Intermittent Power Loss / 3 ltr Fiat Comfortmatic gearbox - Motorhome Forums, Motorhome Discussion, Motorhome Chat

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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old 25-02-2011, 20:50 Thread Starter
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Intermittent Power Loss / 3 ltr Fiat Comfortmatic gearbox

Hope someone out there can help. We have a 2008 Autotrail on a Fiat Ducato X250, 3 litre with Comfortmatic gearbox. Total mileage 8200. We have had it for 18 months during which time we have had an irritating intermittent fault which has showed itself about 8 times over about 6000 miles. Having said that, in actual fact there have been 2 faults which I am presuming are linked in some way.
The first relates to a message appearing on the dashboard saying "CHECK TRANSMISSION" and at the same time a warning beep sounds. This happened when travelling along a dual carriageway at about 55mph in 6th gear. The first 2 occasions, there was no loss of power but on the 3rd occasion (today), I was travelling down a slip road, entering a motorway, in 3rd gear when the same happened but this time it lost power for about 5 seconds before resuming and picking up as normal.
The other fault which I am presuming is in some way linked to the previous one, has occurred when pulling up at a junction. As the throttle pedal is depressed, to pull away, there is no response whatsoever for about 3 or 4 seconds. Then, all of a sudden, things are back to normal. Not a great problem unless you are stationary on an incline, because you then roll back.
I've been back to the local Fiat agent on a couple of occasions and although they have had it connected up to their magical box of tricks which is supposed to diagnose all problems, their "computer say no" and they tell me that errors and fault codes are not recorded and therefore can not be retrieved. Their only hope is that when they take it for a test drive the fault shows up otherwise they haven't got a clue.
I have to say that the reason why we opted for the 3 litre + Comfortmatic in the first place was because of all the superb write-ups and reports on the unit. I still feel its a superb combination and I'm hoping these problems are mere hiccups and that someone out there can come up with some ideas.
Thanks in anticipation.
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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old 25-02-2011, 23:02
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Throttle Body

Hi Naunty,

I do not know if this is what your problem is but:

It seems that quite a few people with 3.0 ltr X250's have had to have the engine Throttle Body replaced.

The problem is well known by Fiat apparently - but of course most vehicles with the problem are out of warranty.
The fix is a modified throttle body and a new section of wiring harness.

My own van has started to disolay similar symptoms to yours but the problem so far has manifested itself for only a couple of brief moments - but i know its not right.

I have been in touch today with a company who re-manufacture loads of different throttle bodies - but as of now they do not yet cover the Fiat 3.0 - but are considering it.
If mine fails i will be contacting them again.

Happy Travels.

Dave
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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 17:15
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Hi Naunty,

We too have a motorhome with the Comfortmatic gear-box; in fact our vehicle is 1 year old today and strangely enough, like yourself, we have clocked up approx 8000 miles too. (Makes you wonder if 8000 miles is of some significance?)

Up until now the Comfortmatic gear box has performed faultlessly and my husband has been well impressed with everything about it. However, 5 days ago; whilst on holiday in Northumberland; our auto gear box suddenly dropped out of auto mode, a gear box problem symbol appeared on the dashboard, along with the warning beep that you also speak of. My husband could not manually change the gear from the 2nd gear that it was stuck in and we had to travel in 2nd gear until we found a safe place to pull up. We turned off the engine and restarted it and this appeared to correct the fault and we continued on our way, believing it to be a one off electrical blip! However, the next day whilst driving along at approx 50mph, the problem happened again, we pulled off the road into a very conveniently located car park but this time we could not clear the fault despite several attempts to do so. We called Fiat Camper Assist and they arranged a breakdown recovery vehicle to come out to us and there we sat for two and a half hours! When he arrived, we attempted to restart the vehicle and once again, like the first time this fault occurred, it had had now managed to correct itself again and everything seemed back to normal! The breakdown driver suggested we follow him to the garage and then, if during the journey, we should break down en route, at least he would be on hand to assist us! So with the recovery truck in front, off we set to The North East Truck & Van Company in Blaydon near Newcastle, who are authorised Fiat specialists.

The journey to Newcastle was a total nightmare and several times whilst on the busy motorway and roundabouts during rush hour, our gear box dropped out of auto mode and stalled as we needed to slow down! If this wasn’t bad enough, to add to our stress, we also had to endure the impatient and angry honks and hoots from the drivers held up by our predicament!

We arrived at North East Truck & Van around 5.30pm and despite running a 24 hour shift, there was no Fiat trained staff on duty until the following morning. However, a lovely young man; who claimed to know a little bit about Fiats, just happened to pop back into work for something he had left behind and he agreed to take a quick look at our van. He connected the electrics to his ‘magic box’ (but I don’t honestly think it told him that much) and then he asked if we would take it for a quick drive whilst he sat in the passenger seat with the electrics still connected up to the ‘magic box!’ During the journey it repeated the fault several times and he could clearly see what the problem was that we were experiencing. He said he was glad he had seen it for himself and he would now pass all this information on to his colleague in the morning because his colleague was far more knowledgeable about Fiats than he was.

We stayed on their yard overnight. which was directly underneath a noisy flyover with the addition of a busy and equally as noisy dual carriageway running immediately alongside it too and we spent a very restless night, longing for the morning to come!

The next morning at 8am we drove our MH around to their workshop as requested and the Fiat 'expert’ gave it a quick once over! Once again it was connected up to their 'magic diagnostics box’ and he went off saying the data would now be sent via computer to Fiat for analysis and he would return with a run down of what was required as soon as Fiat had got back to him. Several hours later, (bearing in mind that all this time we had been sat in our MH inside their noisy and smelly workshop) he returned to say he hadn’t forgotten about us but he was still waiting for Fiat to call them back and sadly, Fiat were notorious for their slow response! A few hours later, the workshop manager knocked on our MH door (we were still sat in our motorhome in their truck workshop) and said they were having problems with their IT and they were experiencing problems sending the necessary data through to Fiat! He said their computer or some website had crashed! He then explained that there was no way it would be sorted out today (Friday) so we would have to spend yet another night on their yard! We expressed our concerns about tomorrow being the start of the weekend - but he assured us that once Fiat got back to them, they could still get any parts required, even on a Saturday!

To cut a long story short - NOTHING happened all day Saturday and all we were told was that they were having another computer sent up from another depot and that Fiat still had not got back to them and neither had any of the data been downloaded and sent to Fiat either! We spent another disturbed night attempting to sleep in their yard and as you can probably appreciate, by this time, we were both ready to pull our hair out.

Sunday morning the manager came across to us and asked us to bring our vehicle around to the workshop. He said he had nothing new to report but he decided to once again plug our MH into the ‘magic box’ so that he could see for himself what it came up with, he knew nothing much about Fiats and confessed that nobody at his depot had ever seen a Fiat Comfortmatic Auto gear box before but he knew all about IVECO gear boxes - so maybe he would recognise something? He also admitted that the Fiat testing equipment they used was outdated and unlike the IVECO diagnostic equipment, it was all very basic and they would not be getting the latest FIAT software and equipment for a further 6 months!!!! Anyway .... his findings were, that as far as he could see, the fault had mysteriously cleared itself, so he advised us to take a chance and drive the 150 mile journey home. We were so desperate to get home by this time, that we put our faith in what he said and we set off for home within minutes of him giving us the green light! We managed approx 74 miles before the auto gear box decided to play up again and it dropped out of auto mode and woudn't come out of 6th gear! However, because we were on the A1M motorway, on a quiet Sunday, with no hold ups, we decided to keep going until we reached the next service station; which a signpost showed as being approx 20 miles on at Wetherby Services. Our engine stalled just as we slowed down to take the exit on to the services - but thankfully after a couple of attempts to restart the engine, it went into neutral and we drove into the lorry park stuck in 2nd gear!

We decided we wouldn’t ring Fiat Camper Assist this time as we hadn’t been very impressed with their service during the first call out and thankfully, we are also covered for our MH and our 2 cars with the RAC too, so this time we called the RAC instead. We explained we wanted to be recovered to Camper UK in Lincoln, as they are our motorhome dealer and they are also Fiat approved and because we know this family run business look after their customers, we trust Camper UK to sort the problem out. However, it was 3pm Sunday afternoon by now, Camper UK close at 4 and we were still 2 hours away! We decided it was best to book a RAC call out for 8am in the morning and spend the night on the lorry park of Wetherby Services instead.

Another noisy night was spent trying to get some much needed sleep sandwiched in between noisy refrigerated lorries that come and go every 20 mins and we awoke the next morning, keen to just get our vehicle into the safe and trusted hands of Camper UK!

The RAC driver, albeit a nice enough chap, was no help whatsover though and he was about as much use as a chocolate bl**dy fireguard! The fault had once again cleared itself by the time he arrived on the scene and despite my husband and I emphasising that this was par for the course with our auto gear box problem, he seemed reluctant to request a large flat bed transporter be sent to transport our MH the 80 mile journey to Camper UK in Lincoln. He insisted, that in his opinion, our vehicle was driveable and so he suggested we stop every so often, to let the vehicle cool down and then commence on with our journey! My husband emphasised how concerned he was about slowing down or approaching roundabouts etc as experienjce had demonstrated, that it was was when the auto gearbox needed to change up or down a gear, that the problem usually occurred! The RAC guy, seemd unperterbed by our concerns and once again instructed us to plan our journey a little more vigilantly and to stop just before we knew we were going to have to make such a manouvere in order to rest the engine!!!!! With hindsight we should have put our foot down and insisted this was not acceptable - but stupidly, we took his advice and decided to give it a go, hoping that we could get as far as Lincoln before it started it’s tricks again. My husband had asked the RAC guy to escort us out of the service station and onto to the slip road that took us back onto the motorway and thank god he did because we broke down actually on the slip road and this time it would not go back into neutral no matter what we tried! The RAC guy jumped into our drivers seat but he too could not get it to shift gear either and so with a red face and a worried expression, he called someone up on his mobile for urgent assistance, as by now we were ‘parked’ in a very dangerous and unsafe spot! Eventually my hubby got our MH to go into reverse gear and we reversed into a safer spot - but there was no way we could reverse back far enough to get off the motorway.

To cut a long story short (and trust me it got far worse) a flatbed recovery truck eventually arrived 2 hours later PLUS the RAC arranged for us to have a hire car delivered onto the hard shoulder in order for my husband to drive us and our 2 dogs home and our MH is now waiting to be looked at, at Camper UK!

Like you, I hope this problem is a one off, easily rectified fault, as like yourself, we too opted for the Comfortmatic gearbox due to all the awards it won and the glowing reviews it received - but if the Fiat approved garage mechanics have no experience of working with these new automatic gear-boxes or their diagnostic equipment is not sophisticated enough to diagnose any electrical problems etc then where does that leave customers like you and I?

Apologies for my lengthy post - but I thought others who have Comfortmatic gear boxes or who are thinking of buying a motorhome and opting for the Comfortmatic might find it useful to read and hopefully if anyone is ever unfortunate enough to end up in a situation like us and they need Fiat Camper Assist, The RAC or any other breakdown recovery service - they will learn by our mistakes!

Sue
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 17:35
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Wow, Sonesta, what a terrible time you had! Par for the course with Fiat Customer Service though, I'm afraid.
I guess this is one in the eye for all those who said the answer to the Fiat gearbox problems was to buy the automatic. Let's hope for your sake it is a one-off & gets sorted out soon.
For my part, I'm glad I bought a Ford! No problems so far, fingers crossed!
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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 18:08
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Hi emmbeedee,

Yes - it has been a nightmare few days and we are glad to be home at the moment as you can imagine. We got back last night and my goodness it was great to turn the key in our front door!

Well this is our 3rd Fiat based motorhome and up to now we have had no complaints or experienced any problems with the Fiat side whatsoever - so we are praying it is a one off problem that once rectified, will be the end of the matter! We have scoured the internet to see if there are any reports of problems with the new Comfortmatic and apart from one report relating to a clutch failure we cannot find any other reports relating to any problems with the Fiat Comfortmatic gear box. It does seem to be highly approved of by the industry and even the recovery guy who came out to us on the Thursday said he has been called out to recover many motorhomes during his job but he had never seen a Comfortmatic gear box before!

I suppose all makes and brands will suffer problems and failures from time to time - so at this moment, we are trying to stay optimist and are keeping our fingers crossed that despite what's happened to us - the Comfortmatic will still live up to it's reputation? It had better do - or else we'll be in the market for a new MH that's for sure!

Glad you are happy with your choice and we have a Ford S Max car with an automatic gearbox and we can vouch for the Ford engine also!

Sue
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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 18:11
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Jaunty,

I don't believe what you were told about fault codes not being stored. I had a problem with the engine management light illuminating yellow in Northern Spain last year. Stuart at Camper UK advised me that it was probably a glitch caused by the third fan not coming on when it should.
Advised me to continue carefully unless light turned red. Good advice,
Fiat in Denia turned the light out, took van into Camper UK last week, they were able to retrieve the fault which was stored in the ECU, it was the fan, electronic glitch.

Sue, Sorry to hear of your nightmare scenario, your vehicle is certainly now in the right place to get the problem sorted. Hope it doesn't take long.

Mike
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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 18:47 Thread Starter
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Intermittent Power Loss

Hi Sonesta,
I thought I had a problem - what a nightmare. I Hope yours gets sorted quick, and I would love to hear the outcome - you will have to keep us updated. We also travel with 2 dogs, so my wife would have been to take away, although we always keep a couple of bottles of wine to hand for such emergencies!!
Well, the latest update on our problems would tend to suggest that our problem may be on its way to being sorted.
I took it into Springfield Fiat, Washington, Tyne and Wear yesterday and they have been out in it a few times with the 'magic box' connected and lo and behold it happened - they experienced the fault.
Forgive me if I don't get the technical terms right, but they have tracked down the fault to a faulty/rogue brake sensor. They have said that the engine and gearbox are absolutely fine which is why no fault codes were initially recorded. (Incidentally - the only time fault codes are recorded, is if there is a problem which puts the engine management light on the dashboard). The reason why there was a loss of engine power was because there is a built in safety system which, on sensing a problem, puts the engine/gearbox into 'safe mode', in order to prevent any potential damage occuringto the engine or gearbox. This certainly makes sense because once the temporary fault on the brake sensor resets itself, the engine then picks up to operate as normal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I will post the final result.
I'm just wondering if the explanation given to me can apply in any way to your problem. Thanks again.
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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 19:10 Thread Starter
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Hi Javea,
Sorry - our messages seem to have just crossed in the ether.
As I mentioned, in my last post, and as you correctly say, fault codes will be stored providing the engine management light illuminates, and the problem relates to the engine. The problem arises when the fault is not directly linked to the engine.

Thanks again
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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 19:14
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Hi Naunty,

So glad to hear you might be on the road to recovery and I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.

Thankfully, we had a few bottles of wine in the motorhome (great minds think alike ) and of course we had to drink a few glasses to help knock us out due to all the traffic noise (well that's our excuse anyway!)

I am not at all technical and so any info I post comes directly from my hubby - but he informs me that all the mechanics who have looked at our problem so far, say that in their opinion, there is nothing at all mechanically wrong with the gearbox/engine/cluctch etc and it is basically an electronic fault somewhere in the system.

My better half says he has noticed that our particular fault usually occurs under acceleration or going up an incline - so basically, when the engine is having to work a bit harder!

I will keep you updated and you too keep us all informed of your situation too and let's hope we are both back up and running again soon!

All the best.

Sue
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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2011, 19:15
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Re: Intermittent Power Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by naunty
Hope someone out there can help. We have a 2008 Autotrail on a Fiat Ducato X250, 3 litre with Comfortmatic gearbox. Total mileage 8200. We have had it for 18 months during which time we have had an irritating intermittent fault which has showed itself about 8 times over about 6000 miles. Having said that, in actual fact there have been 2 faults which I am presuming are linked in some way.
The first relates to a message appearing on the dashboard saying "CHECK TRANSMISSION" and at the same time a warning beep sounds. This happened when travelling along a dual carriageway at about 55mph in 6th gear. The first 2 occasions, there was no loss of power but on the 3rd occasion (today), I was travelling down a slip road, entering a motorway, in 3rd gear when the same happened but this time it lost power for about 5 seconds before resuming and picking up as normal.
The other fault which I am presuming is in some way linked to the previous one, has occurred when pulling up at a junction. As the throttle pedal is depressed, to pull away, there is no response whatsoever for about 3 or 4 seconds. Then, all of a sudden, things are back to normal. Not a great problem unless you are stationary on an incline, because you then roll back.
I've been back to the local Fiat agent on a couple of occasions and although they have had it connected up to their magical box of tricks which is supposed to diagnose all problems, their "computer say no" and they tell me that errors and fault codes are not recorded and therefore can not be retrieved. Their only hope is that when they take it for a test drive the fault shows up otherwise they haven't got a clue.
I have to say that the reason why we opted for the 3 litre + Comfortmatic in the first place was because of all the superb write-ups and reports on the unit. I still feel its a superb combination and I'm hoping these problems are mere hiccups and that someone out there can come up with some ideas.
Thanks in anticipation.



Hi

I have had the same symptoms on a Ducato 2.8, and true the fault wasn't stored on the computer, but the fitter had come accros this before and fitted a accelerator pedal sender unit and fingers crossed it seem to have cured it.

Funny thing, the same thing has happened three times on the wifes Ford Focus and that fault was stored but didn't say if it was the sender or receiver, but if I spread enough money on it it may go away!!
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