Ford Announces New 8-Speed Transmission, Split Cooling System Technology

Ford says it plans to offer new eight-speed automatic transmissions across its vehicle lineup that offer improved fuel economy and ultra-precise shifts.

The gearbox will allow Ford to continue its effort to downsize engine displacement without affecting performance, said Joe Bakaj, Ford’s vice president of global powertrain engineering.

“The eight-speed will offer 2 to 6 percent better fuel economy” compared with today’s six-speed transmission, like that found in the Ford F-150, Bakaj said. “It will have a wide ratio spread, so customers can run a shorter gear [than today] pulling away from a stop.”

The eight-speed will also feature what Ford says is the industry’s first torque input sensor. The sensor will measure torque coming into the transmission, enabling faster gear selection, reducing gear hunting and helping smooth out shifts.

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Ford also announced a so-called split cooling system that allows the cylinder block to warm up before the cylinder head, improving engine mileage and efficiency. The system saves fuel during cold weather or short trips because oil and engine fluid viscosity rises as temperatures fall, so more work and more fuel is required to overcome friction in the powertrain.

“It’s actually a single cooling loop with multiple circuits,” said Brett Hinds, manager of Ford EcoBoost engine development. “We [variably] block coolant to the radiator [when the engine is cold] to warm up the engine block sooner while still allowing coolant to flow to the heads [which sit on top of the engine block over the cylinders].”

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