What's the verdict on the 9 speed transmission?
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Thread: What's the verdict on the 9 speed transmission?

  1. #1
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    What's the verdict on the 9 speed transmission?

    I've read a lot of complaints about the ZF 9 speed transmission in other vehicles such as Chrysler and the Pilot, but I don't see a lot of complaints here. So for those of you that have been driving the 9 speed in the '18 Ody for awhile, how do you like it?

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  3. #2
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    Flawless and butter smooth for me so far.

  4. #3
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    Same response as Techody. A great improvement compared to the previous Ody transmission
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  6. #4
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    Garbage. Will never own a ZF made transmission car ever again. Will avoid it like the plague.
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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HondaBox View Post
    Garbage. Will never own a ZF made transmission car ever again. Will avoid it like the plague.
    BMWs use ZF transmissions. In that brand they are the best transmissions out there.
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    Wow, some pretty extreme responses so far. I think the actual answer is somewhere in between. At first I thought it was smooth as silk, but I was mainly comparing it to my old van. After a few drives, I did start to notice the shifts but it's not terrible. I think it's more than fine. But I think each driver has to try it for themselves.

    Also, definitely way too early to comment on its reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HondaBox View Post
    Garbage. Will never own a ZF made transmission car ever again. Will avoid it like the plague.
    Do you own a 2018 Odyssey? What about the transmission makes you say it is garbage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techody View Post
    Do you own a 2018 Odyssey? What about the transmission makes you say it is garbage?
    Transmission behaviour seems to be Honda’s weak point and people love to hate that in what is otherwise clearly the bets driving mini van on the market. There is so much to like about this van though, so the slightly (at times) less than perfect shifting with the 9 speed is easy to accept for most. A test drive will help a purchaser decide.
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  11. #9
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    ALL gear transmissions have noticeable shifting, if you are looking for smooth you need CVT.
    If you get CVT than we will have other kind of complaints.
    Please guys, only serious complaints, if it breaks, leaks or something like that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiterijanac View Post
    ALL gear transmissions have noticeable shifting, if you are looking for smooth you need CVT.
    If you get CVT than we will have other kind of complaints.
    Please guys, only serious complaints, if it breaks, leaks or something like that!
    Are you a forum moderator?
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    The ZF 9 was one of my initial concerns about buying my '18. So far it has been pretty good. When it's cold the first few shifts are jerky, but after that it's pretty smooth. I posted a thread a little while ago about what gear it likes to cost in at about 25mph. It seems to be in too low of a gear at this speed, making it a bit jerky when you let go of the accelerator, but that isn't a shifting issue but more of a programming issue. 99% of the time the transmission does a great job and is pretty invisible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andreyco View Post
    The ZF 9 was one of my initial concerns about buying my '18. So far it has been pretty good. When it's cold the first few shifts are jerky, but after that it's pretty smooth. I posted a thread a little while ago about what gear it likes to cost in at about 25mph. It seems to be in too low of a gear at this speed, making it a bit jerky when you let go of the accelerator, but that isn't a shifting issue but more of a programming issue. 99% of the time the transmission does a great job and is pretty invisible.
    Agreed.
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  15. #13
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    3K miles on zf 9-speed. No trouble. Transmission shifts fine.

    But it's very rare for me to stomp the gas peddle vs. plan ahead and squeeze it on. Many of the early complaints were around stomp-it ownshifts for passing. Some of those took a while because two separate shifts are needed.

    The few times I expected to need to accelerate quickly (two lane road passing) I hit the S mode on the tranny and got anther 1000 or so RPM so there was less of a downshift when I passed.

    Compared to the 5-speed in the '05 ody, climbing steep highway hills is much easier. There is no sudden noise of high revs, the 9-speed always has a good gear to keep the van near or under 3K rpm while holding highway speed climbing.

    High speed merges are easy, but think that's mostly the higher HP rather than anything the transmission is doing. At least the tranny does not get in the way.

  16. #14
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    It seems like there is a learning curve to programming the ZF 9-spd transmission.

    The first Chrysler product to use it (Liberty?) was absolutely lambasted by all the auto magazines as being essentially undriveable due to the transmission behavior. However, the Pacifica with the same engine/transmission doesn't even get a mention in the forums or auto magazines.

    Same thing with Honda: crappy transmission performance (initially) in the Pilot, just fine in the Odyssey. Same exact engine/transmission.

    I have an EX-L with the 9 spd, and the transmission is essentially invisible. I wouldn't make my buying decision based on the 9 or 10 speed transmission.
    Last edited by bandit400; 11-19-2017 at 09:22 PM.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddy11 View Post
    BMWs use ZF transmissions. In that brand they are the best transmissions out there.
    From what I've seen the ZF has been used in several different brands for many years. Not all variants have been issue free. Regardless My experience with it was bad enough that I don't care to deal with it again in any capacity. Even if it was just a software issue, Shame on Honda for outsourcing this transmission and releasing it in the TLX, Pilot, and MDX the way they did. Maybe in the new Odyssey they've worked it out and it's problem free. For those who have one or are considering a car with one I hope you guys won't have to experience what we went through. It really messed up the whole experience of a new car. Our MDX cost $55k. I expected a lot more at that price point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Techody View Post
    Do you own a 2018 Odyssey? What about the transmission makes you say it is garbage?
    We have a 2018 Elite. The ZF transmission was one of the most compelling deciding factors for me to get the top trim to avoid the ZF. We had a 2016 MDX with the same 9 spd. From everything I've seen in the MDX world, people prefer the 2014 (6spd) vs the subsequent years of the current generation with the ZF. Personally the transmission was just hard get use to even when it was working properly. I say working properly because we were told time and time again by the dealer that it was working properly until I came across the TBS. It stalled and lurched often. Especially from a dead start like at an intersection. Ours VIN was also part of the TSB to reprogram the computer to help or reduce the sensations mentioned, but the difference afterwards were negligible.

    Quote Originally Posted by andreyco View Post
    The ZF 9 was one of my initial concerns about buying my '18. So far it has been pretty good. When it's cold the first few shifts are jerky, but after that it's pretty smooth. I posted a thread a little while ago about what gear it likes to cost in at about 25mph. It seems to be in too low of a gear at this speed, making it a bit jerky when you let go of the accelerator, but that isn't a shifting issue but more of a programming issue. 99% of the time the transmission does a great job and is pretty invisible.
    I would agree that most of the issues with the ZF are in low gear/speeds. At hwy it's fine. But my experience with it was bad. Programming or updates do not fix every car. As I mentioned above, the TSB on the MDX didn't really fix our issues as well as for many other owners. Some owners did say that either it did get better after the TSB or the problem went away. It would appears that the issues and fix are hit and miss. I'm sure for some of you with the ZF in your Odyssey it is just fine aside from the standard behavioral differences of a standard 5 or 6pd. For me personally I wasn't keen on gambling again.
    Last edited by HondaBox; 11-22-2017 at 12:11 AM.
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