Ford has started production of a new 10-speed automatic gearbox option for rear-wheel drive (RWD) Transit models. The new transmission is aimed at applications where automatics are preferred for their ease-of-use and convenience, such as higher weight conversions including grocery delivery vans, emergency response vehicles and motorhomes, as well as Ford’s factory-built 15-seat and 18-seat Transit minibuses.
Developed in-house by Ford engineers and proven in models as diverse as the Ranger and F150 pick-ups as well as the Mustang high performance sports car, the transmission is designed to minimise fuel costs for owners and operators using a broader spread of ratios that allows engines to operate at their most efficient.
Available on RWD Transit variants powered by Ford’s latest 166 bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue HDT diesel engine, the 10-speed automatic transmission underwent intensive performance and durability testing to ensure suitability for heavy-duty use in commercial vehicles that operate at high weights, tow frequently, and have high-intensity work schedules
“Transit drivers will enjoy the smooth power delivery of our class-leading 10-speed automatic gearbox as much as operators will benefit from its durability and efficiency,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Easier to drive and offering excellent towing ability, the automatic option for Transit heavy-duty users enhances the tough, capable character and excellent driving characteristics that have earned businesses’ respect.”
Now in full production, the new RWD transmission builds on the upgrades launched on Transit during 2019 including more economical and electrified powertrains, increased payload and enhanced connectivity. The 10-speed gearbox is introduced alongside the existing six-speed automatic which remains available for lighter duty front-wheel drive Transits.
Engineered for efficiency and durability
Ford says the 10-speed design with more gear ratios is intended to ensure that the Transit’s 166 bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine can consistently operate more closely to its peak efficiency and deliver a more responsive driving experience. Real-time adaptive shift scheduling allows the transmission to adapt to changing conditions, enabling the optimum gear selection for performance, fuel efficiency or refinement in any driving scenario.
Computer simulations helped optimise the gearbox architecture by balancing the benefits of more ratios against energy lost during more frequent gear changes. A 10-speed gearbox that allows higher torque and power as well as delivering the right gear at the right time proved the optimal choice.
Ford’s Casting-Integrated Direct Action Solenoid (CIDAS) is one of 20 technologies patented during the transmission’s development. The CIDAS increases clutch pressure accuracy and reduces stroke time to deliver faster, smoother gear changes, resulting in more torque being transferred to the road more of the time, to make lighter work of heavy-duty operation.
A patented low-viscosity transmission fluid reduces internal friction, further enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing component wear as well as eliminating the need for scheduled fluid changes. A variable-vane pump changes delivery according to demand, which decreases parasitic losses and improves vehicle refinement. The high-speed one-way clutch also significantly reduces vibration and harshness during low-speed gear changes – benefitting drivers who spend long shifts in the cab.
Ford says the 10-speed automatic transmission is calibrated specifically to suit Transit driving characteristics and applications, and to work alongside Auto Start-Stop technology for greater fuel efficiency.
Designed specifically for challenging heavy-duty applications, the transmission has benefitted from more than six million kilometres (3.7m miles) of durability testing during development, including thousands of kilometres of off-road racing.
A wide range of potential users
Equipped with the 10-speed automatic gearbox, Transit offers GVMs ranging from 3,500kg to 4,600kg and single- or dual-rear-wheel options, and is available with chassis cab, minibus and van body styles. A maximum GTM of 6,100kg is ideal for operators in construction, utilities or events industries who frequently tow equipment. The 10-speed automatic gearbox allows Transit to tow up to 2,800kg.
The simple operation of an automatic and capability to handle high vehicle weights also makes the new transmission suitable for heavier conversions such as grocery delivery vehicles, emergency response vehicles, mini-coaches and urban mobility vehicles, as well as larger motorhomes – all applications where drivers can often be less experienced in driving large vehicles and have to deal with congested stop-start traffic conditions.