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  1. #1
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    Default AL4 issues

    Hi everyone,

    I was the happy owner of a 2003 307 1.6l 123000km petrol until the transmission AL4 starts to have issues. I've read a lot of threads here about the AL4, but none with my pattern of defect...

    I'll try to make it short:

    - one evening, the 1st gear didn't engage in traffic jam, and after rev high, engaged with a loud bang and a big kick as if another car smashed into the rear. I've done few km like that until I found a place to park. The car was checked the day after by a transmission specialist who couldn't reproduce the defect and found only a pcode p0501 about vehicle speed sensor defect.

    - After test driving the car a while, I managed to reproduce the defect: it happened only after driving more than 10 min on the highway (>100 km/h). Even with the transmission in defect, the only pcode was still p0501.

    - The mechanics replaced the sensor with a new one. Things were better...

    - ...but the transmission now goes into limp mode after driving more than 1 hour on the highway... I can drive 2 hours in city, it's fine. I drive more than 1 hour on the highway, I'm pretty sure to have the limp mode (shifting gear at 4000 rpm and no shifting to 4th gear, no manual mode). And still the only pcode is p0501...

    - Interestingly, I don't have the "s" and "*" on the dashboard or any message about a transmission defect. If I wait at least 10 min with the engine off, the transmission is good for quite a few time - just turning off/on change nothing, i really have to wait at least 10 min.

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    -More interestingly, if I push the "*" button to go into snow mode, the transmission is fine (for a snow mode): shifts a low rpm, shift to 4th gear... If i remove the snow mode, the transmission is faulty again, and the sport mode is also faulty.

    My mechanics told me I have to change solenoids... but as the transmission isn't faulty at all with snow mode, I think solenoids are good, right ? I would rather think that the ECU is faulty.
    What do you think ? Does any of you have any clue or check I could do to be sure what is wrong ?

    Thanks for reading and for your answers ! I currently need the car to go from Morayfield to Gold Coast (120 kms) everyday...
    Khman

    PS: English is not my native language, so I apologize in advance.

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    It's not that many kilometres, so the transmission should be OK with respect to simple wear.

    I'd suggest the basic procedure to follow, would still be the same as for commonly reported faults. I am presuming the car has received all software updates due to it, and the engine itself is not recording any faults.

    First try three replacements of the fluid, maybe a fortnight between each change.
    If no success, you would replace the upper two solenoids with new items.
    Should there still be no change, a replacement valve body is next, these are cheapest bought from overseas.
    Last option is the most invasive and costly - repair of the transmission unit.

  3. #3
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    Cheapest way for you is to drive it in "*" (snow mode) all the time, this cuts out 1st gear, a bit slow off the line, though all other plans are going to cost HEAPS with no guarantee that they will be successful. The whole world has had problems with this gearbox (do a Google search).
    Present fleet:-
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    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I've spent a lot of time on google and on this forum to try o find someone with the same kind of defects as me. No one has - they are in full limp mode, no one talk about the transmission being good in snow mode - and everyone has different solutions.
    As BIGRR said, there is no guarantee that they will solve my problem, however I can't keep the car like this for months. There should - no there must be something I can do. A transmission does not go into limp mode without reason and I don't really want to try this and that (and lose money...) without knowing if it will work or not.

    From my research:
    - if the issue is with solenoids, mechanics (two of them) should have been able to identify it.
    - Could be the old oil (only 123 k but 13 years old), but then, why only the snow mode is OK ?
    - The snow mode seems to change only the ECU's behavior: no 1st gear, low rpm shift to keep the grip

    Regarding the pcode 0501, the sensor has already been changed and the mechanic noticed nothing special when doing it. It's not clear to me how many speed sensors are on the car...and the one that have been changed is the one on the transmission. Is there any other speed sensor on the engine or else that could explain why this defect keep on popping up ?

    So far, what I do is that drive in "normal" mode, and when it goes into limp mode, I just push the "*" and drive like that until I reach my destination. When I'm alone in the car, snow mode is quite ok, but when we are 4 inside...

    Cheers,

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    I would also change the multi-selector switch on the gearbox. I pulled one apart on the weekend that was belonging to an AL4. Two of the contact pins were broken and the thing was crazy dusty inside. I read this tricks the gearbox ECU into limp mode too.
    ....now watch a Peugeot turn into a corner!

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    123,000 is a long while between fluid changes.
    This page is from a manual for the AL4 AL4 issues-al4.jpggearbox as fitted to Xantias

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    1000+ Posts BIGRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PugMonkey View Post
    I would also change the multi-selector switch on the gearbox. I pulled one apart on the weekend that was belonging to an AL4. Two of the contact pins were broken and the thing was crazy dusty inside. I read this tricks the gearbox ECU into limp mode too.
    That sounds a promising reason for AL4 crap operation :-).

    Where is that switch located on the box? (Internal, external, front back ??)

    Thanks
    Present fleet:-
    Peugeot 93' 205 Gti 16v
    Peugeot 73' 504 Ti from new
    Peugeot 08' 407 Hdi Coupe from new

    Previous fleet:-
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    Peugeot 92' 205 Gti
    Renault 72' 16TS from new
    Renault 69' 10
    Renault 71' 10s
    Renault 68' 10 from new

    "Be reasonable do it my way!"


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    I am not familiar with this transmission, but it is normal for snow mode to eliminate first gear (and therefore at least one solenoid) - and that fits with what bigrr said above.
    Quote Originally Posted by Khman View Post
    There should - no there must be something I can do. A transmission does not go into limp mode without reason and I don't really want to try this and that (and lose money...) without knowing if it will work or not.
    Sadly, that often happens with car problems. Mechanics usually charge for their time. A lot of problems can have more than one possible cause and they have to earn a living.

    If you spend time working out the most likely causes, it can save a lot of money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khman View Post
    From my research:
    - if the issue is with solenoids, mechanics (two of them) should have been able to identify it.
    - Could be the old oil (only 123 k but 13 years old), but then, why only the snow mode is OK ?
    - The snow mode seems to change only the ECU's behavior: no 1st gear, low rpm shift to keep the grip
    The mechanics probably could identify faulty solenoids, but may have been looking for something else.
    If transmission fluid hasn't been changed, it is worth doing now. Might help, and it is definitely due for a change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khman View Post
    So far, what I do is that drive in "normal" mode, and when it goes into limp mode, I just push the "*" and drive like that until I reach my destination. When I'm alone in the car, snow mode is quite ok, but when we are 4 inside...
    Yes, sensible way to drive for now as it lets you drive normally until the fault happens.

    As the car is only worth a couple thousand dollars (my daughter drives the same car), it may be better to sell it while it still runs fine around town and buy something else - let someone else pay the costs of diagnosis and repair.

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    1000+ Posts BIGRR's Avatar
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    Multifunction Switch



    VERY INTERESTING
    Last edited by BIGRR; 1st June 2015 at 12:11 PM.
    renoamust likes this.
    Present fleet:-
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    Peugeot 73' 504 Ti from new
    Peugeot 08' 407 Hdi Coupe from new

    Previous fleet:-
    Peugeot 95' 605 Sv
    Peugeot 92' 205 Gti
    Renault 72' 16TS from new
    Renault 69' 10
    Renault 71' 10s
    Renault 68' 10 from new

    "Be reasonable do it my way!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM View Post
    I am not familiar with this transmission, but it is normal for snow mode to eliminate first gear (and therefore at least one solenoid) - and that fits with what bigrr said above.
    ...
    The mechanics probably could identify faulty solenoids, but may have been looking for something else.
    If transmission fluid hasn't been changed, it is worth doing now. Might help, and it is definitely due for a change.
    Haven't thought of it like that, and could explain why the snow mode is OK whereas other are NOK. However, changing solenoids is around $700, and I'll think twice before "investing" this much...

    Changing oil seems a bit difficult - need to be at 60C, can't flush...
    Does anyone have an approximate cost to do it at a mechanic ?


    Quote Originally Posted by UNM View Post
    Sadly, that often happens with car problems. Mechanics usually charge for their time. A lot of problems can have more than one possible cause and they have to earn a living.

    If you spend time working out the most likely causes, it can save a lot of money.

    -> The reason why I want to undertand it more, 'cause it's not as obvious as other limp mode.




    Quote Originally Posted by PugMonkey View Post
    I would also change the multi-selector switch on the gearbox. I pulled one apart on the weekend that was belonging to an AL4. Two of the contact pins were broken and the thing was crazy dusty inside. I read this tricks the gearbox ECU into limp mode too.
    Quote Originally Posted by BIGRR View Post
    That sounds a promising reason for AL4 crap operation :-).

    Where is that switch located on the box? (Internal, external, front back ??)

    Thanks
    Sounds interesting to...I'd like to have more info about its location.
    Edit: info on the post above from Bigrr...not easy to access and check for me...
    Last edited by Khman; 1st June 2015 at 12:25 PM.

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    Hi Khman,
    I feel for you with the problems of AL4 gearbox. Having one myself in my c5 2003 Citroen been through 3 years of problems
    until I had a second hand box fitted. My car is now running like new. Special thanks to all the help from fellow frogers on this forum.
    I have a set of new solenoids and a Multi function (gear selection) switch for sale at my cost price. If you should need them quickly.
    I`m on the lower end of the Gold Coast and I could arrange to get them to you personally saving on postage.
    regards Keith

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    Also if you wanted a second opinion from a very experienced auto transmission specialist on the Gold Coast.
    Visit Chris at Currumbin Transmissions (3/26 Traders Way Currumbin) 07 5534 1688.
    I found him very experienced with European tranys and at a fair price.
    cheers Keith

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    Location of switch - AL4 issues-screenshot-15.png
    BIGRR, PUGGSLY308 and renoamust like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dunk View Post
    Hi Khman,
    I feel for you with the problems of AL4 gearbox. Having one myself in my c5 2003 Citroen been through 3 years of problems
    until I had a second hand box fitted. My car is now running like new. Special thanks to all the help from fellow frogers on this forum.
    I have a set of new solenoids and a Multi function (gear selection) switch for sale at my cost price. If you should need them quickly.
    I`m on the lower end of the Gold Coast and I could arrange to get them to you personally saving on postage.
    regards Keith
    Thanks for the inputs and the offer. However, I won't be able to fit the new solenoids myself. I can do many things on a car (changing fuel pump, door handles, replacing the carpet...), except heavy mechanics.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dunk View Post
    Also if you wanted a second opinion from a very experienced auto transmission specialist on the Gold Coast.
    Visit Chris at Currumbin Transmissions (3/26 Traders Way Currumbin) 07 5534 1688.
    I found him very experienced with European tranys and at a fair price.
    cheers Keith
    I'll have a look and may call him, as the transmission should be faulty by the time I arrived in Currumbin. Previous transmission specialist was in Coombabah, but couldn't help much more except than saying "pcode is P0501, as I have already changed the sensor, I don't know what else to do".

  15. #15
    1000+ Posts BIGRR's Avatar
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    Google AL4 Multifunction Switch and when the info comes up click images and click on first image. (When you do you will see that these switches were giving problems in 2003!!!)

    PS I have posted before about spending a small fortune on a low km AL4 box at Peugeot dealers for new solenoids, oil and re-program, lasted about 2 months. That switch shows a bit of promise as causing problems (strange no one here has ruled it in or out as causing probs with the AL4), because in these days with computer controlled everybloodything a couple of bent, failed or dirty electrical connections is enough to help send anything haywire.

    The switch does not appear that hard to have a careful look at and is right on top of the box.

    Good Luck.
    Present fleet:-
    Peugeot 93' 205 Gti 16v
    Peugeot 73' 504 Ti from new
    Peugeot 08' 407 Hdi Coupe from new

    Previous fleet:-
    Peugeot 95' 605 Sv
    Peugeot 92' 205 Gti
    Renault 72' 16TS from new
    Renault 69' 10
    Renault 71' 10s
    Renault 68' 10 from new

    "Be reasonable do it my way!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGRR View Post
    Google AL4 Multifunction Switch and when the info comes up click images and click on first image. (When you do you will see that these switches were giving problems in 2003!!!)

    PS I have posted before about spending a small fortune on a low km AL4 box at Peugeot dealers for new solenoids, oil and re-program, lasted about 2 months. That switch shows a bit of promise as causing problems (strange no one here has ruled it in or out as causing probs with the AL4), because in these days with computer controlled everybloodything a couple of bent, failed or dirty electrical connections is enough to help send anything haywire.

    The switch does not appear that hard to have a careful look at and is right on top of the box.

    Good Luck.
    I've seen many threads on people who have replaced many things on their AL4 without success...That's why I want to know more about my own defect and find out the most likely cause before doing anything.



    This leads to 2 main questions I have now:

    1/ The car still have the P0501 error code. The vehicle speed sensor on the transmission has already been changed.
    --> Is there any other vehicle speed sensor on the car (engine, wheel...) ?

    2/ As UNM said, going into snow mode eliminates one solenoid as it will not use the 1st gear.
    --> Can anyone confirm this ? It's not I don't trust UNM, but I'd like a second thought about this.

    Thanks !

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    There is an input shaft speed sensor, in addition to the speedometer sensor. Did you replace the sensor with the white three wire plug, or the black two wire plug?

    For the record, I learned to drive my AL4 gearbox quite adequately, working around one idiosyncrasy (thumping 3-2 downshift at low RPM) that could not be removed. What eventually stopped the car was somebody crashing hard into the side of it, after they ran a stop sign. I think the gearboxes are fine if looked after.

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    Hi Khman.

    I like the logical manner you are approaching your situation - stick to it. I was looking at acquiring a SH vehicle identical to yours. It has the same problems as your describe. I was scared off from acquiring it due to the uncertainty of ongoing reliability, as I would be giving to my daughter to drive in Melbourne and back to Ballarat etc.

    For the record, the owner had the solenoids replaced by the local dealer and the problems, as described by you, remained. On this basis, I am very interested in the multi function switch as a source of the problem, and consider that if may well be the cause of the faults with the control module etc.

    I must confess, I am very cynical of the need to replace transmission fluid - except for a planned maintenance service. I wonder that if the fluid could only be changed with a major transmission rebuild, and say the sump plug was very easy to replace, then people would suggest: Replace the sump plug three times, and use a pink one instead of the original!!! I suspect many people get a nice feeling upon changing something, anything!! and then self justify that the transmission in now "much better".

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    There is an input shaft speed sensor, in addition to the speedometer sensor. Did you replace the sensor with the white three wire plug, or the black two wire plug?

    For the record, I learned to drive my AL4 gearbox quite adequately, working around one idiosyncrasy (thumping 3-2 downshift at low RPM) that could not be removed. What eventually stopped the car was somebody crashing hard into the side of it, after they ran a stop sign. I think the gearboxes are fine if looked after.
    Addo,

    looks like the only AL4 "gearboxed" car in the world that worked correctly has been lost now! (Bugger).

    I do know what you mean though, if one only uses the top 3mm (+/- a couple of microns) of accelerator pedal travel all is smooth travelling, however maybe that is why you could not get out of the road of the car that crashed hard into the side of yours!
    Present fleet:-
    Peugeot 93' 205 Gti 16v
    Peugeot 73' 504 Ti from new
    Peugeot 08' 407 Hdi Coupe from new

    Previous fleet:-
    Peugeot 95' 605 Sv
    Peugeot 92' 205 Gti
    Renault 72' 16TS from new
    Renault 69' 10
    Renault 71' 10s
    Renault 68' 10 from new

    "Be reasonable do it my way!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    There is an input shaft speed sensor, in addition to the speedometer sensor. Did you replace the sensor with the white three wire plug, or the black two wire plug?
    It's a black sensor, with yellow plug, 1 red wire and 1 white wire. Mechanic told me it's the vehicle speed sensor that is connected to the transmission.

    AL4 issues-img_2920.jpg


    Sorry for the quality, my phone starts to die as well...

    Quote Originally Posted by Whippet View Post
    Hi Khman.

    I like the logical manner you are approaching your situation - stick to it. I was looking at acquiring a SH vehicle identical to yours. It has the same problems as your describe. I was scared off from acquiring it due to the uncertainty of ongoing reliability, as I would be giving to my daughter to drive in Melbourne and back to Ballarat etc.

    For the record, the owner had the solenoids replaced by the local dealer and the problems, as described by you, remained. On this basis, I am very interested in the multi function switch as a source of the problem, and consider that if may well be the cause of the faults with the control module etc.

    I must confess, I am very cynical of the need to replace transmission fluid - except for a planned maintenance service. I wonder that if the fluid could only be changed with a major transmission rebuild, and say the sump plug was very easy to replace, then people would suggest: Replace the sump plug three times, and use a pink one instead of the original!!! I suspect many people get a nice feeling upon changing something, anything!! and then self justify that the transmission in now "much better".
    Thanks. Being logical is a drawback of being en engineer, and sometimes my wife tells me not to be too logical, not to think too much, not to analyse everything...
    Some people like to change everything every time. I've read post - I don't remember where - where the guy was changing is ATF on a AL4 during every services, meaning every 10 000 km in his case !!! However, I really doubt about a lifetime ATF. In my case, the ATF may not have lots of km but is 12 years old. And previous owner was driving less than 10 000 km a year, so I think mainly in city where cars stress more than on highway. Thus, I think that when I'll go to see the mechanic to try to fix it, I'll ask to change the ATF as well - can only do good.

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    Actually, RR, I used to drive the car decisively. Accelerate quickly up to road speed, then "float" at the limit (or traffic speed, whichever the more appropriate), when slowing I would give the brake a good push to force a downshift, then let the engine do its work. Feathering the brakes is not good, nor too-gentle acceleration. They are the conditions an AL4 punishes you for imposing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khman View Post
    As UNM said, going into snow mode eliminates one solenoid as it will not use the 1st gear.
    --> Can anyone confirm this ? It's not I don't trust UNM, but I'd like a second thought about this.
    No reason why you should trust me (or anyone else) without good reason. It is always good to get confirmation of any opinions posted by others before accepting them as fact. Also, I don't know this transmission, so might be wrong.

    Just looking at that 'multi-function switch' it looks very similar to the NSS (Neutral Safety Switch) in my daughters saab 900 which is also known to cause problems with limp home mode as connections degrade with age. Such switches can usually be repaired, but are often more economical to replace.

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    The Citroen manual I quoted above says:

    SNOW

    This program is suited to driving on low adherence ground. In drive, this means
    that either first gear or first and second gears are no longer available and gears
    are changed down less frequently using a specific set of changing laws.
    Furthermore, in the imposed positions 1, 2, 3, the "Snow" set of laws are used
    which take into account the restrictions relating to the chosen imposed position.

    GEAR CHANGING LAWS

    The ECU has 10 gear changing laws allowing the operation of the
    transmission to be altered to the driver's style of driving, to the chosen
    program and to the internal and external conditions.
    The following laws are therefore obtained:
    • 6 laws: for autoadaptivity,
    • 1 law: for the snow program,
    • 1 law: "unlocked" for low temperature operation,
    • 1 law: for depollution when cold (heating),
    • 1 law: for automatic transmission temperature protection.

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    Hi Khman. Have you made any progress with your AL4 fault diagnosis? Have you decided to replace any components? I am interested in a status update.

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    Don't have the mechanical expertise to attempt to diagnose the problem, but experienced the loud bang limp home fault twice within a couple of weeks in a 207 that had done less than 20K. had the two electrovalves replaced (under warranty) and have had no problem (and more precise gear changes since). Now done 55K. Also, an intermittent/non-functioning cruise control was traced to a faulty brake switch which has 5 leads and plugs into the computer as well. That fix also seemed to allow the gearbox to work more precisely since. Unfortunately the computer may take a number of inputs (including the brake switch?) to tell it what's going on - and it responds accordingly taking input from a faulty switch to determine its behaviour? Just a thought.

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