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Old 05-12-2016, 07:08 PM   #1
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how often do you change your tranny fluid?

The next task on my list of first time maintenance endeavors is to replace the transmission fluid and filter. Not sure when it was done last on my boat. So I will figure out it works on my transmission but I was reading in the manual that the manufacturer recommends every 6 months depending on usage. This seems a bit of overkill but what do I know? Transmission is a ZF 85A

How often do you all change the transmission fluid?

Does it depend on what is used? My 56hp Yanmar tranny used motor oil and I did it yearly. The new boat uses ATF.
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:36 PM   #2
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ZF IRM220A-I. Every 100 hrs. 30 weight motor oil. Usually do it at the end of every season=5 months here, but may do it twice this season as we plan to be putting more hours in this year.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:21 PM   #3
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maybe 250 hours?

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Originally Posted by dwhatty View Post
ZF IRM220A-I. Every 100 hrs. 30 weight motor oil. Usually do it at the end of every season=5 months here, but may do it twice this season as we plan to be putting more hours in this year.
I have the same tranny and pretty sure the manual says 250 hours.

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Old 05-12-2016, 08:23 PM   #4
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We have a BW Velvet Drive on the back of our FL SP135. At least every 200 hours or when we change the engine oil.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:40 PM   #5
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My suggestion is to change it as often as the manufacturer recommends. In my case, that's every one hundred hours. That may seem excessive, but it's a pretty expensive transmission and I'm sure it's expensive to repair or replace.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:03 PM   #6
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Twin Disc 5050 here. Manufacturer recommends once every 1000 hours or annually, whichever comes first. I change it each spring. Less than a gallon of 30 weight oil.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
The next task on my list of first time maintenance endeavors is to replace the transmission fluid and filter.

How often do you all change the transmission fluid?
Dave
I have the same tranny in my '08 MS 34HT wasn't sure what vintage yours is.
My manual calls for fluid change 1st time @ 25 hrs then @ 300 hrs or 1/yr (which ever occurs first)
I'll attach the approved fluid list.
I went with CASTROL TRANSYND - a synthetic and the same as I use in my land yacht Allison trans (Alliosn recommendation). Its pricey but I think I'll extend it from the 1 yr to 2yrs as I don't put too many hrs on the boat.
FYI the filter is wire mesh & cleanable - I got a replacement so I can clean after the change & keep as a spare. I can send the filter change page from the service manual if you want.
FYI the ZF Repair & Parts Manual is in the TF Library Section

Draining the trans was a bit of a task - considering hooking up to my oil change pump the next time I do it.
ZF informed me the drain plug is 1/2" NPT thread and should be easy to install a ball valve & hose in place of the plug
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ZF Lube List TE-ML_04.pdf (94.1 KB, 89 views)
File Type: pdf Filter Info.pdf (101.6 KB, 15 views)
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:11 PM   #8
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I've got a ZF 280, I think it is 1000hrs/1yr. I change it every few years and about 1000hrs. Oil is still bright clear yellow 30wt. I'll change it this year.

ZF85 uses ATF and has a cleanable filter. I'd do it now and then every year or two. Filter is metallic mesh and can be rinsed in diesel and blown out with comp air. Do replace the filter cap seals when servicing. Cap seals are a bit of a pita to get seated. Filter is on suction side of pump, so not pressurized.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:23 PM   #9
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24 months or 500 hours.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:30 PM   #10
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Thank you both Dan and Ski. I didn't know the filter was cleanable. I think I know how to change the filter and I thought about using my Reverso pump. There isn't a convenient place to run a hose from the pump to the tranny drain, but I do have a 3rd nipple on the manifold for the Reverso pump that is empty. My thought was to attach a hose to that nipple and just run the other end of the hose into the suction hole that I think should be at the base of the filter housing. I would use the pump to empty it, then just fill the tranny fluid normally. It might be easier than using my hand pump to empty the transmission.

Sounds like yearly would be a good change interval given my anticipated usage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
I have the same tranny in my '08 MS 34HT wasn't sure what vintage yours is.
My manual calls for fluid change 1st time @ 25 hrs then @ 300 hrs or 1/yr (which ever occurs first)
I'll attach the approved fluid list.
I went with CASTROL TRANSYND - a synthetic and the same as I use in my land yacht Allison trans (Alliosn recommendation). Its pricey but I think I'll extend it from the 1 yr to 2yrs as I don't put too many hrs on the boat.
FYI the filter is wire mesh & cleanable - I got a replacement so I can clean after the change & keep as a spare. I can send the filter change page from the service manual if you want.
FYI the ZF Repair & Parts Manual is in the TF Library Section

Draining the trans was a bit of a task - considering hooking up to my oil change pump the next time I do it.
ZF informed me the drain plug is 1/2" NPT thread and should be easy to install a ball valve & hose in place of the plug
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I've got a ZF 280, I think it is 1000hrs/1yr. I change it every few years and about 1000hrs. Oil is still bright clear yellow 30wt. I'll change it this year.

ZF85 uses ATF and has a cleanable filter. I'd do it now and then every year or two. Filter is metallic mesh and can be rinsed in diesel and blown out with comp air. Do replace the filter cap seals when servicing. Cap seals are a bit of a pita to get seated. Filter is on suction side of pump, so not pressurized.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:26 PM   #11
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Borg Warner on my boat and assistance boats...every 5 years or so.

Goes in clean, comes out clean....meets specs. Checking for dicoloration and particulates is a big deal...but changing unless putting thousands of hours on it every year makes no sense to me...unless the tranny has a rep for needing frequent changes.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:05 PM   #12
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Borg Warner on my boat and assistance boats...every 5 years or so.

Goes in clean, comes out clean....meets specs. Checking for dicoloration and particulates is a big deal...but changing unless putting thousands of hours on it every year makes no sense to me...unless the tranny has a rep for needing frequent changes.
About every 2 to 3 years for me. Or 500 hours, whichever comes first. IMHO, replacing the transmission HX before it fails is far more important than frequency of oil changes.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I've got a ZF 280, I think it is 1000hrs/1yr. I change it every few years and about 1000hrs. Oil is still bright clear yellow 30wt. I'll change it this year.

ZF85 uses ATF and has a cleanable filter. I'd do it now and then every year or two. Filter is metallic mesh and can be rinsed in diesel and blown out with comp air. Do replace the filter cap seals when servicing. Cap seals are a bit of a pita to get seated. Filter is on suction side of pump, so not pressurized.

Really 1000 hours? I have ZF 280-1 gears, and thought the manual said every 100 hours (or 1 year). Don't have softcopy of that manual here...

I've usually changed it once/year, mostly because it only takes another 10 minutes or less... but the old oil always looks new.

The magnetic "filter" never had anything on it, so I don't worry too much about that every time...

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Old 05-13-2016, 06:58 AM   #14
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:49 AM   #15
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Gear oil doesn't change color when used, it just looses it's lubricity. Reduced lubricity increases wear and heat generation in all oil lubricated systems (gears, transmissions, hydraulic systems, power steering systems, automotive differentials and air compressors). Increasing the frequency of oil changes generally increases the life expectancy of the system. Haven't found any oil lubricated system that was cheaper or easier to replace than the oil that goes into it.

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Old 05-13-2016, 10:09 AM   #16
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Gear oil doesn't change color when used, it just looses it's lubricity. Reduced lubricity increases wear and heat generation in all oil lubricated systems (gears, transmissions, hydraulic systems, power steering systems, automotive differentials and air compressors). Increasing the frequency of oil changes generally increases the life expectancy of the system. Haven't found any oil lubricated system that was cheaper or easier to replace than the oil that goes into it.

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Exactly. And though on my boat the transmission time between changes was about double that of the mains, I took oil samples of them at the same interval, which turned out quite useful.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:33 AM   #17
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I always have brand new ATF in my Paragon transmission.

Like an Engish motorcycle, it leaks a quart every few days and I refill. On a long trip the ATF was cleaner coming out so I just poured it back in.

I did change it again when I got home.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
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...My thought was to attach a hose to that nipple and just run the other end of the hose into the suction hole that I think should be at the base of the filter housing. I would use the pump to empty it, then just fill the tranny fluid normally.
.
That's the other option I'm considering - I may try it that way to see how much is left in the bottom via drain plug and decide whether to connect permanent or continue to use the hose.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:04 PM   #19
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If you use 30 or 40 wt oil, you should use oil that is Non detergent.
There are no burning fuels in the tranny and detergent oils foam.
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:15 PM   #20
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If you use 30 or 40 wt oil, you should use oil that is Non detergent.
There are no burning fuels in the tranny and detergent oils foam.
I wouldn't have thought of that. Not sure what oil I used in my sailboat tranny other than it was the same as I used in the engine. My new boat uses ATF rather than motor oil.
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