Chrysler Announces Shift to ZF 8HP Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission

Chrysler Announces Shift to ZF 8HP 8-Speed Automatic Transmission

Chrysler and German driveline and chassis component supplier ZF have reached an agreement that will see ZF supply and license manufacturing rights to its 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission for use in Chrysler vehicles, including potential application in Ram full-size pickups.

The 8HP gearbox is already used in BMW's 760Li and the 5 Series GT and the new Rolls-Royce Ghost.

The transmission uses four planetary gearsets and five shifting elements (multi-disc clutches and brakes). It's not a dual-clutch transmission but ZF says shifts can be performed in only 200 milliseconds. It can manage up to 516 pounds-feet of torque.

Using an eight-speed transmission has two big advantages: improved fuel economy and shorter gear steps between cogs, for quicker acceleration and smoother shifts.

ZF says the eight-speed setup is 6 percent more fuel efficient than ZF's old 6HP six-speed automatic and can add another 11 percent gain in efficiency when combined with an optional start/stop feature that automatically shuts the engine off when the vehicle stops and restarts it when the brake is released.

ZF 8HP 8-Speed Automatic Transmission

“The new eight-speed automatic transmission will offer our customers refinement and comfort while achieving greater fuel economy and performance,” said Paolo Ferrero, senior vice president of Chrysler's powertrain division. “We look forward to integrating the new transmission into future Chrysler Group products and welcome its contribution to a corporate fuel economy improvement of more than 25 percent by 2014.”

Chrysler will initially import 8HP transmissions from Europe until it finishes a $300 million revamp of its existing transmission manufacturing and casting facilities in Kokomo, Ind. to produce the 8HP there, starting in 2013.

Indiana Transmission Plant 1 currently makes the 545RFE "Orion" five-speed automatic transmission for Dodge Dakota and 5.7-liter Hemi-powered Ram full-size pickups and the 68RFE six-speed auto for Heavy Duty pickups with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine (which produces more torque than the 8HP can currently manage).

[Sources: Chrysler, ZF]


8-speed huh? That is interesting! 2013-14 sounds like a good time frame for a new truck. :)

Now I will sit back and wait for all those folks that rip Dodge for the 5-speed still in use to comment on how terrible and 8-speed tranny will be and how much better their 6-speed is and will be.

Ready... set ... GO!

I remember talking to the Dodge Truck rep in 08 and him saying they would most likely just skip right over the 6-speeds....and here it is.

"It can manage up to 516 pounds-feet of torque."

Sounds like the perfect transmission to mate to a little Cummins with ~300hp/~500ft-lbs tq.

With 8-spds I bet it could put nearly as much torque to the ground as the larger cummins with its 6-spd, while still getting better fuel mileage. Could wind up being a perfect match.

"It can manage up to 516 pounds-feet of torque."

How will that work in a diesel which currently has 650 pounds-feet of torque?

For those not familiar with ZF, they are just as good if not better than an Allison. ZF is a great supplier!

Good job Ram. 5 years late. But better late than never.

Should be a heck of a good tranny for the semi-Hemi and the possible baby cummins.

1500 probably be best in class if it was out now.

The first one to 18 wins;)
All kidding aside - sounds like a great idea. Too bad they don't have an 8 speed for the 6.7 Cummins.

Allpar says it can handle 800 ftlbs of torque..

@dodge - "is rumored" .

Allpar reported in May that the torque rating of the new automatic is rumored to be over 800 pound-feet.

Just like it "is rumored" that Bob went up in flames in his pickup.

would nice to see an 8speed in dodge cars and trucks but seems that as it is now would be to expensive to be in mainstream cars and trucks

how can it only handle 512ft/lb if the 760 and the ghost v12 make over 550ft/lb. unless Chrysler getting a modified cheaper version.

You are right it "is rumored",Allpar has been right in the past and alot of times and they have underestimated the maybe it could handle 1,000 ft lbs !!! How do you like that "rumor" !!

8 speed? Sounds interesting BUT:

Y'all can forget about sub-$2000 rebuilds. I know the ZF 6 speeds are going for $6000 rebuild, imagine this 8 speed?
Youre in for a surprise!
I dont understand Chrysler needs ZF for transmission work. The current RFE series are marvels of engineering, simplicity and cost. The Zfs are all overengineered, over complex and cost a fortune!

You are right it "is rumored",Allpar has been right in the past and alot of times and they have underestimated the maybe it could handle 1,000 ft lbs !!! How do you like that "rumor" !!

@ Dodge - so you are saying Chrysler's PR department is more accurate than Mike levine's source?

Rumor - general talk not based on definite knowledge; mere gossip; hearsay; an unconfirmed report, story, or statement in general circulation

One could say that that it is rumored that the 3.5 EB will spank a 5.7 hemi or GM's 4.4 diesel will out pull the 6.7 Cummins.

No proof just rumor!

Allpar = rumor
PUTC = fact

I have no idea what the ZF 8HP transmission will be capable of in the future. Officially, ZF says it can handle up to 516 lbs-ft (700 n-m) of torque:

ZF certainly knows how to build high torque transmissions and Allpar certainly has excellent sources. It's possible we could see the 8HP manage 800+ lbs. ft of torque.

@mike - thanks for the clarification.

Yes, ZF's are great. Right up until something goes wrong with them.....

I'm going to guess that the 8HP will be paired with the light-duty Cummins 5.0L V-8.

all of a sudden - manufacturers are talking about small diesels.
Mike - do you know something we don't ?
I bet you do.
Embargo's suck!

There are no embargoes that I'm aware of about small diesels.

Just an hunch on my part about the 5.0 Cummins.

Too late, Toyota already has one in production...

Oxi this is a Dodge post only. You are ruining it with all your Toyota crap. If you want to talk Toyota go to a Toyota staory. Everyone knows that Dodge has best luxury Laramei with U-connect and heated steering wheel. so let it be ritten and done, or whatever.

It's looking more and more like we will see a LD Ram with a Cummins. Allpar reported that this new tranny will be used with "some Cummins equiped trucks". Maybe they just meant the diesels with automatics as Ram still offers a manual tranny but I've got my fingers crossed.

The Toyota diesels aren't that great. Way below the Eurooean diesels and many Landcruiser 200 owners in Australia are having issues with it.

@Dodge Bob - at least you are funnier than the Bobsie twins. LOL

I can see a 5.0 Cummins, 8 speed Power Wagon in my future.

Mike - "I see nothing" about the point you are trying to make;)

Ford has used ZF transmissions in the past on current Aussie Falcon range (6 speed), Jaguar and Land Rover. Could Ford end up using the ZF 8 speed also? Though it is apparent these days Ford is trying to do everything in-house. Mike do you see there being much advantage with the 8 speed? The new Nissan Patrol 5.6L V8 will have a 7 speed, and it's still gets around 13mpg.

@ Alex The benefits of an 8 speed could be huge. ONe of the reasons why Dodge didn't do so well in the HD shootout with the 3/4 ton is the tranny. While the tranny itself is well built, the gear spacing is a little odd with the relatively large gap between 1st and 2nd. The GM tranny with its ultra low 1st gear gave it a huge edge. With an 8 spd you could go even lower in 1st for a tow/haul mode then have the 2nd be more conventional for everyday driving, space the rest closer together all the way up to OD. I guess we will have to wait and see what they do.

The "rumors" I had heard were the SRT cars and the Cummins for the 8 speed ZF.

This article makes me think we will see it in all HEMI equipped cars and trucks. All SRT vehicles. The Cummins 5.0, and if they can make it more sturdy the 6.7 Cummins.

Then the FIAT dual clutch can power the Pentastar V6s on down.

Chrysler will have a bright future if the rest of this year goes on without a hitch.

Thanks for the report Mike.

Watch the video on this web page. It states (at about the 6 min mark) the 8HP can be made to handle torque up to 1000Nm!!! I believe that is about 800ft. lbs. More then enough for the future 6.7 Cummins.

After watching this video, which also states that is can be built to handle as little as 100Nm, I now believe this trans will be used for the 3.6 Pentastar and up!!!

This trans might be one of the greatest deals of the Fiat era.

WOW, the future cars are going to shift like real rigs (how much gear will be finally enough?)! I don't care so much if it's an automatic transmission, but 6 speed in a manual seems enough for me...

Baby Cummins in a Half ton with an 8 speed auto. This is a dream come true, sounds really, really good for future trucks and diesel, what a great day it is....

There are multiple configurations to ZF's 8 speed automatic. (8hp30, 8hp45, 8hp70, 8hp90)
More than likely Chrysler would get the 8hp70.

Since the reverse gear ratio is about 10% shorter than the current reverse gear, the axle ratios can get about 10% taller. (helping mileage, without reducing acceleration)
4x4's that use 3.92 can now use 3.55
4x2's that use 3.55 can now use 3.21, 4.1 can use 3.73

Maybe Ford will upgrade from their ZF 6 speed automatic?

"There are multiple configurations to ZF's 8 speed automatic. (8hp30, 8hp45, 8hp70, 8hp90)
More than likely Chrysler would get the 8hp70."

I see Chrysler using 3 of varients. After all, the article read that Chrysler bought the "manufacturing rights to the 8HP 8-speed automatic." I think the article would have been more specific if it would have just licensed one of the 8HPs.

I see Chrysler using the 45 For RWD cars and Jeeps, both Hemi and Pentastar V6 equiped. They will use the 70 for the Hemi and 5.0 Cummins equiped Rams, both 1500 and 2500s. Then lastly the 90 for 6.7 Cummins. Anyways in my world, that is what would happen.

it's worth noting (and you probably have), this exact transmission is being paired with the Ford 4.4 V8 diesel in the upcoming 2011 Range Rover.
Is this part of the basis for your theory on a similar Chrysler/Cummins diesel? Perhaps ALL of these diesel half-tons are going to become reality very soon!

Another feature of this tranny is that the torque converter can be replaced with an electric motor and the vehicle can be a "mild" hybrid like the new Mercedes S-class hybrid or the torque converter can be replaced with a wet multipack clutch setup for high perfromance applications (think SRT-8).

I don't know about ZF transmissions. I worked at Jaguar and have seen my share of problems with ZF transmissions. I don't think that they are that much better than anyone else's; just a bit above average maybe.
Regardless, this should be a nice bump for performance and efficiency in their cars and light trucks.

Mike@ the "chicken tax" does apply to small diesels imported into the US, ask Mercedes and Mahindra about the contortions they have to go through to bring them to the US.

PB@ 1000Nm is 737lbs ft of torque.

Alex@ What issues with the Landcruiser 200? Also GM is "considering" introducing the 4.5 , there are issues with cost benefit, that have not been addressed. Ford and Chrysler have said nothing about a 4.5 for their 1/2 tons. Ford is selling the 4.4 to Landrover and so far they are the only customer.

@RR, Mostly what I have heard is through the grapevine, and people on Exploroz (where people do nothing but praise their Toyotas). I know a guy (in Aus) he bought a 70 series (with single turbo), because he heard owners of the LC200 were having issues with the LC200's twin-turbo engine. Just find some online reviews from owners (not like these quick drive reviews from magazines). One of the first issues noted was the 6 speed wasn't properly calibrated, so it wouldn't hold 6th gear very easily. Not sure if this has been fixed?

Alex@ I think it has. Exploroz people love their Totoyta's in the Australian Bush. Swear buy them not at them.

Here it is with the Ford Diesel:

One thing is for sure it can't be any worse than that thing they call a tranny in my 2500 Megacab 4x4. Only thing that saves Dodges A$$ is the Hemi makes some grunt even if you have to rev it to the moon to make it do it.

I agree any transmission is better than what Dodge is currently using. The 545 may be a marvel in simplicity but it's also a marvel in stupidity for its gear ratios, especially 4th and 5th gears. Having said that, the 8-speed looks more suited to autobahns in Germany where one may drive over 200 kph, rather than North America where most speed limits are about 125 kph and less; the ratios in gears 5-8 are between 1.285 and 0.667, a spread of only about 0.618 for four gears. The ratios in gears 1-4 are between 4.7 and 1.67, a spread of about 3.03 for four gears, and yet it is in the lower gears where you want the ratios to be reasonably close together for quicker acceleration and more mechanical advantage to get the vehicle moving from a standing start. A 6-speed transmission with good gearing at the bottom end could have just as good acceleration as this 8-speed transmission.

umm, personally not a fan of the 8 spd idea. I truely hate my 68RFE behind my 6.7 cummins. As far as the allison it is a so so tranny. It was a mistake to drop the 48RE. Yeah it was not that strong of a tranny but it is still today the strongest built tranny. Meaning a 48RE that has been rebuilt with after market clutches and billet input and output shafts (not the intermediate shaft). Along with other billet parts like the front drum. A built 48RE from Sun Coast or Dave Goerend are unstopable. To watch 1000hp 1800ftlb 5.9 Dodge trucks wieghing 7500lbs scream down a 1/4 mile track at 9.8secs repeaditly is amazing. For the everyday Joe using his Diesel to go to work, tow a boat, or run to the store this 8HP spd will be great. Possibly even the Hot Shot drivers may like them. But for the small world of Diesel Performance guys like myself this is a nightmare.

People that say the 48RE was junk have no clue what they are capable of. Take some time and pick a Diesel Power mag, Youtube Stuckey racing and look for the green diesel dodge. Super fast trucks with a 48RE behind them. The 68RFE is not even close as of yet but it could be by the end of november, all thanks to Sun Coast Converters, RON hurry up and get it out here, my 68RFE is in deire need.

Also to back up what I am saying. go to and ask them what is the top dog tranny. You will find the fastest diesel pickups in the world there.

Oh, Dodge if you are reading this. Build the 8HP for the 3/4 ton and 1 ton diesel guys with the same idea as the 48RE. Meaning so that we can go into them and rebuild them to handle the power. Don't make is so darn impossible like yall did with the 68RFE. Losen up on the TCM tuning and ECM tuning for that matter

if they put a eight speed in anything they got to do it to the heavy duty cummins engine. if they want to pull like a big rig.. eight speed manual for the heavy duty cummins would be nice to

The ZF trans has 6 foward gears between 4.7 and 1.0 with 2 overdrive gears.

Compairable 6 speed transmissions have 4 forward gears between 4.1 and 1.15 and then two similar OD gears.

Anybody with more then a couple of brain cells to rub together knows that 6 is better then 4. No way in hell is a 6 speed going to outperform an 8 speed, if they have similar power behind them.

I want to buy a 2012 JGC. Should I wait for the 2013 ZF8 or buy the 2012?

From my experience with my new concept in the world of Gearboxes which can give us more than 12 speeds in very simple and cheap way, Of corse your 8 speeds takes from you a huge efforts from a massy concordant team.
As well known as if we add more speeds as we will save more fuel, I am sure with efforts of whom can develop my gearbox we will do some thing diffrence, and I hope you will announce the born of this gearbox.
I hope you all the best, and
Best regards
Dali Mohamad Hassan

will there ever be a replacement 8HP transmission for the existing dodge ram 1500,2500,3500 pickups?

The comments to this entry are closed.