Jag transmission service went well, but not for lack of trying

I am eternally grateful to my friends at [redacted] for assisting me with this. Turns out the local shop with which I am friends purposefully doesn’t book work on Fridays. That means Fridays are emergencies, walk-ins, and personal projects.

It is a brilliant system.

I mentioned I was servicing the Jag’s transmission and they offered to let me use the shop for it.

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It went well, but only because I was in the right place with the right people and the right tools... otherwise it would have been a disaster.

Step One: WTF Fill Plug

First off, the fill plug was rusty, hard to access, and partially stripped. The damage to the surrounding body pieces seems to indicate this has been done before. Well shit...

The fill plug on these is “only” accessible via Jag special tool 307-452, which is essentially a low profile 8mm hex bit. Thinking I knew better, I bought some “stubby” hex wrenches off Amazon.

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...and almost immediately stripped the first 1/8" of the fill plug.

While the stubby was small enough to clear the body, it was too small to fully engage the partially damaged and VERY stuck plug.

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Ok, oddly I anticipated this and brought an extra “normal” 8mm hex wrench. A trip to the angle grinder later, I had one of appropriate length.

The plug still wouldn’t budge...

After letting it sit and think with some penetrating fluid, to no avail, I borrowed a loaner and went down the street to buy a can of air duster. I would have preferred freeze spray, but only one place in town sells it and I couldn’t be bothered to drive out there.

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After Oriely’s somehow managed to charge me $9 for the worlds smallest can of duster, I flipped it upside down and drenched the fill plug with that sweet, sweet CO2.

Wrench back in and, once again, that trick saved me. The plug broke loose.

Against all odds I thought to place the collection pan under the plug before I removed it, and was rewarded with a torrent of brown, OK smelling transmission fluid flowing onto NOT THE FLOOR!

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The fluid looked and smelled OK, which is annoying, but we’re already here so....

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Step Two: The Pan

Next up was to remove the drain plug. A long time ago the owner of this shop taught me that you should never remove the drain before you remove the fill. Not because it makes it easier to drain, but because you want to make sure you can put new fluid in before you take the old fluid out. Wise words.

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Anyway, the drain plug was plastic and the pan fiber reinforced plastic, so luckily the tin worm didn’t have much to say about that part.

Fluid out, it was time to take off the pan. The pan which is, for some reason, held on with 21 T27 bolts.

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All of which were rusty.

It was a massacre.

We ended up breaking every T27 bit in the shop, plus the ones I brought, and ended up cutting the rest off.

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It sucked.

Luckily the source of the problem appeared to be the shoulder rusting to the metal inserts in the pan, so the threads were easy to remove with vice grips once we got the pan off.

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Opening the package for the new pan+filter revealed another eff you: the pan didn’t come with new bolts! All the consumer kits appear to, but I ordered this through their parts supplier, who, apparently, doesn’t include them.

Luckily it was actually a weekday and I was at a shop. While I was ready to go to Home Depot and make something work, instead they hopped on their parts warehouse and had a new drain plug and new bolts delivered within an hour. Lucky this transmission, a ZF 6HP26, was used in a TON of cars. Both the bolts and the fill plugs were apparently off a BMW 5/6 series.

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Unfortunately that cost me an extra $50, more than the pan and filter, but whatever. Better than MacGyvering something, I guess.

Better yet the new bolts, despite being the same size and thread, used a T40 bit! It appears they learned their lesson.

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Step 3: The Fill

The pan wasn’t particularly difficult to put back on. I followed the torquing sequence and quickly was greeted with a mostly re-assembled car.

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Knowing the horrors of having done this recently on the Land Rover, I decided to splurge on a pneumatic ATF filler, so this part really wasn’t that bad. The filler itself was nice, if a litter smaller than expected (3L) and got the job done quickly.

(I was in a bit of a time crunch so I stopped taking pictures at this point)

Whatever special fluid this thing takes, it smells TERRIBLE. Like fish sauce and motor oil had a disgusting baby.

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The instructions call for you to put 8 liters of transmission fluid into the car, then check the level.

I got the first 5L in, almost exactly, before the pan was full.

8L my ass.

The instructions at this point were unclear on what the correct course of action was, so I went with my gut, started the car, ran it through the gears, and started filling again with the car running.

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It took another 2ish liters before deciding it was done.

Heh. GOOD ENOUGH!

I put the car back together, cleaned up, loaded up, and got out of there just as they were wanting to close up for the evening.

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Success!

Dog B being needy, for your time.

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