Citroen C4 AL4 Gearbox Issue
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Icon4 Citroen C4 AL4 Gearbox Issue

    Dear Gentlemen,

    Last week during 2 very hot weather days, I faced a problem with my Citroen C4 2007 AL4 gearbox. After a long trip of like 1 hour in traffic and hot weather I finally arrived to my house leading road which is a very tough hill climbing road, and when I initiated a kickdown from shift 2 to shift 1, I faced 3 times a slippery gearbox change. In a way I noticed the revs going up followed by a bang. I showed it to Citroen garage who stated that I need an overhauling for the gearbox and which will cost me 1200 USD. I never faced any problem so far with the gearbox and I am now on 98800 Km.
    Citroen garage changed the gearbox ATF since 18000 Km when I had the 80000 Km maintenance.

    I read couple of articles about the AL4 having weird behaviors when the temperature of the ATF becomes high stating that it is always recommended to install a bigger ATF coolent. In some other cases people solved this behavior with changing regularly the ATF.

    Do you think that changing the ATF would solve my problem? I haven't noticed any slippery shift since last week despite getting stuck in traffic everyday. I even conducted a stress test last Sunday by driving it on Sport mode for like 20 minutes with constant kickdowns. No message of Gearbox faulty ever displayed on the dashboard since I bought it.

    In case the ATF needs to be changed do I use the Esso/Mobil LT 71141??? or you recommend any other fluid?

    Appreciating your advices and comments.

    Thanks,


    Mark

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  2. #2
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    The key to this gearbox apparently is the gearbox oil changes. I have done this every time my C3 gets serviced.

  3. #3
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Hello Mark, it is hard to say exactly what the problem is, other than quite possibly the gearbox control solenoids.

    There are eight of these, and two near the top of the gearbox perform a lot of hard work. If the gearbox became too hot, it may have damaged these parts.

    You will be safe with the choice of manufacturer's specification for oil. It's possible to install an extra oil cooler; the Americans call what you need, a "sandwich" adaptor (typical sample) as it fits between the existing oil cooler and gearbox. I think Summit Racing may ship to your country without too much difficulty.

    Cheers, Adam.

  4. #4
    Tadpole
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    Thanks Adam for your advice, Is changing the Solenoids = Overhauling of the whole gearbox? or you thing Citroen are exagerating? Does it cost 1200 $USD? I strongly believe they are trying to rip me off and I can't just enter the garage and tell them what to do, in either case I will never be sure if they will change them or not. So I think I will proceed with the ATF change now and check the behavior...Anyway do you know how many liters does the gearbox require for a change of ATF?

    Moreover, they said something regarding gearbox pressure and leakage, honestly I am not a mecanic but I read quiet a lot of articles on AL4 for the past couple of days in order to assess my situation.

    Cheers,
    Mark
    Last edited by mikosoft; 1st August 2012 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Correction

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger
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    Changing the gearbox fluid may not fix your problem, so don't see it as a silver bullet fix. A fluid change might help clear out any debris, but will not fix a slipping clutch pack or bad electrovalve. If water has entered the gearbox, a couple of hot flushes (no menopause jokes please!) is known to possibly fix harsh changes. Another thing to look for is friction plate debris in the oil cooler, which could restrict the fluid flow.

    At various points, the cars have been sold as having a 'lifetime' fill of fluid in the gearbox, but the ECU also has a counter to estimate how the fluid ages. When it reaches about 32K, it's time to change the oil. I'd be very surprised if the counter is anywhere near that in your case and probably wouldn't have been even if you'd not changed the oil at 80K. It seems to be sensible to change the fluid, but it's a guess as to how often. Some will change it every 20K, others at 40 or 60 perhaps.

    If you are going to change the gearbox fluid, make sure you know how to check the level. It's done at 60 degrees with fluid running over the internal weir in the drain plug. You will need 4 litres, but some is always wasted as you overfill it slightly and let it overflow as part of the checking procedure. There is a thread on this forum with instructions.

    Did it go to 3rd gear with a bang or sudden thump and then give a dash warning? That's called limp or refuge mode and it will happen if there is some kind of fault recorded in the gearbox. There are various reasons why and the fix would depend on which fault has appeared. A 'slip' fault is different to a 'pressure regulation fault'.

    In addition to 6 selection electrovalves/solenoids, the AL4 gearbox has two electrovalves that control the fluid pressure. One is for the converter lockup and the other is the line pressure modulation electrovalve. The last one does most of the work and one would typically replace just this one if there is a clear pressure regulation fault. It requires removal of the valve block, will take about half a day and the oil will be changed as part of the job. $1,200 is a little more than that job would cost in Australia, changing both electrovalves. In Australia, that amount would not give you anything near a full gearbox overhaul. However, they may buy gearboxes from China or perhaps labour and parts are simply cheaper in your country??? The workshop should know the difference between the two jobs, so you can get an idea of what you are getting by asking for the cost of both jobs as possible repair options.

  6. #6
    Tadpole
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    Thanks David for the clarifications, just to answer your question, the slippery shift has only happened 3 times last week when going down from 2nd to the 1st shift. Other than this all other shifts are as smooth as silk and no it never got stuck on 3rd gear or ever displayed a fault message.
    They proposed to overhaul it and giving me back 1 year warranty on the whole gearbox should anything happen. They also said to provide me with a replacement car after that I complained because the car would take bloody 10 days of work at the garage (is this real????)

    What do you think i should do in my case? Pay 1200 USD and get it repaired at Citroen Garage? Am really lost as I have been maintaining the car since 5 years and a half now at the manufacturer garage and never had any experience with outside mecanics in the country.

  7. #7
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    Just to add on the above, Today I experienced another slippery shift because it was very hot but I also noticed one thing which is that it only slips when I am trying to kick it down while turning and the car is inclined towards either left or tight...No slipping shifts are experience when the car is cold or when I am driving straight. Could it be that the level of ATF is low? Or it should display a message that oil level is low when this is the case?
    What is weird is that only it happened when the car is hot after a long trip and while turning!!!!!!

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