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65RFE, 66RFE and 68RFE differences explained


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#1 oh2o

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Posted August 11, 2011 at 07:37 pm

The 66RFE is a new six-speed automatic transmission. It’s used behind the 5.7-liter V8 on 2012 Ram 2500 pickup DJ models and 3500 cab and chassis DD models. Note that these are heavy duty applications.

Light duty applications use the 65RFE. Except for some software differences, the 65RFE is essentially the same as a 545RFE. In fact, you can consider any statement concerning the 545RFE to apply to the 65RFE as well.

In the heavy duty applications, the 66RFE offers an additional gear and a wider overall gear range than the 545RFE used previously in this application. The changes in gearing translate to improved towing with these vehicles. As with other Chrysler transmissions, you can identify the 66RFE by means of a label on the transmission case. The label contains the part number as well as the build sequence. The part number and build sequence are also stamped into the case below the label.

From the outside, for the most part, the 66RFE looks like a 545RFE. The extension housing and output shaft, however, are common with the 68RFE. Also note that when a 66RFE is removed from a vehicle, like the 545RFE, the torque converter is recessed inside the case instead of sticking out as with the 68RFE.

The 66RFE shares the same general features as those common to the 545RFE and 68RFE. These include a one-piece case, electronic control, twostage hydraulic pump, and similar valve bodies. All three transmissions use three planetary gearsets, three driving clutches, three holding clutches, and an overrunning clutch, although there are differences in how these are connected.

The 66RFE derives some of its components from the 545RFE and others from the 68RFE.

The components derived from the 545RFE are mainly in the front end of the case. These include the torque converter and pump and the underdrive, overdrive, and reverse clutch plates and discs. The valve body is also derived from the 545RFE.

Most of the components derived from the 68RFE are farther back in the case. These include the 2C and low/reverse clutch discs and plates and the reaction, reverse, and input planetary gearsets.

When it comes to operation, the 66RFE is closer to the 68RFE than to the 545RFE.

That is because the 66RFE gear train is identical to the one in the 68RFE. More specifically, the connections to the reaction sun gear and reaction annulus have been swapped, compared to the 545RFE.

Since the planetary gearsets are common, the 66RFE and 68RFE gear ratios are the same.

Another result of the design of the 66RFE is that limp-in operation is the same for both the 66 and 68RFE. The manual valve provides reverse, neutral, and fourth gear. All of these transmissions use two filters. A spin-on filter is located on the cooler return. The main sump filter is located on the valve body. Note that with the 2010 model year, all transmissions use the filter that was previously used only for four-by-four applications.

Another change that occurred for the 2010 model year involves electronic control. All of these transmissions are now controlled by a TCM that is housed with the PCM in a single module.

The dual stage pump on the 66RFE is the same as the one on the 545RFE, and on all of the RFE transmissions, a check valve shuts down the secondary side at higher speeds for more efficient operation.

In the area of diagnosis, there are a few notable features that apply to all of the RFE transmissions. The scan tool is the easiest way to monitor line pressure on these transmissions. On the TCM data display, the actual line pressure should be close to the desired line pressure.

The 66RFE’s underdrive, overdrive, and reverse clutch discs are the same as those in the 545RFE. The underdrive and overdrive hub/shaft are different. Because they are installed into a 68RFE type planetary gearset they are like the components on the 68RFE.

One way to distinguish between the two is that the 66 and 68RFE have only one set of splines on the overdrive shaft instead of the 545RFE’s two.

On all RFE applications, the underdrive, overdrive, and reverse clutch assembly snap rings may look the same but they are not interchangeable.

When it comes to clutch clearance adjustments, there are some similarities and some differences between the three transmissions.

Underdrive clutch clearance is not adjustable on any of the transmissions. On the other hand, reverse clutch clearance is adjustable on all three transmissions via a selectable snap ring.

Overdrive clutch clearance is different. It’s adjustable on the 68RFE via a selectable overdrive/reverse pressure plate, but not on the 545RFE or 66RFE.

Note that there are two tapered snap rings with the input clutch assembly and that these are directional. The tapered side must face up.

Just as with the input clutch assembly, there are some similarities and differences between the 4C and 2C clutches on the three RFE transmissions.

Since the 4C clutch retainers are the same on all three transmissions, with the same number of clutch discs, 4C service features are the same as well. On all of these transmissions, use care when installing the 4C piston to avoid damaging the outer lip seal. On all three transmissions, 4C clutch clearance is adjustable via a selectable snap ring.

The 2C clutch is a different story. 66RFE and 68RFE components are different than those used on the 545RFE. Nevertheless, there are similarities on the service side. First, let’s look at component differences.

The 2C clutch on the 66 and 68RFE has one more disc than the 545RFE, and the 66 and 68RFE piston is shorter.

On all three applications, when assembling the 2C clutch, be sure the 2C reaction plate goes in first. installing a separator plate by mistake will lead to transmission failure.

Another area where you will find differences in components is planetary gearsets. The 66 and 68RFE gearsets are different than those used in the 545RFE.

On the 66 and 68RFE, you will notice that the reaction sun gear is welded to the 4C/reverse hub, the reaction annulus is welded to the reverse carrier, and the input and reverse planetary assembly includes the reaction annulus.

Because of their design, the 66 and 68RFE assemblies do not use a number 7 thrust bearing and the number 11 bearing is trapped in the input and reverse planetary assembly. The rest of the planetary gearset thrust bearings are positioned and numbered the same on all three transmissions.

oh2o / Source: Chrysler

#2 redhed

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Posted August 11, 2011 at 07:58 pm

thanks! just too bad they didn't put the 66RFE in the half-ton!

#3 willy

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Posted August 11, 2011 at 08:51 pm

Oh well, scratch the 2012 Ram 1500 off my list....I know a person who has been driving all sorts of Dodge Diesel 3/4 and 1 ton trucks for the past 10 years working for his father. This past summer the person started his own business and bought a brand new, no, not a Dodge, a new Ford 3/4 ton Diesel. Maybe one of these years Dodge will actually see the light...imo the people responsible for the current series of Dodge truck transmissions should be barred from going within 100 miles of any type of business associated in any way, shape, or form, with the automotive industry....

#4 MoparNorm

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Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm

The 66RFE is a new six-speed automatic transmission. It’s used behind the 5.7-liter V8 on 2012 Ram 2500 pickup DJ models and 3500 cab and chassis DD models. Note that these are heavy duty applications.

Light duty applications use the 65RFE. Except for some software differences, the 65RFE is essentially the same as a 545RFE. In fact, you can consider any statement concerning the 545RFE to apply to the 65RFE as well.
oh2o / Source: Chrysler


Assuming that the spline count and diameter would be the same, would these bolt right into any 545RFE, such as the new Wrangler? And if so, shouldn't 6 speeds be coming soon to qualifying vehicles currently 545RFE equipped?

#5 dakotaquadsport

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 07:28 am


Assuming that the spline count and diameter would be the same, would these bolt right into any 545RFE, such as the new Wrangler? And if so, shouldn't 6 speeds be coming soon to qualifying vehicles currently 545RFE equipped?


Isn't the Wrangler using WA580?

#6 Dave

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 07:38 am

Yes, Wrangler uses the Mercedes automatic AFAIK.

willy, your comment makes little sense. They're using the new and improved transmission in the Dodge - Cummins trucks. What's wrong with it?

#7 MoparNorm

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 09:19 am


Isn't the Wrangler using WA580?

Uh... 5A580 ...545...yeah...guess I won't post anymore without my reading glasses :blush:

#8 The Mad Duck

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 09:34 am

Thanks for the Tech Info!

Like I Said There is More Trannies Coming Out than I Can Keep Track of!

TMD

#9 04RAMSRT10

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 09:49 am

In response to the nonsense above. I have a 2009 Ram 1500 Hemi crew. I also have a 1995 Ram 1500 5.9L. Both have automatic transmissions. Both have the original, never rebuilt, fully functional transmissions in them. The 1995 has towed many loads well beyond capacity. The 2009 has towed long distance. The 2009 has a function that monitors trans temp. This is usually below 150 degrees F. At around 22,000 miles I pumped out 2 quarts of fluid and replaced it with
Mopar atf+4. The fluid I removed was as clean as the new fluid. There was no strange burned smell, discoloration and complete clarity. Based on my experience, if your have an air to oil cooler, keep it clean, service the trans, it will last. Another tool to look at is vehicle forums. I recently due du Honda tranny woes checked many of these out. The Ram forum is relatively free of reported transmission woes.

#10 uglyvaliant

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 09:51 am

I'm very glad to read that the new truck 6 speeds have the same gear ratio spread of the 68RFE; Ideally I would have like to a step ratio similar to the Ford's 6 speed (5.93 to the RFE's 5.13)...but I'm very glad it is not simply a 545RFE that employs both 2nd gears during normal driving.

#11 redhed

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

I'm very glad to read that the new truck 6 speeds have the same gear ratio spread of the 68RFE; Ideally I would have like to a step ratio similar to the Ford's 6 speed (5.93 to the RFE's 5.13)...but I'm very glad it is not simply a 545RFE that employs both 2nd gears during normal driving.


uh...the 65RFE still has the same gearset as the 545RFE ... only the 66RFE has the same ratios as the 68RFE ...

#12 uglyvaliant

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

Then that blows. What's the point of the 65RFE? It's just to say "We've got a six speed!"

#13 densher

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

I agree with uglyvaliant. If the 65RFE is the same as the 545RFE - except 'software differences', then why bother? Just re-flash the 545RFE's. I was hoping for some fuel mileage improvements. Don't make me look at Ford Eco Boost!

#14 drew54

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Then that blows. What's the point of the 65RFE? It's just to say "We've got a six speed!"


Maybe the 65RFE is short lived and the 66RFE will take over.

#15 densher

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I'll hang on to my 04 Ram 1500 until Ram decides to put in a more fuel efficient power train.

#16 Dave

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Posted August 12, 2011 at 02:00 pm

The point of 65RFE, as far as I know, is to say, "We have a six speed automatic" so they don't lose sales to people who see that six is bigger than five.

Question is, will the Chrysler-made eight-speed HP8s make it to trucks as originally rumored? and whatever happened to Chrysler's own truck AMT? Was that simply dropped? Was it ever a real contender?

#17 redhed

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Posted August 13, 2011 at 12:33 am

The point of 65RFE, as far as I know, is to say, "We have a six speed automatic" so they don't lose sales to people who see that six is bigger than five.

Question is, will the Chrysler-made eight-speed HP8s make it to trucks as originally rumored? and whatever happened to Chrysler's own truck AMT? Was that simply dropped? Was it ever a real contender?


one can only presume that the 79REM was canned...wasn't development on that tranny taking place well over 5 years ago?? bring on the zf 8hp!!!!

#18 Stratuscaster

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Posted August 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

Oh well, scratch the 2012 Ram 1500 off my list....I know a person who has been driving all sorts of Dodge Diesel 3/4 and 1 ton trucks for the past 10 years working for his father. This past summer the person started his own business and bought a brand new, no, not a Dodge, a new Ford 3/4 ton Diesel.

So you are scratching the 2012 Ram 1500 off your list, and then talk about your friend and 3/4-ton diesel pickups. Correct me if I'm wrong, but not only is the Ram 1500 not a 3/4 ton pickup, but it's not offered with a diesel either - so what does one have to do with the other? I'll tell you - absolutely nothing.

Ever stop to consider that your friend might have simply gotten a better deal on the Ford while still having his needs and requirements met?


Maybe one of these years Dodge will actually see the light...imo the people responsible for the current series of Dodge truck transmissions should be barred from going within 100 miles of any type of business associated in any way, shape, or form, with the automotive industry....

[sarcasm]
Yeah? Well, IMO, I don't like the way you serve my french fries. So there. :P
[/sarcasm]

Hey, look at this - a Ram HD with a 545RFE won the 2010 3/4ton gas-engine unloaded 1/4 mile drag race - just sayin'...
http://special-repor...s-unloaded.html

Hey - in the same article, a RAM HD Diesel with a 645RFE pulling a 10000lb trailer up a 7% grade and less power than the Ford or Chevy lost by about 1.8 seconds. I'm not sure how often people towing 10000lb trailers need to accelerate at full throttle up 7% grades, though.

#19 willy

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Posted August 14, 2011 at 09:34 am

What does a Ram 1500 have to do with a Ram 2500? They both have Dodge ram transmissions and they both could use a significant improvement in the ratios. (And perhaps reliability as swell; another of my neighbors just got a quote from Dodge for $6000 to repair a transmission on his 2500, and it's not an old vehicle either. Unfortunately, I'm just one of the few Dodge diehards left in the area...) Admittedly, the ratios in the 68 are slightly better than the 545, but the 68 could also be improved. They've (Chrysler) had several years now in which big improvements have been made to many of their vehicles, and significant ratio improvements would have been nice in the Ram transmissions. Judging by some of the other comments on this thread, others would have liked to have seen changes in the transmission ratios as well, so it's not just me saying this. As one person stated, even using the 66 tranny in the Ram 1500 would have been an improvement over the current one.

As for not liking how one serves french fries, what do people do when that happens? They go to a different restaurant. And that's exactly what I am lamenting here; people are going in droves to Ford and GM trucks. In the mid 90's I believe (don't have the numbers in front of me at the moment), Dodge was the predominant player in the light Diesel truck segment, way ahead of GM, and I believe Dodge is now a distant third. In our area, looking at commercial uses and trailer campgrounds etc, Dodge had a major market share; they don't anymore. And that's what I am lamenting. I am not being critical of Rams for the fun of it. Dodge needs to hear why customers are switching to GM and Ford, rather than burying your head in the sand and pretending things are just honky dory.

#20 scook6

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Posted August 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

I would like to know what facts you base your opinions on? In case you missed it according to sales figures from a predominant commercial truck magazine, Ford has sold 30,588 commercial trucks ytd, Ram has sold 29,834 ytd. These are class 3-8 sales which for Dodge are mostly all diesel sales. Oh GM has sold 9986 ytd. So saying that people are leaving in droves is not accurate in fact on the commercial side their sales continue to grow, so as far as some scuttlebutt at a horse show or a one or two guys that run their mouth at a coffee shop about Dodge transmissions, the fact is they are much improved from the old days and they are not behind on anything concerning the driveline anymore.

Edited by scook6, August 14, 2011 at 10:53 am.



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