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3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
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userMike88
Posted: 3 April 2014 1:05 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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JudgeMental - 2014-04-03 1:00 PM

tell them to get stuffed and you will see them in court...bunch of comedians.


The sentiment is right but the problem is that they probably won't release the vehicle until the customer pays up. The answer must be to find a compromise solution which takes account of Northern Commercial's inefficiencies. Lord knows what would have happened without Fiat's intervention.
userarjxh56
Posted: 3 April 2014 2:24 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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All resolved..
Negotiated a lower labour rate with NC and so although the hours still stand at 10 it was considerably cheaper and in line with just under 4hrs diagnostic work at fiats rate.

Motorhome being delivered to me at home this afternoon.

Thanks everyone for your hep.

I hope that is the end of all of my problems and we can carry on enjoying the van for many years to come.
userJudgeMental
Posted: 3 April 2014 2:39 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


nice one!
userRayjsj
Posted: 3 April 2014 2:53 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Oh Good, I love a happy (ish) Ending. Ray
usereuroserv
Posted: 3 April 2014 6:12 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Delighted for you.
Enjoy your travels.
userrolandrat
Posted: 3 April 2014 6:50 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Glad it worked out ok for you.
userrolandrat
Posted: 4 April 2014 10:31 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-04-03 2:24 PM

All resolved..
Negotiated a lower labour rate with NC and so although the hours still stand at 10 it was considerably cheaper and in line with just under 4hrs diagnostic work at fiats rate.

Motorhome being delivered to me at home this afternoon.

Thanks everyone for your hep.

I hope that is the end of all of my problems and we can carry on enjoying the van for many years to come.


it would be interesting to know what their normal hourly rate is, hadn't they already spent 10 hours on it before putting to you that the gearbox might have to come out. Then when Fiat get involved problem solved. I wonder how many hours the fitter actually spent on it. Going back to the problem with my Merc tractor unit which had the EPS gearbox in it, (Eletro Pneumatic Shift) the ECU took 20 minutes to change over, I watched the fitter do it.
userBrock
Posted: 4 April 2014 12:14 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Location: Wirral - 2013 Hymer BClass 504 130bhp


Congratulations on getting through this trouble with such a positive outcome. And let me pay tribute to those on the site and Fiat for their assistance.

Happy motorhoming
userBrambles
Posted: 4 April 2014 1:34 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Do Fiat Customer service know you are being charged 10 hours for investigating a fault which they have subsequently paid for parts and labour to fit. I would certainly let them know as doubt very much they will be happy with this situation with one of their dealers.
usermike 202
Posted: 4 April 2014 1:46 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Agree with Brambles, can't hurt to inform Fiat by way of thanking them for their timely intervention, help and financial consideration to pay all of the cost of supply and fitting. Then gently inform them of the garage not being able to find the fault and charging you 10 hours for the priveledge of their incompetance. Maybee you could suggest that this garages action could put people off of using Fiat .

Finally really pleased that your problem is now solved - Happy Days.

Mike
usernowtelse2do
Posted: 4 April 2014 3:00 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Location: Rossendale, Lancashire.


And a bottle of the hard stuff if passing Leicester.

Some damn good advice. Well done Nick

Dave
userWill86
Posted: 4 April 2014 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Location: Gatwick. Merc Rapido: A dozen VW's then a Nexa


Can someone tell me what size this ECU unit is and is it a simple 'plug-in' item.

Does it fit inside something else or is it a major component on its own ?
userWill86
Posted: 4 April 2014 7:32 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Location: Gatwick. Merc Rapido: A dozen VW's then a Nexa


Found one and it looks quite simple
userarjxh56
Posted: 4 April 2014 9:07 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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The ECU is just a small box with a few sockets in it. Nothing special to look at.

Since getting the van back I have noticed the gear change is almost silent. Previously, ever since I purchased the van, the gear change has been very obvious and noisy (clunky?) I thought the noise was normal and it was never mentioned at services. I am now wondering if it wasn't ever calibrated correctly??

I assume, and hope, the silent gear change is normal and means my van is working at 100%

Does anyone else have the confortmatic box? Can you hear the van change gear when sat behind the wheel? Is it clunky or silent??

Thanks
userroger20
Posted: 4 April 2014 9:38 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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A good result in the end but it must have been a worrying time.

Fiat's intervention in the process seems to have been crucial in bringing some common sense and this was Nick's advice from the outset.

FWIW I heard from a Fiat dealer elsewhere that when it comes to resolving technical issues Motorhomes jump to the head of the queue in front of Cars so I can only imagine that Fiat are fairly sensitive to maintaining a positive impression for what is now a very significant market. This sort of publicity only goes to undo the efforts they are hopefully making to ensure that we will continue to have the confidence to buy Fiat based motorhomes.

As Brambles has pointed out I can't imagine they would be very happy to see customers being charged excessive labour for investigations which could have been avoided by a more timely intervention with Fiat themselves (who may well have been able to pinpoint the issue immediately from the symptoms described).

Northern Commercials are a Fiat Professional agent, with all that the wording implies. Perhaps a smaller dealer like Clemo would have had to call on Fiat Technical at a much earlier stage when faced with the complexities of the Comfortmatic electronics and so avoided unnecessary investigative work from the outset.
user9orchard
Posted: 4 April 2014 11:44 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hi please read my same problem .( 9 orchard ) i cant back my unit onto drive without clutch burning i have read all manuals and am an engineer by trade this is not good only has 2000 miles on clock i took to northern commercials at fiats request and was told this is a common problem go back yo fiat my dealer is not interested i have 90k worth of unusable motor home and am not happy can any one help please
user9orchard
Posted: 5 April 2014 12:03 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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hi arjxh56 MY GOD !!!!!!!!! I really dont hope my problem becomes as long as yours but its started already by northern commercials wanting £85 per hr plus vat just to look .. to all other comment writers you can be assured I have taken on board all your valuable comments and am worried at this very early point in time and not looking forward to sorting out my reverse problem especailly due to northern commercial first comments on thursday well monday I will be on phone to fiat
userBrambles
Posted: 5 April 2014 12:29 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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How steep and long is your drive, and what weight is your Motorhome? Just asking because you may be asking it to do something it just is not capable of doing. This then may raises the question of exactly what rate of incline is the vehicle suppose to be capable of and to this I have no idea but will be a heck of a lot less as the motorhome weight goes up.

p.s. Bet the answer is level and flat!!!!

Edited by Brambles 2014-04-05 12:29 AM
userMike88
Posted: 5 April 2014 9:09 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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arjxh56 - 2014-04-04 9:07 PM

The ECU is just a small box with a few sockets in it. Nothing special to look at.

Since getting the van back I have noticed the gear change is almost silent. Previously, ever since I purchased the van, the gear change has been very obvious and noisy (clunky?) I thought the noise was normal and it was never mentioned at services. I am now wondering if it wasn't ever calibrated correctly??

I assume, and hope, the silent gear change is normal and means my van is working at 100%

Does anyone else have the confortmatic box? Can you hear the van change gear when sat behind the wheel? Is it clunky or silent??

Thanks


The gearchange is silent and there is absolutely no clunk on mine.
userrolandrat
Posted: 6 April 2014 11:00 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-04-04 9:07 PM

The ECU is just a small box with a few sockets in it. Nothing special to look at.

Since getting the van back I have noticed the gear change is almost silent. Previously, ever since I purchased the van, the gear change has been very obvious and noisy (clunky?) I thought the noise was normal and it was never mentioned at services. I am now wondering if it wasn't ever calibrated correctly??

I assume, and hope, the silent gear change is normal and means my van is working at 100%

Does anyone else have the confortmatic box? Can you hear the van change gear when sat behind the wheel? Is it clunky or silent??

Thanks


Can you let us know how much the ECU cost, you say that they also charged you for 3 hours labour apart from another 10 hours at a different rate? Surely it wouldn't have taken 3 hours to swop an ECU over.
userarmstrongpiper
Posted: 6 April 2014 11:49 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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The changing of gears on my Autotrail Tracker is silent and clunk-free. 27000 miles on the clock.

Neil B
userarjxh56
Posted: 6 April 2014 7:48 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Hi stalwart, I don't have a copy of the internal billing between fiat and NC but they told me the ECU was about £360 and then 3hrs labour.
Depending on the year of vehicle, BBA Reman sell reconditioned ones and they can repair yours if sent in.
I didn't ask them for a price as they didn't have one for my year, but it's only a phone call should you need to know.

Glad to know the gear change should be silent, I must have always had a calibration issue then?
Oh well, it's sorted now.
userarjxh56
Posted: 28 April 2014 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.... First trip out and I'm now broken down again with transmission failure light, same symptoms as I had prior to the new ecu. The only difference this time is that the light temporarily goes out... It then comes back again after a short wait. I'm not happy!!!
usersilverback
Posted: 28 April 2014 3:37 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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bummer
ask them to look at the connections where it plugs to the wiring loom if its had water damage they go green and give errors, then tell them to move the plugs to under the wing out of the way, then sheet all that area up with thick plastic sheeting and zip ties to stop more water ingress that's asuming that is the problem
jon
userPampam
Posted: 28 April 2014 10:31 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Arjxh you poor thing were you off on a holiday? I know how you feel hope you get it sorted quickly pp :)
userCliveH
Posted: 29 April 2014 12:20 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Superb thread - really good info - hope you get it sorted Arjxh - the technical input on here must be a great source of help and comfort.

It has, with my own personal experience, certainly put me of these "steptronic" gearboxes. We had one on a small Peugeot car and It was great to drive - I loved it - both in manual and auto modes. We had three years trouble free - Then we had new brake pads fitted and that involved disturbing the speed sensor on the front wheel hub.

From that day on the ruddy gearbox was a nightmare - it would pop up "Auto Gearbox Fault" and you could not select any gear - but if you did manage to fiddle with it and get second gear you could at least drive it in a kind of limp home mode. But it refused to recognise 1st gear or reverse and speed seemed "limited".

We did get it fixed by replacing the wheel sensors - but only in as much as it still happened but not so frequently.

In the end we lost faith in it (it was bloody dangerous!) so we traded it in.

What they did to "cure" it:-

Disconnect battery for 30 min - this resets the ECU apparently - this worked for a few days and then the problem reappeared.

Sprayed all the associated electrical connections - including the selector switches at the base of the "gear-lever" and the "Auto" on/off button on the dash with water dispersal liquid (WD40) - this worked best of all but gradually after a month - the problem came back again.

But we did wonder if the problem was exacerbated by the fact that we were driving the car in some of the wettest weather I have ever experienced! - Water and ECU's - and ECU connected wiring and associated sensors was never going to be a good idea.

When the interrogated the ECU sometimes said their was a problem with the "Valve Body".

Many hundreds of £'s to fix and so we gave the ruddy thing a WD40 "bed-bath" and drove it to the garage (it drove faultlessly on this journey) and picked up another car with a bog standard manual gearbox!

userpelmetman
Posted: 29 April 2014 12:53 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Curiously we had some friends staying over the weekend, and they'd recently bought a Toyota with one of these steptronic gearboxes...............It also has problems where it will suddenly not select any gear, they have to switch it off and wait a few minutes for it to sort it self out ....................needless to say its been back to the dealer on several occasions without a cure .............

I have to say I found the gear change very rough when they took us out for the day..........

He intends to get shot asap as its downright dangerous and buy a traditional automatic, something the OP might be wise to consider? ...............

Progress eh?.......

Edited by pelmetman 2014-04-29 12:57 PM
userCliveH
Posted: 29 April 2014 1:18 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Certainly my view Dave - the Auto box on the Discovery has done starship miles by now and apart from a Filter change and oil change at 100k miles it behaves totally as it should.

And if it does pack up - I can easily pick up a reconditioned exchange unit and have it fitted at a fraction of the cost of just the labour bill cited above!

Interesting that my experience of problems with our little Pug started when something was changed. Euroserv - I think stated that his two 100K plus tiptronic boxes did not have an oil change because this had been flagged up as causing problems.

Seems to me that these 'boxes are only OK up to a point - after this arbitrary "point" most service people know sod all about them.

Best for me to stick with tried and tested it would seem.



userarjxh56
Posted: 29 April 2014 11:09 PM
Subject: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Update.....

The light has decided to go off (on its own i think?).. It was sat in reverse for a few seconds and the transmission failure light just went off. I have now been able to drive the vehicle home. Since then, i have had a few interesting glitches but the transmission failure hasn't come back.

Firstly i had a scenario where i turned on the ignition to start the vehicle and it ran the checks, turned out the dash lights as normal, but then didn't engage the starter motor? just nothing happened. This happened a few times and then went back to normal after i turned it on and waited for a while longer than normal before trying to start the engine? Maybe i did something wrong on start up or maybe i was a gremlin?

I have also had the vehicle started a few times on the drive and on one occasion it was dropping back into neutral from both forward and from reverse after a few seconds. I did have the driver door open and i didn't have my foot on the brake so maybe this is supposed to happen? Saying that, i haven't been able to recreate it.
At the moment the vehicle has returned to normal, it starts up, drives, and works as it should. I am now concerned about using it as i am just waiting for the transmission failure to come back again!

I am going to replace the earth strap again tomorrow, the one that goes from gearbox to chassis, but are there any others i should be replacing? I was told here is one form the alternator to the block but the only fat wire i can see on the alternator disappears in the plastic coiled protection of the wiring loom? I cannot see another earth from chassis or alternator to the engine block either, should there some?

I have found the small earth wires under the passenger light fitting, fastened to the bodywork, there are quite a few of them. They have never been removed as i can see he paint sprayed over the nuts is perfectly intact. Should i take these off and clean them up or should i leave them alone?? The wires feel very hard/brittle and so i didn't want to fiddle with them unless i really had to.

I have also noticed there is what looks like a thin black earth wire coming out of the wiring loom, attached to a large black canister, looks like a motor of some kind, that is next to the oil filter at the bottom of the engine. The large black canister has 2 very large red wires going into a black plastic connector and a small black wire connected to the can. There is also a wire strapped between it and another small silver canister about 20mm away.. is this the starter motor? Should i take that black wire off the large been tin and clean it up as it looks a little rusty.
I have sprayed the earth wires/connectors/etc.. with contact spray, not sure this will help but tried it anyway?

One thing i did to try to recreate the issue was to take the main earth wire (gearbox to chassis) off and turn the ignition to see if the gearbox light came on (i wondered whether if this earth was faulty it would throw the gearbox light on) .. it didn't, i just got a 'check glow plugs' message and flashing glow plug light.. I reconnected the earth lead and started the engine and the warnings went away and it ran normally.

I am totally lost at what to check / do next... The new ECU made the van work perfectly for a while but there is clearly something else at play here. I wonder if the ECU wasn't the primary fault and something else caused that to fail?? Maybe the primary fault is still on the loose?

I have noticed that the original transmission failure fault and then the recurrence after the new ECU, and all of the other glitches, have all happened after the vehicle has been driven and then parked up for a short while. Its when returning to start the vehicle that the warning lights come on.. It has never been that any of the errors or lights have occurred whilst the vehicle is running. Does this point to something specific, or is it just that this is when the vehicle run its checks and spots something it doesn't like? I guess once its running it doesn't check things until the next time you try and start it????

Anyway... I have a 4hr drive to do in it this Thursday evening so i wanted to try and do as much as i can to find/resolve the problem before setting out again. I have now been recovered twice on my breakdown and so i have only 1 recovery left this year before i lose my cover.

I have notified Fiat that this error has reappeared and they tell me to take it back to Northern Commercials and leave it with them for further investigation. My only concern is that they have already billed me for 10 hrs investigation last time, plus the 3hrs that Fiat paid for, and its been made clear to me by Fiat that investigation work is not covered by goodwill so will be at my expense. Fiat will cover the ECU should that turn out to be faulty again?
I don't have a money tree and so would like to try the 'basic' investigation items myself if possible. Please help!

userarjxh56
Posted: 29 April 2014 11:24 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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OK, figured out the black canister is the starter motor.. (I'm learning!)
I will take the black wire off tomorrow and clean it up and re fit it.. just in case this isn't helping the situation.

I also noticed the gearbox to chassis earth strap sparked when putting it back on? Is this normal.. I assume this is because the tracker, immobiliser etc.. are drawing power even when the keys are out of the ignition?

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