The Ford F150 has been the most popular car in the US market for decades, and the latest F150 manages to continue that trend. However, this does not mean that the F150 and its larger heavy-duty brothers are complete without fault because they aren’t. These trucks have lots of imperfections, some of them due to lack of maintenance, some of them due to lack of engineering know-how.
This has resulted in three different class-action lawsuits against Ford regarding only the F150, and one of them is focused on the 10-speed automatic gearbox. Many plaintiffs said that the 10-speed automatic gearbox is simply way too jittery, harsh, and aggressive, so much so that it presents “life-threatening” issues, especially on the highway.
Ford has also issued a massive recall on virtually all F250 and F600 models due to a problem with the first planetary ring assembly. Other issues include problems with the pump gear drive failure, and the torque converter, both of which can significantly affect your overall ownership experience.
All in all, Ford didn’t really make the 10R140 transmission as heavy-duty as some of their trucks. This has resulted in many recalls and some even state that additional recalls might also arrive later this year. However, this isn’t all that uncommon as many of the world’s best transmissions have gone through years of trouble before becoming as good as we know them now.
Ford Super Duty 10 speed transmission problems – Rough and aggressive shifts
Probably the most talked about issue with the 10R140 transmission is its lack of sophistication which can often make the car incredibly uncomfortable to drive. This has resulted in a few different class-action lawsuits against Ford. Even though some of these lawsuits have been partially dismissed, it still does not mean that the 10-speed is free of all trouble.
Many owners who have nothing to do with the class-action lawsuit have said that the 10R140 simply isn’t up to modern standards and that some transmissions that are a decade or two older still manage to be more livable. It’s also worth mentioning that these issues aren’t constantly there, they tend to appear and disappear for reasons unknown.
Ford Super Duty 10 speed transmission problems – First planetary ring assembly issue
Back in 2021, Ford issued a massive recall that included virtually all Ford F250 and F600 Super Duty trucks because of the ring assembly issue. The bearing inside this ring will contaminate itself and cause the transmission to shift in a really rough manner, so much so that it can often feel like the transmission wants to rip itself apart from the rest of the car.
This will cause the wrench light to come on and the truck will go into 7th gear and refuse to operate. As this issue continues ravaging the insides of the transmission, the car will completely disengage the transmission which means that you will not be able to select reverse or any other gear for that matter.
Ford Super Duty 10 speed transmission problems – Pump gear failure
The Ford Super Duty 10 speed transmission also seems to be suffering from pump gear failures which, for some reason, seem to be more apparent on diesel models. This issue can easily be noticed if you constantly hear some whining noises coming from the transmission. Ford says that this is completely normal as these gears are “straight-cut” and they inherently are noisier than in other transmissions.
However, some owners have reported finding debris and dirt inside of the pump drive gears which is not normal at all. Either way, be sure to inspect these components if you hear any strange noises as no transmission should sound like it is an opera singer.
Ford Super Duty 10 speed transmission problems – Torque converter issues
To finish off this list, we are going to mention torque converter issues that also seem to be stressing out many Ford truck owners. The converter clutches seem to be fatiguing and flexing over time which inevitably leads them to their eventual breaking point. Many believe that these issues affect the longevity of the gearbox as they simply tend to happen over and over again on some models.
Another issue that can severely damage the torque converter over time is excessive heat that tends to build up near the converter input shaft. Heat is the silent killer of all delicate mechanical components which means that this can also destroy your converter after a while.
Why does Ford offer 10-speed transmissions?
At first, it seems redundant to use a 10-speed transmission because 10 gears is a bit too much. However, Ford did this for a variety of reasons that improve performance and efficiency. For starters, by making the gears shorter and having more gears, you are essentially trying to keep the engine in its optimum power band at all times which means that the engine is always responsive and the truck is always ready to go.
However, when you reach a highway and engage cruise control, the transmission will likely shift into the highest gear possible to keep your RPM levels at an optimum level. This will inevitably maximize your long-distance fuel efficiency as the RPMs are always perfect.
When did Ford introduce the 10-speed transmission?
Ford first introduced the 10-speed transmission back in 2017 but didn’t use it as standard for F-series trucks until 2021. This means that Ford is confident that the 10-speed is a great gearbox and that all the issues that plague it now will soon be gone after all of this is solved.
Ford believes that the 10-speed gearbox is a great base point for future transmission upgrades, we will have to wait and see how the 10-speed will perform long-term.
Which Ford transmission is best?
Ford has built great transmissions over the years which means that choosing the best one out of them all is difficult. However, we would like to point out a few of Ford’s greatest hits. Going back to the 1960s, the Ford C4 transmission was hailed as the best transmission in the world. Fast forward 60 years and it still is as good as it was back in the 60s.
The C6 transmission is also known as a legend, and so is the AOD transmission. AODE transmission and the 4R70W are also known as some of the best Ford transmissions of all time.