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Old 14-06-2010   #1
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My gearbox problems

I've now had the gearbox oil level checked, and the cables checked. They are both fine, so it doesn't look like my problems are going to be a simple fix.

On the way home I think I may have found a way to reproduce the problem fairly reliably though. If I try to put it into a low gear, but don't push it in fully then select a high gear it doesn't seem to be very happy. If I push it fully into a low gear and then change to a high gear then it is usually ok. I don't fully understand this, but I suspect it's the syncrho that are casuing all these problems? However, it's strange that the synchro would have problems with every gear isn't it?

I'm fed up with it, it really spoils a drive when it suddenly feels like your gearbox has just broken. It's really hard to enjoy driving it, but I think the engine is a lot nicer now than it was when it was new (I think the full-synth oil made a difference actually). I don't know what I'm going to do with the car, I think the 100HP is probably the best small car you can buy. I sat in a 500 today and I think the Panda is better on the inside.
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Old 14-06-2010   #2
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Re: My gearbox problems

I think you need to be a bit more descriptive. Telling us that the gearbox isn't 'happy' doesn't really describe the issue!
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Old 14-06-2010   #3
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by trackdayqueen View Post
I think you need to be a bit more descriptive. Telling us that the gearbox isn't 'happy' doesn't really describe the issue!
It's hard to explain. It sort of stops when I try to put it in gear, and then goes in with another push. I occassionally get a really nasty noise, but that is very rare and I can't reproduce that. It definately feels like something isn't quite working properly though.
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Old 14-06-2010   #4
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Re: My gearbox problems

A faulty clutch can cause obstruction when you try to change gear, since the drive from the engine is not being totally disengaged from the gearbox. Faulty synchromesh can also produce this effect, particularly when changing down a gear.
Older or high mileage cars which are still on their original gear oil can have this problem and a renewal of the gear oil will transform the gear change in such a case. However, don't just change the gear oil for the sake of it before you are sure there's not some other fault.
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Old 14-06-2010   #5
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by Advanced Driver View Post
It's hard to explain. It sort of stops when I try to put it in gear, and then goes in with another push. I occassionally get a really nasty noise, but that is very rare and I can't reproduce that. It definately feels like something isn't quite working properly though.
It sounds like the clutch might not be disengaging properly. Does it make a harsh mechanical noise of the like that I get when I don't push the clutch down fully for gear changes? A synchro issue would be more like it slots into gear but it's like the teeth aren't quite meshed properly. So it sort of clunks into gear.
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Old 15-06-2010   #6
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by trackdayqueen View Post
It sounds like the clutch might not be disengaging properly. Does it make a harsh mechanical noise of the like that I get when I don't push the clutch down fully for gear changes? A synchro issue would be more like it slots into gear but it's like the teeth aren't quite meshed properly. So it sort of clunks into gear.
I would say 'clunking' into gear is probably a good description most of the time. However, it does give a horrible mechanical noise occassionally, and occassionally jumps out of gear when I lift the clutch up. Once when it jumped out of gear I tried pushing it back in and then is when it made a horrible mechanical noise. Most of the time it is just clunky.

I have decided that I'm going to abuse it as much as possible, and hope that it breaks, or gets a lot worse. On the way to work it was really bad and it felt like something was going to break, but on the way home it was hard to fault, even thought I was really trying to rush the 'box. The strange thing is that it seems to be the same wether I'm gentle or whether I'm harsh. Even double de-clutch doesn't seem to make a big difference. I'm not perfect when it comes to double de-clutching, but I'm sure there have been times where I got it perfect and still had problems.

How difficult would it be for me to rebuild the gearbox? I know it'll take a while, but is it easy enough? Does anybody know how much a dealer (main or independent) is likely to charge to re-build a 'box?

I don't know what to do, maybe I should sell it and get an old Cinquecento? It hardly seems worth spending money on a car that I don't really like that much. At the moment I'm not sure how long I want to keep it for (even if the 'box was fixed). I'm really starting to hate the car now
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Old 15-06-2010   #7
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by Advanced Driver View Post
How difficult would it be for me to rebuild the gearbox? I know it'll take a while, but is it easy enough? Does anybody know how much a dealer (main or independent) is likely to charge to re-build a 'box?
I've just seen the price of the parts alone. It's going to cost hundreds just for the parts
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Old 15-06-2010   #8
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Re: My gearbox problems

Forget trying to rebuild the gearbox, even a competent hobbyist wouldn't attempt it.

The only thing I've not done on a car is rebuild a box. I had a look once, complete nightmare.

Is your car not under warranty?

Double de-clutching is utterly pointless, waste of time.

It has syncros so you may as well use them.

I sometimes get a clunk, but it's only because I'm a bit lazy with the clutch at times and only depress it just enough to select a gear.

Are you sure it's not simply an issue with the clutch not disengaging properly? I'm guessing you've checked the clutch fluid?

Selling it for a Cing seems mental, you'd need your head tested if you did that.

I don't understand why you don't use your warranty.

Maybe the sensible thing to do would be to get a second opinion from someone has a better idea of cars.

One last thing, this is nothing to do with your 'advanced driving' techniques is it?
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Old 15-06-2010   #9
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by trackdayqueen View Post
Forget trying to rebuild the gearbox, even a competent hobbyist wouldn't attempt it.

The only thing I've not done on a car is rebuild a box. I had a look once, complete nightmare.

Is your car not under warranty?

Double de-clutching is utterly pointless, waste of time.

It has syncros so you may as well use them.

I sometimes get a clunk, but it's only because I'm a bit lazy with the clutch at times and only depress it just enough to select a gear.

Are you sure it's not simply an issue with the clutch not disengaging properly? I'm guessing you've checked the clutch fluid?

Selling it for a Cing seems mental, you'd need your head tested if you did that.

I don't understand why you don't use your warranty.

Maybe the sensible thing to do would be to get a second opinion from someone has a better idea of cars.

One last thing, this is nothing to do with your 'advanced driving' techniques is it?
Yes it is underwarranty, but my problems are intermittent. It costs me a lot of time and money to take the car in, and then I look stupid when it's perfect.

Double de-clutching made changes a bit smoother in my old Seicento, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference in the Panda. Double de-clutching should also help if there are syncro problems (it helped with this on my old Seicento, but the gearbox problems on the Seicento were nowhere near as bad as the Panda).

I think the clutch fluid is ok. I've been misreading it, I thought it was around the min mark where that black bit starts, but I think it goes a lot higher. There is an air bubble just before the max mark, so it must go at least up to the max mark. Could over filling the clutch fluid cause any problems? The clutch pedal bites at a very high point (probably slightly too high IMHO), so I doubt that releasing would be an issue. Even if I didn't fully press it down it would probably release fully.

No, it's nothing to do with my techniques lol. I've tried just about everything I know to try reproducing the problem, but it doesn't seem like anything will consistently reproduce it. It turns out that what I said at the start doesn't reproduce it consistently either, although I think it makes it a bit easier to reproduce.

The problem with getting a second opinion is that I will probably take up a lot of the persons time (and my time) because I'll have the same problems that I have when I go to the dealer.

I can honestly say that I prefered the gear change on my Seicento!

Maybe I should just keep going back to the dealer every week?
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Old 15-06-2010   #10
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Re: My gearbox problems

I don't see why over filling the clutch fluid would cause a problem, but then again why would anyone over fill it? You shouldn't need to touch it.

Seriously if your car has a problem are you really considering spending hundreds of pounds to avoid the embarrassment of taking it back to the dealer on the off chance they don't find a fault? Are you raving mad?

I took my car to the dealer because of a rattle/knocking noise. 3 times it went back until they sorted it. They test drove the car with me in it and we had to find a road with the type of road surface that showed the problem. As soon as we did the mechanic that the problem was there. A top mount was replaced but still the problem persisted and it turned out to be something else entirely.

Take it to the dealer explain the problem, go with them on a test drive and see what they make of it. If it really is as bad as you say then they can't help but notice it can they? Then your car will get fixed under warranty, which is the whole point of having a warranty, you'll get a courtesy car and it'll get sorted.

Why not try pushing the clutch fully down when you change gear and see if that makes any difference. I agree I rarely push the clutch approaching anywhere near fully down as it just doesn't seem necessary. I do crunch the gears on occasion but it's only because I'm a bit lazy at times with the clutch and tend to press it only just enough to get the next gear. But my box is very slick and no problem providing I'm pushing the clutch pedal down far enough.
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Old 15-06-2010   #11
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by trackdayqueen View Post
Seriously if your car has a problem are you really considering spending hundreds of pounds to avoid the embarrassment of taking it back to the dealer on the off chance they don't find a fault? Are you raving mad?

Why not try pushing the clutch fully down when you change gear and see if that makes any difference. I agree I rarely push the clutch approaching anywhere near fully down as it just doesn't seem necessary. I do crunch the gears on occasion but it's only because I'm a bit lazy at times with the clutch and tend to press it only just enough to get the next gear. But my box is very slick and no problem providing I'm pushing the clutch pedal down far enough.
A few hundred pound would probably be worth paying for it, but with the amount it's going to cost it isn't worth paying for it.

I didn't say I don't push the clutch fully down. I believe I do push the clutch fully down, or at least 99% of the time. I have checked how far I'm pushing down a few times and it seems to be ok. What I might try though is the opposite. If I push the pedal down by maybe 80% and see if I get a similar problem, if it makes no difference then I know that it's not because I'm not pushing it down the last bit. I'm generally quite good at pushing the pedal down.

I do find it strange that people say their box is very slick, I certainly can't say that about mine. It is very inconsistent though, there was one day (very hot) where I drove it and it was amazingly slick, but that was just one day. The best I usually get is just 'normal' rather than 'slick'. A lot of the time though it really isn't a very nice 'box
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Last edited by Advanced Driver; 15-06-2010 at 22:33.
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Old 15-06-2010   #12
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Re: My gearbox problems

got to agree with tdq..............take it back under warranty
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Old 16-06-2010   #13
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Re: My gearbox problems

it may be a hassle but yea a warranty is the best course i reckon.

it may not even be the box, as tdq has said the clutch lines could have air in them or be leaking, or it could even be a shoddy drive shaft

the gearbox on my car is notchy (active 5spd) but only when its cold and can be a pain to get into gear when stationary, once up to temp after a cruise down the motorway or such its brilliant and changing gear is easy.
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Old 16-06-2010   #14
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by pandasam View Post
it may be a hassle but yea a warranty is the best course i reckon.

it may not even be the box, as tdq has said the clutch lines could have air in them or be leaking, or it could even be a shoddy drive shaft

the gearbox on my car is notchy (active 5spd) but only when its cold and can be a pain to get into gear when stationary, once up to temp after a cruise down the motorway or such its brilliant and changing gear is easy.
Or thinking about it, it could be to do with the selector cables. All these things need investigating.

AD: You'd have to be barking to spend a few hundred pounds when it should be sorted for nothing. Back to the dealer, get a courtesy car too.

One thing about the 100hp that is reported in just about every review is how slick the gearbox is. So your's should be too just like everyone elses.
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Old 16-06-2010   #15
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Re: My gearbox problems

Quote Originally Posted by trackdayqueen View Post
AD: You'd have to be barking to spend a few hundred pounds when it should be sorted for nothing. Back to the dealer, get a courtesy car too.
The warranty says courtesy car 'subject to availability'. I've been there before

But yeah, take it back to the dealer. I had a Punto with a hard to reproduce misfire. Eventually the dealer took it for a week and used it to drop off their pickup drivers so they could get enough time for it to happen.
They never did fix it, but at least they acknowledged the problem existed.
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