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Tech Article

Audi C5 A6 Quattro 4.2 V8 Transmission Blues: It just got more Personal

Last Updated: 09/24/2017
Parts Group: Transmission
If you’d prefer to skip the technical analysis and simply buy the part, in good used condition, please contact us.

I use my Ford E150 van to tow dead Audis around. It comes in handy. Problem is, the transmission was slowly going out. I'm all for repairing Audi ZF 5HP-24A transmissions, with which I'm actually familiar. Ford AOD transmissions, no.

So, I bought a used one from a reputable place, from someone who assured me it's fine. I didn't install the used transmission right away because the van was having other issues, but they've now been resolved, and I needed the van for a long trip.

This week, my tech and I installed the supposed-to-be-good transmission, and ... it's not good. I took it for a test drive an hour ago, and ... it's bad. Dangit.

Anyway, some good came of it: I now relate even more viscerally to the chagrin of an Audi owner who buys a used transmission, and pays to have it installed it, and it's not good.

  • Was it the wrong variation?
  • Was it a bad transmission?
  • Did it get it broken when shipped to the mechanic?
  • Did it get it broken when installed by the mechanic?
  • Did the mechanic install it the wrong way?
Who knows ...

When I'm not working on Audi transmissions, I create custom business software. I've been doing it for a long time, and I know that clients hate it when software doesn't work and

  • The software person says "it's a hardware problem" and
  • The hardware person says "it's a software problem."

Buying a used transmission sets someone up for being in that "where do I look for the cause" chagrin. Worse yet would be if one doesn't know if the problem might yet be salvageable. For example, on the Ford AOD transmission, the kick-down cable adjustment is surprisingly-to-me critical. Did I adjust it correctly? I don't know. I don't really know what I'm doing, when it comes to this used Ford AOD transmission. That's why I bought a used supposed-to-be-good one, so that I don't have to be an expert so as to get my van to be reliable again.

Anyway, if I imagine myself into the position of the owner of a C5 Audi A6 Quattro A6 4.2 V8 or a D2 Audi A8 Quattro A6 (which also has the 4.2 V8) and the ZF 5HP-24A transmission fails, that's a similar situation to what I was in. And, there's probably a similar temptation to buy a used transmission.

Not just does that include all the uncertainty I described above, but if the clutch "A" drum of the used ZF 5HP-24A transmission hasn't failed yet then preventative steps have to be taken immediately to prevent it from happening, otherwise the used transmission will soon fail too. After fifteen years or so, you're on very thin ice (as the expression goes). The thing to do right away is to renew the pressure regulator in the lower front valve body housing, and then the clutch "A" drum (and the transmission as a whole) is much more likely to provide more years of reliable service.

Now you understand better why, before I sell you a replacement transmission for your Audi, you get to road-test it in an actual working, driving car that you can drive thoroughly, take to your mechanic for inspection, etc. That way you know the transmission is working well when you buy it. We also don't ship the transmission to your mechanic, because during removal or shipping, it might get damaged. You get to deliver my Audi with the transmission you're buying, to your mechanic. You know the transmission works when you drive it in there, so from then on if there is a problem even so, then you can be much more certain as to where the root cause is.

Every used ZF 5HP-24A transmission I sell also has the pressure regulator renewed already, which is why I feel confident to warranty it for 3 years against the clutch "A" drum blowing out. It also comes with a fresh ZF filter and ZF pan gasket and fluid, so your mechanic can treat it as a sealed unit and doesn't have to (and shouldn't) mess with the internals when installing it. He doesn't even have to (and shouldn't) drop the pan.

That's why I price my transmissions somewhere between a typical used unit, and a totally rebuilt unit.

If your Audi needs a replacement ZF 5HP-24A, please keep us in mind!
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