Porsche Cayenne Transmission Valve Body Problems

The original Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne may not share an engine, but earlier models do share a transmission: the Aisin AW TR-60SN/09D.

Porsche Cayenne Transmission

This six-speed transmission is generally reliable, but develops problems with the valve body: the hydraulic fluid control assembly that regulates gear and clutch engagements. The classic valve body symptom is a hard shift from fourth to fifth. “It feels like you’re going through the windscreen,” is how one Porsche tech friend described his first experience of the problem.

I’ve been having gearbox problems with my Cayenne for a while now, with the valve body the prime suspect. My 2004 Cayenne S never had a huge problem changing gear: it was much more a clutch control issue, where the car would drop out of gear while waiting to pull out of a T-junction or onto a roundabout and leave you stranded at first, but suddenly find second, tearing off with a highly undignified bang. Cue eyeliner streaks on back-seat teenage cheeks.

Porsche Cayenne Valve Body Transmission Recon Ferdinand

The experience was most unbecoming, so I decided to fix it. The Internet provided two firms in the UK known to repair Cayenne valve bodies (mine shown above) by reaming the worn valve passages out and inserting bigger valves, and refurbishing solenoids where required. The cost was less than half that of a remanufactured Porsche part, said to solve the problems discovered in the earlier Cayennes.

I emailed the first firm. The owner answered a couple of my messages but stopped when I asked for a few more details on the process for a magazine article. The other firm’s contact was more amenable and sounded like he knew his stuff. We stripped the valve body out of the car and sent it away. It came back refurbished, we refitted it and the car hasn’t worked since.

Ferdinand Porsche John Glynn Cayenne daily driver

We’ve tried two different valve bodies, both supposedly testing fine on the bench but not working in the car. I can get gears 1, 2 and 3 ok, but when it hits the shift to fourth, the display says it has shifted but the car drops out of gear, as if you’ve stepped on the clutch. It will rev away doing nothing, then it throws a gearbox fault and limp mode follows.

I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered the Porsche replacement valve body at £1030 plus 20% VAT. Plus another round of trans fluid changes and work time lost, and whatever bill I get for these unsuccessful valve bodies (one my original, the other going back). You can be sure of small claims repercussions there.

Porsche Cayenne Paint Correction 2

Learn from my mistakes. If you’ve got a reliable Subaru, stick with it. Do not buy a used Porsche Cayenne! Add this to the classic Cayenne problems of coil failures, coolant pipe failures, control arm fails, screenwash leaks and ECU destruction and so on and it gets very expensive to run a used Cayenne. Not to mention what happens when your engine fails – as many V8s and Turbos do.

Anyone well versed in auto gearboxes with some thoughts on the 4-5-6 issue, kindly drop me a line. We have triple-checked wiring connections, fluid levels, filters, pressures, gearbox operating temps and it works fine in first through third, if not as smooth as original. Very disappointing not to have the car outside the door, but we will sort it out eventually.

23 Comments

  • Jay Hibbs says:

    hi, have the 4-5-6 issue! it has just been refilled with trans fluid, after a problem where it spat out half the old stuff ? leak? and lost pressure/all drive. Now it lasted 5 mins in 1-2-3 then nothing in 4-5-6 then limp mode.

    did the valve body fix yours? I know it was a year ago but… *help* 🙁

    • John Glynn says:

      Hi Jay, I ended up having the gearbox rebuilt. The 4/5/6 thing was the clutch pack worn out: we think due to worn valve body failing to hold pressure effectively. When it was stripped you could clearly see the plates were absolutely ruined. I bought a new valve body from Porsche (£1000) and had tehe rest rebuilt at a place up near Coventry. Hope you sort yours!

    • p.rijsemus says:

      I had the same problems with my C6 Citroen,Aisin AM 6 gearbox. Its not a Porsche but almost the same gaerbox.

      Flushed the gearbox and fitted a new valve solonoid assembly,costs 1600 euro all included, nows he drives like new.

  • Mohamed says:

    I just bought 13 gts CAYENNE and I have a hard downshift from 3 to 2 is too harsh I feel the subframe is moving with the body I replaced the trans mount and replaced the front bushings and a arms but still issue exist,what I understood from reading several forums that the issue is from the transmission it self so could you help me where to start.

    • John Glynn says:

      It’s hard to say. Your Cayenne runs a similar (albeit 8-speed) automatic Tiptronic transmission, not PDK. If it is the transmission, then hard shift is commonly caused by the solenoid valves failing to control fluid pressure as the gears are engaged. So points to a valve body issue. Try a fluid and filter change first – maybe just contaminated fluid and a sticky solenoid.

  • Hassan says:

    I have problem in transmission which it keeps on D and not changing evrn put on p or r ot n .. it keeps on D .. hope u help me with reason .. thanx

  • Will Solomon says:

    I have a 2006 Cayenne S, and need a new transmission.
    What is the best place to order a new transmission at the best possible price.
    I am looking at new parts with warranty.
    Can u help plz. Thanks.

  • Karl says:

    Hi John,

    Great article and I share you pain, I love my Toaureg but dies feel like a timebomb!

    Have you had a new front diff yet???

    I’m getting worried about my Touareg gearbox (2003 – 3.2 petrol – 130k miles) can you give me the name of the company in Coventry you used for the rebuild? Did they take the car and remove the box to the work and refit?

    Cheers

    Karl

    • John Glynn says:

      Hi Karl, I went to Transmission Technology in Knowle. They take the box out, rebuild and refit. No new diff but have had a few driveshafts: seems to be behaving itself so far in 2016 so that is not a good sign. Best of luck with yours! Cheers, JG

  • Gareth says:

    Thanks for the Coventry place my valves 2 and 4 are losing pressure anyone else had this problem , goes fine until your waiting at the lights and rocks like chatty bang bang , also it has a quality gas conversion ( sorry petrol heads ) would this affect the valves or just injection coils as lpg burns at a higher temperature than petrol .The car is 2005 with 150 k on it

  • jeremy says:

    2004 cayenne. All brake lights are on and it’s not changing gears

    • John Glynn says:

      Could be unrelated issues. Lift your right side footwell carpet and check if it is wet down there – expect to find many corroded connections if yes. Ask this question in Rennlist Cayenne forum & see what they say.

  • Carole Evans says:

    My problem with my 2013 Cayenne is that every 2 to 3 weeks, when executing a right-or left-hand turn from a full stop, I find that it holds in first gear for the full extent of the turn thus feeling as though I am driving with one foot on the brake and the other on the gas. Porsche has reprogrammed the tiptronic control units and updated the software from 2286 to 2475 but the same issue happened 3 weeks later. Very frustrating and a safety issue if pulling out into oncoming traffic.

  • Terry says:

    I have a 2004 Cayenne S – recently the D sign stays on when driving and some knocking sounds changing up the gears. Around 4 years ago the Porsche mechanic told me the transmission would be a problem WHEN he couldnt say – just keep changing the oil in there and last it out – so this may be the time and its had a great run.

    If I want to buy a new part where could I get it? I live in Portugal now and is tricky getting these fixes done so would prefer to buy a new part? Thanks in advance

  • Mohamed says:

    hello

    I hope u doing well

    I have VW Touareg 2005 my car running about 240000km i have issue with transmission i hope you can tell me what can i do its cluch issue or valve body

    car running normal and shifting good from 1 to 4. however when gear 5 engage i fell like hard shifting only on number 5 then going to gear 6 when i try to stop my car gear going back from from 4 then 5 during going back to gear 4 i fell again hard shifting and some time big noise really make me afraid. also when this happen i see on odometer screen like from P – R – N – D – S all marked 🙁

    I just change gear oil and filter same issue.

    Could you please advice me shall i change valve body or clutch

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Best Regards

  • Boris says:

    Hello John. I run a Touareg 3.2 v6 . When on SPORT , 1 2 3 and 4 gear is ok. When it drives on 4th its like taking more time to get on 5th gear. and when going from 5th to 4th gear then i feel like i will go from the windscreen. Please advice me what to do. I ve been told its the valve body and need to be rebuilt. Will this fix the problem ?

  • Kalid says:

    Hi
    I have Cayenne 2013 V6 ….lately feeling like multiple minor jurks on low speed specially when engine is hot….it disappears after 40km speed…
    Any clue of what is the problem.
    Thanks
    Kalid

  • Paul says:

    Hi all
    I was thinking about buying a used cayenne. good God what’s all this about gear box trouble .has it been fix with new cars now people on here saying got this problem on my 2013.?
    Cheers Paul

  • Sharon rogers says:

    Having gear box problems seem to be sticking from 1st 2nd and third having problems getting up to 4th gear and so on when I stopping at roundabouts and lights it is a cayenne 4+4 36,000 miles and still under warranty till Nov , very frustrating been to the dealer and they can’t find problem, anybody else got this problem

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