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2015 500e - Service Vehicle Charging System saga
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Thread: 2015 500e - Service Vehicle Charging System saga

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    2015 500e - Service Vehicle Charging System saga

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    Now that this is over, I thought I would share the story so it may help someone in the future. Grab a beverage of choice.....this is a bit long. TL;DR at bottom (this note is the only edit).

    On October 24th, I arrived at work with 49% charge and decided to plug in (we have level 2 chargers at the office and no cost to use). Everything looked fine and I went to my desk. I had a late morning personal appointment so I went down to get my car. Everything looked normal, lights were off and I assumed it was charged since there was plenty of time to get to 100%. I unplugged and got in the car. When I turned it on, I noticed I was still at 49% charge. Now, we have had an issue with on of the chargers before, so I figured I'd go to my appointment and plug into a different one when I got back if available. When I got back there were several open, so I chose one that has been rock solid. Plugged in, charger tried to connect, then the dreaded goal posts. I unplugged, then tried again....same results. Got in the car and the dash display showed "Service Vehicle Charging System." It also said "Verify vehicle is unplugged before driving." So, I moved to a standard parking spot and went back to work.

    After work, I drove home. I had approx 30% and 20 miles of estimated range when I got home. I had already made an appointment to get the latest recall done the following Monday (10/29), so my wife and I carpooled the rest of the week and I had AAA tow the car to the dealer on Saturday 10/27. I got the call from the dealer on 10/29 saying the high voltage battery needed to be replaced. They said the warranties had expired at the end of September (a month earlier)......I had to explain several times that the bumper to bumper and powertrain had expired then, but the high voltage batter had an eight year, 100k mile warranty. Later in the week they said corporate signed off on warranty repair and they were trying to find the battery pack. So, for the next two weeks, my random updates from the dealer were along the lines of "we are still looking" and "have you seen how expensive these are?" At one point they said they were quoted $40K!

    I decided to call Fiat Customer Care to request support. I explained the dealer had had the car for three weeks and could not find the part, but that they already had corporate approval for warranty replacement. I was told a case manager would call me within 24 hours. The next morning my Fiat Customer Care case manager called to say he had already called the dealer, found the part and got it ordered. Unfortunately, it would be another couple of weeks before it was scheduled to be delivered. This was around November 13th and a delivery date around November 27th.

    I had picked up a rental car, which I kept for two weeks in that time. I was not getting a definitive answer on if Fiat would pick up the tab, and a friend offered to loan me a spare vehicle they had ('93 Ford Explorer). So, I turned in the rental and got my friend's rig. Shortly after turning the car in, Fiat agreed to reimburse me for all but some local licensing fees ($8 out of the $388 I paid), so I got most of my money back. I could have gotten a rental again, but it was less stress using the rig my friend loaned me.

    On December 6th, the dealer called and said the car was in "plant mode" and could not be driven. Chrysler Star told the dealer to try replacing the module managing the heating/cooling of the battery pack, but that it was not covered by warranty. Somehow, Fiat and the dealer came to the decision to pay for all but $100 of that part in a 'good faith' act. I would have to pay the $100, but that was the only charge, so I agreed to it. At 4pm on Friday, December 7th, I got the call that the car was finally ready for me. I was out of town, so planned to get it the next day. So, I was without my car for just over six weeks, but it runs great now and has a lot of new parts, including a new battery pack.

    Technical details from work order paperwork:

    Performed high voltage battery power down procedure. Removed C1 an C2 connectors of the battery pack. Found no voltage. Measured resistance between H301 and H300 found the resistance to be above 5 OHMs. Performed high voltage batter power up, and cleared codes, let vehicle sit. Code stayed active. Recommended battery pack and re test 3005 0 R&R on Board Charge Module. R&R High Voltage Battery assembly. Perform coolant fill, alignment and brake bleed. Charged12v battery. Clear all codes. Code P0C78-00 - Hybrid/EV battery system pre-charge time too long OBCM sets, will not clear, OBCM will not come out of plant mode. Performed Proxi alignment and BCM reconfiguration, no change.
    Contacted Chrysler STAR. After several contacts, advices to replace OBCM again.
    R&R OBCM, performed coolant bleed. Still will not come out of plant mode.
    Contacted STAR again. Several contacts, found resistance of battery coolant heater to be out of spec. Resistance way too low. Found 1.1K, Should be 90-240K ohms.
    After heater was replaced, system came out fo plant mode and charge module function normal. Test drove, Performed complete charge.

    Service guy told me when I picked up the car, after I asked, that it was around $7800 in parts and over $2K in labor that they were sending to Fiat for reimbursement. I paid my $100 and was on my way.

    If I had to do it again....which I hope I never do, I would have called Fiat Customer Care a lot sooner. I also may have taken it to a different dealer. My issue is that I'm in Washington State and have two dealers I could choose...one just over 20 miles north in South Tacoma (insane traffic, but it is an Alfa/Fiat dealer), or one just over 20 miles south with almost no traffic, but is a Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat dealer (and the Fiat piece is new). I went south due to traffic and my sister's experience with the other dealer not being stellar. In the end, the dealer I chose was fine, although at times it felt like pulling teeth to get updates. Fiat Customer Care was great, and my case manager gave me regular updates. If he said he would call on a given day, he did.

    All in all, I love the car, and trust that with all those components replaced, I will have a car that lasts me well past the end of my loan (three years).

    TL;DR Car wouldn't charge, six weeks later, with the help of Fiat Customer Care, I have my car back and working.
    2015 500e

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    Thanks for posting. Good that we are getting a few detailed cases of actual repairs. Glad to hear that Fiat footed most of the bill.

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    What an ordeal! This is the sort of thing that can happen with a low production California compliance car. Even Fiat/Chrysler themselves have little experience or expertise to diagnose and fix problems with this car that is very different from any of their other models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkw View Post
    What an ordeal! This is the sort of thing that can happen with a low production California compliance car. Even Fiat/Chrysler themselves have little experience or expertise to diagnose and fix problems with this car that is very different from any of their other models.
    Yeah basically. Now that I've been able to briefly look at the Micropod 2 software there is a capture feature which basically logs data from the car. I suspect beyond a few basic things the dealership just sends that diagnostic information in to the mother ship and have them tell the dealership what to do next.

    Experiences like this are going to be crucial to keeping our cars going long term. New parts from the dealer are very expensive so we're going to be relying on junkyard parts moving forward as more and more of our cars go out of warranty.

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