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Performance Guide

Section 1: Alphabet Soup

Past Years of Ford Automatic Transmissions

In the past, Ford has produced many different rear-wheel-drive automatic transmissions, most of which have been introduced since 1980. The following list outlines a brief chronology of Ford Motor Company's modern automatic transmissions followed by descriptions of some of the more complicated members.

  • The FMX/Cruise-O-Matic three speed evolved from the 1950's Ford-O-Matic and was used until 1980 when the AOD was introduced.
  • In 1964, the C-4 was introduced, providing a lightweight and durable three-speed automatic which is a favorite among racers today. The C-4 was produced until 1982 when it was replaced by the C-5.
  • The C-6 appeared in 1966 as a heavy-duty unit primarily used behind big-block engines or in large vehicles. Internally, it is much like a scaled-up C-4. The C-6 is still used today in certain truck applications.
  • The French-built C-3 was first used in 1974 in the Ford Pinto and remained until the Merkur XR4TI was dropped in 1989.
  • The Automatic Overdrive (AOD) transmission was introduced in 1980 as Ford's first four-speed automatic overdrive transmission (a.k.a. AOT or FIOD in some literature). Internals are loosely based on the FMX. The AOD was finally replaced by the AOD-E/4R70W in 1994 for all remaining applications.
  • 1982 brought the C-5, which was essentially a stronger C-4 with a centrifugal torque converter lock-up clutch and an enhanced valve body for smoother shifting. It was produced through 1986 and was completely replaced by the AOD.
  • The A4LD four speed overdrive transmission was introduced in the 1985 Bronco II/Ranger and saw use behind many 4 and 6 cylinder engines until the 1995 model year when it was replaced by the 4R44E and 4R55E electronic transmissions. The A4LD was the first Ford transmission to use an EEC-controlled torque converter lock-up clutch and later became the first to use electronic shift control (via a 3-4 shift solenoid). The French-built A4LD was created by adding overdrive to the front of the C-3 three-speed unit.
  • Full-size trucks first received the huge E4OD (Electronic 4 speed OverDrive) transmission in 1989. Internally, it is essentially a C-6 with overdrive added to the front (such as the A4LD is to the C-3) and an EEC controlled valve body.
  • The AOD-E transmission first appeared behind the 4.6L modular V-8 engines in 1992. Essentially a beefed-up, electronically-controlled version of the AOD, the AOD-E also includes a new and stronger wide ratio model, the AOD-EW or 4R70W), which was introduced in the 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII. The AOD-E (in both standard and wide ratio versions) completely replaced the old AOD in 1994 with a new case that mates to the 5.0L and 3.8L engines.
  • For 1995, the 4R44E (4 cyl. - light-duty) and 4R55E (6 cyl. - heavy-duty; i.e. Explorer) electronically controlled transmission replaced the A4LD. It is mechanically identical to the A4LD.
  • Later, the 5R55E was introduced behind the 4.0L SOHC V6 as the first domestic five-speed automatic. Mechanically similar to the 4R55E, the 5R55E uses revised controls to leverage the mechanical capabilities of the 4R55E to deliver a fifth forward speed.