Prepare Your Ford 5R110W Transmission For Towing A Camping Trailer

Posted by on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Ford 5R110W transmission is a heavy duty five speed made by Ford. It is a transmission that supersedes the 4R100 that came before it. The 5R110W was used in many of Ford’s heavy duty line of pickup trucks, including the F250, F350, F450 and F550 built between the model years 2004 and 2010.  It features an optional Tow / Haul mode, but if you’re towing a heavy camping trailer or toy hauler you will want to take additional steps to keep the transmission from failing. Here are a few accessories I recommend you add to your 5R110W transmission.

Towing a camper can be hard on your 5R110W transmission


Install an aftermarket transmission cooler. Heat is the number one killer of automatic transmissions of all types.  Towing is one of the activities that generate the most heat in a transmission and you want to do something to off-set this effect.

My advice is to buy a large transmission cooler. The stack-plate design is one of the best on the market, being very efficient while also being very durable. You should invest in a transmission cooler that also has its own built in fan. This will allow it to remain efficient even when the vehicle is not in motion.

Although pretty heavy duty, the 5R110W can benefit from a few accessories


Ideally you want to keep the transmission under 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees you go over 200 degrees you cut the life span of the transmission by a factor of two. In other words, expect your transmission only to last ½ as long as it was designed to at 220 degrees and only ¼ as long at 240 degrees.

Don’t forget to buy a transmission temperature gauge so you can keep an eye on the fluid temperature.  For the most accurate readings mount the temperature sending unit directly into the transmission pan. If you notice your transmission temperature getting too high, pull off the road and allow the transmission to cool down. Keeping the vehicle running while waiting for the temperature to come down will be the quickest way to cool it back down to an acceptable temperature.

I also recommend you invest in a deep sump aluminum transmission pan. There are a few benefits to installing a deep aluminum pan. First, most deep pans will add 2 – 3 extra quarts of transmission fluid capability to the transmission. This could be the difference between the transmission living or dying. Second, an aluminum pan will dissipate heat much better that a stock stamped steel pan and will aid in keep the transmission cooler. Third, most aftermarket aluminum pans come equipped with a drain plug, making transmission oil changes much less messy!

Invest in a deep aluminum pan for your 5R110W transmission


Don’t let your 5R110W leave you stranded. Upgrade your transmission today! No automatic transmission is designed to last forever. The 5R110W is no exception.

Eventually you will need to make a decision to replace your transmission. Please strongly consider replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. There are a couple of good reasons for doing so. A re-manufactured transmission will include alterations and upgrades designed to make it more durable and last longer. A rebuilt transmission will not. A re-manufactured transmission comes with a much better warranty; three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.


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