Removing the Mechatronics Unit from the Automatic Transmission in an Aston Martin DB9

Mechatronics Unit

Wow, that title sounds cool! Mech-a-tronics unit.  Most of the Aston Martin DB9’s, DBS and Rapides built between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with a Touchtronic II 6-speed automatic transmission. I’ve written elsewhere that this transmission is really a ZF model 6HP26 fitted to many other cars of the era including Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and BMW. It’s a terrific transmission. The transmission features ‘Shift By Wire’, meaning there are no levers or cables doing the shifting.  A computer inside the transmission is controlling a bunch of electronic solenoid valves that control the fluid flows that manage the shifting. A mechanical electronic unit – Mechatronic.

If you are doing a full fluid, filter and seal change to your transmission you’ll end up needing to remove the Mechatronic Unit to drain it and to get to the bits underneath it. I’ve done a full series of articles and videos on this process and you can check out the main article here to learn more.

Let me show you how to properly remove the Mechatronic unit. Continue reading “Removing the Mechatronics Unit from the Automatic Transmission in an Aston Martin DB9”

Removing the Electronics Sleeve from the Automatic Transmission in an Aston Martin DB9

Most Aston Martin DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with a 6-speed Touchtronic II Automatic Transmission (if you have a manual shift, you are a lucky duck). I’ve already written a few times that this transmission is really a ZF model 6HP26 that was fitted to many other cars of the era including Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and BMW (to name a few). The transmission features Shift By Wire (SBW) meaning that there is no lever or linkage doing the shifting, but rather a set of electronic solenoid valves inside the transmission (the Mechatronics Unit). When you push the shifter buttons on the center console, they are really just sending electronic signals down to the transmission control module (located inside the transmission).

If there are electronic signals, then there must be wiring that plugs into the transmission somehow. This is done with a large multipin electronics connector that twist locks into something called the Electronics Sleeve. The Electronics Sleeve’s job is to create a leak free ‘tunnel’ through the transmission casing allowing the electronics connector to mate up with the mechatronics unit.

The Electronics Sleeve is known to leak. It has two large O-rings that seal it to the transmission casing, and these O-rings start to flatten out over time in all the heat of the transmission (see photo below). My car had this issue and you can see some signs of a ‘weeping’ oil leak that then blows back over the casing and the differential.

Removing (and replacing) the Electronics Sleeve isn’t particularly difficult (or expensive), and I replaced mine as part of doing a full transmission fluid, filter and seals change. I’ve created an extensive series of articles on this process that you can check out here. Let me show you how to remove the Electronics Sleeve. Continue reading “Removing the Electronics Sleeve from the Automatic Transmission in an Aston Martin DB9”

Removing the Automatic Transmission Oil Pan/Sump from an Aston Martin DB9

Removing the Oil Pan/Sump from the Touchtronic II 6-speed Automatic Transmission fitted to most Aston Martin DB9, DBS and Rapide between 2004 and 2014 is necessary for several reasons. You might be wanting to change the automatic transmission fluid & filter, or needing to access the Mechatronics unit inside to change the seals. The fluid filter is integral to the plastic sump body, so if you want to change the filter you are going to need to replace the entire Oil Pan.   I’ve doing an entire series on these tasks (check it out here). Let me show you how. Continue reading “Removing the Automatic Transmission Oil Pan/Sump from an Aston Martin DB9”

Removing the Thermostatic Valve and Draining the Transmission Cooler Lines in an Aston Martin DB9

Probably the wordiest title to a Blog article yet – my apologies. What I am talking about is the Thermostatic control valve mounted to the Touchtronic II 6-speed Automatic Transmission fitted to most Aston Martin DB9’s, DBS and Rapides from 2004 to 2014. This valve controls the flow of hot automatic transmission fluid to the oil cooler/radiator mounted at the front of the car, regulating its temperature. You may need to remove the valve to service it, the oil cooler lines, or to remove the transmission oil pan/sump (like I am doing in my series on changing the automatic transmission fluid and seals – read about that here). The oil cooler lines hold about 1.6 liters of transmission fluid so you might want to drain those. Let me show you how to remove the valve and drain the lines. Continue reading “Removing the Thermostatic Valve and Draining the Transmission Cooler Lines in an Aston Martin DB9”

Draining the Automatic Transmission fluid from the Sump in an Aston Martin DB9

I wanted to change the Automatic Transmission fluid in my DB9 (check out my entire series on this in another article). Part of that process is to drain the fluid from the oil pan/sump. Keep in mind that just draining the fluid from the sump and then refilling what comes out is NOT all it takes to change all the fluid. In fact you’ll only be draining about 40% of the total amount of fluid in the transmission during this process. To get the other 60% you should really check out my entire series on this. Continue reading “Draining the Automatic Transmission fluid from the Sump in an Aston Martin DB9”

Removing the Right Hand Rear Exhaust Heat Shield from an Aston Martin DB9

If you are trying to access some of the components on the right hand side of the 6-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission fitted to most Aston Martin DB9s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 you’ll find you have almost no access. The exhaust pipe is very close, and Aston fitted a heat shield to protect the transmission. But, that heat shield is even closer to the transmission. If you remove it you finally have enough room to get some skinny fingers into those tight places and can get some work done. For me, I was working on Changing the Transmission fluid (of which I’ve done a complete series of articles on that you can find here). Let me show you how to remove the heat shield.

Continue reading “Removing the Right Hand Rear Exhaust Heat Shield from an Aston Martin DB9”

Tools Needed to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9

I’ve just changed the Automatic Transmission Fluid on my DB9 after 15 years and 45K miles.  The process applies to other Aston’s like the DBS and Rapide fitted with the Touchtronic II 6-speed automatic transmission made by ZF.   I’ve prepared an entire series describing the whole process, and you can find the index article for that here. As part of that process I spend sometime determining which tools would be needed to get the work done, PLUS I discovered a few tools and supplies that will make the process much easier. I wanted to share that with you in this article.

Continue reading “Tools Needed to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9”

Parts Needed to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9

If you own an Aston Martin DB9, DBS, or Rapide from 2004 to about 2014 and it has an Touchtronic II  6-Speed automatic transmission, the official Aston Martin Service guide says the transmission is ‘Filled for Life’.  In another article I debunked this idea (read the full article here), and uncovered the transmission manufacturer lists the service interval as a more realistic 80,000 to 120,000 kms (50,000 to 75,000 miles) or eight (8) years at the longest.    If you have an Aston Martin made before 2011 you are likely due for an automatic transmission fluid change.   If you are interested in doing it yourself (as I am) then you’ll need to know what very specific parts to track down.  This article will point you at what you need and give you some options on where to get them.

Continue reading “Parts Needed to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9

Hello readers. I’ve just released the epic 7 part video series (epic to me at least) on how to change the transmission fluid in a DB9 fitted with a 6-speed automatic Touchtronic II transmission. Most DB9’s from 2004 to 2014 were fitted with this transmission.

Continue reading “Changing the Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9”

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] Continue reading “The Aston Martin DB9 Automatic Transmission”