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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

I looking for some advice from anyone who has encountered a similar problem or anyone who has rejected a vehicle as 'not fit for purpose' under the Sale of Goods and Services Act.

I have a Fiat Ducato based motorhome, bought new September 2009, with 3lt engine and Comfortmatic gearbox. My problem started in January 2011 when taking the vehicle for its monthly off-season run. When I started the engine I got a warning bleep, a message stating 'Check Transmission' and the gearbox warning light was illuminated. I switched off and checked the fluid levels and an signs of leakage, etc. When there was nothing obviously amiss, a re-started the engine to find that all warnings had disappeared. I just assumed that the fluid had taken a while to get around the gearbox due to very cold weather at that time and the (relatively) long period of inactivity.
A few weeks went by then the warnings returned. This time I took it the 2 miles to my local Fiat Service Garage, noting that the message cleared after about 1/4 mile. They 'plugged it in', noted the message recorded on the system, checked the gearbox functions and declared all was well. They suggested that it was a blip in the system or maybe the 'delayed lubrication' theory I'd thought when it first did this.
The warning came on a few more times, something like 3 or 4 times per 10 engine starts, but always disappeared during the first mile. It only appeared when starting up, never while the engine had been running with no message on start up.
Things changed towards the end of March 2011 when the warning didn't disappear after the first mile. It was still on after 5 miles when I got a further warning telling me to reduce gear changes followed by the computer system 'taking over' and refusing to change gear. It stayed in 3rd gear and my attempt to change gear manually was greeted with more warning bleeps and a message stating that this operation was not allowed. After stopping and trying (unsuccessfully) to use Camper Assist (not a good idea on a mobile) and the emergency roadside phones (out of order - ever get the feeling it's not your day?) I decided to limp on to find a phone box. To my surprise, on starting the engine the warnings had all disappeared and we drove the 45 miles home without a problem.
To cut the story short, Fiat have now spent the past 14 months trying to sort this out. I have had a number of replacement parts fitted - 4 relays, 3 pumps (a 4th on order as we speak), an accumulator, an unknown part (arrived from Fiat out of the blue) and a new ECU, plus a variety of new 'downloads/upgrades to the computer system' from Fiat. I have had a Fiat technician sent to spend a day with the vehicle and couldn't resole the problem (he was the one wo ordered the unknown part and replacement ECU). Nothing has changed and the warning still appears, now 4 or 5 times per 10 engine starts. I now have great concerns about travelling any long distances in case I can't get home (total mileage to date 2,800 miles!) and, of course, the vehicle has no value as I couldn't possibly sell it or trade it in with these warnings coming up.
Has anyone experience anything similar, preferably now resolved? If not, any advice on taking legal action would be much appreciated.
Thanks for your patience.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 08:20 PM
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Personal Aire
This was a recent one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopict-121162-.html


And this one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopicp-1014974.html
Within it is a post by Sonesta about her a which led to her getting a replacement MH, although I believe this was due to Burstner's good will and not Fiat's.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:02 PM
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I would ask Trading Standards if I could reject it, but be aware it's not an easy path and be prepared for it to take a long time to resolve. During that time you won't have the use of your van.

I had problems with my 3 litre from new but we bought it to travel Europe. I didn't reject it in the end because experiences related to me by others led me to believe it would have delayed our plans for many months. I wasn't prepared to do that. My fault was with the clutch and, if I have to, I will replace it as often as I need to at my own expense. That's not how it should be but it's realistic and does not disrupt our plans.

Your problem is different and could leave the vehicle disabled at any time and possibly repeatedly. In addition neither you or Fiat have any idea whether it can be fixed or what is causing the problem. I would reject it if Trading Standards agree that it's still possible, Alan.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:11 PM
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Hi Merlinbill, Rayc has posted a link to my sorry tale.I sincerely hope it has now ended, although I have not had a meaningful road test to prove it. Since my last post I have contacted Fiat asking for a refund of the money paid to the Fiat Garage.

Unfortunately my m/home is over 2 yrs old and the 3rd year warranty is an Insurance one, I believe supplied by Swift through Fiat! As your van is still within that 2yrs I would suggest you fight like hell to get it sorted out now. It would appear that the regulator within the gearbox controlling the operating pressure was faulty on mine and replacing that seems to have cured the problem. However I am still not sure this is a 100% solution as I have only been able to drive it the 30 odd miles from the Fiat Garage back to the Swift Garage to have the wiring loom etc job completed. This is still not done after a week through incorrect parts having been sent from Swift. Still waiting and hoping. WILL IT EVER END!!!!!

Hope your problem is sorted soon.

Gary
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayc
This was a recent one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopict-121162-.html


And this one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopicp-1014974.html
Within it is a post by Sonesta about her a which led to her getting a replacement MH, although I believe this was due to Burstner's good will and not Fiat's.

Thanks for the links and for your time. Good solid info that I can use.
Best wishes
Bill
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by erneboy
I would ask Trading Standards if I could reject it, but be aware it's not an easy path and be prepared for it to take a long time to resolve. During that time you won't have the use of your van.

I had problems with my 3 litre from new but we bought it to travel Europe. I didn't reject it in the end because experiences related to me by others led me to believe it would have delayed our plans for many months. I wasn't prepared to do that. My fault was with the clutch and, if I have to, I will replace it as often as I need to at my own expense. That's not how it should be but it's realistic and does not disrupt our plans.

Your problem is different and could leave the vehicle disabled at any time and possibly repeatedly. In addition neither you or Fiat have any idea whether it can be fixed or what is causing the problem. I would reject it if Trading Standards agree that it's still possible, Alan.


Thanks, Alan
I take your point. I have been told to 'reject the vehicle' as you say but had a horrible feeling that would mean physically giving it back and having no holidays until the courts sort it out. While the lawyers tell me I have a cast-iron case and that no court would not find in my favour, that is not guaranteed, of course. Good advice, though, my friend.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:43 PM
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There are links to my problems contained in the posts above.

Our van has been fine for 17 months now, following the mechanical failure and the intermittent fault fixed.

But can I suggest all members with a Comfortmatic van, look up the Comfortmatic section/supplement in their owners manual and study the gearbox reset procedure set out there.

Then make sure you have the Comfortmatic section/supplement with you.

Following that procedure got our gearbox working again and home from Belgium.

Trevor
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary1944
Hi Merlinbill, Rayc has posted a link to my sorry tale.I sincerely hope it has now ended, although I have not had a meaningful road test to prove it. Since my last post I have contacted Fiat asking for a refund of the money paid to the Fiat Garage.

Unfortunately my m/home is over 2 yrs old and the 3rd year warranty is an Insurance one, I believe supplied by Swift through Fiat! As your van is still within that 2yrs I would suggest you fight like hell to get it sorted out now. It would appear that the regulator within the gearbox controlling the operating pressure was faulty on mine and replacing that seems to have cured the problem. However I am still not sure this is a 100% solution as I have only been able to drive it the 30 odd miles from the Fiat Garage back to the Swift Garage to have the wiring loom etc job completed. This is still not done after a week through incorrect parts having been sent from Swift. Still waiting and hoping. WILL IT EVER END!!!!!

Hope your problem is sorted soon.

Gary

Thanks for this, Gary
I am pleased to be still 'fighting like hell' after 14 months and have lodged an official complaint with Fiat. It appears to have had some success as they are phoning me to update me on 'progress' (although this is not really the appropriate word!) of the repairs. I will mention the fact that it was a faulty regulator in your case, probably the one thing they haven't yet replaced!
Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Don't worry - it will end one day!
Best wishes
Bill
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-2012, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayc
This was a recent one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopict-121162-.html


And this one
http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopicp-1014974.html
Within it is a post by Sonesta about her a which led to her getting a replacement MH, although I believe this was due to Burstner's good will and not Fiat's.
Just to let you know that Fiat think they have resolved the problem with my gearbox warning light and message. They sent the 'top technician' to spend a day working on it. Would you believe, he decided that the problem was due to the wrong battery being fitted? It should be 110AH for the 3-litre engine and I have the 100AH fitted! Replacement battery now installed and, so far, all is well.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-2012, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Fiat Comfortmatic Auto Gearbox Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by trevd01
There are links to my problems contained in the posts above.

Our van has been fine for 17 months now, following the mechanical failure and the intermittent fault fixed.

But can I suggest all members with a Comfortmatic van, look up the Comfortmatic section/supplement in their owners manual and study the gearbox reset procedure set out there.

Then make sure you have the Comfortmatic section/supplement with you.

Following that procedure got our gearbox working again and home from Belgium.
Just to let you know that Fiat think they have resolved the problem with my gearbox warning light and message. They sent the 'top technician' to spend a day working on it. Would you believe, he decided that the problem was due to the wrong battery being fitted? It should be 110AH for the 3-litre engine and I have the 100AH fitted! Replacement battery now installed and, so far, all is well.
By the way, I looked through the Comfortmatic supplement to my handbook but couldn't find any reference to the 'reset procedure' you mentioned. Is it short enough for you to send me via this forum?
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