68RFE Transmission Maintenance Guide: Keeping Your Transmission in Top Shape


Maintaining your vehicle's 68RFE transmission is essential to ensure smooth operation and extend its lifespan. This comprehensive guide will take you through the step-by-step process of performing critical maintenance tasks, including fluid changes, filter replacements, and routine inspections. Proper maintenance can save you from costly repairs down the road and keep your vehicle running smoothly. If you're having issues with your truck's 68RFE transmission or if you want to schedule a service, contact Tier One or call 602-399-5484 today!

Why Transmission Maintenance Matters

Your vehicle's transmission is a complex piece of machinery responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. Neglecting maintenance can lead to sluggish performance, increased fuel consumption, and even transmission failure. Regular upkeep can help you avoid these issues.

Fluid Change: The Lifeline of Your Transmission

Your 68RFE transmission relies on clean and properly functioning transmission fluid to operate efficiently and smoothly. In this section, we will delve deeper into the critical process of changing the transmission fluid, highlighting its importance and providing additional insights into the procedure.

The Vital Role of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is often referred to as the lifeblood of your transmission, and for a good reason. It serves multiple crucial functions:

  1. Lubrication: Transmission fluid reduces friction between moving parts within the transmission. This lubrication prevents excess wear and heat generation, extending the lifespan of the components.
  2. Cooling: As the transmission operates, it generates heat. Transmission fluid acts as a coolant, dissipating this heat and preventing the transmission from overheating.
  3. Cleaning: Over time, debris and contaminants can accumulate within the transmission. The fluid carries these particles to the filter, where they are trapped and removed. This cleaning action helps maintain optimal transmission performance.

Given these vital functions, neglecting transmission fluid changes can lead to a host of issues, including increased wear, overheating, and eventual transmission failure.

Signs It's Time for a Fluid Change

Regular fluid changes are essential, but how do you know when it's time for one? Here are some signs that your transmission fluid may need attention:

  • Discolored Fluid: Transmission fluid should be a clear, reddish color. If it appears brown or black, it's likely time for a change. Darkened fluid indicates contamination and reduced effectiveness.
  • Burnt Odor: If you detect a burnt smell when checking the transmission fluid, it's a clear sign of overheating and degradation. Fresh transmission fluid should have a clean, slightly sweet odor.
  • Slipping Gears: If your transmission is hesitating or slipping between gears, it could be due to old or ineffective fluid. In some cases, a fluid change can resolve this issue.
  • Increased Noise: Unusual noises during gear shifts, such as whining or clunking sounds, can be indicative of fluid-related problems. Fresh fluid can help alleviate these noises.

The Fluid Change Procedure

We previously outlined the basic steps for changing transmission fluid, but let's delve into more detail:

Step 1: Safety First

Before you start, ensure you are working on a level surface with proper safety gear, including safety glasses and gloves. Safety should always be a priority when working underneath your vehicle.

Step 2: Draining the Fluid

Locate the drain plug on the transmission pan and carefully loosen it. Make sure to have a drain pan ready to catch the old fluid. Allow the fluid to drain completely before proceeding.

Step 3: Filter Replacement

As the fluid drains, you can access the transmission pan. Inside, you'll find the filter. Remove it and replace it with a new one, following the manufacturer's instructions. Properly dispose of the old filter.

Step 4: Pan Cleanup

Clean the transmission pan thoroughly, removing any residue or debris. Ensure the mating surface is clean and free of gasket material.

Step 5: Reassembly

Reattach the transmission pan, using a new gasket if necessary, and tighten the bolts securely.

Step 6: Refill with Fluid

Using a funnel, carefully pour the appropriate amount of transmission fluid into the fill tube. Refer to your vehicle's manual for the correct type and quantity. It's crucial to use the recommended fluid to ensure optimal performance.

Step 7: Fluid Level Check

With the engine running, shift through all gears and then place it in "Park" or "Neutral." Check the fluid level with the dipstick and adjust as needed to achieve the correct level.

Filter Replacement: Keeping Contaminants at Bay

In this section, we'll delve deeper into the critical role of your 68RFE transmission filter and why regular replacement is crucial in preserving the health of your transmission system.

The Significance of the Transmission Filter

The transmission filter, often an overlooked component, plays a vital role in ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your transmission system. It acts as the first line of defense against contaminants that can infiltrate your transmission fluid. Here's why it's so important:

  1. Contaminant Removal: As your transmission fluid circulates through the system, it can pick up tiny particles, dirt, and debris. The transmission filter traps these contaminants, preventing them from circulating further and potentially causing damage to internal components.
  2. Preservation of Fluid Quality: By filtering out impurities, the transmission filter helps maintain the integrity of your transmission fluid. This is crucial because clean and uncontaminated fluid is essential for smooth gear changes and optimal transmission performance.
  3. Prevention of Clogs: Over time, the filter can become clogged with trapped debris. A clogged filter can restrict fluid flow, leading to overheating and reduced transmission efficiency. Regular filter replacement ensures proper fluid flow.

Signs It's Time for Filter Replacement

Just like any other component in your vehicle, the transmission filter has a finite lifespan. It's essential to recognize the signs that indicate it's time for a replacement:

  • Sluggish Gear Shifting: If you notice that your vehicle is having difficulty shifting gears smoothly or if there's a delay in response, it could be a sign of a clogged or worn-out filter.
  • Unusual Noises: A transmission filter in poor condition can lead to strange noises during gear changes. Whining, clunking, or grinding sounds may indicate that the filter is not effectively filtering contaminants.
  • Transmission Overheating: An overheating transmission can result from restricted fluid flow caused by a clogged filter. If you see warning lights related to high transmission temperatures or detect a burning odor, it's time to inspect and replace the filter.
  • Reduced Fuel Efficiency: A clogged filter can make your transmission work harder, leading to increased fuel consumption. If you notice a sudden drop in fuel efficiency, consider filter replacement.

The Filter Replacement Procedure

Now, let's explore the detailed steps involved in replacing your 68RFE transmission filter:

Step 1: Preparation

Ensure you have a clean working area with all necessary tools and safety equipment. Safety glasses and gloves are essential when working on your vehicle.

Step 2: Access the Filter

Depending on your vehicle's make and model, you may need to remove other components to access the transmission filter. Refer to your vehicle's manual for specific instructions.

Step 3: Removal

Locate the filter housing and carefully remove the old filter. Be cautious not to dislodge any debris inside the housing as you extract the filter.

Step 4: Install the New Filter

Install the new transmission filter, making sure it is correctly seated in the housing. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

Step 5: Reassemble Components

Reattach any components you removed to access the filter. Ensure all parts are secured and properly fastened.

Routine Inspections: Preventive Care for Your Transmission

Step 1: Check for Leaks

Regularly inspect your transmission for any signs of leaks. Leaking fluid can indicate a problem that needs immediate attention.

Step 2: Monitor Fluid Condition

Check the color and odor of the transmission fluid. It should be a clear, reddish color and should not have a burnt smell. If it looks or smells off, it's time for a fluid change.

Step 3: Listen for Unusual Sounds

Pay attention to any unusual noises coming from your transmission, such as whining or clunking. These can be early indicators of issues.

Step 4: Check for Warning Lights

Keep an eye on your vehicle's dashboard for any warning lights related to the transmission. If one comes on, consult your manual and address the issue promptly.

Extending the Lifespan of Your 68RFE Transmission

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Maintenance Tips

While the previous sections covered essential maintenance tasks for your 68RFE transmission, there are additional steps you can take to further enhance its longevity and performance. These advanced maintenance tips can help you ensure your transmission stays in top shape for years to come.

1. Cooler Installation

  • Installing an auxiliary transmission cooler can significantly benefit your transmission. It helps maintain optimal operating temperatures, reducing wear and tear on internal components. Consider this especially if you tow heavy loads or live in a hot climate.

2. Use Synthetic Transmission Fluid

  • Synthetic transmission fluid offers improved lubrication and temperature stability compared to conventional fluids. While it may cost a bit more, the added protection and longevity it provides are well worth the investment.

3. Regularly Inspect Mounts and Bushings

  • The transmission mounts and bushings play a crucial role in stabilizing your transmission. Regularly inspect them for signs of wear or damage, and replace them if necessary. This will help reduce vibrations and stress on the transmission.

4. Transmission Flush

  • In addition to routine fluid changes, consider a transmission flush every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. This process removes old fluid more thoroughly and helps prevent sludge buildup, which can hinder performance.

5. Avoid Overloading

  • Overloading your vehicle or towing beyond its capacity can put excessive strain on the transmission. Always adhere to your vehicle's load capacity guidelines and avoid overloading to prevent premature wear.

6. Shift Modifiers

  • Depending on your driving conditions and preferences, you may want to explore the use of shift modifiers. These aftermarket devices can alter the shift points and timing for a smoother and more customized driving experience.

7. Professional Inspections

  • While you can perform many maintenance tasks yourself, it's a good idea to have your transmission professionally inspected periodically. A trained mechanic can detect potential issues early and recommend preventive measures.

8. Driving Habits

  • Lastly, your driving habits can significantly impact your transmission's lifespan. Avoid sudden acceleration, aggressive driving, and rapid gear shifts. Smooth and cautious driving can go a long way in preserving your transmission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How often should I change the transmission fluid in my 68RFE transmission?

  • Transmission fluid change intervals can vary, but a general rule of thumb is every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Refer to your vehicle's manual for manufacturer-specific recommendations.

2. Can I use any transmission fluid for my 68RFE transmission?

  • No, it's essential to use the transmission fluid specified for your 68RFE transmission. Using the wrong type of fluid can lead to performance issues and damage.

3. What are the common signs of transmission problems?

  • Common signs include slipping gears, delayed or rough shifting, unusual noises, transmission fluid leaks, and warning lights on your dashboard.

4. Do I need to replace the transmission filter every time I change the fluid?

  • It's recommended to replace the transmission filter when you change the fluid, but it may not be necessary at every fluid change. Follow your vehicle's maintenance schedule.

5. Can I perform transmission maintenance myself, or should I take it to a professional?

  • While some maintenance tasks can be done by DIY enthusiasts, others may require specialized tools and expertise. If you're unsure, it's best to consult a professional mechanic.

Tier One's Built 68RFE Transmissions:

-2007.5-2018 Ram 2500 & 3500 68RFE Tow-All Transmission
-2019-2024 Ram 2500 & 3500 68RFE Tow-All Transmission
-2007.5-2018 Ram 2500 & 3500 600HP Stage 1 68RFE Transmission
-2019-2024 Ram 2500 & 3500 600HP Stage 1 68RFE Transmission
-2007.5-2018 Ram 2500 & 3500 750HP Stage 2 68RFE Transmission
-2019-2024 Ram 2500 & 3500 750HP Stage 2 68RFE Transmission
-2007.5-2018 Ram 2500 & 3500 900HP Stage 3 68RFE Transmission
-2019-2024 Ram 2500 & 3500 900HP Stage 3 68RFE Transmission
-2007.5-2018 Ram 2500 & 3500 +1000HP Competition 68RFE Transmission
-2019-2024 Ram 2500 & 3500 +1000HP Competition 68RFE Transmission

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