How to read a ZF ID plate

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Prior to contacting us about parts or exchange units, it’s useful to first take a look at the ZF ID plate on the gearbox in question. To help you, we’ve created this blog to show you how to read the ID plate so that you can provide us with the information we need.

Starting from the top left of the plate, first we have the family type of the gearbox. For this particular unit, it’s an Ecosplit.

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To the right of that we have the type of gearbox. This example is a 16 S 1820 TO. That tells us that this unit has 16 gears, that it’s a Synchromesh gearbox, what the torque rating is for the engine going into the gearbox and that it’s an overdrive gearbox – TO is for Truck Overdrive.

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The next section down shows the part number. This is important as it helps our team at Ecodrive to identify the unit and specification that you need.

It’s a ten-figure part number for all ZF products and it’s split into groups of 4, 3 and 3 as you can see on this example.

With this information we will know what unit you need to replace or need replacement parts for; we can then go into the ZF system and find what you require.

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Next we have the serial number; again this is very important information. It tells us what that particular unit was built with from original manufacture from the factory.

Normally it’s a six-digit or seven-digit number but there are alternatives for some products.

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The next section down is the customer number. The example below is a MAN part number, so this gearbox fits in a MAN unit. This information would be different for each manufacturer.

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The next line down tells me the ratio of the gearbox. This is only rarely used for PTO specifications, to calculate what you need out of the back end to operate your port pumping equipment.

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Next to that is the taco ratio; this is important information for vehicle manufacturers calibrating the taco.

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The next line down is all the PTO information. On this example it’s blank and this will be the case for most of the type plates you come across because they only enter the information if it’s an original build from the factory. That is not very common as most PTO equipment is retro fitted.

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The last line on the type plate shows the oil specifications and quantity. Now this is important to the people that are fitting these units because you need to know what specification of oil to fit in these and the service intervals which that oil will give you.

One part gives you the TE-ML rating, in this example TE-ML 02. If you visit this page on our website, you can find the approved lubrication listings, for example for TE-ML 02, and what the oil change intervals are for each particular oil. These are oils specified by the ZF manufacturer in Germany.

Next to this information you have the actual quantity of oil required; this is from dry. When you receive a replacement unit, you may not be able to get that particular quantity into the unit because there will still be residue from the testing and so on when it was on an Ecodrive test rig.

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Location on the ID plate on alternative units

The ID plate can be found in different positions depending on the type of gearbox. The image below shows the location of the ID plate on this particular gearbox, an Ecosplit.

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Here it is on an AS Tronic with Intarder, on the near side of the vehicle.

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Example of an ID plate from a unit just out of a vehicle

You’re likely to find the type plate in a different condition in real life – the unit could be dirty. The best thing to do in this case is to clean the ID plate with a bit of solvent cleaner and a rag just to get the road dirt off it.

You may also find that it’s been painted over like the one below.

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In the right light you can actually see the detail but with a bit of emery, you can give it a bit of a rub to reveal the numbers. Don’t press too hard though or you could actually rub off the numbers and then you’ve lost the information that we need.

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Once you’ve revealed the ten-figure part number and the serial number of the unit, you can make the relevant enquiries for parts and replacement units from Ecodrive.

If you’re unable to locate the ZF ID plate please contact us on 01204 701812.