XK8 / XKR ( X100 ) 1996 - 2006

ZF 5HP24 Lessons Learned

Old 10-26-2017, 07:05 PM
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Default ZF 5HP24 Lessons Learned

Hi all,

After the dreaded failure of the gearbox in my 1996 XK8, I decided to have a go at repairing it myself. The problem turned out to be the classic ‘A Drum’ failure. To fix this, I replaced the drum, but also did a general reconditioning to reduce the need to do all this again.

There’s plenty online to advise the budding amateur, but I thought I’d share some lessons to help anyone else considering this.

1. ZF have a repair manual free available online. In reading it, don’t be put off by all the specialist tools that are used. I did not need a single specialist tool to do the job. It just takes a little longer.

2. I found YouTube videos far more useful than the ZF manual. My new best friend became a guy called Gary Ferraro. His channel has ‘teardowns’ of ZF 5HP24 from Jaguars, a Land Rover and BMW X5. All useful. Research these so that you know exactly what to expect when stripping down the gearbox. There is a video where he also partially re-assembles one. Useful.

3. There is a poorer quality YouTube video of an XJ8 ‘box being rebuilt. It’s quite detailed and worth a look. However, there is a point where they state that they had to make a tool to lower rebuilt parts back into the ‘box. You don’t need this tool if you reassemble it vertically rather than horizontally on a bench. Here’s a link to the first of 9 videos:

4. It sounds obvious, but the ZF 5HP24 was fitted in several cars, so don’t limit your internet search to “XK8 transmission”. There’s a wealth of advice and images on other forums. I used forums for Ranger Rover, BMW and Audi.

ZF 5HP24 teardown

My Slide Show

5. Another obvious point, but this whole project looks daunting if you don’t break it down into mini-projects. Discipline yourself to recondition only one clutch at a time. That way, you don’t lose track of the rebuild.

6. I found the following faults: The A Drum had split. An O-ring on the A/B clutch had torn.

7. To recondition the gearbox, I bought the following – listed in order of importance:

• 'A' Clutch Drum (This A clutch drum replaces the blown one and - so I hear - is an upgraded part to reduce the chances of the fault reoccurring)
• TransGo 5HP-24-PR Pressure Regulator Valve Repair Kit (The story goes that the 'A' Clutch Drum fails because of a surge in pressure caused by this valve wearing. Mine looked fine, but a worn one won't be that easy to see. So I had this valve imported all the way from US America.)
• Overhaul Kit Genuine ZF OE (Contains dozens and dozens of O-rings, scarf rings, etc. All are packed in separate packs so that you can work your way through the gearbox in a logical order)
• Friction Kit Exedy (These are the clutch rings. Mine looked fine, but with a blown A drum, clutch rings can become contaminated with embedded metal fragments, so I changed them.)
• Bearing Case A/C (there is a needle bearing between clutch A and clutch C that has a habit of failing. Mine looked fine, but I changed it for the sake of £10.
• F Piston (This F clutch piston can fail, resulting in a loss of reverse gear. Again, mine looked okay, but I bought this in anyway)
• Filter
• 10 Litre of Mobil Esso LT71141 ATF Automatic Transmission Fluid
• Blue Goo (Proper transmission assembly gel. Worth buying as it's so much better than vasoline or standard grease. It prevents damage during assembly and seats all O-rings and seals properly)

8. Most of the parts were bought from one-stop-gearbox-shop on eBay.

9. The Exedy Friction Kit I bought contained one clutch ring too many. This panicked the hell out of me at the time, as I thought I’d failed to fit all of them. I revisited all the work I’d done to confirm I hadn’t made a mistake. Perhaps this was a one-off error with the friction kit I bought, but if not, don’t worry about it.

10. Don’t skimp on parts. Some people just replace the ‘blown’ A Drum. Trouble is, when is blew, where did all those little shards of metal go? I probably spent a few hundred pounds to replace parts that I could have just reused, but all the time and effort of researching and doing this work is so great that I’d never entertain the idea of just changing the A Drum.

11. The most awkward bit of the job is compressing the circular springs that hold the clutch packs in place. You’ll need to take your time to improvise tools for this. ZF has special tools, but I found that using G-clamps, inverted pullers and the like worked just as well.

12. I found that nuts and bolts freed off quite easily, with exception of…

13. …There are two oil cooler pipes that must be removed. I think that they are aluminium going into steel. Either way, mine were corroded in tight. After much effort, one was undone but it wrecked the pipe. The other required the gearbox casing to be sent away for drilling and a new thread cutting in. Not cheap and really delayed progress. Of course, both pipes needed to be replaced too.

14. If you do need to replace the oil cooler pipes, avoid second hand ones.
There is a small bracket behind the air con compressor that holds the pipes in place. This is a recipe for localised corrosion on a pipe that can otherwise look good. One of the second hand pipes I bought leaked. I ended up buying new from Jaguar. Double the price but worth it. I then wrapped the bracket in plastic tape to prevent future corrosion.

Of note, my gearbox failed at 122,000 miles. This is despite servicing the gearbox at 120,000 miles. So, sadly, servicing is no guarantee against failure – particularly when it’s done as belatedly as mine.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:07 PM
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Great write up cheers
Old 06-19-2018, 05:41 PM
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Total cost to you?

Ask as my 96 tranny failed last year paid £200 for one from a breakers and paid £600 to have it fitted by a jaguar specialist, so £800 in total. Plus I had 10l of LT71141 in the garage (bought from a forum member that upgraded to a XKR)

My cap (if I wore one) would be doffed as not a job I'd attempt....my skills are limited to oil & filter changes
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:44 PM
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Default xk8 1996 gearbox fluid

Thank you for sharing all that precious info !
ive learnt so much.
Have you guys heard of SHELL Spirax atf sx s2 and is it adequate to use on our zf 5hp24 gearboxes ?

im planning to follow the 'old 1 liter out' ' new 1 liter in' technique via gbox coolant line to try and clear my transmission problems. ( gearbox fault on dash now and again) happening more and more thus limpmode.
thanks in advance


Old 07-05-2018, 12:45 PM
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cooling line, not coolant.*)

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