What You Need to Know About the Ford CVT Transmission

Posted by on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Ford Five Hundred

The Ford Five Hundred, which features the Ford CVT transmission.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Ford CVT transmission is the CFT 30. Built by ZF-Batavia, it was standard equipment in the Ford Freestyle, the Ford Five Hundred, and the Mercury Montego from a few years ago. With many of these vehicles starting to rack up the miles, it won’t be long before you start seeing them showing up in your shop. So here’s a look at the CFT 30’s design, its most common problems, and some handy repair tips.

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The Case of the Malfunctioning Jaguar Transmission and the Hazards of EMI

Posted by on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Transmission spark plugs

Spark plugs, which can cause EMI problems for modern transmissions.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Transmission troubleshooting has changed top-to-bottom over the last 20 years or so. In some ways it has gotten easier, thanks to modern scan tools and trouble codes that give a good idea of the underlying problem. In other ways, however, the same technology intended to make life easier has actually created issues of its own. Take for example the strange case of the malfunctioning Jaguar.

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The New Chrysler CVT: A Peek Inside

Posted by on Monday, April 28th, 2014

Chrysler CVT transmission

Chrysler CVT transmission. Image courtesy of

The current Chrysler CVT is the Jatco JF011E.  It has been used since the release of the 2006 Jeep Patriot.  While the gearbox was less than popular when first rolled out, steady improvements plus greater acceptance of CVTs in general have since made this particular gearbox a favored option among many buyers.  Of course, even the best transmissions eventually develop problems.  So here’s a look inside the Chrysler CVT that will help you to service these units when you see them in your shop.

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Transmission Refresher Tips: How a Torque Converter Works

Posted by on Friday, April 25th, 2014

Torque converter cutaway

Torque converter cutaway view.
Image source: via

Keeping informed about new developments is essential to success in almost any field, but sometimes we techs get so busy staying up-to-date that we forget the basics we learned in our early training days. That’s too bad, because refreshing ourselves on those essentials can help us find solutions to repair problems that might otherwise escape us. With that in mind, let’s review one of the fundamental principles of automatic transmissions: how a torque converter works.

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Automatic Transmission Tip: Vacuum Testing Valve Bodies

Posted by on Thursday, April 24th, 2014

valve body

Transmission valve body.
Image source:

Two of the most common issues you’re likely to see when performing troubleshooting an automatic transmission are valve body and servo bore wear. So today we’ll cover the steps for diagnosing these problems using an ordinary vacuum tester.

Tools You’ll Need

You should have the following items on-hand when troubleshooting valve body or servo bore problems:

  • A vacuum test stand. You’ll find these at any transmission parts warehouse.
  • A CFM three-way vacuum pump. There are many brands out there, so shop around and choose the best one for your needs.

Once you have your equipment, you’re ready to calibrate the test stand.

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Understanding How the Prius Transaxle Inverter Cooling Loop Works

Posted by on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Prius transaxle

Transaxle from a 2010 Prius.
Image courtesy of

Love it or hate it, the Prius hybrid has been on the American market for well over a decade now, and with gas prices staying well over $3.00 a gallon, these ultra-efficient vehicles probably aren’t going away anytime soon. This means that you’ll be seeing them in your shop more often as they age. With that in mind, here’s a look at one of the distinctive features of the Prius transaxle: its inverter cooling loop.

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Gearbox Profile: A Look at the U660E Toyota Transmission

Posted by on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

U660E transmission

U660E transmission.
Image source:

The U660E appeared in several Toyota models from 2006 through 2012. While its internal architecture is complex, troubleshooting the U660E is simple if the technician goes about the job in a systematic, circuit-by-circuit fashion. The following is a basic introduction to the transmission.

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Trouble Codes Don’t Tell the Full Story When It Comes to Transmission Troubleshooting

Posted by on Monday, April 21st, 2014

Auto trouble codes

A listing of common auto trouble codes.
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When it comes to transmission troubleshooting, today’s techs are blessed with an abundance of capabilities earlier generations could only dream of. Take trouble codes as an example. The ability to simply ask a vehicle what’s troubling it sounds almost magic. Compared to yesteryear’s diagnostic methods, it offers today’s technicians unprecedented ability to resolve issues quickly, getting their customers back on the road with a minimum of downtime. This is especially the case since the introduction of OBD II codes in 1996.

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PCM Reprogramming: Know What You’re Getting Into

Posted by on Friday, April 18th, 2014

Reprogramming PCM for auto

A technician reprogramming a vehicle.
Image courtesy of

PCM reprogramming falls into two broad categories. One is the updating of factory-authorized software. This is a part of modern car maintenance. The other is performance reprogramming, which is a different matter altogether. Today we’re going to look at the potential gains this activity offers, as well as the risks and drawbacks.

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Modern Maintenance Tips: Dealing with Sealed Transmissions

Posted by on Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Sealed transmissions

Despite messages like these, sealed transmission still require service. Image courtesy of

Every day it seems like automakers are coming up with new ways to “make life easier” for their customers. Problem is, the only people whose lives are improved by these actions are usually the manufacturers themselves. Auto techs like us, on the other hand, are forced to relearn how to perform basic tasks like transmission maintenance. That’s one of the consequences of today’s sealed transmissions.

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