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View Full Version : I May Need a 4th Transmission Replacement on my 2014 500L with less than 30K Miles



Providence
09-19-2016, 12:55 PM
I've had 3 transmissions so far on my 2014 500L Trekking with dual dry clutch automatic transmission built in Serbia: The one the care came with, a new one before the car had 10K miles and another one around 20K miles. The car now has 28K miles and is back in the repair shop for maybe the 30th time (I lost track but have all the receipts.) And they can't even look at it because they are too backed up, which means I can't get a loaner or a rental from them and they are the only Fiat repair shot in all of NYC.

The check engine light and check transmission sign kept coming up. I took the car in and the dealership repair shop said they could not duplicate the issue and that the check engine/transmission lights were not on.

I took the car back and on the way to a funeral it went into limp mode while on the highway. (Anyone who has ever tried to go 30mph on an American highway knows how dangerous this is.) I turned the car off and let it sit for a while because I saw a post about how that may fix the issue. It did. But after that there were gear shifting issues while in automatic and manual would not work. For example I could drive forward but now drive in reverse.

Prior to this new issue I asked Fiat for another 500L because I saw many on the forum say they never had any problems and noticed it may have been an issue with the factory that built some of the cars. Fiat said they wouldn't replace it and suggested I try arbitration, but many forum posters have said it's a waste of time because Fiat won't do anything.

Fiat Cares contacted me from Forum and after tons and back and forth said they would extend my warranty. At least that lifts the burden of paying for a new transmission every 10K miles.

I contacted a lawyer and am not eligible for Lemon law.

I really like the design of the 2014 500L, but can't see myself staying with the Fiat Chrysler brands because of the reliability issues. Even the one the Pope rode in in NYC broke down.

In Feb 2016 Consumer Reports ranked it as the LEAST RELIABLE car http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/fiat-500l.htm

Robert Nixon
09-19-2016, 03:28 PM
Well that really stinks. As I was reading I was going to suggest lemon law too. For what it's worth, is there any chance a different lawyer would suggest otherwise? Maybe the Better Business Bureau?

I'm a big FIAT fan, but in this case it sounds like a repeating problem that needs to be made right by FIAT, under warranty, at no cost to you in my opinion.

RacerJohn
09-19-2016, 03:30 PM
I read that you drive in new york city stop and go traffic. How are you driving the car?

Fiat500USA
09-19-2016, 05:20 PM
Well that really stinks. As I was reading I was going to suggest lemon law too. For what it's worth, is there any chance a different lawyer would suggest otherwise? Maybe the Better Business Bureau?

I'm a big FIAT fan, but in this case it sounds like a repeating problem that needs to be made right by FIAT, under warranty, at no cost to you in my opinion.

This was a used car which affects how the lemon law works. Generally speaking in the repair world, when the same part is replaced multiple times it usually points to some kind of misdiagnosis or something causing the same part to fail. Good luck.

Trunkout
09-19-2016, 09:51 PM
I would think ANY good lawyer would jump at this. Win is a win. Start shopping around.

Providence
09-19-2016, 11:19 PM
Well that really stinks. As I was reading I was going to suggest lemon law too. For what it's worth, is there any chance a different lawyer would suggest otherwise? Maybe the Better Business Bureau?

I'm a big FIAT fan, but in this case it sounds like a repeating problem that needs to be made right by FIAT, under warranty, at no cost to you in my opinion.

Thanks for the reply. I'm a fan as well and really like so much about the car, except the fact that it breaks down often, so it's hard to reconcile the two things. BBB won't work for this. My lawyer is working on other options.

Providence
09-19-2016, 11:22 PM
I read that you drive in new york city stop and go traffic. How are you driving the car?

Thanks for the reply. I drive almost every day, but just a few miles. Yes, stop and go traffic, but I drive in automatic, not manual.

Providence
09-19-2016, 11:23 PM
I would think ANY good lawyer would jump at this. Win is a win. Start shopping around.

Thanks for the reply. Lawyer is working on other options.

Providence
09-19-2016, 11:37 PM
This was a used car which affects how the lemon law works. Generally speaking in the repair world, when the same part is replaced multiple times it usually points to some kind of misdiagnosis or something causing the same part to fail. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply. I will tell the mechanic what you said and see what he says or maybe you can make a detailed suggestion on why the transmission keeps failing. As for lemon law, here is info on it for buyers of used cars, it's almost the same for new cars. http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/used-car-lemon-law-fact-sheet I bought mine a couple of months after someone else bought it, and it had 5K miles, I think.

Fiat500USA
09-20-2016, 12:30 AM
Thanks for the reply. I drive almost every day, but just a few miles. Yes, stop and go traffic, but I drive in automatic, not manual.

You drive a car that is really closer to an automated manual transmission car and that may be the issue. This is not a conventional automatic transmission and there are certain driving techniques that are really required when driving in stop and go traffic. This is the normal operating nature of a dual dry clutch transmission.

The forum is filled with hints on how to drive this type of transmission successfully. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is to put the car in neutral when your sit in traffic for an extended period and to be mindful that creeping along is the equivalent of slipping a clutch on a manual transmission car. This can overheat a clutch whether in a manual trans car or a DDCT car.

People like me that drive a manual transmission have to keep this in mind and have to plan accordingly. For example, I am always conscious not to slip my clutch in traffic or when taking off. I engage it as quickly and smoothly as possible. When I sit in traffic for anything other than a brief stop, I'll put the car in neutral.

The DDCT has an automated clutch, but mechanically it still has a dry clutch (actually two) just like a manual transmission car and needs to be kept in mind. Just like when driving a manual transmission car, a little extra care given to the clutch and trans operation will be rewarded in a much longer life. Good luck with everything.


http://youtu.be/W42zsFYjZvM
Note: While this video mentions not necessarily putting the car in neutral, the Fiat owners guide mentions the following.

If the following warning message gets displayed: TRANS. GETTING HOT PRESS BRAKE

The recommendation then is:
"The transmission driving clutch is overheating, usually due to repeated launches in stop-and-go traffic. Pull over and allow the transmission to cool in NEUTRAL until “TRANS. COOL READY TO DRIVE” is displayed."

So it goes to reason it isn't a bad idea to do when stuck in traffic for extended periods.


http://youtu.be/uKuqAw3PKMw

Providence
09-26-2016, 11:08 PM
Fiat is replacing the clutch and a bearing. They took out the entire transmission. I still think it's a transmission issue, but they said it's not.

Providence
09-26-2016, 11:15 PM
You drive a car that is really closer to an automated manual transmission car and that may be the issue. This is not a conventional automatic transmission and there are certain driving techniques that are really required when driving in stop and go traffic. This is the normal operating nature of a dual dry clutch transmission.

The forum is filled with hints on how to drive this type of transmission successfully. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is to put the car in neutral when your sit in traffic for an extended period and to be mindful that creeping along is the equivalent of slipping a clutch on a manual transmission car. This can overheat a clutch whether in a manual trans car or a DDCT car.

People like me that drive a manual transmission have to keep this in mind and have to plan accordingly. For example, I am always conscious not to slip my clutch in traffic or when taking off. I engage it as quickly and smoothly as possible. When I sit in traffic for anything other than a brief stop, I'll put the car in neutral.

The DDCT has an automated clutch, but mechanically it still has a dry clutch (actually two) just like a manual transmission car and needs to be kept in mind. Just like when driving a manual transmission car, a little extra care given to the clutch and trans operation will be rewarded in a much longer life. Good luck with everything.


http://youtu.be/W42zsFYjZvM
Note: While this video mentions not necessarily putting the car in neutral, the Fiat owners guide mentions the following.

If the following warning message gets displayed: TRANS. GETTING HOT PRESS BRAKE

The recommendation then is:
"The transmission driving clutch is overheating, usually due to repeated launches in stop-and-go traffic. Pull over and allow the transmission to cool in NEUTRAL until “TRANS. COOL READY TO DRIVE” is displayed."

So it goes to reason it isn't a bad idea to do when stuck in traffic for extended periods.


http://youtu.be/uKuqAw3PKMw

Since I live in NY I am now 100% sure I will never get another DDCT, unless they figure out how to make them live up to the sales pitch of a car that can be fully driven in auto when you want and manual when you want. My Fiat dealership said I don't need to drive it in manual. So it's obvious not everyone got the Fiat memo, but now that they have given up on DDCT I guess it's a moot point.

Fiat500USA
09-27-2016, 12:04 AM
Since I live in NY I am now 100% sure I will never get another DDCT, unless they figure out how to make them live up to the sales pitch of a car that can be fully driven in auto when you want and manual when you want. My Fiat dealership said I don't need to drive it in manual. So it's obvious not everyone got the Fiat memo, but now that they have given up on DDCT I guess it's a moot point.

I think the main problem is that few people, including the dealers, were familiar with how the technology works. In Europe this technology is more common place and knowing how to drive a manual transmission from what I understand is even part of the part of the driving license requirement in some countries, so the added awareness of what the trans can and cannot do is not an issue. Did the videos I posted, especially in the one that says what not to do, give any applicable hints? I would hope the dealer would give the same advice as in the video. There are certain techniques that driving in traffic require and that's just how the technology works and if the dealer doesn't mention it, the same results are likely to keep occurring. Best of luck.

Providence
02-01-2017, 01:51 PM
Just a little update in case anyone is interested. First of all thank you all for your posts and replies, it's been very helpful. My lawyer is still negotiating with Fiat on my 2014L Trekking with 30K miles, but they are not taking the car back. You are so lucky if you do not have problems. As many on this formum have stated, it's the inconveni
ence of constantly having to take the car into the repair shop and not having access to it and/or not having them be able to fix it. Yes, there are bigger problems in the world but we did buy these cars to use as cars. Obviously, Fiat knew something was wrong with the transmission/DDCT which is why they immediately stopped making it in the next models.

CoachRick
02-01-2017, 02:33 PM
Wow! REALLY glad we were a year later coming to the party!!! Our '15L is running just fine. Good luck!s

fierostetz
02-01-2017, 02:39 PM
I'd start a well-documented, factual social media campaign, and perhaps contact Jalopnik. The Jalopnik gearhead community has thrown its weight behind enthusiasts before, usually with positive results.

Providence
02-01-2017, 02:50 PM
Wow! REALLY glad we were a year later coming to the party!!! Our '15L is running just fine. Good luck!s

Yes, never buy the first year of a new model, wait for auto manufacturer to work out the bugs. That's advice lots of people in the industry give. Ironically, not all 2014s had major issues and some people believe that's because they were manufactured in different plants in different countries.

Providence
02-01-2017, 02:52 PM
I'd start a well-documented, factual social media campaign, and perhaps contact Jalopnik. The Jalopnik gearhead community has thrown its weight behind enthusiasts before, usually with positive results.

Checking out Jalopnik now. As I mentioned I do have a lawyer who's negotiating with them but unfortunately I do not have a lemon law case. The lemon law was designed to protect buyers but it was also designed with auto companies in mind so the standard to prove your case is very high. Not a complaint just an observation.

CoachRick
02-01-2017, 05:47 PM
Yes, never buy the first year of a new model, wait for auto manufacturer to work out the bugs. That's advice lots of people in the industry give. Ironically, not all 2014s had major issues and some people believe that's because they were manufactured in different plants in different countries.

Well, I reckon there are many exceptions, including our 2010 Volvo XC60---NINTH one sold in the state of Texas and our '13 Acura RDX that was a complete redesign for that year. ;)

Joe's 500L
02-02-2017, 12:44 AM
I have to agree with this 110%.......because I have a 2014 Easy L with the DDCT......and after getting it tuned up, the latest transmission update and new tires, I have had zero problems, with mine......I love it! I would trust driving it, anywhere....and back. I hope, you have better luck in the future.



Yes, never buy the first year of a new model, wait for auto manufacturer to work out the bugs. That's advice lots of people in the industry give. Ironically, not all 2014s had major issues and some people believe that's because they were manufactured in different plants in different countries.

Ez2517
02-02-2017, 08:12 AM
some people believe that's because they were manufactured in different plants in different countries.

Is that true ? I thought all 500Ls come from the same plant in Serbia, from the beginning ...

Fiat500USA
02-02-2017, 12:43 PM
Yes, never buy the first year of a new model, wait for auto manufacturer to work out the bugs. That's advice lots of people in the industry give. Ironically, not all 2014s had major issues and some people believe that's because they were manufactured in different plants in different countries.

The 500L is only manufactured in the FCA plant located in Serbia.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB0IHQoxXNM

"The roomy Fiat 500L is manufactured in one of the most modern car factories in Europe located in Kragujevac, Serbia. The former Zastava works factory was acquired by Fiat in 2008 and has been completely revamped with the help of $1.3 billion investment to make the factory a cutting edge facility."

read more: http://www.fiat500usa.com/search/label/Fiat%20500L%20Factory


Is that true ? I thought all 500Ls come from the same plant in Serbia, from the beginning ...
Yes, you are correct. Only in Serbia.

Fiat500USA
02-02-2017, 01:07 PM
These are the reasons that Fiat has phased out the DDCT in the 500L:

"...But unlike European consumers, most American motorists haven't driven a stick shift, so they aren't accustomed to a dual clutch's more abrupt gear shifts."and

"Dual-clutch transmissions 'have taken a beating among consumers,' said IHS researcher David Petrovski. 'If people aren't used to it, they think something is wrong.'"
Read more:http://www.autonews.com/article/20151207/OEM06/312079988/once-promising-dual-clutch-transmissions-lose-favor-in-u.s.

I've talked to the person at Fiat that gets all the reports on problems and they said that in nearly every case there is nothing wrong with the transmission.

CoachRick
02-02-2017, 07:14 PM
Makes me want to just try a DC trans just to see what all the hoopla is about. I've driven plenty of sticks in the last 45 years, including driving a school bus when I was in high school.

Providence
03-10-2017, 01:58 PM
Update. I've got 31000 miles and 3 new transmissions on my 2014 500L and the car won't pass inspection period I was told I need to drive it on the highway for like 60 miles. With my luck it'll break down while I'm in the fast lane of the highway with a semi behind me. When I asked why it wouldn't pass inspection I was told by the dealership that they don't know but usually it just has to be driven on the highway. This didn't happen last year.

CoachRick
03-10-2017, 05:33 PM
Dang!

Southernroadrunner
03-10-2017, 05:45 PM
Update. I've got 31000 miles and 3 new transmissions on my 2014 500L and the car won't pass inspection period I was told I need to drive it on the highway for like 60 miles. With my luck it'll break down while I'm in the fast lane of the highway with a semi behind me. When I asked why it wouldn't pass inspection I was told by the dealership that they don't know but usually it just has to be driven on the highway. This didn't happen last year.

Guess I just learned something. What's the explanation for all the transmissions needed.

CoachRick
03-10-2017, 05:54 PM
In related news, I've spotted a couple of well-priced low-mileage '15 500c models that had a "recall" on the trans...different trans from the OP I believe. Would anyone have any insight into THAT tranny snafu? Would it be related even though they have different slush boxes?

HayaCruza
03-12-2017, 09:55 AM
You might have to put miles on the car due to erasing the check engine codes. State inspection typically wont pass if something shows not ready. There are a few things that go to not ready after codes get erased.

Fiat500USA
03-12-2017, 03:48 PM
Update. I've got 31000 miles and 3 new transmissions on my 2014 500L and the car won't pass inspection period I was told I need to drive it on the highway for like 60 miles. With my luck it'll break down while I'm in the fast lane of the highway with a semi behind me. When I asked why it wouldn't pass inspection I was told by the dealership that they don't know but usually it just has to be driven on the highway. This didn't happen last year.

When an inspection station tells you that it means the car hasn't passed all its readiness checks. Could it be the car was driven much since the last time it was at the dealer or since the battery was disconnected? Did the car's battery gone flat lately or need to be jump started?

Fiat500USA
03-12-2017, 03:53 PM
In related news, I've spotted a couple of well-priced low-mileage '15 500c models that had a "recall" on the trans...different trans from the OP I believe. Would anyone have any insight into THAT tranny snafu? Would it be related even though they have different slush boxes?

Were those cars automatics or manuals? Manuals had the clutch pedal recall. Automatics have a reverse light recall. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software on these vehicles may have backup lamp illumination timing that does not meet customer expectations, according to FCA. It basically makes the reverse light come on quicker.

CoachRick
03-12-2017, 07:14 PM
Were those cars automatics or manuals? Manuals had the clutch pedal recall. Automatics have a reverse light recall. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software on these vehicles may have backup lamp illumination timing that does not meet customer expectations, according to FCA. It basically makes the reverse light come on quicker.

The two I looked at in detail were auto trans....seems like the CarGuru site made mention of the recall but gave no details. I couldn't find the listings yesterday when I checked again. Seems like they were offered by the Hurst, TX dealer which recently underwent an ownership change...maybe everything was out of date? I may take another look tonight; but selling the Volvo C70 would be like losing a member of the family! Sure got my brain in gear for a bit, though.

Ez2517
03-13-2017, 04:01 AM
On a manual transmission, you usually put it in neutral to avoid having your foot on the clutch pedal for too long, because otherwise the clutch spring would wear out. I would be surprised if on a DDCT equipped car, the electronics would not fully release the clutch as long as the car is at full stop and the accelerator is not pushed. I never drove a DDCT, but I drove a VW dual clutch DSG, and it definitely does not creep until you hit the accelerator. So if it is really the case that the DDCT suffers any wear when put in Drive at a stop, I would say that the design is not ideal. Especially not for the US, where anything needs to be absolutely fool proof.

Providence
04-27-2017, 11:52 AM
If you come to NYC you are welcome to test drive my car during rush hour.

Providence
04-27-2017, 11:54 AM
Makes me want to just try a DC trans just to see what all the hoopla is about. I've driven plenty of sticks in the last 45 years, including driving a school bus when I was in high school.

If you come to NYC you are welcome to test drive my car during rush hour.

Providence
04-27-2017, 12:00 PM
The 500L is only manufactured in the FCA plant located in Serbia.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB0IHQoxXNM

"The roomy Fiat 500L is manufactured in one of the most modern car factories in Europe located in Kragujevac, Serbia. The former Zastava works factory was acquired by Fiat in 2008 and has been completely revamped with the help of $1.3 billion investment to make the factory a cutting edge facility."

read more: http://www.fiat500usa.com/search/label/Fiat%20500L%20Factory


Yes, you are correct. Only in Serbia.

Oops and thanks for the clarification.

bellaitalia
01-24-2019, 10:06 AM
Our 2014 L dual clutch went out last year at 41K miles. Dealer thought it was control module, but when they dropped the engine, found that the rod that goes into the transmission for the "second" clutch broke. We had an extended warranty, but it was hell getting them to pay five grand for a new transmission since the rod is part of it, and not a piece you can order (so says fiat). Extended warranty plan company did not want to pay because the word "clutch" was used and they considered it not an automatic. After two weeks they gave in and approved the repair. What an ordeal.