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Discussion Starter #1
The ZF-5 transmission in my 97 F-250 bit the dust this weekend. I bought the truck about ten years ago and discovered that the transmission had a cracked bell housing that had been welded back together. All seemed fine, but there was a steady fluid weep from the top of the transmission which I countered by draining and refilling and correlating the fluid loss with miles driven and then topping off accordingly. This really was not to much of an issue, because the truck lives outside anyway and leaving a few drips behind was tolerable. Well, something changed and the fluid got much lower than I anticipated and the transmission failed. I drained the fluid and to my surprise there was less than a quart and a pile of metal shavings. Very frustrating, but the obvious argument is that the leak should have been fixed from day one and this would have never happened.

Anyway, not to dwell on my reasoning, now I am seeking advice on how to go about getting this repaired. I opened the PTO cover on the passenger side and took the attached pictures.

The truck can start with the clutch pedal down, but it tries to stall out in any gear, and even in neutral, which leads me to believe that the input shaft of the transmission is seized. Also, the truck can roll easily with the transmission "in gear." I put that in parenthesis because I suspect there is a missing gear that should be on the input shaft that turns the layshaft?

So, is a rebuild of this transmission even possible? Obviously if I can reuse this housing I will have the leak repaired while is down. Otherwise, am I better off looking for a re-manufactured unit? And if so, who can I trust to provide a quality unit? Lastly, throw out some cost estimations so I can start to financially weigh my options.

Thanks!
 

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Why rebuild into a cracked case? You'll just be back to nursing a leak again. The remedy at the time would have been to put your internals into a tranny with a known good case and burned up internals. Now you've got a burned up (or at least severly damaged) internals and a cracked case. Time for a replacement tranny.
 

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I agree with madpogue. The way to go is a different tranny. Your internals are definitely toast, and a rebuilder won't give you anything on a core for yours, so you'd just as well buy a rebuilt and eat the core charge.

You COULD get the case welded, but with the amount of damage, you're looking at replacing about everything inside. (read that as lots of $$)

I had a similar issue with my ZF-6, where the tubing connection slipped off of my filter setup (since corrected). I now have a replacement tranny and a big box of basically scrap parts. I was able to sell the old front case, so it wasn't a total loss. Mine didn't look NEAR as bad as yours does.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
madpogue, thank you for the input.

I could rebuild into my current case if the source of the leak was remedied, as I mentioned in the original post, such that I would no longer have to nurse it and risk this situation happening again. Although, without having dropped the transmission yet, this option cannot be fully evaluated. The top would need to be inspected, and only then could a decision be made on whether or not it can be salvaged.

My choice to nurse the truck for the past ten years is not the focus of this thread. This was a calculated decision based on things relevant to my life. Only in a perfect world does everything get fixed right, the first time, immediately. All we can do is prioritize.

I am very familiar with my current state of being. I hope more can chime in with potential ideas to help me procure a replacement transmission and at what cost. Or what I can expect to spend if I can even rebuild into the existing case.

Much thanks!
 

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No criticism intended. Way I see it, you got ten years out of the tranny that would have cost you a fair amount to repair at the time (if it could have been repaired). But if the case was welded once, and didn't hold, it's unlikely to hold again. The increase fluid loss suggests that the crack has gotten worse. I would say you got your money's worth out of that tranny.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
madpogue,none taken, I truly am thankful for the input. And inline with what you said, I am happy to have gotten 10 years out of the transmission that was always mildly suspect in my mind. I am certainly leaning away from the idea of having the case repaired and more open to a new (new to me) transmission as you and klhansen recommend.

klhansen,where did you turn for a replacement transmission? ebay, online vendor, local shop, salvage yard? dare i say ford?

Is it best to find a remanufactured unit, or to buy a used one local and possibly have it rebuilt locally?

Thanks all.
 

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I had a leaking transmission for 10 or so years also and when I finally decided to fix it I found that the tail housing was cracked. I had planned on buying a rebuilt one from these guys until I found a rebuilder that would replace the tail housing.
 

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klhansen,where did you turn for a replacement transmission? ebay, online vendor, local shop, salvage yard? dare i say ford?
The local shop I had tear mine down (I though it was going to be rebuildable) showed me the carnage, and then got one through Midwest Transmission for me. When it arrived and I picked it up to install it, they said someone else was looking for a ZF-6, and I had gotten their last one. They're pretty scarce. I have never seen one in the local salvage yards.

Online vendors (eBay and the like) seem to have them, but quality may not be the best. Rebuilds sometimes are more "repaints".

Good luck with your search.
 

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For what it's worth I picked up an exchanged rebuild from this guy a few years ago:
bigdeer11 on eBay
He's out of the Indy area, good pricing, NO complaints, it has been flawless behind the engine mods, and he surprisingly agreed to exchange my 542 for a 547 zf5 at no additional cost. He did require a good core, and checked mine thoroughly - not sure how your core would affect the deal. No ZF5 currently listed on the sales site, but I'm fairly sure he can accommodate you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Online vendors (eBay and the like) seem to have them, but quality may not be the best. Rebuilds sometimes are more "repaints".
Yes, I share this skepticism and am leery to trust someone without a referral from this forum community from whom I have often distilled good advice.

I too have noticed several reman units online for under $1500, and while very tempting, I have little confidence without a good reference.

preith, I will certainly follow up on your referral seeing that Indy is in my neck of the woods and that you had a positive experience with this seller. I looked on ebay and saw that he had excellent feedback for the past 12 months of transactions and has sold a handful of zf transmissions in the past few years.

I have also found a used s5-47 in Sturgis with 80k miles on it for $650. This too is tempting but can anyone tell me what I can expect to pay for a rebuild on this unit assuming that the case and gears are fine and only needs bearings, seals, and the like of a typical preventative maintenance rebuild.

Thanks all for the advice and I welcome more input!
 
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