jerky gear change
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default jerky gear change

    Hi, I’m new to this forum and (relatively new to the world of French cars) and was hoping someone has some experience with the problem which has arisen. I have a 2007 Citroën C4 Picasso, 142,000km. I’m not much into cars and made this purchase to carry around my 3 children. I really want to love this car …..however …. over the last month the gear change into 3rd has become more and more jerky….bordering on violent. Last week my middle child asked if it was the car behind us hitting us…..If i accelerate REALLY gently the gearchange is smooth. Also this jerky change is now happening when I change into reverse…I have booked in for a service (next available 3 weeks away)…and am hoping not to hear “new gearbox needed” as the 5 year extended warranty which came with the car when I purchased it has now (just) lapsed. I have also notice the car is vibrating more than normal when idling, (to the extent the view in driver side rear-view mirror is impaired due to this vibration…does it sound like the two problems could be linked?…any heads up before I take it off to the mechanic would be appreciated.
    I have read forum links about this problem occuring and possible solutions...ie oil change? but was hoping to hear from someone who has had this problem and how it was solved, but any feedback would be great.
    Thanks
    Tania

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger
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    Diesel or petrol engine? The gearboxes are different. Diesels used a 6 speed (AM6), while the petrol engines used a 4 speed (AL4) gearbox. The fix will be different.

    The vibration could be due to a torn engine mount. Look for torn rubber.

  3. #3
    Tadpole
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    Thanks David,
    Its the diesel model... Is that good news?

  4. #4
    UFO
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    I thought engine mount too - based on the description given.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Engine mount would be on my list of things to check.

    Being a Diesel, it runs the AM6 gearbox. They can have issues with the transmission valve bodies, which means they can bang from the 2nd to 3rd change up. Google "Peugeot Citroen AM6 Problems". Common issue in other cars that run Aisin Warner 6speed Auto box. They can be repaired, usually new valve bodies at circa $2 to $3k. Cheaper than a new 'box. Most Good Transmission shops have experience with them.

    BUT, check the engine mounts first!

  6. #6
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    pray its not an AL$ gearbox 2 to 3 grand is cheap
    I spent 10 grand on mine in 3 years that's why I sold the car if the car had been made here I would have taken it back to the manufacturer with a helicopter dropping it right on the managing directors house

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger
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    No, it's not an AL$ or AL4 ... but it was used in the petrol versions.

    First thing is to check the engine mounts and stabiliser bushes. They do fail eventually. Mount are not cheap, but you have got at least 142K from them so far, so it's not bad going. It could explain why it's become a problem in reverse as well as forward gears.

    Changing the brake switch may be worth considering as its relatively inexpensive and known to give trouble. The car uses it as an input for it's management and it does more than jsut turn on the stop lamps. So, you need it working properly. It might come as a kit with a short extension harness and that can seem expensive for what it is. Fitting the extra harness is a good idea if it's not already been done.

    Make sure you are not driving with your left foot on the brake pedal at the same time as the accelerator. People do it unconsciously and it confuses the car. Often, they will sear blind they aren't yet actually do.

    If the car has low turbo boost, it will tend to hold the lower gears and rev harder because it is down on power. it could seem a bit jerky under those conditions. Does it seem to have become a bit gutless and holding on to 3rd and 4th around town? A common problem on the your model (most with RHR in the VIN actually) is a cracked vacuum Y-piice down the front of the engine. If it cracks, you lose vacuum to the turbo and it loses boost, hence it becomes quite gutless.

    The AM6 gearbox is very pleasant to live with normally. Sometimes, they will slip on the 2-3 upchange when hot and in bad cases in other gears too. It seems the valve block can be at fault with a sticking solenoid. A new valve block might be one option, but there would be transmission places able to repair the valve block. The USA company Sonnax has information about the sticking solenoid problem on it's website if you want to learn more about it. The gearbox is used in other brands under different names, the generic one being an Aisin AW TF80SC. A gearbox oil change could help a bit, but is certainly not a silver bullet fix for all tranny problems. If it's never been changed in 142K, it's time for a flush. The factory oil is very expensive, but there are alternatives such as Penrite, but ask the dealer about this.

    EDIT: It's also a feature of both the AL4 and AM6 gearboxes that they select 3rd gear if the ECU detects a problem. It's called 'limp', or 'refuge' mode and it will stay in 3rd until the car is next restarted. If it selects 3rd gear suddenly, it can seem like the car has been shunted up the back, but you would also expect to get a loud beep and a gearbox fault warning on the dashbaord. Is that a feature of the behaviour you are describing?

    Overall, the Picasso is a great car to own and they just don't give much trouble at all. A common problem though is the weak tailgate latch, which breaks because people lift the tailgate with it when it was obviously intended only to operate the switch to open the tailgate!
    Last edited by David S; 9th January 2013 at 11:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Tadpole
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    Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

    David I agree I really like the car, when I first took one for a drive, I couldn’t believe the clear view it gave the driver. This sold me at once (as well as all the other extras like the fold down trays etc. for the children. We have had it now just on 12 months, and yes have experienced the tailgate problem you referred to (nothing major). We did have a lot of trouble with the pneumatic suspension failing and the car ‘riding on it axels’ until it was fixed….I hope once we get this gear change problem sorted that will be it for a while

    There has been no associated fault messages, which surprises me as it seems it seems this car likes to set off a warning at the first sign of danger (lucky its mostly for low fuel level) so far.

    I am not driving with my left foot on the brake, buts its funny you mention it as my husband (who may drive the car 1/week) does, he mentioned this in passing just last week…..I will tell him to stop

    No the car hasn’t become gutless at all. Not appearing to hold on to 3rd and 4th.

    We tend to hold onto cars, the Picasso suits my young family very well and I want to have this one well into the future so I will do the right thing by this one and follow your suggestions, re:brake switch, I will let you know how I go at the mechanics .
    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Fellow Frogger
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    The pneumatic rear end is rare here, so it's almost an oddity. Was it a problem with the pump or the suspension bags?

    Have you made sure there are no oustanding recalls on the car? They should have all been done before you owned the car, but it depends on where it's been and whether it's been in or out of the dealer network for a while. It's worth checking.

    Being a diesel now at 142K, you'll probably find the Eolys additive bag for the particle filter will need changing sometime in the next 40K. The factory fill was intended to be enough to last around 160-180K, maybe more if the car does a lot of highway work. It's just something to be aware of and you are likely to get an anti-pollution fault message when it thinks it's time to change the bag.

  10. #10
    Fellow Frogger! tractionfan's Avatar
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    Wow David you are a font of knowledge!
    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    The pneumatic rear end is rare here, so it's almost an oddity. Was it a problem with the pump or the suspension bags?

    Have you made sure there are no oustanding recalls on the car? They should have all been done before you owned the car, but it depends on where it's been and whether it's been in or out of the dealer network for a while. It's worth checking.

    Being a diesel now at 142K, you'll probably find the Eolys additive bag for the particle filter will need changing sometime in the next 40K. The factory fill was intended to be enough to last around 160-180K, maybe more if the car does a lot of highway work. It's just something to be aware of and you are likely to get an anti-pollution fault message when it thinks it's time to change the bag.

  11. #11
    Tadpole
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    The problem was most definitely in the suspension bags. This type of suspension is apparently an oddity here and I found it had to find a mechanic who knew what to do….After reading some of the UK forums (which described the problem we were having to a tee) we suggested to the mechanic just to change them. He was hesitant as the diagnostics he did were inconclusive. But it worked a treat. So I am very grateful for the wealth of knowledge which is easily accessible both here and overseas.

  12. #12
    Tadpole
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    Well after a quick inspection of the engine mounts we have a ‘metal on metal‘ situation on the driver’s side

  13. #13
    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tania View Post
    Well after a quick inspection of the engine mounts we have a ‘metal on metal‘ situation on the driver’s side

    Ah well, at least you have identified the source - and it's not the gearbox!
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

  14. #14
    Tadpole
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    Hello again,
    I regret to announce my joy has been short lived. Certainly the vibration the car was experiencing was due to a lack of engine mount on the right hand side. However I am still experiencing a very jerky lower gear change and when putting the car into reverse. I have searched some overseas forums and everything indicates a problem with the clutch actuator and/ or gearbox firmware. There are examples of the clutch actuator being replaced but as the “intelligent” transmission “learns” the problem arises a few weeks later. Has anyone had a PERMANENT solution to this problem? Is an update of the gearbox firmware a simple quick process? Any feedback on rectifying this problem would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  15. #15
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Tania

    your discussion above about clutch actuators etc relate to the EGS gearbox (a clutchless manual essentially). I could be wrong but I would have thought yours was an automatic running the Aisin Warner AM6 unit. This being the case, as posted earlier, they can have issues with the transmission valve bodies, which means they can bang from the 2nd to 3rd change up. Google "Peugeot Citroen AM6 Problems". Common issue in other cars that run Aisin Warner 6speed Auto box also. They can be repaired, usually new valve bodies at circa $2 to $3k. Most good Transmission shops have experience with them.

  16. #16
    bas
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    Hmmm, this sounds awfully familiar except I drive a C5 but then again, same engine, same gearbox. I've had the exact same thing happen to me but after 185,000 km.

    With regards to the gear changes I took it back to the mechanic (Citroen Centre in Punchbowl) where I was told it could be one of two things, either the gearbox oil was contaminated and needed replacing or some of the valves in the valvebody were sticky in which case the entire valvebody would need replacing. I ended up doing both, gearbox oil change first, which alleviated the gear change issue a little bit at first but that was only for a few weeks, replacing the valvebody with a refurbished one after that. Replacing the oil is relatively cheap, just some labour, flushes and oil which I think ended up costing a couple of hundred bucks. The valvebody however was almost $ 2,000 all up and that was for a refurbished one, a new one would have set me back $ 3,000 and they both only get a 1 year warranty!! Having said that, it worked and now the gear changes are smooth as a hot knife through butter.

    The next thing is/was the engine mounts. My car had some nasty vibrations, especially stationary on a hill or with the wheels turned into the corner. My car is actually in right now to have the engine mounts replaced but I took it to my "other" mechanic, the one who services my Landcruiser as they are around the corner from where I live. Any decent mechanic can replace engine mounts and they will be a lot cheaper than Citroen Centre would be. Mine needed the top engine mount and the dogbone replacing for which they charge me $ 115 (top one) and $ 155 (dogbone) plus labour which will be roughly 2-3 hours so all up around $ 500. The quote I got from Citroen Centre was $ 1,500 !!!

    For reference, I contacted some transmission places to see if they can do a better deal. I found 1 in Parramatta West that came recommended but they charged $ 3,500 for a refurbished valvebody!!!

    So wait until you bring it in for service next and have them check it out first before you get worried.
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger
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    Tania, it's the same 6 speed gearbox as in Bas' C5. Ignore anything to do with EGS in the Picasso as it's not relevant to a 2007 model here. Also ignore anything you might read about the Commelec unit, which is the electric gear selector/shifter in the Picasso. If you had a problem with that, which would now be most unusual, the car wouldn't be running.

    If it were my car, I'd be changing the gearbox oil (probably with Penrite), maybe the brake switch and seeing if it's any better. If not, look to the valve block, which as noted is not unique to the Citroen. The Ford Mondeo uses the same engine and gearbox, so Ford gearbox specialists may be worth a call.

  18. #18
    bas
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    The car is back, haven't driven it yet though. The "damage" was only $ 485 for the top engine mount and the dogbone one including parts and labour so not too bad.

    With regards to sourcing a gearbox/valvebody from another car brand, I asked about that as well at the transmission place but they mentioned they were all made slightly different so they're not interchangeable.

    Good luck with fixing your C4 Picasso!
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

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