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2014 500L DDCT Issue

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

  1. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    For 2015 the 500L offers the manual transmission, the DDCT (automated manual) and a true automatic (at a 2 mpg penalty). I'm guessing the DDCT was enough of an issue that they added the regular automatic.
    According to Jeep's website, they did not perform the latest software flashes on the Cherokee before delivery (I doubt by the time the deal was made there was anyone left in the building to do it). They owe me a detail so I may drop the car off tomorrow for the detail and reflash.
     
  2. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    To be fair, there are quite a few consumers not pleased with how DDCTs and DCTs operate - and not just those from Fiat.
     
  3. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    The funny part is it really operated well - well timed, quick shifting, great fuel economy - until it overheats. The design apparently does not disengage the clutch unless you throw it in neutral, which is fine if you are sitting still but impractical in stop and go traffic.
     
  4. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    Noted - but I think we would have read more reports similar to yours.
     
  5. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    That's what I've been thinking.

    Out loud : "Here we have a trusted soul who doesn't seem to be overly pumping-up the brand, nor yet is such a "Fix it again, Tony" hater that he screams 'Murder!' if he gets a flake of dust in his eye ... yet, enough of these models seem to have been sold to hear other people's complaints about the 500L's DDCT. "

    Some further looking did reveal a few complaints. One did finally mention identical circumstances (smoking, chugging and/or a lock-up requiring a tow), and another claimed they wanted to pursue Lemon Law remedy. Other reviews merely gave what I would characterize as a 'Numb Acknowledgment' of transmission problems. Among the small sample of owner reviews, very few people mentioned enough detail to rightly categorize the negative.

    Here's where I found the one customer with identical or near-identical problem with the 500L DDCT :

    http://www.edmunds.com/fiat/500l/2014/consumer-reviews/review-162776947301449728/
     
  6. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    I will admit to not liking the operation of the DDCT, and now the only roadblock to me considering a 500L is the engine.
     
  7. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    When I was researching this problem I didn't see too much on line either for the 500L DDCT, but then that is a very small population of vehicles. Just a few scattered reports. But then I expanded my search and saw similar problems with the Dodge Dart when the DDCT was installed and even the Afla Romeo 4C. It seems most people have not had the severe repeat of the problem as I did. I also looked up other makes and did find the DDCT overheating issue in some Fords.

    What I found interesting (and I would guess true from my experience of an overheated transmission without the transmission warning light being illuminated) is that the computer calculates what temperature it thinks the transmission is. Therefore the transmission could overheat (as mine did) without the warning light coming on or the light could come on without the transmission overheating.

    I think the 500L with a different transmission (like the 6 speed auto) and a bigger engine would be a great car. I have a friend with a 500L and the "real" manual transmission has been doing well, with the exception of the clutch slipping when backing up an incline.
     
  8. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    On the Edmunds site as I was following up on owner reviews, virtually everyone who opted for the true manual love the car - quirky styling be damned (fuel economy, outward visibility, interior comfort, space & layout, ride were all cited as strong points). It seems the 1.4L/DDCT is giving the 500L a bad name (except yet other people with the DDCT have also said they are aware of the problem and are not experiencing symptoms). 2015 models with the 'other' automatic haven't been Owner Reported quite yet.

    I, too, would wonder about Chrysler I4 packaging/fitment and performance. Maybe it can be massaged into what it was intended to be, except by making use of "our" 4-cylinders?
     
  9. v.b.

    v.b. Well-Known Member

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    If they want to "fix" the auto for US, IMO, it would need a wet clutch.

    It has been designed before the merger with a dry clutch for EU to keep as many common parts as possible with the "real" manual.

    Still, you can find some applications for US. Dart SRT 7-speed comes to mind...

    V
     
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  10. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

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    In Europe it is not yet used in the Fiat 500L, but in Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Mito (and 4C).
    What is different in european models? Likely software tuning parameters are different and also all european models have stop/start system, so, for example, the engine is stopped and there is less risk of clutch overheat.
    At FCA, in my opinion, they should make the double clutch work like what is and less mimic a "traditional automatic".

    The double clutch gearbox will be start to be yused soon also in FWD Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade with 1.4 gasoline engine (138 HP version).
     
  11. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    Interesting point on the stop/start and the clutch.
     
  12. TheMan

    TheMan What color are the clouds in your world?
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    Fiat implementation of the dual clutch is a poor adaptation of the awful VW implementation of a copy of the idea behind the ORIGINAL Eaton AMT twin countershaft brakes. Eaton has successfully defended their patents against Magnetti Marelli, ZF, Mercedes-Benz, Ricardo, FEV, and others since 1982.

    No one has yet been able to equal or improve on the Eaton design.
     
  13. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    If I'm following you correctly ( automated shifting? ) I wondered how Eaton was able to have a working entity - scaled much larger, obviously - and not have at least somewhat parallel user complaints.
     
  14. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The first DDCTs had a recall (M37) for leaky slave/actuator cylinders. It was an invasive operation that required removal of the transaxle on a new, unfamiliar vehicle.
    http://www.dodge.com/webselfservice/pdf/M37.pdf
    While the hydraulic leak issue may have been resolved, this clutch dragging/burning seems like more than just a software issue to me. I really hope they can resolve this.
    The DDCT could be a promising idea to realize new 'automatic' drivetrain efficiencies. The Fiat 'quality and reliability' reputation seems to be failing due in part to these quirks and FCA needs no more transaxle horror stories to get to the public through the media.
    The 500L may be an attractive alternative to those who think that the 500 is too small.
     
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  15. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    I'd be one such customer, but for my reluctance to just jump-in to obtain a 500L. Then hearing Valiant67's near-term history with his 500L justifies my hitting the <Pause> button on further looking until I get an All Clear signal of some sort.

    Meanwhile, back in the first moments of the Fiat/Chrysler mash-up in 2009, there was some discussion about the direction of the then Chrysler Dual Clutch design languishing without the 'go' signal.

    Is it worth back-pedaling at this point to re-consider the decision to move ahead with the Fiat DDCT?

    I'm really just tossing this out to see what, if any, benefit there might be to seeing if there's value in A/B testing the earlier Chrysler Dual Clutch design since current deployment of Fiat's DDCT is yielding a peculiar USA user profile . In other words, the Fiat DDCT programming for the common Euro-user has not produced this same or similar profile; it appears to be a NAFTA phenomenon.

    Is it, then, that the Fiat DDCT does no at all suit NAFTA users? Would the Chrysler Dual Clutch work better for North American driving style and dynamics? Is the current Fiat DDCT a future problem for FCA? Or is it a simple matter of programming needing to be massaged, but it will be otherwise trustworthy? {Which begs the question: 'Why isn't it that way already after this many model years in use?' }
     
  16. TheMan

    TheMan What color are the clouds in your world?
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    They did at first. The basic design of the Eaton AMT was first announced in the late 1970's and has been under development and refinement since then up to today's UltraShift. The controls of the CEEMAT version were particularly troublesome. The twin countershaft brakes worked from the start and were quite reliable.
     
  17. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    I took the Jeep in Saturday for the detail since it was too late Monday for them to do a good cleaning. Plus they had to do the ECM/TCM reflash for the 9 speed. Service manager said they had dropped the trans out of the 500L and the clutches were fried (an all day job for the tech to replace the clutches). He said for them to be that bad they had to be slipping while standing still and probably also slipping while being driven. I still think it's a nice design for a car, but the powertrain is not up to the task. I could deal with the 1.4 turbo, but the Fiat DDCGT is not ready for prime time. I wonder how sluggish the 1.4 turbo is with the true automatic in the 500L? I was tempted to try a 500L with the conventional auto but I think I'm going to stay away from Fiat branded (and built) cars for now. They did not have a Renegade but I would have been hesitant to buy one even with the more conventional powertrain.
     
  18. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear the update, but even more glad you didn't have to suffer any longer. And even way more glad that operating the 500L brought you to a different vehicle - those conditions were in fact jeopardizing your life, evidently unbeknownst to you at the moment you were operating the vehicle.

    Also very interesting is your outlook on the Renegade. Nothing like a fresh disaster to help one form a more abiding conclusion .

    My son is interested in a small group of cars, Renegade being but one. This might resonate with him after he reads your input.
     
  19. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Reading the Allpar notes on the Chrysler Dual Clutch automated transmission, and owing to Valiant67's situation with his now former 500L DDCT losses, what stood out during that quick read was that the Chrysler Dual Clutch was designed to have lubricating/cooling fluid ... The Fiat DDCT being the Dry Clutch counterpart.

    The report that the dealership removed and dismantled the DDCT and mentioned the fried clutches leapt of the page given the context. Add to that what the dealer reps conveyed as their presumption about slippage with the car operating, but at rest.

    Can't recall any other 'Gotchas' with the Fiat DDCT as used in the Dart or other FCA models, though. But I do now wonder about the decision to go with the DDCT. Sounds like an 'Off the Shelf' argument was favored over re-structuring a contract with Getrag. I'd wonder if it was that, and only that - otherwise, perhaps, we might've/could've had the Chrysler Dual Clutch.
     
  20. TheMan

    TheMan What color are the clouds in your world?
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    The Eaton design was developed for, again, TWIN COUNTERSHAFTS. THAT is the difference. Every other implimentation uses concentric dual clutches to brake the gearsets to provide the shifting synchronizing. The main power transmitting clutch is not involved and in Eaton transmission is also ceramic. That is the failure point. You need to cool the braking clutches to handle the input torque to them.

    The UltraShift must handle 2100 pounds feet of torque at each of up to 18 transmission ratios.

    The brakes are located on the left and right side of the mainshaft at the forward gearcase support bearings.
     
    #40 TheMan, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
    JavelinAMX, valiant67 and tomit like this.

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