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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.
I did reset it with obdlink mx, you can find one in amazon. Reset just adaptives there and you should be good. Best is to perform adaptation learning procedure after that.
 

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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!
Was about 400 USD, looks nice but not sure how efficient it is in contact with objects. I installed it to protect the radiators as I drive a lot over night and don’t want to stop in the middle of nowhere in case of some animal jumping into the road.
 

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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.
ATF+4 is the only approved type. Other than that, Mopar ATF+4 should be used. The ATF label should list if it complies to ATF+4.
 

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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!😉
Thanks for the input guys... I've been battling with all this in my mind the past few years as well.
I have a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and have 178000 on it with no ATF or DIF changes. Went against my grain not to do it but in the end I figured I should follow the engineers recommendations. I tow a light 3000 lbs camper a few times a year as well. All seems well, I don't have any shifting problems to date. Just thought this might help others know it will make it. Might DIE next week but I've gotten this far.
 

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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.
Thank you for this! I’m at 47k on my 2019 and I only did the first part earlier today. Up on ramps, only 3.25 qts came out cold (70*) and replaced with the same amount. It was pretty dirty. A medium grey, not any red/pink. Took it for a cruise for about 50 miles. There’s already a difference in shifting more smoothly
 

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Thank you for this! I’m at 47k on my 2019 and I only did the first part earlier today. Up on ramps, only 3.25 qts came out cold (70*) and replaced with the same amount. It was pretty dirty. A medium grey, not any red/pink. Took it for a cruise for about 50 miles. There’s already a difference in shifting more smoothly
Unfortunately, you may have just voided your warranty on the transmission!!! In the case of the term "Non Serviceable" it means don't do that until your warranty has expired. Stupid, but true...😎
 

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Unfortunately, you may have just voided your warranty on the transmission!!! In the case of the term "Non Serviceable" it means don't do that until your warranty has expired. Stupid, but true...😎
Yeah I hear you. Oh well. I’m glad I did it from the way the fluid looked coming out. I purchased the car pre-owned with 23k on it. Who knows how it was driven. It absolutely made an improvement in its response.
 

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Thank you for this! I’m at 47k on my 2019 and I only did the first part earlier today. Up on ramps, only 3.25 qts came out cold (70*) and replaced with the same amount. It was pretty dirty. A medium grey, not any red/pink. Took it for a cruise for about 50 miles. There’s already a difference in shifting more smoothly
I'd like to know how changing fluid makes a difference in response, my 2014 which is almost 8 years old on original fluid shifts fine (actually better since I program it myself) Unless you used the special tool you may have not put the proper amount of fluid back into the transmission. Unless the fluid contained water in it, it was likely fine. Hell you even changed it before the factory powertrain warranty was up
 

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I'd like to know how changing fluid makes a difference in response, my 2014 which is almost 8 years old on original fluid shifts fine (actually better since I program it myself) Unless you used the special tool you may have not put the proper amount of fluid back into the transmission. Unless the fluid contained water in it, it was likely fine. Hell you even changed it before the factory powertrain warranty was up
1. Maybe not response. Behavior? might be a better word to describe it. I didn’t physically feel it shifting like I had before. Especially when I used manual mode.
2. I wouldn’t even know how regarding programming.
3. With the fluid level, I simply measured what came out and replaced it with new. Both at the same temperature.
4. It’s my intention to keep this vehicle for a while so I prefer to maintain it to ensure its longevity which would surpass any power train warranty.

It’s a 2019 and I’m already pushing 50k. I really like this car and want to take care of it.
I’m glad there’s a forum like this one where people share their experiences with these vehicles and I’m thankful to iwfur25 for the original post.

I hope I’ve been clear in my explanation. I’m not proposing that anyone do anything to possibly void any warranties.
 

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Thanks for the input guys... I've been battling with all this in my mind the past few years as well.
I have a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and have 178000 on it with no ATF or DIF changes. Went against my grain not to do it but in the end I figured I should follow the engineers recommendations. I tow a light 3000 lbs camper a few times a year as well. All seems well, I don't have any shifting problems to date. Just thought this might help others know it will make it. Might DIE next week but I've gotten this far.
Same here! I have about 144,000 miles on my 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ve changed the fluids out of almost everything, but never have I changed the Transmission Fluid. I have no problems with shifting, tho I do feel gears 1-3 slightly and sometimes a jerk when hitting the gas at a red light. But this was a problem that I’ve had back at 20k miles and the Dealership claimed it was normal… so I dealt with it. My Jeep has been running me great to this day no major problems (knock on wood) but I have been battling myself and researching weather I should change the trans fluid or not. I’ve also read that after 150k miles it’s probably best to leave it alone due to new fluid can make the transmission slip often. I want to get at minimum 10 years out the car and after that wouldn’t care when it’s break down so fingers crossed. Let’s hope we’re not on borrowed time!
 

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Same here! I have about 144,000 miles on my 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ve changed the fluids out of almost everything, but never have I changed the Transmission Fluid. I have no problems with shifting, tho I do feel gears 1-3 slightly and sometimes a jerk when hitting the gas at a red light. But this was a problem that I’ve had back at 20k miles and the Dealership claimed it was normal… so I dealt with it. My Jeep has been running me great to this day no major problems (knock on wood) but I have been battling myself and researching weather I should change the trans fluid or not. I’ve also read that after 150k miles it’s probably best to leave it alone due to new fluid can make the transmission slip often. I want to get at minimum 10 years out the car and after that wouldn’t care when it’s break down so fingers crossed. Let’s hope we’re not on borrowed time!
That slight jerk when taking off from a stop is your transfer case, it does need fluid changes. I'm willing to bet with a fluid change that behavior would go away.
 

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That slight jerk when taking off from a stop is your transfer case, it does need fluid changes. I'm willing to bet with a fluid change that behavior would go away.
I wish, at around 100k miles I had my transfer case and both differential fluids changed and the jerking still exists sadly :(
 
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