Who Makes the 68RFE Transmission? How Good Are They?

Photo of author

Editorial Team

The 68RFE transmission, a sturdy and reliable transmission system, is primarily manufactured by Chrysler for their heavy-duty pickup trucks. It was introduced in the 2007.5 model year and is currently used in the Ram 2500 and 3500 models. These trucks are known for their exceptional towing and hauling capabilities, making the 68RFE transmission an integral component for power and performance.

The 68RFE transmission can handle up to 750 lb-ft of torque and has a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 18,000 pounds. This robust transmission system ensures smooth shifting and proven durability, making it a popular choice among truck enthusiasts.

  • Introduced in the 2007.5 model year
  • Used in Ram 2500 and 3500 models
  • Can handle up to 750 lb-ft of torque
  • Maximum GVWR of 18,000 pounds

Key Takeaways:

  • The 68RFE transmission is manufactured by Chrysler for their heavy-duty pickup trucks.
  • Introduced in the 2007.5 model year and currently used in Ram 2500 and 3500 models.
  • Capable of handling up to 750 lb-ft of torque and a maximum GVWR of 18,000 pounds.
  • The 68RFE transmission is known for its reliability, durability, and smooth shifting.

Vehicles That Use the 68RFE Transmission

The 68RFE transmission is a powerful piece of engineering designed specifically for heavy-duty Dodge and Ram trucks. It offers exceptional performance and reliability, making it a popular choice for truck owners who require optimal towing and hauling capabilities.



When it comes to vehicles that use the 68RFE transmission, the primary models are the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 trucks. These trucks are known for their exceptional power and torque, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications. Whether it’s towing a trailer or hauling a heavy load, the 68RFE transmission can handle the demands that come with it.

The introduction of the 68RFE transmission in 2007 brought a new level of capability to the Ram 2500 and 3500 lineup. Paired with the 6.7L Cummins ISB Diesel engine, this transmission was specifically engineered to handle the increased torque of the diesel engine.

The 68RFE transmission stands out for its six-speed automatic setup, advanced torque converter, enhanced durability, and adaptive learning capabilities. These features allow for smooth shifting and efficient handling of high-torque scenarios.

While the 68RFE transmission is primarily used in Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks, it can also be found in other Chrysler vehicles such as the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, it’s important to note that not all Ram 3500 models come equipped with the 68RFE transmission. For those seeking maximum towing and hauling capabilities, it’s essential to look for models specifically equipped with this transmission.

Transmission Gear Ratios
68RFE 1st 3.23:1
2nd 1.83:1
3rd 1.41:1
4th 1.00:1
5th 0.81:1
6th 0.62:1
Reverse 4.44:1
65RFE 1st 3.00:1
2nd 1.67:1
3rd 1.50:1
4th 1.00:1
5th 0.75:1
6th 0.67:1
Reverse 3.00:1
66RFE 1st 3.231:1
2nd 1.837:1
3rd 1.410:1
4th 1.000:1
5th 0.816:1
6th 0.625:1
Reverse 4.444:1

In comparison to other transmissions in its class, such as the Allison 1000 and Ford’s TorqShift, the 68RFE strikes a balance between power, durability, and reliability. It has established itself as a trusted transmission choice among truck owners who prioritize performance and dependability.

Despite its impressive features, there have been reports of reliability issues over time, particularly in strenuous conditions or with frequent towing. It’s essential to properly maintain and service the 68RFE transmission to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

Overall, the 68RFE transmission has solidified its place as a reliable and capable transmission option for heavy-duty vehicles. Whether it’s on the worksite or towing a trailer, the 68RFE delivers the power and efficiency that truck owners demand.

Technical Specifications of the 68RFE Transmission

The 68RFE transmission is the standard option for Dodge/Ram Trucks equipped with the 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel since 2007. It is known for its durability and performance, making it a popular choice among truck enthusiasts and commercial vehicle owners.

With a torque capacity of up to 750 lb-ft, the 68RFE transmission can handle the demands of heavy towing and hauling. It features a six-speed design, offering an improvement over the previous three and four-speed Torqueflite platforms.

The gear ratios of the 68RFE transmission are optimized to provide both power and efficiency. It has a 3.23:1 first gear ratio, 1.83:1 second gear ratio, and two overdrive gears: 5th at .81:1 and 6th at .62:1. These gear ratios ensure smooth acceleration and optimal fuel economy.

In addition to its robust performance, the 68RFE transmission is backed by a 2-year unlimited mile limited warranty. However, it’s important to note that the warranty does not cover damages to the transmission caused by broken cases or shafts, including the 4th clutch hub.

When upgrading or modifying the 68RFE transmission, it’s crucial to consider the appropriate gear ratios based on the tire size. Tires larger than 35 inches must have proper gearing to avoid voiding the warranty. The recommended gear ratios for different tire sizes are as follows:

Tire Size Minimum Gearing Recommended Gearing
35″ 3:73 4:10
37″ 4:10 4:30
Larger than 37″ N/A 4:56

For those looking for enhanced performance, aftermarket options such as BD transmissions provide re-programmed units with higher line pressure and heavy-duty clutches. These transmissions have up to 25% more clutch material compared to the stock transmission, resulting in improved durability under heavy loads.

The valve body in BD transmissions achieves significantly higher clutch apply pressures, offering up to 80% more than the stock unit and up to 50% more than competitors. Additionally, BD transmissions feature a redesigned regulator valve and Pressure Control module, delivering up to 250 PSI clutch-apply pressure and offering 150% more holding force than the stock setup.

BD’s 68RFE transmission comes with a 36-month limited warranty, providing further assurance of its quality and reliability. The package also includes the BD Triple Torque Force Converter, which offers three times the holding power of the stock unit and features a one-piece billet cover to prevent warping.

To improve fluid circulation and reduce case flex, BD’s 68RFE transmission packages come with a rigid aluminum heavy-duty transmission pan. This pan not only adds extra oil capacity but also enhances cooling for better overall performance.

Before leaving the factory, BD’s 68RFE transmissions undergo thorough dyno-testing to ensure proper functionality in all gears. This rigorous testing process guarantees that customers receive a reliable and high-performing transmission.

In summary, the 68RFE transmission offers impressive technical specifications, torque capacity, and gear ratios. Its robust design and compatibility with various tire sizes make it a versatile choice for both everyday driving and heavy-duty applications. Upgrades from reputable manufacturers like BD further enhance the transmission’s performance and longevity, providing truck owners with a reliable and powerful drivetrain solution.

Comparison with Aisin AS69RC Transmission

When it comes to heavy-duty pickup trucks, two transmission options that often come up in discussions are the 68RFE and the Aisin AS69RC. While both transmissions have their strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to understand how they compare to make an informed decision.

Strength and Torque Capacity

The Aisin AS69RC boasts an impressive overall strength that is 64% greater than the Chrysler 68RFE transmission. This makes the Aisin transmission more desirable for pulling heavy weights in a 3500 dually truck. It is also important to note that the Aisin transmission can handle towing capacities of up to 29,000 pounds, based on the rear axle ratio of 4:10, while the 68RFE has a maximum towing capacity of up to 22,000 pounds.

Shift Speed and Fuel De-Rate

The 68RFE is known for its fast shift speed, which means it does not necessitate as much fuel de-rate during shifts compared to the Aisin transmission. This is due to the 68RFE’s aftermarket support and tuning options, which allow for fine-tuning and optimization. On the other hand, the AS69RC requires substantial fuel de-rate to change gears due to handling torque load issues with the 6.7L Cummins engine.

Price and Availability

One important consideration is the price and availability of these transmissions. The Aisin transmission adds about $2,600 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the truck, but it provides an additional 100 foot-pounds of torque. The 68RFE, on the other hand, is more cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for those on a budget.

Fluid Capacity and Service Intervals

Another factor to consider is the fluid capacity and service intervals of each transmission. The Aisin AS69RC requires twice as much fluid than the 68RFE over its lifespan if following the “severe” service schedule. Additionally, Aisin AS69RC service intervals recommend fluid changes at 30,000 mile intervals and fluid + filter replacement at 60,000 mile intervals. In contrast, the Chrysler 68RFE has longer service intervals with fluid and filter replacement at 120,000 miles under normal service conditions and at 60,000 miles under severe service conditions.

Personal Preference and Shifting Speed

Ultimately, the choice between the 68RFE and Aisin transmissions will come down to personal preference and specific needs. The 68RFE is the fastest shifting transmission with significant aftermarket support, allowing for customization and tuning options. On the other hand, the Aisin AS69RC is known for its strength and torque capacity, making it a popular choice for those who frequently tow heavy loads.

However, it’s important to note that opinions on transmission choices often stem from direct comparisons and test drives under towing conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to draw conclusions based on personal experiences and preferences.

Pros and Cons of the 68RFE Transmission

The 68RFE transmission, commonly found in Dodge Ram trucks, offers a range of advantages and disadvantages for drivers. Understanding these pros and cons is crucial when making a decision about which transmission is best suited to your needs.

Advantages of the 68RFE Transmission

  • Reliability and Durability: The 68RFE transmission has proven to be highly reliable, with many users reporting trouble-free operation even after extended periods of heavy towing1.
  • Smooth Shifting: This transmission provides smooth and accurate gear changes, enhancing the overall driving experience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to its counterpart, the Aisin AS69RC transmission, the 68RFE offers a more affordable option without compromising performance.
  • Availability of Upgradable Parts and Tuning Options: Many drivers appreciate the ability to upgrade and tune the 68RFE transmission, allowing them to customize its performance to their specific needs9.

Disadvantages of the 68RFE Transmission

  • Maximum Torque Capacity: The 68RFE has a lower maximum torque capacity compared to other heavy-duty transmissions, which may limit its suitability for extreme towing or hauling applications21.
  • Limited to Six Speeds: While the 68RFE performs admirably with its six-speed design, it may lack the additional gears found in competing transmissions, potentially affecting fuel efficiency and overall performance.
  • Lower Efficiency Compared to Aisin AS69RC: The Aisin AS69RC transmission offers superior efficiency compared to the 68RFE, which may be a consideration for drivers seeking optimal fuel economy29.

Ultimately, the decision to choose the 68RFE transmission should be based on your specific towing and hauling needs. While it offers reliability, durability, and smooth shifting, its limitations regarding torque capacity and number of gears should be considered. The availability of upgradable parts and tuning options is an advantage that sets it apart from its competitors. Assessing these pros and cons will help you make an informed choice and ensure a transmission system that meets your requirements.

Table: Real-World Mileage Statistics

Mileage (Maximum Towing) Transmission Performance
60,000 miles Flawless performance during heavy towing
90,000 miles Trouble-free commercial towing
147,000 miles No reported issues
189,000 miles Occasional shifting issue between 4th and 5th gears
210,000 miles No transmission problems reported
335,000 miles Heavy towing without transmission issues
220,000 kms (136,701 miles) Stable performance with 414 hp/860 tq30
140,000 miles Reliable performance on an all-stock truck
362,000 miles Reliability with regular maintenance and heavy towing31

Real-World Application of the 68RFE Transmission

In real-world scenarios, the 68RFE transmission showcases its reliability and versatility, making it a popular choice for truck owners who require efficient towing and hauling capabilities. Designed for common Dodge and Ram models such as the Ram 2500 and 3500 Trucks, as well as the higher trims of the Dodge Ram 1500, the 68RFE transmission offers superior performance and durability.

Equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, an advanced Torque Converter for superior torque multiplication, and an Electronic Control Module (ECM) for precise shift management, the 68RFE transmission ensures seamless shifting and efficient power delivery. Its enhanced durability, thanks to upgraded materials and components, allows it to handle high-torque situations with ease.

Owners have praised the 68RFE transmission’s ability to manage heavy loads and provide smooth shifting, even when faced with challenging towing and hauling conditions. However, some users have criticized its reliability when pushed to the limit, especially under strenuous circumstances.

When comparing the 68RFE transmission to its counterparts, the Allison 1000 is renowned for its durability, while Ford’s TorqShift offers exceptional power delivery. However, the 68RFE transmission holds its ground with its seamless shifts, efficient operation, and the ability to handle the torque generated by a Cummins engine.

Pros of the 68RFE Transmission Cons of the 68RFE Transmission
Seamless shifting Reliability concerns under strenuous conditions
High-torque handling Wiring issues between the transmission and the computer
Efficient operation

In terms of real-world application, the 68RFE transmission excels in towing and hauling situations that require a balance between power, efficiency, and reliability. Its excellent gear ratios and adaptability make it a strong choice for truck owners who prioritize affordability and dependable performance.

TCM Tuning and Adaptivity Protocol of the 68RFE Transmission

The 68RFE transmission, which succeeded the 48RE transmission in 2007.5, is equipped with an electronically controlled transmission control module (TCM). The TCM tuning plays a critical role in optimizing the performance of this transmission by addressing its suboptimal decision-making on shift timing, gear selection, and line pressure adjustments.

Initially, the 68RFE transmission entered the market with a stand-alone TCM, up until Model Year 2010 when it transitioned to a joint PCM system. However, TCM tuning has become a popular method to enhance the overall driving dynamics and shift behavior of the 68RFE transmission.

TCM tuning can be accomplished using tuning platforms like EFI Live and EZ Lynk, with the assistance of a professional tuner. By adjusting shift points, line pressure, and torque converter lockup, the TCM tuning provides drivers with improved performance and a more personalized driving experience. It is crucial to rely on qualified tuning professionals to ensure optimal results and avoid potential damage to the transmission.

One notable aspect of TCM tuning for the 68RFE transmission is its adaptivity protocol. Unlike the ZF8 transmission, which requires specific drive patterns after a TCM reflash, the 68RFE TCM resets adaptives every time it is reflashed. This means that the tuning adjustments made through TCM tuning are immediately effective, making it easier to fine-tune and refine the transmission’s performance.

It is worth noting that the complexities of 8-speed tuning, including the 68RFE transmission, are not well-understood by many tuners, leading to suboptimal tuning approaches. However, with the development of resources like the upcoming book on TCM tuning for the 68RFE, there is an increasing focus on providing valuable insights and guidance for tuning professionals and enthusiasts.

Key Points Details
The 68RFE TCM tuning book release date 9/15/20
Supported transmissions 5-speed (45, 545RFE, A580/NAG1), 6-speed (68RFE), and 8-speed (ZF8HP series) with specified supported vehicles
Processes covered in the book Shift scheduling, torque capacities understanding, torque management, shift firmness adjustments, TCC control, and shift analysis using VCM Scanner
Book pre-orders Shipped on the release date, indicating high customer interest

Tuning the TCM of the 68RFE transmission can unlock its full potential and improve overall performance. For those looking to optimize their driving experience, TCM tuning is a valuable tool that allows for tailored customization and enhanced maneuverability.

Popularity and Market Impact of the 68RFE Transmission

The 68RFE transmission has become highly popular among truck enthusiasts and has made a significant impact in the heavy-duty pickup truck market. This transmission is predominantly used in the ’07-’20 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 models equipped with the 6.7L Cummins Diesel engine. Its market demand and impact stem from its reliability, performance, and compatibility with these popular truck models.

One of the key factors behind the popularity of the 68RFE transmission is the growing aftermarket segment dedicated to this transmission. Truck enthusiasts are increasingly opting for upgrades and modifications to enhance the power output of their vehicles, driving the demand for aftermarket support for the 68RFE transmission. The aftermarket sector focusing on the 68RFE has witnessed significant growth as a result.

Despite its popularity, the 68RFE transmission does face certain challenges. The fragility of the Overdrive clutches is identified as the most common failure point even at stock power levels. The OE Overdrive clutches are reported to have thin frictions that are prone to warping under heat, making them vulnerable to premature failure. However, this presents an opportunity for improvement and innovation in the transmission building industry.

A suggested solution to address Overdrive clutch failure is the installation of an upgraded housing designed to accommodate taller clutch packs built with thicker steels capable of withstanding higher heat levels. Additionally, the solenoid switch valve plugs have been pinpointed as a weak link in the Overdrive clutch system, leading to premature clutch failure if not addressed.

Inadequate line pressure, whether too low or too high, can also contribute to Overdrive issues in the 68RFE transmission. Thus, it is crucial to maintain correct line pressure levels for optimal performance and longevity of the transmission.

Furthermore, overburdening or modifying vehicles beyond recommended specifications can put additional strain on the 68RFE transmission and lead to Overdrive clutch failure. Adhering to manufacturer guidelines and avoiding excessive modifications is essential to prevent premature transmission failure.

The market impact of the 68RFE transmission can also be seen through the presence of reputable transmission builders and upgraders in the industry. For example, ATS Diesel offers upgraded transmissions for high-performance diesels and RedLine Diesel Power provides specific transmission kits for various OEM-branded transmissions, including the 68RFE. These companies cater to the demand for improved transmission performance and durability.

Transmission Weight Gears Torque Capacity
68RFE Heavier 6-speed automatic Approx. 800 lb-ft
48RE Lighter 4-speed automatic Approx. 600 lb-ft

The 68RFE transmission offers a higher gear count and increased torque capacity compared to the 48RE transmission, making it a preferred choice for those seeking enhanced performance and towing capabilities. Its reputation, market demand, and compatibility with popular truck models have solidified its position as a popular and impactful transmission in the truck enthusiast industry.

Resources for 68RFE Transmission Upgrades

If you’re looking to upgrade your 68RFE transmission, there are a variety of resources available to help you improve its performance and reliability. Whether you’re interested in increasing line pressure, boosting torque, or enhancing overall durability, these resources can provide the necessary components and knowledge to get the job done.

One reputable source for 68RFE transmission upgrades is Tier One Transmissions. They offer a wide selection of high-quality transmission builds and upgrades specifically designed for the 68RFE. From HD tow transmissions to high-performance competition transmissions, they have options to suit a range of needs and power levels.

Valve Bodies and Torque Converters

When upgrading your 68RFE transmission, it’s often recommended to start with the valve body and torque converter before increasing line pressure and torque. Tier One Transmissions offers upgraded valve bodies and low stall torque converters that can significantly improve the reliability and functionality of your transmission.

Upgrading the valve body can help optimize the transmission’s shift points and improve its overall performance. A higher-stall torque converter, on the other hand, allows for better power transfer from the engine to the transmission, enhancing both acceleration and towing capabilities.

Billet Flex Plates and Rebuild Kits

In addition to valve bodies and torque converters, another upgrade option for the 68RFE transmission is a billet flex plate. A billet flex plate offers superior strength and durability compared to a stock flex plate, reducing the risk of flex plate failure under high torque loads.

For those who are looking to rebuild their transmission, Tier One Transmissions also provides 68RFE transmission rebuild kits. These kits include all the necessary components, such as clutches, seals, and gaskets, to perform a comprehensive transmission rebuild. By rebuilding your transmission, you can ensure that all the internal parts are in optimal condition, improving both reliability and performance.

Purchase and Installation

When purchasing transmission upgrades, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your vehicle and how you plan to use it. Tier One Transmissions’ knowledgeable staff can help guide you through the selection process, ensuring that you choose the right upgrades for your 68RFE transmission.

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate upgrades, professional installation is recommended to ensure proper fitment and functionality. Tier One Transmissions offers installation services, or you can choose to have the upgrades installed by a trusted local technician.

With the availability of these resources, enhancing the performance and reliability of your 68RFE transmission is within reach. Whether you’re looking for increased towing capacity, improved shift quality, or higher power handling capabilities, upgrading your 68RFE transmission can provide the solution you need.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 68RFE transmission is a reliable and durable transmission system designed specifically for heavy-duty towing tasks in Ram trucks. Although it may not have the highest torque capacity or the most gears, the 68RFE has garnered popularity among truck owners for its performance and affordability. It offers a wide range of gear ratios for efficient power delivery and improved fuel economy. The transmission’s advanced torque converter ensures better torque multiplication and smoother power delivery, crucial for towing and hauling heavy loads.

It is important to consider the specific needs and demands of towing and hauling when choosing between the 68RFE and other transmissions like the Aisin AS69RC. TCM tuning and upgrades are available to further enhance the performance and reliability of the 68RFE transmission. Ram trucks equipped with the 68RFE transmission have proven to be responsive and enjoyable for driving around town, while also providing power and speed on longer grades.

While some users have reported issues with reliability over time, especially under strenuous conditions or with frequent heavy towing, the 68RFE transmission continues to be a reliable choice for truck owners. Personal opinions vary regarding the smoothness of shifting and the perceived strength between the 68RFE and Aisin transmissions, with some preferring each for different driving scenarios.

In summary, the 68RFE transmission offers a combination of performance, durability, and affordability that has made it a popular choice for Ram truck owners. Whether it’s for towing heavy loads or driving around town, the 68RFE provides a reliable and efficient transmission option for those in need of a robust and capable system.

FAQ

Who manufactures the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission is primarily manufactured by Chrysler.

What vehicles use the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission is used in Ram 2500 and 3500 models.

What are the technical specifications of the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission is a six-speed automatic transmission with a maximum torque capacity of 750 lb-ft and a maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 18,000 pounds. It features a lock-up clutch in the torque converter and has gear ratios of 3.23:1, 1.83:1, 1.41:1, 1.00:1, 0.82:1, and 0.63:1.

How does the 68RFE transmission compare to the Aisin AS69RC transmission?

While both transmissions have their strengths and weaknesses, the 68RFE is known for its reliability and proven performance, while the Aisin AS69RC has a higher torque capacity and more gears, making it better suited for maximum towing and hauling capabilities.

What are the pros and cons of the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission is known for its high reliability, smooth shifting, and affordability. However, it has a lower maximum torque capacity, limited gear range, and is less efficient compared to other transmissions.

How does the 68RFE transmission perform in real-world applications?

The 68RFE transmission is a strong choice for truck owners who prioritize reliability and affordability. Its low first-gear ratio and lock-up clutch provide improved low-end power and fuel efficiency for towing and hauling needs.

Can the 68RFE transmission be tuned for better performance?

Yes, the 68RFE transmission features an electronically controlled transmission control module (TCM) that can be tuned to improve its performance and shift behavior. TCM tuning can be done through platforms such as EFI Live and EZ Lynk.

How popular is the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission has gained popularity in the heavy-duty pickup truck market due to its reliability and proven performance. It has become a go-to choice for many truck owners who prioritize durability and affordability.

Are there resources available for upgrading the 68RFE transmission?

Yes, Tier One Transmissions offers various transmission builds and upgrades for the 68RFE, including torque converters, rebuild kits, valve bodies, and other parts.

What is the conclusion about the 68RFE transmission?

The 68RFE transmission, manufactured by Chrysler, is a reliable and durable transmission system primarily used in Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks. It has proven to be a popular choice among truck owners for its performance and affordability.