Beef Up Your Chrysler A518 Transmission With These Parts

Posted by on Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Chrysler A518  transmission is a very popular four speed overdrive that was used in the Dodge Ram pickup truck and the some Jeeps. It is based on the original heavy duty three speed A727 transmission.  Because this transmission was used primarily in heavier vehicles, it is sometime subject to abuse, either by towing over the recommended limit, or carrying too heavy a payload. Let’s take a look at a few items you can add to your Chrysler A518 transmission to make it a little stronger.

The Crysler A518 transmission


Shift kit: A shift kit will benefit your transmission is two ways. First, most shift kits include modifications to increase the line pressure. This increase in line pressure will help prevent the bands and clutches from slipping under heavy loads. Second, a shift kit will reduce the time it takes for the bands and clutches to apply. While this is primarily designed to give you a firmer shift, your transmission will benefit from less slipping during the shifting process (measures in fractions of a second).

Transmission Pan: A deep pan, especially if you choose one made of aluminum, will help you in these ways. 1) Deeper pans hold more fluid, which in turn helps keep your transmission slightly cooler.  2) The properties of aluminum are such that they dissipate heat better than steel. This will also help your transmission run a little cooler. 3) Aluminum pans are much more rigid than stamped steel pans. This will help increase the strength of the overall transmission.

HD bands and clutches: Stock transmissions use bands and clutches made of the most cost effective material. While this material usually works fine for stock applications, it leaves a lot to be desired in heavy duty applications. Bands and clutches are available in a variety of exotic materials, such as Kevlar, that will last a lot longer than the stock material.

Heavy duty clutches for the A518 transmission


Transmission cooler: Heat is the number one killer of transmissions. Anything you can do to help keep the temperature of the transmission under 200 degrees will help your transmission live longer under high stress conditions. I therefore recommend you buy the biggest transmission cooler that will fit on your vehicle. For a little bit of extra insurance buy a cooler with a built in fan.

External filter: The stock transmission filter is designed to catch debris that if left floating in the fluid, will eventually destroy the transmission. The stock filters leave a lot to be desired and often miss the small pieces. Why the factory doesn’t use a better quality filter is a mystery to me. To protect your transmission, invest in an aftermarket inline transmission filter. These filters often look very much like an oil filter and do a much better job removing trash from the fluid.

external transmission filters are a good investment


Eventually your A518 transmission will need to be replaced. The sad fact is that they are not designed to last forever. The above accessories will help delay replacing your transmission.

 When the time does come to replace your transmission, I highly recommend replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission, not one that was simply rebuilt. Re-manufactured transmissions often include upgrades and modifications to make your transmission stronger. Rebuilt transmissions usually do not include these additions. Expect a re-manufactured transmission to last a lot longer than a rebuilt transmission. A re-manufactured transmission also usually comes with a much better warranty –  three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

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