Category Archives: Transmission Spotlights

5R110W

5R110W Transmission Spotlight

The Ford 5R110W transmission is a heavy-duty five-speed automatic transmission. It is primarily used in the Ford F-Series Heavy Duty pickup trucks and their Heavy Duty Chassis program. The 5R110W is loosely described as a redesign of Ford’s earlier 4R100 automatic transmission. The 5R110W “TorqShift” transmission was introduced alongside the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel for the 2003 model year as a diesel specific transmission which is closely integrated into the function of the engine. This transmission is good for towing, snow plowing, 4WD, or for any other similar high-performance needs. Many of these can be found in delivery trucks, food trucks, school buses, and motorhomes.

The transmission is advertised as a five-speed, although in actuality it features six forward speeds. Under normal operating conditions, the transmission shifts 1st-2nd-3rd-5th-6th. A secondary shift sequence is commanded when the ambient temperature drops below 5° F and shifts 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-6th. The transmissions marginally shorter 4th gear is used in cold weather to force higher engine speeds and therefore help the engine/transmission reach the normal operating temperature in less time.

Since they are often used in vehicles that are used and abused in harsh environments, the 5R110W transmission is often given a rough ride, with the number one killer of the 5R110W being excessive heat resulting from abuse. Towing over the factory payload limit and keeping your foot on the gas going up steep hills with a heavy load are two of the most common examples of this type of abuse. So here’s the bottom line: if you have a programmer, power adders or tow heavy loads, then you must have a High Performance or Heavy Duty transmission and torque converter so that your transmission will last.

The 5R110W is unique in that it lacks a typical valve body – instead, the 5R110W contains a “solenoid body”, which contains a series of 7 electronic shift solenoids. Problems with the 5R110W can be vaguely separated into two main categories. Mechanical problems may include a physically stuck solenoid, worn clutches, damaged gear set, while electrical problems may include a solenoid that is not functioning correctly, faulty or missing input from one of the various sensors, etc. Engine problems may be inappropriately diagnosed as a transmission issue and therefore should be repaired before attempting to troubleshoot a transmission.

68RFE Transmission

68RFE Transmission Spotlight

Chrysler’s 45RFE transmission, launched in 1998, used three planetary gear sets instead of the normal two being used at the time. The transmission later evolved into Chrysler’s first diesel specific transmission, the 68RFE, which was introduced alongside the 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel during the 2007 model year with the Ram and Pickup Lines. The newer transmission design provided the benefits of modified internal components to handle the increased torque and revised gear ratios for larger applications. Monster provides a wide variety of different builds for this transmission for additional ratings of horsepower and torque. These include the Heavy Duty, Super Duty, and Super Duty Xtreme models of Dodge Ram trucks.

The transmission’s band-less design and upgraded filtration system have proved to be significant improvements over previous transmissions, allowing for extended time between service intervals, while also reducing service costs. Under partial throttle, shifting into gears above third was delayed; and the system was likely to kick down under part throttle into fourth and fifth. A new Tow or “Haul” mode allowed for faster and crisper shifting in order to reduce engine wear, while still allowing overdrive unless the driver has previously locked it out. The 68RFE transmission was the biggest leap forward in terms of Dodge automatic transmissions since the inception of the Dodge Cummins power plant.

In the past, four-speed transmissions were the weak link for the vehicle’s powertrain. And while the 68RFE has proven itself in many respects, it has also shown plenty of weaknesses, as well. As power is increased above stock, heavy loads are hauled, and miles are racked up, the 68RFE’s are failing, partly due to the electronically controlled nature of these transmissions.  The 66RFE was introduced in 2012 as a lighter-duty version of the 68RFE, with the main differences between the transmissions being in the torque converter.

The 68RFE kept the basic clutch and hydraulic control design, matched with heavier-duty planetary gears, toothed differently to increase their capacity. The shafts, clutches, pump, torque converter, and other parts were also redesigned to handle the Cummins 6.7 liter diesel. The 263-pound 68RFE has roughly the same torque capacity as the Aisin automatic option in Ram heavy-duty pickups, but the Aisin allows for a power takeoff (or PTO), while the 68RFE does not; the Aisin also had a steeper first gear for better off the line power, with the same sixth gear ratio.

The processes involved to build more robust replacement parts has been tedious for the aftermarket manufacturers.  However, with several years, and many miles under their belts, most of the manufacturers have determined the best methods to manufacture “bulletproof” replacement parts, leaving a wide selection of proven parts now available.

Allison 1000

Allison 1000 Transmission Spotlight

The Allison 1000 is a 6-speed double overdrive transmission produced by the Allison Transmission Company in Indianapolis, IN, and Baltimore, MD. Allison transmissions have a global reputation for being extremely durable, which is why they’re cheaper to operate than other equally equipped vehicles. The low minimum maintenance requirements result in cheaper overall maintenance costs.

This heavy duty transmission can be found in all sorts of motorhomes and custom applications, along with the Chevrolet Silverado, the Hummer H1, the Chevrolet B-Series and the GMC Sierra. It can also be found in the Chevrolet Kodiak and the GMC Topkick. Starting in 2001, Chevy 2500 HD and 3500 trucks have had the option of being equipped with the Allison transmission. The Duramax-powered engine in the Silverado 2500 and 3500 trucks are now combined with the Allison 1000.

The Allison 1000 is an extremely heavy duty transmission, capable of handling up to 620 lb-ft of torque. Compare this to GM’s highest-rated transmission, the 4L80E which can only handle 420 lb-ft of torque. Put into use in 2006, the Allison 1000 transmission is still in production.

Early Allison 1000’s were initially 5-speed transmissions, but in 2006 they added a sixth overdrive gear. The creators of the Allison transmission realized that the diesel engines offered in diesel pickups were constantly increasing in horsepower and torque. The creators of the Allison transmission realized that the diesel engines offered in diesel pickups were constantly increasing in horsepower and torque. They knew that a strong transmission would be needed to handle GMC’s Duramax engine.


The adaptive learning technology provides a comfortable driving experience and helps you avoid any rough shifting experiences. The Allison 1000 is completely electronically controlled to adapt to your current driving style. The computer in the Allison 1000 constantly adjusts shift clutch pressure to match engine torque and vehicle load. The computer also has pre-programmed tables for reference. It attempts to make the shifts match the programmed table to maximize durability and drivability.

Most commonly, the transmission may go into “Limp Mode” during the 4 to 5 upshift or between 5 to 4 downshift while under hard acceleration. This will cause a check engine light to come up on your dash and the truck to be limited by power and speed. When this happens, the most common reported code is P0700. GM defines P0700 as “Transmission Control Module Requested MIL Illumination”. Simply put, it’s a general code for transmission issues and generally is accompanied by another code such as P0701, P0702 or others.  

Many truck owners’ first reaction is to replace the Transmission Control Module (TCM) as soon as this code pops up. The reality is that further diagnosis is needed to tell what the issue is for sure, and the best way to resolve it. Never jump to conclusions with your transmission, and always take into consideration the circumstances behind the issue prior to the code coming up if you experience any problems.

4L70E

4L60E Transmission Spotlight

The 4L60E is a four-speed automatic transmission produced by General Motors. It has been considered to be the best rendition of the finest overdrive automatic transmission ever produced. General Motors first induced the 4L60E transmission in 1993 as a replacement/upgrade to the 4L60, which itself was an upgrade from the 700R4. The 4L60E is a very capable 4-speed transmission with a 3.059 first gear ratio and a 0.696 final gear ratio, making it ideal for off the line performance while still providing decent mileage in overdrive.

The Corvette is General Motors flagship car. The 5th generation Corvette was a huge leap for GM. It incorporated so many new state of the art components over its predecessor that there are too many to count. The 4L60E differs from the 700R4 by being fully electronically shifted, and it has many internal upgrades that make it both stronger and more durable. The 4L60E could be found in many General Motors vehicles, including the Chevy Camaro, the Pontiac Trans Am, the Chevy Silverado, the Cadillac Escalade and the Buick Roadmaster. It is probably best known for its use in the 1994 -2004 5th generation Corvette.

While it’s common for car owners to perform many engine modifications, few give much thought to doing anything with the automatic transmission. Did you know you can pick up a full second, or more time reduction in the quarter mile by modifying your 4L60E transmission in your Corvette? Yes, it’s true and it’s not difficult to do. Let’s take a look at a few modifications you can make to the transmission in your GM or Chevy vehicle!


Shift Kits – There are a number of different shift kits available from a variety of different companies. Most of them come with the option to set them up for towing, street or street/strip use. Street/strip mode will usually result in the chirping of the tire under full throttle in first gear, given the ideal rear end gear ratio and adequate power levels. Shift kits can be broken down into two categories: modified valve bodies and electronic shift kits. Modify valve bodies use special plates with different size holes and check ball, stiffer springs and plugs to change the shifter characteristics.

Torque Converters – The stock converter used in the 4L60E is of the lockup type. Because of this, it is recommended that a stall converter of no more than 2600 rpm’s be used. A non-lockup converter is also available for those that want a higher stall speed. A popular option on the higher horsepower applications is the use of a converter with the anti-balloon plate option.

Transmission Coolers – There are literally hundreds of different types of transmission coolers available. It is always recommended to use the largest cooler possible. Coolers are available in the standard tube-type configuration and a more rugged stacked-plate design. Coolers are also available with built-in fans and temperature switches.

Transmission Pans – Most aftermarket pans are designed to increase the fluid capacity of the transmission. They are available in steel, chrome plated steel, and aluminum. Some have cooling fins or cooling tubes built into them. Most of them include a drain plug. Aluminum pans are generally sturdier and dissipate heat better than steel pans.

Wire Harnesses –  If the car originally came with the 4L60E than use of the stock wire harness is fine. For retrofit applications, special customer wire harnesses are available to work with either the factory computer or an aftermarket controller.

Fluids –  You can use the organic oil called for in the GM manual or you can use a synthetic fluid that meets the minimum requirements. Be sure to check the requirements for your individual year transmission and don’t forget to change the fluid on a regular basis. There are many options to upgrade the 4L60E to meet your requirements and desires.

700R4 level 2 transmission

700R4 Transmission Spotlight

General Motors/HydraMatic introduced the 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission in 1982 (as a replacement to the TH350 3-speed automatic transmission) and used it in many of their popular vehicles with models beginning in the years through today. The 700R4 was one of the first overdrive transmissions used in General Motors vehicles from the Blazer to pickup trucks, and even the Corvette platform. The transmission is sometimes also referred by as the 4L60 (1990) or 4L60E (1993) for improved electronically-controlled models introduced later on. The 700R4 overdrive transmission platform is considered one of the best ever made.

The 700R4 automatic transmission is constructed of a single piece of cast aluminum. The part is 23.4 inches long, weighs 155 pounds, and holds approximately 11 quarts of transmission fluid. It is distinguished from the TH350 and TH400 in that it has a square oil pan, lacking the distinctive cut-off corner of the TH350 and the “Texas” shaped oil pan under the TH400. The transmission was primarily developed to improve fuel economy, which was achieved by the 30% overdrive capability, as well as the improved 3.06:1 gear ratio in 1st gear.

The first 700R4 had an input shaft with 27 splines, though this transmission design was prone to failure because it was unable to handle the load properly. In 1984, they introduced a 30 spline input shaft that was much stronger and reliable. The transmission typically has 1/4” pipe fittings on the passenger side for an improved cooling circuit. Later versions also use a pinned flare and o-ring design for the fluid cooling circuits. The 1987 and newer produced transmissions are considered to be refined and very reliable when performance is compared in 350 V8s in sports cars and trucks.

The physical swaps in the 700R4 transmission are straightforward to install, but the one component that confuses many owners and mechanics is the throttle-valve (T.V.) cable setup. If the T.V. cable is not set correctly, the transmission will underperform and cause its lifetime to be greatly shortened. Each time you adjust this component, you will need to reset the cable slider correctly while using the pressure gauge. This will ensure instantaneous pressure response with the new setup – this is critically important! If you operate the transmission with low hydraulic pressures, it can cause a transmission failure very quickly.

The front-facing TH700 unit is natively compatible with either the Chevrolet 90-degree “Small Block” & “Big Block”-patterned engines, including the V6, V8, I6 & Iron Duke I4 varieties. The General Motors 60-degree pattern engine can be mated to 60-degree style engines like those in the 3800, 3.4, and other engine families. These other transmission types are fairly rare since they were only produced for a few years for the Chevy S10 and Camaro with the 2.8L V6, prior to GM’s upgrade to the 4.3L V6 engine.

We offer 700R4 Transmissions with Torque Converter – Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, & Level 5 as well as 700R4 Transmissions with Torque Converter – Level 2 for 4×4 vehicles on our website. Call us today or order directly through our website!

The transmission has the following dimensions and gear ratios:

 

Case to External Housing Overall Length Bell Housing to Mount
23 3/8″ 30 3/4″ 22 3/8″

 

 

Transmission 1st Gear 2nd Gear 3rd Gear 4th Gear Overdrive
Turbo 350 2.52 1.52 1 N/A
Turbo 400 2.48 1.48 1 N/A
2004R 2.74 1.57 1 0.67
700R4 /4L60 3.06 1.63 1 0.7
4L80E 2.48 1.48 1 0.75

 

General Motors Vehicle Models Using the 700R4 Transmission:

1982-1992 Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy

1982-2005 Chevrolet Corvette

1983-1996 Chevrolet Impala and Caprice police specials equipped with 350 engines.

1983-1985 Oldsmobile 350 Diesel equipped models.

1983-2002 Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird

1985-2005 Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari

1991-1992 GMC Syclone

1991-1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

1989-2003 Chevrolet S-10/GMC S-15/Sonoma

1989-2005 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer

1989-2001 GMC S-15 Jimmy

1990-1996 RWD Cadillac Fleetwood/Cadillac Brougham/Cadillac Limo

2002-2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy

1992-1993 GMC Typhoon

1984-2010 Chevrolet Suburban

1982-2012 Chevrolet Van

1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala

1994-1996 Buick Roadmaster

1982-2010 Chevrolet C/K

1993-2010 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

1999-2006 Cadillac Escalade

2002-2008 Chevrolet Avalanche

2003-2007 Hummer H2

2004-2007 Buick Rainier

2004-2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

1988-2006 Holden Commodore

2004-2006 Pontiac GTO

2005-2009 Saab 9-7X