308 Auto trouble
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default 308 Auto trouble

    This is my first Thread so please bare with me. My wife has a 1998 308 Auto with 148,000k on the clock. I am told it has the Al 4 ZF transmission. It has the straight pull through gear selector. I recently put it into a local transmission specialist for a service due to time (2 years) and not kms. There was no problem with the trans. prior to service but now has a problem. I am not all that confident in the 'specialist' as when I returned car he admitted it had been overfilled by 500ml and that amount of fluid was removed but problem has persisted. After the car has been into top gear and then is brought to a stop it almost always shudders and engine almost stalls as you brake to a stop. It feels like the car is still pulling forward against the brakes but eventually lets go after shuddering prior to car coming to stop. This only occurs if car reaches top gear and then is brought to a stop otherwise trans. performing OK.

    They have drained trans. again and refilled. They had put a filter in on the first occasion but tell me there is no problem with the fluid or filter they have used. They said they used Valvoline Max-Life fluid.

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    I have had car back 3 times and am getting a little concerned. Can anyone give advice on this? Peter Launceston Tas.
    Last edited by tazmanian_tiger; 30th September 2013 at 07:48 AM. Reason: Typo on model number, sorry it is a 306 of course not a 308

  2. #2
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    This will revive an oldie - Maxlife is Dexron III according to http://www.valvoline.com.au/explore-...-synthetic-atf, though I doubt it's your problem.

    The helpful Russians have an AL4 manual online at http://www.kit-group.ru/sections/AL4%20Transmission.pdf.

  3. #3
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    There is no filter you can get at to change on the AL4 (aka Renault DPO and a Siemens design apparently), so it may be a ZF 4HP14 gearbox. They are quite different transmissions. Look for the ID plate on the gearbox to confirm what you have. The 4HP14 filter cover is a round cast cover with 3 bolts holding it into the case and it is probably visible under the car. The 4HP14 should have a dipstick, but the AL4 is filled by overfilling and letting the excess drain out a weir when it's at about 60C. There has been a lot of discussion over the years about the fluid in the 4HP14 and it relates to both Peugeot and Citroen models like the BX. Dexron II would have been the original fluid.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger!
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    sorry but if its a 1998 car then it's not a 308, it's a 306.
    This would help decide what trans is in it, wouldn't it?

  5. #5
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    The post was corrected; it's a 306, but as David S noted, it might be a ZF box.

  6. #6
    Tadpole
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    Thanks for info. The box does have a dipstick and it is the straight forward and back selector not the segmented one fitted to some model of 306. Peter.

  7. #7
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    Seems our car has the 4HP14 gearbox. With that established has anyone any info. on what this problem might be and how it could be fixed? Peter.

  8. #8
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    The 4HP14 is very much like the 4HP18 used in 605/XM/Alfa 164 and SAAB 9000 etc.. The 4HP18 can exhibit the sort of problem you have and one cause can be the ring seals in the governor. This is for the 4HP18 in a V6 XM, but it could be your issue:
    XM V6 4HP18 Governor seals

  9. #9
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    Not sure if it would like Dex 3 ATF...

    Dave
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  10. #10
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    Thanks gents. Will study that post re. the ring seals in the governor. This is info. I will pass onto my auto. trans. fellow as its above my head. Do you think it is worth him replacing the Dexron 3 with Dexron 2? Also when he drained a refilled the trans. the second time he did not replace the filter again. He said there is no way it would be faulty but I would have thought it was better to leave nothing to chance. Do you think there is a chance that the filter could be faulty? Peter.

  11. #11
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    I'm no expert but from reading this forum for a few years, there have been countless stories of these transmissions being filled with Dex3 and giving trouble, which disappears after having SEVERAL changes of fluid back to Dex2. (you can't drain it all at once, you have to keep draining what you can and top up with new dex2, only after 3 changes or more have you got most of the Dex3 out.

    I have read here in the past of expert transmission repairers who were adamant that Dex3 was a newer replacement for Dex2 but when the cars were returned to Dex2 the transmission was transformed.

    Search on Dexron 2 on this forum, there should be plenty of matches. here's one:
    Dextron 2

    It looks like Transmax M a correct match...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by simca1100 View Post
    It looks like Transmax M a correct match...
    Castrol Transmax M is now marketed and sold as Castrol ATF Dex II
    Regards,

    Simon

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  13. #13
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    Thanks. This is most helpful. Will pass all this on and let you know how it goes. It might be some time before I can get back to you as it seems this is not going to be a quick fix. Peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simca1100 View Post
    I'm no expert but from reading this forum for a few years, there have been countless stories of these transmissions being filled with Dex3 and giving trouble, which disappears after having SEVERAL changes of fluid back to Dex2. (you can't drain it all at once, you have to keep draining what you can and top up with new dex2, only after 3 changes or more have you got most of the Dex3 out.

    I have read here in the past of expert transmission repairers who were adamant that Dex3 was a newer replacement for Dex2 but when the cars were returned to Dex2 the transmission was transformed.

    Search on Dexron 2 on this forum, there should be plenty of matches. here's one:
    Dextron 2

    It looks like Transmax M a correct match...
    Hi Taz

    Despite the recommendations on ZFs own website (which permits the use of Dex III), I agree totally with simca1100. Your problem occurred after the mechanic added Dex III to the transmission. When you took it back to them, they added more of the same, which was hardly going to help .

    I have a ZF 4HP18, which according to David S is very similar to the 4HP14. My box has been overfilled by as much as 2 litres (which is recommended in certain circumstances, but not for normal driving) with no adverse effects. However in the 5 years I've owned it, I have made sure that only Dex II fluid has been used. The car is 18 years old and has done almost 140,000 km, with no transmission problems

    Rather than a disposable filter, my box has a re-usable strainer, which does not need replacing all that often, but should be checked and cleaned - I believe yours would be the same. I am concerned that the mechanic may have been using a suction pump to remove fluid through the dipstick tube (which is actually the most convenient filling point), in which case he may not have touched the strainer.

    Once the plate on the bottom of the box is removed (roughly the diameter of a cup or glass - held in place by three bolts as described by David S), this strainer can be removed with a pair of needle nosed pliers. If the mechanic does this the fluid will drain better anyway...

    As has been mentioned, only part of the fluid is drained & replaced in a normal service. To completely remove & replace all the fluid requires special techniques - not part of normal service. My 4HP18 box holds 7.5 litres, but 5.5 litres is retained after draining whatever comes out when the plate is removed. So one drain and refill may not solve the problem - you will need to drive it for a short while to make sure that new and old fluids are well mixed, then repeat the process.

    It is not difficult to do yourself - sometimes the most difficult thing is getting enough room underneath to work. A set of wheel ramps is the easiest option, although some fluid may not drain because of the change in angle. If the 4HP14 is significantly different, then hopefully someone will point out where my description is wrong

    You will need a spanner to undo the 3 bolts holding the plate on (10 or 11 mm I think - ring spanner or socket essential), a flat blade screw driver to gently loosen the plate, a drain dish that can hold much more than 2 litres, needle nosed pliers to remove the filter, some petrol or other suitable solvent to wash the filter and the cover plate (which has a magnet in the middle to capture iron particles from the fluid), a funnel with a long pointy tip that can fit into the dipstick tube, and 2 litres of Dex II fluid (Transmax M has been recommended, I have been happily using Mobil ATF 220, which is Dexron IID compatible).

    Don't let anyone tell you that Dexron II compatible fluid is no longer available - there are still multiple choices. However many workshops only stock Valvoline products (obviously very clever marketing by Valvoline) and may well not have a Dex II compatible fluid on hand, so if your mechanic is doing the job, consider purchasing a suitable product from an auto-spares shop and insisting that they use your supplied fluid.

    I bought a suitable funnel from Super-cheap - it came with a couple of long screw-on tubes of different shapes, and appears to have been designed for the job. The dipstick tube is wider than the engine oil one, so getting the funnel tip into the top if the dipstick tube is not hard.

    The only other word of warning - when you first remove the plate under the box, the fluid will not drop straight down - because the filter is partly blocking the hole, the fluid fans out. So you need to have the drain dish up close to the drain hole, or the fluid will miss the dish (don't ask me how I know ).

    You did the right think in getting the box serviced - even in Tasmania it is probably wise to service European auto transmissions more often that recommended, because our average temperatures are higher than in Europe. Hopefully it is just the fluid - strongly recommend you try draining and refilling with Dex II at least twice before looking for other problems. It is a pretty cheap option and has often been shown to give significant improvements.

    Cheers
    Alec

  15. #15
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    Thanks Alec. Took car back to Trans. Specialist today with all points above written down by me and discussed with him. He seemed to listen. Left car with him for as long as needed. He said the Valvolene Max Life that he put in was a synthetic oil so I said well that is probably another reason to dispense with it and go for a Mineral Dex 2. I have given him a list of the fluids recommended above. Will update him with your advice as above also. Thanks heaps. Peter.

  16. #16
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    Good luck! I have a suspicion that nothing aggravates the average mechanic (especially a 'specialist') more than being given advice by a bunch of amateurs on a forum .

    Occasionally you get one with a bit less ego who will listen, so hope you've found one of them.

    Cheers

    Alec

  17. #17
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    Cable adjustment is very important to supply correct oil pressure at the time when needed


    Via the aussiefrogs App

  18. #18
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    Oil is not as important on a trans that was first produced in the early eighties dex 3 is just the man made equivalent to dex 2 which is not used in the world since they stopped killing whales to get the fat to make it.


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  19. #19
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    I don't profess to know the solution here, but old-type Dexron II compatible fluid is still quite easily got - it's mineral oil-based. The newer spec may satisfy the old spec, but the fluids are not the same.

    PS For maximum confusion, see http://www.cartechbooks.com/techtips/autotransfluid
    Last edited by seasink; 2nd October 2013 at 11:06 PM.

  20. #20
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    The basic rule of what auto is fitted in that era is that the al4 has the gear display on dash and the ZF does not

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchtranstech View Post
    Oil is not as important on a trans that was first produced in the early eighties dex 3 is just the man made equivalent to dex 2 which is not used in the world since they stopped killing whales to get the fat to make it.


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    There was a huge amount of discussion about Dex II versus Dex III on the forum pre-crash. My clear recollection is a heap of evidence that using Dex III in earlier transmissions that ran Dex II often ended in tears and that the two really are not equivalent. Happily my C-matic uses something straightforward and my Renaults just use EP80.

    This whole thread, like others, confuses the hell out of me. Then the link Techtips - Selecting the Proper Automatic Transmisison Fluid confused me even more...

    Having said that, it is really interesting. One day I might need to know, so good to follow these posts.

    Thanks.
    JohnW

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  22. #22
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    The most important factor in trans long life is cleanliness internal and external cooler especially the French Units


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  23. #23
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    Default Finally a conclusion to 306 auto. trans. problems

    I can now bring a very sorry saga to a conclusion. This is a long story which I will try and relate as briefly as possible. Out of sheer frustration I took the 306 (not 308 as I originally mistyped) from the transmission specialist as they seem to have put it in the too hard basket and I was getting no co-operation at all. An urn on the counter marked 'Ashes of problem customers' gives you an idea of the co-operation I received. I then took it to the mechanic I have been doing business with for 30 years without a hitch (why I did not go there in the first place I don't know) and within a hour they had diagnosed the problem and formulated a plan to fix it. This was after 2 flushes with Dex 2 and me driving car in between. The flushes seemed to help but the problem was still there.

    Anyway after they rang a ZF specialist in Melbourne they were content that it needed the 'valve body' overhauled. They took the valve body out, sent it to Melbourne and it was duly returned and refitted and so far the car is fine. That job cost $1700 all up but I was happy to have the job done and my wife was happy to have the car back and is once again happy to drive it, I am pleased to say.

    Thanks so much to all those who chipped in with advice which was all very helpful. Peter.

  24. #24
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    Hi everyone.

    A very interesting case study. Tazmanian-tiger, I am pleased to hear that your vehicle is now functioning correctly and TOWMBO is happy again.

    But it raises a question, our friend in Lanucestion would have been $1,700, plus lots of oil, plus 3 lots of labour, plus frustration, plus unhappy wife better off, if the transmission had not been serviced at all. It was operating perfectly prior to being "interfered with", and I suspect would still be running fine now. So why did the valve body need overhauling? Was there a latent problem with the valve body and would it have failed anyway?? I dont know, but I suspect not.

    There are no combustion deposits in transmissions, just some slight wear and tear, there are filters & magnets to catch & retain these particles. The oils have various anti-frothing, anti oxidation, detergents, dispersants etc added and these should also assist in long life of the oil and therefore the automatic transmission. Also there are oil coolers in place to assist dissipate heat.

    I have a 2006 307 2 Lt HDi 6 speed auto, and based on the above and other similar episodes on this formum, I suspect that I will leave the transmission alone and not change the oil or service the filter at all. The vehicle has never towed and is driven sedatly by the 95% driver, save those few occasions when I get to have a drive; when I thrash it as I really enjoy driving it!! I think I can do more with $1700 +++ than spend it on the car?

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