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2014 500L DDCT Issue

Discussion in 'Fiat' started by valiant67, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    So today in stop and go traffic the 500L put out a nice cloud of smelly smoke then started shifting a bit more harshly. Just under 1800 miles on it.
    Happened very near to the dealer so I just changed my course to the service department. Service guy says this happens occasionally on the DDCT, they do a relearn on the clutch and transmission and he hasn't seen any cars come back a second time for this. I guess I'll find out, but I'm not thrilled to have an issue like this on a 1800 mile car.

    Two interesting things:
    1) Since I bought the car at the end of December, Fiat has been moved from the building it was in to a small building on what was once the used car lot. And they opened a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealership in the building where Fiat used to be.
    2) There were no 2015 300 models in stock, just one 300C Platinum in transit that supposedly has an almost $51k MSRP but still only has the V6 engine.
     
  2. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Car came back and drove fine, then this morning another problem. Not in traffic this time, not even out of the neighborhood. Parked it and drove the Challenger. Going back to the dealer again tomorrow.
     
  3. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    Smoke is never good. Was it clutch? Keep us posted.
     
  4. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    OK, here is the latest.
    Fiat advises to put the car into neutral (DDCT) at stops. Fiat advises to manually shift gears of the transmission is shifting between gears 1, 2 and 3 excessively in stop and go traffic.
    The malfunction indicator light that the transmission/clutch was overheating never came on prior to the cloud of smoke, jerky shifts and then the loss of pull from the transmission (I won't call it slipping like an automatic transmission, but the clutch was probably slipping). I suspect there are TSBs on this, it's certainly not the operation described in the users manual. This car was supposed to be something more efficient than my truck in city driving - not looking like it's a good choice unless they change the operation of the transmission. Second service guy was not so sure the problem would not come back and recommended the manual shift, put it in neutral routine.
    They did a relearn on the clutch - no modules were updated as they all had the latest software.

    Yesterday's problem was some red circle warning in the EVIC where the snowflake displays on cold mornings. I have no idea what it meant (it is not found in either of the manuals) but it did not come back on today, the dealer thinks they know what happened so I'll get them to look at it.

    Not confidence inspiring at this point. I have to wonder if the clutches get that hot in the DDCT if it's shortening their life?
     
  5. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    Well, as IC says, smoke is never good. As my Chrysler Zone instructer used to tell us, once you let the smoke out, electrical problems, repairs are coming! might go for transmissions too! I wonder how thick those clutch plates are Valiant67?
     
  6. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I decided to file a complaint at NHTSA, something I have never done before.
    I consider it a safety issue since the warning light for the overheated transmission/clutch never came on and the car was hesitant to move forward in traffic.

    I'm not satisfied with the dealers's "shift into neutral" and "manually shift gears in stop and go traffic to keep the transmission cooler" as this advice does not appear in the operating instructions - my (unprofessional) opinion is they need to tweak the software. I'm curious what, if any, TSBs exist on this issue.

    As for this "Yesterday's problem was some red circle warning in the EVIC where the snowflake displays on cold mornings. I have no idea what it meant (it is not found in either of the manuals) but it did not come back on today, the dealer thinks they know what happened so I'll get them to look at it."
    It seems to be a fault when it's almost, but not cold enough, to light the snowflake. No big deal - next time I won't freak out and leave the car home.
     
  7. Mike V.

    Mike V. Mopar-nac The Moderator

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    Good luck, this is very very disappointing to hear.

    Mike
     
  8. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    And the DDCT issues are back. Not as much burning smell, but a the shifts are jerky, often late and once there was simply no forward motion from the car in stop and go traffic.
    Back to the dealer today - I wonder if this car will last. It's only at 3100 miles.
     
  9. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Took the car in Saturday - have not heard anything back yet (nor did I expect to one the weekend).
    Another development: Saturday morning before 6 AM I unlocked the car with the remote. Alarm went off when I opened the door. The remote would not turn off the alarm - only the key in the ignition stopped the alarm. I am sure the neighbors loved me.
     
  10. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Car is showing a "communications error" trouble code. Nothing right now associated with the transmission. Diagnostics continue...
     
  11. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Clutch assembly is burned up and must be replaced. At least 2 days to get the part.
     
  12. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The clutch being burnt up sounds more like an 'effect' than a 'cause'. I hope that they can find the reason for the clutch failure. I don't think that it was the clutch itself.
    When it smoked and stunk was when it was slipping. Why was it slipping?
     
  13. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

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    The reason could be the "creeping" function that makes the car start to move when the driver release the brake pedal.
    Same happened to several Alfa Romeo 4C in U.S.A., but in Europe it seems rare problem. different software settings?

    I really don't understand why try to push to limits a dual clutch gearbox trying to simulate a "traditional" automatic gearbox and not let a dual clutch be a dual clutch gearbox and nothing else.

    Note: in Europe there is no Fiat 500L with dual clutch gearbox.
     
  14. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    So the dealer called yesterday evening and asked if I wanted to come in and talk about the situation. The salesman who sold the 500L, the service manager (hands still greasy), the sales manager and the GM (or asst GM) of the dealer were all there to talk with me. Service manager said he thought there was a reflash for the transmission but there wasn't. he also said they would commit to an addition 24 month/24k of goodwill warranty on top of the factory 12 month/12k on the clutch assembly. But he also said that Atlanta (due to the heat and traffic) was considered an extreme environment. He says (and I kind of believe him) that this was the first time one of these DDCTs returned with a clutch failure after the relearn. Then he stated that if I no longer had confidence in the 500L to function properly in Atlanta's traffic, he would recommend the car should be replaced. Since the 500L was bought in December, the dealer had added Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram to the lot.

    The salesman started pulling cars that had a similar sticker price that could be discounted to what the 500L sold for. That was a selection of Journeys (nicest was a Crossroads) , Compasses and Patriots. I could not warm up to the Compass and Patriots and didn't want a sedan like a Dart or 200. They could have actually lowered the payment slightly with the Journey but it was a 2.4 4 speed auto, though fairly well equipped. There was not a V6 Journey there. Also, they said they could probably make a Cherokee Sport or one of the plainer Latitudes work. In the end, I put a little more money in and ended up with a 2015 4 cylinder Cherokee Limited FWD, no sunroof or safety tech but still pretty nicely equipped. The staff was there until 10 PM last night to get the deal together. Hats off the Landmark C/D/J/R/F on Peachtree Industrial Road in Atlanta.

    I know the 9 speed is not without issues, but I think in the FWD version is doing better than the AWD version.
     
    #14 valiant67, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
    JA Cumbo and floridaman2013 like this.
  15. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    Glad to hear that the dealer was willing and able to "make it right."
     
    Doug D likes this.
  16. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Glad to see the dealer was more than willing to work with you.

    As much as I like Journey's (we've had two), I think you wouldn't have liked the 4 cylinder version. They are just a little too underpowered for my taste and the V6 versions fuel mileage is only slightly worse than the 4 cylinder.
     
  17. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Sad to hear about the 500L . Good to hear the Dealership put in overt effort to provide a satisfactory resolution.
     
  18. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I could have probably gotten a slightly better deal (though it would have taken a lot more time and effort) pursuing the state lemon law.
    I didn't think it was worth the time and extra effort - the dealer took care of me and I am happy with what they did. Plus I got Sirius traffic and travel link which the 500L did not offer.
     

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  19. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Very nice ride, Valiant67.

    When you get settled-in, give us an owner's "First Person" profile. You have a unique perspective moving from the F500 to the 500L to the Cherokee. That aspect, alone, has a unique fingerprint to it.
     
  20. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    I agree. Indeed, it might seem that FIAT still is not ready for primetime in US sales as far as quality control/design goes. I have seen other web sites with similiar complaints. I hope FIAT gets these problems fixed fast as the automatice trans in this country is a big seller versus manual trans. I have been looking at the 500L and Darts and talking to owners of both when I see them in parking lots. Most loved their vehicles. The biggest complaint on the FIATs was the power of the 1.4 engine.
     

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