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The Spun Bearing: E65 Tranny Trouble, ZF Eight Speed In Rams, Tires Filled With Nitrogen

Interesting | April 20th, 2012 by 8

E65 Tranny Trouble The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration in the US has initiated an engineering analysis of incidents involving E65 7 series that …

E65 Tranny Trouble

The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration in the US has initiated an engineering analysis of incidents involving E65 7 series that have rolled away from owners that believed they had placed the transmission in park.

That really doesn’t come as too big of a surprise given the unusual (for the US) nature of the shifter used in the E65. Most Americans are used to a typical PRNDL arrangement on the center console or, more rarely these days, on the steering column. The E65 gear selector was a stretch for those used to gear actuation that was in a linear motion from L to P. The E65 had R and P at either end separated by N (for neutral, of course) with P requiring a separate activation once in neutral.

The Spun Bearing: E65 Tranny Trouble, ZF Eight Speed In Rams, Tires Filled With Nitrogen

Of course, when you’ve grown up with a single method of shifting a transmission finding and using something novel doesn’t always produce the best results. And the E65 gear selector was novel.

But how did we end up with PRNDL? Thank the US Department of Transportation (DOT – the folks that brought you those lovely orange reflectors). There is a pretty good explanation of PRNDL found at Jalopnik that’s worth a read ( http://jalopnik.com/5870701/why-prndl ). [And a big tip of the hat to Jalponik commenters that identified a part that helped police find and arrest a fatal hit and run driver. That's as good a reason to keep the interwebs going as any I've seen.]

However, I have to believe that most of these incidents could have been avoided if the user would have done one simple thing. Whether in park or neutral, setting the parking brake would have prevented the roll aways. Set the parking brake! You paid for it, use it.

ZF Eight Speed In Rams

The Chrysler group is sticking a V6 in its Ram pickups and mating a ZF sight speed to them. It will include start/stop technology enabled by the integrated hydraulic impulse oil storage (HIS). It is the HIS that allows the transmission to come up to speed quickly enough to make the start/stop system viable.

OF course this is basically the same transmission that has found its way through the BMW lineup with start/stop technology. It is interesting that it’s being employed in a pickup and that it will be branded with Chrsyler’s TorqueFlite trademark. Of course, the reason for including this transmission with the V6 as standard, and the V8 optionally, is fuel economy improvements.

Chrysler has first use of the transverse mount ZF nine speed auto and this further cements Chrysler’s and ZF’s relationship.  ZF, by the way, has a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, SC. Oh and here’s a link back to the piece BMWBLOG did on automatic transmissions.

Tires Filled With Nitrogen

Dealers are making a few extra bucks filling tires with Nitrogen rather than ordinary, garden variety, air. The funny thing is, the bulk of the air we breath, about 78%, is nitrogen with oxygen making up 21% of the remainder. So the tires are pretty much full of nitrogen to begin with. However, pure nitrogen is less sensitive to changing pressure when heated, unlike ordinary air, and racers find this a quite beneficial.

But there is less benefit in normal driving conditions. The most important thing about tires is keeping them a proper inflation. Carry a tire gauge in the glove box and take the minute or so every time you fill up with fuel to also check the tires.

Nitrogen may make the car lighter, by taking more money out of your pocket. But then you do get those cool green valve stem caps to go with the lighter wallet.

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  • Anonymous

    Interesting thing about the E65 selector.  It is the same concept that is used MB in most of their modern and more expensive models.  I had a MB ML (W164) with the selector. With that, when you shut down the car, it automatically engaged park.  I have religiously used the parking brake in all of my cars over the years, and I got in to the habit of first switching to N, then applying the parking brake, then applying park.  In some cases, I would forget to apply park while say stopped but finishing a phone call or something.  After turning off the car, it would engage park, and even give you a nice little chime to tell you that park was engaged, whether manually or automatically.  So I’m guessing that the E65 didn’t do this.  I think newer models, like the E70 and F10, apply park automatically when shut down.

    • JRobUSC

      E65’s automatically engage park when the car is turned off as well.  So I am unsure how anyone managed to let the car roll away accidentally, unless they hopped out of the car with it running and in N or D.

      • Fredyschiftan

         I drove this car many times,   it is the driver fault not to put attention on what he is doing , when something happens many people blame something else but not themselves !!   cars in general need to get less electronics and go back to plain and simple driving !! 

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  • Guest

    Haven’t you like posted this already a few months ago?

  • Anonymous

    The “Nitrogen Fill” bit is 90% bunk and 10% valid.  Its not the Nitrogen that’s making the difference (afterall, plain old air is 79% N2) but rather that the difference between a fancy N2 fill and a plain air fill is … humidity (water). 

    Most good air compressors already have a water trap, although that’s only going to do so much…you really want dry air, so unless you live someplace really arid, you’re going to want a better air supply. 

    The easiest/cheapest way to get dry air is through a friend who has scuba gear to borrow.  The air that’s used to fill scuba tanks (and firefighter’s Scott packs too) is controlled to be of low humidity and will do the trick just fine.  You’ll need to borrow his regulator & scuba tank, plus make a one-time hardware investment of a whopping $10 for a  tire inflator nozzle – – this clips into the regulator’s LP hose to their Bouyancy Compensator (BC).  There’s an example here:  http://www.amazon.com/Tire-Inflator-Nozzle-Attaches-your/dp/B001P6CSOE
    From here, the consumables are a standard “fill” on their scuba tank of air; figure $10 at most local dive shops, and a standard scuba tank (AL80) contains roughly 80 cubic feet of air, which should be more than enough capacity to empty & refill all four tires.
     
    -hh

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