Common 6.0L Powerstroke Transmission Problems With Solution

According to the Powerstrokehub, the 6.0L Powerstrokes are powered by 5R110W or ZF S6-750 transmission. Though both of the transmissions belong to the 6.0L Powerstroke, their working mechanism isn’t the same. 

The ZF S6-750 transmission is a 6-Speed Manual Transmission that uses clutches/clutch paddles to control the gears. On the other hand, the 5R110W is a 5-Speed Automatic Transmission that uses a torque converter instead of clutch paddles. 

Both of the transmissions have some common issues that you might face down the road. In this article, I’ll be talking about some of the common 6.0L Powerstroke transmission problems & solutions. 

Most Common 6.0 L Powerstroke Transmission Problems

In this segment, I’ll be listing some of the most common problems of the 6.0L transmission. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

1. Low Transmission Fluid Level 

Transmission fluid is a common part of both Automatic & Manual transmission. That means the low transmission fluid level problem can occur in both ZF S6-750 & 5R110W transmissions. 

Due to many reasons such as – Faulty transmission pan gasket, Crack in Fluid line, etc can cause low transmission fluid level. The burning smell is one of the major symptoms of having a low transmission fluid level.

2. Delayed Forward/Reverse Engagement

Delayed forward/reverse engagement issue is common with the 5R110W transmission (mostly). If you’re familiar with smartphone/computer hang issues, you can easily relate with delayed forward/reverse engagement issues. 

Simply explaining, your vehicle won’t act as you order when it comes to shifting gears. It will act (change gears) surely but slowly, leaving you with short/long pauses. Overall, this problem can ruin your whole driving experience. 

3. Bad Transmission Range Sensor

The transmission range sensor plays an important role in recording transmission speed. Later on, it tells the ECM/PCM to shift gear accordingly. 

With a good transmission range sensor – you can shift gear without any problem. On the other hand, a bad transmission won’t allow you to shift gear & it will impose the gear of its own liking. 

4. Erratic Experience in Tow/Haul Mode

The Tow/Haul Mode helps vehicle drivers tackle haul areas without damaging their internal & external engine parts. Besides passing haul areas with ease, the tow/haul mode can enrich your comfort too. 

Sometimes, experience with tow/haul mode won’t be very pleasant. You’ll face erratic issues & it’s frequently faced by the 5R110W transmission users. Follow the next segment to know how to fix it. 

How to Solve 6.0 L Powerstroke Transmission Problems?

As you already know the common problems of the 6.0L transmissions, let’s see how to solve them one by one. 

Solving: Erratic Experience in Tow/Haul Mode

You can easily solve this problem by reprogramming your powertrain control module. If you’re not taking help from a technician, you can set up ‘WDS release B39.15 or higher like B40.2’ to your PCM & solve this problem entirely. 

Solving: Low Transmission Fluid Level 

The transmission fluid level can go low for various reasons. You can try the mentioned troubleshooting methods below to solve this problem: 

  • Check & Replace Transmission Pan Gasket
  • Check & Repair Fluid Line Crack
  • Check Axle Failure
  • Check & Replace Torque Converter 

Solving: Delayed Forward/Reverse Engagement

You’ll mainly have to look at fluid level, transmission filter, worn bands, seals, & shift solenoids. Check them thoroughly & see if there’s anything that looks suspicious. If you find something, replace or repair them immediately. 

Solving: Bad Transmission Range Sensor

You can start with replacing the bad transmission range sensor. Later on, try fixing the other problems too that caused the sensor to go bad. Here are the things you should do after replacing the transmission range sensor: 

  • Check For Faulty or Damaged Wirings 
  • Check & Replace Defective Valve Body
  • Check, Repair or Replace The PCM

How Often Does A 6.0 L Powerstroke Transmission Need To Be Replaced?

Depending on your specific 6.0L model, the transmission should be replaced within 100,000 to 150,000 miles. You can surely use the transmission even if you’ve already passed the 150k miles milestone. Wait until you see something isn’t functioning right. 

Can I Drive A 6.0L Powerstroke With Transmission Problem?

Driving a 6.0L Powerstroke with a transmission problem is a very bad idea. The main component (other than the engine) that is responsible for moving your vehicle is the transmission itself. How can you let this main component keep running without fixing it? Don’t do it & be safe. 

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What Happens If You Overfill Transmission Fluid?

Your transmission will act up if you overfill it with fluid. Yes, transmission fluid is very important to maintain the pressure – but overfilling won’t add any extra benefit. Instead, you’ll damage the internal parts of the transmission by overfilling. 

Can You Drive With A Bad Transmission Range Sensor?

If you’re okay with giving away your power of setting gear at a specific number, you can drive with a bad transmission range sensor. Your PCM will control the gear instead of you, which won’t result in a very safe operation. That’s why you shouldn’t drive with a bad transmission range sensor. 

Why Is My Transmission Not Shifting Properly?

Due to various reasons such as – bad wirings, worn out sensors, faulty solenoids can cause irregular transmission shifting. However, the main cause of an irregular transmission is a faulty Engine Control Module (ECM). 


I hope this article was helpful enough in pinpointing the common 6.0L Powerstroke transmission problems for you to double-check. Now you know what to expect after running a 6.0L for 60k miles or so. 

You can solve the issues on your own if you’re not willing to pay the high bucks to an auto shop. However, don’t hesitate to go there if you’re an absolute newbie.

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