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VW Jetta Land Rover Freelander Jag X-Type Transmission Problems

The Jatco JF506E, JA5A-EL or 09A transmission found in Land Rover Freelanders, Volkswagen Jettas and GTIs, Mazda MPV and Jaguar X-Type models was introduced in the 2002 model year and has been adopted by several manufacturers.

The widespread use of this transmission means that there are tons of them on the road and they are now making their way to transmission repair shops- at least the ones that were not replaced by the dealerships under warranty.

Some of the problems being seen with this particular unit include valve body wear in the torque converter clutch regulator and pressure regulator valve bore areas, which can result in a loss of torque converter clutch operation, transmission overheating, high or low line pressure and delayed engagements into forward or reverse.

Other causes of delayed engagement can be attributed to a worn low clutch drum bushing. A worn bushing will allow the drum to misalign and damage its Teflon sealing rings. This problem can also cause falling out of gear at a stop or a slipping upon acceleration from a stop.

One extremely common problem with The Jatco JF506E / 09A unit is a cracked reverse piston. A cracked piston can cause one or more of the following complaints: no reverse, a slipping reverse, a poor shift from second to third an elongated shift into fourth or fifth gear, and in some cases, no third, fourth, fifth or reverse.

Fortunately, while these transmissions certainly have some issues, there are corrections for this long list of complaints.

Firstly, there are oversized pressure regulator and torque converter clutch regulator valves available which enable a transmission rebuilder to machine and restore the valve body to "better than new" condition and prevent future transmission problems related to valve body wear. This operation requires some specialty equipment to perform. Many transmission repair shops don't have the capability to rebuild the valve body in house and are forced to buy a very expensive new or remanufactured unit and pass the price on to the customer.

Delayed engagement resulting from a worn low clutch drum is easily fixable by replacement of the drum or replacement of the worn bushing. Replacing the bushing, however, is a specialized "hone to fit" operation which should only be performed by a transmission repair facility that has the right equipment to properly complete this operation. This goes with the same caveat- if your transmission shop can't perform this operation in house, the cost of a new component is certainly going to raise the total cost of the transmission repair.

Lastly, the cracked reverse piston situation is going to require replacement of the failed part with a new one. The replacement component has been strengthened at the manufacturing level in the area where it would crack. The upgraded part seems to be a permanent fix for this particular complaint. Fortunately, the price of a new and upgraded reverse piston is fairly inexpensive; especially considering it should never fail again.

While you may have a vehicle with a transmission whose design may be less than perfect, don't fret- a successful repair is usually in the cards if you are able to find a repair facility with the expertise to correctly and thoroughly repair your transmission.

Joe Sirugo is co-owner of Trans Specialties and has been in the transmission repair industry for over 25 years.

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