9 Speed Woes - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-28-2019, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-28-2019, 03:43 AM
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I, too, came from a Patriot. I miss the CVT. I think the 9-speed is trying to do what the CVT did but with only 9 ratios instead of an infinite number. With so many gears the ratios are rather close so it has to downshift several to make an appreciable difference. If you're trying to accelerate on a hill, it may drop down 2 or 3 gears to offer any significant acceleration. That, of course, takes time.

I've noticed that there is a gap when descending a hill. If I'm using the auto-stick to hold me back, shifting from 5 to 4 takes an eternity.

I think we all have the grumbling noise you describe. I've found it will go away if I switch the ESC off. Others on this site have scolded me for doing that since it is a safety device. Use your judgement. I had the update done to "eliminate" the grumbling noise, but all it really did was raise the speed at which I heard it from 30MPH to 45MPH, but its still there.

On the bright side, my Compass is getting excellent fuel economy. This is because of the 9-speed tranny. Fifth gear is 1:1 ratio so we have 4 overdrives in the Compass transmission. With ratios that high there isn't much power. I've found that mine will never go into 9th unless I use autostick. Any hint of a grade and it slows down so I've got to notch it down to 8 or 7 to keep going. If the grade is steep its down to 6 or 5, and a real hill even lower yet.

You can do a search for ZF 9 speed transmission on Youtube and several will explain how it works and why it acts the way it does. Take a look at this one:
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-29-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-29-2019, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SJH View Post
I have done some transmission research and this may have been one of the videos I watched.

I tried autostick after reading your post and now that I've gotten the hang of it it seems like I wont be able to go back. The shift programming in the car is so slow and misguided in comparison to doing it yourself.

It also gave me a little bit of hope in that eventually jeep will figure out the programming a little more because the transmission seems to work fine in autostick.

The 4fwd noise I have less hope for but oh well.
Transmission learns your driving style and adjust the shifting sequence/points accordingly. I dont remember the exactly numbers but I think it takes something like 200-300 miles to do so.
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-30-2019, 07:40 PM
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Agreed, the "learning algorithm" or whatever they programmed into this thing to try to "learn" the driver's style and preferred shift points is a total detriment to anyone except the most consistent of drivers in the most consistent of climates. It does not do well with how a person's driving may change from day to day, week to week, season to season, different weather conditions, etc. If I am by myself late for work I like to pretend to be a nascar driver, the next day if I am giving grandma a ride I will be driving much differently. When the weather is good I go faster, when its bad I slow down. The computer does not keep up with these changes for me, its always a day behind in how I want to drive and it drives me nuts. I wish I could just have every point "fixed" and have it be consistent. This programming seems to affect the throttle response as well as the shift points. It makes sense that turning off ESC would bypass a table of dynamic learned values or something similar, but I still don't like the idea of doing that on the road.

This 4 cylinder actually makes terrific power, for what it is, but the computer(s) make terrible use of it. In normal use there seems to be just gobs of software dampening on throttle response, shift points and shift speeds, etc. Playing around with autostick/esc off, mud mode, and sometimes by luck of the draw driving normally, it will really surprise you how much gumption it can have. Then the computer goes and reigns it in.

Like was said above the feeling of gutlessness on the highway is the worst, because of the umpteen overdrives. Most of us are used to a 4 speed automatic car downshifting and getting much more leverage to "go", but downshifting in this heavy car from overdrive-number-three (or four) to overdrive-number-two, or even to overdrive-number-1, it has downshifted maybe several times but you are still trying to accelerate in a ratio greater than 1:1, which doesn't work great. Highway cruising tends to be in 8th gear, you gotta drop all the way to 4th before you are under the 1:1 ratio (5th), which is obviously pretty dramatic and not very smooth as we have all experienced. Add to that, if anyone watched the videos on this transmission there are technical reasons that crossing from 4th to 5th or vise-versa takes much longer than most of the other shifts which are noticeable microseconds added to our frustration...

Indeed, rowing your own gears in autostick and staying under 5th gear until you are actually ready to cruise at a steady speed for a while (done merging and all that) will bring back your belief in the motor's vigor. The poor engine gets a bad rap but its not really to blame.

When traffic suddenly flares up and causes me to switch from cruising-attitude to nascar-attitude, I'll stop the gas to get the computer to drop 4 gears and then once it completes that I will slap the auto-stick over to manual mode so it will hold that gear until I am done negotiating the traffic.

Similarly on a windy day (or hilly terrain) when I am against the wind and it keeps dropping a gear and going back and forth, about the third time it downshifts I'll slap the autostick so it can quit the whole shifting too-and-fro business. The manual actually says something to the effect that this is recommended when the conditions are causing frequent shifts.

I often wonder if those transmission and pedal devices they sell would help alleviate any of this. Might mask some of it but it is what it is I think, for the most part.
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-30-2019, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by arudlang View Post
Agreed, the "learning algorithm" or whatever they programmed into this thing to try to "learn" the driver's style and preferred shift points is a total detriment to anyone except the most consistent of drivers in the most consistent of climates. It does not do well with how a person's driving may change from day to day, week to week, season to season, different weather conditions, etc. If I am by myself late for work I like to pretend to be a nascar driver, the next day if I am giving grandma a ride I will be driving much differently. When the weather is good I go faster, when its bad I slow down. The computer does not keep up with these changes for me, its always a day behind in how I want to drive and it drives me nuts. I wish I could just have every point "fixed" and have it be consistent. This programming seems to affect the throttle response as well as the shift points. It makes sense that turning off ESC would bypass a table of dynamic learned values or something similar, but I still don't like the idea of doing that on the road.

This 4 cylinder actually makes terrific power, for what it is, but the computer(s) make terrible use of it. In normal use there seems to be just gobs of software dampening on throttle response, shift points and shift speeds, etc. Playing around with autostick/esc off, mud mode, and sometimes by luck of the draw driving normally, it will really surprise you how much gumption it can have. Then the computer goes and reigns it in.

Like was said above the feeling of gutlessness on the highway is the worst, because of the umpteen overdrives. Most of us are used to a 4 speed automatic car downshifting and getting much more leverage to "go", but downshifting in this heavy car from overdrive-number-three (or four) to overdrive-number-two, or even to overdrive-number-1, it has downshifted maybe several times but you are still trying to accelerate in a ratio greater than 1:1, which doesn't work great. Highway cruising tends to be in 8th gear, you gotta drop all the way to 4th before you are under the 1:1 ratio (5th), which is obviously pretty dramatic and not very smooth as we have all experienced. Add to that, if anyone watched the videos on this transmission there are technical reasons that crossing from 4th to 5th or vise-versa takes much longer than most of the other shifts which are noticeable microseconds added to our frustration...

Indeed, rowing your own gears in autostick and staying under 5th gear until you are actually ready to cruise at a steady speed for a while (done merging and all that) will bring back your belief in the motor's vigor. The poor engine gets a bad rap but its not really to blame.

When traffic suddenly flares up and causes me to switch from cruising-attitude to nascar-attitude, I'll stop the gas to get the computer to drop 4 gears and then once it completes that I will slap the auto-stick over to manual mode so it will hold that gear until I am done negotiating the traffic.

Similarly on a windy day (or hilly terrain) when I am against the wind and it keeps dropping a gear and going back and forth, about the third time it downshifts I'll slap the autostick so it can quit the whole shifting too-and-fro business. The manual actually says something to the effect that this is recommended when the conditions are causing frequent shifts.

I often wonder if those transmission and pedal devices they sell would help alleviate any of this. Might mask some of it but it is what it is I think, for the most part.
I think one of the issues is that the gear changes in this particular transmission has to be sequential. I have driven other cars with 8 or even 10 gears, but those also could down or up shift non sequentially. So the car can downshift from 10 to 4 in a single gear change, and do the oposite upshifting as well.. In our case, it basically needs to do it as 8-7-6-5-4.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-07-2019, 11:07 PM
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This is timely, I just received my Compass and was wondering what was going on when I downshifted from what I think is 5th gear to 4th gear. I noticed that when slowing down, it seems like the RPM's go up noticeably, almost like when you would downshift manually too soon. Is this due to the ZF 9speed that is mentioned in the video?
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-08-2019, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
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This is timely, I just received my Compass and was wondering what was going on when I downshifted from what I think is 5th gear to 4th gear. I noticed that when slowing down, it seems like the RPM's go up noticeably, almost like when you would downshift manually too soon. Is this due to the ZF 9speed that is mentioned in the video?
Yeah, its "normal" for the 9-speed to lag when downshifting on a descent from 5 to 4. What's really weird is that the lag is long enough to grab a sip of my coffee before it finds 4 and although the reason I'm downshifting is to slow me down, my Compass actually gains speed during that lag -- so much so that when 4 finally engages its not enough to slow the vehicle from its now higher speed, so it has to go to 3 to make any appreciable difference, and of course the tachometer (engine speed) makes a huge jump to accommodate the much lower gear ratio.
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-08-2019, 12:53 PM
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Yeah, its "normal" for the 9-speed to lag when downshifting on a descent from 5 to 4. What's really weird is that the lag is long enough to grab a sip of my coffee before it finds 4 and although the reason I'm downshifting is to slow me down, my Compass actually gains speed during that lag -- so much so that when 4 finally engages its not enough to slow the vehicle from its now higher speed, so it has to go to 3 to make any appreciable difference, and of course the tachometer (engine speed) makes a huge jump to accommodate the much lower gear ratio.
Your Compass accelerates in speed when downshifting from 5 to 4?
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-08-2019, 03:00 PM
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Your Compass accelerates in speed when downshifting from 5 to 4?
Yes, when I'm descending a hill and using the transmission to hold me back. I'm not being powered forward by the engine; its just the natural pull of gravity. My Compass is coasting during the lapse between 5 and 4.
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-11-2019, 03:03 PM
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I have also noted the "freewheeling" effect when trying to use the transmission to slow down, mainly when towing (I don't autostick much in normal driving). I am not a fan but now I just try to plan ahead for it.
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-13-2019, 05:34 PM
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I bought the manual transmission 6 speed and feel like there is decent power for what it is (a 4 cylinder).
Many modern 7-10 speed transmissions are programmed to be very docile and for fuel efficiency not proper shifting unfortunately.
Your diving along at 80km and turn a 90 degree right turn onto another street and car still sitting in 8th gear even after you made the turn, then 4 second later drops to 2nd and the car chirps along at full speed kind of example. Just frustrating and not more efficient in real life I think its the number look good on paper.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-13-2019, 08:37 PM
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I bought the manual transmission 6 speed and feel like there is decent power for what it is (a 4 cylinder).
Many modern 7-10 speed transmissions are programmed to be very docile and for fuel efficiency not proper shifting unfortunately.
Your diving along at 80km and turn a 90 degree right turn onto another street and car still sitting in 8th gear even after you made the turn, then 4 second later drops to 2nd and the car chirps along at full speed kind of example. Just frustrating and not more efficient in real life I think its the number look good on paper.
I dont think it is as extreme as you describe, it is not mechanically possible for the car to go from 8th to 2nd gear anyways, it needs to do it sequentially. So what you describe cannot happen (plus it wont be at 8th gear at 80 km/h, it will be either 6th or 7th,). The issue is mainly with highway acceleration as the transmission needs to disengage 1 to 4 overdrives and then downshift, that takes time. Using autostick to put the tranny into the 4th or 5th gear before passing a car helps a lot.

In city driving I dont really notice the transmission much. There is some freewheeling (as people described) if you break doing downhill as the car tries to downshift to generate engine compression to aid breaking. But rather than helping to ease breaking it actually causes the car to momentarily lunge forward while the downshifting and rev matching occurs. But you get use to it.

Imo it is mostly about getting used to (and ECU getting use to your driving as well). Any car with 8-10 gears will feel strange when you first drive it due to all that gear changing. Keep in mind the transmission on Compass is more like a 7 speed transmission, 9th gear is nearly impossible to shift for North American speed limits (it need something north of 90 MPH or 145KPH on a flat road) and the car starts in the 2nd gear (unless you start climb a very steep hill, offroad or tow).Even the 8th gear is hard to shift into, it only happens in true highway driving @ plus 65-70 MPH. So 1st and 8-9th gears are for specialty cases and the car mostly use 2 to 7.

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post #14 of 23 Old 06-19-2019, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-19-2019, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-19-2019, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
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I was also under the impression that the Jeep zf9hp starts in 1st, however, i did read that honda's zf9 speed has been programed to start in 2nd.
The trailhawk trims have a lower final drive ratio in the differentials and are programmed to start in 2nd, all the other trim levels normally start in first with varying final drives (Limited trim has the highest gearing). The reason the trailhawks set 1st gear aside is that is what they use for their "low range" as there is no transfer case.

There are exceptions, like in snow-mode the non-TH trims start out in 2nd but I want to say the TH will start in 3rd in its snow mode (not 100% sure about that).

I don't know if the 9 speed can skip gears or not when it needs to go from 8th to 4th but either way, it takes a hell of a long time for it to dig down to 4th gear and its a very dramatic looking/sounding event to passengers. Its just not a street-performance oriented device, which is fine. The option to manually shift it allows me to cover most use cases.
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-19-2019, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
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The trailhawk trims have a lower final drive ratio in the differentials and are programmed to start in 2nd, all the other trim levels normally start in first with varying final drives (Limited trim has the highest gearing). The reason the trailhawks set 1st gear aside is that is what they use for their "low range" as there is no transfer case.

There are exceptions, like in snow-mode the non-TH trims start out in 2nd but I want to say the TH will start in 3rd in its snow mode (not 100% sure about that).

I don't know if the 9 speed can skip gears or not when it needs to go from 8th to 4th but either way, it takes a hell of a long time for it to dig down to 4th gear and its a very dramatic looking/sounding event to passengers. Its just not a street-performance oriented device, which is fine. The option to manually shift it allows me to cover most use cases.
I think TH start in 2nd gear in snow mode as well, at least initially. If you spin tires a lot, it feels much more reserved afterwards so maybe it switches to start at 3 if there is excessive tire spinning in the current cycle. But that might be tuning down of the throttle control as well, as we know that the car can ECM can change the sensitivity of the throttle control.

About skipping gears, I think it cannot skip actual gear, but it maybe able to skip gears that are separated by dog clutches. There are several such gears, so maybe those could be skipped (like 4-5 and 7- and . It cannot skip an actual gears since going from say 4 to 2 requires the transmission to mechanically pass through 3, as the video above also shows. Although, I feel like under certain cases it acts like it shifts multiple gears (with a considerable delay), I in my opinion, under those cases, the car still shifts sequentially, but the clutch remains disengaged until it reaches it desired gear so it feels like it downshifted several gears. Since it still has to go through all the gear in between, it takes a relatively long time (and you feel a lounge forward if going downhill since the car is basically in natural during that time )
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-23-2019, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-25-2019, 04:31 PM
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If you have amazon prime you can get a pretty cheap dash cam for under $20, if I were you I'd get my hands on one and semi-temporarily rig it up somewhere that it has a view of the cluster, ideally would get your gas leg/foot and part of the road in frame if its field of view is big enough and has enough resolution but mainly to be able to see the speedometer and the tachometer so it can clearly show the rate of acceleration and infer roughly what gear its in.

Then you can capture some evidence of the events. You might have to narrate to the camera some specifics like "Ok I am on flat ground trying to accelerate onto the highway here, my foot is all the way to the floor and very little is happening, you can see how slowly our speed is climbing and the transmission has not downshifted" etc.
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post #20 of 23 Old 09-13-2019, 11:24 AM
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Sorry to see that the Jeep 9 speed transmissions may still not be fully sorted out. Not wanting a 4X4 model and hearing about the problems, I made sure my vehicle was the 6 speed version. So far no delay issues or weird shifts have happened and it works better than my old 2011 Grand Cherokee 5 speed. Getting 26 MPG combined and 31 MPG on the highway trips.

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post #21 of 23 Old 09-16-2019, 11:48 PM
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the guy who programmed the 9 speed ought to be taken to the back and shot.
it is a wonderful transmission if the programming is done right.
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post #22 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 12:51 AM
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Really, I don't know what an automatic transmission is doing in a Jeep. Jeeps won WW2 without any of this modern junk. A Jeep should be bare-bones basic. That means rubber floor mats, manual transmission, wind-down windows, etc.

I miss my '94 Wrangler without all the spiffy gizmos. Just my table-top AM/FM radio plugged into an AC adapter on the front seat beside me. What's not to love?
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post #23 of 23 Old 09-17-2019, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
Really, I don't know what an automatic transmission is doing in a Jeep. Jeeps won WW2 without any of this modern junk. A Jeep should be bare-bones basic. That means rubber floor mats, manual transmission, wind-down windows, etc.

I miss my '94 Wrangler without all the spiffy gizmos. Just my table-top AM/FM radio plugged into an AC adapter on the front seat beside me. What's not to love?
At least you can still get a manual which is what I have. Hard to find one nowadays. It is the reason I bought the Compass.

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