How to Identify a Ford AODE Transmission

by Floyd Drake III
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The Ford AOD automatic overdrive four-speed transmission, introduced in 1980, was used with most Ford engines of the day. Ford later introduced the AODE, a computer-controlled version of the AOD. The AODE was used from 1992 to 1995, when it was improved with wider gear ratios to become the 4R70W. The AODE and 4R70W differ from the older AOD by an attached cable, allowing computer control. The AOD transmission is identified visually, first to identify the AOD, then to differentiate between the AODE and 4R70W transmission.

Step 1

Slide under the vehicle to view the transmission pan. The transmission is under the center of the vehicle, immediately behind the engine. The pan is located on the bottom of the transmission and attached by 14 bolts. AOD, AODE and 4R70W transmissions all have the same pan shape, illustrated on's AOD section on the Automatic Transmission Identification page.

Step 2

Look for the electronic cable and electrical plug. AODE and 4R70W transmissions have a plug on the driver's-side rear of the transmission housing. This is where the electronic control cable plugs into the unit and is what differentiates the older AOD transmission from AODE and 4R70W units.

Step 3

Identify differences between the AODE and 4R70W. Although essentially the same transmission, the Thunderbird and Cougar Club of America identifies their differences as different gear ratios and the 4R70W having a larger outside diameter slip yoke on the drive shaft, requiring a different extension housing. Another identification tool, found on The Ranger Station, identifies the 4R70W's transmission code as "U," which is located on the Safety Compliance Certification Label on the inside Driver's side door post.

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