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I was in a pinch and needed a new truck for summer vacations with the fifth wheel. Had some issues with my 2500 6.4. I knew I wanted a Cummins (my first diesel) and a 3500 SRW. Never put much thought into the transmission. After all, there are thousands of 2500 models on the road with the 68RFE. I did know of the Aisin option and the increased power that comes with it.

Now that I have been reading and seeing so many people are indicating the Aisin is the only way to go for the best tranny with the most power, I am having some buyers remorse. So a little late, I would like to know from those that have both is the tranny that much better? Do you really notice the extra power? Asking because trying to determine if I should plan on this for a long term vehicle and extend the warranty or short term and trade in a few years when we get a larger fifth wheel.

I tow about 10k now but would eventually end up at as much as 14k. In both cases traveling 2 or 3k miles a year with it in tow.
 

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No issues with our 2016 3500 DRW 68 RFE, tows our 19K 5th wheel like a champ. 10K miles so far from Florida to Washington and everywhere in between.
 

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Aisin is leaps and bounds ahead of the 68. I'll never own another 68rfe ever again, it's so bad I have no idea why the still make it. I have the luxury at work to drive many trucks and the allison is soo nice, it shifts like a car. The Ford 6r140 is also better and shifts really well. The Aisin isnt far behind shift wise but works better towing heavy especially with 3.73 or 4.10s. The 68 lugs, clunks and knocks and down shifts poorly on a "good" day.

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White Lightning
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I was in a pinch and needed a new truck for summer vacations with the fifth wheel. Had some issues with my 2500 6.4. I knew I wanted a Cummins (my first diesel) and a 3500 SRW. Never put much thought into the transmission. After all, there are thousands of 2500 models on the road with the 68RFE. I did know of the Aisin option and the increased power that comes with it.

Now that I have been reading and seeing so many people are indicating the Aisin is the only way to go for the best tranny with the most power, I am having some buyers remorse. So a little late, I would like to know from those that have both is the tranny that much better? Do you really notice the extra power? Asking because trying to determine if I should plan on this for a long term vehicle and extend the warranty or short term and trade in a few years when we get a larger fifth wheel.

I tow about 10k now but would eventually end up at as much as 14k. In both cases traveling 2 or 3k miles a year with it in tow.
If the larger 5th wheel gets into DRW territory.......consider an AS69RC then.

Otherwise.....keep your current 68RFE. The 68RFE is a much maligned transmission. Service it as required and on a stock truck....it should give you several hundreds of thousands of miles of reliable use.
 

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I had a 2007.5 with the 68RFE and now my son has it. It is still running strong at over 160K ( of which over 50K has been towing a 12.5-13K 5th wheel).
I now have a 2017 with the Aisin and a little over 50K on it (of which 27.5K has been towing a 12.5-13K 5th wheel).
The Aisin has a lower 1st (reminds me of a granny gear) and 2nd gear compared to the 68RFE with 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th ratios being essentially the same. The result is a larger RPM drop when going from 1st to 2nd and also from 2nd to 3rd with the Aisin vs the 68RFE.
When shifting it feels to me as if the Aisin has a little slower gear change with a more noticeable unlock and lock.
The 2017 (with the Aisin) has 3:73 gears and the 2007.5 (with the 68RFE) has 4:10 gears which means the overall ratio in 1st gear is nearly the same in both trucks.
Bottom line after driving both - I prefer the Aisin with the 3:73s, especially when going 65 mph or so - however I would not hesitate to have another 68RFE and actually prefer the closer ratio when shifting from 1-2 and 2-3.
 

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Sasquatch
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The 68RFE also has trans tuning options available if you find the need to test the waters in the future. That's the main reason I'll go for a 68RFE when I make a jump to the common rail game.
 

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I have had both. While i greatly prefer the shift strategy and feel of the Aisin i can not tell a difference in seat of the pants power. The added power the Cummins has with the Aisin,at least for me, is not felt on the road or while towing. I do feel a slightly slower but firmer shift without all the weirdness of the 68rfe in my past 14. Having said that there are reports here and elsewhere that the programming got better in about late 16/early 17 so that is a great benefit if it is true. Personally i have not driven a 68rfe past the 15 model year.
I would not worry about or regret your purchase. Run the truck. Also, both my 3500 DRW with Aisin and my 2500 with 68rfe had the 3.42 gears which work well for the speeds my trucks see and both were equipped exactly the same way. Both trucks are loaded the same and tow/towed the same trailers.
I think torque management and traction control holds them all back to the same level most of the time anyway. My 05 G56 325/610 would have brought the hurt to both my 14 and 15 in real world situations every single time and got better mileage doing it. But, the newer trucks ride smoother and are quieter if thats what a guy likes.
 

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14k honestly isn’t a lot of weight for these trucks, the 68 has proven to be a very capable transmission. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d be far more concerned with gear ratio and trim level/amenities than what trans these trucks have (this is for a non commercial non 30k Lb towing truck or 90% of us).
Don’t fall into the trade/upgrade trap, it’s not at all worth it.

If you read the Internet my much maligned 13 (first year oh no) with the terrible 68 should be a dud, but it has been by far the best truck I have ever owned by a landslide. I’ve owned a CTD since 04 and this one beats them all. I’m about to flip 100k, I’ve towed 14-16k plenty of times and I’m not at all concerned about putting a couple 100k more on her.
 

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14k honestly isn’t a lot of weight for these trucks, the 68 has proven to be a very capable transmission.
I'm on board with this.

If you read posts about this subject matter, you would walk away thinking you need a RAM 9500 with a Cummins ISX coupled to an Allison MH series transmission, 9:56 axel ratios with triple rear wheels to tow 9,000-pounds. OK, I'm exaggerating, a lot, but I'm making a point of some of the ridiculous posts made in threads with questions like the OP's.

I tow around a 15,000 pound 40 foot Montana with a 3500 Cummins, SRW, 68RFE and 3:42 axles. Guess what, I can EASILY make 70MPH on an acceleration ramp to a freeway. And when I'm not out on the road with the fiver, I'm pulling around a 16-foot dump trailer that comes in at 14,500 loaded and still have no issues with the pathetic 68RFE, SRW, and 3:42 axle ratios. I must have a somewhat unique 68RFE, it behaves and shifts very smooth, slowing down in tow/haul mode with exhaust brake on auto is just as smooth and precise.

OP - enjoy your truck, find enjoyment in knowing you saved yourself several thousand dollars by not buying a transmission that has more frequent service requirements, more costly service, and its own set of shifting behavior issues. Follow RAM's published tow weights, payloads, and scheduled maintenance and you are good to go. As far as feeling the additional power, doubtful because of torque management. The additional power would be noticed when pulling heavy, not 17,00 or less pounds.
 

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I'm on board with this.

If you read posts about this subject matter, you would walk away thinking you need a RAM 9500 with a Cummins ISX coupled to an Allison MH series transmission, 9:56 axel ratios with triple rear wheels to tow 9,000-pounds. OK, I'm exaggerating, a lot, but I'm making a point of some of the ridiculous posts made in threads with questions like the OP's.

I tow around a 15,000 pound 40 foot Montana with a 3500 Cummins, SRW, 68RFE and 3:42 axles. Guess what, I can EASILY make 70MPH on an acceleration ramp to a freeway. And when I'm not out on the road with the fiver, I'm pulling around a 16-foot dump trailer that comes in at 14,500 loaded and still have no issues with the pathetic 68RFE, SRW, and 3:42 axle ratios. I must have a somewhat unique 68RFE, it behaves and shifts very smooth, slowing down in tow/haul mode with exhaust brake on auto is just as smooth and precise.

OP - enjoy your truck, find enjoyment in knowing you saved yourself several thousand dollars by not buying a transmission that has more frequent service requirements, more costly service, and its own set of shifting behavior issues. Follow RAM's published tow weights, payloads, and scheduled maintenance and you are good to go. As far as feeling the additional power, doubtful because of torque management. The additional power would be noticed when pulling heavy, not 17,00 or less pounds.
Agree. I have the Aisen in my '18 3500 DRW, it was the right truck at the time I got which just happened to have it. I owned a 2016 2500 with the 68RFE and really didn't like the way it shifted...left it in tow/haul all the time to keep the truck from lugging and upshifting so much. The Aisen shifts much better, but it's also an '18 vs the '16 68RFE. Tow'Haul with the Aisen with EB on full, with 4.10's is obnoxious letting off the throttle if I'm not pulling a load. Feels like I slammed on the brakes! lol

With that said, I'm not in the delete crowd...had my '18 truck had the 68RFE I probably would have still bought it....I don't tow heavy (9K TT).....but I know I can pull anything they make. 68 is a great tranny!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I sure am glad I posted. I really like my truck and the plan was for a long term vehicle. With the information you have all shared I am back on track. You have all helped a lot. Thanks for your time in posting your experiences.
 

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68 RFE is total junk, mine has only gone 477K, and I expect it to self destruct in about 500K more miles, no way it'll make it to a million.

FCA has continually updated the 68, and most failures are from abuse or neglect.
 

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I had a 2007.5 with the 68RFE and now my son has it. It is still running strong at over 160K ( of which over 50K has been towing a 12.5-13K 5th wheel).
I now have a 2017 with the Aisin and a little over 50K on it (of which 27.5K has been towing a 12.5-13K 5th wheel).
The Aisin has a lower 1st (reminds me of a granny gear) and 2nd gear compared to the 68RFE with 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th ratios being essentially the same. The result is a larger RPM drop when going from 1st to 2nd and also from 2nd to 3rd with the Aisin vs the 68RFE.
When shifting it feels to me as if the Aisin has a little slower gear change with a more noticeable unlock and lock.
The 2017 (with the Aisin) has 3:73 gears and the 2007.5 (with the 68RFE) has 4:10 gears which means the overall ratio in 1st gear is nearly the same in both trucks.
Bottom line after driving both - I prefer the Aisin with the 3:73s, especially when going 65 mph or so - however I would not hesitate to have another 68RFE and actually prefer the closer ratio when shifting from 1-2 and 2-3.
Having both in equally geared trucks, I agree that the gear ratio of the Aisin between 2nd and 3rd is too wide. I know my C&C is detuned and it possibly wouldn't be an issue on a regular pickup thats not detuned, but i dont know how many times Ive been accelerating on a hill and get a 2nd to 3rd shift....then the truck figures out it cant pull in 3rd then drops right back to 2nd. Or it just barely pulls lugging at 1200rpm till the hill flattens out. Shifting from 1st to 2nd at 6mph really blows my mind as well. If i shift it using the ERS buttons it pulls like mad. My only complaints of the Aisin. It does feel more "solid" with a load behind it than the 68rfe.

Im happy with my 68rfe. CTT got the shift points right and I much prefer the 68rfe gear ratios as well.
 

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You already have the 68. If it blows up it blows up, but it probably won't.

But I didn't hesitate for a split second to check the Aisin box when I ordered. And I should add that it was ordered to tow with, not for basic driving.
 

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If it eases your mind any, a younger friend of mine has a 2012 that is tuned, lifted with big tires and is driven with a lead foot. In other words, all the things that are suppose to ruin the 68RFE. He has over 300,000 without any transmission issues. My own has also been trouble free towing 10K frequently.
 
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