Everything You Need To Know About The Ford CD4E Transmission

Posted by on Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The Ford CD4E automatic transmission was first introduced in 1994 in 4-cylinder equipped Ford Probes.  At the same time the LA4A-EL, which is Mazda’s version of the CD4E, was introduced in the Mazda 626 and the Mazda MX-6. This transmission was used through 2008 in the Mercury Mariner. The CD4E is also known as the 4F44E.  The CD4E is an automatic trans-axle and was designed for use in front wheel drive vehicles.  It was eventually replaced with the Ford 4F27E.  Let’s take a look a some of the most commonly asked CD4E questions.

CD4E Automatic Transmission



How do I change the filter in my CD4E?  As a shop owner you are probably accustomed to changing the transmission filter when you change the transmission fluid. On the CD4E the filter is not serviceable unless the transmission is torn down. Don’t worry, the filter was designed to last for the life of the transmission.

What kind of fluid should I use in my customers CD4E?  Mercron. Please do not confuse this with Mercron V which will damage your customer’s transmission.

How often should I change the fluid in my customers CD4E? I recommend changing the fluid (using the regular drain method) every 10, 000 to 13,000 miles. I would also recommend a power flush once every 30,000 miles.

My customer asked me to install a shift kit in his CD4E. The only one currently available is the TransGo CD4Ejr kit.

I heard the CD4E has cooling issues. What can I do to my customer’s car to prevent it from overheating? I recommend two fixes. First, install an aftermarket transmission cooler. Second, switch the car over to a synthetic transmission fluid.

I just replaced the transmission in my customers car, but it will not move. What’s going on? Presuming that you used a known working transmission, or one that was re-manufactured, and you checked the fluid levels, I would say something is wrong with the front pump.  If the torque converter was not properly installed in the transmission it could be stacked against the pump. This will destroy the front pump and if you’re really unlucky, eat the thrust bearing out of the motor. I suggest you pull the transmission immediately and check the torque converter installation.

I need to remove the drive axles from my customers CD4E transmission.  I can’t figure out how to get them out. Help! No worries. Simply use a slide hammer with a CV joint puller attached to the wheel studs.

CD4E Diagram



The Ford CD4E transmission is well known for not having a long lifespan. If your customer is unlucky and has a low mileage failure, I recommend going with a re-manufactured unit, not only because they are better than a rebuilt unit, but because most also come with a decent warranty. I’ve used transmissions from ETE Reman because they include a 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty on their re-manufactured CD4E.

 I highly recommend you replace your customer’s transmission with a re-manufactured transmission. A remanufactured unit will include major alterations and upgrades designed to make them both stronger and more durable. A re-manufactured transmission will also include a much better warranty: three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. In the rare event that a re-manufactured transmission fails within the warranty period, they will cover your R&R cost to replace your customer’s transmission. And remember, the companies that re-manufacture transmissions are very easy to contact. They are just a quick phone call or email away.

4 Responses to “Everything You Need To Know About The Ford CD4E Transmission”

  1. [...] 4F27E is an automatic trans-axle used by both Ford and Mazda. This transmission replaced the Ford CD4E. Mazda actually refers to the transmission as the FN4A-EL. The transmission has four forward gears, [...]

  2. Bill says:

    Hey there, I have this transmission in my 2007 Ford Escape XLS and I had a question about what fluid to use in it. Everything I read (including Ford manuals) says to use nothing but MerconV… Whats the deal with that haha? I plan on doing just a regular oil change on it pretty soon and would hate to damage it with the wrong fluid.

  3. […] CD4E is a four speed automatic transmission produced by the Ford Motor Company. It is also sometimes […]

  4. John says:

    Thanks for this info. I’m looking at a ’99 Contour with a bad pump. It has very high mileage but the engine was JUST replaced before the pump failed. He only wants $400 for it and its in exceptional condition I believe otherwise. No rust, no paint flaws, no other issues at all. Any suggestions?

    For a $400 car, is it worth it to try to just throw a pump in it and call it good? I don’t know if maybe it was replaced or rebuilt in the past, but given the miles (nearly 200K), it must’ve had at least some work.

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