ZF5 is a box of rocks; replace, rebuild, ?? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:58 AM
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ZF5 is a box of rocks; replace, rebuild, ??

The ZF5 in my 97 Super Duty became a box of rocks in downtown Ft Worth last Friday, only 4th (direct drive) will work. Valair clutch in it has about 20-30k on it and from what I can see through the inspection panel nothing appears awry, but I'll know more when I get it home and drop the trans.

My main question is, assuming this is the original box, it's got 230k on it with no issues, and I've put over 40k on it with no issues, so it can't be that horrible of a design. BUT, would it be worth the 2x expense to put a 6 speed from a 99+ in it, assuming it fits, or should I just pick up a good used ZF5 and put back in? I've found a "5k on rebuild" on CL locally for $700 which seems like a good deal, but would it be worth dropping mine somewhere to see what it would take to rebuild it first, or are these pretty bad about shedding everything in the box when something goes wrong?

Obviously I'm not stoked about spending $1400 on a new box, but if the 6-speeds are better units I'm willing to spend the money since this truck is usually pulling a 53' car hauler with a fair amount of weight on it.

Thanks for the help/tips.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:24 AM
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right off i dont know if that will work. its basically the same transmisison but with the extra low gear before 1st gear. we had our zf5 rebuilt and was about 2200 including a new second gear, clutch, clutch cover, and maybe a new pressure plate.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:24 AM
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Well I picked up a fairly freshly rebuilt trans this weekend. Came out of a '95, looked identical to mine (that I hadn't dropped from the truck). Got it out and immediately had that sinking feeling in my stomach -- this big dumb moron didn't do enough research. The bellhousing and center section look identical, but the tailshaft setup is totally different. I'm guessing whatever this thing came out of had a different parking brake setup, because the tail shaft/housing assembly seems to be completely different.

Anybody have any idea if it's possible to swap the tails out? I'm guessing the output shaft will have to be swapped, too, but I don't know anything about these boxes or this big parking brake unit.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:47 AM
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Well ****, looks like they changed the innards in '96 so this '95 box is just about as useless as my box of rocks.

Anybody used smarpartsauto.com? They've got a ZF5 for $1045 with a $500 core, Pistol's here in town will tear mine down and give me a quote but I have a suspicion it'll be north of that.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:41 AM
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I had mine go out on me one time and I ended up having to rebuild it myself! First transmission to ever tear open! It's really not that bad of a job except you'll probably have to take it to someone with a press to get the gears pressed on and the right tool to get them off. But, as far as building it goes, just stand it up on the bell housing and stack everything in just how you took it out and it should be easy. I had to start with a bucket of parts after the transmission shop tore it down, I had a Nissan Titan they were working on at the time, couldn't afford for them to fix both.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:43 AM
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I think it still ended up costing me around $600 bucks for the parts though. Those gears are very high! Don't go to Ford, you'll never believe how expensive they are. I got mine from a salvage yard, they looked as good as my other gears that I didn't change out.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:45 AM
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Oh, and several people told me that the 6 speed wouldn't work. They all said that the transmission was bigger and wouldn't fit under my truck. I don't know for sure though.
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