Mag-Hytec’s Insurance Policy For Your TransmissionPosted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on June 16, 2015
Cummins engines are legendary for their ability to make big power easily, tow anything, and last half a million miles. As for the transmissions that Dodge put behind these engines, well, they have a reputation too. When power levels are left stock, the 47RE and 48RE transmissions are adequate, but just barely. These transmissions were never intended to handle big power. They evolved from 727 TorqueFlight transmissions originally designed in the 1960s to live behind gas engines.
An entire industry exists to upgrade the 48RE transmissions to live behind big power, from billet torque convertors to 300M input shafts to full manual valve bodies. While these parts offer a huge increase in strength, they are not cheap. In an effort to keep our tow rig reliable while we wrench on other projects, we have babied the automatic transmission in our 2006 Ram 2500 MegaCab and exercised extreme restraint (if we do say so ourselves) by refraining from adding a programmer to the Cummins engine.
Our prudence is paying off, but after 85,000 miles it was time to service our transmission. We couldn’t afford to have the truck down for repairs for long, but we always try to use maintenance as an opportunity to upgrade to better parts. That was what led us to Mag-Hytec and Amsoil. Both companies make high-quality products at affordable prices, which makes the decision to upgrade instead of merely maintain easy.
The fins on the Mag-Hytec pan add surface area that provides additional cooling at speed. The pans are cast from aircraft aluminum, and all hardware is 303 stainless steel. Mag-Hytec even includes the properly sized Allen wrench to install the pan.
The factory 48RE transmission pan does not have a drain plug, so draining the transmission is a messy affair. We put a drain pan under the truck and a large piece of cardboard under the drain pan to catch whatever fluid didn’t make it into the pan.
The aluminum Mag-Hytec pan is thicker than the stock stamped transmission pan. The thicker, more rigid construction allows the Mag-Hytec pan to stiffen the entire transmission assembly, resulting in less case flex and the potential for broken parts.
The deep Mag-Hytec pan we installed on our Ram holds a full gallon of additional ATF. We filled the pan with Amsoil Signature Series synthetic ATF to provide our transmission with the best possible lubrication, particularly at the extremes of the temperature spectrum where conventional ATF either flows poorly (cold) or breaks down (heat).
Most Mag-Hytec transmission and differential covers come equipped with a recessed O-ring, but the company told us that rubber and cork gaskets do not seal well on the 48RE transmission. Instead, the company includes a Transtar fiber gasket, which has remained leak-free on our installation.
The Mag-Hytec pan we installed came equipped with a drain plug (with O-ring) and a threaded port for a temperature sending unit. Monitoring transmission temperatures is always a good idea and is critical if you use your 4x4 for heavy towing or racing.
If you order directly from Mag-Hytec, the company includes the appropriate transmission filter with your pan. Also included was a transmission filter extension, all necessary hardware, Allen wrenches for the hardware, and detailed instructions.
Mag-Hytec makes two different transmission pans for the 48RE (and all 727 TorqueFlight derivatives). We chose the extra-deep pan, which requires the installation of the included extension to put the filter in the bottom of the deep pan.
We were able to install the Mag-Hytec pan quickly with minimal tools. Our lifted truck on 35-inch Pro Comp XMT2s had enough room underneath that we didn’t even have to break out a floor jack to perform the installation. The extra volume provides more fluid to dissipate heat, and more fluid can a larger number of particulates in suspension before it needs to be changed.
Once the pan was installed we filled the transmission with high-quality Amsoil Signature Series synthetic automatic transmission fluid. Heat is the biggest killer of automatic trannies, and Amsoil’s ATF is specially formulated to provide excellent stability and wear protection at the elevated temperatures where conventional transmission fluid can break down.