Xantia AL4 or ZF 4hp14
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Thread: Xantia AL4 or ZF 4hp14

  1. #1
    Member Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Xantia AL4 or ZF 4hp14

    Hi everyone,

    I want to change my 2005 Xantia 2.0i 16v from manual to automatic (They are similar to 2001 French made models), Xantia with this engine had ZF 4hp14 to 1997 and AL4 from 1998 onward, I want to know witch transmission is best for me and we don`t have any automatic Xantia in our country to test or ask from their owner about durability or acceleration etc... for AL4 I must change a lot of wiring with ECU and lot of electronic parts with a lot of work also AL4 have really bad reputation here on Peugeot and Renault models, ZF 4hp14 installation is easy with no electronic change except starter relay but I don`t know if they can handle the torque or accelerate good. so any advise will be helpful for me.

    Cheers.

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  2. #2
    JBN
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    I have had two BXs and one Xantia with the ZF 4HP14. I find them to be a very good automatic. I did have problems with the ZF on both BXs when they reached 200,000 kms. I have recently changed the engine on my Xantia (due to radiator problems and overheating) and at the same time swapped an engine and gearbox from another Xantia. I managed to get a new radiator but it was only suitable for a manual car with no take off to cool the automatic transmission oil. To cool the automatic oil, I have installed at separate automatic transmission cooling radiator, mounted just behind the water radiator and behind the right hand fan. Hopefully I will get many more years out of the Xantia. I change the engine oil/filter ever 5,000 kms and the automatic transmission oil every 10,000 kms.

    John

  3. #3
    Fellow Frogger! CC1701's Avatar
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    The ZF4HP14 was the workhorse transmission of its time. It came from an era when ZF made good transmissions and it was the go to transmission for many small to medium cars. Tough, reliable and everlasting. An oil change every 80kkm and they just keep going.
    Its a pretty simple install as it doesn't require electronic trickery, its module is stand alone and simple, and again reliable.
    Down side is its an older design from the early 80's. Its slower to change and react than the current generation of autos and is less happy to be used manually, but still can be if needed. No funky sports or snow modes, that you may not need anyway.
    All round :- the best small auto of its time, and the last proper, good ZF until they introduced the ZF8HP.


    Siemens AL4 is more efficient, less lossey, faster to react, has manual, sports and snow modes, and adaptive (learning) shift but was poorly made and suffered reliability problems from the moment it was introduced. Later versions have 'improved' reliability. When working properly they are a delightful autobox for a small car, but not the one to choose for long term reliability.
    The last of them were vastly improved, but by then their reputation was lost.
    Much more difficult to retrofit due to the need to interface it with the engine ecu for spark reduction at the change points, and alike.

  4. #4
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    I've owned both Series 1 and Series 2 Xantias with, respectively, the ZFHP14 transmission and the AL4.

    I agree with everything CC1701 has said. My Series 1 had travelled considerably more kilometres than the Series 2, but apart from potential front strut failures, I always felt more confident in the reliability of the Series 1, due to the transmission.

    My Series 1 was less responsive than the Series 2, but the simpler transmission function never bothered me. Also, the Series 1 seemed more torquey. I'm not sure whether that was a factor of engine characteristics or gearing or a bit of both.

    What annoyed me about the Series 2 was its insistence on changing down a gear or two when descending a long downslope. (One of my most frequent journeys involved a long downslope.) It would then 'hang on' to the lower gear for a while when I began to accelerate. The AL4 was also reluctant to change up through the gears when starting from cold. I understand this was engineered into the car to speed up the warming up process.

    If you can obtain a good quality ZFHP14 trans configured for the Xantia, I would fit it every day ahead of the AL4. AL4 wiring and other complexities would seal the decision.

    Incidentally, whilst manual transmission Xantias were relatively rare here, I probably would have chosen the auto in any event, as I am quite long-legged and I found the Xantia's driving position a bit compromised, especially the manual. The CX, on the other hand, was ideal for me (i.e. in regard to driving position) and I think its seats were probably the best of any car I've ever owned.

    Good luck with your conversion.
    Last edited by Citquery; 1st June 2019 at 06:58 PM.

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    Member Houtan's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone

    With all your advice I will choose to go for ZF 4HP14, This transmission was on Series 1 2.0i 8v engines and all series 1 2.0i16v were manual if I good remember, but a little bit more torque and horsepower will not cause any problem and with good luck I guess I can have 0-100 around 12 seconds. anyone knows the exact version of ZF 4HP14 on 2.0i engines? have their different Gear ratio with same model on Peugeot 405 2.0?

    Cheers.

    Cheers

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    JBN
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    Another thing I REALLY like about the ZF 4HP14 in the Xantia is the operation of the gear lever. One a dark night with eyes closed, you start the car (in park), push in the lock button and move lever as far back as possible, take thumb off lock button and push lever as far forward as it will go and presto - you are in drive. You are thinking about your lady lying in bed waiting for you and you realise you are approaching a sharp corner a bit too fast. Just hit the gear lever back (no pushing lock button) and you are in 3rd gear which gives you the torque to tame the corner, ably assisted by a superb suspension and sharp precise steering.

    It is those qualities that got me to throw $2,000 at my 1995 Xantia VSX after I had covered 100k in it after its initial purchase for $2,000 ten years ago. Having bought my wife a 2000 Toyota Camry for about $4,000 and realised just how ordinary they are, I figured "Johnno, you only have one life, enjoy it while you can, driving Camrys can be delayed until you get to the hereafter and you are bored to death".

    John
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  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger! CC1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houtan View Post
    ..I will choose to go for ZF 4HP14, .. anyone knows the exact version of ZF 4HP14 on 2.0i engines? have their different Gear ratio with same model on Peugeot 405 2.0?
    Good choice. They all have the same gear ratios and final drive 4.4:1 (from memory).
    Good for 180-200 Nm @ 3500 ish, again from memory.

    It didn't change much throughout its production life and was last used in a 2000 Peugeot 306 2.0 (8v), again from memory.

    They are very tough, but there was a pressure regulator valve issue which, when worn, can cause rough shifting and flaring between low gears.
    Easy to fix. Any transmission shop can sleeve the valve body and replace the valve for a low cost.
    Or, new valve body assemblies are affordable.

    You'll be getting a 20 year old transmission. It might be a good idea to recondition it before installing it.
    Parts and knowledge are readily available. Overhauling it before installation, would be affordable and give you years of trouble free life.
    The cost of getting a transmission out and back in the car would probably be more expensive than an overhaul.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

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