Common Complaints With the Ford 4R75W Transmission

Posted by on Friday, March 8th, 2013

The 4R75W is an automatic transmission made by Ford. It has four forward speeds and was used in vehicles starting in 2003. It was basically an upgrade from the 4R70W and differed from that transmission in that it had a stronger, 24 lug output shaft sensor (compared to 6 for the earlier one), a better torque converter and upgraded Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS). Although this transmission was an upgrade to the earlier 4R70W and benefited from many improvements, it still had its share of problems. Here are a couple of things to watch out for when it comes to this transmission.

4R75W transmission


This is an electronic transmission and as such has its fair amount of electrical problems, just like every other electronically controlled transmission. The biggest issue electronically is all the electrical solenoids this transmission incorporates. They control all the forward gears and the torque converter clutch. If you suspect that a solenoid has failed, or is in the process of failing, here is a quick easy way to check them. You want to get yourself an ohm meter (you probably already have one in your tool box). Open up the transmission and gain access to the solenoids. Unplug the solenoid from the wire harness and hook the leads from the ohm meter, one each to the two wires coming of the solenoid. A properly working solenoid will return a reading of about 20 – 30 ohms. If the reading is low (below 20 ohms) you probably have a solenoid that has a wire short in the coil pack that makes up the electronic magnet. If you get no reading, then you can pretty much confirm that a wire is broken in that coil pack. Either way, the solenoid will need to be replaced.

Ford 4R75W transmission


You also want to keep an eye out for damage to the wire harness running to the solenoids and sensors. After all, it is only made from copper strands surrounded by plastic, and that plastic can melt if exposed to excessive heat, or crack from age.

This transmission is also susceptible to overheating. Abuse, such as towing over the maximum recommend factory limit or carrying a payload that is too heavy can both contribute to overheating. If you suspect your transmission might be overheating, take a look at the transmission fluid (just look at the fluid on the dip stick).  If the fluid is a very dark color or it has a burnt smell to it, then chances are the fluid has been overheated at some point. Your best bet on preventing overheating is to follow the recommend towing and load limits suggested by the factory. You can also buy an aftermarket transmission cooler and have it installed on your vehicle. Overheating is the number one cause of transmission failure.

insides of a 4R75W transmission


Keep your eyes open and be pro-active in your transmission maintenance and you should get the full expected life span out of your 4R75W transmission.

A transmission will not last forever, regardless of how well you take care of it. If a decision has to be made to replace the transmission, I highly recommend you consider a re-manufactured transmission as your first choice. They differ from a rebuilt transmission in the fact that they are as good as a new transmission at a greatly reduced price and often include modifications and upgrades that make them much more durable. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.