How to Identify Ford Automatic Transmissions

How to Identify Ford Automatic Transmissions

The Ford Motor Company has been building vehicles with automatic transmissions for years. The Ford-O-Matic was its’ first when it originally introduced the model in 1951 and since then, they have been used far and wide throughout the company. How to identify what kind of Ford automatic transmission that is in your vehicle is one of the more common questions asked. For those interested in conducting maintenance on their vehicles, it’s certainly an important question that begs to be answered. Here is how to know what automatic transmission is in your Ford vehicle.

Examine the shape of the pan underneath your transmission. The Ford C-Series transmissions all have square pans. The C-3 has a bay at the back on the left side. The C-4’s front left side corner will have a bump in it. The C-6 has a cut out bay at the back of the left side that looks towards the back of the vehicle. The regular Ford-O-Matic will have just a square pan without any of these identifiers.

From here, it’s a matter of taking a count of how many bolts there are on the transmission pan. If it has 13 bolts then it belongs to the C-3. If it has 11 then it’s a C-4. If it has 14 then it’s a C-6. The Ford-O-Matic takes up a bolt count of 15.

The Ford Automatic Overdrive transmissions are a bit different. The four-speed AOD transmissions come in four distinct types, with each of them taking a unique pan shape. It will take counting the bolts and the shape of the pan in order to identify with one is in your vehicle.

Let’s start with the pan shape. The A4LD, AR44E, and 4R55E have a pan shape with a small bump at the top left side and an indentation on the right side parameter. The AOD has a slash coming in on both front corners. The AODE 4R70W will have these two slashes on the two front corners as well as a circular indentation at the top left corner. Finally the E40D 4R100 maintains a rectangle type shape with a small rectangle chunk cut out from the front right corner.

Just as we would before, now it’s time to count the bolts. Carrying a total of 18 bolts are the AR55E, A4LD, and AR44E transmissions. The AOD, AODE, and 4R70W each have 14 bolts. The larger sized E40D and 4R100 transmissions both have 20 bolts each.

Those with a Cruise-O-Matic transmission will see the cast-iron casing which is unique to this model and not like any of the other automatic transmissions. One will see a distinct aluminum bell housing and extension housing bolted to the frame as well.

The Ford Motor Company has produced a wide range of automatic transmissions in past decades and are sure to continue improving on the technology employed in their vehicles for decades to come. Some of the more popular models from the company’s history include the C-4, the C-5, and the C-6 as mentioned above.

The C-4 was first introduced in 1964 as a lightweight 3-speed automatic transmission which simply flew! Their manufacturing was discontinued in 1982 when it was replaced by the C-5, an improved version of the C-4 with a centrifugal torque converter lock-up clutch and a more advanced valve body. The C-6 was first released in 1966 and was directed towards the market of larger vehicles and larger engines. The Automatic Overdrive or AOD was quick to become a favourite among customers after it was first released in 1980. These are just a few examples of the types of transmissions that are available in Ford vehicles used around the world.

Through breaking it down into simply what pan shape is used as well as the number of bolts employed, how to identify your Ford automatic transmission is easy.


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