Transmission Wars: AX4S and AX4N Battle it Out for Supremacy

Naomi O'Colman

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AX4S and AX4N are the two most common transmission models for vehicles. AX4S, or standard four-speed transmission, was the previous model of transmission and AX4N is the new generation. Let’s look at what they are and how they differ: AX4S Vs AX4N.

The AX4S transmission has a wider range between gears and a number of different configurations. The AX4N, on the other hand, has a narrower range but has more options for customization. In terms of cost and technical specifications, they are both relatively equal measures for upgrading from older models to newer ones.

What Is Car Transmission Models?

A car transmission model is a specific design or configuration of the transmission system in a car. The transmission system is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels, allowing the car to move.

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Different transmission models can vary in terms of their number of gears, type of gears (manual or automatic), and other features such as torque converter, dual-clutch system, continuously variable transmission (CVT), and more. The choice of transmission model can affect a car’s performance, fuel efficiency, and overall driving experience.

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Manual Transmission

Also known as a stick-shift or standard transmission, this type of transmission requires the driver to manually shift gears by using a clutch pedal and a gear shifter. Manual transmissions are known for their better fuel efficiency and more engaging driving experience, but require more driver skill and are less convenient in stop-and-go traffic.

Automatic Transmission

This type of transmission shifts gears automatically, requiring no input from the driver other than selecting a gear (drive, park, reverse, etc.). Automatic transmissions are generally more convenient and easier to use, but can be less fuel efficient and may not offer the same level of control as a manual transmission.

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

This type of transmission uses a system of belts and pulleys to provide a theoretically infinite number of gear ratios, allowing for smoother acceleration and better fuel efficiency. However, some drivers find the lack of traditional gears and engine noise to be less engaging.

Dual-Clutch Transmission

This type of transmission uses two separate clutches to switch between gears quickly and smoothly, offering the convenience of an automatic transmission with the performance of a manual transmission.

Automated Manual Transmission

Also known as an AMT, this type of transmission is essentially a manual transmission with an automated clutch system that shifts gears automatically. AMTs are often used in commercial vehicles for their fuel efficiency and low cost.

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Hybrid Transmission

This type of transmission combines a conventional engine with an electric motor and battery pack, allowing the car to switch between gasoline and electric power as needed. Hybrid transmissions can vary in design, but often use a CVT or other continuously variable system to optimize efficiency.

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There are also other types of transmissions, such as the manual transmission with automatic clutch, the continuously variable transmission with torque converter, and more. The choice of transmission model can depend on factors such as driving habits, personal preference, and the intended use of the vehicle.

AX4S Transmission Explanation

AX4S is the older transmission model that was produced before the AX4N. The standard four-speed transmission was created by Nissan and powered many of the Datsun models until its replacement by the newer model.

The AX4S has a number of different configurations available for different models or years, so there are quite a few parameters to take into consideration when upgrading between years and models. The AX4S also has different options for configuration, like synchronizers. Synchronizers are components that “synchronize” the gears when shifting, which allows the engine to maintain proper rpm while switching gears. There are three different types of synchronizers for AX4S transmissions.

AX4N Transmission Explanation

The AX4N is the newer version of transmission replacement for AX4S models. The replacement started in 1990, with earlier models being replaced by 1997. The AX4N is the successor to previous models because it offers more options for upgrades and customizations.

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Its range is narrower than AX4S models because it comes with only four gears. The AX4N transmission has a wider range of options for gearing, including customizations where users can choose their own ratios for different situations.

The AX4N also has different types of synchronizers to choose from, but the options are more limited than those available for AX4S models. The synchronizers include; sprag, friction disks, and hydrostatic.

Ax4s Vs Ax4n: The Key Differences

The following are key differences between AX4S and AX4N transmissions:


AX4S models have a wider range than the newer transmission model. The AX4N ranges between 3.58 and 2.62, while the AX4S ranges between 3.24 and 1.90. The difference in range is because of how gears are arranged inside the transmission model.


The newer transmission model, AX4N, has more options for customizing the transmission model to fit the needs of different users.

Gearing Options

The AX4S gives you more customization for gearing because there are more options that include different types of synchronizers. The new generation AX4N has less options for gearing because it provides only one type of synchronizer.


Standard four-speed transmissions are available in a number of configurations with slightly different equipment, so choosing the right one can be difficult.

The AX4S models are not as popular as the newer models because they do not have as many options for gear ratios and synchronizers. The AX4N also has a wider range of shifting, making it a more appealing alternative to the previous model.

Although this is a good trend, according to experts, AX4S transmission models will be gradually replaced by the newer model until the production of AX4S comes to an end.

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Common Misconceptions About Car Transmission

  • Manual transmissions are always better than automatics: While it’s true that manual transmissions can offer better fuel efficiency and a more engaging driving experience, they may not always be the best choice for everyone.
    Automatic transmissions can be more convenient, especially in stop-and-go traffic, and some modern automatic transmissions can even outperform manuals in terms of performance and fuel economy.
  • More gears always mean better performance: While having more gears can help a car achieve better acceleration and fuel efficiency, it’s not always the case that more gears are better. In some cases, having too many gears can actually hurt performance, as the engine may have to shift gears frequently, causing a loss of momentum.
  • Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are always better than traditional automatics: While CVTs can offer smoother acceleration and better fuel economy, they may not always be the best choice for everyone.
    Some drivers find the lack of traditional gears to be less engaging, and CVTs may not be as durable as traditional automatics in certain situations.
  • Manual transmissions are only for sports cars: While manual transmissions are often associated with high-performance sports cars, they can be found in a variety of vehicles, including trucks, SUVs, and even some economy cars.
    In some cases, manual transmissions can actually be more practical for certain types of driving, such as off-roading or towing.
  • Automatic transmissions don’t require maintenance: While automatic transmissions may not require as much maintenance as manual transmissions, they still require regular maintenance, such as fluid changes and filter replacements, to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
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It’s important to consider the specific needs and preferences of the driver when choosing a transmission type and to understand the capabilities and limitations of different transmission models.

Common Misconceptions About Car Transmission

Frequent Asked Questions

What is the difference between an ax4s and an ax4n transmission?

The AX4S and AX4N are both four-speed automatic transmissions produced by Ford, but they have different gear ratios and internal components. The AX4N is an updated version of the AX4S, with improvements in durability and shift quality.

Which is better for off-road use?

Neither the AX4S nor the AX4N is particularly well-suited for off-road use, as they are both designed for use in front-wheel drive and some all-wheel drive vehicles. For off-road use, a transmission with a lower gear range, such as a manual transmission or a specialized off-road automatic, would be more suitable.

Can I swap an ax4s for an ax4n?

In most cases, it is possible to swap an AX4S for an AX4N, as they have similar dimensions and mounting points. However, the electronic control modules and wiring harnesses may be different, so additional modifications may be required.

Will an ax4n bolt up to my ax4s bell housing?

Yes, the AX4N has the same bell housing bolt pattern as the AX4S, so it can be bolted up to the same engine and transmission mounts.

How do I identify an ax4n transmission?

The AX4N can be identified by its model number, which should be stamped on the transmission case. It may also have a tag or label on the case indicating the model number and other specifications.

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What are the differences in gearing between an ax4s and an ax4n?

The AX4S has a lower first gear ratio (2.84:1) compared to the AX4N (2.77:1), which can provide better low-end acceleration. The AX4N has a slightly higher overall gear ratio, which can improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, the AX4N has a different valve body design, which allows for smoother shifts and better durability.

The AX4S and AX4N transmission models are different in a number of ways, but they are relatively equal in terms of cost and technical specifications. The AX4S has a wider range of configurations and more options for gearing, while the newer model has a narrower range with more options for customizations.

I hope after reading this article,  you have a better understanding of the differences between an AX4S and an AX4N transmission.

If you’re still unsure about which model is the best for your car, it’s best to consult with a certified transmission specialist who can provide you with personalized advice.

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