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Is Fixing the 9 Speeds Just a “Snap?”

by Daniel Bennett on

Yesterday, Allpar learned more about FCA’s fix for its new nine-speed, ZF-based transmission.  Allpar contributor ImperialCrown wrote:

There is a snap ring that can fracture and is being replaced in the field. It does not differ visibly from the original snap ring. The latest software flash is supposed to save this snap ring from excessive stress and eventual breakage. The transaxle has to come out for this snap ring replacement. It pays poorly under the alloted warranty times and this can adversely affect technician morale.

Much of the low-speed ‘bumping’ and ‘surging’ is from the momentary free-wheeling of the dog-clutches. Some delay must be considered ‘normal’, but hopefully they can further improve the shift quality and behavior with software enhancements and updates. ZF transaxle hardware updates are probably also being implemented.

ZF nine speed automatic

Another Allpar reader added that the new snap ring is in a different angle in the case, while the flash both reduces the load on the ring and increases the ability to diagnose it.

This may help ameliorate the issues with the ZF 9 speed. It also appears that Land Rover is experiencing some similar teething pains with its  ZF sourced 9-speed as well. Another source claimed that problems did come up in testing but were overlooked.

Nine speed ZF automatic controller

Allpar sources said that ZF is working closely with both FCA and Land Rover to solve these issues.

An FCA US spokesman wrote:

As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to respond to customer feedback and improve product quality, FCA US is in the process of conducting a customer satisfaction campaign to update the powertrain and software in select 2014-15 Jeep Cherokee and certain 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans.

Affected customers are receiving letters requesting they schedule service at their local dealership for a free software update.  As of April 20, 2015, more than 50 percent of affected vehicles have been serviced.

We can confirm that the reason for the transmission control module reprogramming is to address rotation of a snap ring, created by a prior software release, which could potentially cause a durability concern.

As we have stated in the past, this is not a safety issue.

The nine-speed automatic is also used in the new ProMaster City and is likely to make it into the Dodge Dart and new minivans. Some have noted large improvements in the feel of the nine-speeds between 2014 and 2015 models. We have road-tested the Chrysler 200, Jeep Cherokee, and Ram ProMaster City, all with the nine-speed, and experienced no shifting issues.

Dan Bennett was doomed from the start. His parents bought a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner when it was known that he was coming along, and the rest of the story was written from that point forward.
Raised in a Mopar only home, Dan has also been Mopar only. From ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s muscle to current SRTs of various flavors, Dan has owned, and in many cases raced, each of the Mopar brands.
Dan’s real career is as a “parts guy” at a local dealership, but he also is a muscician, computer geek/gamer, avid reader, and general all around seeker of knowledge. His whole working career has been spent in the parts industry, starting in the aftermarket, and now at the dealership level. He took a couple years off and went in a different direction for a bit as a jewelry designer and salesman, and even though he won a design award for a piece, his true calling, automotive, won out in the end.
He has written articles, or has had vehicles that have appeared in Mopar Muscle, Sport Truck, and Truckin’. In various forums and social media, he has made a name for himself as the “Go-to” guy for tech information for all things Mopar. He also has a large background in many forms of racing and engine building, holding at one point a ASE Certified Master Engine Machinist rating. Though he no longer keeps that certification up to date, he is still very active in the engine building side when he has spare time.
To Dan, there is no option to covering the Mopar world, it is an imperative that must be done to keep his world in balance.
You can contact him at (206) 736-7670.

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