How do I Identify an Automatic Transmission in a 1988 Ford Truck?

by Floyd Drake III

Identifying 1988 Ford truck automatic transmissions is first tackled by determining the truck model, followed by visual-transmission identification and, if desired, serial-number decoding. The main factor in 1988 transmission selection is whether the truck has a standard-issue transmission or an optional overdrive unit. These transmissions can usually be identified using visual techniques, but serial-number verification against a Ford listing may be necessary depending on the information needed.

Identify the truck model. Ford Ranger and Bronco models were equipped with either C3 or A4LD transmissions and F-series trucks were issued C6, E4OD or AOD automatic transmissions.

Count the number of bolts on the bottom pan on the transmission. Each transmission has a different number of bolts, and, according to Kelly Hotrod and IMC Truck, this is a reliable identification method for determining transmission models.

Identify the transmission model according to the number of pan bolts. The E4OD has a 20-bolt square pan with a notch removing one of the corners, The AOD transmission has a pan that is roughly square, with 14 bolts. The C6 has a 17-bolt pan with an S-shaped edge on the rear of the pan cover. The Ford C3 has a 13-bolt pan.

Locate the transmission name plate. According to Kelly Hotrod, it is normally located towards the rear of the transmission on the driver's side. The plate gives the date of manufacture along with transmission model and suffix numbers. Referring to a transmission applications guide with the model number further identifies the transmission.

About the Author

A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.