(In comparison, it could be worse)


Ford released the “kissin’ cousin” to the ZF6HP26 a decade ago and like the 6HP, changes have certainly occurred to the 6R60 family of transmissions during that time. Although as part of the agreement with ZF, Ford did use the actual 6HP for a short time, but the game plan from the start was to produce a home-grown unit, which Ford did in 2006.


The 6R60 was the first model to be produced, followed by the 6R75 and ultimately the 6R80, in order to address increasing torque commands. The 6R60 did have a fairly decent run, as transmission models go but, the 6R80 became the big winner with the 6R75 being merely a blip on the sonar screen.


As upgrades and modifications go, the earlier model transmission changes were not too brutal although as time went on the pace started to pick up noticeably. Model differences aside, component spit shining started to accelerate in 2010 resulting in a steady stream of upgrades well into 2014 and 2015. It is important to verify the specific application in order to receive the correct part during a repair.


Aside from actual changes to certain components is the issue of the part number itself, which in certain cases could actually flip-flop back-and-forth between year breaks, ending up with a part number that the component started out with. Beyond that, certain component changes are almost indistinguishable from the previous design and are interchangeable. Such is not the case with other items.


Pump: Initially, there were subtle changes to the 6R60/6R75 pumps that did not amount to much, although there were some part-number supersessions to contend with. The big change came about with the launch of the 6R80 due to a change with the input shaft and TCC feed. The easiest way to distinguish between the two designs is that the 6R60/6R75 stator support has a front bushing, whereas the 6R80 does not and the 6R80 bore is larger.


The 6R pump is somewhat different from other transmissions, in that, instead of a simple pump body and cover, the 6R has a small cast-iron pump body, an aluminum pump cover and an intermediate plate that the stator shaft bolts into. The original Ford service part number for the 6R60 was 6L2Z–7A103AA, which was later superseded to 6L2Z–7A103C. The original part number for the 6R80 pump was 9L3Z–7A103A; however, Ford decided to make a couple of design changes that impacts only the 6R80.


A new replacement pump for the 6R80 is OE part number BL3Z-7A103B, which services models up to March 31, 2014 (Figure 1). Another new part number had been released for April 1, 2014-up models and is OE part number FL3Z-7A103A. There is little difference when comparing the aluminum castings from the original 6R80 pump to the newer versions. The main difference between the 2014 applications has to do with the pump body and gears. Unlike previous models of 6R60/6R80 pumps that used a caged bearing to ride against the torque converter hub, both of the newer applications use a pump-body bushing (Figure 2A). Previous design pumps were only available as complete assemblies; whereas the upgraded designs are now also available as the pump body only under part numbers BL3Z-7A104-A and FL3Z-7A104-C respectively.


The modification of the pump gears has to do with the pump-gear drivers. Ford followed the ZF lead initially, meaning that the pump inner gear had drive lugs like GM or Chrysler, which was contrary to what Ford had normally done. That changed with the late 2014 pump gear, which now has flats instead of drive lugs, (Figure 2B). The new gears are now the same as the other Ford units.


Use caution when ordering the replacement pump so that it matches the torque-converter hub design.


Forward (A) clutch assembly: Although the forward clutch assembly has not been inundated with a ton of upgrades, there have been a few, mainly to handle torque-capacity variations. One item with multiple options is the apply piston in order to accommodate clutch-pack quantities (Figure 3). The upside is a lower profile piston can be used to increase the plate count. The piston on the left of the illustration is for the 6R60 and is part number 9L2Z-7A262-A. The piston on the right will accommodate most 6R80 models and that part number is 9L3Z-7A262-A. For some reason Ford released another piston for use on a 2015 Mustang with a 2.3L and 3.7L engine under part number CK4Z-7A262-A. They just keep on coming.


Friction-plate design has also been pretty stable, but there have been a couple of tweaks to be aware of. The first design friction was a common looking tan plate and the OE part number is 6L2Z-7B164-AA. Later on a minor change was made, which was not visible and that plate number is AL3Z-7B164-C. Following the trend of many other friction plates, the forward friction design was changed to the segmented (button) type in 2015 (Figure 4). The new forward friction part number is CK4Z-7B164-A.


Another item that involves the forward clutch assembly has to do with the connection to the input planet carrier. Due to the Lepelletier design, the input planetary carrier is anchored to the forward clutch housing via the piston retainer. The original 6R60 retainer had three sets of splines that meshed with a three-gear planet. When the input planet was increased to a four-gear design, the retainer was changed accordingly (Figure 5). The retainer/planet set ups are interchangeable. The three-gear design retainer part number is 9L1Z-7H360-A, and the four-gear design is 9L3Z-7H360-B.


Direct (B) clutch assembly: As with the forward clutch, the direct clutch has not had a lot of changes either, although there have been a couple. As usual, what changes have been made are to address torque capacity, such as changes made to the apply piston (Figure 6). The aluminum piston part of the assembly is the same with only the steel apply ring being a different height. The piston on the left is part number 9L2Z-7A262-B and the shorter piston on the right is part number 9L3Z-7A262-C.


Another change, which is year- and model-dependent has to do with the steel plates. Steel-plate thickness does vary between clutch assemblies and traditionally there were two different thicknesses. At the beginning of 2010 another steel thickness was released under part number AL3Z-7B442-A (Figure 7). The new plate is 0.070” thick and can be used on any of the clutch packs.


Overdrive (E) clutch assembly: As stated, an easy way to distinguish a 6R60 from a 6R80 is by the pump stator support and input shaft design. To accommodate the stator support front bushing, the input shaft, which is made to the overdrive clutch drum, has a bushing journal (Figure 8). In addition, the 6R60 input has two sealing rings whereas the 6R80 has three. For some reason there was a design change to the 6R60 overdrive clutch drum/shaft and the cost is now twice that of the 6R80. The 6R60 OE part number is BL3Z-7F207-B and the much cheaper 6R80 assembly is part number 9L3Z-7F207-A.

One item associated with the overdrive clutch assembly that has had several part-number supersessions is the overdrive clutch hub. From the beginning the hub assembly consisted of a steel shaft with a stamped steel hub welded to it. Due to failure issues, that design was ultimately changed to a two-piece assembly that is held together by a snap ring (Figure 9). The hub part is now made from real steel instead of beer cans and the new OE number is AL3Z-7F351-B. It is advisable to upgrade to this part and the cost is not too bad.


Center support assembly: A major departure from the original ZF cloned 6R60/6R80 transmissions occurred in 2011 and had to do with the addition of a one-way clutch, similar to the GM 6L80 models. The upgrade had an impact on several components starting with the center support (C/D clutch housing) and related items. Concerning the center support, one oil passage was removed affecting how the low-reverse clutch is applied (Figure 10). In addition, the cavity for the low-reverse piston is also noticeably different. First and second design assemblies are not interchangeable and are model dependent.


Although there are a couple of different intermediate (C’) clutch piston heights to accommodate torque capacity requirements, the big change occurred to the low-reverse piston on the backside of the support. The piston design was changed due to the addition of the OWC along with the return spring and retainer (Figure 11A). None of the components are interchangeable. As with the other clutch packs, another change was made to the low-reverse piston in 2015 to address the clutch-pack quantity in vehicles with smaller engines (Figure 11B). The previous non-OWC piston part number is AL3Z-7A262-B. The shorter new-design piston is OE number BL3Z-7A262-C and the taller piston is CK4Z-7A262-B.


To make room for the new OWC, an engineering feat was required in order to avoid lengthening the transmission overall. The type of OWC that Ford chose was the diode design and the outer portion of the diode contains windows to accommodate the low-reverse apply piston (Figure 12). To date, there is only one part number, which is BL3Z-7A089-L. Lastly, Ford started to change the low-reverse friction plate to the segmented design like the forward friction and based upon model will use the 0.070 thick steels.


Front (input) planetary: The front planetary carrier is another item that has had several part-number supersessions, some of which having minimal physical change. The 6R60 was launched with a three-gear planet carrier, but as more models were added, Ford started to use a four-gear planet (Figure 13). Whatever planet is used, the corresponding forward clutch retainer must also be used. Some time ago, Ford decided to discontinue the three-gear planet and currently only offers the four-gear design. As part of this upgrade, Ford will instruct the customer to purchase the four-gear planet, corresponding forward-clutch retainer and the newest-design overdrive drum assemblies based upon being a 6R60 or 6R80. The latest four-gear planet part number is BL3Z-7A398-A.


Rear planetary assembly: As with the front planet set, there certainly have been changes made to the rear planetary assembly, based upon year and model. The main difference occurred in 2011 with the addition of the aforementioned OWC. To make room for the OWC, the clutch splines of the carrier had to be shortened (Figure 14). Ford only provides the rear planet as a complete assembly including both sun gears and thrust bearings, which is good due to component changes over the years. Using the wrong item can affect overall endplay. Currently, the part number for the previous design planet set is 9L3Z-7D006-C. The part number for the new OWC planet set is FL3Z-7D006-A, and is half of the cost.


Filter: Although there have not been massive changes throughout the 6R family of transmissions, there is one component that is becoming an annoyance. The offending item, of all things happens to be the filter, a relatively basic component. Unlike ZF that chose to incorporate the filter into the plastic pan, Ford did at least design a regular looking filter for the 6R60 (Figure 15A). The part number for the first design filter is 6L2Z-7A098-AA. As time went on the need for a larger filter came about, along with an extended inlet to accommodate a deeper pan. The overall length of the inlet is about 1½” and the part number is 7L1Z-7A098-A (Figure 15B). In an effort to keep the machinery going, a third-design filter was released during 2010 in certain models with the main difference being the length of the inlet (Figure 15C). The length of the third-design filter inlet is approximately 1” with the initial release having a separate tube just like the second design. The filter illustrated now uses a single extruded inlet and the OE part number is BL3Z-7A098-A.


If that wasn’t enough, the Transit Van using the 6R80 got another unique filter beginning in 2014 and as with the other versions the main difference is the inlet, which is rectangular (Figure 16). All versions up to this point use a ribbed seal that goes into the pump. The Transit filter part number is CK4Z-7A098-A.


Lastly, Ford decided it was time for the 6R80 to become an econobox therefore in 2015 they released an F-150 pickup with the start-stop feature. To accomplish this task, a customary start-stop motor/pump was added to the outside of the transmission. The F-150 is equipped with a 2.7L engine and is referred to as an FFV. Internally, the transmission received (guess what) another design filter. The steel part of the filter is like the previous two versions (Figure 17A). The difference has to do with the plastic side, which not only has an extra inlet for the auxiliary pump but also uses an O-ring on the neck of the filter (Figure 17B). The hybrid filter part number is FL3Z-7A098-A. It is inevitable that more start-stop models will surface.


Valve body: As valve-body changes go, upgrades to the 6R transmissions have not been too terrible, although some have occurred. The big change of course occurred in 2010 when Ford started to phase out the internal TCM (mechatronics) and went to new design solenoids. There have certainly been changes to the separator plate and the bonded gaskets (Figure 18A). Always refer to the stamp number that is on an exposed tab. One noticeable change, which makes little sense, has to do with the number of solenoid dampers used over the years. Most models have six dampers although some may only have two, but regardless the separator plate must match the valve-body design. Currently, there are three separator plates to accommodate the variations (Figure 18B). First- and second-design separator plates were basically the same except for the solenoid-damper orifice holes. A third design that is used starting in 2015 uses six solenoid-damper holes but has one extra hole toward the center of the plate. As usual, always match replacements with the originals. The latest part number for the first design is CL3Z-7Z490-C and the second design part number is CL3Z-7Z490-D. The newest design plate with the extra hole is part number FL3Z-7Z490-D. The stamp numbers on the plates are different from the service part numbers.

If replacing solenoids on 2010 up models, always duplicate the original stamp number to ensure proper calibration. If the valve body has to be removed on a model that has start-stop, there is a separate gasket that may need to be replaced (Figure 19). The part number for the gasket is FL3Z-7A136-B.

The solenoid connector plate that does not contain the internal TCM was also upgraded a bit due to a couple of issues with one design currently in use (Figure 20). Always use part number AL3Z-7G276-B to service all non-TCM models.


Lastly, there are now a fair amount of 2WD and 4WD output-shaft seals to contend with, which may not be contained in an overhaul set. Verify the application when ordering any rebuilding kit.