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-   -   Project ZF 5HP19 transmission: Valve Body (https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=928257)

jjrichar 06-18-2012 01:58 PM

Project ZF 5HP19 transmission: Valve Body
30 Attachment(s)
Valve Body

Link to other parts of the project

Ensure you read the post above with regard to cleanliness, organization of your workspace, and the document links that are there.

Changing of gears inside the transmission is done by engaging or releasing a series of clutches that connect the different gears inside the engine. The clutches are controlled by the valve body. The valve body is basically a hydraulic unit. Oil pressure for the unit is provided by the oil pump.

The valve body is at the bottom of the transmission. When you open the pan, it's the big lumpy metal thing that the filter is attached to. It comprises of a number of separate valve bodies that are bolted together to form the one unit. Also it has the solenoids that control oil flow, as well as the electrical connections for these.

Why would you want to pull this out and work on it? From the reading I've done, this is the first part of the transmission that will deteriorate. It won't wear like you think, but there are plastic and rubber components, as well as lots of springs that work like an orchestra to give you the beautiful gear transitions that you love. When these start to deteriorate, the gear changes will become rough, and the transmission just won't work like it used to. There is probably no significant wear on the actual transmission parts at this time, but with more time, this will happen because the valve body isn't doing its job properly. Fixing the valve body is probably going to be very good for the longevity of the remainder of the transmission.

There are very few parts that are normally replaced inside the valve body, just a few dampers and some O rings. The reason things deteriorate is because the body gets glugged up with old contaminated oil, which stops the valves operating correctly. Parts of the valve body get good oil flow, so changing your oil regularly will clear this out. There are parts however that don't get good flow, and the only way to clear this all out after years of use is to pull the valve body apart and clean it all out.

Before we start, this isn't for the faint hearted. If you are someone who is a bit disorganized, and you tend to lose things, this may not be the job for you. There are about 150 individual components in here. There are lots of things that look the same but aren't, and if things get mixed up, it just won't work properly. Also, it is essential that when assembled, it is perfectly clean. Any foreign bodies in here are just going to jam things, and stop it working. The way I cleaned and organized things (as I described in the intro post) seemed to work well. I would suggest something like this.

The good news is that it is definitely a DIY that can be done, and it can be done with the transmission still in the car.

First, put it on jacks like you are going to do a transmission oil change. Drop the pan and remove the filter.

Prior to removing the body, there are some electrical items that need removing.
1. Unbolt the output speed sensor and leave it hanging.
2. Disconnect the plug for the input speed sensor. The input speed sensor (turbine speed sensor) is bolted underneath, and will remain in the transmission when the valve body is removed.
3. Push in the big electrical plug from the outside.
4. The plugs on the solenoids stay in place, and the whole harness will come out with the valve body.




Now remove the valve body. Below is a diagram of the bolts that you will see. You will notice the bolt heads are either large or small. They both take a T27 torx, but the bolt head and actual bolt sizes are different. The bolts with the large head are those that are holding the valve body to the transmission case. These are the ones you need to remove. It's pretty easy to see, but if you are having trouble, an easy way is to get a socket (I found a 10mm worked well) and try and fit it over the heads of the bolts. The small ones fit, the large ones didn't.

Update: Later valve bodies have different size bolts. The valve body in my car at home has T40 torx bolts that connect it to the transmission case (14 in total). The remainder are all T27, which hold the valve body together. See photo below. Some of the brown bolts are 6mm, some are 5mm. It is pretty obvious where they go when you put it all back together.


The best way to remove the valve body, is to lower the 14 T40 bolts about 8mm (black circle bolts on the photo below), and allow all the remaining oil to drain. You will get about another 2 litres of fluid when you initially separate the valve body from the casing as the clutches and about of the torque converter drain. This is best done when the transmission is warm so it comes out more easily. It will take a long time otherwise. Once all the oil has drained you can then remove the valve body from the transmission. I would suggest making some sort of jig that connects to a transmission jack or trolley jack that will hold the valve body weight to make it easier to removed and install.



When you remove the valve body, my suggestion is to make a stand for it. This is what I made. It worked well. The problem with the valve body is that it is heavy, slippery, an awkward shape, and there are a lot of machined faces that mount directly to the transmission body without gaskets and are used for oil flow. Damage to these would be bad.



Here are some photos that show the different components of the body, and how to disconnect things.









With the electrical harness disconnected, it's now time to dismantle the body. Remove the 6 solenoids at the back now, but don't remove the single one until you remove that body. The solenoids that are the same colour are interchangeable, as they are the same part number. You can take some photos if you like, but they will only fit in the place for that type of solenoid.

Remove the individual bodies and dismantle all the components and clean, sort etc. The springs and pistons are held in by a couple of means. Here are a couple of photos that show how this all fits.

IMPORTANT: When you are pulling this stuff apart, you must keep track of where every individual component goes. My suggestion is this. Have the valve body diagram open and check that it looks the same as you remove the components. Some of it won't because the document is for a different transmission model. If it is different, take a photo of where it came from and the orientation of the components for assembly.









Once the individual bodies are off, you can remove the spacer plate and gasket. Prior to removing the spacer plate, get a pick tool or something similar and poke down through the holes to make the orifices stay in the channel plate. Otherwise you will get what you see in the photo below, where they stick to the plate. It's much easier to see where each goes if they aren't stuck to the spacer plate.



And observe the magic below.



Important: In the photo above you can see the funny rubber plugs. These are dampers for EDS solenoids 2,3 and 4. The design of these has changed due to these failing easily. The new dampers are aluminium with a rubber piece inside that can't fail. Unfortunately the new dampers also need a new channel plate, as the size of the damper is different. As a solenoid is activated, it's associated damper fills with high pressure oil to damp the pressure. These rupture, causing the EDS solenoid to not activate correctly, and it's associated clutch to slip. EDS 2 activates the C clutch, EDS 3 the G clutch, and EDS 4 the TC clutch. If you having problems with either of these clutches, this is often the cause. Prior to fitting the damper, check it is good by applying about 120 psi of air pressure to the open end. It should pump up like a little balloon and hold the pressure fine. I had a new one of these fail on me when I rebuilt the valve body on my car's transmission. The G clutch (reverse, 1st, and 2nd) was slipping. It took me about a month to find out what the problem was, with me removing the valve body about half a dozen times (new oil, gaskets, etc, etc) looking at different things to try and find the problem. I was put onto the answer by Erikkson Industries in the US. I had spoken previously to numerous shops, and ZF reps, who, after all the testing I'd done, had no idea what the problem was. As soon as I emailed Erikksons, they immediately came back with the correct diagnosis. I'm not sure I would ever have found this without their help. They clearly have a superior level of knowledge on these transmissions, and I am eternally in their debt. When I pulled the valve body apart and found the ruptured damper, the people a block away probably heard the "wooo-hoooo" from my shed. I've never been so happy to find something broken on my car.

Later model valve bodies are slightly different to earlier models. The valve body you see in these pictures is an earlier model. On later models there are two fewer plastic orifices (they have a small hole in the spacer plate rather than a large hole and use a plastic orifice). Also the orifices are different colour. Look at the guide below to see what colour they are depending on if they are a late or early model.


As per the valve body guide, you can check the electrics if you need to. Contrary to what the ATSG guide has, the harness does not have a common ground. There are two grounds that are not connected. Also, the two speed sensors do not have any resistance.

For assembly, my advice is as follows:
1. Assemble one body at a time. When together, wrap it up until you are ready to put the whole body together.
2. When putting all the components in the transfer plate, take your time and go over it a couple of times.
3. Put the lower big bodies on first, then the smaller upper bodies. Have the single solenoid attached to the upper rear body before installation. Connect the other 6 solenoids after you have the lower rear body connected.
4. Connect the electrics after the whole body is together.
5. When putting in the car, use some sort of jack to take the weight. Push the main harness plug up in the area where it needs to go, but only push it home when the valve body has been attached. Ensure the manual selector valve detent is engaged with the manual selector lever.
6. When all attached, fit a new filter and gasket. Fit pan and fill with oil as per the oil pan post.


After now rebuilding the valve body on my car, and sorting the issues I had, I would definitely recommend this DIY. The shifts are seamless. Putting my right foot all the way down and shifting in manual mode near the redline, the only thing that tells me the gear has changed is the RPM and noise. I tested a new M235 convertible about a month back. Yes the new engines have a lot more go, and they have a few more cogs, but I really don't think they have made anything smoother in the last 15 years. If you can't tell, I've fallen in love with my car again.

For those who are interested, I've put a copy of hyd flow diagram below. It comes from the ZF 5 speed valve body manual. It's just for 1st gear, but it shows the workings of what is happening. I stared at this for hours trying to work out WTF was going wrong with my transmission. Enough said that I know a bit more now about it than I did a few months ago. Happy days.


Update regarding Reverse Drum failures (D clutch drum):

I've recently been given some information regarding the cause of reverse drum failures in these transmissions. Thanks to rustypidgeon for passing this on, and again thanks to Erikssons where the information originated.

The reason for D drum failures occurring is wearing of the main pressure valve bore in the lower front valve body. This wear restricts the movement of the main pressure valve piston, and increases the line pressure inside the transmission. This increase in pressure eventually fatigues the D drum and causes the failure.

I'd always thought that wear of any kind in the valve bodies would be shown as wear on the pistons, which would be easily seen due to the anodising. This is not the case. In rustypidgeon's transmission, where it seems a second reverse drum has failed, the main pressure valve piston showed no wear, but the bores, when closely inspected could be seen and felt to have a few slight steps worn on the inside.

If you've had a reverse drum failure, this clearly needs to be checked. The main pressure valve is the really big one on the lower front valve body. Even if you were just pulling the valve body to recondition, I would be checking this. I wish I'd known this when I was pulling valve bodies in the past.

To correct there are two options: 1. A new lower front valve body, or 2. A rebored lower front valve body with an oversized sonnax piston. Cost of either option is about US$125. Sonnax option may be less expensive if you can find someone to do the re-bore for you rather than buy a re-bored valve body.

Comments in short from rustypidgeon regards his transmission and new valve body (he went this option vice a re-bore and oversize valve)
- you can feel the steps worn into the bore more easily than you can see them. Cleaning out the old tx fluid was essential prior to checking.
- old piston in new valve body slid nicely, where as in the old valve body was restricted on the steps that had worn.

Photos of the part in question and of rustypidgeons valve body are in the post below. Unable to put them in this post due to photo restrictions.

At the risk of being completely flamed, below is a theory I've come up with as to why D drum failures occur. Clearly the main pressure valve wear is the main culprit, but I think there is an additional reason that may be contributing. If you think it's crap, don't be afraid to say so, but also tell me why. Be gentle. It's an oil theory, and I'm expecting a flaming.

The D drum design is clearly marginal. Any condition that has an increase in pressure applied to the clutch is going to increase the chance of failure. From what I've seen, D drum failures rarely occur in warm climates. They mainly occur in places where it's cold.

When you first start the car and everything is cold, the pressure is higher than when warmed up. This seems wrong, as you would expect the pressure to be the same as the pressure regulator should be working, but it actually produces a higher pressure. If you've ever looked at the engine oil pressure on start (same type of pressure regulator), it's higher than the maximum that can be attained when warmed up. For example, I have an oil pressure accumulator (which has an oil pressure gauge) attached to the engine of my wife's Audi (engine problems I won't go into). When started on a cold day (really cold here is about 5 deg C), the oil pressure at idle is about 90psi. When at operating temp, the maximum oil pressure achievable when you rev the engine is about 60psi. I don't really understand why this is, but it is definitely the case. I'm assuming it has something to do with the regulator spring being stiffer when colder, and hence the regulator piston needs more pressure to move it, and hence a higher pressure. At really cold temperatures I suspect the effect is even more exaggerated.

So my theory is that in really cold climates, the clutch pressures being applied when the car first starts is higher than when at operating temp. Additionally, when cold, the aluminium of the D clutch is going to be far more brittle and prone to failure than when warm. I believe that selecting reverse when first starting the car and everything is really cold over and over eventually creates the failure. I believe that this is especially the case if you have to select reverse a number of times when you are getting out of your parking space.

How would I try and stop the problem:
1. Let the car warm up prior to driving off. The heat exchanger system on a BMW warms the transmission fluid as the engine coolant warms, which is quite rapid. Letting your car sit there for a little while at idle first thing I think will help as it will warm the oil and the D drum. Best thing you can do for the engine as well.
2. If possible, park the car so that you can just select D first thing and drive off. I warm up my cars to operating temp before driving (I live on a property behind locked gates, so no-one is going to steal them.) The difference in how the gears engage when warm compared to cold is stark. I think one of the main reasons for this is what I've discussed above.

jjrichar 06-18-2012 02:01 PM

Last two photos
5 Attachment(s)
Two more photos






jdhutchin 06-18-2012 10:53 PM

Wow, thanks for the great writeup and pictures! Engine stuff seems more available, but I've never seen someone dissect the inside of a transmission.

FreshMint 06-20-2012 01:56 AM

Great post! Too bad I have the 5L40E valve body

So i'm currently having an issue with no reverse that happens occasionally - I'm pretty sure its the valve body.. I've read everywhere that repairing the valve body is very complicated.

What about simply removing it and replacing it with a re-manufactured unit? Is it as simply as unbolting it and rebolting a new one? I've heard that there are tons of ball bearings and springs in these things. Will the simple removal of one allow all those little things to come free and possibly come apart? Or is it 1 contained unit?

I'm trying to decide if replacing the valve body is something that i'm capable of.

jjrichar 06-20-2012 08:27 AM

Removing the entire valve body unit won't have anything fall out like you are worried about. It's only if you start to pull apart the valve body itself. Replacing just the valve body is a pretty simple process. To be honest with you, like most things with these projects I've been doing, I'm pretty concerned when I start, but by the end, I don't know what the fuss is all about. Re-conditoning your own valve body is going to be a far less expensive option than replacing it, and it is in my opinion, not that difficult a DIY.

FreshMint 06-21-2012 11:58 PM


Originally Posted by jjrichar (Post 14502668)
Removing the entire valve body unit won't have anything fall out like you are worried about. It's only if you start to pull apart the valve body itself. Replacing just the valve body is a pretty simple process. To be honest with you, like most things with these projects I've been doing, I'm pretty concerned when I start, but by the end, I don't know what the fuss is all about. Re-conditoning your own valve body is going to be a far less expensive option than replacing it, and it is in my opinion, not that difficult a DIY.

Thanks man, you gave me the courage to turn down a quote for 1300$ to replace a valve body today!

Hope it all goes well!

jjrichar 06-22-2012 11:16 AM

Good luck. I'm not sure how much research you've done into this no reverse problem of the 5L40E, but it does look a bit involved. Have a look at the link below if you haven't already. It explains a lot about what the problems are, and solutions. The work required seems to be very involved. Reaming bores etc. Whilst I'm all about a good DIY, this procedure seems to be something that may need to be done by a professional. It does however give some basic pictures of how to remove the valve body so you can check it for yourself. Also, the sonnax site has pictures of the valve body to enable you to pull it apart for evaluation. It seems like a very different setup to what is in a 5HP19.


All the best.

FreshMint 06-22-2012 11:58 PM


Originally Posted by jjrichar (Post 14509239)
Good luck. I'm not sure how much research you've done into this no reverse problem of the 5L40E, but it does look a bit involved. Have a look at the link below if you haven't already. It explains a lot about what the problems are, and solutions. The work required seems to be very involved. Reaming bores etc. Whilst I'm all about a good DIY, this procedure seems to be something that may need to be done by a professional. It does however give some basic pictures of how to remove the valve body so you can check it for yourself. Also, the sonnax site has pictures of the valve body to enable you to pull it apart for evaluation. It seems like a very different setup to what is in a 5HP19.


All the best.

Thanks for the link - i've read through that tread before. I won't be repairing the valvebody myself - I'm just going to install a re manufactured one.

SPL15 06-25-2012 11:16 PM

Really nice! I'll be adding this to my bookmarks until I can find some time to swap in a 6 speed MANual this winter hopefully. I've rebuilt a couple transmissions gear wise, but have never dived into rebuilding a valve body. Considering that I can build a 500 component circuit board from scratch without errors, this looks extremely easy to do. Thanks a ton for your time in laying this out in such an easily digestible manner!!

Question, was there anything actually bad mechanically with the valve body when you did this? Were the problems that led to the valve body rebuild mainly related to the bad wiring harness, sensors, & solenoids, or were there actual parts inside the valve body that were worn, plugged, and/or stuck? In the pics, the actual mechanicals & replaceable parts inside the valve body didn't look how I would think they would; things looked pretty clean overall & didn't have the gunk & gobs of metal particles I was envisioning.

I wonder how common the electrical problems are compared to actual valve body mechanical part failure. It's kinda surprising that wires just broke especially with no mechanical load on them & how many electrical components measured bad. If others are having 5HP19 transmission issues, it may be a good start to check the easily accessible & replaceable electrical components before diving into the nitty gritty of the actual valve body.

jjrichar 06-26-2012 11:51 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Like you said, there isn't anything particularly difficult about the valve body rebuild as long as you are methodical about how you do it.

Besides the electrical issues, I don't think there was anything wrong with the valve body. It looked like it was brand new inside. It's not out of a car I own. It's just a transmission that I bought from a place that sells used parts. I bought a cheap engine and transmission just to pull apart and learn as much as I could about them. I suspect that the electrical issues are probably due to an accident or the guys in the shop throwing it around like a football with their forklift.

Also, as you said, it is actually an easy process to test nearly every electrical component without the valve body coming out.

thaiman 07-24-2013 11:44 PM

Great write up. I am trying to locate a source for troubleshooting my electrical connections. I see you mention an ASTG guide. Where could I find this? I have a 2005 Z4 that i believe has the same transmission and I am trying to trouble shoot a solenoid open circuit fault but I can't find a good wiring diagram.

jjrichar 07-25-2013 03:27 AM

Go to the top of this thread and you will see the link to other parts of the project. When you get to that thread, scroll down on the original post and you will see a link in the text that goes to the ATSG guide. This is for the FL transmission, which isn't exactly the same, but should be a good start.

What are the issues you are having? Can I help?

thaiman 07-25-2013 05:58 PM

I have a 2005 Z4 w 89,000 miles. I just purchased it and it has a transmission problem. Coincident to a battery failure the trans prog light came on and the trans is in failsafe mode. I have done a lot of trolling around the net and it seems that this may be related to the battery issue. Prior to my purchasing the car, it was taken to a tech who pulled the codes and said the faults were P0753 and DME Trans fault 299A. After I bought the car I pulled (and cleared) the following codes several times P0751 and P0750.

Right now I am just trying to test the solenoids for proper resistance so that I can narrow down the possibilities. If they check out then it is on to the harness and then the TCM.

jjrichar 07-26-2013 04:17 AM

With regard to the solenoid testing, an expert on these who works on them all the time told me this test is not perfect. If the resistance is miles off, then it will be your culprit. If the resistance is OK, the solenoid might still be faulty. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the solenoids is designated 'A'. The documentation I've seen refers to them by a different name. However looking on line in other places, it seems that solenoid A is most likely the 1st-2nd shift solenoid, which is EDS3. I'm assuming you found the ASTG document that refers to this solenoid. It's one of the three black ones, and its the one that sits next to the two green solenoids. It's the one closest to the center of the transmission. Look at the first photo in the first post in the thread. It's the one at the 11:30 of the output speed sensor.

If it seems ok I would swap this with another of the same colour. Clear all the codes, then turn the ignition to position 2 (obviously don't start the car), put the car in gear, and see what codes you get. Hopefully the codes will follow the bad solenoid. You might be able to narrow down which of the solenoids it is in this way. Not having done this I don't know if the solenoids will attempt to activate with the turbine speed at zero. If you have the INPA/DIS, you may be able to activate the solenoids using this to identify if it is working or not, and when changing the solenoid to another position, if the fault follows it.

If this doesn't work, you may just have to buy a new solenoid (assuming the wiring is OK), install it and see how it goes.

AudiEtr 07-26-2013 04:49 AM

Wow! One of the best right ups ever, nice work ;)

attofarad 05-13-2014 03:49 PM

Selector valve in situ?
I'm pretty sure my selector valve is binding and needs replacing.

Can I drop off either the front or rear lower valve body to swap out the selector valve, without actually pulling out the valve body assembly? If the spacer plate is stiff enough, that seems like a possibility, and may minimize time and possible damage to harness, solenoids, etc.


jjrichar 05-13-2014 05:36 PM

You can, but the problem is that when you remove the bolts required to do this, the upper valve body on the other side won't be bolted to anything and may move when installing, and you can't see if it's seated properly.

Personally I would remove the entire body and work on it outside the transmission. I think you have less chance of damage this way.

attofarad 05-13-2014 06:40 PM

Okay, I'll remove it. I was also considering trying to find a couple of longer bolts, which I could use to keep the upper valve body in place while letting me drop the lower far enough to slip out the selector valve.

Do you know whether there is any play (even a tiny bit) between the selector valve and the pin that drives it? I'd like to be sure that the selector valve is what is limiting the travel of my shifter (doesn't get into park, feels springy the last little bit as though I am compressing the cable) before I drop the valve body out. I'll find out for myself when I drop the pan, but would prefer to know ahead of time.

jjrichar 05-13-2014 09:29 PM

There is loads of play between and the slot on the manual selector valve and the tang that engages it. Also, the manual selector shaft is able to be pushed in much further into the valve body than the distance it goes in when park is selected. Have a look at the 5th photo down in the original post above. This is what it looks like with park selected. The manual selector valve is able to push in about 1 cm further, except that it is stopped by it being engaged with the tang on the selector disk. In park, the selector disk is hard against a stop that doesn't allow it to go any further. Unless something is jammed in the hole where the selector valve goes (highly unlikely), I would be surprised if this is your problem.

Have you checked if the cable from the gear lever is attached in the correct position to the lever on the side of the transmission? If you are feeling springiness when engaging park, this is the first thing I would look at. ie. Put the car in park, release the nut that holds the cable to the transmission selector shaft, allow it to go to its natural position, and then tighten again.

attofarad 05-13-2014 10:46 PM

Thanks for the detailed info regarding selector valve play and position. I'm going to drop the pan for a fluid/filter change anyway, so now I know that I will be able to check it.

I haven't tried unhooking the cable from the transmission. The shifter is lined up well for all the other positions except P, and reading correctly in the instrument panel for them, so I think that it is still at it's natural position. This is actually on a Passat, so access is a nightmare like your Audi.

Not that much info on the selector valve, but I found another post with my same symptoms. He found that his selector valve, plastic, was binding and then bent by jamming into P. The new selectors are metal. The ZF rep told me that the plastic ones can swell and bind if exposed to water -- the guy in the post I found had had a tranny cooler to coolant leak.

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