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ZF 280-1 A transmissions

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  • ZF 280-1 A transmissions

    Hello All,

    The port engine began hesitating when "asked" to engage in forward gear. Reverse gear is fine. My technician tested a valve which he said if the pressure was low could mean the problem and if not, then there was another issue. The pressure was normal therefore, he called a ZF service shop and was told that an interior part was probably shot. Keep in mind that this transmission has 700+/- hours and is on a 2002 Formula 41 PC. All info I find on this transmission suggest that it is good for 2,500 hours of service per year and that it is a light weight aluminum alloy part.

    Now I am being told that to remove it there must be a crane involved and that the back "deck"(?) of my boat might have to be removed to get it out. Also, the ZF shop told my tech that "this must be the year for this model because we have a bunch of them in the shop". They said their concern is that there will not be enough parts available to fix all of them in their shop. Apparently there were about 5,000,000 of these manufactured, in Italy I believe, and of those 1 in every 1,000 have problems...seriously? If my boat had 8000 hours on the engines I might understand an issue but 700?

    Any sage words of advice or experience?


  • #2
    Swap the shift control valves see if the problem moves.


    • #3
      Hi Divergirl

      Dang you sure are having some problems with your boat again. Didn't see this post until now. Been doing so looking around and found some stuff.

      The ZF has had some issues, not like so others. One of the threads indicated the if all linkage is correctly installed, fluid is clean, filters have not been changed to more restrictive ones, and pressure is good and still slips. Might replace the trans fluid with 15w-40 oil. This was on a club searay thread which he said was talking to a ZF tech.

      In either case, just like all straight and Vee drive transmissions, the motor and trans in most cases have to come out to fix. If enough room is found you can lift out the trans after disconnecting from motor, but this in most cases does not work.

      Spec on the trans is
      Max 618 HP input and at 300 hours per year

      Sure sorry to hear about your latest issues
      94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
      95 Rinker 232 w/ 7.4L Carb 0F425011 B1 0F486471
      07 SeaDoo GTX
      Raw Water Pump Maintenance
      Merc Adults Only


      • #4
        Thanks AllDodge. She was pulled and, I guess, rebuilt. ZF said that when dirt gets in, which is natural, it creates some sort of groove so, that was resolved along with the replacement of the forward & reverse clutch packs. Then, after launching and sea trialing, she started to stay in forward gear even when in neutral. About ready to shoot myself. The mechanic called ZF and I think the advice was to flush the cooler with 5 gals of mineral spirits. I will let you know what happens when I hopefully sea trial again, this week.


        • #5
          Sign up today
          Dang its been one problem after another. Think I would be ready to shoot the boat before myself, and do understand the frustration. I have never heard of someone having so many problems with a lightly used boat.

          Don't get the flushing thing, even if there was some crud, the shift lever should move a spool valve so the oil is redirected. With it staying in forward leads me to the pin of set screw was not installed correctly. If the lever on the trans is moving when shifted, then I'm thinking something may not have gone back together correctly. The trans clutch pack needs pressure to keep in engaged, if it was a clogged something my thinking would be that the pressure would decrease and you could not get it to anything correctly, but to stay in forward just doesn't maker since to this pea brain.

          Will add I'm not an expert on the ZF
          94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
          95 Rinker 232 w/ 7.4L Carb 0F425011 B1 0F486471
          07 SeaDoo GTX
          Raw Water Pump Maintenance
          Merc Adults Only