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1993 F150 XLT 302 Auto 4x4 2.5" Lift on 32's
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Discussion Starter #1
Being somewhat new to trucks what's the deal with these ZF transmissions? I just read bout them though the articles say Chrysler was the first to have them in 2011. Yet I read every now and then some 1980's F250 has one. Don't know.

I know they r made in Germany and are built to last yet built to last what? Daily driving a passenger car or the daily workings of off roading, towing, or hauling of trucks?

I know they are in 6, 8 and 9 speeds from the few articles I read and come in manual or automatic.

Questions is after I get done with my gears (4.10's front and rear axle) would it be worth it to look into finding a ZF transmission? I believe I have the E4oD, door tag has an E on it for transmission.
 
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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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87-2003 or 2004 F250 (97 HD) and F350 had the ZF5 manual transmission. S5-42 was used from 87- 94 or 95. Then they went to the S5-47, which is slightly stronger. There are smallblock, big block, and diesel versions. You want one from a truck with a 300 or 351w. 302s were RARE in f250 and above.

Now for the whys.
It is stronger than the M5R2 5 speed found in f150s and Broncos. It's also a direct swap for the M5R2.

It is a 5 speed overdrive with a granny low first. So all the benefits of overdrive, plus a really low crawling gear. All other granny low transmissions are 4speeds without overdrive.

It's a straightforward swap, as they came in the same generation of trucks as ours.

The zf5 is a heavy duty transmission that will tow anything you could safely put behind a bronco.

To swap one into your truck would require pedals from your generation, a zf5 crossmember, clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder, clutch, flywheel, manual trans EEC computer, and new driveshafts. Then a manual steering column and PRND21 delete cover if you want it to look right.

ZF is a German manufacturer of gearboxes of all kinds: manual, automatic, AWD, and even gearboxes for industrial machinery. Oh and they make the axles found under monster trucks. Unlike new venture, they arent a subsidiary of a larger company, and are at the forefront of innovation.

Most transmissions built after the mid 80s have integral bellhousings, and cant be swapped from say an LS engine to a Smallblock ford. This is the case with the ZF5, ZF6, E4OD, 4r70w, AOD, etc.
 

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Thanks for the info @BigBlue 94 ! I've been wondering the same thing about one day swaping when my C6 dies (assuming this info also applies) hopefully thats a few years down the road though
 

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BigBlue laid it out pretty well!

The main reason the ZF5 is so desireable is because with manual transmissions you had these options available in the Bronco:

A 4 speed with a granny low and no overdrive
A 4 speed with no granny low and overdrive
A 5 speed with no granny low and overdrive

The 4 speeds with no overdrive were beefy, heavy duty transmissions, whereas the transmissions with overdrive were light duty. They weren't really designed for the abuse some people put them through.

Then, you have the ZF5. It's all of those blended together. It's heavy duty with both a granny gear and an overdrive. You get it all.
It never came in Broncos so you have to put one in yourself. The awesome part is that they came in F-250/350s, which had the same body/engine characteristics, so they drop right in!

Very happy with mine.
 

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Thanks for the info @BigBlue 94 ! I've been wondering the same thing about one day swaping when my C6 dies (assuming this info also applies) hopefully thats a few years down the road though
The c6 is easier because you dont have to swap EECs. For my 96 f350 with a c6, it had a weird crossmember. Maybe due to the big BW4407 transfer case. But I decided to keep that crossmember and modify it. I had to add material to the back, moving the trans mount holes back i believe 1.25".

Driveshafts can be scored from the junkyard. Any F150, F250, or bronco with a 5speed (M5R2 or ZF) will have the correct front drive shaft. F350 had a double cardon joint on it due to the solid front axle. It too may work, but might have bigger u-joints. The rear driveshaft must come from a bronco with a 5 speed.

After seeing both a ZF s5-42 and s5-47, I can say id rather have the s5-47 because of the added webbing on the case, shift tower, and in the bellhousing. But a zf s5-42 is not weak case either, the 47 is just a bit stronger. 420 ft/lbs vs 470 ft/lbs of input.

The ZF5 crossmember is the exact same as a M5R2. Its actually stamped M5OD 4x4. Meaning Manual 5speed OverDrive. Not to be confused with what most people call the M5R2, which they label as M5OD.

For ZF5 parts, I like TorqueKing4x4.
 

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78 Custom - 460 - NP435 - NP205 - Sniper EFI - HyperSpark Ignition - 4.56 Gears - Front/Rear Lockers
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Also, not sure if anyone would really want to do this, but the option is there for the guys with the older FSBs. You can send out your ZF5 to 460efiguys and they will mill down the bellhousing on the ZF5, so that it can mate to a 351M or 400 properly. If you put a ZF5 on a 400 the input shaft doesn't reach the crank properly.

It's the opposite of going to a 460 with a 351M/400 manual transmission. Going to a 460 you have to add distance (a spacer) from the block to the tranny to make things mate properly (or get a modified flywheel and clutch that fit the bellhousing). Putting a 460 ZF5 requires going in the opposite direction, hence the milling.

They will also modify your manual linkage pedal assembly to be used with the ZF5 as well if you want. Nothing about this process is cheap, but if you want a ZF5 behind your 351M or 400 and don't want or have the ability to make the modifications yourself then you can have them do it.

 

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I like my ZF S5-42.
Gear rollover noise (coasting in 4th gear) caught me off-guard the first time I drove with it... I popped off a PTO cover to visually confirm that things were OK inside, resulting in a very short oil change. With the engine revving and clutch in, you can see the gearsets "rattle"...part of the heavy duty design so that they don't bind when things get very hot and thermally expand. Since putting in a proper insulated floor I hardly notice the sound anymore. They're stout and will last a very long time as long as you feed it the right fluid (Mercon ATF or equivalent).

ZF is a big company... right up there with Bosch and Continental. They make all kinds of chassis components for automotive industry, agriculture, and even gearboxes for wind turbines. Lots of BMWs also use their transmissions too, albeit with less gear rollover than our Ford units. BMWs aren't rated to tow as much as an F250 or F350...
 

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I like my ZF S5-42.
Gear rollover noise (coasting in 4th gear) caught me off-guard the first time I drove with it... I popped off a PTO cover to visually confirm that things were OK inside, resulting in a very short oil change. With the engine revving and clutch in, you can see the gearsets "rattle"...part of the heavy duty design so that they don't bind when things get very hot and thermally expand. Since putting in a proper insulated floor I hardly notice the sound anymore. They're stout and will last a very long time as long as you feed it the right fluid (Mercon ATF or equivalent).
That makes sense. There was a guy in the 73-79 forum on FTE complaining about how noisey his newly swapped ZF5 was. Maybe that's what he was hearing.
 

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Also, not sure if anyone would really want to do this, but the option is there for the guys with the older FSBs. You can send out your ZF5 to 460efiguys and they will mill down the bellhousing on the ZF5, so that it can mate to a 351M or 400 properly. If you put a ZF5 on a 400 the input shaft doesn't reach the crank properly.

It's the opposite of going to a 460 with a 351M/400 manual transmission. Going to a 460 you have to add distance (a spacer) from the block to the tranny to make things mate properly (or get a modified flywheel and clutch that fit the bellhousing). Putting a 460 ZF5 requires going in the opposite direction, hence the milling.

They will also modify your manual linkage pedal assembly to be used with the ZF5 as well if you want. Nothing about this process is cheap, but if you want a ZF5 behind your 351M or 400 and don't want or have the ability to make the modifications yourself then you can have them do it.

Great points, and one I missed. The SBF ZF has an internal slave cylinder, whereas the BBF ZF has an external clutch, like the old manual 4 speeds. Not sure about diesels.

Ive driven a 95 with a zf5 and now a 08 with a zf6. Never really noticed much noise, but both had vinyl floor. Though I also have an np435 and its a whole different beast.

There are short throw shifters available for the ZF5, and i never really thought the zf5 needed one. Until I drove a zf6. It has a ridiculously short throw for a truck trans and it is wonderful!
 

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I've heard of noisy ZF5s (and know who you're talking about on FTE as I've been trying to help him with his).
Mine doesn't make a peep!
It's whisper quiet all the time, so I have no idea what that's all about.

I've heard of it though, on more than one occasion. Not sure why some rattle and some don't make any noise. Either way though, I've heard it's nothing to worry about.
 

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@AbandonedBronco what fluid do you use? I'm running Castrol Transmax Dex/Merc, with a little bit of Lucas Oil Synthetic Stabilizer (approx 13:1)... in hindsight I dont think that Transmax is synthetic, so that may not be the right additive...
 

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I’m a little late, not sure if this is needed, but I did my swap with all new parts less the x-member and driveshafts. If we’re talking about e4od to zf5, The front driveshaft needs to be shortened about 5” and the rear lengthened about 5”. You’ll have more luck getting them re-cut than trying to find JY replacements. I got both done for $200 at a local shop. The X-Member was HAAAARRRRDDDDD to find. I ended up finding mine by dropping the facebook marketplace pin in every city it would drop in searching “zf-5”. Took about 2 weeks of finding part-out ads and getting someone to ship one. Good luck if you want to get the swap done.
My parts list is below. Three things I forgot to include in my spreadsheet: Clutch Hydraulic Line, Flywheel bolts, Throwout bearing. These are all easy parts to order from any auto-parts store. My swap was behind a 351w so this is SBF application. I didn’t care about neatness, so my appropriate wires are spliced for starting, no NSS. Please note that this swap was done a while ago and some part numbers may have changed.
162227

I love my swap and it allows me to put 9,000+ pounds behind the bronco with ease. And I have fun floating gears in a standard size SUV 🤣.
 

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My 78 came with the ZF5-47 from the PO doing the swap from an 88 F250. I've never dug into it as far as what that stock set up was, but it has a short slip joint d/s between the ZF and the NP205. The crossmember for the NP looks like partially stock, but also fab added by someone to make it fit. I think it's a bit strange, but it works. The ZF shifts smooth and quiet. The only little thing I find annoying is I have to be nearly at a crawl to downshift from 3rd to 2nd or it will grind. I should get a couple pics of the underside and see what you guys think.
 

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The only little thing I find annoying is I have to be nearly at a crawl to downshift from 3rd to 2nd or it will grind.
That sounds more like a worn out synchro than anything else.

Very cool on a ZF in a 78 Bronco though!
 
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My 78 came with the ZF5-47 from the PO doing the swap from an 88 F250. I've never dug into it as far as what that stock set up was, but it has a short slip joint d/s between the ZF and the NP205. The crossmember for the NP looks like partially stock, but also fab added by someone to make it fit. I think it's a bit strange, but it works. The ZF shifts smooth and quiet. The only little thing I find annoying is I have to be nearly at a crawl to downshift from 3rd to 2nd or it will grind. I should get a couple pics of the underside and see what you guys think.
Wow what a setup. First off, an 88 would have had the s5-42. 95 and up got the s5-47. The easiest way to tell is the ribs on the top of the trans.

S5-42 doesnt really have any.
20200625_111811.jpg


S5-47 is heavily ribbed on top.
20200625_111742.jpg


You're setup sounds like a 2wd ZF, with a divorced transfer case. In a 70s pickup, that was common to see (not a ZF though lol). But a bronco being so short, doesn't lend itself well to a divorced TC. I'd very much like to see some pics.

Also, agreed on the synchro. You should be able to do that shift at 15-20mph

When i pull a ZF, the crossmember and drive shaft get pulled as well. As I said earlier, the crossmember can come from any 87-96/7 ford 4x4 truck or bronco with a 5 speed manual trans behind the same engine class (bellhousing pattern) as yours. Doesn't matter if its a ZF or Mazda transmission.
 
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The only little thing I find annoying is I have to be nearly at a crawl to downshift from 3rd to 2nd or it will grind.
Also, agreed on the synchro. You should be able to do that shift at 15-20mph
Funny, I throw mine in second from 30-35mph when I’m having fun. No issues. Then again, I have a fresh trans.

Something I forgot to mention!!!!: I have a manual floor shift t-case and I had to shorten the “bar” to be able to shift it. I didn’t weld it or anything, just cut it and put two bolts through it, similar to how the shifter is bolted onto the shift tower. I’m not sure how it would work if you have an electronic t-case, but I still kept 4x4/LR lights.
 

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Wow what a setup. First off, an 88 would have had the s5-42. 95 and up got the s5-47. The easiest way to tell is the ribs on the top of the trans.
Your setup sounds like a 2wd ZF, with a divorced transfer case. In a 70s pickup, that was common to see (not a ZF though lol). But a bronco being so short, doesn't lend itself well to a divorced TC. I'd very much like to see some pics.

Also, agreed on the synchro. You should be able to do that shift at 15-20mph

When i pull a ZF, the crossmember and drive shaft get pulled as well. As I said earlier, the crossmember can come from any 87-96/7 ford 4x4 truck or bronco with a 5 speed manual trans behind the same engine class (bellhousing pattern) as yours. Doesn't matter if its a ZF or Mazda transmission.
Thanks blue! I'm pretty sure I read the tag a couple years ago as 47, but I could be wrong. I knew there was a term for it, "divorced", but I had just got home from work and was too lazy to look it up. The PO told me he pulled the engine/trans from his buddys F250. That's not to say his buddy had'nt done a swap also. I'll give it another look and take some pics. I've kicked around the idea of going C6. There's a retired tranny guy 20 mins from me that will rebuild one tougher & stronger at $700, and he guarantees his work.

Edit: it is an S42.

162258
162259
162260
 

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Thanks blue! I'm pretty sure I read the tag a couple years ago as 47, but I could be wrong. I knew there was a term for it, "divorced", but I had just got home from work and was too lazy to look it up. The PO told me he pulled the engine/trans from his buddys F250. That's not to say his buddy had'nt done a swap also. I'll give it another look and take some pics. I've kicked around the idea of going C6. There's a retired tranny guy 20 mins from me that will rebuild one tougher & stronger at $700, and he guarantees his work.

Edit: it is an S42.

View attachment 162258 View attachment 162259 View attachment 162260
Wow, I cant believe there is room for a rear driveshaft! That is a 2wd ZF indeed. And that transmission crossmember looks fully custom.

You want to go to a slushbox powerhog c6!? Yuck!
 

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Funny, I throw mine in second from 30-35mph when I’m having fun. No issues. Then again, I have a fresh trans.

Something I forgot to mention!!!!: I have a manual floor shift t-case and I had to shorten the “bar” to be able to shift it. I didn’t weld it or anything, just cut it and put two bolts through it, similar to how the shifter is bolted onto the shift tower. I’m not sure how it would work if you have an electronic t-case, but I still kept 4x4/LR lights.
I couldn't remember how fast i could be going, but my experience is with a tired trans behind a 460.

Its best to snag the transfer case linkage from the donor truck the zf came from. Most had the manual shift BW1356 behind them. The BW4407 only came in 96 and 97 F350. Not sure if its linkage would be different or not. For an electronic shift TC, there's no modifications necessary
 
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