• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Modern Mopar. ZF A8 owners. Shift characteristic.

Dennis H

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
2:10 AM
Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
17,417
Reaction score
24,392
Location
San Jose
Recent generation HC, SP, or 300 owners: In addition to the the normal (German) momentary delay when shifting from Park to Drive, has anyone noticed an additional detectable engagement when accelerating? On cold start here the ambient is rarely below 55 degrees. I let it run about a minute or until the rpm’s drop to just under 1k. Then usually reversing out of driveway. I stop completely then put it in drive and count 1 1000 till I feel it drop completely in gear. Very deliberate. Then on light throttle app there is a detectable bump. It’s gentle but detectable. I don’t notice this on the Scatpak or Hellcat, only the 300C. I think it’s a ZF HP70 vs a 90 for the other cars. Car only has 800 miles and don’t drive it often as it turns out to be my other halfs DD. She has not mentioned it. Her foot is probably in it before it knows what happened. Maybe not. In order to make me go to Chrysler, I’d have to bee in a pool of red on the shoulder. On your next outing, see if you notice it. I’ll continue to monitor and see if it subsides at operating temperature. Not a fan of the Rotary shifter in this one, but doubt it is a factor.

DBBA3FDC-1EE5-44EC-99F5-A21306D2589D.jpeg
 
That said, this is the most amazing road transmission I have ever driven. Modern Marvel. That’s my detailer checking the Graphene. Overated-stay with Ceramic.
 
The A8 in our Challenger had a couple quirks when the car was new.
I'd put it in gear and the car would speed up without throttle input and then feel as if the transmission went into neutral, the engine would increase in RPMs, then settle back into gear. It reminded me of how some automatics respond when they are low on fluid.
These are great transmissions but they can be slow to downshift. I've rapidly slowed down and then hit the throttle and the transmission is 2 steps behind me, still in 5th or 4th gear as I try to accelerate.
Most of those things seemed to work their way out in the 60,000 miles we have driven.

Challenger 3-14 175.JPG


Challenger 3-14 179.JPG


Challenger 3-14 244.JPG
 
Have it in my JGC , has a Tran tune on it and it works flawlessly. 90,000 miles should I change my fluid or leave it ?
 
Recent generation HC, SP, or 300 owners: In addition to the the normal (German) momentary delay when shifting from Park to Drive, has anyone noticed an additional detectable engagement when accelerating? On cold start here the ambient is rarely below 55 degrees. I let it run about a minute or until the rpm’s drop to just under 1k. Then usually reversing out of driveway. I stop completely then put it in drive and count 1 1000 till I feel it drop completely in gear. Very deliberate. Then on light throttle app there is a detectable bump. It’s gentle but detectable. I don’t notice this on the Scatpak or Hellcat, only the 300C. I think it’s a ZF HP70 vs a 90 for the other cars. Car only has 800 miles and don’t drive it often as it turns out to be my other halfs DD. She has not mentioned it. Her foot is probably in it before it knows what happened. Maybe not. In order to make me go to Chrysler, I’d have to bee in a pool of red on the shoulder. On your next outing, see if you notice it. I’ll continue to monitor and see if it subsides at operating temperature. Not a fan of the Rotary shifter in this one, but doubt it is a factor.

View attachment 1549398
I haven't driven my 300C enough to notice anything I deem abnormal [500 miles]. I have a 6-speed in my Caravan, that I abhor, and a NAG in my `cuda...that seems to downshift too early for my liking. Otherwise, I love the 5-speed NAG. I'm taking the 300C to Pittsburg and back in the next few days. I'll get a lot more, and hopefully better input on the trip. Oh, and yes...I hate the dial shifter. So unnatural in a performance vehicle.

I took my 300 from the dealer to the ceramic-coater, before even driving it anywhere else. I figured it was the best time to do it.
 
Have it in my JGC , has a Tran tune on it and it works flawlessly. 90,000 miles should I change my fluid or leave it ?
Don't touch it.
My 2009 grand marquis had the trans fluid and filter swapped every 30k miles and it's transmission puked at 134k. That is the lowest mileage I've ever had from a panther platform transmission. Local shop that did the rebuild said transmission fluid changes don't really prolong life unless in towing applications.
 
Slow going into gear as you say but quick and seamless shifts. Put some more miles on it.
 
Some info for you:
The 8 speed was never available in the AWD cars with a V8. Only the older 5 speed auto. Trucks, Durango, they got the 8 speed, never the cars, not with AWD and a V8.
The 8 speed does NOT start you in first gear. Maybe on the bigger trucks, but not on anything else. This is to prevent you from blowing the tires off or even just letting them spin on wet roads or other bad conditions. It will drop down to first gear depending on throttle application and speed sensing.

So if you are daisy footing the gas leaving your driveway, the car is probably downshifting to match the actual speed you are moving.
Picture a 5 speed stick, but you have it in second gear at every stop light. As you let the clutch up, you realize what you did and quick slap it back into first.

The computer for the transmission will do all sorts of things, like skip over a gear or two, hesitate to downshift, quite a few things to prevent harshness or excessive shifting.
Cars with the paddle shift can force the car to use all 8 gears. On my AWD '13, with the 5 speed, I find the paddle shifters are exceptionally harsh, and downshifting with them feels like I am forcing it to do something it is not designed for. They also bypass traction control or at least make it confused, NEVER use them on poor road conditions. I basically ignore them.

In short, don't expect it to drive like any older vehicle with a 3speed+OD from the last 50 years. The transmission is 100% controlled by a computer that uses actual speed and engine RPM+throttle position to decide for you what gear it will be in. Think about it next time you do a 0-55 onto a highway from a stop. There are 8 gears, it would have to shift 7 times. It skips gears.
It's not bad per se, this allows it to get into the power band as fast as possible at basically any speed, and also keep rpm down at most any speed for MPG. I have long said an old engine from the 60's paired with a modern 8 or 9 speed would be a much more fair comparison than what people like to do: compare a modern engine with a 9 speed to an old iron V8 with a 3 speed slushbox. Transmission tech is what has improved in the last 20 years, not so much the engine itself. The crazy gear spread allows for steep final ratio in the rear end and lets a 300HP engine move a car that weighs 1200lbs more than stuff from 20 years ago much faster than a 300hp, lighter car from 20 years ago and get 30mpg to boot. I despise all the computers in modern cars, but the transmissions now days would not function as a mechanical, pressure driven unit, so it is one area I concede their requirement.
 
Torque Management. In previous transmissions, it took a tuner to modify it. I assume the same with the 8 speed?
 
On the second gear launch, I am aware that the Scatpack with the same drivetrain defaults to ECO on start up and starts in 2nd. I don’t notice this bump characteristic in that car. I’ll drive it again and make the comparison.
 
Torque Management. In previous transmissions, it took a tuner to modify it. I assume the same with the 8 speed?
Same with every computer controlled part of a car. Used to be we only needed worry about the engine ECU with fuel injection and air/fuel/timing.
Now the transmission has it's own programming. Body control computers for ABS, traction control, magnetic ride height control, etc.
It's also part of why rear end gear ratio changes are mostly unheard of anymore. between the 8 speeds not really needing them, and the need to reflash the computers so the speed-o works, the transmission shifts properly,etc. Not even sure a gear change wouldn't somehow affect the engine ECU at this point, throttle position, timing, traction control are tied to vehicle speed, I don't know if fixing the speedometer would correct it for those systems.
 
Same with every computer controlled part of a car. Used to be we only needed worry about the engine ECU with fuel injection and air/fuel/timing.
Now the transmission has it's own programming. Body control computers for ABS, traction control, magnetic ride height control, etc.
It's also part of why rear end gear ratio changes are mostly unheard of anymore. between the 8 speeds not really needing them, and the need to reflash the computers so the speed-o works, the transmission shifts properly,etc. Not even sure a gear change wouldn't somehow affect the engine ECU at this point, throttle position, timing, traction control are tied to vehicle speed, I don't know if fixing the speedometer would correct it for those systems.
Ah, but the 3:09 vs the 2:62 in the modern cars has a noticeable happy feel.
 
I have had that 8-speed in my 2015 Durango and now in my 2020 Jeep GC, both with 3.6 V-6, and think it is a great transmission. It picks the right gear every time. We test drove a 2013 Durango with the 5-speed before buying the 2015, and the difference was amazing. The 2013 just felt lazy in comparison to the 2015. I did not like the rotary and paddle shifters in the Durango. I would occasionally accidentally hit the paddle shifter, and put the transmission into manual mode. My GC has a normal console shifter that I like much better. I went into the vehicle computer and shut the paddle shifter off, since the console shifter also has a manual mode (which I never use). This 8-speed makes my V-6 feel a lot more lively than it should in a heavy vehicle.
 
I have had that 8-speed in my 2015 Durango and now in my 2020 Jeep GC, both with 3.6 V-6, and think it is a great transmission. It picks the right gear every time. We test drove a 2013 Durango with the 5-speed before buying the 2015, and the difference was amazing. The 2013 just felt lazy in comparison to the 2015. I did not like the rotary and paddle shifters in the Durango. I would occasionally accidentally hit the paddle shifter, and put the transmission into manual mode. My GC has a normal console shifter that I like much better. I went into the vehicle computer and shut the paddle shifter off, since the console shifter also has a manual mode (which I never use). This 8-speed makes my V-6 feel a lot more lively than it should in a heavy vehicle.
The 8 speed was really tuned in for the 300HP V6 the first year it hit the market.
The 5.7 and AWD in my '13 Charger do not feel "lazy" :) Extra grunt and a nanny computer that doesn't try to detune the car at launch because it can shift power to the front wheels makes a big difference.
We test drove the v6 model, it was 2wd with the dial shift. It made the car feel lighter having the extra gears and less front end weight. Ride was a little nicer I think, but I would never trade the V8 AWD for it! :)
 
22 GC L V6, 8 speed it does some weird things once in awhile: leave a stop and it almost feels like it’s lost which gear it wants or slips. Wife says it’s just not used to me, then it did it to her.. No lights or codes got around 25k on it.. Not saying one way or the other but it does hiccup and when it does you know it.
 
This transmission is in a lot of BMW’s, Rolls Royce, Bentley and others. Have not read of any hiccups in any reviews thus far. It is German though.
 
I see ZF in a lot of HD equipment and off road trucks namely transfer cases and axles.. JDeere uses them in their large loaders.. I do believe ours are all from Kokomo plant built by Chrysler. The Nag was also a ZF unit swiped by Diamler and rebranded as theirs.
 
22 GC L V6, 8 speed it does some weird things once in awhile: leave a stop and it almost feels like it’s lost which gear it wants or slips. Wife says it’s just not used to me, then it did it to her.. No lights or codes got around 25k on it.. Not saying one way or the other but it does hiccup and when it does you know it.
I've noticed this in my 14 GC ecodiesel since new (just crossed 100k this week). Countless TCM updates and adaptive resets, and I finally gave up. It's a "feature".

This transmission is in a lot of BMW’s, Rolls Royce, Bentley and others. Have not read of any hiccups in any reviews thus far. It is German though.
Ma Mopar writes her own software for it though. Could be the headbutting of smoothness versus EPA regs...
 
Auto Transport Service
Back
Top