9 Speed Woes - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 13 Unread 05-28-2019, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
SJH
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9 Speed Woes

Hello Everyone,

I have a 2017 2nd Gen Compass 4x4 and previously had a 2008 Jeep Patriot 4x4. In reading reviews I had heard that the new compass was an all around better car than the old compass/patriot but this has not been my experience when it comes to actually driving the vehicle.

1. The first is the whirling (whirring?) noise which people seem to have concluded comes from the rear differential when the car attempts to engage four wheel drive and does not stop until the vehicle changes gear. I noticed this issue also seemed be proceeded/accompanied by a prolonged grumble.

2. The second is the hesitancy/flat out reluctance to down shift until the eventual blast into a gear providing more acceleration than requested. It seems as if the engine is working really hard to give me the RPM's I need while the transmission doesn't do anything at all or for a good five second count. Sometimes the car seems to get confused when highway traffic turns into stop and go traffic as well and never really seems to find its way back to the appropriate gear.

3. Lastly, is really just the second issue but exacerbated by adverse weather conditions such as cold temperatures/snow/rain/high winds. I noticed that I feel like I always need to press down even further on the gas pedal when the is poor weather in order to get the car to maintain speed. It seems like the car has no idea what gear to be in while the RPMs either too low or too high despite my efforts to drive normally.

I had the mechanics update the DTCM first. After the update, I noticed that the noise (#1) was less frequent and not quite as loud. The grumble seems to have subsided as well. Just before the update I had let some air out of my tires to bring the tire pressure down to 35 in the front and 32 in the back. Given the apparent improvements of the first update I had the PTCM and TCM updated as well. These also seem to have helped (#2) slightly as well. All three issues still seem to exist just slightly less frequently and slightly less severely.

All updates were complete around the time the weather had improved and so I am concerned that the updates have not had any effect and the minor improvements have been largely due to the change in whether. Of course I did not experience any of the above when on the drive with the mechanic.

I know that the 9 speed is fairly prolific in its quirks but it is odd is that there do seem to be improvements and some days it drives somewhat normally while other days it's terrible. My car has never stored an error code in the computer or displayed an error code in the dash and fluid levels were checked.

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas about what I may not have considered? As much as I enjoy driving in general I'm not mechanically savy.
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post #2 of 13 Unread 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 13 Unread 05-29-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
SJH
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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.
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post #4 of 13 Unread 05-29-2019, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
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 13 Unread 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 13 Unread 05-30-2019, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
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 13 Unread 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 13 Unread 06-08-2019, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barhoc11 View Post
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 13 Unread 06-08-2019, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
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 13 Unread 06-08-2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barhoc11 View Post
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 13 Unread 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 13 Unread 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 13 Unread 06-13-2019, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaEastKTM View Post
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.

Last edited by Tripod; 06-13-2019 at 08:44 PM.
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