Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bridgend, South Wales.
My Motorhome: Autotrail Dakota Super Lowline
Thanked 118 Times in 112 Posts
I found this post on an earlier thread which may be of interest.
Comfortmatic gearbox problems (or not)
I have posted this elsewhere in the forums but as the potential problem is so devastating and disabling, it is worth repeating. Here is my two-pennyworth relating to Comfortmatic gearbox problems.
The motorhome was less than a year old with 3000 miles on the clock. For no apparent reason it started dropping out of gear and into neutral. Sometimes it would go back into gear and sometimes not. Sometimes we were stranded with no drive whatsoever. Over a period of two months and 300 miles, two garages had a go at resolving the problem but to no avail. I was harboring bad thoughts about the Comfortmatic gearbox.
Finally the problem is solved and it is nothing to do with the Comfortmatic box 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 that 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 with a manual gearbox has experienced something similar. It showed up as an engine misfire when the wiper motor was in action. And there are other such 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 database and made available to their technicians.
The wiring harness has now been re-routed to avoid any future contact with things abrasive.
The garage has been exceptional. They have given the problem their absolute full and immediate attention. They have been in constant contact and even put me up in a local hotel when it broke down before the real problem was diagnosed.
It has been such an elusive problem, that to prove to themselves and me that they had finally cured it, they insisted on driving the motorhome down to me on the south coast, thus giving it a 450 mile test drive.
Should you breakdown in Scotland, make sure that you are recovered to Imperial Commercials Cumbernauld. I cannot praise them highly enough.
As an aside to this, my opinion of the Comfortmatic does, in part echo the findings of the various critical testers. However, it does drive like a manual box and when you get used to driving it, it is easy to anticipate its gear changes and drive as if it were a manual box. I have not experienced any shuddering in any direction and now that I am used to it, I rather like it!