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4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question #5438308 05/25/20 11:26 AM
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stenerson Offline OP
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Coming up on doing my 1st drain and fill fluid change on my 2018 Ram. It has the ZF8 speed transmission. It's a "lifetime" fluid and Chrysler does not recommend a change interval. But that's another rabbit hole altogether. ???
Anyhow this is kind of a dumb question but here it goes. These trannys use the integrated filter/pan unit which are disposable and relatively expensive . I'm thinking of replacing with a Heavy-Duty Aluminum pan that has over 2 quart more capacity and in future would only need to change the filter.
Seems it would run cooler or take longer to come to temp. Is this a problem living in the frosty North? Another thing is the stock pans have several magnets inside. I realize I can get a drain plug magnet but that's not much magnetic surface area compared to the stock design. What do ya'll think?

[Linked Image from ppediesel.com]


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5438346 05/25/20 11:55 AM
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slacktide_bitog Online Content
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I would just change the fluid and not the pan/filter hide

That PPE pan costs $300, which is 3-4x the cost of a stock pan. Also, Dorman makes a stock replacement pan with a replaceable filter and costs much less than the one you're considering. And the price of just the filter for your PPE pan, you can get an entire pan on eBay for under $50

Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5438363 05/25/20 12:20 PM
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4WD Offline
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1.) if you don’t have a cooler … they work far better than the pan … heat will be same … but yes slower to warm.
2.) if you want a drain … B&M kit is cheap and easy.
3.) want to never pull that pan/filter again … install a Derale remote base and stick a Fram XG on that. Another option is the Magnafine … easy to install with a cooler project

Last but not least … nobody can see that pan, although it is sharp !

Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5438402 05/25/20 12:54 PM
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I'd service the unit, but stick with the stock setup at least until the warranty is up. That's if things like that concern you.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5438449 05/25/20 02:01 PM
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There's Ram 1500 ZF8 pans available online with the bolt kit and new fill plug for under $50 shipped.

A $10 garden sprayer for refilling and a $20 jug or two of maxlife ATF and you can do a service on one of these yourself for under $100.

That's my plan on mine anyway. I'm at 53k miles on my 2017.


2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5438524 05/25/20 03:46 PM
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I've done a spill and fill several times on both of my ZF8s. If you are doing a spill and fill at 50,000 miles, then I see zero reason to do anything else. I change my fluid about every 25,000 miles and it does get fairly dark with friction material. There is also a video from two ZF engineers saying to please change the fluid in these trannies at least every 60,000 miles. It's a "lifetime" fill, the only subjective thing is what you consider to be the lifetime of the trans. I run all my vehicles a ton of miles and don't want any trans problems, hence the spill and fill intervals. I've put a lot of miles on my cars and have never had a single trans problem. My $.02

Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: slacktide_bitog] #5439052 05/26/20 07:07 AM
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stenerson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog
I would just change the fluid and not the pan/filter hide

That PPE pan costs $300, which is 3-4x the cost of a stock pan. Also, Dorman makes a stock replacement pan with a replaceable filter and costs much less than the one you're considering. And the price of just the filter for your PPE pan, you can get an entire pan on eBay for under $50


I heard these pan drain plug were one time use. Thanks for the link. According to that ebay link it's not compatible with my 2018 Ram. It looks the same though.
As to just drain and fill, wouldn't want to do that on first fluid change (after break in period).


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: 4WD] #5439060 05/26/20 07:13 AM
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stenerson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 4WD
1.) if you don’t have a cooler … they work far better than the pan … heat will be same … but yes slower to warm.
2.) if you want a drain … B&M kit is cheap and easy.
3.) want to never pull that pan/filter again … install a Derale remote base and stick a Fram XG on that. Another option is the Magnafine … easy to install with a cooler project

Last but not least … nobody can see that pan, although it is sharp !


Thanks for the info. I was thinking of getting that pan to save money in the long run with just quick drain and fills and the occasional filter change. But if pans are available for 50ish bucks like shown above I'll probably just go with that. This does have a cooler so I guess the pan's not an issue. What's a B&M kit?


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: wwillson] #5439064 05/26/20 07:16 AM
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stenerson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by wwillson
I've done a spill and fill several times on both of my ZF8s. If you are doing a spill and fill at 50,000 miles, then I see zero reason to do anything else. I change my fluid about every 25,000 miles and it does get fairly dark with friction material. There is also a video from two ZF engineers saying to please change the fluid in these trannies at least every 60,000 miles. It's a "lifetime" fill, the only subjective thing is what you consider to be the lifetime of the trans. I run all my vehicles a ton of miles and don't want any trans problems, hence the spill and fill intervals. I've put a lot of miles on my cars and have never had a single trans problem. My $.02


Thanks. Have you replaced the original pan/filter yet? I heard that once you open the drain plug on these they can't be tightened again. Is that the case?


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: demarpaint] #5439068 05/26/20 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by demarpaint
I'd service the unit, but stick with the stock setup at least until the warranty is up. That's if things like that concern you.


Already have 50K on it. I average 25K a year. Was considering Lifetime warranty.


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: JTK] #5439070 05/26/20 07:20 AM
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stenerson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JTK
There's Ram 1500 ZF8 pans available online with the bolt kit and new fill plug for under $50 shipped.

A $10 garden sprayer for refilling and a $20 jug or two of maxlife ATF and you can do a service on one of these yourself for under $100.

That's my plan on mine anyway. I'm at 53k miles on my 2017.


I saw that same youtube video. I think I'll stick with ZF8 fluid for now.


2018 RAM 1500ST EXPRESS QUAD CAB 4X4 3.6 VVT 52K miles
2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 5.7 Hemi 270K miles
2005 suburu outback 200k
2007 Hyundai Sonata 170K
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5439071 05/26/20 07:20 AM
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4WD Offline
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It’s just an aftermarket drain kit to install in factory pan … it tends to leave a little behind so the $50 pan seems like a decent compromise the way that filter mounts.

(I own GM’s where as Clinebarger points out the deep pan depth is critical to the long neck filter) …

Considering that factory filters are not low micron …
a drain plug and some fresh fluid can always reduce fines buildup …

Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: 4WD] #5440770 05/28/20 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 4WD
It’s just an aftermarket drain kit to install in factory pan … it tends to leave a little behind so the $50 pan seems like a decent compromise the way that filter mounts.

(I own GM’s where as Clinebarger points out the deep pan depth is critical to the long neck filter) …

Considering that factory filters are not low micron …
a drain plug and some fresh fluid can always reduce fines buildup …


The Ram 1500 ZF8 plastic pans come from the factory with a drain plug on them. The filter is built into the pan, as are the magnets. I think you can get them out, but I've read of guys breaking things in the process I'm not sure of the gasket material, but when you buy a new pan kit, it comes with all new bolts, gaskets and fill plug. I think it's kind of a sweet setup not having to mess with RTV or any tacky goo to hold gaskets in place. Just toss everything and start over. Or pull it for a drain, inspection and refill and just re-use it.

These transmissions have a fluid heater assembly mounted on top of the case and an ATF cooler built into a portion of the A/C condenser.

The heater tries to get the ATF temp up to ~185F as fast as possible and keep it there, but I've found in extreme winter cold where you have the heater cranking in the cab, it wont get there.

I think a quality cooler is always a good idea if you're doing a lot of heavy towing.


2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: JTK] #5440850 05/28/20 10:53 AM
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This is the drain ?

8D2FC67E-AE42-4D51-84E3-2ADF4423A2B3.png
Re: 4th Gen Ram 1500 tranny pan question [Re: stenerson] #5440864 05/28/20 11:07 AM
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That's it.

I've heard people say it's a one time use thing, but it can be reused.

I think folks tend to ignore it on Hemi powered Ram 1500 8spds because an exhaust pipe is directly below it.

On the Pentastar powered Rams, it's out in the wide open.

On a hemi powered Ram, that PPE aftermarket deep aluminum pan would basically be right on the exhaust.

Last edited by JTK; 05/28/20 11:10 AM.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
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