Truck drivers LOVE their trucks. And rightfully so. However, heavy-duty trucks that use the Ford 5R110W TorqShift 5-speed automatic transmission have experienced some pretty frustrating challenges. Let’s look at some of the most common 5R110W transmission problems.
The Ford 5R110W TorqShift transmission is a five-speed automatic transmission that replaced the aging 4-speed 4R100 transmission. Although it was considered to be a 5-speed automatic, it actually had a 6th overdrive ratio that allowed for an alternate shift pattern in cold weather. The 5R110 was in production from 2003-2012 and can be identified by the 20 bolt oil pan and 5 forward gears. These transmissions can be found in the following vehicles; however you should double check your application with the bolt count. It is common for similar vehicles to have multiple transmission options available from the factory.
The Ford 5R110W TorqShift 5-speed automatic transmission was designed after the 4R100 4-speed automatic transmission. The 5R110W was designed to foster better performance, fuel mileage, and enhanced control of shift quality and shift strategy. Additionally, the 5R110W allowed for more control of gear selection with a switch or paddle shifter. The shifts were smoother because they were controlled by seven linear solenoids, which were controlled by computer.
Pressure control solenoids that use 0 to 1 amps, variable by the transmission control module computer, controls 5 gears, shift points, shift quality, and reverse drive engagements. There is also a limp mode feature to let the driver know that it’s important to take the vehicle to a transmission shop. Code setting errors help with guided repairs.
For the 5R110W, the cold weather shift strategy normal is 1st-2nd-3rd-5th-6th. The secondary shift sequence, when ambient temperature is below 5° F, is 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-6th. The transmission’s 4th gear is used in cold weather to increase engine RPM to help the engine and the transmission reach normal operating temperature in less time.
Modified direct clutch solenoid after-market
Problems arise when using a modified direct clutch solenoid to raise pressure to the direct clutch.
These problems include:
- The shift strategy is not programmed the same for all trucks so the results will not be the same for all model trucks, which includes modified engines, after-market tunes, tire size, gear ratio, internal modifications to the transmission, shifting problems, and failure.
- Harsh 3rd to 5th shift.
- Flared shift 3rd to fifth.
- Rough coast downshift 5th to 3rd.
- Shifting becomes erratic because the computer strategy is making continuous big changes.
- Direct clutch failure due to the bottom clutch plate bending, which is caused by pressure being too high, so the clamping force is reduced to the direct clutch after the plate bends, causing failure of the direct clutch.
5R110W Adaptive Strategy
The 5R110W Torqshift transmission has an adaptive shift schedule computer-controlled adaptive strategy. This system learns driving habits and creates a shift schedule by adjusting AMPS to the 7 solenoids raising and lowering pressure produced by driving behavior. The adaptive strategy then creates a shift schedule for individual drivers. Through a continuous process, the system measures the time it takes for a shift to occur. From the time the transmission control module commands the shift to the time the shift is complete, the TCM compares this value to the programmed time and makes pressure adjustments by adjusting AMPS to shift the solenoids. Optimization of engagement pressures is the primary objective of the adaptive strategy.
This is where the problem starts. First, there are modified shift solenoids and clutch plates with different types of friction material. Additionally, the programming may have been changed by an after-market programmer. Also the boosting engine power and tire size might have changed, all creating an atmosphere for issues.
At Thurston County Transmission, we rebuild your Ford 5R110W transmission so that it will last well beyond the flawed model. With our expertise in vehicle transmissions, your car will work better than new, and the rattling, bumping, and knocking you experience will be a thing of the past. If you suspect that you have transmission issues with your automobile,contact us today!
5R110W TorqShift Ratios
3.11 : 1
2.20 : 1
1.54 : 1
1.09 : 1
1.00 : 1
0.71 : 1
2.88 : 1
*4th gear ratio is only used during cold operation shift schedule (ambient temp < 5° F); 5R110W normally shifts 1-2-3-5-6
5R110W TorqShift Specs
Ford TorqShift 5R110W
5 speed automatic overdrive transmission
Ford Motor Company Sharonville Transmission Plant, Sharonville, Ohio
2003 - 2010 model year Ford Super Duty (6.0L and 6.4L Power Stroke diesels, excluding 2003 MY 7.3L Power Stroke)
Max Input Torque:
~ 295 lbs w/ fluid
Transmission Filter P/N:
Internal Filter, 2003 - 2007 MY (6.0L diesel)
Internal Filter, 2008 - 2010 MY (6.4L diesel)
External Filter 2003 - 2010 MY (6.0L, 6.4L diesel)
Replace transmission fluid and filters every 30,000 miles
• 5R110W - 5 forward speeds, Rear wheel drive application, 1100 lb-ft maximum torque capacity, Wide ratio
• Complete electronic controls and shift solenoids
• Integrated Tow/Haul function
• PTO provisions
• Adaptive shift schedule strategy
• Internal and external transmission filters
*The 5R110W features a max transmission input of 1,100 lb-ft, accounting for torque multiplication through the torque converter - the transmission is not rated for a maximum 1,100 lb-ft engine torque
5R110W Adaptive Strategy
The 5R110W TorqShift transmission utilizes an adaptive engagement schedule referred to as an “adaptive strategy”. This is often incorrectly perceived as a system that “learns” driving habits and creates a shift schedule tailored to a person’s individual needs and/or driving behavior. The adaptive strategy does not create a shift schedule unique to individual drivers. Rather, through a continuous process, the system measures the time it takes a particular shift to occur (from the time the PCM commands the shift to the time the shift is complete), compares this value to the programmed ideal time, and makes pressure adjustments accordingly. Matching the actual real-world shift time to the ideal shift time through optimization of engagement pressures is the primary objective of the adaptive strategy.
To create a comprehensive engagement schedule, the transmission must be operated in a variety of load and speed combinations. When the KAM (keep alive memory) is cleared, the PCM loses all information collected by the adaptive strategy. As such, the shift schedule will need to be regenerated anytime a vehicle loses power (i.e. from disconnecting both batteries) or has been re-flashed. It is not uncommon for the transmission to exhibit crude behavior and rough or harsh engagements for a period of time after losing the stored shift schedule information. The PCM will automatically re-learn and adjust the shift schedule as necessary through normal driving. However, the process may be expedited through manual relearn procedures.
5R110W Tow/Haul Function
The 5R110W TorqShift transmission features an integrated 'Tow/Haul' function that can be activated via a shifter mounted switch. It is advised that all towing and hauling of significant weight be performed with the Tow/Haul setting activated. While selected, the transmission will provide an alternative shift schedule that prevents shift hunting while towing, engages torque converter lockup at lower engine speeds (which allows for engine braking and speed control on long descents), and will command downshifts on descents to maintain a safe vehicle speed.
5R110W Adaptive Strategy Manual Relearn Procedures
The manual relearn process for the 5R110W transmission will expedite the adaptive strategy’s relearn time, although the schedule will change continuously with normal driving. This process will not cure all rough/harsh shift engagements outright; it will simply reduce the normal drive time necessary for the adaptive strategy to develop an ideal shift schedule for the transmission. The procedures are as follows:
1) Start the engine, allow the engine and transmission to reach operating temperature with all accessories off.
2) Once operating temperature has been reached, idle engine for a minimum of 1 minute with all accessories off.
3) Idle engine for a minimum of 1 minute with the A/C turned on.
4) Drive the truck and allow the transmission to shift from 1st to 5th with light throttle input. Repeat the process at medium throttle input, and finally at wide open throttle (if permitted, always obey local traffic laws).
5) With the vehicle stopped and the gear selector in the N (neutral) position, perform the following series of gear engagements (the order is not important, but three different sets of gear engagements must be made):
Shift from neutral (N) to reverse (R), then wait a minimum 3 seconds
Shift from reverse (R) to drive (D), then wait a minimum 3 seconds
Shift from drive (D) to neutral (N), then wait a minimum 3 seconds
Repeat this sequence once more with the Tow/Haul mode activated. Following these procedures will potentially reduce the relearn time of the adaptive strategy system.
5R110W Troubleshooting & Diagnostics
Ford 5r110w Transmission Upgrades
Problems with the 5R110W can be vaguely separated into two categories. 1) Mechanical problems, including a physically stuck solenoid, worn clutches, damaged gear set, etc. 2) Electrical problems, including a solenoid that is not functioning correctly, faulty or missing input from one of various sensors, etc. Engine problems may be misappropriately diagnosed as a transmission issue and therefore should be repaired before attempting to troubleshoot a transmission. The transmission will trigger diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), but most code readers do not have the capability to retrieve codes set by the 5R110W TorqShift transmission. As such, do not assume that your code reader has the functionality to retrieve such codes unless specifically noted by the product manufacturer. AutoEnginuity software will retrieve such advanced codes and is widely popular amongst home mechanics.
The 5R110W is unique in that it lacks a typical valve body - instead, the 5R110W contains a 'solenoid body', which contains a series of 7 electronic shift solenoids. In lieu of a hydraulically controlled shift system, the PCM commands shifts and controls line pressure by means of these shift solenoids. A problem that is not mechanical (i.e. worn/damaged mechanical parts) is almost always a solenoid or sensor problem. Both electrical and mechanical problems are generally detected and a fault code is set. When a transmission code is thrown, the check engine light will not illuminate in the dash. Instead, the PCM will alert a driver to a transmission fault code through the Tow/Haul light on the transmission shifter. If the light begins flashing, a transmission fault has been detected and can be retrieved with a proper diagnostic tool.
Shift solenoids can be checked by draining the transmission fluid and removing the transmission oil pan. At this time, the oil pan and fluid should be inspected for excessive clutch material and/or metal filings, which are good indications that a transmission has reached the end of its usable life and/or a mechanical failure has occurred. To test a solenoid, remove the solenoid's electrical connector and test the resistance in Ohms across the two pins.
Ford Part #
PC-A (line pressure solenoid)
5.1 - 5.8 Ω
SSPC-A (shift solenoid A, coast clutch)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
SSPC-B (shift solenoid B, overdrive clutch)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
SSPC-C (shift solenoid C, intermediate clutch)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
SSPC-D (shift solenoid D, direct clutch)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
SSPC-E (shift solenoid E, low/reverse clutch)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
TCC (torque converter clutch solenoid)
4.1 - 4.7 Ω
Solenoids can be mechanical stuck (i.e. debris limiting solenoid movement) and therefore the resistance test alone is often used to verify a problem that was identified by a fault code or pressure test prior to replacing a solenoid. Not all the solenoids are identical and therefore not interchangeable - some solenoids are directly proportional (normally closed), meaning pressure is increased by increasing the amperage applied to the solenoid. Other solenoids are indirectly proportional (normally open), meaning that pressure is reduced by increasing the amperage supplied to the solenoid. Additionally, there are three different mounting tab configurations on the body of the solenoid that make it impossible to interchange solenoid part numbers between unlike solenoids.
5r110w Transmission 4x4
The transmission line pressure can be tested in all ranges by first attaching a compatible test gauge to the transmission pressure port. The pressure test port is located on the driver side of the transmission - reference the figure below. Once the plug has been removed and a transmission pressure gauge has been installed, record pressure and compare to the factory spec:
Pressure @ Idle
Pressure @ Stall Speed
215 psi Citrix digital workspace student.
All tires should be chocked, the parking brake set, and the brake pedal fully depressed during this test. This test is best performed with two people, one operating the vehicle and one recording the pressure. When performing pressure checks at stall speed, do not allow the engine to run at stall speed for more than 5 seconds, as this places tremendous stress on the transmission. Stall speed pressures should be recorded at WOT. Do not perform the stall speed test if one or more ranges fail the pressure test at idle.