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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 08-22-2012
GARY,M
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Default synthetic trans fluid in a zf trans

im reading that some are replacing dextron with synthetic trans oil in their zf trans.
i had a notion to change mine last year because i was told it would run cooler.
so i called zf and talked to there tech.he strongly advised that i not .they had experience trans faliure in zfs that were on the road as city buses.
he said if i wanted to switch it would not be with there blessing.so i left the dextron in it.
just my two cents.
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2012
Robert Britton Robert Britton is offline
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I got the same advice from them when I had my 87FC with the ZF trans. I stuck with Dexron and just changed it often do to the fact I used my trans retarder often in the mountains out west...Dextron is cheap and changing it was easy.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2012
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When I had my ZF gone through last March the ZF Precission Transmission Shop in Colmar, PA., suggested I put in 15W40 in place of Dextron. They claim it runs much cooler with 15W40. I elected to stay with Dextron. I may go the 15W40 route when I have the filter & fluid changed in a few years. Some have tried it already and said it did not work for them but the ZF is a percular beast if you are just a few ounces low or high it will not shift properly & that could have been their problem. The ZF in the FC has 2 checking points for fluid level and the ZF shop recommend to use the ZF factory stick on the transmission and not the added Blue Bird stick from the dog house.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2012
GARY,M
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that doesnt sound right john.a transmition is a hydraulic pump.
trans fluid is a hydraulic fluid .15 40 is motor oil .motor oil makes rubber swell. seems it would swell all the seals in the trans.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2012
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When we had them go through our ZF they told me the same thing John. I elected to stay with the Dextron.
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2012
Jim Brookshire Jim Brookshire is offline
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In 10 years and 80,000 miles, I changed the fluid in the ZF only twice. Used the retarder almost all the time living in the mountains. John is right! If you can get to it, the original ZF level stick is the only way to get an accurate reading. Unfortunately the only way with an SP is to block it up and crawl under the coach.
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2012
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Zf, had a different story for me about 8 years ago,, there was a long list of oils & fluids listed by ZF, that are compatible with the ZF500. Dextron, Transyn, and motor oil being a few. Zf stated it depends on the application usage such as: On highway, Off highway (heavy equipment), Garbage truck , city bus usage for Stop ,Go & idle. etc.
I chose Transynd/ Castrol, for its tolerance to heat. It will not run cooler just handle the retarder heat better. Inaddition the recommendation was to change with 5 gallons & change filter, then wait two years and change again, because of the expense. The ZF holds 8 gallon but only drains 5 gallon, at the second change most all Dextron would be purged. There was still a question of possible leaks. Since then our ZF has run great, with lots of mountain climbing and descents. So far it does not leak, and it works hard for us , for sure it costs about 3 times the cost of Dextron so it must be better ,
If you are familiar with the ZF it is a wonderful tranny , the retarder is great, but it heats up fast on the down hills, temp must be monitored during heavy retarded use, but with a little knowledge & practice the heat is manageable on the steepest grades.
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Old 08-22-2012
Bruce Bruce is offline
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There is an Allison engineer who frequents another forum. He HATES Dexron. Says it is an outdated oil and recommends that one use Transynd. He is retired and so has nothing to gain with that recommendation. ZF says that if you use Dexron it should be changed every year. Probably an extreme recommendation.
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  #9  
Old 10-15-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pape View Post
If you are familiar with the ZF it is a wonderful tranny , the retarder is great, but it heats up fast on the down hills, temp must be monitored during heavy retarded use, but with a little knowledge & practice the heat is manageable on the steepest grades.
I was reading this old thread and was wondering if you or others can expand on managing the ZF transmission heat on long downhills, and are there routes or roads or grades you should just avoid. How much retarder force do you use in different situations.
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Last edited by iamflagman; 10-15-2013 at 05:05 AM. Reason: Repaired quote
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2013
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is online now
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you do not need to avoid any roads with any bird.
If your tranny is getting too hot because of the retarder use,your going too fast.

Start down slow,gear the tranny down,use your foot brakes along with the retarder and you will have no issues.

Remember,you can go down the mountain as slow as you want,as many times as you want,but you can only go down too fast once.

If you go up the mountain in 3rd gear,wide open,then you need to go down in 2nd gear.
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