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Skip to around the 9:30 min mark, and you can see where the filter is located:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wknOziDd6lk
Wow, awesome video. It must be comforting for aspiring PTU rebuilders that, if they fail their exams they can always pursue a career as brain surgeon...

More seriously, do you happen to have an indication what a complete, top notch, rebuild with warranty would run at? It's a obviously a complicated and time consuming job. But with a brand new unit being about (I believe) $2500 it's kinda limited how much you can spend on parts and labor and still be competitive?
 

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I replaced my fluid at 80K miles (when I replaced the PTU). $2,032.46 about $1250 in parts, the rest was labor, tax and shop supplies. Really?! Pay for your own shop supplies, I do.
 

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Sounds reasonable on those mileage numbers. I put a little trust in the people who design the transmission and fluid:
https://www.zf.com/unitedkingdom/en...s_corporate/how_to_change_oil/change_oil.html
Yeah they're referencing the 6 and 8HP but the fluid tech is the same. They are referencing hard driving too, so maybe this is all pointless discussion. But I think if they mention changing fluid at all, I'm going to do so one way or another.

100% fluid changeout would be nice, but really expensive. I considered disconnecting the cooler lines to feed new fluid in while old comes out, but even then it'd take a lot of fluid (guessing 10 qts or more) to get a full changeout, as old and new would be mixing in the torque converter during the process. A dealer would use a fluid exchange machine (I hope at least) but that would have the same issue. Inside the converter is a big relatively open space that has several quarts in it... no way to get a one for one exchange in there.

BTW this trans doesn't have a pan to speak of that fluid sits in, nor an accessible filter. Pan drops on other cars tend to only get half or less of the fluid out anyway. There is a plastic cover over the valve body on this one, but it's up on the side and not really a pan.

@Shoulder clarified the situation for me on this ZF. What you did was probably the closest you could get to a change if needed.]
In your case a fluid change was not needed for a long time if ever as long as you owned that Cherokee.

You probably acted much as I would have in that I am use to changing the fluid more frequently only because I tow.
All my previous Jeeps had a special maintenance schedule for HD use such as towing. This 2014 did not and that should have been a big ? mark for me out of the gate. My schedule on early fluid changes has been eliminated as of now. Will have to talk to the dealer at some point on the subject.

But you did have a good work up on that posting. I was wondering if those pumps that are designed to pump fluids out would work for the balance of the fluid instead of doing several changes. That would save a lot of fluid.
But again good job on that report.
 

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The filter for the transmission is actually inside the transmission, and requires removal of the bellhousing in order to get to it (meaning a full removal of the transmission from the car). There is no pan that can be removed which would allow you to do this. There is a plastic pan in front of the transmission, but that contains the valve body.

Skip to around the 9:30 min mark, and you can see where the filter is located:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wknOziDd6lk

So whether or not it really is necessary to replace the fluid, let alone the filter is probably not needed. If I drive my Cherokee to 200-300k miles though, I would say fluid should be changed, but the filter would be a big PITA to get to. At that point, you might as well take your chances with the filter, and hope it does the job until the car explodes at 500k miles or so. *shrugs*
Thank you so very much for the education on the ZF. So much unlike any transmission I have had in my other jeeps or non Jeeps.
They all made HD use easy to service for in the past. HD use required a separate maintenance schedule which was always in the owners manual. This manual for my 2014 had no special schedule and that always seemed strange to me.

My opinion has been changed on fluid changes on this ZF.
It appears that they are next to impossible to do including the filter which is impossible without a partial tear down.
It sure looks like the ZF is not designed to be "serviced". If it was there would be a drain plug on the bottom for that purpose in order to at least change the fluid in those HD use cases. But not changing the filter at the same time seems kind of stupid. The ZF makes that impossible in normal maintenance.

The only good thing I see out of this, is the ZF is sealed. That simply means if the ATF is designed to last a very long time and has very high temperature tolerances. Contamination and water really will not get into the transmission unless it is introduced adding fluid or checking the fluid level. Checking the fluid level is not an option for the owner under normal circumstances. That is assuming that all the seals ect are secure. Leaking fluid is the only way I see to lose fluid and in general that is noticeable.

Then the big question is why change it if it was not designed for fluid/filter changes and there is no maintenance schedule for it?
Even if I tow why change it if there is no maintenance schedule for it and no realistic method to change it and the filter?
The Jeep is designed to tow up to 4500# and I am sure FCA calculated that into their use of the life time service free ZF.
I would hope so.....
But again I have Max Care Life on my 2014. As long as I follow the maintenance schedule I am fine.

I do think that it was a mistake not to have a serviceable transmission on this Cherokee considering the HD use that it can be subjected to.
That could come back to haunt them. In fact it may have as that Max Care Life is a thing of the past now.

Basically I agree with your summation. Why change it? If I hit 150+ then we may very well have to visit this subject again.
But thanks for all that great information. My opinion has changed on the subject. I'll let the Max Care deal with it!:wink:
 
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Even if the transmission is sealed (which I believe it has a valve that opens and closes to relieve pressure btw as it should), I think the reason why there is no maintenance schedule is because the intention is to replace the transmission if it fails which also means more $$$ for the manufacturers. I would not be surprised if it was purely a business decision rather than an engineering one. It's clear that Manufactuers don't want you to work on your own cars, and would rather you take it to the dealer because that means more money for them, and the dealer (You might be able to argue the Dealer Lobby had a hand in this, but that's another story which is more political, and not meant for this forum).
 

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Thanks for the info. Exactly what I was looking for.

An automatic trans IMO should have its fluid/filter changed every 30-60K. I'm old school. I do this with all of my automatics especially the F250. Cheap insurance.
I sure as hel dont want to change this 9 speed. hel the dam serpentine belt isn't easy cant image a trans-R&R.

I have had many transmissions apart. Nothing will be lost by keeping the fluid and filter fresh(unless the dummy engineers don't make the filter accessible as is the case here).

I wonder if one could keep the plug out and turn the engine on for 10-15 secs to drain more fluid out, particularly from the converter.
I have been successful doing this to conventional GM/Ford/Chrysler trans. It doesn't hurt anything as long as you shut it off as it starts spitting.

I'm not a fan of this trans or most any digitally controlled transmissions. This one is my least favorite. I don't like the drive or reverse engagement delay, horrible, the 2-3 upshift sux and I get a harsh and I mean harsh 3-4 or 4-5 occasionally coming off long highway drives. The shift strategy absolutely sucks. Same goes for my 2011 F250 and the former 08 F250.

So ya I will keep fresh fluid in this one too. I'm the nut job that performs all services long before the recommended intervals. Brake fluid, coolant, pwr steering, diffs xfer cases etc. Proactive vs reactive.
 

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I intended on doing this writeup when I got to 60K miles, and that time has come.

For those of you so inclined to change your transmission fluid, it is not particularly difficult. If you can change oil you can do this.

Stuff required:
- 3/8" ratchet handle (and ideally a torque wrench)
- 13mm socket (for the front skid plate, or whatever for your plastic undercover)
- 6 and 8mm allen socket
- 3/8" u-joint
- 18" worth of socket extensions
- ~2 ft of 1/2 vinyl tubing and a funnel to attach it to
- Dipstick 10323a or equivalent
- 8 quarts of Mopar 8/9 speed ATF
- Drain container (5 quarts at least) and some way to accurately measure the amount of fluid that comes out

I was hoping that at least half of the fluid would come out through the drain plug and sure enough it did. I got almost exactly 3.375 quarts out. That's 53% of the 6.35 quart capacity. Do a drain/fill twice and you'll change out just about 80% of the old fluid. Technically this uses ~7 quarts of new fluid but get 8 to be safe. You could keep going with a 3rd round but that gets expensive for diminishing returns (92% of total).

My fluid wasn't as gross looking as the picture makes it out to be... when pouring the stream wasn't cloudy at all, just had a brown-gray tinge to it.

Procedure:
- Drive around a little to warm things up. I got mine up to 105 trans temp; don't want it too hot.
- Lift the front of the vehicle. Ramps are easiest since it's a pain to use a jack and stands on this vehicle.
- Remove front skid plate/undercover (13mm bolts x7).
- Get your 8mm allen socket and catch container. Get the container close to the drain plug; the fluid is pretty watery.
- Remove the drain plug (pic attached) and let it drain. I let it drip for 30 minutes or so.
- Reinstall drain plug. 26 ft/lbs torque.
- Clean around then remove the fill plug (pic attached) with the 6mm allen and extensions/u-joint. On the v6 it's easy enough to reach, down past the heater hoses to the left of the brake booster.
- Attach vinyl tubing to the funnel and stick the end in the fill hole.
- Measure how much old fluid came out
- Put that much new fluid in and reinstall fill plug; 17 ft/lbs.
- Go drive around a little to mix things up real good. Don't get it too hot though.
- Repeat the drain/measure/refill procedure, then go ahead and reinstall the skid plate
- Check fluid level and adjust as necessary:

The fluid level isn't going to be perfect even with measuring, as warm fluid came out and cold went in but it should be close. Google for the procedure on how to check the level in a 948TE; there are several out there that include the chart for temperature vs level. It really isn't much different than checking the level in an old automatic... get it warm and check the level while idling in park. With this one you just have to pay attention to the trans temperature and the specific level on the dipstick. This does mean reaching down to the fill plug to remove it and insert the dipstick with the engine warm so be careful. Also I don't know what to tell you if you don't have trans temperature available on your cluster display... not sure what scan tools can read it.
Hi Thanks for the write up.
What color is the fluid when it is new out of the bottle? there have been some discussions on this forum and some have stated the fluid is Yellow/Green when they have found a leak from their transmission, and others state this is not true its red/pink like normal. thanks for any info you can provide.
 

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I intended on doing this writeup when I got to 60K miles, and that time has come.

For those of you so inclined to change your transmission fluid, it is not particularly difficult. If you can change oil you can do this.

Stuff required:
- 3/8" ratchet handle (and ideally a torque wrench)
- 13mm socket (for the front skid plate, or whatever for your plastic undercover)
- 6 and 8mm allen socket
- 3/8" u-joint
- 18" worth of socket extensions
- ~2 ft of 1/2 vinyl tubing and a funnel to attach it to
- Dipstick 10323a or equivalent
- 8 quarts of Mopar 8/9 speed ATF
- Drain container (5 quarts at least) and some way to accurately measure the amount of fluid that comes out

I was hoping that at least half of the fluid would come out through the drain plug and sure enough it did. I got almost exactly 3.375 quarts out. That's 53% of the 6.35 quart capacity. Do a drain/fill twice and you'll change out just about 80% of the old fluid. Technically this uses ~7 quarts of new fluid but get 8 to be safe. You could keep going with a 3rd round but that gets expensive for diminishing returns (92% of total).

My fluid wasn't as gross looking as the picture makes it out to be... when pouring the stream wasn't cloudy at all, just had a brown-gray tinge to it.

Procedure:
- Drive around a little to warm things up. I got mine up to 105 trans temp; don't want it too hot.
- Lift the front of the vehicle. Ramps are easiest since it's a pain to use a jack and stands on this vehicle.
- Remove front skid plate/undercover (13mm bolts x7).
- Get your 8mm allen socket and catch container. Get the container close to the drain plug; the fluid is pretty watery.
- Remove the drain plug (pic attached) and let it drain. I let it drip for 30 minutes or so.
- Reinstall drain plug. 26 ft/lbs torque.
- Clean around then remove the fill plug (pic attached) with the 6mm allen and extensions/u-joint. On the v6 it's easy enough to reach, down past the heater hoses to the left of the brake booster.
- Attach vinyl tubing to the funnel and stick the end in the fill hole.
- Measure how much old fluid came out
- Put that much new fluid in and reinstall fill plug; 17 ft/lbs.
- Go drive around a little to mix things up real good. Don't get it too hot though.
- Repeat the drain/measure/refill procedure, then go ahead and reinstall the skid plate
- Check fluid level and adjust as necessary:

The fluid level isn't going to be perfect even with measuring, as warm fluid came out and cold went in but it should be close. Google for the procedure on how to check the level in a 948TE; there are several out there that include the chart for temperature vs level. It really isn't much different than checking the level in an old automatic... get it warm and check the level while idling in park. With this one you just have to pay attention to the trans temperature and the specific level on the dipstick. This does mean reaching down to the fill plug to remove it and insert the dipstick with the engine warm so be careful. Also I don't know what to tell you if you don't have trans temperature available on your cluster display... not sure what scan tools can read it.
iwfur25,

Looks like it's been a while since you changed your fluid, did you notice any kind of slipping on gear shifts after the change? Was everything ok with the transmission till now? Did you observe any change in operation at all after changing?

Thinking of changing mine but still hesitating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
iwfur25,

Looks like it's been a while since you changed your fluid, did you notice any kind of slipping on gear shifts after the change? Was everything ok with the transmission till now? Did you observe any change in operation at all after changing?

Thinking of changing mine but still hesitating.

Nah, nothing changed and there were no issues prior. I wouldn't expect to feel anything from a fluid change. Sometimes a really beat up transmission with dead fluid might slip or act weird with new fluid but otherwise there should be little to no change in operation.


Fun anecdote... I spend a lot of time in a buddy's GC with the 8 speed transmission. Relevant here since it's the same ZF fluid tech. Around 100k the downshifts were becoming obvious when rolling up to a stoplight. Used to be super smooth when he got it, never felt much of anything. He did a quick one-round drain and fill and that problem was significantly reduced after a couple of drives.
 

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Nah, nothing changed and there were no issues prior. I wouldn't expect to feel anything from a fluid change. Sometimes a really beat up transmission with dead fluid might slip or act weird with new fluid but otherwise there should be little to no change in operation.


Fun anecdote... I spend a lot of time in a buddy's GC with the 8 speed transmission. Relevant here since it's the same ZF fluid tech. Around 100k the downshifts were becoming obvious when rolling up to a stoplight. Used to be super smooth when he got it, never felt much of anything. He did a quick one-round drain and fill and that problem was significantly reduced after a couple of drives.
Probably a sure sign the old fluid was losing some of its properties.
A sealed transmission is just the off shoot of the issue of a lack of maintenance of the transmission fluid. It eliminates another item that does not need messing with by the many inattentive vehicle owners out there. good grief there are many out there that do not even check their oil.

That's along with ball joints/grease fittings that needed regular service in the past. The problem with that is it was easy to blow out the boot by a careless service person. Another issue was if the grease fitting was not cleaned off prior to greasing you could actually inject contaminants into the joint. You would never know that until the fitting joint failed. I have never needed to replace a sealed grease fitting. But again if a lubed fitting is properly done each and every time I am sure it will out last a sealed one.

But the real question is if the fluid will outlast the transmission's expected life span. It seems to be the case these days. But a transmission is a heck of a lot more expensive than a complete trans fluid change. But its usually the 2nd owner that will have to
pick up the tab on that deferred maintenance or the lack of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
What would you say about https://www.valvoline.com/our-products/automatic-transmission-products/maxlife-multi-vehicle-atf? I know, not OEM, but does it really matter that much? Cost is like 8 times less than OEM. Valvoline seems to sell good quality products (at least from experience). Isn't the ATF 8/9 fluid just a marketing thing? I saw some guys from YT using it in Jeep for many miles on 8 gears transmission.

Well, it does say in the info sheet that it's suitable for ZF Lifeguard 8 (aka Mopar 8/9 speed) applications but I wouldn't do it. Transmissions are expensive to fix. With these fluids (transmissions and coolant) that don't get touched often, I just go OE and pay up.
 

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Well, it does say in the info sheet that it's suitable for ZF Lifeguard 8 (aka Mopar 8/9 speed) applications but I wouldn't do it. Transmissions are expensive to fix. With these fluids (transmissions and coolant) that don't get touched often, I just go OE and pay up.
I think I am gonna try this, as one of my long term experiments :D I got clearance from Valvoline (or their bot) at least haha.
 

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iwfur25, have you reset the adaptives after changing the fluid? Seems it might be needed to run relearning due to viscosity differences between old and new fluid.
 

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What would you say about https://www.valvoline.com/our-products/automatic-transmission-products/maxlife-multi-vehicle-atf? I know, not OEM, but does it really matter that much? Cost is like 8 times less than OEM. Valvoline seems to sell good quality products (at least from experience). Isn't the ATF 8/9 fluid just a marketing thing? I saw some guys from YT using it in Jeep for many miles on 8 gears transmission.
Actually it matters a lot.

Mopar ATF+4 "is an approved automatic transmission fluid for all vehicles factory filled with ATF+4. Check dipstick for fluid identification. It also is a "fill for life" quality fluid."


Yes, normally OEM is more expensive, but not that much more I find. BUT in a lot of cases the quality is there with the OEM.
I would be VERY careful Looking at a product that is 8x less expensive. ATF fluid can be a bit complicated for the specific purpose (transmission) its "designed" for.
Transmission fluid is comprised of many different additives/properties, especially "lifetime fluid". It is designed for specific temperature properties among many other things. Overheat transmission fluid beyond its limits just once and your transmission will be on a slippery slope downward.
The ZF is a very compact transmission and it is electronically driven for the most part. Much different than the fluid driven transmissions.
The Mopar ATF+4 is designed for this specific transmission.
Another type may work just fine in the short run. That's the chance you take. Mopar ATF+4 is designed to last the life of the vehicle.
Changing it though at say 100,000 or so might be prudent but not what the owner manual calls for.

In short if the ATF does not meet the ATF+4 Mopar standard I would not use it unless you want to roll the dice on a future transmission replacement. That should be in writing on the container.

This is some more interesting information.....
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2461929
 

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Well, all makes sense if I have a new car and I want to drive it forever. Regarding life time fluid after 60k miles on my Jeep this Mopar OEM fluid looks like its finished its life already. Interestingly measuring how much it was there looks like factory did overfill the transmission, mine looked like 3.5/4 cm in 50 celcius on the dipstick. Anyways I drained 3.6liter off it and filled same amount with Valvoline Atf, will see how it goes in long term. I also did reset the adaptation learning values so it can properly adapt pressures due to viscosity differences in new mixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Well, all makes sense if I have a new car and I want to drive it forever. Regarding life time fluid after 60k miles on my Jeep this Mopar OEM fluid looks like its finished its life already. Interestingly measuring how much it was there looks like factory did overfill the transmission, mine looked like 3.5/4 cm in 50 celcius on the dipstick. Anyways I drained 3.6liter off it and filled same amount with Valvoline Atf, will see how it goes in long term. I also did reset the adaptation learning values so it can properly adapt pressures due to viscosity differences in new mixture.
I like that dipstick. I got an actual metal one and you can't read the thing because it's black, the fluid is really thin, and the markings on it are really fine. :p
 

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Great post bloto!
I’ve been trying to find information on the MAX life atf if being okay to use on the 8/9 as in my 2015 jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
I have use the MAX life atf in my previous KIA 2007 Sportage V6 4 speed trans and a Hyundai 2011 Santa Fe 6 speed trans no problems.

I was planning doing the same thing as you using MAX life atf but I was unsure if it would be okay to use as it was not sure for the 8/9 Speed trans as Max Life only indicate the ZF Lifeguard 8 speed version.

Then I read your tex with Max life indicating it fine good to mix with Chrysler 8/9 atf.
How do you reset the adaptation learning values so it can properly adapt pressures due to viscosity differences in new mixture?
I never did this on my Sportage or Santa Fe as I didn’t know hear about this but had no problems at all.

I like your idea of home-made dip stick as I was going to buy one.
 

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Hey bloto,
How much was the front bumper guard worth?
I haven't seen any Jeep Cherokee here in Canada with that.
Looks good!
 
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