FCA and ZF issue recall on nine-speed automatic transmission

The 9HP transmission can unexpectedly shift into neutral.

After years of complaints, German transmission manufacturer ZF is finally issuing a recall of its much maligned 9HP nine-speed automatic transmission. Although it has been criticized for a number of issues, ZF is issuing the recall to address the possibility of the transmission unexpectedly shifting into neutral. The issue covers 505,000 vehicles in the United States alone.

This issue is related to an improper crimp on the transmission wiring harness. Rather than a physical fix, ZF is issuing a software update to remedy the problem. The company doesn't recommend dealers attempt to fix the crimp. Although the transmission can be found in a number of models by various manufacturers, currently only those from FCA are being recalled.

This is the second recall in less than a year related to a ZF transmission shifting into neutral. FCA recently recalled more than a million vehicles worldwide because of a poorly designed shifter for ZF's 8HP eight-speed automatic. That issue may have resulted in the death of actor Anton Yelchin in June. Although there are no deaths related to this new recall, NHTSA reports that the issue has resulted in at least 10 injuries.

Issues with the transmission have been known for years. A number of software updates have attempted to address various problems, making us wonder if there could be a fundamental hardware issue as the complaints span across a number of automakers.

Vehicles equipped with the 9HP include 2014 and newer versions of the V6 Acura TLX, Chrysler 200, Fiat 500X, upper-level Honda Pilots, Jeep Cherokee and Renegade, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, and Ram ProMaster City. Only FCA is issuing a recall and only on 2014 and 2015 models.

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