Ford Announces New 8-Speed Transmission, Split Cooling System Technology

Ford Announces New 8-Speed Transmission, Split Cooling System Technology

Ford says it plans to offer new eight-speed automatic transmissions across its vehicle lineup that offer improved fuel economy and ultra-precise shifts.

The gearbox will allow Ford to continue its effort to downsize engine displacement without affecting performance, said Joe Bakaj, Ford's vice president of global powertrain engineering.

"The eight-speed will offer 2 to 6 percent better fuel economy" compared with today's six-speed transmission, like that found in the Ford F-150, Bakaj said. "It will have a wide ratio spread, so customers can run a shorter gear [than today] pulling away from a stop."

The eight-speed will also feature what Ford says is the industry's first torque input sensor. The sensor will measure torque coming into the transmission, enabling faster gear selection, reducing gear hunting and helping smooth out shifts.

"The transmission knows how much torque is needed and will be able to variably control pressure on the clutch packs to deliver smooth shifts," Bakaj said.

Hydraulic actuators that control line pressure applied to clutch plates during shifts will be directly integrated into the transmission case instead of embedded in a separate assembly that's bolted inside the housing, like today's Ford transmissions use. The integrated construction promises tighter component fit and less component flexibility which can stress the sensitive parts.

Bakaj didn't say which cars and trucks will get the new transmission, but we imagine it will be a perfect match for the Ford F-150, which currently uses a six-speed 6R80 automatic gearbox.

Ford also announced a so-called split cooling system that allows the cylinder block to warm up before the cylinder head, improving engine mileage and efficiency. The system saves fuel during cold weather or short trips because oil and engine fluid viscosity rises as temperatures fall, so more work and more fuel is required to overcome friction in the powertrain.

"It's actually a single cooling loop with multiple circuits," said Brett Hinds, manager of Ford EcoBoost engine development. "We [variably] block coolant to the radiator [when the engine is cold] to warm up the engine block sooner while still allowing coolant to flow to the heads [which sit on top of the engine block over the cylinders]."

The split cooling system will debut on Ford's new 1-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine coming to Ford's small cars, but in a case of trickle-up engineering, it will migrate to other vehicles.

Comments

interesting

Very cool! Torque input sensor sounds very interesting.

awesome!

Yeah, but where's my flux capacitor and flying circuitry??? Lol, I was just talking to a friend about why split cooling had not been integrated into modern engines to boost effientcy, good job Ford.

@Michael,

That ain't nothing. I was thinking when Ford was going to announce an 8-Speed Auto Tranny.

I expect the next-gen 2014 GM trucks will also feature an 8-speed gearbox.

I know GM is kind of stuck in the past at times but I feel like Ford and Ram are just going all out to make the best trucks while GM just sits there and does little to nothing. Over the past month i test drove all 1/2 tons and by far the Ford and Ram are the best. The Chevy seemed really slow it have the 5.3 and the six speed. The Ford and Ram were about the same but in my feeling the Ford was a bit quicker. GM has to do something soon are they will start having more problems. Those are just my thoughts.

Do the fuel savings make up for the extra cost of a 8 speed?

ha ha ... driving a chevy is gonna be like riding a donkey.

How does this effect acceleration both off the line and at different cruising speeds?

Wow !!

These new vehicles are going to cost an arm and leg to repair ! Pretty soon they will be made of plastic and when they break down,you just recycle the whole darn thing.

@ilikemayo,
how is driving a Chevy going to be like a donkey ?

@ FordGuy21,
A Hemi Ram beats a eco boost 150 in a drag race and are next to even in the mpg.Ram (16-18 mpg)is about 1-2 off the eco Boost(18 mpg ) Ram is a 4x4 crewcab vs a 2wd f-150.Best truck is the GM HYbrid 6.2 V-8 they get 21 combined.

6 speeds are plenty of gears for a pickup. 8 just seems too much. Anyone else agree?

@Bigger Bob,

There is no such thing as "too much."

@Mechanic,

I do hope you are joking. The Ram loses to the Ecoboost and GM Hybrid does get that with the ancient 6.0L not the 6.2L

Your facts are way off.

ilikemayo mentioned driving a Chevy is like driving a donkey, well duh, they are underpowered.

Any Idea WHEN the 8 speed will first be offered? And I wonder how much it will add to the cost? These trucks are already so dang expensive. I'm not surprised this news coming from ford. They have been making all the news lately. I've heard about the next dodge cummins having an 8 speed. When's that gonna be?

Gears are like insulin and bootleg DVD's. You can never have too much.

I'm surprised by the 8 speed tranny announcement. I thought that was going to be Ram's bag.
I wonder if this means that the new trucks are going to run tall gears that will be compensated by the transmission?
I see Bigger Bob's point - how many gears is too much?
I like the 6R80 in my truck.
The biggest benefit should come from the torque sensing system in the new tranny.
The split cooling system will be a welcome feature for those of us in the Great White North. The faster the engine warms up the better. That in itself will save more fuel than the gains from the 8 speed tranny.

Ram beat the ecoboost? That's like saying a volt beats a mustang. No way a mountain motor ram gets good milage. Dodge and chevy put these super tall rear gears in then mate drive at 60mph.

I know GM is kind of stuck in the past at times but I feel like Ford and Ram are just going all out to make the best trucks while GM just sits there and does little to nothing. Over the past month i test drove all 1/2 tons and by far the Ford and Ram are the best. The Chevy seemed really slow it have the 5.3 and the six speed. The Ford and Ram were about the same but in my feeling the Ford was a bit quicker. GM has to do something soon are they will start having more problems. Those are just my thoughts

WOW! Fordguy21 alledgedly test drove all 3 trucks and really likes the ford the best, now that's a suprise. NOT! What a stupid post.

I do congradulate Ford for being the technology leader and with the Eco-boost engine and the upcoming 8 speed transmission it is no suprise that Ford is selling the most trucks. Ford is determined to stay out front and GM is determined to be the last to the party. I am not happy that it's taking so long for GM to introduce the next generation Silverado and Sierra. I did read where GM is also working on a new 8 speed transmission and you can bet your next paycheck it will find it's way into the full size trucks and suv's.

I wish they would offer a Hi/Low tranny like in the over the road tractors. 8-speeds would be nothing.
Split 4 low and 4 hi and there you have it.
Long live the manual trans!

Wow, now that Ford is getting a 8-speed look at every1 praise it. When Ram alone said it was getting an 8-speed. All i heard was too many gears and bla, bla, bla. Ford won't get this 8-speed for another 2 years.

Yes, GM will have an 8-Speed Slush Box by 2014. By then Ford will have the 10-Speed Slush Box.

theres never too much. we need more power, more gears, more romm, more, more , more, more....

That's called selective reading, Emilio. Most people who have driven any current Chrysler vehicle with the 5 speed, know the transmission is the biggest shortfall. I am looking forward to the new 8 speed transmissions. There's probably a couple of fanboys around here that sound like any new technology that doesn't exist on their favorite brand is overkill, but certainly not the majority of us.

ilikemayo, Please do not insult donkeys with a comparison like that.

@ Bob

I did test drive all three down in Indy. The Chevy was underpowered by far. The Ram was a good truck but the biggest thing problem with it is that the rear coil suspension makes the truck good on the roads and rides better than the Ford But the pay load was lower and the second you take it off road I feel there is less control. The five speed is something I was not thrilled about at all but it wasn't that bad. I do wish the 5.0 in the Ford was capable of the higher tow rating though. I'm not trying to start a fight its just my opinions.

@uh huh - you left out more fuel

Ram is putting Ford on it heels. When Ram announced a 8-speed, look at Ford. When Ram announced it's developing a Hydraulic Hybrid, so did Ford. Don't get me wrong, It's good to see Ford is following. Haha.

I was wondering when the " DAAAD, HE'S COPYING ME" thing was going to start ;) LOL

There aren't too many gears yet. I drive a 6 speed "donkey" and I see room for a few more. When 1st gear tops out at 5 mph, and I can still cruise at 80 mph @ 1,000 rpm, then maybe that'll be enough.

@ Mike Levine,
The last paragraph mentions the "spit" cooling system instead of "split" cooling system. Using my proofreading skills from my last job. :)

Ford is trying to stay ahead of the game with economy. Any percentage increase in economy is better than nothing. 2% of 20 mpg is only 0.4 but the savings adds up in the long run.

Just stating the Facts, Lou. haha.

Just stating the Facts, Lou. haha.

Alex got it right on the nail. @Emilio, if it is any consolation Ram is second on my list.

Wayne, good point about 2%. Across the whole line of vehicles that would mean half could have the MPG's rounded up another 1MPG. Look at how people argue over a 1MPG advantage today.

I can see how it was a huge improvement to move from 4-speed autos to 6-speeds. But an 8-speed seems like it is pushing the limit. I am a Ford guy, but I wonder how much improvement can be found from an 8-speed. 6% better fuel economy would equal a 1.38mpg improvement for the 2wd w/ 3.7L. That is a little something, but hopefully the performance boost will make a significant difference. Otherwise, is it really worth it?

Emilio, We will see who gets the 8 speed to market first. Chrysler can say they are doing it all they want but it means nothing until it makes it to the public. As far as costs, it should be close to nil if Ford is sharing the trannies with multiple vehicles. More applications lowers the cost. IMHO it seems Ford has been sitting on alot of technological advances. Much of their new tech has come to market FAST!

I just wish my 6R80 wouldn't fell like I am getting bumped or rear ended when it downshifts. Come on Ford, fix this already !

@Brian. Of course it is. You say 6% increase. The 300 got a 8-speed and the Canadian government just announced it's rating it at 33 mpg. That's an improvement of 6 mpg over the 5-speed. Unless of course the Canadian government fuzzy math.

@FordGuy

The Ram is actually more stable then the competition because of its "5 link rear coil suspension." Because of the coils, the Ram has more articulation, the more articulation the more traction.

The axel is also stabilized under the truck by using a 5 link setup. These 5 links, which connect to the frame, provide more stability and less sway then the 4 links that leaf springs use.


Congrats to Ford for really setting the pace in the light duty truck race. 8 speeds really help fuel economy on smaller motors.

@keith. The 300 is getting an eight-speed in 3 months you can buy. When Ford said the smaller cars are getting it first before it trickles down to other vehicles. Trust me. At least 2 years.

10fx4 - I have had no problems with my 2010 F150. What does the dealer say?

@ Keith

Chrysler also announced the ZF 8 speed about 1 year ago. A short time later they invested almost a billion in cash to get the trans plant updated. The plant wont be done until late this year, or eairly next year. A little over 2 years from being announced till production.

Has Ford even announced what plant they are going to build the trans in? Then you can look foward to about a year of construction. Look for the new trans in Fords in a little over 2 to 3 years.

@shuper image

I hate to break it to ya bud but the 5 link is an Achilles heel. it can provide more articulation, but at a cost of LESS stability, and your load is focused on one singular point on the frame at the coil spring perch. This setup is much worse than a leaf spring setup for a truck. 4 attachment points to the frame located by a rigid leaf spring, 2 in toward the front of the bed load, and 2 in the rear of the bed load to spread out the load instead of concentrating it at one spot of the frame. there's a reason why GM dropped this idea 30 plus years ago. I know your argument will be they have more links but this does nothing to spread the load across the frame.

Lets take a look at what GM came out with before Ford or Dodge,

1. independent front suspension,
2. the use of hydroforming on its framed rails
3. 5 speed automatic on the original Duramax diesel
4. six speed automatic on the durmax
5. tow haul mode,
6. cruise grade braking
7. hill park assist
8. 3rd door on ext cabs.
9. auto trac 4 wheel drive system
10. factory remote start

just to name a few innovations that GM came out with before ford or dodge did. GM is also working on a 8 speed automatic transmission so the fact ford and dodge are also is no suprise. Ford and GM actually share the six speed automatic transmission they use on their half tons but have different callibrations.

If I hear one more person say the 5.3 liter is slow or no power I'm going to scream. There is nothing wrong with the 5.3 liter engine. The fact that Fords ecoboost and Dodge's 5.7 liter hemi make more power doesn't mean the 5.3 liter is a dog. Today's modern engines have just surpassed the 5.3 liter that has been in production since 1998.

GM'S 5.3 liter V8 engine is the only engine that is rated over 300 horsepower and gets 21 mpg on their 4wdr models. and 22 miles per gallon on the two wheel drive models. Ford has to use a V6 engine to match that and Dodge can't match it.

@emilio - I find the Canadian MPG estimates are laughable at best. The US EPA revised it's testing guidelines a few years ago and seem to be more accurate. I've been around the (US) 14 mpg city rating for my truck.(2010 F150 4x4 5.4). The Canadian rating is 16.5 mpg (US) city. I've been playing around with some hypermiling techniques and I probably will come in around 15 mpg city. I'l know for sure when I fuel up on Friday. I've never been able to get comfortable with the litres per 100 km thing. I'm getting more used to it since that is how my display reads.

The 5.3 is too slow and has no power.

@Hemi lol. Ram 1500 buyers like myself don't buy it for heavy loads. Thats why there are Heavy Duties. Achilles Heel? Everyone that drives a Ram 1500 perfers it over a F-150. I got 3 Chevy friends and 2 Ford friends. All my truck lovin friends love my Ram over their trucks.

@Bob - LMFAO.
quote"If I hear one more person say the 5.3 liter is slow or no power I'm going to scream. There is nothing wrong with the 5.3 liter engine. The fact that Fords ecoboost and Dodge's 5.7 liter hemi make more power doesn't mean the 5.3 liter is a dog. Today's modern engines have just surpassed the 5.3 liter that has been in production since 1998. "

Replace 5.3 with 5.4.
Haven't we heard all of this before?
What goes around comes around ;)

I recall that a Lexus two door coupe IS something, something, with a V8 has or had an 8 speed auto. It is not really my kind of car, but I recall reading a road test in which the tester said that 8 speed was too many. He said that it was actually hunting for the right gear all the time because there was little difference between the one below and the higher gear above. I am sorry I can't remember where I read it but it was more than a year ago (may be it was Ward's publication). So this would contradict what Ford is saying about ... always finding the right gear. I am sure it was controlled differently however. May be it did not feature these torque sensors. Again Kudos to Ford for innovating like that in any case. I am very closely following the EcoBoost saga.



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