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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Nine is the new six, but the arrival and adoption of nine-speed automatic transmissions hasn't gone as smooth as hoped.

Driveability has been the prime concern, odd shift points and harsh shifts have manifested on both the Cherokee and the Renegade early in their lifecycles. However at a recent ZF tech day The Car Connection found that the fault may not lie entirely with the hardware per se, but a combination of components and calibration.

Comparing the same nine-speed in the Discovery Sport to the two Jeeps back to back they found that "the unit's somewhat softer, more conservative calibration works to the benefit of drivability and smoothness in the Discovery Sport, versus those Jeep models."

ZF CEO Stefan Sommer believes that part of the issue may lie in the fact that Americans drive different. “We need to focus more on the regional-specific perception of how such a complex machine like an automatic transmission is working in the car, and as a consequence we have made a decision to bring more application engineering into the U.S....to be closer to the U.S. customer, to even frontload, in this tuning application work.”

Frieder Mohr, a ZF application engineers offers tips to consumers that the dealer probably can't. The nine-speed is a smart gearbox, it learns as you drive and that may be where certain issues are manifesting.


  • If you’re the gentler driver in the household, a few lumpy shifts are to be expected each time you get in after the more aggressive one. If one driver drives rapidly most or all the time, then it’s possible that the low-speed, low-load shifts won’t work so well, because the transmission will still be assuming the style of the more aggressive driver. It is possible that each time the gentler driver gets into the vehicle, the first few shifts may be firmer, but the software softens shift quality after just a few minutes of driving.
  • It’s actually important to mix driving styles when the vehicle is new. This is so that the transmission can ‘learn’ each shift over a range of conditions. The transmission could take longer to adapt if driven in a steady continuous way, but shifts should even then become smoother and more predictable over the long run.
 

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Interesting, from the original source it looks like ZF has next to no input in the calibration side of things. Perhaps if calibration is this difficult they should look at offering support in the future...

That said, ZF isn’t willing to concede that all that we observe as odd drivability traits are related to their choices. When I asked about rough downshifts during a common American maneuver—a gentle rolling ‘stop’ followed by a right turn and moderate acceleration (one that’s a non-event in the Discovery Sport), Mohr deflected to FCA’s choices. “It sounds like what you’re describing there is related not to adaptation but to shift strategy, which is determined by our customer,” he said.
 

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That said, ZF isn’t willing to concede that all that we observe as odd drivability traits are related to their choices. When I asked about rough downshifts during a common American maneuver—a gentle rolling ‘stop’ followed by a right turn and moderate acceleration (one that’s a non-event in the Discovery Sport), Mohr deflected to FCA’s choices. “It sounds like what you’re describing there is related not to adaptation but to shift strategy, which is determined by our customer,” he said.
He is absolutely correct. Having worked in engineering level diagnostics at Ford, adaptation is simply the storage of data which the control module may use to make "better" decisions. The decisions which are made based on the design parameters are part of the strategy and are typically not changed by adaptation.

For instance, down shifting in the Renegade has been pretty sloppy (for my vehicle) however has been smoothing out the more I execute commanded down shifts. This would be an example of adaptation.

On the other hand, my Renegade tends to hold 3rd or 2nd gear until I have come to a complete stop before engaging first gear. Based on the fact that we drive the vehicle fairly smoothly, the transmission chooses this shift strategy. The choice that the transmission must make is part of the strategy. That is something that Chrysler/Jeep/Land Rover have defined in the computer program and cannot be adapted.

Now if I consistently come to a quick stop and accelerate quickly, the computer will chose a different strategy that might shift into first gear sooner so that a down shift is not executed under heavy throttling at low speed. This behavior may not be available in Chysler/Jeep's shift strategy which would cause a problem.

Hopefully this clears up the difference between adaptation and shift strategy.

Engineers have to design products for a specified range of individuals. If they had to design for everyone, the product cost would be astronomical. This is also one of the main reasons people pick a particular brand. They like the way it was designed for their needs.
 

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It seems to want mashed down in city traffic just to keep people from honking at you, but does kind of good in commuting on the freeway for me. I keep being reminded of Nissan CVTs. If you hold it to 2k and let the car catch up, it behaves pretty much like a CVT. I'll have to remember to toss it around more. :)
 

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Frieder Mohr wrote (a ZF application engineer): "It’s actually important to mix driving styles when the vehicle is new. This is so that the transmission can ‘learn’ each shift over a range of conditions."

That's exactly how I broke mine in. Maybe that's why mine has been flawless so far. Except for the very slightly over-zealous rev matching on the 8-7 & 5-4 shifts, mine behaves nicely (even the rev matching isn't really a problem).
 
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Interesting, from the original source it looks like ZF has next to no input in the calibration side of things. Perhaps if calibration is this difficult they should look at offering support in the future...

we have made a decision to bring more application engineering into the U.S....to be closer to the U.S. customer, to even frontload, in this tuning application work.

It sounds like they already plan on doing that.
 

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I just have to voice this and I am also wondering if anyone else has experienced this with there renegade. So every Morning when I leave for work I hold me breathe that my transmission will not mess up. when I put the jeep in to reverse and pull out my parking spot and go into drive my jeep stalls out and doesn't know what gear to go to then it picks it gear and launches the jeep forward, I know one day this will cause me to run into my neighbors cars. I have had the software flashed once and tomorrow I am getting it flashed again. the last time I took it in to get the software flashed and reinstalled, I pulled into the dealership and was looking to park when I ran out of room and had to turn around and go back up the lane to find a spot. when I pulled into the handy cap spot to revers out and turn around, the renegade through on the parking break, slammed to a holt and every signal warning light came on. the check engine, 4x4, transmission, oil, no traction control...ect. i turned the jeep off turned it back on and still all warning light were on as well the parking break. So i left the jeep in the middle of the road and walked into the service and told them my jeep was stuck in the middle of the lot and i needed someone to get it and move it out the way. it took them about 10 mins to get all codes cleared and break to go off. I sat there for 4 hours while they flashed the software. After the software flash the jeep ran fine for a month or so and its now acting the same way again. im just scared im going to be driving one day and it will shut down while driving and get hurt or something.
 

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SirCraigory;207161told them my jeep was stuck in the middle of the lot and i needed someone to get it and move it out the way. it took them about 10 mins to get all codes cleared and break to go off. QUOTE said:
Wow.... Very scary! Couldn't have happened in a better place than their parking lot for them to see!! Can any issues such as this have anything to do with whether the vehicle was broken in properly when it was first built? I hear stories about that & am hoping when I get mine that it has very little miles on it, because I don't know how someone else has been driving it. Keep us posted what happens!
 

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I just have to voice this and I am also wondering if anyone else has experienced this with there renegade. So every Morning when I leave for work I hold me breathe that my transmission will not mess up. when I put the jeep in to reverse and pull out my parking spot and go into drive my jeep stalls out and doesn't know what gear to go to then it picks it gear and launches the jeep forward, I know one day this will cause me to run into my neighbors cars. I have had the software flashed once and tomorrow I am getting it flashed again. the last time I took it in to get the software flashed and reinstalled, I pulled into the dealership and was looking to park when I ran out of room and had to turn around and go back up the lane to find a spot. when I pulled into the handy cap spot to revers out and turn around, the renegade through on the parking break, slammed to a holt and every signal warning light came on. the check engine, 4x4, transmission, oil, no traction control...ect. i turned the jeep off turned it back on and still all warning light were on as well the parking break. So i left the jeep in the middle of the road and walked into the service and told them my jeep was stuck in the middle of the lot and i needed someone to get it and move it out the way. it took them about 10 mins to get all codes cleared and break to go off. I sat there for 4 hours while they flashed the software. After the software flash the jeep ran fine for a month or so and its now acting the same way again. im just scared im going to be driving one day and it will shut down while driving and get hurt or something.
You might want to hit up the production date thread. and see what is logged there. Another user got feedback on BCM issues that there were apparently a batch of early cars that don't have the wiring loom installed properly and are causing pinched wires in places, which are causing shorts as things wear.

This would seem to be the root cause of the steering column smoke/fires and a the BCM issues where fuses are blowing, but it doesn't mean it isn't causing other issues before it gets that bad.

All the warning lights going off is one of the BCM symptoms.
 

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Nine is the new six, but the arrival and adoption of nine-speed automatic transmissions hasn't gone as smooth as hoped.

Driveability has been the prime concern, odd shift points and harsh shifts have manifested on both the Cherokee and the Renegade early in their lifecycles. However at a recent ZF tech day The Car Connection found that the fault may not lie entirely with the hardware per se, but a combination of components and calibration.

Comparing the same nine-speed in the Discovery Sport to the two Jeeps back to back they found that "the unit's somewhat softer, more conservative calibration works to the benefit of drivability and smoothness in the Discovery Sport, versus those Jeep models."

ZF CEO Stefan Sommer believes that part of the issue may lie in the fact that Americans drive different. “We need to focus more on the regional-specific perception of how such a complex machine like an automatic transmission is working in the car, and as a consequence we have made a decision to bring more application engineering into the U.S....to be closer to the U.S. customer, to even frontload, in this tuning application work.”

Frieder Mohr, a ZF application engineers offers tips to consumers that the dealer probably can't. The nine-speed is a smart gearbox, it learns as you drive and that may be where certain issues are manifesting.


  • If you’re the gentler driver in the household, a few lumpy shifts are to be expected each time you get in after the more aggressive one. If one driver drives rapidly most or all the time, then it’s possible that the low-speed, low-load shifts won’t work so well, because the transmission will still be assuming the style of the more aggressive driver. It is possible that each time the gentler driver gets into the vehicle, the first few shifts may be firmer, but the software softens shift quality after just a few minutes of driving.
  • It’s actually important to mix driving styles when the vehicle is new. This is so that the transmission can ‘learn’ each shift over a range of conditions. The transmission could take longer to adapt if driven in a steady continuous way, but shifts should even then become smoother and more predictable over the long run.
In other words, "We designed this crappy transmission that wont work right 100% of the time so drive it like this so you wont notice it's flaws.". I would buy their explanation if it was one model specific or one brand specific and your older models (such as the Cherokee) had all the bugs worked out by now, but this spans different makes and models with different segments.

Reminds me of the Honda Odyssey transmissions during the first part of this century.
 

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In other words, "We designed this crappy transmission that wont work right 100% of the time so drive it like this so you wont notice it's flaws.". I would buy their explanation if it was one model specific or one brand specific and your older models (such as the Cherokee) had all the bugs worked out by now, but this spans different makes and models with different segments.

Reminds me of the Honda Odyssey transmissions during the first part of this century.
Pretty harsh words. The transmission in mine is just fine, yes, it is a little different than others I have driven but that doesn't mean crappy. I'm assuming you have had some issues with yours or are you just trolling?
 

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Pretty harsh words. The transmission in mine is just fine, yes, it is a little different than others I have driven but that doesn't mean crappy. I'm assuming you have had some issues with yours or are you just trolling?
He doesn't own one. He just likes to complain about it while insisting on owning one someday in a few years.

I've been driving mine. I don't know what people are complaining about. It has it's quirks, but go drive most anything of similar description and you will find that drive train quirks abound. Mostly due to fuel economy requirements. Lots of CVTs, and they are all a bit odd in their own way. The 4-5 and 5-4 shifts are long, and can be inconveniently placed sometimes. That's about it.
 

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In other words, "We designed this crappy transmission that wont work right 100% of the time so drive it like this so you wont notice it's flaws.". I would buy their explanation if it was one model specific or one brand specific and your older models (such as the Cherokee) had all the bugs worked out by now, but this spans different makes and models with different segments.

Reminds me of the Honda Odyssey transmissions during the first part of this century.

Thats not true, in the article they state they drove a LR with the same nine speed and it behaved much different the the FCA cars... as the article stated again, calibration and what not was the choice of the manufacturers not ZF.
 

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Pretty harsh words. The transmission in mine is just fine, yes, it is a little different than others I have driven but that doesn't mean crappy. I'm assuming you have had some issues with yours or are you just trolling?
No I don't own one. I am smarter to know never buy first year run cars regardless of manufacture, and second I am quiet failure with Fiat build quality and dealing with FCA to get repairs done to even tack on an extra year after driving an Abarth for 60K miles.

He doesn't own one. He just likes to complain about it while insisting on owning one someday in a few years.

I've been driving mine. I don't know what people are complaining about. It has it's quirks, but go drive most anything of similar description and you will find that drive train quirks abound. Mostly due to fuel economy requirements. Lots of CVTs, and they are all a bit odd in their own way. The 4-5 and 5-4 shifts are long, and can be inconveniently placed sometimes. That's about it.
I NEVER said I was on "insisting" on getting one after two years. I said "I'll wait and see and if things don't improve I will move on" So if you are going to talk crap raz- o get your lies straight.

If anything, I'm willing to give FCA an extra year rather than tossing them to the side after one so that is a more positive than a negative.

Thats not true, in the article they state they drove a LR with the same nine speed and it behaved much different the the FCA cars... as the article stated again, calibration and what not was the choice of the manufacturers not ZF.
Not true? So you are going to believe the ones who produced rather the actual customers and reviews? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm k. I actually do research. I know that offends some but I call investing wisely.

http://www.news-cars.com/holy-shift...ases-third-software-update-for-jeep-cherokee/

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2412106

http://www.tlxforums.com/forum/complaints/6466-jerky-transmission.html#/forumsite/21130/topics/6466

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_9HP_transmission

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/20...-transmission-puts-dog-clutches-on-the-leash/

http://blog.caranddriver.com/holy-s...ases-third-software-update-for-jeep-cherokee/

http://www.rangerovers.net/forum/7-...x-problems.html#/forumsite/20563/topics/30096

There is plenty more but I'm not going to do all the research for you.
 

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The difference is, is that those CVT equipped cars and others have the SAME quirks every day, so you can adjust your driving style to accommodate and soon it becomes second nature. I do own one, and don't care for the "learn" feature. Makes for inconsistent responses to throttle inputs and is in my mind annoying if not dangerous. Don't get me wrong, I love the car, but I do wish it had a more traditional transmission.
 

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I feel the article offered a concise clear explanation as to how the transmission works for those of us like me that did not fully understand & now I will know better how to drive my vehicle when I get it & what to expect & why.
Same here. I get that some people don't like to buy a first generation product, don't want to participate in the de-bugging process that inevitably comes with being an early adopter... what I don't understand, is why someone in that camp would spend hundreds of hours yapping about their discomfort in a forum focused on being an early adopter for a product. What's the point? Trolling?
 

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Same here. I get that some people don't like to buy a first generation product, don't want to participate in the de-bugging process that inevitably comes with being an early adopter... what I don't understand, is why someone in that camp would spend hundreds of hours yapping about their discomfort in a forum focused on being an early adopter for a product. What's the point? Trolling?
That was my point exactly. It seems that the guy just wants to come stir the pot and doesn't have the balls to jump in and have some fun. Then when someone calls him out, he wants to run and hide behind a bunch of internet searches. Grow up and experience life, and then give your two cents but not before.

I'm not gonna give my opinion on something when it is based entirely on articles from the internet. I have 3k miles on my Renegade and the only thing that annoys me a little is that when you set the cruise control at 75, it ranges sometimes down to 69 in hilly areas because it is going through several gears. It seems to adjust more that other vehicles that I own.
 

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"when you set the cruise control at 75, it ranges sometimes down to 69 in hilly areas"

I haven't tried mine at 75, but it holds steady at 65 mph with the cruise. When it goes up a good hill in auto mode, it will shift as far down as 6th gear, but maintain 64-65.
 
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