2003 C5 HDI Auto Gear Fault
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default 2003 C5 HDI Auto Gear Fault

    Hi all,
    The boss is on the north island and a new bug has occurred in our luxurious wagon. On going up a steep hill the gearbox seemed to get confused and got stuck in 3rd(?) gear, the auto gear fault message came up and the gear lights disapeaered on the dash board. It appears that the car was then stuck in that gear as when she re-entered traffic, no gear changes and no power for moving with traffic. During one mobile phone chat, I had Vicki stop car, turn off, restart car, move gear lever to manual mode and it appeared to work fine until the next steep hill. She did the last few hundred km's slowly. Any thoughts or past experiences appreciated. This is a country car (Tas & North west NSW) so no Citroen dealer nearby.

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts George 1/8th's Avatar
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    Hi Mark, I'd look at the simple things first.
    1. check transmission oil level. If it's too low it's exactly those types of conditions....long steep hill climb....which could lead to trouble.
    2. Type of tranny oil is crucial...make sure no-one has put a different type in it.
    3. Check that there are no leaks, and that the trans oil cooler hoses are all ok, no splits, no leaks etc etc.

    Good luck with that....

    Cheers....George 1/8th.

  3. #3
    Fellow Frogger
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    It changes to 3rd gear and stays there when a problem is detected. It's often caused by a failure with one or both of the fluid pressure regulation electrovalves, but there are other components that can also fail within the gearbox that result in the same symptom. If a clutch pack is slipping it would also exhibit this symptom, but that would most likely require a gearbox overhaul.

    Assuming it's not a fault with the switch under the gearstick or low oil etc., it's likely you'd look at changing the electrovalves (up to $1K say). However, if the oil is badly burnt and smells strogly then it may have a failure within that necessitates an overhaul (say ~$5K+) If it needs a gearbox, then it's often a waste to even try changing the electrovalves.

    You want to take it to a dealer or transmission specialist promptly, because it won't repair itself. If you must drive it, stop and restart whenever you get the 3rd gear selection and fault message. Perhaps, if you are approaching a large hill, manually drop it back to 3rd and than back to auto after the hill. It may prevent it staying in 3rd gear. If it is slipping obviously, then it's probably already all over, but you wouldn't want to drive it like that as it will cause damage.

  4. #4
    Tadpole
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    The 3rd gear "limp home" mode can be caused by a multitude of problems with the vehicle, most of which are entirely unrelated to the transmission itself. My advice (I am a complete layman, but from recent experience with my C5) is to get the car into a Citroen service facility where the car's engine management system can be interrogated by the dealer's diagnostic software. The whole idea of a limp home mode is to make you seek proper advice. These cars are really computers on wheels!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    It changes to 3rd gear and stays there when a problem is detected. It's often caused by a failure with one or both of the fluid pressure regulation electrovalves, but there are other components that can also fail within the gearbox that result in the same symptom. If a clutch pack is slipping it would also exhibit this symptom, but that would most likely require a gearbox overhaul.

    Assuming it's not a fault with the switch under the gearstick or low oil etc., it's likely you'd look at changing the electrovalves (up to $1K say). However, if the oil is badly burnt and smells strogly then it may have a failure within that necessitates an overhaul (say ~$5K+) If it needs a gearbox, then it's often a waste to even try changing the electrovalves.

    You want to take it to a dealer or transmission specialist promptly, because it won't repair itself. If you must drive it, stop and restart whenever you get the 3rd gear selection and fault message. Perhaps, if you are approaching a large hill, manually drop it back to 3rd and than back to auto after the hill. It may prevent it staying in 3rd gear. If it is slipping obviously, then it's probably already all over, but you wouldn't want to drive it like that as it will cause damage.
    Hi Markd
    I endorse the comments here by David. These transmissions can be good but when they start to play up it is vital that you fix them before they suffer serious damage and need a full rebuild.

    The limp home mode is to stay in 3rd gear ,which is direct, and leave the torque convertor free to give torque for starting off etc. The problem is, if the fault is transient then the computer logs a fault, puts the service light on the dash but resets to normal function when next started. So people keep driving instead of getting a dealer to fix it. So the fault keeps re-occuring till serious damage happens. It appears some dealers have used this approach to get customers out the door also

    It is probable that changing the valves will fix the problem. They are a known problem and Citroen(PSA) superceeded them with the latest type in all new boxes years ago. This involves an oil change as well so thats also good.

    It is not possible to 'check the oil level' yourself easily. Nor would it be advisable to get your average garage to do it as adding some of the correct oil is necessary to get it to flow out the overflow port. However it is a good idea to look underneath the car and around the gearbox generally for signs of oil and leaks. If there are any obvious sign of bad leaks then I would say DO NOT DRIVE IT, as damage will ensue. However leaks are not usual. Some small damp areas near the seals are OK. Perhaps we need to publish another procedure to check the oil level as it would have been lost in "the crash"

    I doubt that the "limp home mode problem" will be caused by problems other than the transmission or its computer. However electrical faults and low battery voltages can cause computer faults which come and go. Remember there are several computers in this car which all talk and interact with each other.
    Jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 19th December 2010 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Layout

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    It changes to 3rd gear and stays there when a problem is detected. It's often caused by a failure with one or both of the fluid pressure regulation electrovalves, but there are other components that can also fail within the gearbox that result in the same symptom. If a clutch pack is slipping it would also exhibit this symptom, but that would most likely require a gearbox overhaul.

    Assuming it's not a fault with the switch under the gearstick or low oil etc., it's likely you'd look at changing the electrovalves (up to $1K say). However, if the oil is badly burnt and smells strogly then it may have a failure within that necessitates an overhaul (say ~$5K+) If it needs a gearbox, then it's often a waste to even try changing the electrovalves.

    You want to take it to a dealer or transmission specialist promptly, because it won't repair itself. If you must drive it, stop and restart whenever you get the 3rd gear selection and fault message. Perhaps, if you are approaching a large hill, manually drop it back to 3rd and than back to auto after the hill. It may prevent it staying in 3rd gear. If it is slipping obviously, then it's probably already all over, but you wouldn't want to drive it like that as it will cause damage.
    Hi Markd
    I endorse the comments here by David. These transmissions can be good but when they start to play up it is vital that you fix them before they suffer serious damage and need a full rebuild.
    The limp home mode is to stay in 3rd gear ,which is direct, and leave the torque convertor free to give torque for starting off etc. The problem is, if the fault is transient then the computer logs a fault, puts the service light on the dash but resets to normal function when next started. So people keep driving instead of getting a dealer to fix it. So the fault keeps re-occuring till serious damage happens. It appears some dealers have used this approach to get customers out the door also
    It is probable that changing the valves will fix the problem. They are a known problem and Citroen(PSA) superceeded them with the latest type in all new boxes years ago. This involves an oil change as well so thats also good.
    It is not possible to 'check the oil level' yourself easily. Nor would it be advisable to get your average garage to do it as adding some of the correct oil is necessary to get it to flow out the overflow port. However it is a good idea to look underneath the car and around the gearbox generally for signs of oil and leaks. If there are any obvious sign of bad leaks then I would say DO NOT DRIVE IT, as damage will ensue. However leaks are not usual. Some small damp areas near the seals are OK. Perhaps we need to publish another procedure to check the oil level as it would have been lost in "the crash"
    I doubt that the "limp home mode problem" will be caused by problems other than the transmission or its computer. However electrical faults and low battery voltages can cause computer faults which come and go. Remember there are several computers in this car which all talk and interact with each other.
    Jaahn

  7. #7
    Tadpole
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    Hi George,
    Thanks, Vicki has just dropped into Sydney. I have talked to the European car fellow at Roselands who is going to have a quick look (ie oil level) monday morning. I guess we will have a better idea then.
    MarkD

  8. #8
    Tadpole
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    Dear Jaahn,DavidS &Gwundu,
    Thanks for your Advice.
    Vicki has just arrived Sydney, a 4hr trip detour. I have a booking for Monday morning with the European cars people at Roselands. So we might have a more informed idea soon.
    As a bye-the-bye. The car has just been serviced. No problems. The service included a fluids top up, so I am concerned that the mechanic did not use the right gearbox oil. They have serviced the car before & other Citroen's/BMW's and have used the correct oil in the past but .... who knows?

  9. #9
    Tadpole
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    Hi Markd, so after all this how did you fare with going to the European Car Dealer at Roselands ? Did they resolve the problem if so what was done and what did they charge. Regards, JM

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