The Top 7 Features of Ford’s All-New 6R140 Six-Speed Heavy-Duty Transmission

The Top 7 Features of Ford’s All-New 6R140 Six-Speed Heavy-Duty Transmission

Ford's technically advanced and unconventional new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel will debut early next year in the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty lineup. No matter how powerful and sophisticated Ford's new oil burner is engineered to be, it won't be considered successful without a transmission capable of managing all of that horsepower and torque as well as efficiently sending that power to the wheels to tow and haul heavy loads. That's where Ford's new 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic gearbox comes in.

Like the new Power Stroke V-8, Ford designed and engineered the 6R140 entirely in-house. Al Bruck, Ford’s 6R140 transmission engineering manager, says it’s a clean sheet design and represents the next generation beyond the 2008-10 Super Duty’s current 5R110 five-speed automatic transmission.

“This isn’t an evolutionary design with limitations and we built from that,” Bruck said. “Our benchmark for the 6R140 is the current Allison 1000 transmission used in GM’s heavy-duty pickups. We’ve got greater capability than the Allison, and we’re about 25 pounds lighter.”

The dry weight of the 6R140 is approximately 325 pounds and about 350 pounds when filled with transmission fluid.

Bruck says that it’s not a single component that makes the 6R140 competitive but a series of interdependent features that add up to make this the most capable transmission Ford has ever offered in the Super Duty. We’ve broken them down into the top seven features of Ford’s all-new 6R140 heavy-duty automatic transmission.

The 6R140 uses a long-travel steel turbine damper that's welded directly to the torque converter's turbine. The damper allows the powertrain to idle as low as 900 rpm and helps control torque input from the 6.7-liter V-8 diesel

1. Works with Ford’s Gas and Diesel Engines

Unlike GM's and Chrysler's heavy-duty trucks, which use separate transmissions for gas and diesel powertrains, Ford's latest HD pickups continue to share a single transmission for both applications. The 6R140 has to be flexible and intelligent enough to accommodate the low-end grunt of the 6.7-liter diesel and higher-revving peak power curve of Ford's new 6.2-liter V-8 gasser.

How does Ford adapt the transmission for each engine? The 6R140 uses a different torque converter, clutch plates, friction paper and shift schedule software calibrations depending on the motor. That’s it.

2. Single-Piece Housing

While other transmission housings are comprised of multiple pieces bolted together, like GM’s three-piece case for the Allison 1000 transmission, the 6R140 uses a single-piece, deep-skirted case. Ford says the advantages of this design are that it’s quieter, saves weight by doing away with fasteners between body pieces and eliminates the possibility of fluid leak points at the join points.

“From the back flange of the engine block to the slip yolk at the back of the transmission is a single-piece casting,” Bruck said. “It’s a very efficient use of material for improved NVH and leak performance. It’s also much stiffer since we can eliminate the points where bending might occur.”

The only points where the transmission can leak are at the rear seal and the front seal near the torque converter.

Ford has also designed large drainage openings inside the housing to circulate transmission fluid in large volumes between the gears and clutches and fluid sump at the bottom of the housing. New friction plates in the clutches help to quickly drain fluid to reduce fluid resistance.

In the event that the transmission requires service, instead of disassembling the case like a conventional transmission, nearly all jobs start and end at the torque converter side of the gearbox. The 6R140’s components are modularly constructed to help facilitate removal from the barrel.

3. Improved Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is at the top of most truck operator’s minds these days, and the transmission plays a critical role optimizing it. The 6R140 uses several technical tricks to make promised improvements to the Super Duty’s mileage. One way fuel economy has been improved in the 6R140 is through the use of an early lockup closed piston torque converter, Bruck said.

The torque converter in an automatic transmission does the same job as a clutch in a manual transmission.

How does this improve mileage? When a torque converter is disengaged, the engine is still running but it’s not driving the wheels via the transmission, so fuel is wasted. This is important if you’re driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, so it won’t stall at a stoplight. When you get going again, engaging the torque converter at a lower rpm means power can be sent to the wheels sooner, thereby improving fuel economy. Think of it as taking some of a manual transmission's inherent fuel economy advantages and applying them to an automatic gearbox.

"The lockup [strategy] depends on pedal positioning," Bruck said. "We've done a lot of work monitoring fuel rates at different speeds, different pedal rates and different gears to optimize the 6R140 for both gas and diesel."

The all-new torque converter helps improve fuel economy and directly links the segment-first Live Drive PTO to the crankshaft

As you might expect, there are different lockup strategies for the gas and diesel engines.

"There are advantages to not locking it up as early with the gas engine as we do for the diesel," he said. "The way we do it for the diesel, in full automatic mode, during a normal upshift, is to lock the converter between third and fourth and stay locked up through sixth. We're more aggressive locking up the torque converter earlier in tow/haul mode and manual mode."

Tow/haul mode is used in HD automatic transmissions to hold gears longer and keep engine rpms higher during towing and hauling situations so adequate power is available at all times, especially during upshifts to help prevent the truck from lugging after the shift.

Manual mode allows the driver to manually shift the automatic transmission up and down like a manual gearbox as long as the transmission doesn't exceed the engine’s rpm redline or stall the engine.

The torque converter also features a long-travel steel turbine damper that's welded directly to the torque converter's turbine. The damper, which is actually a set of springs arranged in a square pattern, limits the transmission of inertial forces produced by the 6.7-liter V-8, so they aren't transmitted to the transmission's input shaft all at once when the torque converter is locked or open. The damper allows the powertrain to idle as low as 900 rpm.

“The long-travel damper is like a long spring body that can wind up as rpms drop and diesel torque increases,” Bruck said. “And the lower the engine speed, the better the fuel economy.”

Like other competitive six-speed transmissions, the 6R140 offers two overdrive gears to improve fuel economy at highway speeds. The overdrive gears help the truck lope along at lower engine rpms.

4. Range Select and Manual Shift Functions

If a Super Duty driver wants custom control over the 6R140, they can switch from full automatic or tow/haul modes into Progressive Range Select or Manual modes. Range Select is activated via a toggle on the shift lever that allows the customer to reduce the range of available gears while in Drive. When the customer “taps” down into Range Select mode, the display shows the available gears and highlights the current gear state. This feature allows the driver to limit use of upper gears when heavily loaded or while towing on grades. It’s especially helpful in terrain that includes constant hills when towing.

In manual mode, the driver can select the exact gear they desire, as long as they don’t go over redline. The display will show the selected gear, and the control system will lock the torque converter and hold that gear for a full manual transmission feel. Manual mode is Ford’s way of making up for the loss of a standard ZF six-speed manual transmission, which goes away for 2011.

5. Live Drive Power Takeoff

Ford says the 6R140 transmission will be the first gearbox in the segment to offer what it calls Live Drive Power Takeoff.

Power Takeoff is used to power auxiliary tools, like generators or salt spreaders, off of the engine.

By linking the PTO’s output gear directly to the engine crank via a flex-plate connected to the torque converter housing, the PTO output gear continues to turn as long as the engine is turning, even if the truck is completely stopped and the torque converter is disconnected to keep the engine from stalling. In the outgoing 5R110, the PTO is linked directly to the turbine shaft.

“It’s capable of mobile and stationary PTO,” Bruck said. “This will enhance the capability of PTO products that are available today.

6. New Ravigneaux Powerflow Gearset

The power-dense sinter-brazed Ravigneaux gear carrier manages the torque of the new 6.7-liter diesel and the high-speed shifts of the new 6.2-liter gas engines

The 6R140 uses a new tough sinter-brazed Ravigneaux planetary gearset to carry engine torque without artificially limiting torque at launch to preserve transmission hardware. It’s a stout compound set of interconnected gears that acts as a two-in-one gearset, with one planetary carrier that’s common to two sets of planetary pinions, two sun gears and one common ring gear. It’s also capable of handling the high shift speeds of the gas engine and high torque loads of the 6.7-liter diesel.

“This gearset has plenty of headroom,” Bruck said. “It’s not stretched with our launch torque limits. When you see it side by side with the Allison’s gearset, you’ll say that these guys are playing in the same sandbox.”

The powerflow gearset’s housing is made from powdered metal. Normally used to create components like an engine’s connecting rods, a metal powder is poured into a mold and heavily compressed with a mating die. When it’s removed, a binder holds the powder together; it’s then sintered into its final form, which is nearly as dense as steel. It can be double-pressed again after sintering to make it stronger through greater density. Powdered metal provides all of the features of a steel part without requiring machining.

A Ford-patented rocker one-way clutch is integrated with the torque carrier and helps improve 1-2 shift quality through the gearset. It’s carried over from the 5R110 transmission.

7. 150,000-Mile Maintenance Schedule

To help lower operating costs, the 6R140 uses an internal “dual-media” filter that’s split into two mesh components – a coarse-grained filter and a fine-grained filter. The coarse-grained filter cleans about 90 percent of the transmission fluid in the gearbox while the fine-grained filter continuously cleans about 10 percent of the volume. Over time, both large and small contaminants are removed from the fluid, extending its maintenance cycle to 150,000 miles. For comparison, the current 5R110 has a 60,000-mile change interval.

“The concept is that over time you get a very effective cleaning,” Bruck said. “You don’t have to draw everything through the fine media, which is very inefficient and doesn’t work well in cold conditions. The dual-media setup uses a pressure balance to draw fluid into the fine media while everything goes through the coarse media. You reach an equilibrium of very clean fluid over time.”

Main control assembly and new dual-media filter with 150,000-mile change interval. Note how these components are located inside the single-piece transmission case.

The internal dual-media filter removes the need for an external filter, which also eliminates another potential leak point for the transmission.

“We studied doing a spin-on [filter], but the numbers we collected proved we could do it all internally,” he said. “Now we’re working to see if we can push the [maintenance interval] number even higher.”

One interesting point about the transmission fluid used in the 6R140 is that Ford has created a new standard that will see most of its vehicles use the same transmission fluid regardless of application. Transmission fluid for the Super Duty will be the same as the Ford F-150 half-ton pickup and other vehicles like the Ford Fusion sedan and Ford Escape.

“There’s been a lot of work done to migrate all of the vehicles to the same common fluid,” Bruck said.


... you guys are all nuts. You talk about these things like it's all hocus-pocus magic. Diesel isn't some mystical discipline of engineering that only Cummins knows the secrets of... what do blown radiators or leaky head-gaskets have to do with compression ignition instead of spark ignition? A transmission is just a combination of individual parts ... Allison knows the magic of automatics too, eh?

And Ford copied by having the exhaust exit the heads into the valley instead of the outside? What side does the Cummins I6 exit on? I'll bet they copied the Ford 300! There is only 2 real choices on this ... exiting to the valley makes sense with a turbo mounted there as well.

Can't you guys find anything of importance in your lives instead of getting angry about American car companies? Go be a better father or read a book or something. Idiots.

I have a 2003 super duty 6.0 automatic and have 130,000 miles on it with only one engine related issue, the egr cooler started leaking but was coverd by the warranty. As far as the rest of the truck, I think it's been great the brake pads lasted over 100,000 miles, tire wear was and is beyound my wildest dreams.
I did have to replace the "U" joints and one lower ball joint so I did all hte ball joints and drive shaft "U" joints.
I get almost 50% better fuel milage than a friend of mine gets in his GMC 6 liter gas pickup.
Can't say for sure if the added cost of a diesel will pay for itself if you change vehicles every 5 to 8 years but if you keep it long enough I believe it will.
The price of diesel fuel will continue to rise as it's use becomes more popular and it is more profitable for the oil companies.

WOW. a lot of hatred here. I have to say that I grew up a Ford fan as that was the only vehicle my father owned. I am now 44. Since '93 I have only owned Ford pick ups my first ford was a '93 F-150 that I special ordered with a 5.0 and a 5-speed manual in the 158 inch WB and 4X4. then a "96 same config 'cept an automatic tranny. then on to a '99, 5.4, auto, my first SD not my last. jumped to a '02-V10, then to an '04, Diesel OK This was a POS, had ford take it back in Nov. of '05 had engine and tranny issues (automatic).
I shopped all competition for about 2 months, went a bought my '06 SD Diesel that I literally have had no issues with.
Personally I can't wait for the '11 to hit the streets, I want one...and will have one, but may wait till the '12's hit just to look at the track record.
As for Chevy/GMC and Dodge fans...well, GM's are tinny POS's, there is no substance in the bodywork, and the interior looks like stampped plastic, no imagination on design. Dodge, well need I say more.

I will keep my Ford and will continue to support American workers as much as possible in today's economy.

No hate mail please.


Last year I went truck shopping and tried to keep an open mind. I actually really liked the look of the ford 350 dually . But I could not get a straight answer from the dealers on fuel mileage so I did my own research. Every new ford dually I came across I stopped and asked what they were getting for mileage, 10 empty 6 towing and thats on a Canadian Imperial gallon. Fords engine is suspect for reliabillity. Tranny is questionable. Dodge; Cummins builds a great engine. tranny is questionable. interior 3rd rate, GMC has a Great powertrain looks good but second to ford in looks. Nice interior ; !0 towing 15 empty. GMC got my money.

WILL I BE ABLE TO FLAT TOW F250 4X4 2011 (6R140)

What a bunch of Ford haters. You need to keep buying GM and Dodge vehicles. I, myself, am still driving a '96 F250 gas with 220,000 miles. Pulled a gooseneck last year with 7 tons of hay from NM. Currently pulling my 5H gooseneck horse trailer with it. I'm only looking at a new Ford because it is truly too much weight for a 250. I'd never leave town with a Dodge piece of junk. The GMs continue to run, just all the accessories fall off. It will always be Ford for me, haven't let me down in 40 years.

Errr.....Big Bob.......the 1995 F-150 came with an E4OD or an 4R70W transmission (depending on engine size). I owned a 1995 F-150 4x4 with a 302 and an 4R70W transmission. She went 220k before I traded it in for an '07 Super Duty with the 5R110W transmission, which in my opinion is a superior transmission to the Allison 1000.

First of all, every vehicle made is designed with a life expectancy [ designed to fail] so that you have to buy another one. IE, all cars and trucks are P.O.S. . Chevy guys do your research, GM makes crap in Mexico too. Dodge guys, how come MOPAR can't make anything themselves? OOH- I have a Cummins, big deal is it made by your precious MOPAR, FN! Now that we all know we own pieces of crap [no exceptions to the rule] can we all just get along? If you don't like it, don't buy it and if you do then just drive it and let it speak for itself and STFU

It frustrates me to hear all the Ford bashing, Chevy bashing and Dodge bashing. They all have their strong points and weak points.

I personally like the interior of a Chevy but don't like the exterior. I have rode in a Duramax and I was thoroughly impressed with the uphill pulling power (9,000 lbs on approx 30% grade). It's a good truck overall.

I like the exterior of the Dodge but feel the interior is cheap. I love the Cummins engine - I feel it is a very reliable workhorse.

I haven't seen the interior of the new 2011 Ford firsthand but I like the body (except the headlights).

But I am a Ford guy.

I know everyone has their stories about how many miles their truck (Ford, Dodge or Chevy) has lasted. My Dad had a 1981 gasser w/ 230,000 miles on the original motor and transmission. I own a 1995 F250 gasser - original motor and transmission with 352,000 miles. Sure, the transmission fluid is black as motor oil and it shifts hard, but I would still drive it across country if I needed to. It has been a good truck.

My current daily driver is a 1996 7.3. I have had to replace an alternator, fuel filter housing, glow plugs and the radiator and it currently has 198,000 miles. I routinely pull 20,0000+ pounds behind it.

I hear lots of complaints about transmissions having to be replaced @ 50,000 miles. Sure, maybe it really is a bad transmission but just because it shifts different than it did 30,000 miles ago doesn't mean it is dead. Every transmission is dying from the day it rolls off the assembly line. I personally have only had ONE transmission 'die' over the years - and it was a 5.0 Ford Ranger that I drove like a NASCAR - I only had reverse and second gear.

My point - we all have our own preferences for various reasons. Either you have had a bad experience w/ whatever brand, or as is true of most - grew up with a brand and are loyal. As I am. As long as the trucks I have owned continue to last as long as they have I will continue to own Fords. I personally think the 6.0 is only good for a gently used truck (I have personally dealt w/ three that routinely have problems because they are worked hard) - but that's why I won't own a 6.0.

I am looking forward to trying out the new 6.7L Ford. I hope it proves as reliable or better than the 7.3L.

ford is the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ford is benchmarking against the new Allison 1000 the Allison 1000 had to be upgraded to handle the power the new gm trucks come with because the old one was rated to barely handle the stock torque output. If you get a power chip you have to call some of the the companies when putting it on the extreme power setting so they can explain that your warranty is voided and they aren't responsible when your Allison 1000 blows up. Also something to say about reliability is that year for year there are more 7.3 Powerstroke trucks still on the road than GMC, Chevy and Dodge diesel trucks combined. The Allison is designed to get that heavy pile of a Chevy moving because GM always overrates their diesels and always has heavier trucks.

Don't get me wrong I love Chevy but their diesel trucks suck ass. I've seen a stock 07 Duramax dualie get dragged down the street by a stock 6.0 with single rear wheels. GM just overrates their trucks and no one bothers to check the numbers they just take it how GM hands it out.

First I love Cummins. I think Ford owns a majority of their stock and that is why they run them in their bigger trucks. Second duramax is all right except when the blocks crack I can name 4 people and have serial numbers for you if you want to call me on it. But the question is WHO STARTED THE DIESEL WARS???? Ford with their 7.3 L!!! The second thing is Dodge Cummins and the Duramax are out dated! Which is why they get shitty MPGs!! So while GM and Dodge are trying not to go bankrupt again. They put very little money into research. As for the tranny yes the Allison works but when it came out it had alot alot of problems! So to build something better you take something that works well (Allison) you look at their weak points see what can be better and build something similar but far stronger and far more techniclogically advanced! GM and Dodge are still trying old tech Ford builds new tech. Oh and Fortune 500 anyone? Ford is Hmmmm......

No manual transmission NO DEAL

we buy 4-5 trucks a year

ford burned alot of bridges with the F550s and the 6.0 and 6.4 we found our cheapest operating costs were with manual trannys. for HD jobs our topkicks are ok but tall especially in 4x4 configuration so the f550's were the creature of choice looks like 40 years later ford burned the last bridge and pushed us back to dodge

Well I just blew up my 03 Cummins with only 210K miles on it....and it left me stranded 4 times over the past 8 years. I'll never buy another Chrysler product.

After getting shafted by Ford's 6.0 diesel, I'll wait about 5 to 7 years for them to prove themselves. In the mean time I'll stay with tha Duramax. It's proven.

Guys I'm here to tell ya, I'm the Parts & Service Dir. at Summit Ford, in Silverthorne, Colorado, our elevation is 9k and you have to go over 1 of 2 11k passes to get in or out of here. We are the extreme of extremes. Ford has been testing the 6.7l up here for 2 1/2 years. I have built a personal relationship with the diesel, trans, and gas engineers. I ordered my F350 6.7 early and the truck was built in Kentucky not in Mexico. I have 18k on it now with no problems and no GM or Dodge owners even want to play with me. I challange anyone that wants to, we can go hook-up any of the test trailers outsite. I'll take the 14k and you can take the 12k and we'll see how long I have to wait at the top of Loveland Pass for you to catch up.

i owe my lively hood to dodge and chevy ! dodge is the #1 truck that i repair in my shop i just bought a 2011 f 350 drw king ranch truck sold the 99 350 drw 7.3 both have great trans the new 11 really pulls and shifts great i love the auto down shift to mantain speed on criuse that tranny really works well funny to see chevy and dodge men looking at ford sight must be a good trans ha ah ha keep looking guys go drive one ull buy one !

I had a good truck a 1978 W150 Dodge Power Wagen limited edition w a Mopar 440 V8. Drove it about 90,000 miles and sold it in Germany while stationed their as a soldier. Now drive Ford's and Peterbilt's

Most of these comments are based on an allegiance to brand. I've been in the transmission repair business for 26 years and I'm going to say some things that may surprize you. First, the Allison 1000 that GM uses is not all that trouble free, although better than any Hydromatic. Harsh shifts, fluid leaks around the harness connector, and dropping second gear are common complaints and failures. The Allison 1000 is still not as reliable as Dodge's 545RFE. Due to a design fault the current Ford Torqshifts suffer from turbine debris getting into the pump. And I don't know why, but Ford has a long history of using lousy seal and gasket materials contributing to tranny problems. Hopefully this new 6R140 is a better transmission. They say that its a clean sheet design, which is probably a good thing. It looks like the filtering has been changed. Whatever, most guys still won't be doing the prescribed transmission maintenance, so I'll still be in business for awhile.

All the hype about GM Duramax when it should say "Isuzu duramax" they all have growing pains

just to inform you dodge lovers, that talk so much b.s. ford owns and makes the cum'apart you have. i have drove twenty years over the road and cum'aparts don't impress me at all. just bought a super duty with a cum'apart 5.9 in it and lease to say gutless. i have a custom f350 crew cab 12'' lift,38 super swampers, 6.9 non turbo'd diesel that spanks my f450 cum'apart. and chevy don't build their crap either. the getrag was put in chevys and dodges must say something for them two companys huh! garbage plain and simple and now impossible to find or rebuild a getrag or evan the so called nv4500's. i see so many trucks with a cum'apart bolted to a zf5 or zf6 tranny which you can still find around and have alot of companys building components for them. so now that you losers know the truth, your so called dodge is powered by a ford engine! ha,ha,ha who's laughing now? jealous that chevy and dodge are so strapped they rely on each others junk parts, trying to keep up with ford not to mention the bail out it cost to keep them jokers in business. what a waste of money.

Its funny someone is crtitical of ford for assembling the powerstroke in Mexico. I agree it should have been assembled here, but Chevy uses a Japanese motor and Dodge buys a motor from a company owned by Ford. Ford is the only one making their own motor and trans. Chevy hasn't made a diesel since they tried to convert a gas engine and Dodge cant make a trans that will hold up to a diesel so they are buying a trans instead of making their own.

yall just build what ya want. there are adapters for whatever you can think of if there is possibilities of the adaptations. the way I see it 6 Clydesdales are stronger than 8 Shetland ponies. so I put a 24v Cummins in my 182k mile F350 the funny thing is the motor I used had 262k miles 80k more than the truck had and I love this truck now ive also got another sickso truck that is still stroking along for now but when it strokes out it too will get a Cummins transplant also has. but I'm building a p pump 6.7 Cummins for the zf 6speed we all know that 6.0 didn't hurt that trans

I want the transmission in the picture for a display in my store. How would i get one?

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