Common 7.3 L Powerstroke Transmission Problems With Solution

According to the PowerstrokeHub, Ford 7.3L comes with a whopping six transmission options. Here is the summary of these transmissions: 

  • C6: It’s a 3-Speed Automatic Transmission 
  • E4OD: It’s a 4-Speed Manual Transmission 
  • ZF S5-42: It’s a 5-Speed Manual Transmission & it has two ratio variants – Close Raito & Wide Ratio
  • ZF S5-47: It’s a 5-Speed Manual Transmission 
  • 4R100: It’s a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission 
Common 7.3 L Powerstroke Transmission Problems

Though the 7.3L engine features various transmission options, most of them have some common transmission issues that you might face down the road. In this article, I’ll be discussing four of the most common 7.3L transmission problems & solutions. 

Common 7.3 L Powerstroke Transmission Problems

In this segment, I’ll be discussing four of the most common problems of the 7.3L transmission. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

1. Overheating Transmission Issue

Overheating is the worst problem any transmission can ever face. Unfortunately, the 7.3L Powerstroke transmission is prone to the overheating transmission issue. Whether you’re using the C6 transmission or 4R100 transmission, you’ll probably face the transmission getting overheated. 

Overheated transmission doesn’t sit there doing nothing – it hampers the internal parts of your vehicle (mostly transmission parts). One of the most obvious symptoms of an overheated transmission is the burnt transmission fluid smell. Solve this problem as soon as possible & avoid future hectic repair costs.

2. Transmission Fluid Leaks 

You may encounter this leaking issue if you’re not using the vehicle for a long period. What happens is, your front seal will dry up & become brittle. Later on, the brittle seal loses its elasticity & capacity of holding transmission fluid. 

The other scenario that can cause transmission fluid leakage is continuous use without any (major) break. Due to the non-stop usage, the hub of the torque converter may leak some fluid. 

3. Transmission Only Works in Reverse 

The forward clutch is more vulnerable than the reverse clutch. That’s why you might be facing issues with forward gear – not the reverse one.

This problem can occur for many reasons, such as worn out forward clutch, ripped rubber seals & so on. 

4. Slipping Transmission During Gear Shifts

A slipping transmission can be both irritating & harmful for your engine. You won’t be able to shift gears from one to another if your transmission has a slipping issue. Other than that, a slipping transmission can also cause the RPMs to jump over 3,500!

You’ll also notice burnt transmission fluid smell along with difficulties in shifting gears if you’re facing transmission slipping issues. Fix this annoying 7.3 transmission problem following the methods mentioned in the next segment. 

How to Solve 7.3L Powerstroke Transmission Problems?

This segment will show how to fix the four common 7.3 Powerstroke transmission problems discussed previously. Here we go: 

Solving: Overheating Transmission Issue

You can check different components of the vehicle to pinpoint the actual reason behind the overheated transmission. For your clearer understanding, here are the things that need to be checked & solved during the fixing operation:

  • Check Your Transmission Fluid Level & Fix it If it’s Low
  • Avoid Tow/Haul Mode Driving Unless It’s A Must
  • Check & Replace The Faulty Radiator 
  • Check & Replace The Faulty Solenoids

Solving: Transmission Fluid Leaks 

Replacing the transmission is the best approach to this problem. However, you can try the following methods as well:

  • Replace The Torque Converter Seal
  • Replace The Front Seal

Solving: Transmission Only Works in Reverse 

You can solve this issue by checking some of the major components of the forward clutch. Here are the things you should do to fix this problem:

  • Check & Replace Worn Out Forward Clutch 
  • Check & Replace The Ripped Rubber Seal

Solving: Slipping Transmission During Gear Shifts

Various factors/components can cause the transmission slipping issue & you’ll have to check them all. 

Here are the things you should check & fix to get rid of the slipping transmission issue:

  • Check & Replace The Faulty Clutches
  • Check & Repair Digital Transmission Range (DTR) Sensor’s Alignment
  • Check For Low or Burnt Transmission Fluid & Fix it 
  • Check & Replace/Repair Worn Out Transmission Gears or Bands
  • Check & Replace/Repair Faulty Torque Converter 
  • Check & Replace Any Failed Solenoid 

How Often Does A 7.3L Powerstroke Transmission Need to Be Replaced?

If you don’t take proper care of your vehicle, you may have to replace your transmission at as low as 100,000 miles. However, you can use your vehicle & transmission for a longer period if you replace the following parts frequently: 

  • Replace Automatic Transmission Fluid At 30,000 Miles
  • Replace Manual Transmission Fluid At 60,000 Miles
  • Change Transmission Filter At 30,000 Miles

Can I drive a 7.3 L Powerstroke with a transmission problem?

No, you shouldn’t drive 7.3L Powerstroke with a transmission problem. You’ll risk your vehicle’s engine that can cause thousands of dollars to be repaired or fixed. With that said, don’t drive your vehicle with a transmission problem, even if it’s drivable. 

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What Does It Sound Like When A Transmission Is Going Out?

The faulty transmission sounds different depending on their types – automatic & manual. A Faulty manual transmission sounds harsher & they sound like clunking. On the other hand, the faulty automatic transmission sounds like humming, buzzing or clunking. 

What Happens If You Don’t Fix a Transmission Leak?

You’ll have to replace your entire transmission system if you keep the transmission leakage problem unchecked & unfixed. That’s why it’s better to fix the problem right away & save on big bucks on future replacement/repair. 

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Slipping Transmission?

Transmission repair cost varies from transmission to transmission. If you want to have an average picture, the average cost of fixing a slipping transmission is about $300 to $1500, depending on the replacement parts & labour cost. 


I hope this article was helpful enough to know the 7.3L Powerstroke transmission problems. I’ve covered the common problems of the C6, E4OD, 4R100, ZF S5-42 & ZF S5–S7 transmission. 

As I’ve mentioned the fixes as well, you can try inspecting & solving your 7.3 transmission problems on your own. However, it’s better to leave it for the experts if you’re not a DIY guy.

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