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Thread: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

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    1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    I picked up an old 1990 Ford Super Duty with a ZF5 manual transmission. Runs and drives great except on the way home, after about 50 miles, the manual transmission overheated. Smoke was pouring out the shift boot. I Pulled off and let it cool before limping it the last few miles to the shop. The previous owner hadn't every driven it more than a few miles at a time. Tags were from '05. I drained the oil and it was crazy burnt. It wasn' t low on oil. A little shimmer but no chunks. I changed the oil but it sounded rough so I dropped it out on Saturday. Today I split the case expecting to find a mess but everything looks amazingly clean. A few porcupines on the magnet but no broken teeth or loose rollers floating around. The forward carrier bearing looks like to may have gotten hot. Clearly this unit was rebuilt based on the silicon sealing the two halves. This is my first ZF5 I've been into. The service manual doesn't list anything for an overheated transmission, so clearly something wasn't assembled right. I suspect the preload on the carrier shaft was excessively tight. Anyone familiar with these transmissions overheating like this?

    I'm going to order a rebuild kit. I guess I'm kinda lucky it had a torn shift boot or I might not have noticed right away.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    What is a rebuild kit for one? I have had one apart but not all the way, it needed a shift synch in rev. When we read the manual it was kind of scary but less so when we get in to it. They are real popular in off road, I suspect there might be a bit written about them. Sorry I dont remember more detail but its been 15 yrs.
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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    The ZF5-42 is a great trans!
    Luckily I've never had to take one apart but I would be really surprised if the factory used gaskets.
    It would be hard to hold reliable end clearances and bearing preloads with gaskets!

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    My daughter had a "BOWTIE" truck with a 5 speed manual transmission,,
    It as purchased used, and after about the 5th year that she drove it, it would almost not shift,,

    I got it home with a 2 wheel drive on car carrier, drained the oil out of the transmission, then installed the new (EXPENSIVE) synthetic oil.
    I drove it a week, then drained it, and replaced the oil again.

    The transmission was perfect after that,, the "new owner" has been driving it for about 5 years now,, still perfect.

    It is hard to believe that an oil change "fixed" that manual transmission.

    Maybe you are in a similar situation??

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Some of the newer manual transmissions require synthetic oil. The NV4500 5 speed in my 96 dodge is filled with a proprietary synthetic gear oil. Maybe you got lucky and someone put the wrong gear oil in it. Good Luck!
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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    What is a rebuild kit for one?
    About $250. Zumbrota wanted $1800 for a reman but they needed 3 weeks to build it. I figured it would be down a month so I decided to take it apart and see how bad it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by rexcormack View Post
    The ZF5-42 is a great trans!
    Luckily I've never had to take one apart but I would be really surprised if the factory used gaskets.
    It would be hard to hold reliable end clearances and bearing preloads with gaskets!
    I was mistaken, after reading the manual it just uses sealant. I'm going to slide it back together today and check the preload.

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
    I got it home with a 2 wheel drive on car carrier, drained the oil out of the transmission, then installed the new (EXPENSIVE) synthetic oil.
    I drove it a week, then drained it, and replaced the oil again.

    Maybe you are in a similar situation??
    I hoped changing the oil would have solved my issue but I just didn't dare. Now that I have it apart I'm going to inspect everything and replace anything that looks suspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Some of the newer manual transmissions require synthetic oil. The NV4500 5 speed in my 96 dodge is filled with a proprietary synthetic gear oil. Maybe you got lucky and someone put the wrong gear oil in it. Good Luck!
    I was thinking possibly it had been filled with gear oil and that's why it ran hot but it just had burned ATF. I replaced it with Mercon V which I believe is semi-synthetic but I didn't drive on it aside from pulling it into the shop. It didn't sound very nice after changing the oil. Something is making noise.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post


    I was mistaken, after reading the manual it just uses sealant. I'm going to slide it back together today and check the preload.
    They probably use the same TA-31 RTV they use on their oil pans

    It's a little pricey but it works excellent.

    Permatex high torque RTV is very good also.


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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    They probably use the same TA-31 RTV they use on their oil pans.
    I think it uses an anaerobic gasket maker. The Ford number is E3AZ-19554-AA standard WSK-M2G348-A9. The Permatex chart lists WSK-M2G348-A5 but I cannot find WSK-M2G348-A9. I suspect this is the stuff.
    https://www.permatex.com/products/ga...t-maker-50-ml/

    In any event it wasn't sealed properly according to the manual.

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    Last edited by forhire; 06-14-2022 at 01:00 PM.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Smoke pouring out the shift boot? Sounds like yer shift boot seal is bad.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Smoke pouring out the shift boot? Sounds like yer shift boot seal is bad.
    New shift boot and call it good?

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Wrong oil would get my vote.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    "It didn't sound very nice after changing the oil. Something is making noise."

    Sounds like a bad bearing somewhere!
    It would be nice if it were the idler gear for the pto!

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    What is the recommended oil for the ZF 5

    ??
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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Some of the newer manual transmissions require synthetic oil. The NV4500 5 speed in my 96 dodge is filled with a proprietary synthetic gear oil. Maybe you got lucky and someone put the wrong gear oil in it. Good Luck!
    yes, and that oil aint cheap. i buy it from the dealer. i researched it a while back, wheter its a myth/scam, and decided it probabaly wasnt, and its not worth the gamble, so i buy it. mine is in a chevy, and im looking for another nv4500. i think theres a lil diff in gear ratio from the chevy to dodge, and input shaft and sleeve differ, but i need to find out if shaft can be swapped, whether a dodge one will work in chevy. problem around my area, is those guys that build 4 wheelers for rock crawlers like to snatch them up
    Last edited by 123weld; 06-14-2022 at 05:59 PM.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    ZF uses atf

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    New shift boot and call it good?
    Hell, maybe just stick a pipe clamp around it. Use a stainless steel one, though. Don't wanna cut any corners.

    I did read that in a ZF5, you should be using Mercon ATF, but NOT Mercon V as it doesn't have whatever additives to lubricate brass/bronze.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by rexcormack View Post
    Sounds like a bad bearing somewhere!
    It would be nice if it were the idler gear for the pto!
    No PTO on this truck. The reverse idler is fairly telling. Shaft is worn and the ends, that should be bolted solid, show some fretting. The roller bearings don't feel great. I suspect it will be more of the same the deeper I go. I have a new idler shaft coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAVEMANN View Post
    Wrong oil would get my vote.
    I suspect you are right. What poured out was so dark it was hard to tell. It flowed like ATF and smelled like death.

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    What is the recommended oil for the ZF 5??
    Manual calls for Mercon ATF. Napa carries Mercon V, which I think is semi-synthetic. I've read some ZF5 user are running Royal Purple MAX ATF, which is a full synthetic.
    https://www.royalpurple.com/product/...mission-fluid/

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    I did read that in a ZF5, you should be using Mercon ATF, but NOT Mercon V as it doesn't have whatever additives to lubricate brass/bronze.
    The plot thickens. This page suggests Mercon V or Amsoil. I've also read Royal Purple MAX ATF is good. I'd prefer a synthetic as they generally handle higher temperatures.
    https://www.dieselhub.com/maintenanc...eed-fluid.html

    I am waiting on a few items before I tear into it fully. The reverse idler comes out easy.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    No PTO on this truck. The reverse idler is fairly telling. Shaft is worn and the ends, that should be bolted solid, show some fretting. The roller bearings don't feel great. I suspect it will be more of the same the deeper I go. I have a new idler shaft coming.



    I suspect you are right. What poured out was so dark it was hard to tell. It flowed like ATF and smelled like death.


    Manual calls for Mercon ATF. Napa carries Mercon V, which I think is semi-synthetic. I've read some ZF5 user are running Royal Purple MAX ATF, which is a full synthetic.
    https://www.royalpurple.com/product/...mission-fluid/



    The plot thickens. This page suggests Mercon V or Amsoil. I've also read Royal Purple MAX ATF is good. I'd prefer a synthetic as they generally handle higher temperatures.
    https://www.dieselhub.com/maintenanc...eed-fluid.html

    I am waiting on a few items before I tear into it fully. The reverse idler comes out easy.

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    Just make sure whatever you end up using isn't too thick. If the trans calls for ATF, then gear oil is going to be WAY to thick.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Smoke pouring out the shift boot? Sounds like yer shift boot seal is bad.
    Most likely because he was using the clutch and it was his knee smoking

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    I have never changed the oil in mine...

    Bought the truck new in 95

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    there is a place in memphis that rebuilds manual trannys and ANYTHING geared. when i toasted my transfer case in my dually they were 900.00 and the next price i got was 1325.00. that was 6 years ago. a friend of mine in arkansas here BIG FARMER uses them for his equipment. called high gear transmission on adams str. in memphis, tenn.
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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Lot of folks ruin those transmissions putting either gear oil, or engine oil, in them.

    Tolearances are tight, which require ATF to flow properly. And some of these new type tranny's have pumps in them to transfer oil between case bulkheads.......they won't work with high viscosity oil. Usually just a worm style pump. The old NP203 transfer cases had this system......was death to put 90w in them.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Ruined the input bearing on my 94 F-150 sometime back around maybe 2000. Forgot to refill the tranny when I changed a clutch. Drove it about 8-10ish miles dry.

    Been considering replacing the bearing one of these days. It's getting a bit louder every year.............for 285,000 miles, more or less.

    Gears is gears..........nice when they run quiet, same with bearings. Not so nice if they're noisy. It's only when they might want to seize, is when you need to worry. Everything else is white glove cosmetic fancy stuff for perfectionists When the whine turns to a raspy growl.........then worry about it. Otherwise, just keep on a keepin' on. Way it's going.......it'll probably outlast me. Have a spare tranny anyways, in that parts truck truck we picked up around 8yrs ago.

    Speakin' of which....................K'kins is getting tired of reminding me to fill the water jugs anytime we go to Tulsa. The radiator's been leaking for about at least 15yrs.

    We do have a priority fix on the menu though. On the way to the eye doctor this Monday, she hit the brakes, and the entire car started wobbling......then once it stopped, it wouldn't go without a ton of gas pedal, and it wandered all over the road when doing so. This quit on the way back to the house. MISSED EYE DOC APPOINTMENT, RESCHEDULED FOR NEXT MONTH Been driving her to/from work since. Have to jack it up (gonna take the two of us with this burnt hand), and see what's up. I'm betting on a seized caliper cylinder. I won't let her drive it till we fix it. (Of course I haul her all over Oklahoma in a truck that might seize a transmission, and kill us if there's a big truck on our rear bumper) I am a LEGEND!!!!!!!
    Last edited by farmersammm; 06-16-2022 at 12:07 AM. Reason: wrong day....it was Monday...my bad

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Ruined the input bearing on my 94 F-150 sometime back around maybe 2000. Forgot to refill the tranny when I changed a clutch. Drove it about 8-10ish miles dry.

    Been considering replacing the bearing one of these days. It's getting a bit louder every year.............for 285,000 miles, more or less.

    Gears is gears..........nice when they run quiet, same with bearings. Not so nice if they're noisy. It's only when they might want to seize, is when you need to worry.
    I figured you'd have some experience with these transmissions. The tranny sounded good for the first 50 miles or so. When it was hot it popped out of gear wouldn't go back into gear. Once it cooled for a bit it acted normal albeit louder than previously. Judging from the condition of the throwout bearing it has some miles on it. I ordered a full rebuild kit with all the bearings, seals, and syncros. Hopefully I can get this back together early next week.

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    Re: 1990 Ford Super Duty with ZF5 manual transmission SMOKING from shift boot!

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    I figured you'd have some experience with these transmissions. The tranny sounded good for the first 50 miles or so. When it was hot it popped out of gear wouldn't go back into gear. Once it cooled for a bit it acted normal albeit louder than previously. Judging from the condition of the throwout bearing it has some miles on it. I ordered a full rebuild kit with all the bearings, seals, and syncros. Hopefully I can get this back together early next week.
    Mine never popped/pops out of gear, but the output bearing has gotten to the point where there's a low level vibration at the tail housing. Although I'm being "funny" to a certain point(and I'm sort of an idiot too), it's time to get the doggone thing out of the truck, and work it over. I'm feeling that the continued vibration will transmit to the differential, and start damaging it. I believe I've come to the end of useful life as it sits.

    Years ago, and I mean YEARS ago. I rebuilt a 4 speed Muncie transmission for a Chevy 1 ton. The parts people sent me on my way with some new gears that I didn't really feel needed replacing. This was a very good rebuild shop that also sold parts. The parts guys were also actual rebuilders. The guy said that although those particular gears might not show wear, they had to be replaced per their experience over the years. These particular gears didn't show a ton of wear, but there was a trace visible to the eye. They would pop out of gear. I took the guys advice, replaced them during the rebuild, and it worked.

    Lacking the experience, I would have kept the old gears, and continued to suffer the problem. I'm not sure these kind of places even exist anymore.

    I remember talking to the guy after I got the thing put back together. Called the shop to thank them. He said that they know a lot of people either can't afford to send a gearbox in to be rebuilt, or don't have the time to wait on the turnaround. Because of this, they had no qualms about passing along info to parts buyers. They didn't treat information like a Nuclear Secret.

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