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1. I am not a trans builder, just a DIY guy, much like yourself I am assuming.

What I
have done is a 5R55E rebuild that has gone (and still going) the 24
months/24,000 miles most outfits warranty for. So let's say so far I have SOME
success. I have also successfully rebuilt & upgraded a 4L60E, and I am telling
you the 5R55E is much easier to work on.

The bench work on a 5R55E is really not too bad.

Be super organized, lots of bins w/ lids, boxes, cable ties, AND LOTS OF
DIGITAL PHOTOS. Have a large work area available. You need to do a
complete tear-down and thorough cleaning.

Make sure the main case is good, checking for wear, particularly at servo bores,
etc., and clean it out REAL good. Check the steels...you can tell if they are burnt,
warped etc. Replace if necessary. The clutches have directional grooves, so get
them back in the right way, and measure for the correct retaining ring once you
have re-built each clutch pack.

Lip seals, make sure you tuck all of these properly, being careful not to damage
them.

TEFLON seals: watch out for these especially, they are very difficult to work
with...check the manual. There are several TEFLON seals on the turbine shaft,
and re-sizing here is critical. If you snag one of those you are out of business, as
they will be damaged. Manageable if you know it happened, as you can replace
the seal and try again. But a disaster if you don't notice, as you could conceivably
put the entire truck back together, only to have an immediate failure. Same thing
on the end of the pump stator. Really ramp up your situational awareness when
doing the TEFLONs.

Thrust washers: be very careful, noting the correct orientation of each one, and
obviously replace at your discretion.

When you gut an assembly, i.e. clutch or gear-train, get a photo, and cable tie
everything together as it comes out. While not foolproof, this goes a long way to
keeping everything in the right place. Use a paint pen for marking bands, servo
covers, etc.

Parking pawl: be very careful of how this goes. Check your bearings & sprags.

Valve body: update that...many good articles here on the forum.

Do your assembly air tests as per the manual...this assures you of proper
assembly while still on the bench.

Pump alignment...critical, make sure to get this right. Also check the bushing in
the bell housing, cheap to replace if have the drivers.

If you have 4x4, you will not be using the rear seal that probably comes in the
kit...those are for RWD. For 4x4, have an extension housing to transfer case
paper gasket on hand for your re-installation.

COOLER(S): clean these and their lines out real good. Very important. Use an
inline magnetic filter downstream of the coolers. Contaminated coolers & lines
are a major cause of recurring transmission problems. Torque converter will be
replaced also.

Drain plug, definitely add one of these to your pan.