How to Tell What Transmission I Have on an E-250by Tim Petruccio
The Ford E-series van has been around since 1961 and was originally based on the Ford Falcon platform. The E-250 is a 3/4-ton van that is the mid-range van in the E-series, which is made up of the 1/2-ton E-150, 3/4-ton E-250, and 1-ton E-350. The bottom of the transmission can help you identify the true transmission that you have, as Ford stamps the transmission type on automatic transmission pans. Knowing these numbers will help you identify the transmission, making it much easier to get parts and perform maintenance. The Ford E-250 transmissions are going to be four-speed or four-speed with overdrive transmissions.
Lift the front of the E-250, using a 2-ton jack or one with greater capacity. Place jack stands beneath the front frame or chassis rails to support the van during this project. Driving the van onto vehicle ramps to raise the front end will eliminate the need for a jack and stands.
Slide your body in position underneath the van to physically be able to access the bottom of the transmission. The transmission is mounted to the back of the engine, and has a large bell shape attached to the engine. This is called the bell housing. The transmission narrows the farther back you go until it connects to the drive shaft in the rear of the transmission. The transmission pan is centered on the bottom of the transmission, about 1 foot behind the bell housing.
Visually inspect the bottom of the transmission pan. The transmission pan is made of stamped steel, and is either going to be black or silver, depending on your year of E-250. The pan is usually about 1 1/2 inches deep and about 1 foot in diameter across the bottom of the pan. The most distinguishing part of the transmission pan is the 3-inch stamped lettering on the pan. If you cannot see the bottom of the pan clearly, use a flashlight. If there is too much dirt or grime on the bottom of the transmission, spray the pan bottom with aerosol engine degreaser and wipe the transmission pan with a rag.
Read the numbers on the bottom of the pan and write them down for future reference. You can check the numbers on the bottom of the transmission pan with your local Ford dealership in order to determine the exact type of transmission in the E-250.
Raise the front of the van with the jack and remove the jack stands to lower the van. If you used vehicle ramps, you can drive the van off of the ramps.