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    Thread: ZF Gearbox Service DORTMUND!

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    1. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 07:08 AM #1
      Hi all,

      well I've finally bitten the bullet and booked my V10 (SWB) in for a gearbox "service" at ZF in Dortmund Germany.
      I have read many good things about Herr Sagert and his team, and, having spoken to him at great length today I am feeling very confident that my gearbox will return to the silky smooth unit it was when it left Dresden.
      Herr Sagert informs me that his team are well versed with the Phaeton, and can turn the car around in about 4 hours.
      The cost is €450 including transmission fluid (full change) and all parts used for regular service! The oil alone in the UK is approaching €300, plus parts plus labour!!! Plus these guys really know their stuff.
      For the benefit of other owners Herr Sagert (remember this guy is the real article ZF employed senior tech) strongly recommends a transmission oil change every 120,000km or sooner!
      I will post a follow up to my visit in due course

      Stu

    2. Moderator Prince Ludwig's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 08:18 AM #2
      Let me know how it goes - I was thinking of doing this after I read this account of the procedure:

      http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/527361

      (I suspect you saw it as well! )

      Harry

    3. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 08:52 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Prince Ludwig View Post
      Let me know how it goes - I was thinking of doing this after I read this account of the procedure:

      http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/527361

      (I suspect you saw it as well! )

      Harry
      Harry,

      indeed I did see the above! The best part though was ringing ZF and speaking (in English) to a guy that really knows his stuff! Hate to think how much the call cost!
      I will keep the forum informed of the outcome!

      Stu

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      08-03-2011 10:14 AM #4
      Stu:

      Great stuff. I think our ZF transmissions are quite robust and would last a VERY long time with that periodic service. I wish we had factory ZF service available in the US. I'd travel abit just to get it done. Thank goodness, I have a new transmission and won't have to worry about fluid exchange and maintenance for many years(knock on wood). However, I feel my transmission would not have needed replacement if that service had been done at about 50k miles.

      Jim X

    5. 08-03-2011 10:45 AM #5
      Good grief, what an article! I'd love to change the fluid in mine, but I barely trust the dealers to change the engine oil, nevermind the gearbox.

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      08-03-2011 01:29 PM #6
      That's a really useful post Stu, I am just around the 120,000 km and I can feel that the transmission could be a bit smoother on occasions - I can probably make a bit of a detour to Dortmund later this year so I could well be your first referral customer.

      All best,
      Steven

    7. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 01:59 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Expoman View Post
      That's a really useful post Stu, I am just around the 120,000 km and I can feel that the transmission could be a bit smoother on occasions - I can probably make a bit of a detour to Dortmund later this year so I could well be your first referral customer.

      All best,
      Steven
      Hi Steven,

      I'm going September 29th (their next available date)!!!!

      Stu

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      08-03-2011 02:39 PM #8
      Makes me want to go there too...

      The thing is that I have 140000 km and plan to sell my car in 2013 to buy another one, by which time the car should be approximately 200 000km...

      So the big question is: should I keep going on like this until 2013 and save the return trip (900km) and money hoping that nothing bad will happen before 200 000km, or should I bite the bullet and go now...

      My transmission runs fine even though once in a while, at very low speeds, I have a small clunk going from 3rd to 2nd, or 2nd to 1st...

      P.

    9. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 03:13 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Zaphh View Post
      Makes me want to go there too...


      My transmission runs fine even though once in a while, at very low speeds, I have a small clunk going from 3rd to 2nd, or 2nd to 1st...

      P.
      Pierre,

      I have the same problem, Herr Sagert confirmed the issue and the cure! I have approx 170,000km on the clock.

      Stu

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      08-06-2011 06:26 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by EnglishPhaeton View Post
      Hi Steven,

      I'm going September 29th (their next available date)!!!!

      Stu
      Have a good time Stu, very much look forward to hearing your account of the experience and your first Autobahn drive post-procedure!

      All best,
      Steven

    11. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 07:01 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by invisiblewave View Post
      I'd love to change the fluid in mine...
      The process for changing the fluid in the 5 speed transmission used in the W12 Phaeton is explained (complete with illustrations) at this post: Changing Transmission Fluid, Checking Transmission Fluid Level (illustrated how-to guide). The process for changing the fluid in the 6 speed transmission used in the V8 Phaetons is similar.

      If your VW dealer is not familiar with changing the transmission fluid in the Phaeton - a reasonable assumption, considering that there are relatively few Phaetons in North America and no requirement (other than on the W12) for changing the fluid, it might be helpful if you printed out this thread and provided it to the service writer when you bring the car in for service.

      The specification (the mileage interval) for changing the fluid in the W12 powered Phaeton is provided (in PDF format) on post #28 of the same thread.

      Michael
      Please don't send me technical questions via IM - instead, post your questions onto the end of the most appropriate thread in the FAQ, so that everyone can benefit from the answer, and everyone can assist in providing the answer. Thanks, Michael

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      08-03-2011 07:28 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
      If your VW dealer is not familiar with changing the transmission fluid in the Phaeton - a reasonable assumption, considering that there are relatively few Phaetons in North America and no requirement (other than on the W12) for changing the fluid, it might be helpful if you printed out this thread and provided it to the service writer when you bring the car in for service.

      Michael
      Michael:

      It appears from the photos that the service they perform at the ZF service center is more than a fluid/filter change. The photos suggest that they remove and "rebuild" the mechatronic unit. This must be done in a very clean environment by someone experienced in the task. That means the electronics and hydraulic control system is essentially renewed. VW techs will install a new or factory rebuilt mechatronic unit but must feel that their techs are not sufficiently trained to dig into the ZF 5 and 6 speed transmission internals. Thus, if there is a "serious" problem VW generally opts to replace the whole unit.

      If it is merely a fluid and filter change, someone please correct me.

      Jim X

    13. Member Victor R's Avatar
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      08-03-2011 08:13 PM #13
      Michael,

      Thank you very much for referencing the prior thread and for specifically pointing out the service interval. I would have never guessed that the factory recommendation is to change the transmission fluid every 20,000 miles. This is invaluable information for all of us that are looking to keep our cars for many years.

      I know for a fact that my grey one has not had this done over the roughly 20,000 miles I have put on it since I got it. The prior owner had had the 80,000 mile service performed, so I do not have details of what was done. I had it in for 100,000 mile service and they did not do this then. (Both the prior owner and I have been religious about dealer-recommended service.)

      I will be discussing this with my service advisor.

      Victor

    14. Moderator PanEuropean's Avatar
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      08-04-2011 01:04 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Jxander View Post
      It appears from the photos that the service they perform at the ZF service center is more than a fluid/filter change...
      Hi Jim:

      Yes, absolutely, you are correct.

      The only problem is that it is a real pain for us to transport our North American Phaetons to Dortmund - even with my 'top tier' airline status and zillions of frequent flyer points, no airline will allow me to check the thing as baggage, and the LWB Phaetons we have in North America are too long to fit into the little Twin Otter aircraft that I periodically ferry around the world.

      So, for those of us who are in North America, about the only service option we have is to change the fluid. This is obligatory (on a periodic basis) for the W12 transmission, and not obligatory for the V8.

      Way, way back in about 2006, I had my doubts about the 'good for the lifetime of the car' claim made for the W12 fluid, and paid to have it changed myself (hence the original post). It cost me about $350 in parts to get this done - there was no labour charge because I did all the work myself at my dealership (they always ask me if I want them to do the work, or if I would prefer to do it myself - if I elect to do it myself, they give me a work bay, toolbox, and a shop coat).

      A few years later - surprise, surprise - out comes the technical bulletin telling W12 owners to change the stuff every 20,000 miles (30,000 km). My first change was done at about 30,000 km, so, I asked the staff at the dealership to change it again at 60,000 km - since they now knew how to do it (they watched me the first time around), the dealership staff did the work the second time around. I haven't yet reached 90,000 km - at my present rate of driving the car about 1,500 km a year (and flying 150,000 miles a year), that won't happen for a long time.

      Michael
      Please don't send me technical questions via IM - instead, post your questions onto the end of the most appropriate thread in the FAQ, so that everyone can benefit from the answer, and everyone can assist in providing the answer. Thanks, Michael

    15. Junior Member Appaz's Avatar
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      08-04-2011 10:34 AM #15
      I have 165k km on mine V10.
      Started to notice litlle waving on tahometer (or is this called a rev meter?), specially on slow accelerations with cold engine, about 20k km ago.
      It got worse little by little.
      I changed gearbox fluid two days ago and I am a happy man now.
      Revs are stable, gear changes up and down got very smooth.

      A usual VW dealer did not have any problems to do this job.
      They billed me 300USD.
      Ed Smirnoff.

    16. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      08-06-2011 01:10 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Jxander View Post
      Michael:

      It appears from the photos that the service they perform at the ZF service center is more than a fluid/filter change. The photos suggest that they remove and "rebuild" the mechatronic unit. This must be done in a very clean environment by someone experienced in the task. That means the electronics and hydraulic control system is essentially renewed. VW techs will install a new or factory rebuilt mechatronic unit but must feel that their techs are not sufficiently trained to dig into the ZF 5 and 6 speed transmission internals. Thus, if there is a "serious" problem VW generally opts to replace the whole unit.

      If it is merely a fluid and filter change, someone please correct me.

      Jim X
      Hi Jim,

      you are quite correct! The entire Mechatronic unit is removed, cleaned and reassembled with many replacement parts. Herr Sagert also pointed out that some components within the Mechatronic unit have been the subject of upgrades over the years and these are replaced as a matter of course.
      An added bonus is they throw in an oil change for the diffs too!!!!
      Can't wait!

      Stu

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      08-06-2011 01:46 PM #17
      Stu,
      Will you be able to document the Phaeton procedure like the BMW article? I too wish they had this kind of service too. Unfortunately I have a different issue and may need to have my transmission replaced.
      Damon

    18. 01-04-2012 01:09 PM #18
      He should open a place somewhere around St Louis or Indianapolis, THEN see how busy he is!! You lot don't know how lucky you are!

    19. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      01-07-2012 04:19 PM #19
      Hi all,

      I'm no photographer so I apologise in advance! Sorry for the delay in posting this but this was due to a minor illness.

      Here are the few pics I took whilst in Dortmund:

      http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/...nglishPhaeton/

      Hope these make a little sense!!

      Stu

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      05-11-2012 03:38 AM #20
      I forgot to post about my visit...

      It went well. Arrived at 07.30, got in ten minutes after that and was out by 10:45.

      On a side note, they informed me that it is only the 5-speed that needs mechatronic service. On the 6- and 7-speed transmissions, they do not service the mechatronic unit. Should they, the gasket and seal alone are €300... The car feels fine after the trop. Got "flashed in the face" outside of Lausanne on the way down to Provence, and then again on a roadwork section near Kassel. At both times I was doing "slightly above" the posted speed limit (hrmf) but I have not received any letters yet. If I do, I will get an RF expert to testify that the front 76 GHz radar in my car often triggers speed cameras...

      I do believe that the 6-speed gear box should be serviced by normal vw dealers. Just tell them to change the oil, the plastic feed tube, the filter and the drain plug. That's all that the Sagert Team did. The parts are available. So, all you in the US, just make them do it!

      All the best,

      P
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    21. Moderator Paximus's Avatar
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      05-11-2012 05:48 AM #21
      Hi Per,

      Did Herr Sagert explain which 6-speed gearboxes he was referring to, in connection with {not} servicing the mechatronic unit?

      It's just that Stu took his V10 6-speed with 6HP32A box, and they did drop and service that unit.

      I'm not querying what you said, just interested in connection with my V10!

      Cheers,
      Chris

    22. Member V10Mike's Avatar
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      07-03-2012 08:35 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      Hi Per,

      Did Herr Sagert explain which 6-speed gearboxes he was referring to, in connection with {not} servicing the mechatronic unit?

      It's just that Stu took his V10 6-speed with 6HP32A box, and they did drop and service that unit.

      I'm not querying what you said, just interested in connection with my V10!

      Cheers,
      Chris
      I had my V10 gearbox serviced by Herr Sagert last week. He offered the Mechatronic service as a (highly recommended) option, in addition to the fluid and filter change. It adds about 55 euros to the cost, because of the need to fit a new gasket plate on reassembly ("zwischenbleck"), taking the total to 550 euros including VAT.

      I stayed overnight at the ETAP hotel Dortmund Ost, which is only 2km from the ZF service centre, cheap and clean, and arrived at 08:00 prompt with a cold gearbox. The service was finished at 11:15, and after a test drive and a check for oil leaks I was on my way. I was relieved to find my oil-air intercooler was clean, the oil was dirty but not burnt, and the magnetic plugs only had very light contamination -all was well according to Herr Sagert, but an oil change essential to preserve the future life of the gearbox.

      Following the service the thump as first gear is selected coming to a halt is gone, and a rough downchange from fourth to third has also been cured. All changes are very smooth, but to be honest my gearbox was working pretty well anyway.

      There was a silver V6 TDi Phaeton also in for service, and parked outside was what I took to be a W12 going by the exhaust tips and Brembo brakes, but badged only "GP0".

      I then took the Phaeton on an extended road test down to Stuttgart, over to Munich before returning home through France. More on this in another thread!

      Mike

    23. Moderator Paximus's Avatar
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      07-03-2012 08:54 AM #23
      Thanks, Mike - that's good to know that they cover the bigger box on the V10 as well as the others. Glad it worked out comfortably for you, too. The trip sounds interesting!

      I think I will pay Dortmund a visit later in the year. After sorting out the turbos...

      Chris

    24. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      07-03-2012 03:01 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      Thanks, Mike - that's good to know that they cover the bigger box on the V10 as well as the others. Glad it worked out comfortably for you, too. The trip sounds interesting!

      I think I will pay Dortmund a visit later in the year. After sorting out the turbos...

      Chris
      Chris,

      Turbos in France, then on to Germany for the gearbox!! Go on you know you want to.

      Stu
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