The Aston Martin DB9 Automatic Transmission

I’ve been curious to learn more about the Automatic Transmission fitted to the DB9’s.   I’m talking about the 6-speed Touchtronic II paddle shift unit that was in the majority of DB9’s from 2004 until 2014 when they changed to the Touchtronic III 8 -speed.  The DB9 had an option for a 6-speed manual transmission (stick shift) but those are rarer and I don’t have one.

What got me wondering were a few common sense questions:

  • How do you tell if the transmission fluid is topped up?
  • When does the transmission fluid need to be changed?
  • Is there a transmission fluid filter that needs to be changed?

Surprisingly, there were no simple answers.  Here’s what I learned.

[Spoiler Alert!  If you own a 2004-2012 DB9, you are overdue for a Transmission Fluid Change]

Don’t confuse the Automatic Transmission Fluid with the Rear Transaxle Fluid

For better weight distribution DB9s have their transmissions located in the back of the car just ahead of the rear wheels.  To save space, the Automatic Transmission is  bolted directly to the front of the Rear Transaxle (differential).   See the diagram below.  The two components are separate in their function, and in their service needs.  The rear transaxle needs its fluids changed every 2 years (read my article on how to here)  as part of the 2 year annual service regime.  It takes completely different fluid.  This should not be confused with changing the automatic transmission fluid.

Owners Manual and the Service Schedule

I started my research where we all should – the owners manual to review the service schedule.  There is only one item to inspect for leaks and top up the fluid if needed.  No interval for changing fluid or filter.

Workshop Manual

Next I checked out the official Aston Martin Workshop Manual Section 7.01 on the Automatic Transmission.    It reveals that the transmission is a ZF 6HP26 transmission.  ZF makes transmissions for many manufacturers, and the transmission itself is NOT bespoke to Aston Martin.  It’s used in BMWs and other brands.  Aston did design & test the cast aluminum housing for the transmission since its an integral part of the rear suspension and transaxle.  To recap – the case is bespoke to Aston Martin but the transmission guts are ZF.

The manual says the transmission is

Filled for Life

Implying that there is no service required _ever_ for this transmission.  I find this unrealistic.  “Life” of what?   Me?  First owner?  Or the transmission’s life until it self destructs from deteriorated fluids.  The latter is my concern.  It makes the skeptic in me wonder what best serves the companies?  It needs to last beyond the warranty period before dying, then we can sell something very expensive to replace it.

The workshop manual does list some procedures for checking and topping up the fluid level should a leak have occurred.   For example if you have a leak in or have to change your transmission fluid cooling lines.   It lists the recommended transmission fluid as “Shell ATF” but honestly this isn’t nearly detailed enough – and I will cover the correct fluid further along in this article.  Its not the typical automatic transmission fluid you’d pick up in your local Shell service station and use in your mini-van.  Fluid must meet Shell standard M1375.4.

The manual also lists the fluid capacities as:

  • 10 liters
    • I think this is for a completely dry transmission, and is more than what an oil change will require.  You’ll see below that the official ZF service kit include less replacement oil.
  • 1.6 liters for the transmission fluid cooling system


Knowing the model of the transmission, I went to Google and searched ZF 6HP26 and found there is a complete Wikipedia page on all sorts of details about this transmission (you can find it here).   Wow – who writes all that stuff?  I am glad they did.   On the page you can actually see a list of all the variations of the transmission, and see a confirmation that it was in fact used by Aston Martin.

When introduced the ZF 6HP26 was the first 6-speed automatic transmission.  Aston was on the forefront of technology when the DB9 came out.  The 6 in the name is the number of gears.  The ’26’ at the end refers to the torque its designed to handle.  The 6HP26 was the original model and is rated for up to 600 Nm (442 lb-ft), and this worked well with the DB9’s V12 engine that produces 570 Nm (420 lb-ft) of torque.

Note:  If you plan on adding performance tuning to your engine to raise the power, take note of how close the stock engine is to the max torque rating for the transmission.  22 ft-lbs more (5%) of torque will max it out.

Although it went out of production in 2014, ZF made over 7 million of these transmissions worldwide between 2001 and 2014!  Wow.  What should be good news about this is that we won’t have to get service parts ONLY from our local Aston Martin dealer (where they would certainly be more expensive).  It also means the aftermarket parts companies have come along and made OEM equivalent parts, but cheaper of course.  In fact you can even find the service parts on Amazon.   I’ll cover the parts more extensively in the future article on changing the fluid (check it out here).

ZF’s Website

A little more Googling on ZF 6HP26 turned up the official ZF website, and their actual Transmission Oil Change Service Procedure.  The holy grail of how toYou can find a copy of it here.  Comparing it to the Aston Martin Workshop Manual section on checking and filling the transmission is a pretty close match in process.  I’ll be relying on this procedure when I do mine.

The ZF guide has a few more great things on it:

  • Specifies the exact fluid to use – ZF Lifeguard 6.
    • This stuff isn’t cheap, but can be found from multiple sources online for about $25 USD per liter.  You can see where most of the cost in the Service Kit come from since we need 7 liters or more.
    • The official standard the fluid meets Shell standard M1375.4.
    • The forums like Pistonheads and 6SpeedOnline have lots of threads and rambling discussions about what fluids are OK to use and alternatives.  I’m less keen to save $20 on something I will do precisely once every 8 years or so.  In the future article I will list some fluids I find that meet the grade, but I expect you’ll see me using the official ZF fluid.
  • Specifies a Service Procedure for Aston Martins (Table A)
  • Specifies the Torques and Pattern for reinstalling the plastic oil pan.
  • Specifies an official ZF Service Kit that includes that they think is necessary to change/replace when changing the Transmission fluid.  This is GREAT to find, the definitive recommendation on what you should be changing in this process.  ZF part number 8700 252.  Googling you can find this online from a few suppliers, mostly in the UK.  It includes:
    • Replacement Oil Pan.   This seems extreme only until you learn that the transmission oil filter is built into the drain pan, and you have to change the pan to change the filter.
      • Fun Fact – the oil pan is made of PLASTIC.  Yes, the original is too.  ZF designed it this way.
    • The replacement oil pan has a gasket/seal that comes with it
    • Replacement bolts (21)
    • Replacement Fill Plug
    • Seven (7) liters of ZF Lifeguard 6 fluid

What about the Transmission Fluid Cooler?

The DB9 is fitted with a transmission fluid cooler.  There is a small extra radiator nestled just behind the lower front bumper grill, and its connected back to the transmission with two really long pipes that are a combination of hard piping and flex hoses.  They connect to the transmission just above the fill hole on the right side.

If we drop the drain pan and drain the oil from the transmission, it doesn’t drain the approximate 1.6 liters of fluid in the radiator and lines.  Leaving this in wouldn’t be the end of the world, you’d be diluting the 1.6 liters of old fluid with the 7 liters of new, so you’d have changed 82% of the oil, leaving 18% old.   None of the procedures talk about this, but I expect I’ll find a way to drain this oil when I do the project.   Hmmm, I’ve got to remember to order 2 extra liters of fluid for this.

How often?   Time for a decision.

I’ve managed to find answers to how to check the levels, how to change the fluid and what parts to use, but I still don’t have an answer for how often.   I don’t agree with the ‘filled for life’ scenario.   Reviewing the Internet Forums reveals lots of discussions about a filled for life service interval, but nothing definitive.  I even chatted up Aston Martin Technician Scott Garvin to ask him, and his opinion was to leave it alone unless you see it leaking.

I can’t get past the fact that transmission fluid is just a specialty form of oil, and oil breaks down over time.   Particulates of wear build up in the fluid, ones smaller than the filter is designed for.  The transmission is not sealed from the atmosphere either, there are breather tubes that allow it to maintain an equal air pressure inside the tranny.  This will allow some moisture to enter and interact with the oil.   I think it will need periodically changed to stay in good condition.

The ZF Service Guide actually answers this question right on page one:

ZF Automatic transmissions are filled with specially developed semi-synthetic oils.  At very high operating temperatures, the oil ages faster than under normal conditions.  Examples:

  • Many trips at high speeds [this might apply to an Aston!]
  • Many trips while towing a trailer [Ha!  Not so much with an Aston]
  • Sporty driving [definitively describes an Aston]

Depending on the driving style, ZF recommends a transmission oil change every 80,000 to 120,000 km or after eight years at the latest.

There you have it.  Eight years at the latest.  Not filled for life.  Yikes.  This means every DB9 from 2004 to 2012 is overdue for a change right now.

How Much to do a fluid change?

Since the ZF service kit is available online for about $370 USD, I would expect that would be the cost of parts if you are following the official ZF way and doing the work yourself.

If you take your car to an Aston Martin dealership I could see the cost being double on the parts, plus the labor costs and you’ll be over $1,000.   I’ll track down an official estimate when I get to doing the project.

What would a replacement Transmission cost?

I was curious to track down how much a replacement transmission would cost.  If we followed the ‘filled for life’ mantra and let transmission eats itself, just how ridiculous would it be to replace?

Just getting a used transmission from a dismantler is about $2,700 USD (plus tax, shipping and installation).

A refurbish transmission, torque convertor, fluids and installation looks like about $6,200 USD from a specialist.

New from Aston Martin?  How about $8,770 just for the transmission and torque convertor (plus tax and shipping and installation)!   Looking at over $15K USD to do it at the dealership.

I think I’m going to try and extend the life of my transmission and change the oil for a few hundred bucks.

What’s Next?

Time to get your hands oily.  I’ve completed a full set of articles and videos on how to change the transmission fluid, filter and seals.   You can find that article here.

Please leave me comments down below with your opinions on my thought process, any personal experiences you’ve had with this, and any questions you have.


53 thoughts on “The Aston Martin DB9 Automatic Transmission

  1. Paul Tester

    Another great article. I have higher mileage aston (60k) and have been asking myself exactly the same questions.
    The transaxle started life as a sealed unit, but as you say, the oil is now to be changed regularly. I started to experience grinding and gabbing when slowly pulling out from a junction while turnung, changing the diff oil and filter cured it completely.
    I look forward to your future article when you eventually change yours.


    1. Paul

      Hi Steve.
      Im very interest in the project. Like you I have an early DB9 and do most of the service work myself. I live in the UK and unlike in the US people here are obsessed with the annual dealers stamp but this is a keeper and I will never sell it. I’m an engineer so can do this stuff competently.
      I know the transmission oil change on these ZF boxes are alot more complicated than just drain/refill as ive heard the level has to be exact so the engine needs to be ran to get upto temperature and doing this process takes time etc.
      So before i purchase a ZF service kit for this job I cant wait to read how your doing this.
      This ZF gearbox seems very popular with BMW etc and can get genuine ZF kits for about £200 but I’m not sure if Aston Martin has slightly changed the gearbox so we can’t use the general service kit from ZF??
      I need to know if its beyond home service or it really needs to go to an Aston specialist garage to do this.
      Thanks steve and look forward to reading about this project.


      1. Actually, you can buy the ZF kit. I’ve gathered all my parts (I got Aston to send me a set so I could confirm that they are actual ZF parts). I’ll be doing the work in August so stay tuned….


  2. Adi Horrell

    Great article as normal Steve. My AM is coming up to 13 years old but with only 22,000 miles. In my wildest dreams I would like to think that the dealership did all this work prior to me buying 3 years ago, but of course, that is a wild dream.
    Can’t wait to see your video and how that fluid looks when you post it.


    1. Adi Horrell

      Update on my post about this service.
      The beast is going to Rosso Service Exotic & Luxury Car Speacialist this week for complete fluid service of the car. Coolant, Oil, Brake Fluid, Transmition and Power Steering fluids. $1,800 cheaper than AM Service.
      Transmission par5 with replacement parts, fluids and complete drain of pipes is $830.
      These guys are Ferrari trained and undertake all sort of exotic car work, based near Baltimore.


  3. Russell Taylor

    Hi Steve,
    This whole sealed for life thing doesn’t sit well with me either. I did some research a few months ago and basically came up with the same conclusion as you. If it’s over 8 years , it’s time to replace. I haven’t done the work yet but I understand there is a few small items to replace while your in there. There are some seals that are located behind the valve body that are not too hard to get to and replace. Apparently over time they flatten and allow fluid to bypass them causing shift issues. My understanding is that they are not expensive and relatively easy to get to once you are in there. This video link is not an Aston but it is a ZF6 and the guy does a pretty good job of showing what we are in for. Does your Aston tech have any additional input on these seals needing replacement.


    1. Hi Russell. The first Aston tech didn’t say much about the seals. I’m checking with another. From the research so far it would be wise to do the Mechatronic Bridge Seal, plus those 4 port seals, the electronics sleeve, and the pan inclusive of the gasket. Toss in $300 of ZF Lifeguard 6 oil and bobs your uncle. I’m rounding up parts and fluids, and background on the selection of each. I am going to try and get ahold of an official ZF service kit as well for comparison. Has me wondering if I will feel the difference at all afterwards. About all I can feel that might be ‘off’ is my downshift from 5th to 4th is a bit abrupt, enough that I can feel it where I can’t in the other shifts. Hope it goes away afterwards, would be a sign that the fluids were ‘off’. Stay tuned!


  4. Looking at an 2002 12cyl DB7 Vantage Auto with 42,000 miles on the clock. Seems you & I might have the same engine & gearbox ? Read all your blog about running costs & I agree – Aston Martin ownership ain’t for the faint-hearted !!
    I had a ’77 V8 auto – never broke down on me,used it everyday,until pot 5 & 6 blew… going rate for a rebuild £18-20,000 then – used another car,that’s when DB 7 caught my eye. Luckily it had Plugs & Coils renewed earlier this year,& any rust to the undercarriage sand-papered off & painted with correct protection.
    FYI – I happen to live One & Three-Quarters of an Inch away ( from HWM…) on the Map !! NO,I’m NOT buying from them,(their car prices are too high)
    I was quoted / told by several people that MPG was 8 MPG-ish Urban, & maybe 23 MPG on a long run ?
    Don’t hesitate to make contact if you need someone to speed them up anytime,glad to help another Aston man !


    1. Hi David. Thanks for sharing. I think the 2002 Vanquish used an earlier model ZF transmission, the 5HP30 perhaps. I am no DB7 expert to be sure. Neat that you live near HWM. They’ve been flexible on price with me, and other Aston1936 readers. In a pinch try name dropping if you need something they have and you don’t want to drive 2 inches. I’d think 10-20% off might be feasible. Thanks for reaching out!


  5. craig elam

    its not a bad job to do really, you dont have to remove the exhaust as per manual, just shorten you 8mm allen key to undo the plug, removing the sump is easy until you realise that theres one bolt (as always) that you cant get out without removing the pipes to the themostat, the pipes are secured with tube nuts just like giant brake pipes, top tip clean and then lubricate the tube nuts so as you undo them they dont bind on the pipes, theres a couple of o rings where the pipes go onto the box , i didnt have any so re used originals , they dont leak so all good, i bought a 2ltr syringe from eurocarparts which made refill easy, I too believe filled for life to be a nonsense!!


    1. Thanks for all the tips Craig. I was wondering about the oil cooler lines and also if the right exhaust pipe needs to really come out. Did you change the ~1.6l in the oil cooler lines too?


  6. Paul

    Hi Steve,
    Great article as usual.
    My Rapide (4door DB9) has 55k on it and I’m ready to do the transmission flush.
    I can’t wait to see your procedure.
    Keep up the good work!


  7. Craig Elam

    Hello steve
    I didnt find a way to drain cooler lines, but as you said earlier its not a big problem, im in uk and the oe ZF sump/ filter was about £60.00 from euro car parts , i managed to change nearly 7 litres,


  8. Hi Steve, thank you for the blog, Its a lifesaver! I am in the process of buying a DB9 and I wonder, does the db9 has a timingchain or belt and is this a servicable part like in a Ferrari which has to change on a regular interval?



    1. Hi Michael. Thanks for the kudos! I believe there is a timing chain inside the front covers that drive the overhead cams. To my knowledge there is no listed service interval for them. My dealer was doing a timing cover oil leak repair a few years back and didn’t offer to change the chains while they were in there, so my guess if the dealer isn’t trying to gouge me, there isn’t anything to be done with them.


  9. David Brown

    I believe early DB9’s had a common issue with leaking transmission cooler lines and I know it occurred on my ’05 and all the fluids and filter pan were changed along with the cooler lines and mini radiator at the same time.


    1. Ya, my car had that issue too. First thing I had to get fixed due to the leak. They changed my lines, but that process didn’t require them to change all the fluid for mine, they just refilled to top up what was lost.

      Thanks for sharing!


  10. Hey Steve. Thanks for the info. I have a leak in the pan somewhere it seems so I am looking to do this change. I am trying to track down the part now but so far I can only find them on sites where it is out of stock. Anyway, I just wanted to suggest to you that if you want to film the change for your site here I could meet up with you and do mine and you can film it if you would like and think it would be good for your site. Let me know. I am in Central CA.


      1. Steve,

        I am up in Paso Robles, CA. Wine country. I have a vacation rental here as well so if you wanted to come up I could even put you up in the rental, bring your wife and we can do some wine tasting after we finish. Could be fun.


  11. Paul Lizio

    HI, Steve. Thanks for all of your help and tips! I had to change my transmission cooler and some oil leaked out. I am sure I lost some fluid from the leaky cooler as well. At this point I just want to top it off and not change the fluid until a later date. Do you have any information on that procedure? 2006 DB9 v12

    As for purging the cooler and lines, how about blowing compressed air through the lines, or a vacuum to pull it through?


    1. Hi Paul, I will be covering this in my Transmission Fluid change video and article later in the summer. Sadly its a bit of a phaff to do this properly.

      I’ll be either blowing air through the cooler lines to flush, or using the tranny itself to circulate new fluid in and purge the old fluid out.


      1. paul

        I am certain it is a project! I would be leery of running the engine without transmission fluid. Turns out I need to buy the upgraded transmission cooler kit which involves replacing the lines. Do you have any information on the procedure for that?


      2. Hi Paul. I’ve had my lines replaced, but this was one thing I used the dealer for. I recall it was around $2K USD fully installed. Mine was leaking up by where the lines attach to the cooler (corrosion due to dissimilar metals). Common issue on early DB9s and would have been done under warranty had it been dealer serviced after the discovery. My Damn Previous Owner (DPO) was a putz and used a local specialist, so this was never done.


  12. Adi Horrell

    Further to my previous posts, my specialist, Rosso Exotics in Maryland has undertaken the transmission fluid flush and change as per the ZF handbook.
    My DB9 is past 13 years old with 23,000 miles on the clock.
    I insisted that I wanted to have this work undertaken, and was curious as to the state of the fluid, the filter and magnetic catch device.
    Scott, the proprietor of the garage took his time to drain all fluids including the pipes and take a careful look at the said components and fluid.
    The outcome was that the transmission fluid was actually reasonably clean, in fact not a lot different to the in colour to the new being put in. The filter was in good condition and the magnetic catcher had no visible swaf attached.
    In Scott’s option, the exercise was worth while and gave good peace of mind to me as the owner.
    Was it really needed!
    Scott advised that he would certainly follow the direction and guidance of ZF as the manufacturer of the transmission but would not be unduly concerned that the transmission showed undue wear or tear.
    The DB9 was booked into Rossa for a full service and all fluid change to be sure it was kept whole. What I was not expecting was the oil pan seal leak that is $135 for the seal but $2500 for the labor to undertake the work because the sub-frame and suspension has to be dropped to do the job.


  13. Jorge Martí

    So…my ’07 AM DB9 transmission just broke down… apparently the 5th gear seems to be misplaced, my AM dealer quoted me 24k€ for the replacement of the whole thing. The car has 50.000 kms.
    Today, opening it up I found out that the oil was burnt and basicly useless…
    Do you think AM should tell the owners to change the oil? Shouldn’t they follow the instructions given by ZF?
    I’m looking for a repair and maybe a replacement if the prices aren’t too far away by not doing it with the AM dealer…
    I’m also disgusted with AM for not giving us this information and expecting us to pay 24.000€ for a replacement.


  14. Tom

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for excellent write-up an tips. I did the replacement yesterday. I have got official ZF kit Part no 1068.298.062. It contained all the parts (oil, sump + filter, bolts, seals, gearbox electrical connector with seal) and instruction describing the procedure for AM DB9. Kit was 180 USD here in Poland. Absolutely no difference in car behavior after replacement (which is actually a good news).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tom! Glad to hear the kit worked well for you. I’m just replacing all my stuff now. I haven’t been able to find this kit anywhere in US, nor anywhere near that price. How many litres of old fluid did you get out?


      1. Tom

        The kit is available here in Europe without problems. I have bought it online. Actually I don’t know how many fluid came out. I have delivered the kit to local Aston Martin dealer for oil replacement and install. Prior the job, they have confirmed 7 liter is enough based on their experience (they new this kit). I have observed the procedure (about 2 hours) – they followed the ZF instruction steps describing warming up / topping up fluid.


  15. Hi, i consider doing Transmission and Transaxle fluid change. Its a DB9 2009 facelift with 57k Kilometers (35k Miles). Is there any difference in the ZF Service Kit I have to order? (8700 252 or 1068.298.062) AFAIK the Transmission was improved in the Facelift model, is it another Part No than 6HP26 X? Thanks, Mike


    1. Hi Mike. Thanks a good question that I don’t have an immediate answer for. I think the ZF document I linked to the article spelled it out by model. Is your trans a 6HP26X?


  16. Gary F Knox


    Any update on the status of your fluid change for the transmission? My ’09 has 34K miles, and I think it is time to do that change. I see the latest info on the ZF site indicates ~80K miles OR 8 years, whichever comes first.

    Looking forward to any and all updates you so generously provide to help all of us klutzes.



  17. James Moss

    Most will have done the change now but a word of warning. A friend of mine was an engineer and work for ZF. He was in the quality control/returns/complaints side and said one of the main reasons that the sealed for life was brought in, other than fully testing the life of the oil to make sure it could cope and increasing the size of the filter was the high amount of transmission fault which they attributed to foreign objects in the oil. It turned out that grit was getting in when the oil was being checked, topped up or replaced. His advice was don’t bother unless you see a leak but if you must change then be scrupulously clean and be extra careful cleaning round the filler before opening.


  18. test

    Thought you might find this interesting…
    Looks like Mercon SP is Lifeguard 6 made under licence by Shell in the US.

    The most conclusive evidence was in this thread. Someone sent samples of both Mercon SP and Lifeguard 6 into Blackstone Labs:

    The MSDS sheets match, the Blackstone lab reports match, the part x reference match on Ford vehicles… seems like a winner.

    Hopefully you make a YouTube video on the ATF change!


    1. Interesting. Neat to see some data behind it. While I believe it will be about the same fluid, something in the back of my mind still twitches when I consider doing it, and risking toasting a very very expensive part (the trans) in my DB9. Is cutting this corner worth the risk? I know, stupid probably. I’ll dig a little deeper into the data. If its identical to ZF Lifeguard 6, then its good to go.


  19. Theron

    Hi Steve,
    I was wondering if you have started or planned to start your transmission flush? I have all the parts to do the work but have not had the time nor an availble lift. Just curious on your thoughts. Im about to hit 28600 and really want to git er done. Ive also looked into upgrading the internals at a professional shop to a ZF6HP30 to support more torque.


  20. Paul Hicks

    Hello Steve,

    Excellent as always! Have you had as a chance to change the transmission guild during the lockdown this year at all?

    I’d be very interested to see your insights as always!



  21. Dave Bradly

    Hi Steve,
    many thanks for turning a somewhat scary stealership car in to an affordable classic. A brilliant website far superior to most “pro” workshop manuals.
    I am about to embark on a full fluid change for the car (it is a 2005 with about 48,000 km on it), so likely well overdue. Of course I do the engine oil annually, but have not done the transfer case yet and so 2 1/2 years in it is time. While under there, will do the gearbox too.
    Almost like the AM Service Devil was perching on my shoulder as I went out to warm things up gently, the car started lurching and jumping around gears. Paddles wouldn’t work properly either. Almost like a slipping clutch in a manual car. Then it saw fit to lock in 4th gear with “limited functionality”.! No kidding. Thank goodness it will still go in to neutral, park and reverse for putting in the shop.
    Ever heard of anything like this?
    Now I don’t know enough about automatic gearboxes generally, but if there was insufficient or contaminated oil would it cause this kind of behaviour?
    In trepidation, it goes up on the hoist this afternoon and front and back underpans come off to reveal, well, I don’t know what.
    Wish me luck!
    And thanks again for a great help.


    1. Hi Dave. Wow, scary. What have you learned? The transmission itself has its own whole control unit and electronics module. It will fight to protect itself if something is wonky. The transmission as you’ve read on this site is a pretty bullet proof ZF HP26 that was used in BMW, Rolls and Aston. But, anything can have a failure. Low fluid level in an automatic can cause all sorts of oddball behavior. Aston still claims they are filled for life, contradicting ZF’s own website data of 8 years. Being a few years overdue if your car is low miles should be causing an issue. But, a leak and low fluid levels, or perished internal seals, all could cause mayhem.

      Please let me know what you found out in as much detail as possible.

      Good luck!


      1. Dave Bradly

        Unfortunately, it refused to get out of Park, so it is officially beyond me now if I cannot get it on my hoist, so calling in the pros on Thursday. I spoke with my guy and he is convinced its low fluid in the ZF gearbox. So find and fix the leak, fill, and we should be good. I really hope the electronics did their job and saved destruction of a very expensive gearbox. Will get as much detail as possible as it happens.


  22. Gary Knox


    If you haven’t already changed your fluid, I came across an outstanding write-up of the procedure used by a Jaguar owner with the ZF 6HP26 transmission. Here is a link – as thorough as your write-ups, but just doesn’t have any video! – ha. Link:

    He comments on ‘flush adapters for this job. I’ve ordered two of these, and when I finish my flush I’ll send them to you at no charge for your flush/refill if you’d like. For other’s, here is a link to the source for these at $28 the pair:

    Hope this might be helpful to you and/or others.



  23. Gary F Knox


    There are quite a few internet research sites where Mercon SP fluid has been shown to meet the same Shell Shell Spirax S4 ATF MSP that ZF required for the 6HP26 and 26X transmissions. Of course, ZF Lifeguard 6 also meets those specifications. If anyone is going to do a full flush, Amazon has 12 qts of Mercon SP for ~$90.

    There is a great post on a Jaguar web site with a full flush description that is very thorough for the 6HP26 transmission (also used by Jag, BMW, Audi, European Ford, Land Rover, and US Lincolns). There are 9 pages of comments and suggestions following the OP. I will be following this procedure and using the Mercon SP when I flush my ’09 DB9 with 34K miles within the next few weeks.
    Link to the Jaguar Forum post:


  24. Gary F Knox

    I also uncovered a review of servicing the ZF 6HP26 transmissions by a transmission shop in FL. There is a lot more discussion of servicing here than most of us might want, but towards the end of the first YouTube, there is information about the adaptation procedure that can be implemented when the new fluid has been installed. This shop owner seems to think this should be done for best results with the transmission.

    There is a second – follow on – YouTube by the same provider that covers the adaptation thoroughly.

    Link to the first ‘heavy duty’ video:


  25. Gary F Knox

    I know – my posts are getting monotonous, but here are the results of the research I did on the plastic transmission pan/filter and the OE suppliers (German filter producers only). Also, the other automobile manufacturers who used the same transmission and their reference numbers for the same pan.

    I will only use a pan from ZF, Mann, or Mahle, as I’m confident of the filters in their pans. Prices for these OE (or OE Supplier) pans run from ~$80 to over $200. Aftermarket suppliers could be as low as $35 US.

    ZF 6HP26 Transmission filters – OE German filter producers and part numbers:
    Mann H50 002
    Mahle HX 152

    Manufacturer Reference numbers for the pan
    ZF 0501 216 243

    ASTON MARTIN 4G43-42-10273
    BMW 24 11 7 571 227
    BMW 24 15 2 333 903
    JAGUAR C2C38963
    JAGUAR C2C6715
    LAND ROVER LR 007474


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