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Fiat Comfort-Matic gearbox advice

Derek Uzzell

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In the October 2013 issue of the French publication “Camping-Car Magazine” is a short piece relating to the Comfort-Matic robotised manual gearbox fitted to many Fiat Ducatos.


The article says that Fiat emphasise that owners of vehicles fitted with this gearbox should follow carefully the usage instructions in the vehicle’s handbook. For example, it should be remembered that, if the vehicle is stopped on a hill, the accelerator should never be used to maintain the vehicle’s position as doing so risks clutch-damage.


Apparently some owners of ‘heavy’ Ducato-based motorhomes (over 4-tonnes GVW) built on tandem rear-axle Al-Ko chassis and with the 3-litre 180 MultiJet Power motor have encountered mechanical problems when driving on steep hills, on tight bends or when manoeuvring in reverse. In such instances (though presumably only when going forwards!) Fiat recommends that the gearbox’s ‘manual mode’ should be selected.


The Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox is also an option for the 130 and 150 versions of the 2.3litre Euro 5 MultiJet motor. There’s no mention in the French magazine article of problems with Comfort-Matic-equipped motorhomes using those motors, but I assume similar caveats will apply.


So, if your motorhome has a Comfort-Matic gearbox, it would be wise to read (and follow) the usage advice in the vehicle’s handbook.

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A timely reminder Derek especially if the van owner did not get the separate Comfort-Matic handbook in English [it can be downloaded]. Reading the manual is also essential if you have a fault with the Comfort-Matic and have to have to use the 'Delayed startup' procedure. I have the 2.3L engine on a 3.5 ton van and have so far travelled 1700 miles in England solely in AUTO.


Extracts from the Comfort-Matic handbook include


"To safeguard clutch efficiency, do not use the accelerator to keep the vehicle at a standstill (e.g. parking on a hill); the clutch could be damaged by overheating. Use the brake pedal instead and operate the accelerator only when you are ready to set off" [there are numerous warnings on other topics].


"The fully automatic AUTO system decides when to shift gear. This mode allows you to use the UP function (steep road function), which allows you to shift gears at higher speeds to allow you to drive up very steep roads easily with any load. With the UP active, the system will select the most appropriate gear on the basis of vehicle speed, engine rpm and pressure on the accelerator pedal, with the aim of overcoming steep gradients in the easiest, most comfortable manner.

During hill starts, accelerate gradually but fully immediately after releasing the handbrake or brake pedal to allow the engine to increase its rpm to a greater extent and overcome higher gradients with more torque."


With fitted Comfort-Matic and Cruise Control, driving has suddenly become interesting again!



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Brock - 2013-09-18 10:31 AM


A timely reminder Derek especially if the van owner did not get the separate Comfort-Matic handbook in English [it can be downloaded]...


Various Ducato motorhome-related files, including Comfort-Matic ones, can be downloaded through the "Premium Area" of the Fiat Camper website




(You'll need to register to do this, but that's a straightforward enough process.)

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