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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting conflicting opinions regarding this. The rover is a 93 classic with about 130k miles. From what I can tell via the records I have, the transmission fluid/filter was last changed in 2000 @ 60k miles. From what I can tell, the transmission shifts well right now.

I would like to do my best to maintain this vehicle (hopeful to see it reach 200k mi), and so I'd like to perform the recommended maintenance of changing out the transmission filter. I got a labor est. from the LR dealer which was reasonable, but came with the warning: "On these older vehicles with higher mileage, sometimes changing out the filter releases metal flakes and the transmission actually performs worse after the service than before -- you'll need to sign a waiver."

So, what do you all think? Should I start first simply by changing the transmission fluid and taking a look at it? Should I do nothing at all? Or should I just sign the waiver and go for it? Perhaps ask around until I find a shop that is more confident and could do the work without any waiver signing?
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Consider that if they are making you sign a waiver that they have probably had issues in the past...
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Thanks. I am fairly certain I'm going to leave everything "as-is" since there is uncertainty regarding transmission maintenance done on the vehicle I found this online, which is consistent with what the LR folks told me:

Higher Mileage Cars

"If your vehicle has high mileage (> 80,000 miles) and the transmission has not been maintained, I would not recommend replacing the fluid and filter. The fluid that has been in the transmission all this time has become dirty and gritty. This gritty fluid is actually providing needed friction for the worn internal parts of the transmission. Changing the fluid and replacing the filter would remove this friction that the internal transmission parts have become dependent on. If you have not been regularly maintaining the transmission throughout the life of the car, you might actually be doing more harm than good if you replace the transmission fluid at this point. For example, putting new clean slick transmission fluid in an older high mileage vehicle could cause the transmission to slip.

If you are not experiencing a problem, have over 80,000 miles on your car, and have not kept up regular maintenance on the transmission, my advice would be to leave the transmission fluid and filter alone. If you are experiencing a transmission problem like those listed above, seek the advice of a qualified transmission shop before allowing your regular mechanic
to service the transmission.

I learned about this problem several years ago...the hard way. We had two cars in our shop with these "minor" transmission symptoms that I have listed above, and both of them had to be towed out to the transmission shop after servicing. The old fluid was gritty due to metal shavings caused by normal internal wear and tear on the transmission clutches and was acting like liquid sandpaper. This "sandpaper" was producing the friction needed for the transmission to pull itself. When we changed the filter and replaced the old fluid with new fluid, the clutches inside the transmission had nothing to grab on to. Sometimes even the best of us learn lessons the hard (and expensive) way."
--http://www.trustmymechanic.com/transslip.html
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

I've heard the same thing, but went ahead and took the chance on my '95 LWB. I had no idea if the tranny fluid and filter had ever been replaced, so at 170,000 I took the chance and completed a tranny flush and filter change. I don't know if I was lucky, but I haven't had any problems. I now have 177,000 miles on it.

Having to sign a waiver would probably scare me off. I did it myself and therefore assumed all responsibility.

Colin
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Think of your tranny fluid as motor oil. Would you let your motor oil go until the engine seizes and fails? Transmissions are wear items just as the engine is. A fluid and filter change is never going to cause a failure if done correctly. Keep in mind that a fluid and filter "change" only swaps a portion of your fluis due to the amounts held in the convertor, lines and cooler. Do a fluid flush, drop the pan, change the filter and top off. You will then have a fresh start with all particulate matter rmoved, fresh filter and new fluid in the entire system.

BTW, anyone can easily do this themselves with a buddy to help with the flush.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

I'd happily take this job on myself. The thing that scares me off of DIY is the need to "spread the chassis" to drop the pan, do you think I could do that part with a jack (or how do you recommend)? Also, I know it was done @ 60K so its not too much of a stretch to do it again now around 130k. I'd love to have the peace of mind that the fluid and filter are fresh.
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

miunk said:
I'd happily take this job on myself. The thing that scares me off of DIY is the need to "spread the chassis" to drop the pan, do you think I could do that part with a jack (or how do you recommend)? Also, I know it was done @ 60K so its not too much of a stretch to do it again now around 130k. I'd love to have the peace of mind that the fluid and filter are fresh.

This is quite the project. Its been the most involved thing I've done to the Rover. I was able to get the crossmember out without having to spread the chassis. Just banged on it a while and it came out. Oddly enough, it went in a whole lot easier than it came out. To get the crossmember out, I had to drop the exhaust from the manifolds back. Not tough at all, just another thing that had to be done. It is also a messy job. When I was finally finished, everything I had on and everything I had touched during the process was covered in tranny fluid.

All said and done, would I do it again? I hate to think about it, but yeah, I would. I love knowing the job was done right. Also, everything I removed was cleaned to the hilt before being reinstalled. No shop is going to do that for you.

Colin
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Personally I don't understand how this 'metal shaving' theory works. The filter is very fine and wouldn't allow any shavings through, and I imagine any shavings would clog up the valve block pretty quick. I also imagine any shaving would chew through the bands too.
I changed mine at 120,000miles, as it hadn't been done for almost 60,000 miles, and I found the shifts where ever so slightly quicker, and occured at lower revs hot and cold. Maybe the oil fluid was getting thin? Sorry for any ignorance here :oops: .
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

I personally think its people over reacting. I have no service history on my RRC since it left the dealer many years ago. I have drained and filled my transmission a couple of times. I plan on doing the filter soon, I know a few high mileage trucks that have had fluid and filter changes with no issue. I would do a full on "flush" just drain the sump and do the filter. the x-member is a breeze, the y-pipe is nice to have a little help with
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Sorry forgot to add, yes the chassis cross member is a piece of...cake. Dad uses a highlift jack, i've used a hand winch.
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

This does sound like a load of c*** If changing the oil is going to stop the box from working then its on its lasts legs anyway! If you are worried, stick a filter mag on the box and drive it for a while, this will draw out the particals, if it starts to slip.... then i'm the idiot, if not change the oil and filter. When I did mine i slid the cross member as far forward as possiable and managed to wiggle the sump cover out.
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

I could see if maybe changing it might be a bad idea if its never been changed. But the fact of the matter is these were expensive vehicles and dealer maintenance was performed on them through the first of their life at least. Check your passport to service in your owners manual book thingey, mine was serviced until 200k kilometers at the dealer undergoing filter changes at 48k, 96k, 144k and again at 200k. I have had my new filter sitin in the garage waiting to go in so its going to be replaced by me at 240k :thumb:
 

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Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

As has already been said (but put in a slightly different manner): So, what? Leave in fluid that has been there for God only knows how long? Failure sooner or (not too much) later? I would opt to change it (along with the filter, etc.) and let the chips fall where they may. We're talking an old Rover that presumably you drive on a regular basis, not a Ferrari show car that you're going to stand around and admire. If you do nothing it's practically guaranteed for failure at some point. Go for it, be bold, use quality fluid (maybe synthetic) and feel like a man. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I've had a couple.

Cheers,
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: ZF Auto Transmission -- Change filter and/or fluid or not?

Trans fluid has been changed and the filter replaced. An independent shop nearby was happy to do it, no waiver signing required. They said everything looked great /w no metal shavings present at all. I also learned from a prior owner that the fluid was changed /w synthetic @ 100k miles in 2007, (and prior to that filter/fluid @ 60k miles in 2003). Shifts well (1st to 2nd is a little hard, but this is normal in classics I've read?).

I didn't feel right about just leaving it as-is and am happy that the maintenance has been done. Thanks all for your feedback.

After driving it around for about a day, I noticed a new issue unrelated to the transmission (I'm fairly certain). A nice couple of puddles of coolant coming down both sides of the radiator. If I look at it /w a flashlight from the angle of the driver's (L) side wheel well, I can see coolant dripping down the front of the radiator. I am thinking it is the radiator itself that it is leaking, because all of the tubes appear to be connected to the rear of the radiator. I'm going to start a new thread for this one:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=41050
 
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