Ford F-350 Transmission Problems

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This heavy-duty pickup truck is a part of the F series created by Ford, which encompasses models from the Ford F250 to F550.

If you were wondering what separates this lineup from the rest, I have one word for you; transmission problems. The Ford F350 transmissions are through the roof and deserve to be discussed.

I will be going over the major Ford F350 transmission problems you could face and their signs in this article. I have listed out these signs below for your convenience:

  1. Gear Slippage
  2. Leaking Transmission Fluid
  3. Issues With Shifting
  4. Transmission Error Code
  5. Valve Body Problems
  6. Grinding Noise When In Neutral
  7. Burning Smell While Driving
  8. Car Overheating

Despite having the edge over most other crossover SUVs, these problems can cause a frustrating driving experience and can be an expensive fix.

8 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Ford F350

There are a lot of signs that can point toward a faulty transmission. While many of them are shared between certain issues and sometimes, they can also sometimes point to issues that are not related to the transmission system at all.

That being said, I will provide you with all the information you need to conclude whether or not the transmission is faulty.

1. Gear Slippage

One common sign that is very common in the Ford F350 is the fact that the gears can slip up and down. This has been a sign of transmission issues noticed in multiple models of the Ford F350.

If you notice that you try to shift the gears of your car but end up shifting to another gear, you be sure that you have a transmission-related issue. At this point, you should stop using your car until repairs can be made.

2. Leaking Transmission Fluid

The transmission of your Ford F350 needs a good amount of cooling to function properly. This is why you must ensure that the transmission has an optimal amount of fluid.

One clear-cut sign of the transmission causing problems is when you notice it leaking its fluid. While a simple leak could cause this, it is also possible that a component of the transmission system has been damaged, which caused the issue.

3. Issues With Shifting

I have already covered issues related to the gear slipping when it comes to the Ford F350, but another quite common issue is general issues with the gear shifting.

If there is a problem with the transmission, an easy way to see this is if you find the gears changing to be very rough and hard. In certain cases, the gears will not shift at all, which can cause many road problems.

4. Transmission Error Codes

While rare, it is possible that certain transmission problems can give you some sort of error code.

An error code usually accompanies issues like defective DEF reductant heaters. If you see a check engine light, you can be sure that an error code accompanies it.

You will have to read these codes to determine which area of the transmission is having issues.

5. Valve Body Problems

An important part of the Automatic Transmission is the transmission valve body. The most common sign of a problem in the valve body is a delay in shifting gears. This mostly occurs when shifting from park to drive or park to reverse.

Slipping of gears and loud sounds as you change your gears, the engine light being on, and the transmission shifting into a higher or lower gear at the wrong time are all the results of a bad transmission with valve body problems.

6. Grinding Noise When In Neutral Position

When the Ford F350 won’t engage gears and grinds loudly in the park and neutral, and seems to stop when you hold the clutch, it is very likely the vehicle has a bad transmission control unit (TCU).

Low transmission fluid or a clogged filter can also cause this. Another rare but possible reason for this is bad sensors that do not see you moving the gear selector.

This sign should be easy to detect, and once you do, you should stop the car and check which part of the transmission is faulty.

7. Burning Smell While Driving

One obvious indicator is the smell of something burning. While it may be difficult to pinpoint the location of the smell, if it originates from the gearbox or the transmission, you can presume that something is wrong.

This can be a clear sign of excess wear and tear but can also be a sign of overheating. As I will discuss further down the line, overheating is not a good thing to have in your Ford F350.

8. Car Overheating

The performance of the transmission of any car is closely linked to the cooling system. The cooling system is responsible for making sure that the transmission fluid is properly cooled.

If there is any issue with the cooling system of the Ford F350, the transmission fluid will not be able to carry out its job properly.

This will end up causing many problems as you need to ensure that the transmission fluid is at optimal levels and that it is effectively carrying out its job.

How To Prevent Your Ford F350’s Transmission Issues

With the sheer variety of issues you can encounter with the Ford F350, you need to be aware of the various preventative methods you need to apply to keep the car up.

Here are a few ways you can stave off the transmission issues of the Ford F350.

1. Maintain Optimum Levels Of Transmission Fluids

You should always start by checking the fluid levels of your Ford F350. Most of the time, either due to leakage or your negligence, you may be out of the transmission fluid which may in turn be causing all of the issues that start above.

Simply get yourself more fluid and add it in. If you have no idea what to do, then it would be better to have it done by a professional.

2. Regular Maintenance And Servicing

You should make it a habit to either clean up or get the transmission serviced every 3 or 4 months. This will help you catch issues and problems as soon as they pop up.

The extra maintenance will also ensure that these problems do not manifest, to begin with. While it is not a surefire way to prevent all issues from starting, it will do a lot to reduce them.

3. Switch Gears Properly

The gears of the car are no doubt part of the transmission system. You need to switch gears gently and in time with your clutch. This is a vital tip to ensure issues do not spring up in the transmission.

If you are already facing issues with shifting the gears, then you will have to adjust the shift cables yourself or get the gearbox replaced.

4. Maintain The Engine’s Cooling System

The engine’s cooling system is also responsible for maintaining a good cool temperature for the transmission fluid. This is essential to efficiently and effectively cool the transmission, thus doing its job.

You should ensure that your transmission system is fully cooled at all times and does not overheat. If your cooling system gets any issues, you will no doubt find that your transmission fluid is useless, and the same issues will occur with a lack of fluid.

5. Regular Transmission Flushing

You should have been provided a time frame for when you should get your transmission fluid changed entirely. This can be found in the car’s manual.

Once you figure out the time, you should make sure that you follow the timing and regularly flush the transmission fluid.

This can either be done with professional help or by yourself. However, if you intend to do it yourself, you must possess specialized equipment.

6. Let Your Ford F350 Warm Up

It is a good habit to ensure that your transmission is warmed up before driving. This is effective for all cars, not just the Ford F350. A simple minute of idling should ensure that all the car components, including the drivetrains, are warmed up.

This will ensure that the entire operation goes smoothly. Just ensure not to overheat the transmission since I have already elaborated on the issues it can cause.

How To Fix The Ford F350’s Transmission Problems

Inspections and maintenance can go a long way, but the fact remains that problems can occur anywhere.

This is the reason why you should always be checking the transmission in the first place. For components that are beyond repair, you should just scrap them and get a new one.

This can include components such as the drivetrain, gearbox, and transmission. Other times, the issue is usually a lack of transmission fluid or a bad engine cooling system.

You must look into the cooling system or add transmission fuel accordingly. Many times, this usually solves the problems as well.

Which Year Did Ford F-350 Have Transmission Troubles?

There are a lot of models of the Ford F350 over the years and many of them have been victims of transmission problems. I will go over all of them here and talk about what type of issue transmission they faced.

2008 Ford F-350

While not directly responsible for many transmission-related issues, apart from the issues with the power train, which the NHTSA reported, the 2008 Ford F350 had a good transmission system.

The issue arose in the cooling system, which would overheat and cause the transmission fluid to lose efficacy, eventually leading to many annoying issues.

2007 Ford F-350

The 2007 Ford F350 was another case of a good transmission. Only a few of the models were not so lucky. Certain models of the model were prone to transmission slipping.

This was mostly found in various automatic transmissions and caused by issues in the power train. The only viable solution to this was also an expensive one; to get the transmission replaced.

2018 Ford F-350

Mostly praised for its lack of problems and issues, one uncommon annoyance was the issue of the 2018 Ford F350 experiencing what many called a “death wobble”.

This would essentially cause the tires and steering wheel to shake uncontrollably. It was common enough to get this name and was caused by issues with the powertrain of the transmission.

2001 Ford F-350

The 2001 Ford F350 had amassed a bad reputation for its bad clutch, transmission issues, and drivetrain problems. Starting with the transmission, it was simply prone to failure, which is a big issue.

Issues were common in manual and automatic drivetrains, the biggest being a front differential failure. The clutch assembly was also shoddy at best.

2019 Ford F-350

The 2019 Ford F350 had a much more common issue than its predecessor regarding the transmission. This was a grinding noise that would often happen when in 4×4.

Additionally, users of the 2019 Ford F350 faced major vibration at 45 and 65 miles per house, along with various issues with the power train.

2017 Ford F-350

Many users of the 2017 Ford F350 reported that they regularly face slips in the gear when driving their vehicle, often being forced to rebuild their entire transmission.

It would start to be an erratic transmission shifting, then the transmission would slip. This problem was accompanied by major power train issues as well which seems to be a common trend for the Ford F350

2015 Ford F-350

The 2015 Ford F350 was yet another model filled with powertrain issues. These issues would eventually lead to defective DEF reductant heaters and problems with the turbocharger.

This would also, in rare instances, cause the check engine light to come on. This would lead to a general amount of unresponsiveness while driving the vehicle.

2020 Ford F-350

When it came to the 2020 Ford F350, the model suffered from a recall which affected certain vehicles with 6.7 L diesel engines.

The problem was caused by a washer found inside the transmission, which would disintegrate. This would result in a lot of metallic debris getting lodged in the parking mechanism of the transmission. This recall was fairly recent as well.

2016 Ford F-350

The final model on this list is the 2016 Ford F 350, which only had a drivetrain problem that affected the transmission.

The main issue many people faced was that the car would shake while being towed. As to be expected, this was accompanied by a slew of power train issues that required major repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Much Does A Ford F350 Transmission Replacement Cost?

If you are the unfortunate owner of a Ford F350 with a bad transmission and need a transmission, then you are looking at a hefty replacement cost.

A typical Ford F350 transmission can range from $3,500 to $5,000. Trying to fix it is a good idea, but sometimes that cannot be done.

Q2. What Is The Lifespan Of A Ford F350 Transmission?

With good and proper care, you will find that the Ford F350’s transmission will last as long as 125,000. This is on the lower side considering the car will end up lasting much longer than the transmission.

That being said, you should try your best to maintain the transmission so that it does not give out early!

Q3. Is It Safe To Drive A Ford F350 With A Bad Transmission?

While the car is drivable when afflicted with certain transmission-related problems, it is often too dangerous to drive it with them.

This is doubly so for the Ford F350, a huge pickup truck. Unless you want to compromise your haul and life, I recommend not driving if you know your transmission is bad.

Conclusion

Many people tend to gravitate towards the Ford F150, but many consider this model as well; due to the Ford F350 transmission problems, many people are put off by it.

That being said, if you are a hardcore fan and love this car or are just an owner, it will do you a lot of good now that you have read this article.

You should now have a fine grip on all the issues and figure out the most effective way to fix them. You should apply the knowledge given by this article as soon as possible to get the most out of your Ford F350’s transmission.