Mellowed 2007-08-20 09:09:33
My E4OD in a ’92 Bronco with a 5.8L, that also pulled a travel trailer
for 3 years lasted for 173,000 miles before a rebuild. I’ve no
: How does the E4OD compare to the C6 in dependability, etc?
: I’m looking at a 1990 E-150 with the 5.8L and E4OD tranny.
C. e. white 2007-08-20 09:09:40
Early E4OD are more likely to have a problem than a late C6. There were many
upgrades to the E4OD over the first three years of production. I think an
E4OD built after 1994 is as solid as a C6. A 1990 E4OD may be just fine, but
the odds are not as good as with a C6 of similar vintage. Any 17 year old
transmission is likely due for a rebuild soon, so the difference might be
trivial. If you do need to have the E4OD rebuilt, make sure they apply all
Snoman 2007-08-20 09:09:45
Not sure why you would want one (a C6) today as a E4OD is not a bad
design and allows the use of deeper gears for less overall tranny
strain and better performance while reduced cruising RPM as well as a
locking converter for lower average tranny temps and increased MPG.
Cjb 2007-08-20 09:09:48
I agree completely. We were talking about an 89 model though, I think. The
other issue that would relate to a transmission that old is the cost of
rebuild or replacement. IIRC, a C-6 is much cheaper than an E4OD.
Having said all that, I’d much rather have a late model E-150 with an E4OD
than the 4R70W most 150’s (including mine) come with.
Dave lee 2007-08-20 09:09:50
My ’96 F150 4×4 Centurion with E4OD is still going, 145k miles!!
Snoman 2007-08-20 09:09:53
Sometimes newer is not better. These newer electronically controlled
trannies have more complex “clock works” with each revision and it
take less to mess them up too because of this it seems
Tom graham 2007-08-20 09:52:00
Thanks for the help, guys.
I’m gonna go for this van with the E4OD, since it’s in such nice condition,
50K original miles, and has the 351, etc.
I have driven trucks & vans with the C6 for years, and realize it’s
virtually indestructible, but the choice of available 91 & before vans in
decent shape is sparse, and I don’t like the 92+ body.
And I definitely don’t want the 5.0 with the AOD.
Wish me luck!
C. e. white 2007-08-20 09:52:12
I’ve owned two Fords with E4ODs – a 1992 F150 and a 1997 Expedition. I had
problems with the ’92 twice. When the truck had less than 50K miles, the
transmission decided to dump fluid out through the front seal. My mechanic
told me to let the transmission cool off and refill it with new oil. It
worked fine for another 45K miles or so. Earlier this year I let my son use
the truck. In less than a week, it failed. It would only go forward. It
appeared that there was an internal fault, since it wanted to go forward
even in neutral. I decided to sell the truck. A local guy bought it and I
believe it cost around $1000 to have the transmission fixed. My 1997
Expedition was still going strong when I traded it off with 147,000 miles.
The E4OD in the Expedition never had a single problem. I did change the ATF
in both vehicles every 25,000 miles..
Snoman 2007-08-20 09:52:14
I would blame your son not the E4OD for the failure. ALso I would
install a aux cooler because heat is trannies biggest enemy as stock
cooling is marginal at best and you venting of fluid was likely for
overheating not a seal because when a seal fails, it does not start
C. e. white 2007-08-20 09:52:16
So exactly what could my son do to a transmission to cause it to fail? He
wasn’t towing anything and the truck was hardly a hot rod. My mechanic said
it was unlikely it was his fault. I did not actually talk to the shop that
repaired the transmission, but it is my understanding that an internal
As for fluid puking out the front seal – I am not the only one to have this
problem. Apparently for that vintage E4OD this was a know condition. It
seems that under certain conditions when the fluid got really hot, the
internal relief valve would fail to operate and excessive pressure would
build up, forcing fluid past the front seal. My mechanic had it happen to
three different Fords. Two of us were lucky, and the transmissions were fine
after they cooled off. The third was less fortunate, the front seal was
unseated and had to be replaced.
Snoman 2007-08-20 09:52:20
I few attempts at power braking it a bit too long is all it would take
to oveheat fluid and damage bearings on a tranny that has run hot in
the past. Truck likely has tall gears which means it stay on converter
stall longer which make extra heat too You are a bit nieve if you
think that it just happened to go out for no reason and it was normal.
Sure maybe I hotdogged a bit like that over 30 yeras ago but there was
a lot more reserve in drivetrain parts them as far as tolerating
abuse. I have watched my son destroy two trannies in his own car and
they are not hot rods either and his track record in better than some
of his frinds too. I do not let him drive my vehicals.
Again this is still a heat related issue because whether it vents or
over pressures and then finds a place to vent it is still cause by
heat. This would happen to me one time and that would be it, there
would be a aux cooler on it the next day. Your tranny has a tendancy
to run hot and it needs more than a fluid change every 25K to keep it
alive long term. Max tranny life is acheved with temps below 220 and
preferably in the 180 to 200 degree range. Nothing is gained by
running it a lot colder but there is a lot to loose if it gets to 220
and above a lot.
Cjb 2007-08-20 09:52:30
I had one of those, maybe it was an 89, anyway, it was just like yours.
Mine was a 150 w tow package, so it had the E4OD, 351, 355LS. I wouldn’t
hesitiate to buy another if I could get a solid one at a good price.
All told, I’ve had, as best I can remember, 5 or 6 Ford full size vans. Two
of them were the new bodystyle, the rest were the old one. Each had it’s
differences, but they’ve all been solid. My favorite was actually an old,
base model 1980 Club Wagon 1ton with a 351M and C6. It would pull anything
and carry anything. A very noisy, spartan van, but I miss it still.
My names nobod 2007-08-20 09:52:32
Please , educate yourself, this is a known problem with early Fords E4OD
Snoman 2007-08-20 10:24:48
Please re-educate yourself that the problem is heat related!!!!!
Stillawhitebel 2007-08-20 10:25:00
According to a parts guy at a Ford dealer – the C6 is a ‘bulletproof’
transmission often used in drag racing cars. The E40D is problematic,
and very expensive to rebuild. I bought a truck with the overdrive and
it was fine for the test drive of 5 miles. But, when I drove it on the
highway for hours I stopped and it was p****** tranny fluid. I’ll
never buy one with the E40D again, because I lost thousands of dollars
very quickly. I’m sure some of them are fine, though.
My names nobod 2007-08-20 10:25:15
Yeah, they don’t hold up within the normal operating heat range. If they
can’t take the heat generated by putting your truck into four wheel drive
then W** good are they??? The official FIX is replacing the front seal,
with a newer design, Not adding a cooler, Hum I guess you do know it all…
Snoman 2007-08-20 10:25:29
Hmm, I guess you do not know tranies well despite your claims. It is
cheaper to blame/ replace seal than to admitt the tranny runs too hot
and needs more cooling as the cost of retro fitting fleet with aux or
better tranny cooler that could run in the hundreds of millions of
dollars. I have little doubt that if you researched the seal you would
find that it is made with a higher temp resistance than stock one. It
is not unusual for a torque converter seal to fail in a tranny that
runs hot be it a Ford or GM product.
Jeff stricklan 2007-08-20 11:28:10
I agree with your assessment for today’s E4OD, but the early ones were far
inferior to the C6. Given a vehicle year and model where one could have
either transmission, the C6 is a much stronger unit, albeit with less gears
available. I suppose the work load plays a big part in the worthiness of the
units. I had an ’89 1-ton motorhome with the C^, and I was told that this
unit was better than the ’90 or ’91 with the E4OD. Yes, I had one less gear,
but I had a bullet-proof transmission, and that had value to me.
I’m not sure where (when) the E4OD was beefed up, but clearly it has been,
and the later versions are better if only because they have a better gear
pattern. It makes sense to buy a later model truck and get away from the C6
or early E4OD. I *think* the problem units were made before about 1994, or
Snoman 2007-08-20 11:28:12
Your comments are not without merit but I am a big “fan’ of a 4 speed
automatic with a locking converter over a 3 speed without one in a
heavy SUV because it allows the use of even deeper axle ratios for
reduced overall tranny strain under a heavy load and still have a
lower cruising RPM and a locking converter to to reduce fuel
consumption. All things being equal you could have a C6 with say a
3.73 axle and a E4OD with a 4.56 and have a bunch more pulling power
and still get better MPG cruising and at a lower RPM too than with the
C6 with 3.73 gears and no locking converter. I think were some of
these automatics get a bad rap is because in late 80’s and early 90’s
the mentallity at Detriot (and Ford was not the only one either) was
to use a OD tranny AND a tall final drive ratio to provide the
illusion of best possible MPG but this did not pan out in the field
and added a lot of extra strain to tranny and forced some to a early
grave. Even today a lot of OD equipped light trucks really are not
properly geared to provide the proper balance of power and economy and
long tranny life. It is kinda a shame to not gear them deeper and
fully exploit a 4 speed automatic in some SUV applications rather than
a combo that is basically a 3 speed with a extra gear you can “use”
sometimes with mixed results.