The modern-diesel era is slowly phasing out the manual transmission. And not just in the pickup world, but in the medium-duty segment as well. With ever- improving lockup torque converters, electronic valve bodies, built-in tow-haul modes, hybrid technology, and better all-around efficiency—automatic transmissions are the future.
One company that has been at the forefront of perfecting automatic transmission technology, for applications in America and around the globe, is Allison Transmission. With its roots in providing quality, reliability, durability, vocational value, and outstanding customer service, it’s no wonder why thousands of fleet owners, much of the public transportation industry, and off-highway operators prefer the Allison name. Whether it’s a 1000 series dwelling in a school bus, a 3000 series helping a fire truck pump water, or a 4000 series handling oilfield duty, you know the brand.
One hundred years after Jim Allison helped found Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 65 years since Allison entered the transmission industry, we found ourselves at its historic Indianapolis headquarters watching its commercial-duty line of transmissions being manufactured. Follow along as we take you through the Allison 1000 assembly process and show you what we experienced during our ride-and-drive tour at Allison’s demonstration track.
1000/2000 Series Common Applications:
1000/2000 Series Gear Ratios:
All 1000-series transmission gear ratios consist of:
However, Highway, Pupil Transport, Rugged Duty, Emergency Vehicle, Motorhome, and Specialty versions of some 2000-series transmissions come equipped as follows:
Because the 1000- and 2000-series transmissions are so similar, both are produced in the s
Once the main case is milled, drilled, machined, and washed, it’s sent to be pressure-test
Because the main case is at the heart of the Allison 1000, extensive tests are performed b
The main case is then placed on the assembly line. One of the first items installed is the
While on the subject of the input shaft, we took a trip over to where they’re fabricated i
The process of spline-rolling takes place at one station, and after each shaft receives sp
Here you can see the transmission pump. Prior to being installed in the main case, it is m
At the next station, the front cover (bellhousing) is set on top of the main case. Two sep
Then, the transmission is flipped 180 degrees along the assembly line and the geartrain in
All pinions for the 1000 and 2000 series’ planetary gearsets are manufactured in-house. Pi
After being turned in a lathe and getting hobbed, shaved, and cleaned, the gears are heat-
The next stop in the build process entails the rear cover (tailhousing) getting installed
This output shaft seal and bearing are pressed into the tailhousing by machine. Then the t
Speaking of the electronic valve body, all the 1000- and 2000-series valve bodies are mach
Following the valve body is the internal fluid filter, pan gasket, and finally the transmi
A torque converter is then lowered onto the input shaft via hoist. While the torque conver
Once assembled, each Allison 1000 or 2000 receives the appropriate plugs and connections a
Each transmission runs on the dyno for a few minutes, where every aspect of its functional
Once dyno’d, the transmissions are loaded onto signal-guided vehicles (SGVs). The SGVs are
Allison In Action
Prior to our assembly plant tour, the folks at Allison let us experience some of its products firsthand when we got to drive a few medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The Freightliner Coronado SD dump truck shown here was equipped with a DD15 Detroit Diesel 15.0L engine (460hp, 1,850-lb-ft version) and an Allison 4500RDS (Rugged Duty Series) transmission. Loaded up with rock and grossing 70,000 pounds, we drove the truck up and down a steep, 25 percent grade several times.
Starting from a dead stop at the bottom of the loose-rock grade, we slowly (and effortlessly) ascended the hill. Halfway up the grade, we let off the accelerator, held the brake, and then went back to the accelerator. With very slight throttle input, we found the truck would hold its position on the hill with no brakes required.
One option that sets Allison apart and is offered with many of its transmissions (including the 4500RDS we operated) is a prognostics feature. By being calibrated for the vehicle’s specific operating requirements, service intervals can be forecasted and various transmission parameters monitored. Things like oil level, oil life, filter life, and overall transmission health are consistently analyzed, and the operator is alerted when the unit needs to be serviced.
Rugged Duty Series Transmission
Allison offers a Rugged Duty Series (RDS) version of its transmissions in every series (1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000). Typical vehicle applications for the Rugged Duty Series include: dump trucks, equipment haulers, heavy equipment transport, concrete mixers, snow removal vehicles, wreckers, refuse/waste vehicles, and many more. The 4500RDS, which would be found in the dump truck we drove, is shown in this photo.
To give you an idea just how large some of the components found in Allison’s 4000- series
Application: Max Input Power: Max Input Torque:
On/Off Highway 565 hp 1,650 lb-ft (1,850 lb-ft w/SEM)
Refuse 500 hp 1,550 lb-ft
Specialty PTO 565 hp 1,650 lb-ft (1,770 lb-ft w/SEM)
HET 600 hp 1,650 lb-ft (1,850 lb-ft: available in Second–Sixth gear)
SEM: Shift Energy Management (limits engine torque output during shifts)
HET: Heavy Equipment Transport