The vehicle comes in, or comes back, with a complaint of no reverse and a perceived loss of fourth gear. The transmission seems to have shifted three times at one point and only twice another time.
The cause of the complaint was that the center-support sleeve had “walked” forward out of position, there-by blocking the direct-clutch feed holes (see Figure 1).
The loss of reverse is easy to explain after an inspection of the clutch-application chart in Figure 2.
The reasons for loss of fourth gear and the shift issues are not that easy, and here is why. The 5R110W is a six-speed transmission. The shift strategy is such that it uses only five speeds at any given time. When the transmission is cold (5° F or less), the transmission will shift 1-2-3-4-6, skipping fifth gear. When the transmission warms up, it will shift 1-2-3-5-6, skipping fourth gear.
Because the direct clutch is used in reverse, fifth and sixth gears, when cold the transmission – without the direct clutch – would shift only 1-2-3-4; in other words, it would shift only three times. When it warmed up it would shift only 1-2-3; in other words, it would shift only twice. With the ratios in fourth, fifth and sixth gears being so close to each other (see gear ratios in Figure 2), it would be extremely difficult to tell which gear has been skipped or lost.
Replacement of the center support corrected the complaint.
5L40-E bonded pistons are now available from two aftermarket sources, TransTec and Precision International. These pistons come only in kits. The TransTec kit consists of nine pistons that will fit 2002-and-up models. Precision International has three different kits: for ’99-05 models, a combo kit consisting of 14 pistons; for ’99-05 BMW AWD vehicles, a kit consisting of nine pistons; and for ’99-05 models except AWD, a kit consisting of 11 pistons.
The next issue is getting pistons installed. You may be able to sneak a few of these pistons into their drums without installers, but the center support is not forgiving. The center support has no chamfers to allow any ease of assembly. There are two options available to install these pistons.
Option 1. Use the sizing cones and Seal-E-Zee spray available from Lubegard (see Figure 3). Size the inner and outer seals of the piston with the cones, then spray the rubber as directed on the label. This will freeze the rubber so the piston can be installed.
Option 2. Buy the installers from your local distributor or SPX’s Kent-Moore.
Note: The Kent-Moore numbers listed are for 2002-up models only. Refer to the following updated part numbers.
Option 1 part numbers
- Seal-E-Zee Original . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19500
- Seal-E-Zee Xtreme. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19501
- Seal-E-Zee application cones . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19600
Option 2 part numbers
Direct-clutch piston inner (Figure 4) . . . . . . . . . . .J-45133
Forward-clutch piston inner (Figure 5) . . . . . . . . .J-45134
Coast-clutch piston inner (Figure 6) . . . . . . . . . . .J-45132
Overdrive-clutch piston outer (Figure 7) . . . . . . . .J-45135
Low/reverse-clutch piston inner (Figure 8) . . . . . .J-45140
Low/reverse-clutch piston outer (Figure 8) . . . . . .J-45136
Low/reverse-clutch piston pusher (Figure 8) . . . . .J-45688
2nd-clutch piston inner and outer kit (Figure 9) . . .J-46240
2nd-coast piston inner and outer with pusher kit (Figure 10). . . . .J-46239
December 2007 Issue
Volume 24, No. 12
- Ford 5R110W: Loss of Reverse & Some Forward Gears
- GM and BMW 5L40-E: Bonded-Piston Installers