Edge – 2009 – 2011 Ford Flex – 2011 Ford Explorer – 2010 – 2011 Lincoln MKS – 2009 – 2011 Lincoln MKX – 2010 – 2011 Lincoln MKT
Problem – Some vehicles may experience sluggish acceleration or a hesitation feel during a rolling stop, followed by a harsh bump or slip feeling. This can be caused by a design flaw in the 6F35 valve body / 6F50 valve body.
Solution – On transmissions originally built for Mercon LV transmission fluid (listed on the dipstick), the valve body will have to be modified by deleting one hole in the valve body separator plate, and removing the check ball in the area of the deleted hole. If this modification is not performed properly, the transmission may experience a loss of reverse or a 2-3 shift flare.
TSB 15-0047 / 17-2219 – Push button start – Shift to Park or Transmission Not In Park message – discharged battery – unable to remove key
2011 – 2017 Ford Edge – 2011 – 2017 Ford Explorer – 2011 – 2017 Ford Flex – 2011 – 2017 Ford Police Interceptor Sedan – 2011 – 2017 Ford Taurus – 2011 – 2016 Lincoln MKS – 2011 – 2017 Lincoln MKT – 2011 – 2015 Lincoln MKX
Problem – Vehicles equipped with a floor shift selector lever and push button start, may display a ‘Shift To Park’ or ‘Transmission Not In Park’ message, even though the transmission is actually in Park. It may also not be possible to remove the transmitter key, and the battery may discharge due to the warning message remaining illuminated.
Solution – Install new park detect switch
2013 TSB 365099 / 13-5-31
Problem:According to the Technical Service Bulletin: “Some 2013 Explorer vehicles equipped with 3.5L GTDI (twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5L) engines may exhibit long crank-to-start times and delayed/harsh downshift when commanded in the middle of a 4-5 or 3-5 upshift and delayed upshifts from 3rd, 4th or 5th gear when transmission fluid temperature is below 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).”
To fix the problem, a Ford dealer will need to update the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software.
2013 TSB 365977 / ASI-32216
Certain 2013 Explorers with the 6R35 transmission may experience a fluid leak from the left hand half shaft seal. This is likely due to premature bushing or seal wear, caused by the half shaft surface finish.
Fixing the problem will require the installation of an updated case bushing, seal and half shaft.
Common Ford Explorer Transmission Problems
One of the most common Ford Explorer transmission problems is a failed solenoid. These little plunger like devices are used by the computer to route pressurized transmission fluid and change gears. To activate one of the solenoids, the computer sends an electrical charge though a coil of wire that wraps around the plunger mechanism. Heat and vibration can cause these wires to short out, which will lead to all sorts of transmission problems.
If you want to check the functionality of your solenoids, simply hook an ohmmeter to the two wires coming off of the solenoid. The reading should be somewhere between 20-30 ohms. If you get a reading above or below that number, it’s a safe bet that solenoid won’t function properly.
Ford Explorer 3rd gear shift problems
Although it’s an incredibly popular family SUV, 2001 and later examples of the Ford Explorer equipped with either the 4R70W/4R70E or 4R75E, can experience a few rather pronounced shifting problems like 3rd gear slipping. It’s also common for there to be a lack of engine braking when the transmission is manually shifted down to 2nd gear.
Cause of the Ford Explorer 3rd gear slip
The most common cause for Ford Explorer 3rd gear slipping is either a broken overdrive servo piston ‘E’ clip or overdrive servo retaining snap ring. If this has happened, it’s very possible that the broken pieces can become stuck inside the overdrive server regulator valve, preventing the overdrive band from being able to fully apply.
To fix this Ford Explorer 3rd gear shifting problem, the broken retaining pieces will need to be replaced. But the overdrive servo regulator valve assembly will also need to be removed from the valve body and reconditioned in order to repair any damage caused by the break. Most transmission rebuilders will overlook this step, which can lead to more 4R70W/4R70E or 4R75E transmission problems down the road. Fortunately remanufactured transmission companies like Street Smart Transmission don’t skip this step, which results in a much more reliable reman Ford Explorer transmission.
How much is it going to cost to fix my 4R70W/4R70E or 4R75E transmission?
Unfortunately, the problem described here will require the removal and disassembly/partial disassembly of your transmission. Given the labor time involved to remove the transmission from the vehicle (this is not a simple task), most repair shops will recommend that you go ahead and rebuild the entire transmission while it’s out. Since they already have to tear it down to replace the 4R70W/4R70E or 4R75E transmission, it sort of makes sense to spend the extra money to do that. After all, you should get a lot more mileage out of your transmission once it’s rebuilt. And since they’ve already got the transmission apart, might as well, right?
Can I drive with a Ford Explorer transmission problem?
If your Ford Explorer can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.
How often does a Ford Explorer transmission need to be replaced?
The overall lifespan of a Ford Explorer transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation, along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Ford Explorer transmission last for between 80,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.
How are Ford Explorer transmission issues diagnosed?
It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Ford Explorer transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.
How is a Ford Explorer transmission replaced?
In order to replace your Ford Explorer transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.
Recommendations for Ford Explorer transmission issues?
To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Ford Explorer transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.
How to Solve Ford Explorer Transmission Problems
Solution A: Buy a Used Ford Explorer Transmission
The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.
Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Ford Explorer Transmission
Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.
Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Ford Explorer Transmission
Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.
How to Diagnose & Fix
- Check the OBD Codes
- Check the fluid level
- Test transmission pressure
- Drop the transmission pan
- Repair, replace or rebuild
What to Read Next
Related Forum Discussions
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What Problem Does Your Explorer Have?
Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!