Don’t Let Your 5HP24 Automatic Transmission Overheat

Posted by on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The 5HP24 is a five speed automatic transmission made by ZF Getriebe GmbH Saarbruecken. It was designed for rear wheel drive applications and shares many parts with the 5HP24A which was developed for front wheel drive vehicles.  The 5HP24 was first put into production in 1996 and remains in production today. The 5HP24 is used dominantly in BMW vehicles, including the 740i, the 730d, the 840Ci, the 540, the X5 and the very limited production Z8. In addition to being used by BMW, the transmission can also be found in the  Jaguar XK8, XJ8 and XJ, along with the 2003 – 2005 Land Rover.

This is the 5HP24 automatic transmission


While generally considered a very good transmission, the 5HP24 can be overheated.  Almost all overheating incidents can be traced back to abusive driving habits of the vehicle’s owner.

Overheating can be caused by a number of factors. The number one source of overheating is a result of towing over the factory maximum limit. Towing puts great stress on the transmission and especially the torque converter, with the majority of the heat coming from the torque converter. Additional heat can be generated when the internal clutch packs start to slip.

Drag racing or committing to a succession of “jack-rabbit” like starts creates excessive heat. If you decide to race your vehicle you should give it plenty of time to cool down in between runs.

The 5HP24 automatic transmission can be found in the limited production BMW Z8


Lack of scheduled maintenance can also lead to overheating. Over time, the internal part of the transmission will wear and leave fine debris in the transmission fluid.  If the transmission filter gets clogged it will prevent fluid from reaching critical components inside the transmission, which will result in much greater friction. Friction creates heat. It is also possible that debris can slip by the transmission filter and make its way to the transmission cooler. The cooler uses small tubes to dissipate the heat from the fluid back into the surrounding air. These tubes can easily get blocked if too much debris tries to pass through them.

Ideally you want to keep your 5HP24 transmission at a maximum of 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees you go over this recommended maximum limit you risk cutting the life expectancy of the transmission by a factor of two.  At temperatures as low as 240 degrees, the transmission fluid can start to turn to a varnish.

The easiest way to protect against overheating is changing your driving habits. As back up, you should purchase and install an aftermarket transmission cooler to supplement the factory cooler. For the most efficiency, install the cooler in between the line coming out of the factory cooler and the return port on the transmission.

Much damage can result from overheating your 5HP24 automatic transmission


Sooner or later, due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with a decision to replace your Ford 5HP24 transmission. You can go with a rebuilt transmissions or one that was re-manufactured. I highly recommend doing so with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission will include major internal modifications and upgrades designed to make it both stronger and more durable. A rebuilt transmission will not include this feature. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty; three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. In the rare event that you need to contact the company that re-manufactures transmissions, they are just a quick phone call or email away!

One Response to “Don’t Let Your 5HP24 Automatic Transmission Overheat”

  1. […] biggest issue you are going to have to deal with is excessive transmission temperatures. The 5HP24 is designed to operate at a maximum temperature of around 200 degrees. For every 20 […]

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