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Valve Body Replacement

New 09/29/2006

I pretty much had to take everything out of that side of the engine compartment. Here's the steps I did (now mind you, this was about a month and a half ago, so bear with me). As a tip, I stashed all this stuff in my trunk, so I wouldn't lose anything - but I still did.

See 20b below for the optional quick way to tell if the pump is blown.

FYI - 99.9% of everything here is metric. For the cover bolts and the valve body bolts, I used a 5/16" socket, but they were probably metric as well.

AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES BE CAREFUL AND MAKE SURE NOTHING IS GOING TO FALL OR GIVE OUT LIKE THE JACK. I'm very paranoid about a jack breaking because I've had it happen before (yes, I still have all fingers, toes, and eyeballs - a factory jack snapped when changing a tire, and the crank handle flipped around and hit me between the eyes), so I will always use jack stands plus throw the tire under the car as well, just in case it falls.

From the side:

1. Jacked up the entire front of the car, put it on two jackstands high enough to roll under it with a creeper. I had mine placed right where the subframe bars connect to the frame - right on the circular rubber bushing and nut on both sides. My driveway is on a slope, so that helped some.
2. Removed the driver's side wheel, and all the wheel well splash guards.

From inside the engine compartment:

3. Removed all the air induction from the fender up to the throttle (including the air filter housing).
4. Removed the throttle cables and linkages from the throttle valve, and remove the bracket from the throttle body - pushed it out of the way somewhere or tied it up so it wasn't right in my face the whole time.
4. Removed the battery, plastic tray, support bracket
5. Removed the starter
6. Misc. electrical and vacuum - disconnected virtually everthing that got in my way and either pushed it somewhere else, or tied it up. Some of it did require that I momentarily disconnect the radiator hose to move wiring above the hose, so it wasn't in my way, then reconnect it. I lost about 2-3 cups of fluid - no big..
7. Disconnected the shifter cable from the gear range selector switch
8. Disconnected the electrical connections from the gear range selector switch and remove the switch assembly from the shaft (once I unscrewed the two bolts holding it on, it lifts straight up - one tooth on each side engages the bottom of the shaft).

Then, I had a shot at that big honkin' brace that holds up the entire transaxle on the driver's side.
The brace is attached at the front and back of the transaxle, and it rests on and is bolted to the top of the engine mount on the driver's side. The engine mount was easily reached once I removed the driver's side wheel and the splash guards.

Now for the fun part:

9. Removed the nut on the top of the engine mount that is holding the brace on top.
10. Positioned the floor jack under the tranny pan, with a block of wood between the two, so I didn't crush the pan (the wood spreads out the force across the entire pan, so find a 2x4 or 2x6 piece that's about 12-14 inches long, and positioned it so that it ran front-to-back with the car, not side-to-side). 
11. Lifted up the transaxle with the jack until it cleared the bolt on the engine mount. When it did, removed the engine mount and let the jack back down a little.
12. Disconnected the two transmission cooler lines on the front of the AX4N. I needed to move these out of the way so that I could get to the bolts that hold the brace to the front of the trans.
13. There is a bolt and a nut to remove on the front of the brace, and a bolt and a nut on the back of the brace (two things to remove on each side). I got to these by using about 2 or 3 feet of ratchet extensions and universal joints through the wheel well.
14. Made sure that the trans was supported by the jack and block of wood, then started removing those brace bolts and nuts.
15. Once all the bolts and nuts are removed and the brace is loose, *patiently* maneuvered the jack up and down until I got the brace off of the bolts, and at the same time, just the right tilt and turn it so that it could be removed through the wheel well, where I just removed the engine mount. I also had to physically push some brake lines out of the way while maneuvering it (didn't want to mess with the whole brake bleeding thing).

Now that I had that thing off, the rest is cake. 
16. Removed all the cover bolts and the two test ports. More trans fluid ran out (about a quart) Gasket is reusable.
17. The cover comes out the top of the engine compartment. There is just barely enough room to lift the cover while tilting it toward the engine so that it clears the valve solenoids. Again, patience, and finesse.

The rest of this is under the cover:
18. Disconnected the electrical connectors on the solenoids, and the connector at the top of the AX4N, then fished the connector, the wiring, and the solenoid connectors out through the hole where the outside connector was.
19. Disconnected a linkage that goes from the gear range selector shaft to a valve (it slips out the top of the valve).

Under the cover is the pump plate (with a cover on the pump itself). The pump plate is attached to the valve body with about 25 bolts (see the extremely helpful exploded diagram on the v8sho.com website). Also - all those machined edges are sharp - and oily!

20. Removed ALL the bolts EXCEPT any bolt that isn't long enough to extend through the valve body and bolt into the trans housing. The goal wass to take the pump plate and valve body out as one piece. Remove every bolt that is more than about 2 inches long. Here's what I did: Pick a bolt and remove it - if its too short, put it back in and tighten it back down. I didn't lose any check balls or springs, as there is a plate on the back side of the valve body that can only be removed once you have the valve body out of the trans, and have flipped it over. There are a few bolts that are hard to see. Some I got to from the engine compartment, others through the wheel well.
20b. You COULD remove only the bolts on the pump cover at this point, but if it's broken, pieces of it will fall out onto the ground (plus, you probably want to flip it over and take a look at the valves to see if there is any stray metal chunks that floated around and did any further damage somewhere else in the valve body.
21. Once I removed all the bolts I needed to, the valve body and pump assembly let go with little or no force. More trans fluid coming out.
22. Slid the valve body/pump assembly out horizontally so that I could grab the pump shaft. While holding the valve body, pushed the pump shaft back into the trans and out of the pump, so that the valve body will clear the shaft when lifting up the valve body to take it out.
23. Removed the pump shaft.

Once I removed the pump cover, it was obvious it was broken - I just dug as deep as I possibly could with these steps. Mine was deeply gouged and full of large metal chunks from the impeller vanes and retaining ring being destroyed. Same thing with the pump shaft. It should be one solid piece, but interestingly enough, I discovered that some engineer at Ford was smart enough to give it a failsafe internal section that keeps it from flailing around if it does break - instead of snapping in two, it holds itself together, but spins on both ends.

It was a little easier putting it back together than taking it apart. I'm always suspicious of bolts I've never touched before, because they always feel like they are about to snap off - but its just the factory torque and the dirt/rust and once that breaks loose, they come off easily.
I didn't have any torque specs - for the valve body and cover bolts I used a 3/8" ratchet, and tightened each one with as much force as I could apply using only one hand - not leaning into it or anything - they didn't seem that tight to begin with when I removed them - maybe 10 or 15 pounds (just a guess)
The only things I really beared down on to tighten were the brace bolts, the starter, and the engine mounts - those bolts and nuts were substantially larger and looked like they could sustain some real force. Probably 35-55 pounds (again, just a guess). I used a 1/2 ratchet and both hands (one on the head, one on the handle), leaning on it, to tighten the brace and the mounts - I think I might have had to use the 1/2" ratchet and cheater pipe to break them loose when removing them (I had the trusty cheater pipe out for the exhaust Y-pipe bolts, so I don't remember if I used it on anything else or not.)

Stan Phillips
Sorry it's 9 months later Stan - My Fault!! Thanks for the excellent write up!


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