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Ford C4 transmission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Body and chassis
Class3-speed longitudinal automatic transmission
RelatedFord C6

The Ford C4 is a three-speed, medium-duty automatic transmission introduced on 1964 model year vehicles and produced through 1981. The C4 was designed to be a lighter and more simple replacement for the original Ford-O-Matic two speed transmission being used in smaller, less powerful cars.

Ford used the term "SelectShift" because in the first C4's, placing the gear selector in D2 forced the transmission to start in second gear and then shift to third gear. If the transmission was placed in D1, the transmission would start in first gear, then shift to second and third gear as normal. If the gear selector was placed into L, the transmission stayed in first gear only. The shifter display appeared as P-R-N-D2-D1-L. Because this was confusing, later versions of the C4 were changed to a P-R-N-D-2-1 (or L) pattern typically seen today.

Because of its cast iron construction, the Ford-O-Matic was very heavy. In designing the C4, Ford used an aluminum alloy, three-piece case (bell housing, main case, and tailhousing). The aluminum case and the use of a more simple Simpson planetary gearset reduced the weight significantly. It was primarily used with Ford's inline six-cylinder engines and small V8 engines (see Ford Windsor engines), usually up to 302 in³ (5.0 L). By comparison, the 351 Windsor and 351 Cleveland small and intermediate-block engines were backed by the medium-duty FMX or the heavy-duty C6 that debuted in 1966. Some C4s were built with a larger spread bell housing to use with 351M V8s, but these are rare. A few were also used with FE engines, mostly the 390. in full-size cars. Ratios are 2.46 low, 1.46 second and direct high.

The early model C4 (1964–1969) used a .788-inch 24-spline input shaft, which was upgraded in 1970 to 26-spline and .839-inch. The upgrade also included a matching clutch hub of 26-spline. In 1971, Ford went to a 26/24-spline input shaft, meaning the torque-converter side is 26-spline and the clutch hub is 24-spline.

The C4 was also found with valve bodies requiring a different number of bolts, 8-bolt vs 9-bolt. A 9-bolt valvebody can be used on either case, but a nut & bolt must be used on the valve body in the empty hole, dropping the bolt in from the top and using the nut on the bottom/filter side.

Modified C4s remain popular with hot rodders and drag racers due to their simplicity and durability.

Year & Model breakdown:

  • 1964–1966 Select Shift, 24/24 spline, castings: C4, C5, C6
  • 1967–1969 Select Shift, 24/24 spline, castings: C7, C8, C9
  • 1970–1970 Select Shift, 26/26 spline, castings: D0
  • 1971–1979 Select Shift, 26/24 spline, castings: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9



As fuel economy became more important in the 1970s, and 1980s, the C4 was replaced in 1982 by the C5, which was essentially a C4 with a lock-up clutch in the torque converter to improve highway fuel economy. It bore the casting numbers E2, E3, E4, E5, and E6, corresponding with the year it was produced. The C5 was phased out in 1986, replaced by the AOD. The production plant in Sharonville, Ohio was converted to production of the C6 transmission which was relocated from Livonia, Michigan, as the Livonia facility was converted to the AOD.


This page was last edited on 27 September 2020, at 15:49
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