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Warped (plastic!) transmission sump

Mark Five

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A few days ago I started getting the dreaded 'gearbox fault' warning, which cleared immediately after stopping and starting again (4 times on a 12 mile urban journey!). I took it straight to my tame indie who hooked it up to his diagnostic kit, which showed a problem with gears 2 and 3. The fault was cleared and we took it around the block, and all was fine - but for peace of mind I decided to get the Oil changed, which meant a new sump (filter) too.

Now here's the weird thing.. these gearboxes are supposed to be 'sealed for life', but the PLASTIC sump had warped and was slowly leaking fluid which, unsurprisingly, resulted in the gearbox fault warning and bad shifts. Only 3 litres was left in the gearbox, when it should have had 7! Yes, I should have checked the level, but I didn't.

For some silly reason Jaguar decided to change the sump material from aluminium (which didn't warp with repeated heat cycles) to plastic (which does) - so if you're getting the same warning and symptoms that I did, check for Oil leaks!

Happy growling!


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Yes the gearboxes are actually made in germany and can be found in some of the bmw 5 series and they have the same leaking and warping problems I have had mine done on my STR twice.The first time it was warped and was leaking even when the car was stationary. Took it to an over priced indie and advised the to change the electronic sleeve at the same time which they didn't 12 months down the line the sleeve started to leak so had to have it done all over again.I was told that the range rovers have the alloy one because changing the gearbox sump on those mean dropping the subframe.

If you do have it done get a kit with the sleeve with it they only cost about £11 and are known to leak above 60k miles

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It was mainley issues with earlier sump filters and pattern ones

latter ones had larger pin heads on the sump/filter to eliminate this, also if there over tightened they can crush the sleeves in the filter/sump

I've seen them put together with a sleeve insert missing in the sump/filter, which cause the sump to distort as the tension will squash the sump/filter

a lot of people use pattern parts which are not as good and sometimes inferior quality

I serviced mine a few year ago with all genuine ZF parts and never had any issues since, though it did come with updated sump/filter, updated pins, larger heads, updated mechatronics sleeve, early sleeves were prone to leaking from the o-ring.

the gearbox holds about 10 litres, but you can only get about 6 litres out by removing the sump, dropping the mechatronics will drain a bit more, but even then the torque convertor stays half full.

this gearbox is generally a great gearbox as its used in many cars like, audi, bmw, bentley, aston martin, citroen, Jaguar , landrover, maserati, porshe and ford are a few, most of them use the plastic sump/filter apart from the landrovers which use a steel one, but the plastic ones are not known to leak if fitted correct

problem is genuine parts for service was about £200 and after market ones are around £100, which one do you think your indi is going to fit?, they both look the same once fitted



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