Sealed for life transmissions
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  1. #1
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    Default Sealed for life transmissions

    I was reading up about the Jaguar XK8 on the Top Gear website and found out that they have 'sealed for life' automatic transmissions. You cannnot check the fluid level or replace it and the supposed 'life' of the transmission is 10 years.

    So what happens after 10 years? Do you fork out over $20,000 for a new transmission?

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    Do any French cars have sealed for life transmissions and is this a trend?

    Arthur

  2. #2
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    This was something they advertised on the R19 initially, and well, the rest is history

    I personally think it's poor practise. A lot of Euro manufacturers don't bother with auto gearbox fluid changes unless the car is driven in challenging conditions (eg. taxi).

    As I say - you change your oil frequently. It lubricates the engine. But people rarely change their transmission fluid - it lubricates the gearbox AND transmits drive.

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  3. #3
    farmerdave
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    Somewhere along the line, "sealed for life" becomes a self-fufilling prophesy Think about it-At 10 years with no changes-no more transmission unless the planets are aligned and have been since the car was new. Thats the life of it

    Farmerdave

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    We were told that Falcon (Borg-Warner?) boxes were sealed for life too, when we bought our ute 2 years ago.

    I spoke to the service people, and they said that if it is used in arduous conditions (our ute frequently has 1 tonne on the back, so I'd call that arduous!) that we should change the transmission fluid in it every 45 000km.

    We did it (15 000km ago now) and found that surprise surprise, the trans suddenly drops straight into reverse and drive from neutral and changes much more smoothly.

    There's no sump plug - it's done through the filler by evacuating the fluid, then pumping new fluid in till it overflows, before putting the cap back on.

    I disagree with sealed for life autos, but then I plan to not ever own one so that's alright

    Derek

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    isn't there also a box in the 205 that is a sealed unit as well

    i remember that some were normal boxes and then others were sealed units
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pug307
    As I say - you change your oil frequently. It lubricates the engine. But people rarely change their transmission fluid - it lubricates the gearbox AND transmits drive.
    Although I don't agree with it, don't forget that engine oil contains combustion byproducts such as acids and carbon that gearbox oil doesn't. It's not quite the same. I assume the sealed units (autos) have large capacity filters and possibly more magnets than 'normal' transmissions, too.

    Stuey

  7. #7
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    One of the boards I'm on overseas had a posting from a female lab technician a couple of years ago. She owned a BX that she'd bought from the company she worked for which was one of a handful of experimental cars running oil blends they'd developed. Her car had done about 560,000 miles at that stage still with all the original components and hers had just worn the selector fork out in the gearbox (hence her appearance on the forum at the time) and she gave us a bit of an insight into the way the industry was developing.
    According to her at that time, they were developing a totally sealed unit for the mechanicals; no coolant, oil, brake fluid, transmission fluids would or could/would be replaced.
    At that stage, they were working on a vehicles life expectancy of = 36,000 miles; at that mileage, things were ready to start cracking up big time, so the owner had no option but to return it to the dealer, pay the "changeover figure" and drive off with a new car for another 36K miles. The old vehicle would then be recycled including the fluids.
    This might sound quite noble in theory, but apart from the fact that any car will become a collectors item, the biggest worry I could see would be whether or not the "brains" who thought of this idea have actually really thought it through. I can remember about 1980 when Renault were patting them selves on the back at the high % of plastics and recyclables they had in their cars in keeping with guidlines of various Governments recommendations. Citroen took this to new heights with the BX; recently I understand, the same Governments who pushed & promoted these guidelines have now (in their unquestionable wisdom) decided that it's so expensive an operation to recycle things like BXs and others with high contents of recyclable materials, that they have increased the charge to dispose of them and as a result wreckers all over the place are now trashing them wholesale or refusing to buy (or even be given) them thereby almost wiping what bit of resale value is left right off them.
    The excuse for the sealed transmission will be the usual old "Environmentally friendly" chestnut which will no doubt lead to several new departments being formed in various governments to police.....


    Alan S
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  8. #8
    UFO
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    It has become very expensive in Europe to scrap a car. The wreckers must remove all fluids and keep them stored and separated according to what they are then periodically PAY to have the fluids removed and processed accordingly.

    All vehicles must be broken down to their various metal/plastic/rubber etc components and again sent for recycling.

    The labour costs of doing this in Europe are phenonmenal.

    I saw many cars in the UK and France that were obviously broken down and the owners have just removed personal possessions and walked away. There was a nice looking XM S1 V6 in a car park that has had a strut failure and it is reportedly still there now - some two weeks since I saw it. When I saw it I reckon it had been there a couple of weeks already.

    We saw obviously abandoned cars (layers of dust etc) in a multi storey carpark in Montmatre (sp?).

    It will be interesting to see whether the incorporation of some of the eastern bloc countries into the EU will see truckloads of recycleable cars being shipped east to be stripped down at the lower labour costs - until the new countries get wise and their labour rates go up...

    And a little bit back on topic - auto trannies MUST have their fluid changed regularly. Ever seen a well worked auto tranny drop BLACK fluid that used to be nice red Dexron III? yuk!
    Craig K
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  9. #9
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    I have one slugomatic car (yuk). Considering the cost of Dexron is very small I just change the 2.0litres (of the 6+litres in there) that can be drained every engine oil change. $10bux of Dexron is hardly going to break the bank

    This makes the service about every 8000kms $24 (15-50 semi synthetic) oil, $12 purflux oil filter, $10 ATF. Not a huge outlay when you consider how much you spend on petrol to do the 8000kms.

    I can't understand waiting to 70,000kms or whatever they recommend to only change 2litres of the 6litres there

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  10. #10
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    That is good practice in my book Shane! A lot cheaper than a new auto .

    I'm purposly not doing that sort of thing for the R25 out of curiosity in regard to how long my auto will last with gross abuse . Its on its way out (turned its juice brown in a few thousand K's, slips like a bastard in reverse and make nasty hot auto juice smells when driven hard).

    Now that I have fashioned a dipstick for DIY trans fluid changes on the R21 (supposedly need a computer to check the bloody fluid level.....)
    , the new trans will be getting VERY regular changes - they are too bloody dear to get fixed....
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  11. #11
    XTC
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    With an auto or semi auto (where it's imopossible to beat synchros, grind gears etc etc) I don't have a problem with it - so long as they give a decent warrenty ... (and I'm talking 10 years) ... for Manuals I see it as a whole other issue ... as you can't control driver input/abuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC206
    With an auto or semi auto (where it's imopossible to beat synchros, grind gears etc etc) I don't have a problem with it - so long as they give a decent warrenty ... (and I'm talking 10 years) ... for Manuals I see it as a whole other issue ... as you can't control driver input/abuse.

    - XTC206 -
    Mark 1 Cortinas didn't have a drain plug on their diffs so the idea has been around for a long time!

    Graham Wallis

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS
    Mark 1 Cortinas didn't have a drain plug on their diffs so the idea has been around for a long time!

    Graham Wallis
    Also the Renault 4 had the "sealed for life" cooling system. Given that the life of decent coolant is around three to four years, and that the life of an early R4 body on the salt laden European winter roads would be about the same, I'd say they just about got that equation right :-)

  14. #14
    farmerdave
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon
    I'm purposly not doing that sort of thing for the R25 out of curiosity in regard to how long my auto will last with gross abuse . Its on its way out (turned its juice brown in a few thousand K's, slips like a bastard in reverse and make nasty hot auto juice smells when driven hard).
    I admire your experimental effort, but WHY?
    Another experiment you could do before it finally dies is wire up the solenoids for a semi-automatic shift- it works, but what does it do to the trans?.
    Farmerdave

  15. #15
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Icon13 megane/scenic

    According to my Haynes manual the Megane/Scenic since 1999 has a "sealed for life" auto (DP0 model). It goes on to describe the method of filling or topping up in case of leaks or whatever - it is a complicated process involving a test meter in the diagnostic socket to measure temperature. The drain plug also incorporates a metering tube to overflow at the correct level during refilling.
    Why? Who knows - but you can be assured that it is cheaper in some way.

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