Aug 302011

ZF Friedrichshafen AG 6 Speed ZF6HP26 & ZF6HP26A Transmission

ZF6HP26 6 speed Automatic Transmission found in BMW Range Rover Land Rover Jaguar Ford

ZF6HP26 6 speed Automatic Transmission

Released by ZF in 2000 the 6HP26 transmission was the first 6 speed automatic to be used in production passenger cars. Normally reserved for high end luxury and sports cars it was in 2005 when Ford Australia released the transmission into there Falcon and Territory range of vehicles. With manufactures now looking to add more speed to there transmissions Kia & Hyundai are now using this transmission in the Kia Mohave & Hyundai Genesis V8.

Transmission Codes
6HP26 – Rear Wheel Drive
6HP26A – All Wheel Drive

Common Problems
This is a very well designed & built transmission and reliability is very good, However there are many external issues which cause damage to the internals of these transmissions which can be avoided.

Know Problems With Fords
Both Ford Falcons & Territory’s suffer from water entering through the heat exchanger which is known as the dreaded “Transmission Milk Shake”. This will require a full rebuild as the water raises the boiling point and melts the adhesive holding the friction material to the clutch plates. It also lowers the Hydraulic Effiency causing clutch slippage which leades to burnt out clutch packs.

Known Problems With BMW
As these are known to be a sealed transmission it is highly recommended to have these serviced. BMW’s have had these since 2000 which means the transmission would have done may kms on the same oil. As oil does go off and add many years of wear and tear floating through the oil it all comes together to start causing issues with shifting etc. Getting in early with a service will help prolong the transmission so your not hit with a large rebuild cost.

Service Information
The 6HP26 requires a special oil from ZF there are some oil manufactures that claim there fluid will work however unless its documented that it will work its recommended to use ZF oil. Now vehicle manufactures claim that the transmission is a “fill for life” or “Sealed Gearbox” however with research we have done we have found that ZF claim the Lifeguard 6 fluid is rated to 62,000 miles. See below details

“ZF Lifeguard Fluid, a high-performance lubricant specially engineered by ZF, gives customers a perfectly matched product. The transmission fluid reduces material wear, vibrations and noise for smoother shifting, extended maintenance intervals (100,000 km/62,000 miles), and maximum fuel savings.”

Transmission Rebuilders recommend servicing these transmissions every 60,000kms or 36 Months which every accrues first. It is also recommended on models with a one piece plastic sump to be converted with the more common steel sump with removable filter. The conversion cost about $70AUD more but then you will be saving $70 every service after that as you only need a filter and gasket rather than a complete sump.

Recommended Oil by Transmission Manufacture
ZF-LifeGuard Fluid 6
1 Litre (Part No: S671 090 255)
20 Litre (Part No: S671 090 253)
205 Litre (Part No: S671 090 252)

Recommended by Oil Manufacture (Please check each oil company’s website before use)

  • Fuchs – 4134 Fluid
  • Liqui Moly – TOP TEC ATF 1800 Fluid
  • Nulon – SYNATF Fluid
  • Gulf Western – SYNTRANS Fluid
  • Phoenix Lubricants – PX TRANSMATIC-LV Fluid


Oil Capacity
Dry Fill Capacity – 9.4 Litres (Not including Cooling System)
Service Fill Capacity – 4.5 Litres (Give or take 1/2 Litre)
Cooling System Capacity 0.5 – 1.5 Litre (Depending on Setup)

Fluids which cause Damage
Penrite ATF SYN Automatic Transmission fluid was recommended for this transmission however in December 2010 Penrite released a statement to all customers stating that ATF SYN would no longer cover this transmission. Some workshops who continued to used the oil have reported the industry where it caused clutch squawk on shifting. (Download a PDF Version of Penrite’s Statement Here PENRITE ATF DEVELOPMENTS)