Get The A618 Transmission In Your Dodge Ram Ready For Towing

Posted by on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The A618 is a four-speed automatic transmission designed and manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation. It is part of a family that includes the 47RH, the 47RE and the 48RE, and all three are based on the original three-speed A727 transmission. The A618 is a heavy duty transmission, capable of handling up to 450 lb ft of torque. It was used primarily behind vehicles equipped with either the Cumming diesel engine, or the Dodge V10 engine.  It was used in the Dodge Ram 2500 series trucks, the Dodge Ram 3500 series trucks and the special edition SRT-10 performance pickup truck.

Dodge Ram

Dodge Ram image from

As is the case of most pickup trucks, they are often used for towing heavy loads. The owners of these vehicles often abuse their trucks by towing more than the maximum limit the factory puts on these trucks. That is a sure and quick way to kill your A618 transmission. Let’s take a look at ways you can protect and prepare the A618 transmission in your Dodge Ram for towing.

The first thing on your list of upgrades should be the purchase of a good, high quality aftermarket transmission cooler. I recommend this accessory as your first purchase because excessive heat is going to be your A618 transmission’s worse enemy. It is important that you understand that your A618 is designed to operate at a maximum temperature of 200 degrees. It is a well-known fact that for every 20 degree you go beyond this maximum limit, you greatly risk reducing the expected life span of your transmission by a factor of two.


A618 transmission image from

For maximum efficiency, mount the cooler in the line leaving the factory cooler. You also want to mount your cooler in a location that will see maximum airflow when the vehicle is in motion. If that is not possible, consider purchasing a cooler that has its own built in electric fan.

Another change I recommend you make is upgrading your transmission fluid type. The A618 was originally equipped with an organic oil based fluid. I recommend you switch over to a synthetic type fluid. Synthetic fluids will behave much better under extreme temperatures. They will not thicken up in very cold temperatures, nor will they break down and turn to varnish at moderately high temperatures. Although synthetic fluids represent a fairly significant investment when compared to organic fluids, it is a wise investment and will pay dividends with a transmission that will last longer.


Eventually, due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with a decision to replace the A618 transmission in your Dodge Ram pickup.  I highly recommend going with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission comes with a much better warranty; three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. In the rare event that you need to contact the company that re-manufactures transmissions, they are just a quick phone call or email away!

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