People often tow heavy loads with their trucks to take material from one place to other.
One of the frequent apprehensions that come across the truck owner’s mind who tow heavy packages is regarding the maximum safe temp that the transmission can reach without causing failure of the transmission parts.
If you are frequently towing heavy packages on your Ford F150, then this question must have clicked in your mind what is normal transmission temp on Ford F150?
Normal transmission temp on Ford F150 varies from 180⁰ F to 210⁰ F but everything up to 235⁰ F is fine without affecting the transmission performance but the seals of the transmission may get hardened and the life of the transmission may reduce by half for every 20⁰ F increase beyond 210⁰ F.
But considering other parts like seals, it is recommended to maintain transmission temp on Ford F150 below 225⁰F.
The Ford F150 transmission temp depends on various operating parameters.
If you are looking for what is normal transmission temp on Ford F150? Then you are in right place! Stay tuned for details!
Table Of Contents
- 1 How Hot Should A Ford F150 Transmission Be?
- 2 What Is Normal Transmission Temp On Ford F150?
- 3 Transmission Overheating On Ford F150? 11 Reasons And Solutions To Fix It!
- 3.1 Switch selection
- 3.2 Increase transmission fluid quantity
- 3.3 Use good transmission fluid
- 3.4 Leaky transmission
- 3.5 Burnt transmission fluid
- 3.6 Malfunctioning solenoid
- 3.7 Downshift gears
- 3.8 Faulty Thermostat bypass valve
- 3.9 Defective transmission pump
- 3.10 Install auxiliary transmission cooler
- 3.11 Dirty Radiator
- 4 Conclusion
How Hot Should A Ford F150 Transmission Be?
Transmission fluid plays an important role in keeping the transmission clean, lubricated, and cool.
The transmission has got various moving parts to perform the function of transmitting engine rotary motion to wheels at different torque values.
The transmission fluid apart from lubricating the parts, it cleans the metal particles which is the product of wear and tear of internal moving parts.
If the tranny parts are not lubricated enough, there would be chances of heavy friction between moving parts which then overheats the transmission, causing possible transmission leak and failure.
If you compare various variants of Ford F150, it is reported that there is a difference in Ford F150 transmission temp when towing.
The transmission fluid temp runs hotter in certain Ford F150 variants launched after the year 2018 and the tranny runs relatively less hot in a few earlier variants (before 2018) like raptor and police only.
In the olden days, the Ford F150 transmission temp of 200⁰ F when towing is considered extremely hot and unsafe.
But thanks to the new synthetic fluid introduced in new variants starting in model 2018 year, which can withstand higher temperatures, and hence the transmission fluid can remain high without any harmful effect.
It is because of the fact that raptor and police are high-performance vehicles and runs very fast and produce more heat due to heavy friction in parts.
Hence these vehicles have an auxiliary transmission oil cooler which is usually mounted beside the engine radiator to exchange heat with the incoming ram air when the vehicle is in motion.
Maybe the Ford felt that the auxiliary coolers are not needed with the new fluid technology and the space left over by the auxiliary transmission cooler can be utilized for packaging some other units effectively and would give more value to the owner and that justifies the reason for higher transmission temp on Ford F150 of around 235⁰ F in latest vehicles (2019 models)
If you are interested in knowing which models have what kind of transmission oil cooler and where each one is located, then here is the tip.
2021 Model year 2.7L, 3.0L, 3.3L, 5.0L, 3.5L, and 3.5L FHEV all use transmission side-mounted oil to water (OTW) cooler and 3.0 L has some unique transmission cooler.
Somewhere before the model year 2018, 3.5 L HO Raptor and 3.3 L use a frame-mounted OTW transmission mounted cooler in addition to an auxiliary transmission cooler cum heat exchanger beside the engine radiator.
What Is Normal Transmission Temp On Ford F150?
The normal transmission temp on Ford F150 depends on various vehicle model, road and climatic parameters like climate season, atmospheric temperature, towing load, road condition (flat or gradient), percentage gradient, and vehicle model (10-speed or 6-speed tranny, etc),
In summer, the normal transmission temp on a Ford F150 while towing a boat or TT can go up to 210⁰ F.
Ford F150 transmission temp reaching around 205⁰ F is typical even without a trailer attached to the Ford F150 and driving on flattish roads.
For a few people, the normal transmission temp oscillates between 195⁰ F to 205⁰ F all the time.
While traveling on grades (6%) in hot weather, the temp can reach 210⁰ F on second gear without any towing load and no torque converter locking.
You may observe a similar transmission temp of 210⁰ F in stop and go traffic and once you gain speed, the temperature would fall back and settle in the range of 180⁰ F to 190⁰ F.
But if you are towing a travel trailer, the temp would even hit 215⁰ F on the flat roads without much gradient.
In the early spring season, the transmission temp usually gets settled in the range of 170⁰ F up to 195⁰ F, since the ambient temp. reduces drastically during spring.
Towing & climbing
If the case is related to traveling grades for a shorter period, along with towing load (7000 lb), you may see the temp reaching 220⁰ F to 230⁰ F showing any signs of trouble.
If you are towing heavy loads (say 10k to 15k lb) on very long 7% steep grades, the transmission temp on the Ford F150 would even reach up to 240⁰ F without any issue.
The life of the transmission may get affected due to the hardening of seals and varnish may start to build up on metal surfaces.
People get concerned after crossing 235⁰ F, but there is no reason to worry until the transmission temp on the Ford F150 reaches 245⁰ F for a shorter duration.
But remember that high transmission temp. would have an impact on transmission life.
With the new synthetic transmission fluid, the operation of your truck will be smoother even at 250⁰ F, since it is where the tranny’s fluids are designed to run and perform.
The new synthetic fluids have a limit of 260⁰ F after which their performance would start deteriorating.
Everything below 235⁰ F is considered normal for transmission performance after which you may experience poor pick up and less power.
But considering other parts like seals, it is suggested to keep the Ford F150 transmission temp below 225⁰ F.
Aerodynamic profile of tow load
You may observe that there is a difference in transmission temp on the same vehicle, traveling across the same road conditions, and towing the same loads.
It may be because of the varying wind resistance exerted on the load depending upon the towing load profile.
For example. if you are towing a boat that has some aerodynamic profile, the wind resistance will be relatively lesser and hence the transmission temp.
But in the case of a travel trailer which is a brick kinda may have significantly higher wind resistance and so the transmission temp will be relatively higher due to the load required to overcome.
Transmission Overheating On Ford F150? 11 Reasons And Solutions To Fix It!
In most trucks, the transmission temp is shown by an analog pointer which indicates whether the temp is hot or cold or somewhere in between marked by a yellow zone before an overheated red zone, instead of precisely defining the temp values.
But many people prefer using forscan for converting the analog pointer location to digital values and to enable the temp display in degrees as well as the bar-graph.
Some apps can be connected to a vehicle computer (ECM) to get the exact temp values.
Below are a few reasons for transmission overheating and solutions to fix it.
To prevent shooting up of transmission temp on Ford F150, it is essential to put the selector in TOW HAUL mode.
This mode shall lock out the last couple of gears to prevent frequent shifting between gears. Or you may shift manually to reduce the transmission temp.
The main cause of transmission getting heated up is the frequent shifting of gears.
When towing on a long grade, it is recommended to keep the gears locked to a specific lower gear where it’s not straining and not let the gears shift to and fro.
Increase transmission fluid quantity
Typically, the transmission temp is inversely proportional to the quantity of transmission fluid.
If you have Mag Hytec double deep pan, the tranny temp would drop by a good 10⁰ F or more.
What is important for the stability and durability life of the transmission fluid is the capacity of the fluid pan.
If you can manage an additional 3 to 5 quarts of fluid in the pan, then it will be more than enough to maintain the transmission temp well below 140⁰ F in your Ford F150.
The more the cool fluid you have the better performance and lower transmission temp.
Use good transmission fluid
As mentioned above, increasing the transmission fluid will help in increasing the durability life of the fluid with increased quantity and lengthens the time required to warm up but that alone will not reduce the transmission temp drastically to safer limits.
With Amsoil ATF, the tranny may run relatively a bit cooler and if it gets hot, it won’t get disintegrated soon which happens in a conventional fluid under high tranny temp.
The specs for the ULV Fluid call for a preferred operating temp of around 220⁰ F with an overheat of 250⁰F+ for no more than 30 minutes continuous.
Have you checked the condition of transmission seals? Often due to temp, the transmission seals would disintegrate and stop performing their sealing function and start leaking.
A leaky transmission seal would drain the transmission fluid and reduces the amount of cooling fluid which thereby would increase the normal transmission temp to a hazardous level.
Hence it is necessary to check the transmission fluid level and ensure there is no leakage in transmission and replace the seals after inspection.
Burnt transmission fluid
It is recommended to replace the transmission fluid every 40000 to 60000 miles. If you are towing under steep grades, the replacement shall be more frequent.
If you haven’t replaced the transmission fluid for a long time, chances are that the transmission fluid has got burnt and dirty and clogged the fluid filter which would reduce the fluid flow across the transmission.
The poor fluid flow would mean cooling and lubrication of moving parts leading to a shoot up in transmission temp.
Hence it is necessary to ensure clean fluid getting circulated inside the transmission to maintain the temp under a safe level.
Often the broken parts clog the transmission passages and prevent the complete circulation of fluid to lubricate the parts which would again lead to an increase in transmission temp.
Hence it is essential to thoroughly inspect the transmission and take necessary actions.
The solenoid determines how much fluid shall pass into the transmission for the proper functioning of the torque converter for fluid coupling.
If the transmission solenoid goes bad, it will malfunction and would affect the fluid flow rate in the transmission which leads to improper lubrication of parts and thereby results in transmission overheating.
Inspect the solenoid and replace it, if malfunctioning to avoid an increase in transmission temp. in Ford F150.
Usually, a torque converter is required to handle higher RPM than engine RPM in high-speed conditions and it generates excessive heat due to turbulence created by fluid coupling and the torque converter needs to be locked up to allow direct coupling of the engine to the transmission.
Generally, when the torque converter kicks in, the tranny temp shoots up. In many cases, manually downshifting the gear will support in reducing the normal transmission temperature.
This allows lower turbo boost (for a given power) and higher coolant circulation speeds.
The downshifting of gears will help keep the transmission temps down and most notice an improvement in fuel economy.
The automatic transmission would downshift on its own. Simply press/release and adjust your foot into the gas until the engine RPM is reduced by 100 points and you may ‘feel’ the difference in Ford F150 vehicle speed and performance.
The transmission runs a lot cooler in 3rd gear with a torque converter lock than it would be in 4th gear without a lock.
Faulty Thermostat bypass valve
Nowadays, Ford F150 has a thermostat for the transmission fluid. The transmission is designed to run at higher temperatures for improved fuel economy, fluid longevity, and shift performance.
If the normal transmission temp keeps on raising post 240° F, then possibly the thermostatic bypass valve is not opening and sending the transmission fluid through the cooler.
In the absence of fluid flow across the cooler, the transmission gets hot and shows symptoms of hot transmission.
Typically, the bypass valve opens between 190°-195°F. So you may need to check for possible malfunction and replace the thermostat valve if required.
Defective transmission pump
The transmission usually has a pump to circulate the fluid all across the gears and transmission to ensure proper lubrication of all moving parts to keep the parts cool.
In the event of a malfunctioning transmission pump, there may be a drastic reduction in transmission fluid circulation across the tranny parts resulting in improper lubrication and cooling of transmission.
You should inspect the transmission pump for any malfunction and troubleshoot to fix and replace it if required.
Install auxiliary transmission cooler
The 10-speed F150’s 2018 or newer do not have a dedicated air to liquid auxiliary transmission cooler.
It has liquid to liquid OTW (Oil To Water) heat exchangers mounted on the bottom of the transmission or at the bell housing.
The Ford F150 2018 or older model with 6-speed transmission has an auxiliary transmission cooler.
Usually, the new 10-speed transmission gets hotter than the old 6-speed. But thanks to the new synthetic transmission fluid which sustains higher temp.
More the no. of speeds more will be the no. of moving parts, so more friction and hence more heat and the transmission temp.
While launching the Ford F150 10-speed transmission, Ford moved away from air to liquid trans cooler to a liquid to liquid one that uses engine coolant to cool the transmission, and hence the transmission may hit high temp.
You may install an auxiliary transmission cooler from any local auto shop if the fluid temp frequently reaches 140°F plus.
One of the reasons for higher transmission temp in the latest Ford F150 2019 and later models is due to dirty or unclean radiator fins.
These dirty radiator fins prevent proper heat exchange between the engine coolant to the incoming ram air which thereby increases the transmission temp when liquid to liquid heat exchange takes place between engine coolant and transmission fluid.
It is essential to ensure that your radiator fins are clean.
Spray a water hose directly over the fins for several minutes to get the bugs out of it and any dirt that builds up.
The Ford F150 normal transmission temp depends on various operating parameters but is not limited to climate season, atmospheric temperature, towing load, road condition (flat or gradient), percentage gradient and vehicle model (10-speed or 6-speed tranny, etc), presence of auxiliary transmission cooler or OTW transmission mounted heat exchanger, etc.
Normal transmission temp varies from 180⁰ F to 210⁰ F but everything up to 235⁰ F is fine without affecting the transmission performance but the transmission life will get affected for every 20⁰ F increase beyond 210⁰ F considering the seal durability.
If you follow the steps required to avoid transmission overheating, you may lower the transmission temp by 10 to 15⁰ F.
Hopefully with the above information, you may be able to figure out what is the normal transmission temp on the Ford F150 and the reasons and solutions to overcome transmission overheating if you are facing one.