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Old 04-08-2016   #1
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flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

I bought a 2 and a half year old panda 4x4 last November for 9k. It was fine for getting up to the allotment and with its mud and snow tyres I felt safer on the roads. Now, just 2 months out of warranty I have had real problems changing gears. The garage have said that the flywheel has broken up damaging the clutch and gearbox. I am looking at close to 5k for the repairs.
I would have thought an off road vehicle would be more robust, or at least wouldn't have suffered such a failure after 3 years and 33k miles. Has anyone
had similar problems? I haven't seen anything like this on this forum.
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Old 04-08-2016   #2
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Is it a diesel by any chance?
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Old 04-08-2016   #3
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

no petrol.
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Old 04-08-2016   #4
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

First I've heard of any flywheel 'breaking up', outside of drag racing or as hinted at above, dual-mass jobbies on diesels. I'd want to see the damage for myself, but if it really is the case, then yes, it might be expensive to replace as new. Secondhand parts might be available though.
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Old 04-08-2016   #5
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Which petrol engine, 1.2 or Twinair?
Can you post some pictures of the 'broken' flywheel.

Edit:
The diesel and some Twinair use a dual-mass flywheel. These can give trouble, especially if abused, perhaps by the previous owner. 1.2 uses a solid flywheel, so I'd be surprised if that was falling apart.

With it only just out of warranty, the cause of failure is important. If wear/abuse, then it is a risk for the owner, as it is impossible to say if you, or the previous owner abused it. If failure is due to a weakness, or defect, Fiat should be asked for a contribution to the repair costs. Then any contribution may depend on service history, if always serviced by a Fiat dealer, they may be more sympathetic. It is difficult to pursue a claim against either Fiat or the selling dealer, unless failure is due to a defect, or can be proven to have been a known condition at sale. With a clutch being a wearable part, it will be difficult to get help.

It is important that the cause of failure is diagnosed. Anyone can point at broken bits but identifying what wore/broke first is more difficult. Get some good clear pics, of all the affected parts, we may be able to help.
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Last edited by portland_bill; 04-08-2016 at 15:19.
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Old 04-08-2016   #6
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

it's the twinair, 0.9l. It's currently at Hartwells and they are trying to persuade Fiat to help out. I'll see what I can do regarding the cause and pictures.
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Old 04-08-2016   #7
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

I'm 99.999% certain that the Twin Air Pandas and 500s with the 85 & 90 ps engines don't have a DMF.

I think, however, that the 105 ps TwinAir engine - such as in 2012 Punto, Alfa MiTo, 500X DO have a DMF to reduce vibes in what are marketed as higher price segment commensurately having more refinement, but happy to be corrected! It would follow that the 500 with the 105 ps engine would also have a DMF but I'm not at all certain about this.
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Last edited by TheItalianThrob; 04-08-2016 at 20:30.
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Old 04-08-2016   #8
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

It sounds more like a problem with the clutch plate to me. Do/did the gears crunch every time you put it into first or reverse when stationary?

A flywheel failing would cause considerable vibrations that would be difficult to mis-diagnose or ignore, and I suspect there would be a variety of disturbing noises as a flywheel failure did any damage. Surely a flywheel failure would also affect engagement of the starter motor pinion.
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Old 05-08-2016   #9
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
A flywheel failing would cause considerable vibrations that would be difficult to mis-diagnose or ignore, and I suspect there would be a variety of disturbing noises as a flywheel failure did any damage.
Vibrations and disturbing noises, from a Twinair, how would one tell them apart from the normal vibrations and disturbing noises?

The clutch on my 4x4TA has never felt particurlarly robust and mine still baulks between 1st and 2nd a little when cold.
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Old 05-08-2016   #10
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Hartwells have done enough disassembly to verify that the flywheel has broken up, and that it has damaged the clutch and the gearbox. They are hoping to persuade Fiat to contribute as the car is only 2 months out of warranty.
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Old 05-08-2016   #11
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

The guide for the release bearing gets chewed up by the flywheel failure. Seen it on a raft of MiTo twin airs. Parts list is bellhousing, input shaft seal, both driveshaft seals, clutch release arm plastic guides (top and bottom).

It takes around 50 mins to pull the box from a mito, takes longer in the panda due to the subframe design. If you know a decent engineer or machine shop, they may be able to manufacture and fit a new guide, but Fiat don't sell them, have to buy complete bellhousing and strip a rebuild the box.
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Old 05-08-2016   #12
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Quote Originally Posted by Asa James View Post
The guide for the release bearing gets chewed up by the flywheel failure. Seen it on a raft of MiTo twin airs. Parts list is bellhousing, input shaft seal, both driveshaft seals, clutch release arm plastic guides (top and bottom).

It takes around 50 mins to pull the box from a mito, takes longer in the panda due to the subframe design. If you know a decent engineer or machine shop, they may be able to manufacture and fit a new guide, but Fiat don't sell them, have to buy complete bellhousing and strip a rebuild the box.
Great insight, written I assume from personal experience - just what Forums are all about. Thanks!

Sounds nasty however and clearly a design fault if the issue has surfaced that many times.
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Old 05-08-2016   #13
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Quote Originally Posted by Asa James View Post
The guide for the release bearing gets chewed up by the flywheel failure. Seen it on a raft of MiTo twin airs. Parts list is bellhousing, input shaft seal, both driveshaft seals, clutch release arm plastic guides (top and bottom).
The TA Mito has a DMF.

AFAIK, the 85TA Panda has a single plate flywheel, which can't possibly fail in the mode you are describing.

What I've often seen with solid flywheels is that a slipping or dragging clutch causes the flywheel to distort through overheating. Sometimes they can be refaced, but often they need replacement. I'm guessing that's what's happened here.

Either way, sadly it's still a costly job.
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Old 05-08-2016   #14
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

A solid flywheel distortions wouldn't require gearbox repairs or replacement either, so this car has a dmf (for some unverified reason) or the garage is going off previous experience and trying to get more of a job out of it. The centre bearing of the dmf collapses which causes the guide wear, a single plate fly couldn't do that as it has no bearing
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Old 05-08-2016   #15
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Re: flywheel broken on 3 year old 4x4

Quote Originally Posted by Asa James View Post
A solid flywheel distortions wouldn't require gearbox repairs or replacement either...
It's still possible that a badly distorted single plate flywheel could have caused the clutch to drag for an appreciable period of time, resulting in excessive wear to all the synchro rings; in that event, I'd have thought the cost of replacing a complete set would come pretty close to the cost of just replacing the 'box complete. It's also possible that excessive heat could have damaged an oil seal, but that's hardly a justification for scrapping the 'box.

Quote Originally Posted by Asa James View Post
...so this car has a dmf (for some unverified reason) or the garage is going off previous experience and trying to get more of a job out of it. The centre bearing of the dmf collapses which causes the guide wear, a single plate fly couldn't do that as it has no bearing
I find that explanation very easy to believe .
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Last edited by jrkitching; 05-08-2016 at 12:16.
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