Tales From the Bench - January/February - 2017

Ford 5R110: Money in Your Pocket

It’s no secret that the parts margin on some transmissions is higher than it should be. On the 5R110, parts can get expensive real fast, such as the coast clutch drum, pump, low diode, direct drum, and solenoids.

Some jobs will need less; others more. But what if you could take the solenoids off your parts list and add labor time for rebuild the solenoids at the same time? The 5R110 solenoids have issues with the valves getting stuck in the solenoid snout. With no special tools, you should be able to take them apart, clean them, and get them working like new.

IDENTIFICATION

The 5R100 solenoids almost all look the same (figure 1), but they aren’t all the same. There are ID marks that help identify what type of solenoid it is.

Always check the solenoids’ resistances before trying to clean them. All solenoids should be around 4.5 ohms.

To identify the solenoids, check the snout with the connector at the top (figure 2). The lines on each side of the solenoid snout identify the different types of solenoids.

Pressure control A (PC-A) has ID marks that are centered on the snout. It has a stepped back.

PC-A solenoids are inversely proportional: When the current is low, the solenoid regulates maximum pressure. When the current is high, pressure is low.

The ID marks on the SSPC-A and SSPC-D solenoids are low, or below the center of the snout. These solenoids also have a stepped back.

The SSPC-A and SSPC-D are inversely proportional. When current is low, the solenoid regulates maximum pressure to the clutches.

The marks on the TCC, SSPC-B, SSPC-C, and SSPC-E solenoids are high, or above the solenoid snout. Unlike the others, these solenoids have flat backs.

The TCC, SSPC-B, SSPC-C, and SSPC-E are all directly proportional. When the current is high, the solenoids regulate maximum pressure to the circuit. When solenoid current is low, there’s no oil in the circuit.

DISASSEMBLING THE SOLENOIDS

The process of disassembling the solenoid is simple:

  • Remove the plastic cap on the end of the solenoid with a pair of pliers.
    IMPORTANT: Don’t touch the adjustment on the end of the solenoid. The solenoid is calibrated at the tip of the snout adjustment. Never remove the adjuster or the valve unless you have a valve body or solenoid test machine to recalibrate them.
  • Use a screwdriver to bend the four tabs out (figure 3). You just need to bend them far enough to get the solenoid snout off.
  • Remove the snout that contains the valve. This is where the problem is.

You should be able to shake the snout, and hear and feel the valve move freely. If you don’t feel the valve move, you’ve found an issue with the solenoid. Most of the time you can free the valve by cleaning it with solvent and blowing the valve back and forth (figure 4).

When you can shake back and forth and the valve is free, you’re good to go.

To finish cleaning the solenoid, remove the plunger and solenoid coil from the solenoid can and wash all parts.

REASSEMBLE THE SOLENOID

After all parts are clean and the valve is free, it’s time to put it back together (figure 5).

  • Install the solenoid coil in the solenoid can.
  • Install the plunger with the tapered end facing into the solenoid can.
  • Install the snout onto the solenoid can. It can only go one way; there’s no way of getting it wrong.
  • Bend the four tabs back over to hold the snout in place.

That’s all there is to it; the solenoid is together and ready to go back to work. Do this to all solenoids and you’ll save a lot of money by not replacing unnecessary solenoids.

I recommend doing one solenoid at a time to avoid mixing up any of the plungers and snouts. This will help prevent any interchange or calibration problems.

As you can see, cleaning and repairing these solenoids is simple. After doing a few sets, you should be able to clean a full set of solenoids in about thirty minutes.

You can also find binding or shift issues by taking these solenoids apart. If the valve is stuck in the snout, you’ve confirmed a problem. It’s always nice to confirm an issue before reassembling the transmission.

Lower parts cost and higher profits; it’s hard to find anything better than that.