The ZF8HP TCU is one of the most widespread: installed on medium and large displacements vehicles, its excellent reliability is a guarantee for manufacturers. Different versions of this TCU are available, whose difference at a structural level, allows to support more or less engine torque, depending on the model.
In the case of BMW, in this specific release, we have:
ZF8HP45: maximum torque 450Nm for gasoline versions, 500Nm for Diesel versions
ZF8HP50: maximum torque 500Nm in both versions.
ZF8HP90: maximum torque 900Nm for gasoline versions, 1000Nm for Diesel versions
All these TCUS with ZF8HP designations are at 8 eight-speed gearbox and torque converter.
The main prerogative of this gearbox is that it totally differs from a “traditional” transmission, because the various gears are managed by planetary groups, meaning elements composed by 3 elements: sun gear, planet carrier and ring gear. The whole is alternated by multidisc clutches, that allows, by braking these components, to go between speeds by combining various planetary groups.
In order to have the gear change, there is an electronic management that acts on solenoid valves that move these clutch groups, to switch between speeds. The faster these clutches move, the higher the shifting speed is, and the less smooth is the gear passage.
To improve performances of this gearbox you can intervene on torque parameters, on the timing maps – related to the movement of clutch and shifting regimes.