Calibrating ZF Transmissions

Calibrating ZF Transmissions

Calibration keeps your ZF transmission shifting smoothly

When Apache Sprayers transitioned to the ZF transmissions for the 2011 sprayer model year, operators had access to a new way to boost fuel economy and performance in the field through features like a locking torque converter.

Like any drivetrain component, ZF transmissions require regular maintenance to perform optimally. Though it is fairly automated and offers a lot of safety features to simplify and streamline the process, it’s important to go through calibration at least once per season to ensure components are protected and the transmission is shifting smoothly, said Apache Sprayers Application Specialist Chris Smith. Many operators calibrate their ZF transmissions when performing routine service and fluid changes.

“The process keeps everything within the recommended specifications, because over time, things are going to start wearing out. It helps minimize typical wear and tear by reading and recalibrating new clutch pressures,” Smith said.

An automated process

When calibrating a ZF transmission in an Apache Sprayer, the machine’s on-board computer — tied to its transmission control unit (TCU) — essentially takes care of the process for you. After the operator runs the machine to get it to operating temperature — around 180 degrees Fahrenheit — the TCU runs a diagnostic check of all clutch pressures and provides performance feedback.

The process helps the operator stay on top of potential maintenance issues like replacing the system’s 15W40 oil as needed. In newer Apache Sprayer models, the TCU helps manage operations to optimize performance under different conditions.

“With our new 30-series machines, we’ve reprogrammed the TCU to where you can spray better in the 3rd- to 4th-gear range,” Smith said. “You can go into the TCU and change things like torque curves to accommodate the optimal speed and spraying speed and volume.”

Ultimately, ZF transmissions help operators not only stay on top of key maintenance schedules, but do so with the highest level of safety, given the number of safeguards the transmissions feature.

“You can’t do anything to tear it up, really,” Smith said. “There are so many safety features built in that, and with the ability to lock the torque converter, you can improve fuel efficiency and overall engine performance.”

Are you calibrating your ZF transmission as part of your annual maintenance schedule? See what else you should be doing on a yearly basis with our maintenance checklist. Start here.

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