Before we proceed, we want to thank you for pursuing the engineered and machined in-house Project Carbon™ 68RFE Valve Body DIY Upgrade Kit. As the name suggests, this is the 4th update to our coveted Project Carbon™ 68RFE Valve Body Upgrade kit. This 4th update includes the billet NeverLeak L/R Switch Valve and improved material for the billet accumulator girdle, securing it’s reputation as the ultimate accumulator solution for the RFE series transmissions. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how to properly install the easiest to use 68RFE Valve Body Upgrade kit in the world, our Project Carbon™ Valve Body Upgrade kits!
As preparation for installing the Project Carbon™ 68RFE Valve Body Upgrade kit to the transmission itself you’ll need the following tooling:
- (1) T25 Bit
- (1) Inch Pound Torque Wrench
- (1) Bit necessary for the pan bolts, this may vary depending on the pan being used.
- (1) 1/8” Drill Bit (Only if purchasing kit WITHOUT Formula One Billet Channel Plate)
Once these items are procured, it’s time to begin the installation process of the kit! If the transmission is currently in the truck, please do the following, if it is removed from the truck, skip to the next section:
1 - Park the truck on flat ground, employing the parking brake and chocking one tire facing downhill or on both sides for additional safety. You’ll be removing the valve body completely from the vehicle, which does not necessarily remove it from park, but makes it easier for the transmission to potentially pop out of park. Hence, safety precautions should be taken to ensure the vehicle stays stationary. (Over-achievers may just use a lift for this step)
2 - Allow the truck to cool down to ambient temperature. This takes about 2 hours. To be productive, put your Formula One Billet Accumulator Piston Set inside the freezer. Why? Our tolerances are so perfect, the pistons are easiest to install frozen. They shrink a few micrometers and that makes a difference! Once they get back to room temperature, they’ll seal perfectly.
3 - Once the truck is nice and cool, remove the solenoid pack wiring harness pig-tail from the driver side of the transmission assembly (the only wiring harness plugging into this part of the transmission) and proceed to the next step.
Installation Step-by-Step Instructions:
*Keep in mind, this process requires changing the filters and pan to case seal from the original, so this guide will be written from the perspective of someone who also purchased our 68RFE Filter & Service Kit.*
1 - Remove the OEM pan completely. If your pan is fitted with a drain plug, you’ll like to use it now to drain the oil in a clean fashion. Drain your oil into a secure container and dispose of it properly. Do NOT reuse your old oil!
2 - Remove the pan filter and spin-on filter, and discard. The pan filter has a small T25 bolt holding it in place, keep this as it will be needed later.
3 - Remove the 6 8mm bolts from the valve body that hold it into the case itself. At this point, the valve body should simply descend out of position. Observe the “fork” on the cam-plate (the black and silver part that you can slide across the detent spring and it will “pop” into each position) and note it’s position. This position should be park, ensure it stays in this position when you’re re-installing it so that it lines up with the shift linkage internally. It’s most helpful to just simply not move the cam-plate during this process.
4 - Set the valve body, solenoid pack down, on a clean working surface. Remove all T25 bolts from the valve body assembly and the solenoid pack should simply just come off. We highly recommend NOT reusing the OEM solenoid pack, it’s like reusing a condom. They are not meant to be reused after being used once. It is best to replace it with an OEM Updated Solenoid Pack.
*Note! If you have a 2019 and above, you’ll have an additional lockup solenoid on the bottom of the valve body that will need unplugged and removed as well. Keep note of the check balls in this portion of the valve body! They must go back where you found them.*
5 - Remove the channel plate from the valve body, if you are installing the Formula One Billet Channel Plate, you can throw it away. If not, just throw the separator plate away.
6 - At this point, you should have the upper half of the valve body and that’s it. Note the location of all the check balls. 2007.5 to 2010 trucks will have 7, 2011 to 2018 trucks will have 5. 2019 trucks are unique in design and look slightly different inside than both preceding generations. This number is based off the year of the truck (PCM/TCM logic), NOT the solenoid pack. For example, you’re updating to a white solenoid pack on your 2015 truck that natively had a grey, you still use the same 5 check balls in the same 5 locations and nothing changes, ever! Snap a picture of where the check balls are if necessary.
7 - Remove the 7 bolts from the accumulator plate and discard of the bolts and the plate. They’ll all be replaced at the end of this process.
8 - Remove the plastic factory pistons and discard of them as well. Keep the springs as they’ll be reused! Shake the springs back and forth and see if the inner spring can freely move around inside the outer spring. It shouldn’t be able to completely come out but it should be able to freely move back and forth about half an inch. If it can’t call us and purchase a replacement OEM spring as this means yours is collapsed.
9 - Remove the small L/R switch valve hidden by a silver end cap from the valve body and lastly discard of it. However, keep it’s silver retainer.
10 - Now look at the opposite side of the valve body for a black plastic square retainer holding in a small valve assembly. This is the infamous solenoid switch valve (SSV), remove the black plastic end piece and remove all 4 pieces of the SSV assembly.
11 - Remove all 3 black valve body to case seals from the top side of the valve body. These will be replaced with 3 new OEM ones later.
12 - The only thing remaining in the valve body internally should be the large manual valve assembly. Clean the valve body vigorously and thoroughly! WD-40 for the initial bath, compressed air to dry it off and brake cleaner to spot touch is best for the same-day install DIY’er on a budget.
13 - Now, use some new ATF4 and lubricate the inside of the bores for the valve body to case seals with your finger and gently press the 3 new seals into them. Use no more than the force necessary to crack an egg and once they bottom out, they’re good!
14 - Take the long piece from the SSV assembly and install it just how it came out. Now, instead of using the 3 end plugs that you pulled out, use the 3 stainless steel NeverLeak Billet End Plugs we sent you. They’ll never get stuck and they also won’t wear the bore! This is the #1 valve crossleak in the 68RFE and is the cause of most OD issues. Once you’ve done that, put the black end cap back and spray them with compressed air to ensure they move freely.
15 - Now to the accumulator side again, slide the Billet NeverLeak L/R switch valve where you removed the OEM one. Put the OEM silver retainer back in place to close it in.
16 - Remember those Formula One Accumulator Pistons you put in the freezer? Now’s the time to take them out! The seals are already sized and installed, just slide them in exactly how the OEM pistons came out! All 5 of them should seat perfectly.
17 - Put the OEM springs back exactly where you found them. Place the red recalibration spring inside OD, the piston with the pink or white spring. It should end up looking like this!
18 - Place the accumulator girdle where you found the original one, and begin threading in the 7 bolts and screws slowly. The orifices for the bolts are rather tight in tolerance, so slowly screw each bolt a few threads at a time to get it on flat. Just hand tighten the bolts for now.
19 - Put the check balls exactly where you found them, and place the Separator Plate on top.
20 - Take your OEM plate, and navigate to this specific oil circuit. Take a 1/8” drill bit and drill a hole right through the circular portion. If the plate measures at more than 0.004” in deflection, it will likely have trouble sealing. If you exceed that flexion, use a laptable or mill to flatten the valve body or purchase a different channel plate. If you purchased a Project Carbon Billet Channel plate, skip this step!
21 - Install the channel plate onto the valve body itself, and begin hand threading the T25 bolts back where they originally came from. Hand-tighten them all to at least secure the plate in place.
22 - Perform an initial torque of 40 inch pounds, spiraling out from the center bolt. Do not install or torque the solenoid pack yet.
23 - Torque the accumulator girdle down to 40 inch pounds, starting with the center bolt and working out.
24 - Repeat steps 22 and 23 two more times at 55 inch pounds.
25 - Now, with your otherwise complete valve body, you will install the solenoid pack. Place it on the valve body, aligning it with the 2 alignment dowels in the channel plate. Begin threading the remaining T25 bolts into it, getting them all hand tight.
26 - Perform an initial torque, again spiraling from the center outward, of 40 inch pounds. Then, perform 2 more at 55 inch pounds. Wait about an hour for the rubber crush gasket to yield before performing a final torque of 55 inch pounds.
27 - Perform one final torque to the entire valve body and accumulator girdle for 55 inch pounds with no specific torque sequence, this is to ensure all bolts remained at 55 inch pounds. If some needed a bit more of a turn, don’t worry. Just use this as your final torque and proceed.
*Why all the torques? Our Formula One separator plate is a “crush style” gasket, much like a head gasket! Multiple torques allow it to seal perfectly.*
28 - Take your assembled valve body, and bolt it back into the transmission case at 105 inch pounds using the same 6 black bolts used to hold it the first time. Make sure the fork on the camplate is properly aligned with the park rod inside the transmission itself.
29 - Install the spin-on filter and sump filter to OE specification. We advise the use of a steel spin-on screw filter update which allows considerably safer torquing of the spin on filter. Lubricate the black O-Ring on the spin-on filter before torquing it down to ensure proper seal and smooth fit. Some use a small amount of red loctite in the case when installing the metal spin on screw because it keeps it from coming out with the spin on filter during future servicing.
30 - Remember that tiny bolt we had you save removing the sump filter? 45 inch pounds.
31 - Install the black bonded oil pan gasket in our service kit, and torque the pan to 105 inch pounds in a star pattern to the best of your ability. Torque it 3 times in total at 105 inch pounds.
Congratulations! You’ve installed the Project Carbon™ 68RFE Valve Body Upgrade kit, now it’s time for the driving break-in.
In-Truck Remaining Instructions:
1 - Reconnect the Solenoid Pack’s pig-tail, and begin filling the transmission, with the motor turned on and the truck now in neutral, with oil. Let the dipstick be your guide.
2 - Take some oil with you on your maiden voyage as there are certain clutch packs that won’t see oil until you ascend into higher gears; such as overdrive. You will likely need to add a quart or two during your initial drive because of this. Also, pumps that leak oil out of the converter are a common pump crossleak and hence the converter can often be a bit empty during the initial drive. For all of these reasons, keep it under 30% throttle just for now!
3 - If this is just a shift kit install, break-in is 50 miles. If you installed this as part of a complete transmission build, we highly recommend a 500 mile break-in. Drive the truck at under 30% throttle in a variety of real life conditions, ranging from stop and go to highway environments. It is most important during a drive-learn to drive naturally but cautiously! The transmission is “waking up from surgery” and does not need any aggression during the break-in process.
4 - Once break-in is complete, enjoy your radically different transmission!
This kit is designed to be incredibly easy to install, and yield maximum improvement to the problematic 68RFE with innovative and exciting product solutions to real world problems. We’re thankful that you chose this product, and hope to be your first recommendation for all performance drivetrain needs. If you still have questions about your installation, call in and speak to one of our experts!