F17 GEARBOX | A Guide To Faults & Fixes
Updated: Apr 20
The Vauxhall 5 speed F17 Gearbox is found on various models throughout the range. The gearbox is typically fitted on the smaller CC engines, such as the 1.2,1.4 and some 1.8 models which include the Corsa, Astra and Zafira to name a few. Unfortunately, the F17, like many other gearboxes, suffer with issues which can cause serious damage to the gearbox, some of which is un-repairable. Check out some of the symptoms below.
F17 Gearbox Common Faults
The most common issue with the F17 gearbox is bearing wear and eventually complete failure of the gearbox unit. This issue starts off as a slight whine and can be heard constantly as the vehicle picks up speed regardless of whether the clutch is depressed or not.
This fault which plagues this unit is due to the lower output shaft bearing, which when worn, also damages the output shaft itself. Unlike most gearbox designs the bearing runs on the output shaft itself rather than a corresponding outer shell. Unfortunately, this means when wear does occur the output shaft needs repairing or replacing if the damage is to severe. This drastically increases the price of repairs for such a simple design flaw.
Too often we see customers who have ignored the whining sound coming from their gearbox or put it off which results in major failure including the collapsed bearing breaking through the inner bell housing. This means that a complete gearbox replacement is then required rather than just a bearing rebuild.
The F17 gearbox, like all gearboxes at some point, will wear down it's synchromesh rings, (particularly lower gears) and result in hard selection and eventually a crunching/grinding sound. This normally shows more in 2nd gear on this model and is more prominent on cold starts before the gearbox oil is warm.
This should not be confused with the grinding sound that is produced when bearings are failing/failed and results in gear tooth damage. The difference between the two can be distinguished by when the grinding sound is produced. Synchromesh issues will produce an audible noise only as the gear is being selected, either on upshift or downshift. Bearing failure noises maybe constant in all gears or constant in certain gears when driving.
Once the synchromesh is worn, it fails to stop the gear from spinning and allows the hub ring to come down on a moving part, which results in the grinding noise as two metal parts come together. This contact between moving parts results in the edge of the selection teeth on the gear and hub ring to wear down slightly each time. Eventually there is not enough tolerance left on the gear teeth to hold the hub ring on the gear and the torsional force results in the ring popping out and de-selecting the gear. To the driver this results in a sudden loss of power and over-revving of the engine as if the clutch has been engaged.
If the gear and hub are worn Eco Torque would always recommend replacement parts due to the need of a full strip down to rectify the issue. The resulting metal particles from the gear and hub can also prematurely wear other components, especially bearings.
Gear Selection Issue
The F17 gearbox is very temperamental with gear selection if the clutch is worn. This manifest itself into an issue where it feels like there is something blocking the gearstick from moving into each of the gears. If left un-rectified, the damage caused to the gears will result in a full recon replacement being required rather than just the clutch components. We always recommend using OE parts such as LUK when selecting replacement clutch systems.
Before changing any clutch component, you should check hydraulic fluid levels and perform a clutch bleed to flush out any possible contaminants or air in the system.
Reverse Idler Issues
Reverse gear on the F17 gearbox has no synchromesh on earlier models. This is known as a hard selection gear as it requires the driver to have had the clutch depressed the for more than a few seconds before trying to select the gear. If reverse is attempted to be select as soon as the clutch is depressed, then an audible grinding sound will be heard.
This a result of the two metal components crashing into each other which wears down the components.
We often must replace the reverse idler and corresponding hub ring because the teeth are so badly worn.
Later F17 gearboxes now come with a synchromesh system to eliminate this crunching issue.
Some new models are suffering with an assembly line issue and are being rectified under the Vauxhall's main dealer warranty system. Contact your local Vauxhall dealership to see if your vehicle comes under the effected range.
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