Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Toyota/Lexus Adds Eight Speeds to the U881E
Street Smart
Each year we see manufacturers adding more gears to familiar transmissions, all in an effort to coax more miles out of each gallon of gas. In 2013, Toyota/Lexus created the U881E transaxle: the first front wheel drive, 8-speed, transverse-mounted transaxle, which began showing up in the Lexus RX350 vehicles. Today, you’ll find this unit in BMW, GM, and Volvo vehicles. It’s a compact transax...

Ford Torqshift/5R110: A Shot in the Dark
The Ford Torqshift came out in 2003 and over the years has exhibited its share of problems. The original solenoid body may have one or five pressure switches, depending on model year. The computer on these vehicles was never programmed to monitor the pressure switches. Ford removed them in late 2004. The later solenoid body may have one pressure switch with no wire going to it. In this appli...

A Logical Approach to Solenoid Circuit Testing
A common call to the ATRA HotLine has to do with solenoid circuit problems. Most of you have been dealing with these types of problem for years. Many of you have the answers seconds after you check for codes. If you're one of those technicians, this article may not be for you. But if you're a technician who appreciates a new look at a common problem, never dealt with solenoid codes, or are new ...

Identifying ATF Contamination
Coolant contamination has become a lot harder to identify on many of today’s transmissions. You may have to do more than just look at the fluid to find it. And that still leaves us with a new question: Is it coolant or plain water? We’ve all become accustomed to the idea that radiators can fail and allow coolant to contaminate the transmission. And there may be other signs of coolant damage...

5R55N with Wrong Gear Starts and Bindups? Look for a Faulty Servo
In 2000, Ford introduced the 5R55N. It was only used in the 2000-2002 Lincoln LS, 2002 Thunderbird, and 2000-2002 Jaguar S-type. It’s a lot like the 5R55W/S, but the N model has an intermediate clutch; the W/S models don’t. Ford introduced the 5R55W/S in 2002 and, by now, you’ve probably become pretty familiar with the ins and outs of this unit. Some common problems include slipping in 2n...

Circuit Diagnosis Made Easier by Looking at the Big Picture
Cadillacs have always given diagnosticians headaches when it comes to diagnostics. Let’s not kid anyone here: the Cadillac has twenty plus modules, miles of wiring, and controls for just about everything including the kitchen sink. So when it comes to diagnostics, the trick is to keep it simple. Here we’re going to talk about a 2005 Cadillac STS with the MIL lit; the only complaint was that...

Blown Away by High Pressure
Remember the Dodge truck we talked about in the January 2015 issue? The 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 5.9 diesel? This is what happened to the front clutch (figure 1).  The truck came in with the front clutch blown apart; the shop replaced the drum, only to blow the new drum apart while it was still on the lift.  After replacing the valve body with a new, stock valve body, the pressure dropped do...