Ford offers optional 10-speed auto for Transit08 June 2020

Ford has started production of a new 10-speed automatic gearbox option for rear-wheel drive (RWD) Transit models.

It is intended for 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 its factory-built 15-seat and 18-seat Transit minibuses.

The 10-speed gearbox is introduced alongside the existing six-speed automatic which remains available for lighter duty front-wheel drive Transit applications. Available on RWD Transit variants powered by Ford’s latest 168 bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue HDT diesel engine, the 10-speed automatic transmission has undergone 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.

It can tow up to 2,800kg, although that capacity depends on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories, and number of passengers. Fuel efficiency with transmission of vehicles weighing between 2,380 kg and 2,610 kg is 38.6mpg NEDC/24.3mpg WLTP.

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 intended for operators in construction, utilities or events industries who frequently tow equipment.

According to Ford, the 10-speed design with more gear ratios means the Transit’s 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.

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. This also means drivers can use less throttle for the same performance result.

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.

The 10-speed automatic transmission is calibrated specifically to suit Transit driving characteristics and applications, and to work alongside Auto Start-Stop technology for even greater fuel efficiency. Acceleration is smooth and progressive at slow speeds and when accelerating from a standstill.

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 punishing off-road racing.

William Dalrymple

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