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Greetings everyone! In my quest for ensuring I changed my transmission properly I reached out to ZF for instructions and they kindly sent back the attached file. Just wanted to pass along the knowledge. I recently changed my transmission fluid and followed these exactly, I also installed the PPE all aluminum pan with replaceable filter (figured I'd give it a shot since it was the same price as the plastic OEM pan; PPE pan holds 2 extra quarts though). All went well. If anyone needs pointers or has questions feel free to ask! https://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/58e07b7e808e4/ZF Trans Service Instructions.pdf
 

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Interesting. I'll have to read into this later as I'm at 115k on my truck and I have done 0 service on the transmission.
 

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Thanks for posting this.
 

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Interesting. I'll have to read into this later as I'm at 115k on my truck and I have done 0 service on the transmission.
I'd service it. I did mine at 38k miles because I'm big into preventative maintenance. FCA says that this is a fill for life transmission but that's BS; ZF recommends changing the fluid every 40k to 60k miles depending on the driving conditions. If you tow you definitely want to change it around 40k.
 

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I agree, Thanks for passing the info along!!
 

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It will be interesting to check that out. My 5 series BMW had an almost identical transmission..the earlier generation. It contained what BMW referred to as 'lifetime' fluid although they later amended that. The real problem is that while the fluid may be 'lifetime' the gasket is definitely not..the gasket leaks, you end up with a couple quarts less fluid and start having problems. nobody puts a dipstick on anymore so you never even know..unless you have stains on your driveway. The earlier generation transmission had the filter attached to the pan..so you bought a new pan and bolts in order to replace. I'm also curious if the refill procedure is the same..you had to pump the fluid up into the transmission with all 4 wheels off the ground..then run it through the gears to pull it up into the torque converter..then fill again. Also its worth noting that the only way to drain the entire transmission was with the computer that could instruct the vehicle to eject 100% of the fluid..otherwise if you want to get 100% replacement you might have to drain, run, and refill 3 or 4 times since about half of the fluid remains in the torque converter. I am due for a fluid change on my Ram now..so this information couldn't have come at a better time.
 

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It will be interesting to check that out. My 5 series BMW had an almost identical transmission..the earlier generation. It contained what BMW referred to as 'lifetime' fluid although they later amended that. The real problem is that while the fluid may be 'lifetime' the gasket is definitely not..the gasket leaks, you end up with a couple quarts less fluid and start having problems. nobody puts a dipstick on anymore so you never even know..unless you have stains on your driveway. The earlier generation transmission had the filter attached to the pan..so you bought a new pan and bolts in order to replace. I'm also curious if the refill procedure is the same..you had to pump the fluid up into the transmission with all 4 wheels off the ground..then run it through the gears to pull it up into the torque converter..then fill again. Also its worth noting that the only way to drain the entire transmission was with the computer that could instruct the vehicle to eject 100% of the fluid..otherwise if you want to get 100% replacement you might have to drain, run, and refill 3 or 4 times since about half of the fluid remains in the torque converter. I am due for a fluid change on my Ram now..so this information couldn't have come at a better time.
It sounds similar to the BMW. Wheels don't need to be in the air though. It also isn't a flush, that isn't recommended and I don't know if it's even possible. I took about 6 quarts out and put 8 in (new pan has higher capacity). There were a few quarts left in there but that's also why I decided to do it early, keep the life of the oil going. I'll end up doing it every 40k miles at a cost of about $200. I bought Ravenol ATF (same as lifeguard 8 but less expensive). The step by step instructions are straight forward and I replaced the gasket for $15. Good luck!

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I'd service it. I did mine at 38k miles because I'm big into preventative maintenance. FCA says that this is a fill for life transmission but that's BS; ZF recommends changing the fluid every 40k to 60k miles depending on the driving conditions. If you tow you definitely want to change it around 40k.
Actually, the document you posted by ZF says change the transmission fluid every 80,000-120,000 km depending upon driving style or no longer than every 8 years. That equates to every 49,700 to 74,560 miles. I do agree it is interesting how different these requirements are to what the Ram owners manual says. The document is a generic type document for many different uses of a similar transmission. I wonder if part of the reason has anything to do with our transmission operating temperatures or the relative hp, rpms and torque of our engines compared to other engines using similar transmissions.

I cannot imagine that FCA just made recommendations that ZF does not endorse for our particular usage. Perhaps there are some members of this list that has information on this that they will share.

I also wonder if using a metal pan is a good idea. I note that, even with the winter front, my transmission seldom reaches the desired operating temperature during the winter. It strikes me that since the metal pan is a much better transmitter of heat it the transmission may run colder and heat up slower in the winter with the metal pan than with the plastic pan. Seems to me this is worth a thought if you live in cold country.
 

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Why on earth cant they develop a transmission with a spin on filter only and a cold level or hot level check plug and be done with it?

For years and years transmissions had dipsticks and it was a piece of cake.

I changed the transmission fluid on my wife's ford escape followed directions, it didn't have a dipstick and shortly after we started having problems. Fortunately it was still under powertrain warranty and it was determined to be an electrical issue which I couldn't have screwed up because all I did was pull drain and fill plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What kind of tool did you use to check the fluid temp?
My cluster displays trans temp. I was going to use my scan tool but couldn't find the trans temp display, so after warming it up per the directions I got under the truck and opened the fill plug. I topped it off and let the oil stream until single drops and put the plug back. It was in the temp window (86F to 126F or close to that) for at least ten minutes at idle, plenty of time.

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So you just used the temp read out from the truck? Would be interesting to know if the temp read out on the instrument cluster was the same as the one with a scan tool, same sensor just a different screen.

Thanks for sharing I saved it!
 

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So you just used the temp read out from the truck? Would be interesting to know if the temp read out on the instrument cluster was the same as the one with a scan tool, same sensor just a different screen.

Thanks for sharing I saved it!
You're welcome! I did just use the truck readout, even if it's a few degrees off it'll be fine. I opened the fill plug at 90F and closed it at 120F. You don't need to have it open the whole time, that's just the window to fill and check. From my understanding it starts to expand higher than 126F. Glad you found the doc helpful.

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I cannot imagine that FCA just made recommendations that ZF does not endorse for our particular usage. Perhaps there are some members of this list that has information on this that they will share.
I think the Auto Industry has made a business decision that if they sell you a vehicle that lasts 7 or 8 years they have given you value...or at least as much value as they want to give. In other words 7-8 years of average driving which they consider 'lifetime' transmission very unlikely to fail before 150K even with no fluid change. With a lot of these modern vehicles..after that time you are basically driving a time-bomb. You are one major issue away from something which will send your 8yr old vehicle to the scrap-heap.. would you put a $9K transmission in a 8 yr old vehicle...knowing that the engine could be next? Again..the seal on the pan will never last more than 7 or 8 years..so its going to be changed by then anyhow..but depending upon the mileage it may be too late. If you want to have any chance of seeing 250K-300K I would change the fluid at least every 60K.
 

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Why would the seal go out? Ive never seen a transmission pan seal fail that hadn't been reused.

I have several vehicles that we change trans fluid at 100k that see tow service regularly that are still running strong at 200k. One of our vehicles we don't tow with has never had a trans change at almost 200k and it runs great and the fluid is still bright and smells good.

I think 60k is overkill for modern fluids and transmissions unless your putting it though some extreme use.
 

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Why would the seal go out? Ive never seen a transmission pan seal fail that hadn't been reused.
Are you joking ? Every seal on an automobile eventually leaks..you just think they aren't because its a tiny amount. Gaskets start breaking down almost immediate and have significant deterioration after after even 50K. The problem with a sealed system is you never know you're low until damage is done. Its correct that synthetic fluids last much longer but they are not infallible. Sure plenty of vehicles can last over 200K before their transmission pops but believe me..plenty don't. The AVERAGE is 7 or 8 years and 100-150K. Contaminants enter even a sealed system through vents and even minor breakdown of the fluids can leave deposits on the internal parts. Changing more often is just insurance..may pay off and it may not but it cant hurt. As far as the color and smell of the fluid..every one of my vehicles that blew a transmission was like that...right up till the point that it blew.
 

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If we were talking cork gaskets I would believe they break down in 50k miles. Modern gaskets are much better. I do most of my transmission services at around 100k miles on modern vehicles 2000 or so and newer depending on use and none have had any seepage or build up around seals. I also find that the seal/gasket that comes from the factory on new cars is usually a much higher quality than what you get in a filter/gasket set from the parts houses.
 

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MAS.

I had a Subaru Legacy with a spin-on transmission filter AND a dipstick/filler tube!
 

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Hey guys ordering the filter / pan from Rock Auto (replaceable) and using approved amsoil fluid (13$ cad per L) . This service is going to be affordable. Finally. Lol how many liters are you guys putting in ?
 
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