Ford Automatic Transmission Identification

Updated April 17, 2017

Ford's safety compliance certification label on the driver's side door jab will identify the automatic transmission with a single letter. A metal identification tag can be found on other Ford automatic transmissions.

Decoding the Letter

The letter "V," for example, identifies the transmission as a C3 in the 1983 Ford Ranger trucks equipped with a 3-speed automatic with gear ratios of 2.47, 1.47 and 1.00 (see Reference 2).

Engine Size

The letter also identifies the engine size of a Ford, such as "D" identifying the 5R55E automatic in 1997 to 2009 Fords equipped with 4L engines (see Reference 2).

Identification Tag

On C-4, C-5 and C-6 transmissions below the servo cover bolt is a metal identification tag embossed with model prefix and suffix numbers, five-letter transmission model number and build date, according to (see Reference 3).

C-4 vs. C-5

The C-4 and C-5 have physical differences. The C-5 features a different hydraulic system with more valves and a converter relief vale switched from the pump to the assembly reactor support, according to the (see Reference 2).

Casting Letter

The letter "P" in a casting number on the transmission denotes an automatic, while an "R" identifies a manual transmission (see Reference 1).


Identical "P" and "R" letters are found stamped on other Ford parts, making the safety compliance certificate a better method of identification, according to (see Reference 1).

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About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.