The Japanese company Jatco is the largest manufacturer of automatic and robotic transmissions. Its products are very popular among automakers: Nissan is equipped with Jatco CVTs, Infiniti with 7-speed automatic transmissions, Renault with 6-speed automatic transmissions.
A bit of history
Japanese Automatic Transmissin Company (Jatco) was founded in 1970 and successfully produced automatic transmissions for Nissan and Mazda. Until 1999, it was part of the Nissan concern. For greater freedom in the implementation of sales, Jatco management decided to take a step towards separation from the automaker. Since it had to compete with only two manufacturers of automatic transmissions - Aisin from Toyota, and the German ZF, nothing threatened the further development of the company.
Today Jatco sells automatic transmissions for several hundred thousand a year. According to reviews, "machines" Jatco easilycompete among other manufacturers, producing budget, but reliable products.
Immediately after disconnecting from Nissan, Jatco released a CVT, thereby winning first place in the world. Even auto giants such as BMW and Volkswagen began to use its products, successfully equipping cars with automatic transmissions and CVTs with a volume of up to 3.5 liters.
Jatco automatic transmission designation
The set of letters and numbers in the names of the boxes only at first glance seems incomprehensible. In fact, it is simple and informative:
- letters R and F denote drive (R - rear - rear-wheel drive car; F - forward - front-wheel drive);
- the presence of the letter E indicates electronic control - electronic, L - hydraulic;
- the first digit is the number of speeds;
- The last number and the letter after it indicate the modification number.
In the case of a CVT, the number of gears is indicated by the number 0.
Installation of "machine" Jatco on VAZ
In 2010, the AvtoVAZ plant decided to mass-produce cars with automatic transmission. The equipment of these cars had to be of high quality and affordable for the average buyer. Since the previous attempt with the KATE automatic transmission was not successful, the plant management began to cooperate with Jatco.
The proposal to install a compact Japanese "automatic" on a low-volume "Lada Granta" or "Lada Kalina" looked quite acceptable.
This cardinal decision withRussian motorists were looking forward to it. Driving a car with automatic transmission is much easier. In the absence of offers from a domestic manufacturer, many had to buy used foreign cars of the secondary market.
Jatco automatic transmission
"Automatic" JF414E is designed on the basis of a 4-speed manual transmission, which was released by Nissan in 80. For 30 years, the manual transmission has improved and changed, catching up with global trends. Finally, by 2012, it changed from mechanical to automatic and gained great popularity among fans of small cars.
It was a bit more difficult and expensive to install a Japanese "automatic" on a VAZ than a manual transmission or a "robot". Accordingly, it is also inferior in the cost of repairs and maintenance.
Jatco starts completing Lada Granta in 2012. It took a year and a half to adapt the new box to the Granta design. The joint efforts of AvtoVAZ and Jatco engineers were crowned with success. For the final adjustment, Austrian specialists from AVL were involved. They had to make the automatic transmission more dynamic.
To combine the "machine" with the engine, the designers have made changes to some parts of the car. Due to the greater mass of the box, the front suspension had to be strengthened. The crankcase became cast (rather than stamped, as in previous versions). The pallet was attached directly to the torque converter, thereby increasing the rigidity of the structure. As a result of all the manipulations, the clearance decreased by 20mm.
Reviews about Jatco machines
Reviews about the "machine" Jatco JF414E are divided. Some car owners were happy with the appearance of an affordable car with automatic transmission, some found disadvantages and shortcomings. There were disputes about equipping the box with hydromechanical control, which is considered to be reliable, but already outdated. In modern cars, electronic control is increasingly common. But its presence significantly increases the cost of the entire machine.
After the Lada Grants left the assembly line, test drives and reviews were carried out both by the official media and by amateurs. Car owners shared their impressions in reviews and on forums, making up a general picture of the work of the Jatco "machine" on the "Grant".
Those who place great emphasis on aesthetics and practicality have lamented the lack of any protection against accidental range switching. The slot for the lever is absolutely flat, without stoppers. Although the indicator of the switched on mode is displayed on the dashboard, many would like to have the illumination of the symbols on the gear selector as well.
However, the engineers have provided for the protection of the automatic transmission itself from unauthorized switching. Even if the driver accidentally shifts the lever to reverse mode R while driving, the gearbox will not react to this action until the conditions for this mode (for example, stop) appear.
Lovers of sharp driving were pleased with the dynamic acceleration of the Lada Granta. The connection between pressing the gas pedal and the operation of the engine is very good. Motorresponds immediately, with no delays to speed changes.
4th gear is adjusted so that a low gear ratio is maintained during steady driving (e.g. on the highway to save gas). But with a slight pressure on the gas pedal, the torque on the wheels increases as if there is another - intermediate - speed value.
In general, the operation of the automatic transmission is invisible. She smoothly upshifts, also downshifts them without pause.
The box has an "Overdrive" function, which prohibits the automation from shifting to 4th gear. This is convenient during overtaking to increase the dynamics of the car. There are ranges for forced limitation of the first two gears. They are useful when riding on rough terrain or climbing uphill.
The main disadvantage of the "machine" is the high consumption of gasoline, especially in the city. When running in a new car, it reaches 17 liters per 100 km, then decreases, but not lower than 13 liters per 100 km in mixed mode.
Installation of Jatco "machine gun" on "Kalina"
After the automatic transmission was equipped with the Grant sedan, the engineers put on the conveyor the production of Kalina with the same gearbox. Here, buyers have a choice of bodywork, as both the hatchback and station wagon were equipped with an automatic.
"Kalina" with the "automatic" Jatco, according to reviews, had no differences from the "Grants", with the exception that car owners were worried about the engine sump made of aluminum. Hitthe bottom could lead to cracks and deformation of this protection element. Therefore, when buying a new car, it was recommended to replace the pan immediately.
Repair and warranty service
Officially, the AvtoVAZ plant decided not to repair the automatic transmission, but to change it to a new one. This is due to the fact that the Jatco automatic transmission is a new, untested unit for this production. AvtoVAZ simply cannot train the mechanics of each dealership to repair such a complex assembly.
Any breakdown can cause a recall of the entire batch of cars. Therefore, each failed "machine" is sent to the factory in order to determine the breakdown and maintain statistics.
The warranty period of the automatic transmission coincides with the warranty period of the car itself.
End of production of "Lada" with automatic transmission
2015 was a turning point in the history of AvtoVAZ. Sales of cars "Lada Granta" and "Lada Kalina" began to fall. And it's not about the reviews about the Japanese Jatco "automatic" box (they were still positive), but about the fact that the plant remained the only customer for a 4-speed automatic transmission from a Japanese manufacturer. In this regard, the price of the "automatic" began to grow, pulling the cost of cars equipped with it.
The leadership of AvtoVAZ decided to remove from production "Grant" and "Kalina" with automatic transmission.
Robotic manual transmission
The new box was designed based on the domestic manual transmission 2180 withthe addition of electric actuators (speed switching mechanism) of the German company ZF.
The low cost of the unit is due to the fact that it is assembled on the same conveyor as the standard 5-speed gearbox. The result is a completely domestically produced car at a very reasonable cost. For comparison: equipping a Kia Rio or Volkswagen Polo with a robot will cost twice as much as a Lada.
Reviews on the work of the "robot" AMT
It is difficult to compare reviews about the Jatco "automatic" box and the new "robot" of the Russian-German assembly, since these are completely different units, their work differs significantly from each other.
In terms of dynamism, the "robot" is significantly inferior to the automatic transmission. Having a single-plate clutch, it reacts rather slowly to the gas pedal. Even the built-in function of adjusting to the driving style of each person does not help. From the mechanical box, he got not only a characteristic hum during operation, but also the simplicity of the device with proven reliability.
Electric actuators are the untested part of the box. According to ZF manufacturers, they are guaranteed to serve 10 years, but how long they will work on Russian roads is still unknown.
Actuators cannot be repaired, only replaced. The cost of the unit itself and its installation will cost about 60,000 rubles. A lot or a little depends on the expectations of the car owner. Replacing the same block with a foreign car can reach 100,000.
Operation of the "robot" AMT on the "Lada"
Robotic gearbox - this is the same "mechanics", only it was entrusted with the electronic device of the car, and not the driver.
How does this device work? What skills are required from a driver?
The transmission is equipped with four modes: A - automatic mode - gear shifting occurs using a block of actuators; M - mechanical - the driver can independently increase (+) and downshift (-) gears; N - neutral position without the "parking" function; R - Reverse.
To start the engine, two conditions must be met: the gearshift lever must be in neutral, the brake pedal depressed. Only after that the motor will start to work. Otherwise, the electronics will not give a signal to start, the on-board computer will display the neutral position indicators N or "foot on the brake pedal". So the designers provided a security system from starting the car in gear.
Since the box is not equipped with a torque converter, without pressing the gas pedal, it will not budge. Therefore, after the engine is started, the driver needs to release the brake pedal and press the gas.
Shifting gears in automatic mode occurs with a slight delay. This is due to the fact that the gearbox is still mechanical. The electronic unit first needs to disengage the clutch, then shift the gear and reengageclutch. This feature also causes noticeable shocks during acceleration.
AMT switches on the next gear only when the engine speed has reached the minimum value for it. And vice versa, it can downshift only at the maximum speed for the previous one. Therefore, on steep climbs or when overtaking, the driver can turn on the mechanical mode and downshift himself.
Engine braking is smooth. Gear shifting only occurs when the rpm drops to idle.
Switching between ranges while driving, as well as on the Jatco automatic transmission, has protection. The driver can put the lever in the reverse position R or move it randomly, the "robot" will not react to this in any way.
In the event of a breakdown, the car can be towed on a soft hitch by switching the selector position to neutral mode. With a discharged battery, it is allowed to start the engine with wheels. To do this, move the lever to the N range, accelerate the car in tow and turn on mode A. The controller will determine the speed of rotation of the wheels and start the engine.
"Automatic" Jatco or "robot"?
The cessation of production of "Lada" with automatic transmission upset many motorists. "Automatic" impresses with smoothness, dynamics and quiet operation. In turn, the robotic manual transmission is easy to repair and operate, albeit with its own characteristics.
Many people would rather put up with the slow shifting of gears by the "robot" than pay for the extra fuel consumption of the automatic transmission.