How do I change the shift solenoid in a Ford F-150?

My transmission has been shifting funny. After speaking with a few friends who know cars well, I think I’ve identified the problem. How do I install a new shift solenoid myself in my Ford F-150?

Answer
Sorry to hear that you’re having issues with your transmission. Replacing the shift solenoid in a Ford F-150 will take between four and seven hours of work. So before jumping in, I recommend having your transmission checked by a mechanic to make sure the solenoid is the issue.
Once you’ve confirmed and are ready to perform the repair, you’ll need the following supplies:
  • New shift solenoid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Gasket and fuel cover
  • A bin to catch fluid drippings
  • A ratchet or socket wrench set
Follow these directions to replace the solenoid:
  1. Remove the drain plug to drain the fluid from your transmission. You can find the drain plug at the bottom of the fluid pan. Place your fluid catch bin under the plug and use a ratchet with the appropriate socket to remove the drain nut. Reinstall the drain plug after the fluid has completely drained.
  2. Use your socket wrench to remove the screws holding the drain pan in place. Clean any leftover fluid and clear the magnet filter of debris.
  3. Remove the fluid pan gasket and locate the shift solenoid. Once the gasket is taken off, it will expose the solenoids on the valve body. They will have wires attached and might be grouped or separated depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission.
  4. Locate and remove the faulty solenoid following the error code during the diagnostic read. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the solenoid and unplug the attached wiring.
  5. Install the new solenoid in the slot using the screws you removed from the old solenoid. Reconnect the wiring and ensure it is functioning by connecting an external power lead to its power prongs.
  6. Replace the fluid pan and screw in all bolts securely. Then, refill the transmission fluid to its required level. Turn on the engine and use the dipstick to confirm the fluid is at the correct level. Add more if needed.
  7. Clear check engine error codes using an OBD tool.
While you’re caring for your car, take a minute to review your car insurance to make sure you have the coverage you need and aren’t overpaying for it. Download the Jerry app to compare personalized quotes from over 50 of the nation’s leading providers, including Nationwide, Allstate, and Travelers. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance!
Matthew Macgugan
Answered on Dec 07, 2021
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