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biggman100

2004 explorer 55r transmission replacement

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Moses, i am getting ready to do an automatic transmission swap on a 2004 Ford Explorer 4.0, and, my question is, since the dealer wont answer me, the shops either, there is no owners manual, and searches online contradict themselves, how many quarts of transmission fluid should the transmission i am putting in reasonably need? The transmission will be a used one, that will probably have at least some fluid in the converter, but more than likely, the yard i am getting it from drained the pan. The reason i am asking is because the transmission is a "sealed" unit, meaning no dipstick, and has to be filled using a pump through a drain plug in the base of the pan, while it is running, so, before i start it, i want to make sure i dont over or under fill it by too much, and do any damage to the replacement, which i have heard can happen, especially if too low when you start it. I was planning on putting in 7 quarts, and go from there, but, i have heard that transmission takes anywhere from 9 to 15, so which is the right answer? 

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biggman100...This is a big hit subject at YouTube!  OTC makes a special tool for the filling operation that helps set the fluid level.  I would start with the pan filled to fill level, run the engine/transmission in Park or Neutral position as indicated, continue to add fluid as the unit and converter fill up, using the tool or an improvised tool to set the fluid level.  Some reviews talk about cheap, home spun alternative tools for this task.  Your call.  

Here are two links, the first is the OTC tool and many review comments worth reading at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/OTC-6604-Transmission-Fluid-Adapter/dp/B000JFJMFK

Here is the range of YouTube videos devoted to this transmission's filling method:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=youtube ford explorer transmission fill

I did this kind of fill on an Aisin 6-speed in a VW Jetta, in that case the tool's height within the oil pan determined the correct fluid level.  The whole process is a pain, and you'll need a case of expensive fluid around while filling.  The correct fluid installation pump is a mandatory, too!  After running the transmission in gear, all positions, check and top off fluid as necessary.

As a footnote, the dealerships and specialty shops have the special pumping systems for quickly draining and properly refilling these transmissions.  So much for eliminating dipsticks and fill tubes.  Many consumers toss in the towel and pay the small fortune to have the fluid changed at a shop.  The videos will help you through this process.

Moses

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Moses, i was able to find a fitting locally that does the same thing the tool does. I have actually done quite a few of these so called "sealed" transmissions, from Pontiac, to Ford cars, to VW's, to even a couple Porsches, but, this is the first Explorer i have ever done. The procedure on the Explorer though, is a bit different than what i am used to, since you fill it through a drain in the base of the transmission pan, then, start it, and let it run until fluid starts dripping out of that hole, which indicates it is full. The issue i am having, is knowing how many quarts to start with. On most cars i can easily find that info, for instance, on the 2007 Cadillac CTS, you start with 8 quarts, but, i can not seem to find anywhere how many quarts to start with on the Explorer. Even the numerous videos i watched don't say.

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This might help, it's a quote from a forum response that I found online.  They were talking about a fluid exchange that involved disconnecting a cooling line:

"...When I did my flush I bought 1.5 cases of mercon V. If I remember right a complete change is close to 13.9 quarts to completely fill a 5R55E."

I would consider this realistic but still be cautious due to the used transmission and converter thing.  Who knows how much fluid is already in the unit?  So, I would start with around 6-8 quarts, run the engine briefly, just enough to circulate ATF and fill the converter, then check the fluid level properly.  Continue to add fresh ATF slowly, by the quart, as necessary.  Check fluid level as you go.

As I hinted, you'll likely need a case of the recommended ATF.  This fellow had 1.5 cases on hand.

Moses

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Moses, to update this one, we actually put closer to 2 cases in it before it read full, and because i had never done one of these before, i sent it to a friends shop just to double check, and they added another 2 qts, for a total of 23 qts. According to the ford dealer though, that isnt unheard of, as some of the explorers of that year range had a massive inline trans cooler. Filling it ended up not being as bad as i had expected, except for the fact that when i set up the pump, i accidentally laid the hose over the exhaust, instead of the frame, which caused it to start to melt the hose. Luckily, i caught it before anything really bad happened. So far, he has put almost 3000 miles on it with no issues.

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