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Transmission Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's transmission.

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  #1  
Old 08-20-2008
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Juergen Juergen is offline
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Default ZF Oil Cooler

This is for all Birders who have a ZF transmission. There are two 2in lines going into the Transmission Oil cooler. These lines pump the coolant / antifreeze thru the tranny oil coils and keep your tranny nice and cool. The point where the cooling line goes into a 90 degree angled rubber hose, and enters the oil cooler, that where corrosion will appear.
I had to cancel my trip for now, because I could see a few drops of fluid dripping on the ground. i found the 90 dergree hose having a small leak. BUT, upon close examination at the cooler joint, we found the nipple from the cooler totally corroded. Actually, both nipples were corroded. The Aluminum was just plain gone, just flakes and black streaks. I don't know what kept me from blowing all my coolant suddenly, but I am glad we found it in the shop here.
So, guys, check where the lines come into the oil cooler and take care of the corrosion before it will strand you somewhere in the middle of now where. Click image for larger version

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  #2  
Old 08-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juergen View Post
This is for all Birders who have a ZF transmission. There are two 2in lines going into the Transmission Oil cooler. These lines pump the coolant / antifreeze thru the tranny oil coils and keep your tranny nice and cool. The point where the cooling line goes into a 90 degree angled rubber hose, and enters the oil cooler, that where corrosion will appear.
I had to cancel my trip for now, because I could see a few drops of fluid dripping on the ground. i found the 90 dergree hose having a small leak. BUT, upon close examination at the cooler joint, we found the nipple from the cooler totally corroded. Actually, both nipples were corroded. The Aluminum was just plain gone, just flakes and black streaks. I don't know what kept me from blowing all my coolant suddenly, but I am glad we found it in the shop here.
So, guys, check where the lines come into the oil cooler and take care of the corrosion before it will strand you somewhere in the middle of now where. Attachment 470

Attachment 471

Attachment 472

Jurgen,

When you stated that "The Aluminum was just plain gone, just flakes and black streaks" you were not over exaggerating, that is unbelieveable and the pictures are the proof, you indeed were lucky to find this now

Thanks for the great report and pictures to go with it, keep us posted as to how you fixed it.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2008
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Juergen,

Thanks for the post and this information.

How did you repair the aluminum casting???
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2008
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Default ZF Oil Cooler

As I said before, this trip will be by car. The coach is right now in a repair shop where we discovered the problem, and the latest is that the upper part of the cooler has to be pulled in order to get 4 bolts out which also hold the the cooler pan attached. ZF Precision in Philly PA are sending parts to us and we do not know if a new cooler pan can be had or not. ZF will call later on that. If the cooler pan is not replaceable, a good welding shop will be able to weld a couple of 2 inch nipples on that old cooler pan. I will find that out later. As for now, GUYS, CHECK THE COOLER INLET NIPPLES AND HOSES FOR LEAKS AND CORROSION. Otherwise, a hot engine, Fluid all pumped overboard, and a tow truck. $$$$. Corrosion is a nasty quiet and destructive ******* sneaking around our coaches.
I'll keep everything posted as I get more results in.
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Old 08-20-2008
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Tom S. had some problems with the water lines going to the ZF,i'm not sure what he did to fix that problem.
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  #6  
Old 08-26-2008
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Default Oil Cooler in Transmission

Here is the latest. My oil cooler unit is 66 pounds. The pan is not available alone, ZF will only ship you a new complete oil cooler/heat exchanger for the transmission fluid from germany for $4500.00 . That is what it would cost to have the repair done by the pros. Luckily ZF does sell and ship the gaskets for the pan on the cooler, and my mechanic pulled the cooler off, got the pan unscrewed from the cooler and has a welding shop weld two new 2inch nipples into it. There are 4 bolts which can only be removed if the whole cooler is pulled off the tranny. The other bolts come off easy.
If any one has any corrosion on these cooler pan nipples, and you cooling lines break, split or just fall off, your entire anti freeze will be pumped on the ground in less than a minute. Just look at my pix on the orig. post
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Old 08-26-2008
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Hi Juergen
Thanks for the heads up on the cooler. I had my pipes off two years ago but I will for sure get under there tomorrow & check mine out.
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Old 08-26-2008
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Every coach has some part that can corrode like the nipples on the ZF transmission. That is why I bought both of my Bluebirds in Texas and there was absolutely no corrosion on either of them. I strongly thought about buying a 1992 SP36 while I had the FC35 but after researching it carefully decided not to specifically because of the ZF transmission. Parts are outrageously expensive for them and in some cases are only available from Germany. Several years ago ZF was getting out of the American RV transmission market. Is that still the case?

However that does not address the problem that Jurgen has. I would strongly suggest that anyone either buying a coach or that now has a coach inspect it carefully for corrosion. Salt is the main culprit and it corrodes metal fast. In Jurgens case you can see the corrosion on the bolts and case. I would carefully clean all of it off and spray quaker state rust proofing on it so it wont happen again. Corrosion causes us a lot of problems and that is why I just hate to drive my coach on the roads where there is salt.
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  #9  
Old 08-27-2008
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Tom,i don't think this problem is from salt.
its very odd to me that the steel pipe looks good,and the aluim is gone.
i have seen odd things happen before on alium where rubber was attached.
i'm wondering of there was some weird reaction between the rubber and the aluim?
at first i was thinking it was the wrong coolant,or not enough napa-cool etc.
But,looking at the pics closer made me think the corrosion started from the outside in,from the rubber.

a few months ago Tom S had a problem with the steel coolant lines,they had rusted through.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2008
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Randy either you have a crystal ball or you are just one smart dude (my grandsons language that irritates me)????? Do you think that the combination of aluminum case and certain kinds of rubber plus the clamps that holds the rubber to the casing nipple is the problem? How about this, something I found in an engineering document this morning?

Aluminum corrosion is important in overhead electrical conductors constructed from aluminum wire centrally reinforced by galvanized steel strands.^Inspection of conductor after long service has implicated rubber bushing material, on the outside, and the galvanized strands, on the inside, as providing potential galvanic sites for the initiation of rapid aluminum corrosion.^Therefore, the galvanic corrosion of aluminum in contact with graphite-loaded neoprene rubber, hot-dip galvanized steel and steel was assessed in a cyclic wet/dry exposure test using mixed-salts spray solutions containing appropriate ratios of sulfate and chloride ion.^Aluminum was found to corrode at between 3 to 6 times its uncoupled rate when associated with the rubber material.^While the eta-phase, relatively pure Zn, galvanized layer remained intact, galvanic corrosion of aluminum was slow.^However, on exposure of the zeta-phase, Zn/Fe intermetallic layer, aluminum corroded about 35 times faster than expected in a solution with a high level of Cl{sup -} ion.^The importance of these data to conductor lifetime is discussed.

Or maybe its just because of some bad grounds which will cause the same thing where dissimilar metals are in contact.
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