3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
userarjxh56
Posted: 16 March 2014 7:48 PM
Subject: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Hi all,
Anyone had a scenario whereby the check transmission light comes on, the gearbox doesn't respond as it should, limits to 1st, 2nd and reverse (max 2000rpm) and won't reset even with Fiats diagnostic machine?
The fault code shows a particular sensor on the gearbox, but the sensor was changed and the codes still won't clear. The gearbox won't respond to the laptop request to re calibrate itself, just says "waiting" and it won't reset the dash warning either?
I have left the van with Northern commercials in Brighouse, hope they are top notch and find/fix the fault quickly, I am worried this could be costly!
They spent an hour with the diagnostic machine and changing sensors etc but they were left scratching heads and saying it needs further investigation.
The main guy I spoke to, Phil, service manager was really helpful and excellent in trying to squeeze me in for a quick fix but they are extremely busy. Anyone used them? Anyone any ideas what this may be?

Help!

userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 17 March 2014 9:20 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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I'm pretty sure that the only forum-member able to give you informed advice about this would be Nick Fisher (euroserv).

A GOOGLE-search on "Comfortmatic problems" retrieves some material. This long 2011 MotorHomeFacts thread for example:

http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftoptitle-102455-intermittent-power-loss-3-ltr-fiat-comfortmatic-gearbox.html

Your motorhome is currently in the hands of professionals who have the necessary equipment to interrogate the transmission's electronics and investigate the fault. As they are clearly having trouble diagnosing the cause, it could well be that the fault is peculiar to your vehicle. If you look at the final posting on Page 9 of the MHF thread you'll see how elusive a fault can sometimes be.
usereuroserv
Posted: 17 March 2014 3:09 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hello,

Sorry to hear about your problem. I have just read the article on MHF and it bothers me a lot that with no indication of a gearbox fault at all; Fiat decided to fit a complete new box!

We have had absolutely no problems with ours and three of them have gone on to pastures new with over 100,000 miles on them. Mine is still only on about 6000 miles and won't do many miles each year while doing the work that it does, supporting charity events.

I am quite convinced that the problems that have been mentioned are going to be wiring issues or a hydraulic actuator. If a sensor is at fault it will flag up a warning BEFORE any failure occurs. If it's hydraulic it will flag a fault DURING an operation that has failed to complete. If it's wiring; it will give false warnings and possibly go into safe mode but will not get far enough to prevent an operation from completing unless the wiring fault happens during the operation.
Does that make sense?

We were warned that the required change of hydraulic oil at 2 years causes more problems (difficult to fill and bleed) and is better not done at all; so we didn't. We applied the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' methodology and got away with it.

Nick

I am sure that the dealer will find your problem in the wiring somewhere. The ECU cannot over-ride a fault that is still present and if the sensors are all fine this must be a wiring issue.

Edited by euroserv 2014-03-17 3:11 PM
userarjxh56
Posted: 17 March 2014 3:23 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update is that northern commercials have ruled out wiring and sensors and now say that the controller that changes gears may be at fault. They say it's a gearbox out job (which they quote 9hrs labour) then the new part to try is £1800, plus the labour to fit.. Then gearbox back in and see what happens!
I have asked them to try the ecu first as the above is HUGE cost, knocking on £3000 in total with the investigation and labour, and it may not even fix the problem?
I asked if there are other components that could be at fault but they didn't really say.. I guess it has too be a gearbox out job and investigate further but with my current investigation bills and then this, it's knocking on a grand in labour so far and still no accurate diagnosis?

Aaahhhhhhhh HELP...

Tempted to knock on Fiats door for help, although I am now just out of warranty!!!

Edited by arjxh56 2014-03-17 3:25 PM
usereuroserv
Posted: 17 March 2014 3:53 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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There is something not right about this.

The gearbox that you have is pretty much the same as the one fitted to manual's and there is nothing inside that operates any differently. The electro-hydraulic control stuff is on the outside of the box. I do not know why they think they have to remove the gearbox.

You should contact Fiat customer assistance and ask them to find out why this is. They will almost certainly come back to you to tell you that you will have to pay for whatever is wrong with the vehicle but while you have a 'case' open with them you can exert more pressure on the dealer to talk sense.

This is almost certainly an electrical wiring fault and this can be proved by checking if the fault code can be cleared with the ignition on but with the engine not running. If the fault clears but returns after switching on the engine; the fault is more than a simple electrical wire; if it will not clear at all; it is wiring. In this case; the vehicle ECU is not getting a satisfactory result from a sensor that is only powered up but not measuring very much, or there is an incomplete or short circuit.

You should make sure that the additional earth strap that is often mentioned on this forum (mostly by me) has been fitted as this cures an awful lot of strange electronic faults.

That last point should really be at the top of anyone's list!

Nick
userarjxh56
Posted: 17 March 2014 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Hi Nick, I am not mechanically minded so do struggle to ask the right questions.
They said the box had to be removed for access and investigation. They said they couldn't remove the controller with the gearbox installed. And they said that once the gearbox was off the could check he gearbox would select gears etc and prove the controller was at fault?
I am not sure about the earth strap, how would I know if it has the extra one? I will take a drive down and look!
I know the guy tried to reset the fault whilst I waited, and also tried a re calibration but the fault light didn't go out.. I think he did this with engine on but he may well have tried it with engine off too??
I asked them to check ecu as that's the only other bit I know of that didn't involve removing the gearbox from what they told me..
I could do with someone like you, that knows about these things, to talk to the northern commercials and ask the correct questions and make sure the investigation is going in the right direction! Do you fancy earning some beers

userarthur49
Posted: 17 March 2014 5:13 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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euroserv - 2014-03-17 3:53 PM

There is something not right about this.

The gearbox that you have is pretty much the same as the one fitted to manual's and there is nothing inside that operates any differently. The electro-hydraulic control stuff is on the outside of the box. I do not know why they think they have to remove the gearbox.

You should contact Fiat customer assistance and ask them to find out why this is. They will almost certainly come back to you to tell you that you will have to pay for whatever is wrong with the vehicle but while you have a 'case' open with them you can exert more pressure on the dealer to talk sense.

This is almost certainly an electrical wiring fault and this can be proved by checking if the fault code can be cleared with the ignition on but with the engine not running. If the fault clears but returns after switching on the engine; the fault is more than a simple electrical wire; if it will not clear at all; it is wiring. In this case; the vehicle ECU is not getting a satisfactory result from a sensor that is only powered up but not measuring very much, or there is an incomplete or short circuit.

You should make sure that the additional earth strap that is often mentioned on this forum (mostly by me) has been fitted as this cures an awful lot of strange electronic faults.

That last point should really be at the top of anyone's list!

Nick


Can I just say Nick that I appreciate everything you do on this forum for those of us with limited technical knowledge.
I've never had to seek help on the chassis/engine/gearbox on here (or anywhere else - touch wood) and this post has nothing to do with the problem experienced by OP but I'd hate to think you'd desert this forum at any time
Thank you Nick
Arthur
usereuroserv
Posted: 17 March 2014 5:15 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Frankly I don't feel like having an argument with the dealer either but I have looked at my van and the drawings on the parts disc and find that the controller and hydraulic equipment has to be removed before the gearbox can come off.
If this does not seem arse about face to them then they are not going to be convinced by me from 200 miles away!

I do recommend getting Fiat involved. It is amazing how quickly the BS dries up when they are being watched! It is possible that you may get some support from them, particularly if the procedure that they propose is unsuccessful. I absolutely despise the 'let's try this' mentality. For the money that main agents charge there should be guaranteed results or you don't pay. Best guesses are the preserve of garages that are trying to save you money and do not have the resources of technical departments at the manufacturer to call upon.

PS. Nice of you to say that Arthur, I will be sticking around and aim to pop by every day but recently have had a lot of my own battles to fight and it takes up a lot of my time. (Not with Fiat; I hasten to add!)

Edited by euroserv 2014-03-17 5:19 PM
userarmstrongpiper
Posted: 17 March 2014 6:18 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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My vehicle is a 3ltr Comfortmatic, from 2000 26000miles on the clock., I would be interested to know what age and mileage the OP's 'van is.

Neil B
userarmstrongpiper
Posted: 17 March 2014 6:20 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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OOPS, typo error. Vehicle is from 2008, not 2000. No problems to date. Great drive.

Neil B
userMike88
Posted: 17 March 2014 7:18 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Below is an extract from a thread on MHF concerning a mal functioning Comfortmatic gearbox. The problem in this case was due to a wiring issue and reinforces the point made by Nick that wiring is the most likely cause when a fault occurs:

"The gearbox problem is solved and it was nothing to do with the Comfortmatic gearbox after all. It seems that when the engine heats up, the wiring harness below and behind the dashboard, (above the bonnet hinge around the offside headlight) expands and shorts out against the wiper motor arm. It just happens that the affected wire is a link which disengages the gearbox. The garage only stumbled across it by pushing on the wiring harness and by doing so, selected neutral! Not something the computer can diagnose.

This occurred in the presence of a Fiat technical guy who claimed to have never encountered such a problem before. Which is unfortunate because a friend has experienced something similar which showed up as an engine misfire when the wiper motor was in action. And there are other similar instances on the Internet of wiper motors abrading the wiring harness. One would like to think that all of this must surely have been logged by Fiat on to some sort of database and made available to their technicians".


Edited by Mike88 2014-03-17 7:20 PM
userarjxh56
Posted: 17 March 2014 8:49 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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For the earlier poster.. My van has done 10k miles approx.. It's just run out of its warranty, although the 3rd year I am told is insurance based anyway and may not/would not have covered the costs?

Just spent another couple of hours with the technical guys.. They're confused too but are confident it's mechanical and that the box has to come out, not electrical based on there testing.
They have load tested the wiring circuit and say that's fine.
They have changed the battery and a cable from gearbox earth to the battery to eliminate those.
They have said my alternator is knackered as it's only charging at 13.8v and they say it occasionally drops. My engine also revs up and down when started up, but eventually settles. They say this is due to a dodgy alternator as well.. Although they say they don't think this has any bearing on the gearbox fault.
They tried to swap the gearbox ecu as a test but this didn't work as the one they had in another van was a newer model (euro5) and didn't do anything when plugged in. Although they are confident it's not the ecu.
They have swapped sensors around on gearbox and this didn't alter the situation.
They still cannot reset the fault light, it doesn't go out, and the calibration of the box doesn't respond. Just says please wait!
They are going to try bleed the clutch in the morning just in case it's an air lock. Fingers crossed!!
If this fails they tell me they have no other way of progressing without taking the box out, checking it manually changes once the hydraulic controller is taken off. This will eliminate the gearbox and they say point to the controller that sits on top of the gearbox. Due to access, the only way to check these items is to get the box out and this is a 9+hrs job.
I am worried to death about the situation and I have suggested all I can to the mechanics to try and help based on feedback here, from fiat technicians, and other forums.. (they're probably sick of me!)

So far the approx prices quoted for items have been..
£1800+vat plus fitting for the controller
£500 for the alternator from Italy, not sure how much labour or if this is inc vat
£78+vat per hour labour for investigations ongoing.. So far they have had it 4days!
£843 approx for removal of gearbox.. (Based on 9hrs at above rate)

But there is on guarantee that the above will actually resolve the problem? HELP!
userPampam
Posted: 17 March 2014 10:07 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Arjx you have my every sympathy our autotrail cheyanne's comfortmatic konked out when van was three years old ,weeks and weeks we were waiting for dealers to try and discover what was wrong in the end I part exed it for a new van : but I did end up getting in touch with fiat who I might add were very helpfull ,I'm not mechanically minded but it turned out to be the clutch wouldn't engage or something (I didn't think they had a clutch when automatic but apparently they do) my friend also discovered on the Internet that if you don't have a strong enough vehicle battery it affects the performance of the comfortmatic(it's a couple of years ago now so I can't remember all details but I do remember that I wished I'd got in touch with fiat earlier than I did the dealers didnt have a clue if I'd had my time again I'd have taken it to stoneacre our local fiat commercial dealers anyhow good luck I thought it was heart attack time when it happened to us it was so stressfull: pp :))
userdawki
Posted: 17 March 2014 10:09 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-03-17 8:49 PM

For the earlier poster.. My van has done 10k miles approx.. It's just run out of its warranty, although the 3rd year I am told is insurance based anyway and may not/would not have covered the costs?

Just spent another couple of hours with the technical guys.. They're confused too but are confident it's mechanical and that the box has to come out, not electrical based on there testing.
They have load tested the wiring circuit and say that's fine.
They have changed the battery and a cable from gearbox earth to the battery to eliminate those.
They have said my alternator is knackered as it's only charging at 13.8v and they say it occasionally drops. My engine also revs up and down when started up, but eventually settles. They say this is due to a dodgy alternator as well.. Although they say they don't think this has any bearing on the gearbox fault.
They tried to swap the gearbox ecu as a test but this didn't work as the one they had in another van was a newer model (euro5) and didn't do anything when plugged in. Although they are confident it's not the ecu.
They have swapped sensors around on gearbox and this didn't alter the situation.
They still cannot reset the fault light, it doesn't go out, and the calibration of the box doesn't respond. Just says please wait!
They are going to try bleed the clutch in the morning just in case it's an air lock. Fingers crossed!!
If this fails they tell me they have no other way of progressing without taking the box out, checking it manually changes once the hydraulic controller is taken off. This will eliminate the gearbox and they say point to the controller that sits on top of the gearbox. Due to access, the only way to check these items is to get the box out and this is a 9+hrs job.
I am worried to death about the situation and I have suggested all I can to the mechanics to try and help based on feedback here, from fiat technicians, and other forums.. (they're probably sick of me!)

So far the approx prices quoted for items have been..
£1800+vat plus fitting for the controller
£500 for the alternator from Italy, not sure how much labour or if this is inc vat
£78+vat per hour labour for investigations ongoing.. So far they have had it 4days!
£843 approx for removal of gearbox.. (Based on 9hrs at above rate)

But there is on guarantee that the above will actually resolve the problem? HELP!


What a Bl***y nightmare for you,just three years old and 10k miles on the van.
I hope it turns out not to be as bad as you fear it might be


Edited by dawki 2014-03-17 10:23 PM
userarjxh56
Posted: 17 March 2014 11:28 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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The more i think and the more i google... i would really like to try and rule out the gearbox ECU with a test that would prove it for certain.
Is there a way i can do this without buying a new one and having to have it re programmed to my vehicle?
userPeter James
Posted: 18 March 2014 5:10 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


arjxh56 - 2014-03-17 8:49 PM

£500 for the alternator


I don't know what the difference is with Alternators, but Unipart quote between £165.51 and £751.55 for the same vehicle: http://www.unipartautomotive.co.uk/electrical/alternators-dynamos/Fiat/Ducato/all/3.0/2011/Parts.aspx

(this is not a recommendation for Unipart by the way, they charge £265.61 for a valve apparently available from ntlparts for £96.95 http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/X2-50-black-smoke-and-loss-of-torque-at-lower-revs/34292/31/#M414945 )
userderek pringle
Posted: 18 March 2014 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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euroserv - 2014-03-17 3:53 PM

There is something not right about this.

The gearbox that you have is pretty much the same as the one fitted to manual's and there is nothing inside that operates any differently. The electro-hydraulic control stuff is on the outside of the box. I do not know why they think they have to remove the gearbox.

You should contact Fiat customer assistance and ask them to find out why this is. They will almost certainly come back to you to tell you that you will have to pay for whatever is wrong with the vehicle but while you have a 'case' open with them you can exert more pressure on the dealer to talk sense.

This is almost certainly an electrical wiring fault and this can be proved by checking if the fault code can be cleared with the ignition on but with the engine not running. If the fault clears but returns after switching on the engine; the fault is more than a simple electrical wire; if it will not clear at all; it is wiring. In this case; the vehicle ECU is not getting a satisfactory result from a sensor that is only powered up but not measuring very much, or there is an incomplete or short circuit.

You should make sure that the additional earth strap that is often mentioned on this forum (mostly by me) has been fitted as this cures an awful lot of strange electronic faults.

That last point should really be at the top of anyone's list!

Nick

Hi Nick, could you please give any info on where and how you fitted the extra earth straps please
cheers
derek
userderek pringle
Posted: 18 March 2014 9:44 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hi arjxh56,
We are now on our second 3ltr comfotrmatic which up to now is fine--but the first one recorded transmission faults after just a couple of weeks and less than 1500 mls. I n fact the vehicle would show ' check transmission' and following this another message would show along the lines of 'no transmission' or disengaging transmission', whichever it was the vehicle just went in to neutral even happening on the inside lane of traffic in France. After a moment or so I could select drive and we would be ok til the next time. Luckily we were on our way home and when contacted the Fiat agent they advised to nurse the vehicle home and take it to them. This I did and the problem was cured very quickly, they informed me it something to do with wiring or connections that ran behind the heater vents in the cab. We never had any more issues with the transmission after this episode.
cheers and good luck
derek
userbounty hunter
Posted: 18 March 2014 10:01 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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use the search function puuting in "earth strap" and "euroserv" as author and you will get this
https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/That-X2-50-engine-gearbox-earth-strap-again-/33081/

John
userMike88
Posted: 18 March 2014 11:01 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Battery issues are mentioned above. I have read somewhere that when a battery loses voltage as it gets older or for some other reason then problems with the Comfortmatic electrics have occurred. In that case I recall the incorrect battery was fitted by Fiat during manufacture as apparently the Comfortmatic and non Comfortmatic batteries are different. I have raised this on a previous thread but euroserve had not heard of this being an issue.

It is interesting to note that in this latest case which is the subject of this thread, the original poster is having problems with his alternator. Could this be the reason why the battery is losing power and affecting the gearbox electrics?
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 18 March 2014 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Mike88

I think the following forum-thread is where you asked about 'incorrect' Comfortmatic batteries (based on a MotorHomeFacts comment)

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/X-250-Vehicle-battery-Under-the-passengerrs-feet-/33651/

I doubt that there is any difference between the batteries fitted as standard to Ducatos with manual transmission or Comfortmatic transmission. However, it can be expected that there will be a capacity difference between the batteries fitted to Ducatos with the 2.3litre motor or the 3.0litre motor, as more capacity will be required for starting the larger powerplant.

This webpage lists battery Amp/hour details for Euro 5 Ducatos

http://vanleasingmadesimple.com/van-leasing/fiat/ducato/battery-amps

and I believe the same data apply to Euro 4 Ducatos - vehicles with the 3.0litre motor all get 110Ah batteries, whereas those with the 2.3motor get 95Ah batteries.

This may be the MHF thread you had in mind (I used GOOGLE-Advanced to retrieve it)

http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopic-122006-days0-orderasc-0.html

It's stated at the bottom of the thread's 1st page that replacing a 'wrong' 100Ah battery with the 'right' 110Ah battery (apparently) cured a Comfortmatic warning-light/error-message problem.

It may be the case that the Comfortmatic transmission needs an adequate voltage to operate properly, so an under-par alternator and/or a discharged battery might cause problems, but I can't see why a slightly under-capacity battery (and I'd guess the 100Ah battery was actually 95Ah) would cause trouble once the vehicle's engine was running.
userMike88
Posted: 18 March 2014 2:19 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Derek Uzzell - 2014-03-18 1:59 PM

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It may be the case that the Comfortmatic transmission needs an adequate voltage to operate properly, so an under-par alternator and/or a discharged battery might cause problems, but I can't see why a slightly under-capacity battery (and I'd guess the 100Ah battery was actually 95Ah) would cause trouble once the vehicle's engine was running.



Thanks Derek. The original poster on this thread stated:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"They have said my alternator is knackered as it's only charging at 13.8v and they say it occasionally drops."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Leaving aside the question of the incorrect battery, if there is a link between an under performing battery and the gearbox electrics, then couldn't the fact that the original poster's alternator is "knackered" be a contributory cause?

Edited by Mike88 2014-03-18 2:21 PM
usereuroserv
Posted: 18 March 2014 3:17 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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The battery is a red herring. My vehicles have exactly the same 95Ah battery as the manual transmission models.

The alternator is potentially more significant. If the engine is 'hunting' around at idle the voltage regulator is not working properly and the engine ecu is trying to compensate. An irregular power supply can cause all kind of problems.
New alternators are available from Andrew Page for about £150+ VAT for brand new Bosch unit.
They are a bugger to fit, but I would get this done before ripping out a gearbox!

In light of the fact that there are several problems with this vehicle at such low mileage I would definitely be in touch with Fiat customer relations by now! If Fiat advise the dealer to proceed as they believe they should and it turns out to not cure the problem; Fiat will have a responsibility to help with the costs. As it is, if you agree to pay for the suggested repairs (and they won't proceed unless you do), and they get it wrong you will be out of pocket and still not be able to use the vehicle.

It is a reasonable claim that if a major item like a control unit is going to fail this early in it's life; it was clearly not fit for the purpose that it was intended. You MUST explore the Fiat route before you enter into a contract with the repairer to foot the bill yourself. The warranty period may have expired but there must be some goodwill available under the circumstances. The dealer will not be able to get this for you and should have told you to get in touch with Fiat already.
userderek pringle
Posted: 18 March 2014 7:05 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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bounty hunter - 2014-03-18 10:01 AM

use the search function puuting in "earth strap" and "euroserv" as author and you will get this
https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/That-X2-50-engine-gearbox-earth-strap-again-/33081/

John


thanks John,
derek
userMike Raddats
Posted: 18 March 2014 7:48 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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I had this problem on my IH Tio (2008) with same engine & gearbox in early 2012. At first Northern Commercials couldn't find a fault, either by driving or diagnostics, as it was intermittent. Apparently the vehicle goes into 'limp mode' when it happens. By July 2012 it got worse, and they were able to find a fault in a sensor. They replaced that and it's been fine since (fingers crossed of course).

The invoice says 'intermittent clutch disc speed signal fault at 76k in 4th gear'.

Just under £400 including VAT, which was a hell of a lot better than the new gearbox I'd feared.

It was NC at Brighouse, and my invoice was Doc. No. 716253, if that helps.

Good Luck

Mike
usersilverback
Posted: 18 March 2014 9:18 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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please arjxh56
take heed of euroserve advice ! get intouch with fiat!!
i had problems with ecu (water damage) had it at clemo garage at clecheaton they called up fiat professional after they couldn't diagnose fault properly "exhaust sensor" turned out bad connection where water had got in and they (FP) said new ecu cos it had spiked the ecu and all is good, the point is clemo told me that fiat "might" or "will" change ecu even up to 6 years so its worth a try, and anyways owts better than taking the gearbox out in 9hrs just on the off chance!
hope everthing turns out good for you but please explore fiat option 1st
jon
userarjxh56
Posted: 18 March 2014 10:51 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Thanks all... I have followed advice and engaged Fiat. I have been told that they will now discuss the situation with Northern commercials and keep me updated on progress.
I have my fingers and toes crossed that between them a satisfactory solution is found. One that hopefully cures this fault for good and doesn't bankrupt me in the process!
I will keep you all updated....
usersilverback
Posted: 19 March 2014 9:35 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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nice one hope all goes well , i think you might be suprised hopefully, in my limited experience with fiat if its a known fault they usually try and help you out... after all after toyota they are the next big conglomerate
jon
userJudgeMental
Posted: 19 March 2014 10:20 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


From what other more informed contributors have said,first earth strap, then wiring loom behind dash, Would not trust fiat I'm afraid, they are masters of denial! Or the the firm that wanted to rip box out. They sound clueless......hope you get sorted.
userrolandrat
Posted: 20 March 2014 12:42 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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JudgeMental - 2014-03-19 10:20 PM

From what other more informed contributors have said,first earth strap, then wiring loom behind dash, Would not trust fiat I'm afraid, they are masters of denial! Or the the firm that wanted to rip box out. They sound clueless......hope you get sorted.



Couldn't agree more.
userRuby(Exsis)
Posted: 21 March 2014 2:02 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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I am sorry to read of your problem.
Several years ago I had a syncromesh problem on a vehicle just out of warranty and only 15k on the clock.
I was faced by a huge quote from Fiat repairer.
Excellent support and advice from Nick (euroserve) and Brian Kirby, armed me to deal with Fiat who at first instance were unhelpful. Fighting my corner, eventually Fiat contributed only £100 but after the repairer had direct dialogue with Fiat they offered me a big discount. Get all this sorted before you authorise the work - stick out for a deal. You will have to go up the chain of command at Fiat and be prepared to be stonewalled.
When they did my repair they bashed and bu*****d up the ECU, and that led to some poor excuses and communication and lies and a big delay.... but all that is another story. They ended up with egg on their face,embarrassed and only charged me £540 and a free service and MOT the next year.
In the end they looked after me very well.
Best wishes for some understanding and support from Fiat anfd your repairer.
userBBB
Posted: 22 March 2014 2:30 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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not an electrician or a mechanic but regards your alternator thereis a replaceable part i think its called a voltage regulator will cost 15-20 pounds might be cheaper than a whole alternator
userjhorsf
Posted: 24 March 2014 5:40 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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http://www.eurocarparts.com/alternator
userarjxh56
Posted: 24 March 2014 8:43 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Thanks all for the info so far...
Latest update is that fiat Italy have agreed to send a new gearbox ECU to try and see if that improves the situation. If it doesn't, we can send it back without paying for it.
I will let you know as soon as I know more...
userrolandrat
Posted: 25 March 2014 9:40 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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It will be interesting to know the outcome on this one considering Northern Commercials had hinted that the gearbox might have to be removed. At least Fiat seem to be on the right track with external components.
userDave Newell
Posted: 25 March 2014 10:07 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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I spoke to a guy at the weekend whose comfortmatic had failed with almost exactly the same symptoms, the commercial garage dealing with it are apparently replacing the gearbox which seemed odd to me as it will select the gears in manual mode but not auto. That in itself tells me the selector mechanism and the ECU or wiring are more likely to be the culprit(s) than the box itself.

D.
usereuroserv
Posted: 25 March 2014 11:30 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-03-24 8:43 PM

Thanks all for the info so far...
Latest update is that fiat Italy have agreed to send a new gearbox ECU to try and see if that improves the situation. If it doesn't, we can send it back without paying for it.
I will let you know as soon as I know more...


Funny how the gearbox no longer has to come out for the control unit to be swapped!

Well done; this is a very positive move from Fiat.
usereuroserv
Posted: 25 March 2014 11:31 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Dave Newell - 2014-03-25 10:07 AM

I spoke to a guy at the weekend whose comfortmatic had failed with almost exactly the same symptoms, the commercial garage dealing with it are apparently replacing the gearbox which seemed odd to me as it will select the gears in manual mode but not auto. That in itself tells me the selector mechanism and the ECU or wiring are more likely to be the culprit(s) than the box itself.

D.


I would be fascinated to hear how that one works out, Dave.
userrolandrat
Posted: 25 March 2014 2:25 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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As a matter of interest Nick, what mileages do your fleet of Comfort-matics achieve before clutch replacement has to be carried out in comparison with the manuals?

Roland.
usereuroserv
Posted: 25 March 2014 4:01 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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As already stated; the one I use has very low mileage and the others all left us with over 100,000 miles on them at about 4 years old. No clutches fitted, no gearbox faults.

I definitely subscribe to the theory that without human intervention a clutch will last longer on an automated box than a manual one.
userrolandrat
Posted: 25 March 2014 5:30 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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That says a great deal about how robust the Comfortmatic is. Thanks for that.
userDave Newell
Posted: 26 March 2014 9:09 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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euroserv - 2014-03-25 11:31 AM

Dave Newell - 2014-03-25 10:07 AM

I spoke to a guy at the weekend whose comfortmatic had failed with almost exactly the same symptoms, the commercial garage dealing with it are apparently replacing the gearbox which seemed odd to me as it will select the gears in manual mode but not auto. That in itself tells me the selector mechanism and the ECU or wiring are more likely to be the culprit(s) than the box itself.

D.


I would be fascinated to hear how that one works out, Dave.


Me too Nick, when I see him again I'll ask for a progress report.

D.
userarjxh56
Posted: 26 March 2014 2:13 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update....
New ECU in place and the van is performing as it should. Service centre now discussing with Fiat about the contribution, paperwork going in tomorrow. I should have the van back next week.
Fingers crossed it will be a good contribution as the guys spent many hours on the van before ordering the ECU to try so the labour charge could be pretty huge!

I will let you know how I get on....
userCorky 8
Posted: 26 March 2014 3:20 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Brilliant News ,really pleased for you, and hope its not too costly, isn't it great to have such Technically informed people on this free forum like Nick(euroserve) and Dave , I think we owe them a vote of Thanks,    safe Journey,s
userrolandrat
Posted: 26 March 2014 4:31 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-03-26 2:13 PM

Latest update....
New ECU in place and the van is performing as it should. Service centre now discussing with Fiat about the contribution, paperwork going in tomorrow. I should have the van back next week.
Fingers crossed it will be a good contribution as the guys spent many hours on the van before ordering the ECU to try so the labour charge could be pretty huge!

I will let you know how I get on....


That's very good news, at least the gearbox wasn't removed. An ECU can go down at any time. Why a main agent can't keep a test ECU available for situations such as you have experienced makes you wonder. I had a similar experience with a Merc artic some years ago, it had been in numerous main agents and had spent many hours off the road, every service manager thought they had the answer but drew a blank until one day I spotted a brand new unit similar to mine so I asked the service manager to let me try its ECU, he reluctantly did. I took it out of the garage and it was perfect. So after many months of dilly dallying with so called boffins the problem was solved, not by them but a Know nothing driver. Did I return to have the ECU removed? No way, I kept going, my employer was over the moon. It turned out that they were reluctant to change it because they cost £4000. Merc lost a lot of business after that because the company changed the fleet over to DAF. If I had been an owner driver I could have gone bankrupt because of the time spent off the road. Mercedes did all they could to win the business back but to this day they haven't.
usereuroserv
Posted: 27 March 2014 12:18 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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arjxh56 - 2014-03-26 2:13 PM

Latest update....
New ECU in place and the van is performing as it should. Service centre now discussing with Fiat about the contribution, paperwork going in tomorrow. I should have the van back next week.
Fingers crossed it will be a good contribution as the guys spent many hours on the van before ordering the ECU to try so the labour charge could be pretty huge!

I will let you know how I get on....


The best thing to do is let them make an offer first and get off the phone to consider it. Don't agree to anything immediately unless it is a really amazing offer. Get their email address for the specific agent that you have been speaking with.

The next course of action would be to send an email to Fiat stating that the time that had been spent trying to figure out what was wrong with the vehicle is of no concern to you. The AA technician did not know what to do; the dealers did not know what to do and both entities are allegedly (if you read you Fiat Service book) "factory trained" and have the full support of Fiat in the UK and in Italy to call upon. If the dealership team is not adequately trained to deal with the issue and have to spend many hours scratching their heads; this should not be at your expense. In addition; the part that failed did so well short of it's expected lifetime (which you could reasonably expect to be the lifetime of the vehicle) and while you are outside of the warranty period; are you to expect that most major cost items that are not subject to regular service will fail within 3 to 4 years of being made? They should consider including a warning in the sales brochure or service handbook to that effect if this is the case! If they have not; and your expectation was for 'many years of trouble free motoring' then the vehicle or it's parts were not fit for the purpose that it was intended for and described/sold as specifically suitable for.

I won't (can't) go into detail about our past experiences when invoking the above wrath I will suggest that the outcomes have been very favourable.

May the force be with you....
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 27 March 2014 11:36 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


50005000500020002000100100100100
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Excellent advice throughout Nick, and especially the above post. But may I add a bit?

I think arjxh56 should also speak to the senior management of Northern Commercials about the level of charge they intend to impose. I understand from his posts that he drove the van there in "limp home" mode, and that the gearbox was therefore partially operative at that time. My understanding of the Comfortmatic, from the handbook for mine, that there is a separate controller for the gearbox, they refer to as a gearbox controller. So, I shall refer to this as the GCU.

Northern Commercials seem to have spent a lot of time pursuing red herrings that they should have known better than to pursue. I would suggest they should have approached Fiat technical themselves when confronted with a problem they could niot understand, rather than spending hours on pointless swapping of components and finally wanting to remove the complete box (another action that, on the face of it would have been a complete waste of time - and arjxh56's money) to establish only that the box was fine and the solution was a new GCU.

Whether this was a case of man vs machine at someone else's expense, incompetence, or just seeing a motorhome and assuming the owner was a cow ripe to be milked I wouldn't wish to speculate, but continuing down a series of blind alleys when they had expert assistance available at the end of a 'phone seems a long way short of reasonable conduct to me, leave alone professional.

I accept that diagnosis would probably not have been instant, and so some investigatory labour would have been inevitable, but I understand the swap of control units is a fairtly quick and simple task. Fiat may be able to advise how many man-hours would have been reasonable to identify the GCU as faulty: if they can't, what about one hour for starters? Beyond that, another hour to swap units? Whether or not the suggested times are realistic is not the point, which is that that the total bill, against which Fiats contribution is to be offset, should be the reasonable minimum necessary labour, plus just the cost of the new GCU.

Unless Northern Commercials immediately put their hands up, apologise for their performance,and waive their exhorbitant billl, I think it should be put to their management that they were, through dishonesty or incompetence, about to land arjxh56 with a bill for thousands of £s - most of which would have been entirely due to their own failings. If they were to seek to pursue charges for their grossly excessive labour (given the circumstances as described), they would IMO fall into the same category of rogues as those "builders" who tell anxious little old ladies that there are serious problems with their roof in need of urgent attention, do no work at all, and then extort most of their victim's life's savings through bogus charges. So, my view is that some very straight talking indeed with those responsible is required. Whether this falls truly into the legal category of attempted fraud I can't say, but morally it looks extremely close to me.
userJudgeMental
Posted: 28 March 2014 8:17 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


Copy Nicks advice above, add to it regards vehicle failure under the terms of sales of goods act, not fit for purpose, of merchantable quality, or as described. Van fails on all 3, and why you should be expected to pay for general incompetence and lack of training a nonsense....

please note, the act stipulates 6 years, the fiat warranty length irrelevant

A downloadable letter that you can add your details to in this link. Use it and send paper copy as well as email

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theoneshow/consumer/2009/07/03/sale_of_goods_act_letter_downl.html

Do this and they will know you know your rights.....

Edited by JudgeMental 2014-03-28 8:31 AM
usereuroserv
Posted: 28 March 2014 11:54 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Although Brian is completely right in suggesting that you go for the jugular with Northern Commercial's management; I know how things work with Fiat's customer service department.....

They will consult with the dealer and will make observations or even criticisms of their efforts and procedures. If Fiat feel that they have been piddling about and should have known better or sought assistance sooner; they will tell them. They (Fiat) will determine the level of support that they deem appropriate to the dealer and to the customer and will communicate this soon.

Hold fire on any other action until you have this conversation. You may be pleasantly surprised.

If not; then the next port of call will be Fiat by email and then a letter to the dealer.

Before you pay anything to anyone, you must insist on an extended (25 miles) drive in the vehicle to ensure that it is indeed fixed. The dealer may want to accompany you for this.

Don't be surprised if Fiat ask you to pay a certain amount to the dealer and say they will send you a cheque as a 'one off discretionary payment' to you; this is also normal and can be trusted.

Nick
userarjxh56
Posted: 28 March 2014 1:02 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update....

Paperwork now submitted to Fiat along with the requested proof of service history, V5, Log book stamps, service invoices, etc...
Northern Commercials have said they will let me know as soon as they hear back but they have assured me i wont have to pay for anything more than is deemed acceptable for the particular fault and repair.

I will see what Fiat say before making my next move as they may well respond in my favour? ..Or at least i hope they will

Good advice to take the vehicle on an extended run, i wouldn't have thought to do that. I also assume that the work/repair will come with some kind of warranty but i have yet to discuss this point.

Fingers crossed i may well hear something today, but worst case i suppose it will be Monday.

Thanks all for the help .. I will keep you updated as usual.

userBrian Kirby
Posted: 28 March 2014 6:26 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


50005000500020002000100100100100
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Good. That, in conjunction with Nick's further input above, is reassuring. I hope it all works out to your reasonable satisfaction, and that you can now bin the Prozac!
userarjxh56
Posted: 31 March 2014 9:16 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update......
I am really cross with Northern Commercials.

They asked me to bring my documents in last Wednesday as they needed to submit the forms for the Fiat contribution. The guys said they finished at 6 so I dropped everything, travelled a very long way to go home and collect my docs, I also had to get the kids out of school as I wouldn't have got back in time and the wife was away... I then drove over to Brighouse in a rush to get the forms in... I eventually got the kids home way after their bedtime, but at least I got it all done in time I thought!

I rang Fiat a couple of days later and they told me they hadn't heard from the contribution dept' yet but it usually only takes a couple of days. I left it a few more days and then called Northern Commercials to see if they had heard anything. I was then told that they hadn't sent the contribution forms in as they had been too busy... that's 5 days they had to send them in and I rushed like a mad man!.. Surely they weren't too busy for 5days??

I called Fiat customer service this afternoon to double check I was being told the correct info, funnily enough Fiat were also told by NC that the forms went in last week! Fiat then made a call to NC and they have now apparently sent the forms....

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 31 March 2014 11:17 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


50005000500020002000100100100100
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Hmmmm! Not exactly covering themselves in glory on this one, are they? Know of a better dealership within reach? Time to look, maybe?
usersilverback
Posted: 1 April 2014 8:21 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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fiat clemo at cleckheaton, had good service so far..touch wood
hope he gets sorted
jon
userarjxh56
Posted: 2 April 2014 12:47 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Thanks.. I am going to call Fiat tomorrow and see if they have made a decision. I just hope they cover the repair as good will
I did have the choice of Clemo in Cleckheaton but I was advised by my Motorhome service centre that I should use Northern Commercials. Apparently they use them when required and I was told they could be trusted to do a good job.

Let's see what the outcome is... Maybe everything will turn out ok in the end?
userarjxh56
Posted: 2 April 2014 7:53 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update....
I have yet to get confirmation from Northern commercials but fiat customer services have apparently now confirmed and sent approval to NC to cover the entire costs of the repair. This could be a fantastic result.
I will call in the morning and hopefully arrange to collect the van without having to pay a penny towards its repair.

Fingers and toes are doubly crossed....

userarjxh56
Posted: 3 April 2014 10:39 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update...
Fiat have very kindly covered the cost of the ECU and it's associated labour (3hrs) .. Excellent service from them.
Northern commercials are now requesting I pay an additional 10 hrs labour for their diagnosis checks.
usermike 202
Posted: 3 April 2014 10:56 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hi, you did the work by contacting Fiat, they supplied the part and labour end of.

The garage just did not know what they were doing so why pay for their lack of skill.

Mike
usereuroserv
Posted: 3 April 2014 12:04 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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I would suggest that after 10 hours; all they were ready to do was remove the gearbox, and that was clearly not the answer. I think that 4 or 5 hours would be reasonable to look into and assess the fault IF they had got the answer by that point. I really do not see why you should foot the bill for their lack of expertise. You could have gotten just as far as they did by paying a Painter and Decorator to investigate it!
No disrespect to Decorators, of course.
userJudgeMental
Posted: 3 April 2014 1:00 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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

userBrambles
Posted: 30 April 2014 12:56 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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arjxh56 - 2014-04-29 11:24 PM

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?



I do not think cleaning the starter motor earth will make much difference, as the motor works fine.
Yes, normal for main gearbox earth to spark as various things power up again.
What I would do though based on past posts re this strap , is double up the earth strap from gear box to chassis, by this I mean add an extra strap from say the engine block to the chassis main earth point so you reduce the impedance ( resistance) of this connection. This appears to fix the problems often mentioned by Nick.

userarjxh56
Posted: 30 April 2014 1:20 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Thanks for the quick reply. .. I assume you mean i have the usual gearbox to chassis earth strap as mentioned, and then attach another new earth strap to the same chassis point as the gearbox one, and then to a random bolt on the engine block somewhere?

Should i also put another one on the alternator as this has been mentioned somewhere before too??
I have also seen someone mention a new earth strap directly from the battery terminals to the chassis point. Should i add this whilst i am at it as well ??

Cheers
userCliveH
Posted: 30 April 2014 6:21 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Certainly the "belt and braces" school of thought would suggest this is sensible.

I will bow to others greater expertise in vehicle electrics - but when fitting things like spot lights I always run the earth lead to the battery earth rather than rely on earthing via the chassis.

I appreciate this is not so easy when you have substantial earth straps such as those you are dealing with.

But relying on a chassis earth can be bad news.

Also - how old is the battery? not sure if anyone has covered this??? - we had an intermittent problem on the Discovery with the Alarm and the immobiliser and it was because the battery was not holding its charge.

I mention it because the circumstances were very similar to those you state - i.e. try to restart after a short run - I assumed this was because the battery was "going wobbly" after being charged.

A new battery solved our issues.

userPampam
Posted: 30 April 2014 7:24 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Arjkx 56 if you are anywhere near doncaster stoneacre here are a fiat commercial garage who i discovered after our fiasco with our comfortmatic gearbox and the dealership who took TWO MONTHS and still couldnt find the fault in the clutch i only took it to dealership on breakdown lorry because i thought it would be under warranty ....what a joke ! We ended up trading it in and getting a new van with manual gearbox ......it was still on the ramp with gearbox out when we exchanged :in retrospect i would have asked relay to take to stoneacre but hindsight is a marvellous thing we had lost faith in van cos of gearbox anyhow but i would highly recommend the team at stoneacre (fiat commercial) even tho havent a van at all at moment good luck pp:)......... Oh yes the dealership was Brownhills
userBrambles
Posted: 30 April 2014 10:16 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Re engine earth strap from gearbox.

The simplest way is to use a bit of flexible welding cable and have tags with a 6mm hole? added to both ends. The lead should be approx 10 inches long and is added in addition to existing strap from the chassis earth point to another bolt on the gearbox end plate.

Check harnesses where they run past other equipment or flanges. I believe there is one harness whch runs under the headlight and in this area can be damaged...you need to refer back to Nick's posts s he has mentioned. There is also I believe a point on the harness where it is close to the wiper motor mechanism and can get damaged by the wiper mechanism so look for this. Connections to fuses boxes and Engine managemnet sytes can also be prone to damp getting in and corroded contacts so need checking, as well as damaged cables due to so many being in thr same proximity and some get stressed and can break. Treat all cabe cnnections with great care not to cause any damage, it very easy as so much force is needed to manipulate massive bunches of wires that one slightly shorter wire in the group ends up being pulled and damaged.

DO NOT, go adding odd earthing cables willy nilly from various engine items to the chassis or battery zero volts, it could add more problems than it is worth and also be dangerous should main earthing for engine fail for any reason. Even some mechanic, be it yourself or not, disconnects the gearbox strap and trying to start the engine means all the starter motor current goes through your addition added earthing thin lead so it burns out and could go on fire.

The chassis is used as the main earthing/zero volts point not the battery negative terminal. However make sure your battery earth connection is sound as well as all positive connections. Also make sure there are no items connected to the chassis also resting against the engine block gearbox or exhaust which could be adding an additional ground loop. For example a wire strap from exhaust to chassis, or say a heat shield for the exhaust is bent/detatched and resting against something connected to the engine.
usereuroserv
Posted: 30 April 2014 11:35 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hello,

Sorry for the delay. I have just read the updates and it looks like some of our other friends are steering you in the right direction.

I can say with some certainty that your problem is insufficient earthing. You need an additional earth strap, and here is how to prove it.....

If the problem is regular and predictable; meaning you know that if you go out to the vehicle in the morning and it behaves in a similar way each day, there is a simple test to perform:

Get a decent quality jump lead and attach one end to the earth stud under the bonnet. It sticks out above the grille on the nearside, close to the headlamp. Attach the other end to the engine. There should be a lifting eye visible at the gearbox end of the engine close to the end of the plastic cover or a metal hoop in much the same place; these are ideal. Make sure any excess cable is clear of any moving parts such as fans.

You should now switch on the ignition and start the vehicle. If you don't have any warning lights, your need for an additional earth is proven.

I should also say that normally when there is an earth problem the first sign is that the engine revs a couple of hundred revs higher than normal and gradually builds to this over about a minute, This is because the ECU is not getting enough earth (power) and believes that there must be something wrong with the alternator and tries to compensate by making it produce more power.

There are many symptoms that are cured by the same solution. The addition of a second earth strap will not provide world peace or an end to poverty but it may well solve all of your problems!

Good luck.
userCliveH
Posted: 30 April 2014 11:58 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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euroserv - 2014-04-30 11:35 AM


I should also say that normally when there is an earth problem the first sign is that the engine revs a couple of hundred revs higher than normal and gradually builds to this over about a minute, This is because the ECU is not getting enough earth (power) and believes that there must be something wrong with the alternator and tries to compensate by making it produce more power.

.


Now that is interesting - The Discovery does this but mainly when it is wet. Over this winter it obviously did it a lot. It has been better of late tho.

Quick cure was manually flicking it over to LPG rather than the automatic transfer. But the tick over was still erratic which is a nuisance when reversing a trailer (the torque is so great we usually do this on tick over.


userarjxh56
Posted: 1 May 2014 9:50 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Update....
There are a couple of conflicting snippets of advice so I'm not sure if what i have done is good, bad or ugly!

I have removed the original earth strap and thrown it away.

I could only get a 240A rated cable made up and i believe i needed at least 250Ah or more so i have added 2x brand new 240Ah (35mm2) rated cables from the original chassis point to the gearbox. Just out of curiosity i checked the resistance of the new earth cables and the old earth strap and the figure was identical.

I have also added 1x 240Ah rated cable from the battery earth to the lifting eye mountings on the engine block. (this is the part that i see conflicting information about)

I cleaned up the earth connection on the starter motor and sprayed all of the other chassis earth points under the wing with contact spray.

Next I started the engine, with the door open and interior light on.
As previously the engine starts, the interior light is average brightness, and the revs slowly creep from about 800 to 1100. When the revs hit about 1000 the interior light gets brighter as though the voltage has increased, the engine revs stop increasing at about 1100 and then drop slowly back to 800 and remain there. This all happens over a period of about 30 seconds. My friends Ducato of the same year does the same thing but is this actually normal???

I haven't seen the gearbox failure light come on since getting it home the other day. As you know i tried to recreate the issue before making any changes to the earth wiring and couldn't. I have since swapped the wires as described above and will use the vehicle and see if the problem comes back. I haven't seen any difference to anything after changing the earth wiring?

I have not yet had the time to take the covers off and check the connections under the passenger headlights as i tried to do it last night and the heavens opened! I didn't fancy doing it in the rain.
userBrambles
Posted: 1 May 2014 10:55 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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You should not need to add a cable from battery negative to the engine mounting lug, I would remove it as could actually cause more problems that it is worth. It can cause undesirable ground loops. If it does cure the problem then it is because it is highlighting an issue elswhere so should be seen as a temp fix.

Now the two main earth straps. Connect both to chassis earth point as you have, but connect to two different points on gearbox. Again there is good reason for this as it wil reduce effective resistance and impedance a lot. For all anyone knows it may actualy work because of high resistace in the alloy around the bolt for the 1st cable, adding a second to same point will have little effect. Using a separate bolt reduces the resistance of the overall connections.
usereuroserv
Posted: 1 May 2014 3:54 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Brambles is exactly right.

I did not (nor did anyone else) advise fitting any other earth leads between the battery and the engine. I don't think this would be a good idea.

What i did suggest was trying a jump lead between the under bonnet earth point and the engine for the purposes of testing; IF there was a fault present on starting on a regular basis.

In any case, what you have done (once the battery to engine cable is removed) is exactly what we have done in the past; what Fiat dealers were instructed to do and what we know works in almost all cases like yours.

Try it. It is probably ok now. If not it's time to hit the wiring paying particular attention to anything that has been disturbed or un-plugged recently.
userarjxh56
Posted: 2 May 2014 6:56 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Thanks guys.. I didn't mean conflicting info just on here, I have read many other sites/posts and there appears to be a mix of those that said to leave the engine to battery earth on permenantly Vs those that say to remove it once tested.
I will leave it on for a while and see if I get a recurrence of my issues. If I get the problem back I know it's not earth related? If nothing occurs for a while I'm just not sure how long to leave it? It was about 800 miles between issues over the last 2 weeks so maybe 1000 miles may be a good test?

If I remove the lead from the battery and put it on the chassis next to the battery, where the battery first connects to the body.. Would that be a safer option than leaving it attached to the battery? Or is it the fact that there is another earth to the engine block in general that needs removing (putting it back to the original configuration of gearbox to chassis only)?

It was occurring to me last night that it was particularly wet at points between when it failed the first and second time. I was wondering if water spray from the road, or rain getting in from the windscreen scuttle etc that may have played a part? What do you think? Should I wrap parts of the engine wiring and connections in plastic as a precaution?

I appreciate all of your help. Hope I can return the favour some time.
userBrambles
Posted: 2 May 2014 10:53 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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No, the lead to battery should be removed and not connected anywhere else.
Water getting into a connector is very much a possiblility.
userarjxh56
Posted: 5 May 2014 8:16 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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400 miles since the last occurrence .. No further faults but only driven in dry weather so far. Ill keep you posted.
userarjxh56
Posted: 6 May 2014 10:09 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Now booked into Northern Commercials on thursday for diagnostics. I will let you know what they find.
userBrambles
Posted: 6 May 2014 11:34 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Be interesting to see what faut codes are logged. Good luck with it all.
userPampam
Posted: 7 May 2014 5:42 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Glad to hear you got it all sorted ,you certainly got plenty of good advice off the forum wish id been a forum member when our comfortmatic konked lol pp:) (turned grey overnight )
userarjxh56
Posted: 7 May 2014 8:25 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Pampam - 2014-05-07 5:42 AM

Glad to hear you got it all sorted ,you certainly got plenty of good advice off the forum wish id been a forum member when our comfortmatic konked lol pp:) (turned grey overnight )


Its not sorted unfortunately, booked in for diagnostics tomorrow see if the fault can be found this time round.
I agree the advice on here is fantastic, i would have been lost without it.
userarjxh56
Posted: 8 May 2014 6:51 PM
Subject: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure - And Alternator Issue?
 


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Latest update....
Diagnostic check at NC today showed the error logged from when i had the recurrence of the gearbox failure light. It showed the same sensor fault as last time but this time it cleared when the technician reset everything. I was reassured the sensor was checked last time and it wasn't the cause but something else has caused this fault code to appear. If it was me, i would be tempted to swap the sensor but they are sure its fine.

The gearbox was re calibrated and there were no obvious faults for the technician to see, he could not re create the gearbox failure during the 1hr slot i had booked?
BUT he did mention the Alternator again.... As i described before, the engine on start up increases revs up to about 1100 rpm and then drops back and remains on idle permenantly. He says this is a charging issue and that the alternate needs changing to stop it revving up initially. The Alternator is showing 14.2v output at the battery, but he did connect another 'machine' and say that it was showing a charging fault and that it needs to be rectified via a new alternator?

The other really interesting thing he saw was.... at the time the gearbox failure light came on the voltage was recorded as 11.5v in the memory. This is really strange because the battery had been on mains overnight, showing over 13v on the panel in the morning. We then drove for 2hrs with the alternator presumable charging as normal. I then stopped in the services and turned the panel on and the panel showed over 13v on both Cab and Hab batteries... I then left the van for a sarny and coffee break returning to start it up to carry on which is when the fault occurred. An hour later and after another hour of faffing around trying to clear the fault, the AA man checked everything before declaring it wasn't fixable and the battery was still showing over 12.7v and passed his load test?? Where did the 11.5v come from??
The battery was also checked today by NC, who actually changed the battery less than 2 weeks ago, and they said it was perfectly fine but said the alternator is causing a charging fault (despite the output still showing 14.2v when the engine is running?)
I am confused?! Does this make sense to any of you guys?
I did see the charging error message on the machine and i cannot recall what message it said, although I would remember it should someone repeat it!
I am trying to think what could have pulled the voltage down that much at the time the failure occurred but its lost me. The technician was also stumped at this one?

I was also told that the small black wire that attaches to the alternator is the comms wire and during start up the ECU checks the signals to and from the alternator using this wire. I was told that if during start up the ECU detects an error in the charge circuit it may throw up errors such as the gearbox failure light? There are no guarentees the alternator fault has anything to do with the gearbox fault but they say it needs taking out of the equation anyway.
I have owned 2x Ducato 3.0 engines and both did the revving up and settling... My friend has the same van and his revs the same.. his previous van also revved the same.. Thats 4 different 3.0 ducato vehicles, all doing the same, but none of the other vehicles have had any issues or were ever flagged as being at fault? I have also done 9k miles with the revving always being present and had no issues until now. I did ask the service centre when it was in for service about it and they also said "they all do it, just ignore it"
Has anyone had this revving up at start up and had to change the alternator? Did it resolve it?

NC agreed that the next step, after the alternator is changed, is to drive it and use it until such time the fault re occurs with the gearbox.. i am just going to be on edge everywhere i go, parking only where i think a flat bed will be able to get in for recovery! Its sooooo frustrating!
userKeithl
Posted: 8 May 2014 7:22 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure - And Alternator Issue?
 


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Could the 11.5v reading have been during cranking?

If so it would be a sure fire sign of either a faulty earth somewhere between battery and starter OR on the live side of the 12v. The ECU will measure the voltage within its own circuitry so, say a faulty earth, would cause a low voltage at the ECU and hence your fault code and transmission fault.

The low voltage would only need to be for a fraction of a second for the ECU to flag the fault so almost impossible to trace without proper diagnostic equipment! I doubt very much if you would see it with a digital multimeter as the change would be far too fast.

I think you need to get a very fast recording voltage meter or oscilloscope connected to the ECU supply to trace the fault further. I would suggest a minimum sampling rate of 10 samples per second but ideally 100. You should be able to pick up the ECU voltage at the diagnostic socket as it has a supply for running diagnostic readers.

PS Have a look at this website for the sort of scope I am talking about... Link to Pico.

HTH,
Keith.

PPS OR it could be a faulty connection at the ECU as has been suggested earlier!

Edited by Keithl 2014-05-08 7:28 PM
userMuswell
Posted: 8 May 2014 7:45 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure - And Alternator Issue?
 
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Keithl - 2014-05-08 7:22 PM


PS Have a look at this website for the sort of scope I am talking about... Link to Pico.



Did you have to? Luckily they are quite expensive so it was relatively easy to resist another fix for my tool acquisition habit.
userKeithl
Posted: 8 May 2014 7:59 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure - And Alternator Issue?
 


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Yes Muswell, I'd love one too but unfortunately outside my budget as well

I do use equipment like this at work so know it's uses and limitations but unfortunately can't afford my own. Although there could be a market to offer a service... Now that's got me thinking

Keith.
usereuroserv
Posted: 9 May 2014 10:34 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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I only have one 3.0 van on site at present and it just happens to be my comfort-matic. It started immediately and went straight to normal idle speed with no surge at all.

I have my doubts that there is anything wrong with the alternator on your vehicle; I still think this is a wiring problem but in your position I would say something like this to them;

" You are the experts regarding this vehicle. You have the training and continuing support of Fiat to call upon. If it is your considered opinion that the alternator should be replaced in order to cure this problem and to stop the surge in revs when the engine is started I will agree to pay for this on the understanding that should it not solve one or both of the issues that we have, I will expect you to replace the new alternator with my old one or to not have to pay for the incorrect diagnosis or repair".

To me; this is the price of being an expert. Why should a customer who has put his faith in you have to pay for your mistakes? The expert can write off the labour internally as 'training'. You should not be paying for their people to learn how to do their job.

As I said before; once the earth strap is sorted out, the next logical step is to examine the wiring loom in the area below and around the nearside headlamp. There are many small wires in a tightly packed bundle. One or more may be weakened and not passing the correct signals, there may be a short. It's where these problems hide on X250 vehicles. It happens a lot. Fiat know this and so do the dealers.

A long time ago I said it won't be the ECU or the control unit, that you don't need to remove the gearbox to change the control unit and that it would be the earth or a wiring fault. I am not the guy that says 'I told you so' but get the wiring checked.

While you are at it; GET THE WIRING CHECKED!
userCliveH
Posted: 9 May 2014 10:44 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Sound advice indeed - my only suggestion is that the excellent wording cited should be put in writing - not an email - but a good old fashioned snail mail letter sent via the post office so that it has to be signed for.

And then ring or call in a few days later to discuss what they intend to do.

If they say they have not received it - then send it via email - basically make sure you have a clear and demonstrable audit trail as to exactly what is going to happen if what they suggest does not work.


userSteve928
Posted: 9 May 2014 11:05 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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euroserv - 2014-05-09 10:34 AM

As I said before; once the earth strap is sorted out, the next logical step is to examine the wiring loom in the area below and around the nearside headlamp. There are many small wires in a tightly packed bundle. One or more may be weakened and not passing the correct signals, there may be a short. It's where these problems hide on X250 vehicles. It happens a lot.


This is probably a good point at which to show again my picture of just such a wiring fault in that exact location, from the earlier 'That X2/50 Earth Strap Again' thread.

This gave similar spurious faults to the OP's (though nothing to do with Comfortmatic) and in a period of dry weather we happily covered 700+ miles fully believing that a new earth strap had fixed the problem, until the next damp, cold spell brought the fault back.

If you don't fancy DIY cutting into the wiring looms yourself then find a specialist auto-electrician who can load test each individual wire. I believe that the good ones have special 'clips' to attach to all of the vaious plugs on the looms.




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userarjxh56
Posted: 9 May 2014 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Northern Commercials assure me that they have checked the wiring and also load tested the loom (whatever that means) that was all part of the 10hrs labour I had to pay for last time. Fiat wouldn't cover the cost of diagnostics.
usereuroserv
Posted: 9 May 2014 4:21 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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So they say.

Do you trust them?

I have my doubts regarding their competence so far. The whole "Got to remove the gearbox to remove the control unit" thing would have had me in stitches if it were not so pitifully stupid.

Unless you want to spend months running around chasing your own tail you need to find someone independent that is good with electrics to go through the loom and make sure.

We work on these vehicles all day; every day. It's what we would do.
userarjxh56
Posted: 9 May 2014 5:49 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Just had a call from Fiat to say they will cover the Alternator cost. I am now waiting for the part to arrive.
I also had a call from NC to say they will let me know when i can go for the fitting, likely to be next Tuesday. They also mentioned they don't think they will be able to fit it in the allocated time?

Its really good news that Fiat are still helping out and being efficient too. I am impressed with the after care from them so far. I just hope this resolves the revving and the charging issue that NC say it will.. Fingers crossed.

Once this is resolved there will hopefully be zero faults listed in the memory and so if/when the gearbox fails again the focus can be on finding the fault without distractions?
userPampam
Posted: 11 May 2014 7:38 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Phew good luck (yet again ) arjkx hope they sort it good job you werent away at moment with all the rain weve had pp:)
userarjxh56
Posted: 15 May 2014 4:50 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Update.....

So the new alternator is on and NC are happy.
Im not so happy yet, I am a little confused! If you recall right back when i first went in, the garage said that my alternator voltage was not enough at 13.9v (idle speed) so i needed a new one. This view has changed dramatically and I'm not sure what is correct....

On the previous alternator the voltage was around 13.9 at idle and up to about 14.2 revved, but it did go up and down...With the new alternator the voltage being produced is now between 12.2v and 12.9v. (depending on the load). They told me it was due to the fully charged battery not needing any more voltage so i flattened it to under 12v (around 11.9 once settled down) Despite this, the alternator voltage still doesn't go any higher at idle or at 200rpm.

NC tell me that the engine ECU is smart and knows how much the battery needs and thats all it must need.
I am just a little worried that things are now worse than they were before and that i will end up with flat leisure / cab batteries due to lack of charge??? I did ask 3 different engineers at NC and all of them said the alternator was now working correctly.

Are they correct and is this normal? Should i just chill out and stop worrying??

Thanks

usereuroserv
Posted: 15 May 2014 5:24 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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The engine ECU is indeed smart but it cannot alter the output voltage of the alternator. If the alternator voltage regulator is working correctly it will be supplying between 14.2 and 14.4V at idle ; with or without headlights switched on etc.

I am at a loss as to what these people are talking about. They may be measuring the output at the alternator or through the ECU port and finding the correct voltage but you are measuring it somewhere else. If it is between the positive terminal and the earth point in the engine compartment I can see no reason why you should be getting a different reading to theirs. If they are getting less than 14v, something is wrong.

I would use it, test it and see if the other problems have gone away before worrying about this.
Does it still rev up after starting, or has this issue disappeared as they said it would? That was one of their reasons for changing the alternator, after all.
userarjxh56
Posted: 15 May 2014 8:08 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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I was with them when they checked the alternator voltage. They used a machine connected to the battery and also measured it using the OBD connection and a laptop. The laptop showed 12.3v and they said this was a fault with the laptop and windows 98 so the reading was wrong. They then used the other machine which was connected to the battery, this one checked the charging circuit etc.. This was reading up to 12.9v when revved, It also checked the diode or something like that? It did confirm there was no fault on the charging circuit, which the guy said had been coming up with the old alternator.

I then got my little volt meter out and put it between the + and - on the battery and it was reading the same, roughly 12.9v ... Considerably less than the last alternator and considerably less than the 14+ volts that you mention.

I am told its a like for like swap of alternator (140A) but this one doesn't have any labels or stickers so i cannot see any model numbers etc... It looks smaller than the old one, (to me), but they said it was a like for like swap. Is there any way of me telling if its up to the job and is definitely the 140A? Would the wrong one result in lower voltage readings??

I havent checked the revving up and down, it was already running when i left the garage, I will pop outside in a few minutes and try it. I got distracted with the voltage readings!!
userarjxh56
Posted: 15 May 2014 8:24 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Just been out to check the revving up... to give them credit, It didn't do it, although the engine is still almost operating temperature.
I will try again in the morning when the engine has cooled as this is when it used to do it every time without fail. It may be the NC guys were correct about the alternator causing the engine to rev up, this would be one less problem for me to worry about

I will also put some load on the battery overnight so that in the morning i would expect the alternator to have to do some hard work to pull the charge back up.. I will see if it then pushes 14+ volts and this should confirm whether NC are correct about the output dropping down to a much lower voltage when the battery is at a healthy charge state?

After that i will follow NC instruction to use the van until it fails again with gearbox errors, and then take it back for the error codes to be looked into and next steps agreed.
They have also said to test the water ingress theory by hosing down the cab and steam cleaning the engine bay to see if water ingress causes the fault to occur. I will wait a week or so before doing that as i would like to enjoy the van this weekend whilst its running!
userarjxh56
Posted: 16 May 2014 8:49 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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I got up eagerly this morning and tried the van.
It started first time and did not rev up, it just sat at 800rpm. It looks like NC were right about the alternator causing the revs to increase.
I also checked the alternator voltage after a night of power drain on the battery and it was showing 13.9v. This also appears to correlate with what NC said about the alternator voltage changing with the requirements of the battery?

I will use the van this weekend and see what happens...
usereuroserv
Posted: 16 May 2014 11:01 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Although this makes little sense to me; it looks encouraging for you. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong.

Make a note to yourself that the dealer was told to replace the alternator by Fiat and would have been paid for using an original equipment part. If they have fitted an aftermarket one they may have saved a couple of hundred pounds but Fiat will not be happy about that. If you have to speak to Fiat again, it is something that you should tell them about. If everything works now and the problems are gone; no foul.
usersilverback
Posted: 16 May 2014 10:12 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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i'm with you Nick, have posted earlier about this, but lets hope all is good for him
just as an aside Nick, today i fitted another earth strap (from the chassis earth to another screw on the gearbox cover) the question is mine already has 2 earths from the chassis, 1 to the gearbox and a braided 1 about 7cm long to the (i think) bulkhead whats holding the suspension? cant do any harm can it?
Jon
userDave Newell
Posted: 17 May 2014 7:32 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Dave Newell - 2014-03-26 9:09 AM

euroserv - 2014-03-25 11:31 AM

Dave Newell - 2014-03-25 10:07 AM

I spoke to a guy at the weekend whose comfortmatic had failed with almost exactly the same symptoms, the commercial garage dealing with it are apparently replacing the gearbox which seemed odd to me as it will select the gears in manual mode but not auto. That in itself tells me the selector mechanism and the ECU or wiring are more likely to be the culprit(s) than the box itself.

D.


I would be fascinated to hear how that one works out, Dave.


Me too Nick, when I see him again I'll ask for a progress report.

D.


Finally met up with him again, he had a recon box fitted due to a premature bearing failure, he tells me now that it was making some noise too. £4K for a recon box seems a tad over the odds to me plus £2600 labour to replace it. I reckon they replaced the ECU too but aren't admitting to that. Nick, would a recon box really be £4K? I would question if a brand new one should be that expensive.

D.

Edited by Dave Newell 2014-05-17 7:33 AM
userarjxh56
Posted: 4 June 2014 10:58 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Latest update.....

So i used the van as instructed and eventually I ran out of battery power!! On the plus side, the gearbox hasn't failed as yet!
After many phone calls to NC, a few independent tests on the charging system and another escalation to Fiat customer service, NC agreed to look into it.
In the end, NC admitted the WRONG alternator was ordered and fitted to my vehicle and this is why it wasn't charging correctly. It was ok without load, but would not provide enough power when under load. So they have now ordered a new one, (correct one i hope) and will be fitting it this week.

Hopefully i can then carry on as normal and wait for the gearbox to fail as instructed!



userMike88
Posted: 4 June 2014 11:11 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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arjxh56 - 2014-06-04 10:58 AM

Latest update.....

So i used the van as instructed and eventually I ran out of battery power!! On the plus side, the gearbox hasn't failed as yet!
After many phone calls to NC, a few independent tests on the charging system and another escalation to Fiat customer service, NC agreed to look into it.
In the end, NC admitted the WRONG alternator was ordered and fitted to my vehicle and this is why it wasn't charging correctly. It was ok without load, but would not provide enough power when under load. So they have now ordered a new one, (correct one i hope) and will be fitting it this week.

Hopefully i can then carry on as normal and wait for the gearbox to fail as instructed!





Perhaps they should provide you with a new battery as well.
usereuroserv
Posted: 4 June 2014 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Hello,

I am a bit behind with this thread so will catch up on some answers;

First the main question.

The alternator for this vehicle is part number 504057813 for the 140A model. There are 110, 140, 150 and 180A versions listed. This Fiat part is £569 +VAT and the equivalent Bosch item is (0124 525 064) £350 + VAT which is very expensive for an aftermarket alternator. There may well be cheaper items available but given the limited amount of vehicles out there the chances of reconditioned ones are quite small. I expect they bought a nondescript copy that is probably only 110A for about £180. Now they have to do it again.

The earth question.

Funnily enough, we had a van in recently that was exhibiting earth problems even though it had already had the earth strap mod that we normally carry out. It would seem that the original earth point on the chassis rail was just not doing it so we made a longer cable and went from the gearbox to the nice shiny piece of steel where the fuel filter housing is fixed. Perfect result.

The gearbox issue.

I have been looking at this today and am alarmed at the prices of gearboxes! The old 2.8JTD using the ML box was about £1400 for a recon and £2300 for a new box but these X250's are getting silly!

A gearbox for a 2.3 is £5353 for a new one and £2358 for a recon.
A gearbox for a 3.0 is £4737 for a new one and £4127 for a recon. It does not matter whether it is a comfort-matic or not, all prices are within a £100 or so but the casings are slightly different so you have to get the right one. All the above prices are from Fiat at May 2014 and exclude VAT and any exchange surcharges.

Before anyone panics; they can be repaired for a hell of a lot less than the above and are pretty solid. I have only had one explode on me and had a spare box from a write off to go in it. The damaged one had done 180,000 miles.

I think that's it.

Nick
userarjxh56
Posted: 4 June 2014 3:43 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Booked in for Friday morning 7am for the new alternator. I will take the part code above and ask to see it before they install it. might be a silly question, but how will i know this is a genuine part, will it have a Fiat sticker label??

Thanks
usereuroserv
Posted: 4 June 2014 4:08 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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The original Fiat number will be stamped onto it along with the Bosch number. Fiat only list 'reconditioned' parts for the 110A version so there are no recon versions available for yours. They could possibly obtain a Bosch part number 0986 080 060 which is the same unit but supplied without a pulley and is probably a little cheaper.

This is not to say that there is not a suitable after-market unit available from another manufacturer but it has to be the same output and be an exact replacement physically.
userMike88
Posted: 17 October 2014 8:30 AM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Was this issue resolved?
userarjxh56
Posted: 18 October 2014 12:48 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Sorry for the delay in updating the thread, Busy Busy Busy!!
I had the 'wrong' alternator replaced with the correct one and its now charging normally. It no longer revs up and down on start up either.
With regards to the gearbox, this is still under review. The last time it failed it cleared itself about 30 mins later and didn't leave any fault codes. luckily it allowed us to continue on our journey home with the AA following behind! I have been told by northern commercials to use it until it fails again and hope the codes are stored as they have no idea what the cause is?
Its a bit of a worry when we go on long trips but there is nothing i can do about it?
userarjxh56
Posted: 11 October 2019 7:29 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox issues
 


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Well I’m here again...

The gearbox has been fine for a while. I am now on 25k miles.
But unfortunately the gearbox is now doing very strange things.
First it put itself into neutral whilst I was in a queue. It then wouldn’t go into gear. I could hear clunking and noises but it stayed in neutral. Eventually it went in and I carried on.
Later i stopped for a few minutes (engine off) I then started up and again it wouldn’t go from neutral into gear (forward or reverse) .It was clunking as though it was going in and immediately clunking as though it was going back out again? Eventually after 5 mins of trying, it went in and allowed me to drive.. I carried on and it again went into neutral a little while later. Finally after 5mins of trying it went in and I managed to drive home and have parked it outside my house!

Any ideas?
I am too worried to drive it in case I get stuck anywhere.
userarjxh56
Posted: 12 October 2019 1:11 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox issues
 


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So this morning I had a quick look.. I wiggled wires in the loom running under the wiper arms, I checked battery and alternator voltage, I let it get up to temp and did the same again.. i moves and wiggles plugs and connectors... I couldn’t recreate it! I checked with the Autel and no codes were stored either.
I am not sure what else to check? it was changing gear normally.

I am now concerned if I drive it off somewhere it will happen again and I’ll get stuck. I would prefer to find a fault and fix it.

What else should I check? Any ideas are very welcome. Thanks
userBrambles
Posted: 12 October 2019 1:56 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 


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Without going back and reading all the posts in detail but just the 1st few...it sounds like this fault is not the same as original which was flagging up warnings/errors.

As the gear box is basically the mechanical box and it has known problems sometimes with the gear selector shaft tightening up and needing greased/lubricated to ease gear selection then I have to wonder if this might be the issue. I assume you can get access to where the shaft enters the box, and is not enclosed by the automatic systems, and it can be lubricated with a high quality grease. Fingers crossed for you this might be a simple fix of just a little lubrication. Certainly nothing to lose by trying it but I cannot see how this helps confidence the fault is rectified unless there is enough movement in the shaft for you to feel some tightness and then after lubricating and a few operations any movement feels like there is much less friction.


userKennyd
Posted: 16 October 2019 4:49 PM
Subject: RE: 3.0 comfort-matic gearbox failure
 
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Having just recovered from a major comformattic problem , 2.3 , 180hp , 2500 miles , 4 weeks old
Mine stuck in 4th gear , I also could hear what I Thought Was it engaging gears , it wasn’t it was the clutch servo operating , turned out to be a loose wire at the speed controller, so sending wrong signals to the
Operating system , it just locked out , they also Told me they reset the software , hope this helps