The JF011E to the JF015E

July 30, 2015
The JF011E is a JATCO-made CVT that has such a presence on the road today, it comes as no surprise that many shops have chosen to take on repairing this simple transmission.

The JF011E (as it is called in Dodge and Jeep applications), is a JATCO-made CVT, which is also referred to as the RE0F10A in Nissan and the F1C1A in Mitsubishi (Figure 1). With this transmission having such a presence on the road today, it comes as no surprise that many shops have chosen to take on repairing this simple transmission.

Figure 1
Figure 2

Unlike the Honda CVT that doesn’t use a torque converter, this transmission does (see Tackling CVTs, July 2015). As a result, this transmission uses a forward and reverse clutch in front of the pulley assembly rather than a start clutch between the pulleys and the differential.

I bring this up in preparation to introduce the replacement CVT for the JF011E simply called the CVT-7 or, traditionally you can call it the JF015E/RE0F11A/FICJB transmission, depending on the application.

This CVT-7 transmission still uses a torque converter, but it has a low clutch, high clutch and a reverse clutch assembly located between the pulleys and the differential; much like the Start Clutch in the Honda CVT. It is quite an interesting CVT and a very nice one to work on. But before we get to this new transmission, let’s cover a little about how the JF011E works and some of the problems the shops are seeing.

With this unit having a torque converter, along with a forward and reverse clutch in front of the pulley assemblies, there is no need to release a clutch when coming to a complete stop. The clutches simply provide forward or reverse direction through a planetary while the pulleys provide the continuously variable ratios. The torque converter operates in a conventional way meaning that as a fluid coupling, when at a stop in gear, the engine will not stall. During certain driving conditions, a clutch inside the converter will apply, providing a direct power link from the engine to the transmission. This means converter-related diagnostics will be similar when compared to typical automatic transmissions.

One issue that is common with this style of CVT is a delayed engagement into gear. (This was briefly mentioned in Can it be fixed? May 2015.) In it was a shop’s experience with a 2007 Nissan Altima. It had originally come in for one problem, which once resolved brought their attention to a 2 to 3 second delayed engagement into reverse and drive. Nissan has a bulletin stating that this is normal (NTB10-147). If the delay was much longer, they did have some TCMs that required re-programming to resolve the problem.  

One of the solenoids on the valve body is called the Lock-Up Select Solenoid (#4 in Figures 2 and 3: two different style valve bodies are shown -- Nissan/Mitsubishi and Dodge/Jeep). This solenoid controls the positioning of the Select “Switching” Valve in the valve body (#4 in Figure 4). By doing so, this solenoid controls two different functions. During drive and reverse engagement, this solenoid will place the “switching” valve in a position where it will direct pressure to the Select “Control” Valve (#5 in Figure 4). This “control” valve will reduce line pressure going to the Forward Clutch or Reverse Clutch for a smooth gear engagement. The Lock-up Select Solenoid can then position the “switching” valve where pressure is directed to the Torque Converter Lock-up Control Valve (#3 in Figure 4) for torque converter clutch apply control.

FIgure 3 Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6

This is a Normally Closed On/Off solenoid, which when in P/N, the TCM sends 12 volts to the solenoid. Once the desired gear is selected (D or R), within approximately five seconds power is cut to the solenoid by the TCM. This explains the normal three-second delay into gear. This also means, besides possible TCM issues, engagement problems can arise due to a malfunctioning Lock-up select solenoid, select switching valve or select control valve, as well as a flow control valve problem in the pump. This valve will be covered near the end of this article.

From a diagnostic standpoint, when it comes to pressure testing, transducers are most favorable in CVT applications. Pressures can reach more than 800 psi with some CVT transmissions. This transmission is equipped with having a complete set of pressure taps for keener diagnostics. The forward and reverse clutch, the secondary and primary pulley, TCC release and TCC apply and main line pressures are all available (Figure 5, secondary pulley tap located front side above axle as seen in Figure 6).

This transmission also has primary and secondary pulley pressure transducers inside the transmission (Figure 7). In some cases, checking the voltage signal on these wires is easier, safer and quicker to do should pulley pressures need to be monitored. However, Mitsubishi eliminated the use of the secondary pressure transducer with 2010 model year vehicles.

When 0 psi is in the system, approximately 0.5 volts will be seen. As pressure increases inside the pulley this voltage signal will increase proportionally. When 4.5 volts is seen it indicates approximately 870 psi of pressure is present inside the pulley chamber. With a 0.5 volt equaling 0 psi to 4.5 volts equaling 870 psi, by plotting out the numbers in-between this range, approximate pressures can be determined. For example, 2.5 volts would represent an approximate 435 lbs. of pressure inside the pulley chamber. Having both pulley voltages graphed out on a scope or digital graphing multi-meter is a nice way to see the pressures vary between these two pulleys.

The case connector containing these wires is next to where most of the pressure taps are located on the case (Figure 8). Some confusion can take place here if you are not careful. Dodge, Jeep and Mitsubishi use the same terminal numbering system with their wiring diagrams while Nissan is totally different, as seen in Figure 9. The functions are identical meaning that the wires internally go to the same solenoids, pressure transducers, TFT sensor and EEPROM with all four manufacturers.

Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9

Dodge, Jeep and Mitsubishi terminal number assignments are as follows:
1. Pressure Control Solenoid (PCS)
2. Secondary Pressure Control Solenoid (SPCS)
3. Lock-Up Control Solenoid (LCS)
4. Lock-up Selection Solenoid (LSS)
5. + For Pressure Switches and ROM
6. Dodge only -- ground (G301) for PCS, SPCS & LCS  
7. Secondary Pressure Sensor Signal
8. Stepper Motor
9. Stepper Motor
10. Stepper Motor
11. Stepper Motor
16. ROM
17. TFT Signal
18. Primary Pressure Sensor Signal
19. Ground Pressure Sensors, ROM, TFT
21. ROM
22. ROM

Nissan terminal number assignments are as follows:
2. Pressure Control Solenoid (PCS)
3. Secondary Pressure Control Solenoid (SPCS)
12. Lock-Up Control Solenoid (LCS)
13. Lock-up Selection Solenoid (LSS)
20. + For Pressure Switches and ROM
23. Secondary Pressure Sensor Signal
6. Stepper Motor
7. Stepper Motor
8. Stepper Motor
9. Stepper Motor  
1. ROM
17. TFT Signal
25. Primary Pressure Sensor Signal
19. Ground Pressure Sensors, ROM, TFT
11. ROM
16. ROM

Another area of confusion that could take place is that Dodge and Jeep use an external ground for 3 of the 4 solenoids through terminal 6. Nissan and Mitsubishi ground all their solenoids internally.

Dodge/Jeep solenoid check:  
PSC -- 1 & 6 = 6.5 ohms
SPSC -- 2 & 6 = 6.5 ohms
LSC -- 3 & 6 = 6.5 ohms
LSS   -- 4 & Case Ground = 28 ohms
Mitsubishi solenoid check:
PSC -- 1 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
SPSC -- 2 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
LSC -- 3 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
LSS   -- 4 & Case Ground = 28 ohms
Nissan solenoid check:
PSC -- 2 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
SPSC -- 3 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
LSC  12 & Case Ground = 6.5 ohms
LSS -- 13 & Case Ground = 28 ohms

Since we are on the subject of wiring, some 2006 and up Dodge Calibers may experience a complaint of the Check Engine Light coming on, accompanied with numerous solenoid circuit faults, such as P0962-963 Pressure Control Solenoid fault, P0966-967 Secondary Pressure Control Solenoid, P2770 Lock-Up Control Solenoid, P1723 Lock-Up Selection Solenoid, P0848 Secondary Pressure Sensor, P0712-713 Transmission Fluid Temperature, P0843 Primary Pressure Sensor. These codes could be intermittent and may also include Stepper Motor Control issues.

The cause may be that the wiring harness leading to the case connector on the transmission is corroded and/or partially disintegrated by battery acid dripping down on to the harness. An ATSG member was kind enough to send in a picture of this, as you can see in Figure 10. This problem occurs because the drain tube exits the bottom of the tray, right above the transmission wiring harness.
The wiring will obviously need to be repaired as necessary. To correct the problem will require re-routing the drain tube away from the wiring harness, or purchase the new drain tube under Dodge part number 05054250AC.

Another issue that had occurred with the Dodge Calibers was a gear ratio error code P0730 coming up. Pressure checks were made and nothing seemed to be wrong there. The condition of the fluid and pan looked good. With the valve body removed the push belt and primary pulley sheave faces were inspected and all looked good there. A close look at the data list with a scan tool revealed a loss of an input shaft speed signal. When the sensor signal was repaired, all worked well. Sometime later a bulletin was issued by Dodge (21-014-08) stating that vehicles built before March 20, 2008 came up with this code when it should have produced a P0717 for a loss of an Input Speed Sensor signal. A re-flash took care of this concern. This is good to remember, as every now and again this problem still seems to surface. It appears that not every Dodge Caliber has received this update.

As mentioned previously, another common problem with this transmission is the flow control valve in the pump wearing out its bore (Figure 11). This causes a loss of pump volume leading to slipping or delayed engagement problems (much longer than 2 to 3 seconds). Interestingly enough, the same is true with the new JF015E (Figure 12) replacing the JF011E unit. In fact, Yoram Levy from Edmond Garage has already dealt with worn valve bodies, particularly with the TCC Regulator Valve. He has also seen leaking high clutch pistons, a loss of a speed sensor signal due to an internal speed sensor ring not spinning and input shaft-bearing noises. The good news is that it is a very nice transmission to repair. With the right tools, it all comes apart and goes back together again very easily, including the primary and secondary pulleys. We’ll take a glance at this transmission next month.  

Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12