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Eight-speed transmission repairs

Discussion in 'Car Dealer Hangout' started by Dave Z, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    When Allpar posted allowable nine-speed transmission repairs, the question arose: what about the eight-speeds?

    [​IMG]

    Due to the precision required for both ZF or ZF-based automatic transmissions, dealers are not allowed to rebuild the transmissions in many cases. However, dealers can replace the following items without pre-authorization:

    • Oil pan, filter, and gasket
    • Seals: gearshift shaft, output shaft, manual lever shaft lip
    • Replacement of the valve body, torque converter, output, parking pawl and rod lock
    The company told dealers that oil pump replacements are not allowed, and that they must return all parts and a diagnostic worksheet.

    Read the whole post here.
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    Engineering did want the early failures back untouched (other than diagnosis) so they could control any problems quickly and before they might become more widespread.
    With Chrysler (and Fiat in the U.S.) getting back on their feet after some notable transaxle/transmission quality issues, they can hardly afford any more bad publicity along these lines.
    The shame of the A-604 debacle is still in some ex-owner's minds. For many, it was their last Chrysler product. It's too bad when some folks hold grudges about bad car experiences, but cars are very personal to some of us. There are those cars also that 'can do no wrong' until a $3000(?!) repair bill.
    The technician's ability to service these transmission assemblies will be limited. Part of it may be the complexity of the unit and part of it may be the supply contract with the manufacturer. ZF doesn't want its own name tarnished if things go wrong while trying to repair an issue. In order to use their product, we must abide by their rules.
    The ZF automatic gearbox in the 1990ish Eagle Premier/Dodge Monaco was basically: take the old one out, put the new one in and send the old one back in the crate with the paperwork.
    The JATCO CVT was much the same way. Very little service furnished by the dealer and special tools furnished by the factory. If it fails, replace the assembly.
    We took one apart and put it together at school just to understand how it works, but the instructor said that we wouldn't be doing this in the field.
    Mopar does service the CVT main sump filter. The cooler filter is shown in the service manual, but not in the parts book. I had to go aftermarket for the cooler filter.
    The ATF used in these specialized transmissions are unique and the correct fluid must be used.
    It is nice when a software upgrade can fix an issue without having to open up the transmission.
    The days of doing a transmission filter and fluid service in your driveway (no more bands to adjust), may be a thing of the past. Most scheduled maintenance does not include transmission service, except in cases of 'severe duty' (schedule B), like towing, taxi or police service. It is basically lifetime fluid.
    There are no more dipsticks and if the outside of the transmission is dry, the fluid level should be OK. A dipstick can be made with a length of good, old-fashioned speedometer cable, shoving it down the tube and listening to the 'thunk' as it hits the pan bottom (go no further), but you also need to consider the temperature of the fluid, as a 100° difference can change the fluid level by over an inch.
     
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  3. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Sheer cost and the lengthy procedure to check and add transmission fluid will discourage many DIY on this job. To replace the transmission filter in the 8 speed ZF transmission, you have to replace the plastic transmission pan. It is integral to the pan assembly; no separate filter element like in the past. Dealer retail cost on the replacement pan with filter and gasket is around $335. You can probably save a $100 if purchased through the internet. This is freakin unreal!

    To check fluid level you need a lift to get under the car. The vehicle must be level so that rules out jack stands or wheel ramps. You must determine fluid temperature and then remove a plug on the side of the transmission. Depending upon fluid temperature you add fluid through the side opening to bring to the proper level according to temperature. How can engineers make something so easy become so difficult!!!
     
  4. TheMan

    TheMan What color are the clouds in your world?
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    Easily ...they dont want another a604 fiasco
     
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  5. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    I would bet the #1 causes of A-604 failure were the use of the wrong transmission fluid, overfilling, and underfilling, at least after 1990, and there were indeed reports of dealers saving two or three bucks per fill by using Dexron III instead of ATF+3.
     
  6. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    I remember reading somewhere that about half of the A604 failures were in deed from using the incorrect fluid (Dexron II or III) by independent shops and dealers. Even today, I'm leary of shops when they have "universal" fluids on display. Many manufacturers do specify specific fluids and no universal fluid will work properly in all of them.

    Neighbor down the street is a big Honda guy. Always gave me a hard time about my MoPars and how the transmissions are junk. Last year, I noticed his Odyssey minivan was gone. Asked him what happened. Turns out its transmission failed for the 2nd time (barely 100,000 on it). First time had been under warranty and this time out of warranty. He was looking at $3,000+ to repair/replace. So much for Honda reliability. He was not happy. Out of the several MoPars I've had, only one had a transmission failure and even then it had almost 200K on it.
     
  7. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    And a failed snap ring also took out many of the early Ultradrive/A604 transmissions.
     
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  8. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    If they are certified by Chrysler, I am fine with them. I used a “universal” fluid so my Valiant, minivan, and 300M could all share. It was certified by Chrysler to match ATF+4 and by GM to match Dexron 3-(5 or 6, I forget which) as well as Ford, Toyota, etc.
     
  9. ka9yhd

    ka9yhd Active Member

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    Since this is a new transmission and still under warranty ZF probably wants the failed transmissions back to see what went wrong. Similar to the early days of the Cadillac North Star engine. The dealers were to just replace the failed engine and send the old one back to GM. After some time the dealers were allowed to tear the engines down.
     
  10. 04RAMSRT10

    04RAMSRT10 Well-Known Member

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    I know his pain, the only way for those Odyssey transmissions won't fail, is don't have one. They all are junk. A simple valve body mod and external cooler helps keep them alive longer. Honda is no help at all. They do "Keep it simple". don't buy one!
     
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  11. 04RAMSRT10

    04RAMSRT10 Well-Known Member

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    Back to the real subject, has anyone gone over 100k miles with an 8 speed yet? My car is at 83K miles. Should I service it at 100k miles or is life time really life time service interval?
     
  12. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    There is one individual in the northern Utah area that uses a 2014 Ram 1500 diesel for freight / cargo delivery. I am guessing he has about 150,000 miles on his vehicle at this point in time and I have not seen any posts about transmission failure. But he did service the transmission fluid and filter regularly.

    This shows how to do a transmission fluid and filter replace.

    You can do a Google search on mopar ecodiesel and find information he has shared.
     
  13. wtxiceman

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    I'm at 119,000 in our 300, i am curious about doing service to the transmission. along with the 2015 ram i just acquired.
     
  14. ImperialCrown

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    If you do regular towing or freight/cargo hauling like the gentleman in the YouTube video above, then your transmission may want a fluid/filter service every 60K or 100K. If you do normal, around-town driving, your fluid should have an easy life and maybe worth an 'investigative' 100K fluid/filter service?
    Many dealers might tell you that a transmission service isn't necessary (and it may really not be necessary), but if it gives you peace-of-mind, then I would perform the maintenance.
    I'm not sold of the idea of using Lucas or Amsoil or the need for an auxillary Magnafine filter. Just the Mopar/ZF pan assembly and fresh ZF/Shell L12108 Lifeguard 8 -(Mopar 68218925GA) synthetic fluid. Be prepared for a few hundred dollars worth of parts for this service.
    Measure what comes out, including an estimate of any spills or what is left in the filter/pan assembly and use that amount as a baseline for your initial fill.
    Having your TCM controller at the latest and greatest software 'flash' revision level, will ensure optimum shift quality and clutch/fluid longevity.
     
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  15. AdminDave

    Staff Member

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    The problem is the assumption that someone reaches high miles “because” they did maintenance.

    “I got to 200,000 miles because I did oil changes four times as often as I was supposed to!”

    So... what would have happened otherwise? Possibly no difference. Several people have published their research on extended oil change intervals with engine and oil analysis after 100,000 miles and annual changes. Turns out 3,000 and 12,000 mile changes have the same effect under some conditions. So I will change the oil when the car tells me to - at the moment, that's every 11 months. Transmission fluid - if I was rough on the transmission, I'd probably agree to open it at 100,000 or 150,000 and change the fluid, but it's full synthetic now, designed for the life of a vehicle, in a sealed system. Up to 100,000, I would not touch it. More likely to cause problems changing the fluid...
     
  16. 04RAMSRT10

    04RAMSRT10 Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to mention here is the trans operating temp. I often look at the gauge, it is rarely over 170 f. That along with the synthetic fluid, we should be good to go well beyond the 100k miles. I am considering just letting her go as long as she will.
     
  17. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    One problem with the A604 / 4XTE automatic transaxles was that the control software allowed more clutch slippage than a conventional hydraulically controlled automatic. This created more heat in the fluid and the earlier equipped vehicles in the 1990s had inadequate oil coolers to handle the extra heat load. That problem was corrected but the additional slippage deposited more fibrous clutch lining material in the fluid. Independent repair shops refer to these transmissions as "extremely dirty". The 42TE used in the minivans and larger front wheel cars seemed to tolerate this extra garbage floating around in the transaxle but the smaller passageways in the 40TE transaxle used in the Neon tended to plug and cause damage in the fluid pump and 4th gear planetary gear set. So not changing the fluid regularly could cause sudden failure due to design problems. This problem happened on my 2003 Neon.

    Around 2007 and before offering a lifetime powertrain warranty, I believe transmission clutch lining material was changed to kevlar impregnated lining so there would be less debris thrown from linings and deposited in the fluid.

    So not changing fluid on these high tech, very expensive transmissions is certainly increasing the risk for expensive repair bills if you keep and drive the vehicle much beyond 100,000 miles.
     
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  18. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Interesting. I had not heard that before. It does make sense.

    Our 300M went well beyond 100,000 miles on the original automatic. Model year 2000. No transmission fluid changes that I can recall. It probably had an auxiliary cooler.

    Not changing the fluid on the current automatics seems to be fine, though.
     
  19. ImperialCrown

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    The service manual notes that fluid color is no longer an indication of the need for service. Fluid will tend to darken with age.
    Fine, suspended clutch particulates will also tend to darken fluid.
    Many of the newer synthetic ATFs will have a strong 'machine oil'-type odor, almost like the strong hypoid axle fluid scent.
    Conventional ATF has been red in color. The ZF fluid is clear. JATCO CVT fluid is green.
    Many of the older internal radiator ATF coolers had fine passages (for better heat transfer) that could trap particles. This could lead to cooler plugging and eventual transaxle failure.
    Usually these coolers couldn't be 'reverse-flushed' effectively and a 'flow test' (Chrysler dealer special tool 8392) would indicate the need for a cooler (radiator assembly) replacement.
    If this cooler wasn't flow tested during a transmission rebuild or replacement (especially where metal and clutch debris was circulated through the system), it could lead to repeated transmission failures. This was bad news for everyone involved.
    Transmissions with heavy internal debris issues that couldn't be cleaned adequately were usually replaced with a reman to reduce dissatisfaction possibilities.
    The newer coolers are unrestricted tubing with a thermostatic flow control and a check valve (to keep them filled when parked), so plugged ATF coolers are hopefully a thing of the past.
     
  20. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    In addition, the car monitors transmission fluid temperature, does it not?
     

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