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Old 04-01-2019, 12:44 PM   #1
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RAM 1500 8 speed trans filter/fluid change

Someone may have posted this before. Anyway, from my understanding the RAM folks indicate the 8 speed automatic transmission is maintenance free. The folks that manufacture the ZF8HP70 transmission state the that filter and fluid should be changed every 80,000 to 120,000 km depending on driving style. Your local RAM dealer will charge between $900 and $1200 for this service from what I read.
I'll try to attach the ZF bulletin:ZF Trans Service Instructions (1).pdf
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:43 PM   #2
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I have a 2014 Ram 1500 with the 8 speed . One dealer told me the transmission fluid was good for the life of the vehicle . Another told me the transmission fluid was good for 100,000 miles ( The length of the drive train warranty ) Our local transmission shop said since I use my truck for towing , I should change the fluid and filter at 60,000 miles
The price I got to change the filter and fluid was right around $750.
I have over 60,000 miles on my truck and it is due to have a bunch of scheduled maintenance work performed . I really don’t want to stick that much money in a 5 year old truck . I have been looking for a new truck but so far I cannot find a 1/2 ton truck that is equipped with what a want / need . There are plenty of 3/4 ton trucks around equipped for towing but they are all diesel and are in the $65,000 price range .
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:47 PM   #3
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What are the chances that the used trucks you're looking at also haven't had scheduled maintenance done?
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:58 PM   #4
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Hi: jnfrombigt... Maybe I'm just lucky, but have never changed filter or fluid in any of my auto trans. vehicles. My Nissan Frontier had 172,500 kms. and towed my 5.0 and 5.0TA trailers. The fluid was checked annually for any signs of burn. Alf
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:15 PM   #5
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Years ago I examined a transmission repair dealer. He told me if you change it regularly it will last indefinitely, otherwise you can let it go until 150k miles and then take your chances. I suggest finding a repair shop that uses a full synthetic fluid that may give you lifetime warranty, that is my plan, but I'm only at 25k miles, so I have a couple of years to sort this out. I'd also change the differentials to synthetic.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escape artist View Post
Hi: jnfrombigt... Maybe I'm just lucky, but have never changed filter or fluid in any of my auto trans. vehicles. My Nissan Frontier had 172,500 kms. and towed my 5.0 and 5.0TA trailers. The fluid was checked annually for any signs of burn. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
I had noticed since joining the forum that there were a number of RAM owners. I have a 2015 Ram EcoDiesel with the ZF8 transmission and while getting it ready to head out from South Carolina all the way to southwestern British Columbia and then tow a trailer an even longer distance back, I stumbled across the info about transmission maintenance. I had two Dodge 2500s with the Cummins before this truck and like you just checked transmission fluid levels. The first trucks transmission went out on me at about 106,000 miles. Coincidentally I was traveling from Montana to southern British Columbia when that happened. I decided if I'm going to tow a trailer with a light duty truck I should exercise a bit of overkill when it comes to truck maintenance. "We takes our chances and pays our own dues".
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by escape artist View Post
Hi: jnfrombigt... Maybe I'm just lucky, but have never changed filter or fluid in any of my auto trans. vehicles. My Nissan Frontier had 172,500 kms. and towed my 5.0 and 5.0TA trailers. The fluid was checked annually for any signs of burn. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
The Ram 1500 8 speed transmission does not have a dipstick , it is basically a sealed transmission so checking fluid color or level is almost impossible
From what I was told both the transmission and rear end come from the factory with synthetic oil / fluid
Towing affects service intervals
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:32 PM   #8
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What are the chances that the used trucks you're looking at also haven't had scheduled maintenance done?
If you read my post , I am not looking at a new used truck
I am looking at buying a brand “ NEW” 2019 truck with zero miles on it !!
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I suggest finding a repair shop that uses a full synthetic fluid ... I'd also change the differentials to synthetic.
I have changed the fluid spec used in some manual transmissions (to fully synthetic), but I would be cautious about this (especially in a differential). In any automatic transmission I would use only the manufacturer's specified fluid, including any brand specifically approved by the manufacturer - not just marketed as "meets manufacturer's specifications" - it's probably fully synthetic, anyway.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:51 PM   #10
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I just went out and got my manual, the transmission fluid change at 60,000 miles is for the six speed transmission and if used in police or towing. There is no maintenance on the 8 sp transmission. The differentials should be checked at intervals also, but not changed. Like Steve mentioned, it appears to be a sealed unit. Now the 100,000 mile tuneup and antifreeze flush/ change maybe an expensive item, if I recall around $900.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
The Ram 1500 8 speed transmission does nothave a dipstick , it is basically a sealed transmission so checking fluid color or level is almost impossible
From what I was told both the transmission and rear end come from the factory with synthetic oil / fluid
Towing affects service intervals
Well, you can check the fluid level. There is a plug on the side of the transmission. If fluid comes out you're OK. Fluid doesn't come out add fluid. What I have pointed out is the folks that make the transmission "Recommend changing the fluid and filter, depending on driving style, every 80,000 km (50,000 miles) or 120,000 km (75,000 miles) and no later than every eight years". Again, it's up to the individual owner to exercise his or her own judgement as to what he or she wishes to do. I plan to change filter and fluid at about 50,000 miles. You can do it yourself for about $400USD.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:04 PM   #12
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Here's what my 2019 Ram 1500 manual says about transmission fluid:

Fluid And Filter Changes
Under normal operating conditions, the fluid installed at
the factory will provide satisfactory lubrication for the life
of the vehicle.
Routine fluid and filter changes are not required. However,
change the fluid and filter if the fluid becomes contaminated
(with water, etc.), or if the transmission is disassembled for
any reason.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:08 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=cpaharley2008;285497]Years ago I examined a transmission repair dealer. He told me if you change it regularly it will last indefinitely, otherwise you can let it go until 150k miles and then take your chances. I suggest finding a repair shop that uses a full synthetic fluid that may give you lifetime warranty, that is my plan, but I'm only at 25k miles, so I have a couple of years to sort this out. I'd also change the differentials to synthetic.[/QUOT
The factory fluid is a special synthetic fluid made specifically for the ZF8. The stuff is very very thin almost like water. It's a pale greenish color. In fact you cannot use even the fluid they use in the ZF6 in the ZF8.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
Here's what my 2019 Ram 1500 manual says about transmission fluid:

Fluid And Filter Changes
Under normal operating conditions, the fluid installed at
the factory will provide satisfactory lubrication for the life
of the vehicle.
Routine fluid and filter changes are not required. However,
change the fluid and filter if the fluid becomes contaminated
(with water, etc.), or if the transmission is disassembled for
any reason.
That's very true. But what I pointed out at the beginning is that Ram and ZF Friedricshafen (folks that make the transmission) are saying different things.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:55 PM   #15
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
The Ram 1500 8 speed transmission does not have a dipstick , it is basically a sealed transmission so checking fluid color or level is almost impossible
From what I was told both the transmission and rear end come from the factory with synthetic oil / fluid
Towing affects service intervals
Yea, that is a problem with the sealed transmissions. When I towed with the RAV4, at each 5K service they checked a drop of transmission fluid against a color chart. At 55K, they decided the color was off enough for a change. This was with synthetic fluid. I made it to 135K with the color passing OK.

When I switched to the Tacoma, it was a sealed transmission. No way to check the condition of the fluid, and a fairly expensive procedure on the computerized test station to check the level. For some reason, this is an improvement!
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