Most automatic transmissions have a number of steel balls about 1/4" in diameter that are check balls in the passages in the valve body. They will not fall out unless the valve body is removed or something seriously broke. Typically the valve body has to be removed AND a steel plate has to be unbolted before those balls can be seen.
Ford also used a larger plastic ball with a 1" long stem on it to seal the dipstick tube while the transmission is on the assembly line. That gets pushed in later when the dipstick is installed. You're supposed to just throw that away the first time the pan is removed.
If you found a lot of balls all the same size there could be a bearing that came apart but most transmissions don't use ball bearings.
Monday, April 15th, 2013 AT 6:58 PM