406 Automatics
  • Help
Page 1 of 3 123 Last
Results 1 to 25 of 66

Thread: 406 Automatics

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    74

    406 Automatics

    Hi all,
    I've read a few reviews on the 406 and they all rave about the car with the exception of the automatic transmission. Why are auto's always the weak point on French cars? Has anyone driven an auto 406? Is it really that bad? And what type of a transmission is it? A German ZF? Do any other cars use this transmission? Can it be re-programmed or have its 'intelligence' removed?
    Arthur

    Advertisement

  2. #2
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    The 2.0 uses the AL4 - which is also used in the N5 306, 307, 206, 807, Xsara, C3, etc, etc. Click <a href="http://users.bigpond.net.au/skystar/peugeot307/" target="_blank">here</a> and then click on 307 Technology to read more about the programming & features of the AL4 gearbox. It is NOT a ZF gearbox - it is a PSA/Renault gearbox.

    Later versions of the gearbox are much better - updated software does make a difference. You can't turn off the adaptiveness. I guess you get used to it, but the earlier cars tend to shunt and crash on downshifts. Also, they tend to be very slow in downshifting from 2nd to 1st. Ultimately you have to try it yourself. It does have various quirks.

    This is the excuse a Renault salesman gave me, in regards to French autos, "Over there, you see, they all drive manuals. So they don't put so much effort into their autos". It's only the recent French autos that have become weird.

    Pretty crappy reply, eh? I mean, the Japanese make great manuals, and last time I checked, Tokyo wasn't exactly the most "manual friendly" city!

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  3. #3
    Tadpole
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    23
    Arthur:
    Has anyone driven an auto 406? Is it really that bad? And what type of a transmission is it? A German ZF? Do any other cars use this transmission? Can it be re-programmed or have its 'intelligence' removed?
    Arthur
    Hi Arthur, I have just purchased a 1998 406 SV auto, and I read similar reviews to you regarding the auto transmissions. It is a ZF auto in the 406 SV. My opinion is that the majority reviewers don't give the transmission sufficient time to adapt to their driving style (they don’t adapt quickly, but they do adapt!). They are certainly not anywhere near as bad as reviewers often suggest.

    I borrowed the car I was considering buying for a weekend recently, and I was surprised how much the auto had improved by the Monday when I returned it. I certainly wouldn't let it put you off buying a 406. Actually, when put into sports mode, the car becomes a lot of fun although I left it in the normal mode most of the time. My advice to you is to try and have an extended drive of one and see how you go. I suspect that like me, you will be similarly surprised.

    One feature with the French automatics that is often criticised is their propensity to downshift when you are decelerating (especially in sports mode). The extent to which they do this depends on how you drive. If you are “fanging it”, they will change up and down more aggressively, and obviously if you are driving gently, the downshifting when decelerating will be subtle. This is actually a feature I like as it means you are always in the right gear to get away quickly, should the need arise.

    Certainly, the auto transmissions used by the French may not be as naturally intuitive as some, and they certainly do take a while to adapt to your driving style, but once they do, they are quite pleasant and usually select appropriate gears for the circumstances. As for having it reprogrammed, I can't speak to the technicality of that, but judging from the cars I have driven, I would say that it is not necessary. With a little patience, they adapt themselves to suit you quite adequately!

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! DJ-Studd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    548
    "when put into sports mode, the car becomes a lot of fun"

    I'll second that. From a passengers point of view the car offers a very smooth and enjoyable ride. And it's certainly "fangable".

    Very nice choice Pug405Mi16!

  5. #5
    nJm
    nJm is offline
    Guru nJm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,930
    Drove an auto 206 1.4 last night, and found its tendancy to hold or drop gears really handy. When lifting off it would keep the revs constant, even if it was high up in the rev range. That way, if you were going around a corner on a twisty road you didn't have to worry about it picking the wrong (high) gear half way around the corner as you slowed down.

    Also, it had very smooth shifts, although it had slow shifts, and at times sounded like a slipping clutch! All in all though, a decent enough auto.
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  6. #6
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    It's funny how the same auto can have so many different personalities.

    You can find the AL4 in a 206, 306, 406, 307, 807, Xsara, C3, etc, etc.

    The AL4 fitted to the C3 didn't quite have as good logic as that in the 206, and wasn't as smooth. I noticed the 206 1.4 I had yesterday had a much better gearbox than the 206 1.6 I had last year. Blame the software I guess.

    If there is one major flaw - it is the long downshift time between 2nd & 1st. No auto I have driven has such a long lag period.

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    1,640
    MMM. I'd been slightly worried about the reviews of the auto in the 406 too. Well, today I bought one. Not an SV I'm afraid. The bean counter wouldn't allow it. Just a 97 ST. And it had to be an auto for the missus.

    I'd have to say I'm really quite impressed with the transmission so far. Far nicer, IMHO , than the 4 speed auto in my wifes SEAT. And way out in front of the old 3 speed ZF in the sLi wagon. But even compared to other beasts that I fairly regularly drive (mainly hired Holdens and Magnas and the like ) I'd give it high marks.

    I suspect that many reviewers are so used to the "style" of the boxes in the "Aussie standards" that they simply aren't able to adapt to anything else.

    Cheers

    Rod
    Rod's Home Page

    Rod's car page

    Peugeot 4008 2016Peugeot 407 SV HDi estate 2008, Peugeot 407 SV Hdi Sedan 2006, (deadish), - Previously 403s, 404, 504, 505 sLI Wagons, 406 ST 1997, 307 XSE, 306 XSi, Renault 12, Citroen DSpecial

  8. #8
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Also bear in mind that software updates have taken place since the cars were reviewed. The quality of the programming has been improved by leaps and bounds.

    For example - when you go up a hill, it'll hold a gear. But when you go onto the flat stuff, it'll still hold that gear for about 10 to 15 seconds; if you think that's smart behaviour, you haven't discovered what a good auto is like. Current software doesn't do that as much.

    When I had a 206 1.6 last year, I was ready to christen it with the title of worst modern auto gearbox I have ever driven. The 206 1.4 I had this year much far far better, one of the better ones - the logic was better, and the shifts were far smoother. The 206 1.6 would crash on downshifting if you were slightly on the throttle, it'd have up to a second delay when downshifting from 2nd to 1st (I've noticed the AL4 still does this on the latest cars - a safety worry, IMHO). It was clunky in its shifts, and upshifted too early (kept 4th gear at too low speeds).

    Another good thing about the 206 1.4 was the absence of driveline shunt when lifting off the throttle, you only get it in this auto, as the torque converter remains locked till near idle.

    Changes I have noticed.

    1. Better logic - the car realises when its on flat stuff much quicker.

    2. Smoother downshifts. Gearbox downshifts at lower revs, and when braking, torque converter disconnects earlier for smoothness.

    3. Smoother shifts.

    Main quibble now is just the kickdown time between 2nd and 1st - it's far too long, I have never driven a car that requires such a long time. Coupled with the dead throttle by wire, it's not confidence inspiring.

    Don't just knock the media just because they don't love the gearbox to death, there are some legitimate concerns.

    To be honest, I've probably driven some of the better autos, so I've had high standards to deal with.

    Regards,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    6,646
    Rod, what'd the 406 ST set you back? I'm in the market for an auto, same as you, for the missus, and she refuses to drive a Scenic as she reckons it looks too much like a Tarago! Bloody woman! She doesn't give a damn about cars normally. Arrrrgh!

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  10. #10
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Rod,

    I've just discovered that the 406 auto is actually not a proper Peugeot auto - it's actually the ZF 4HP20 - I believe it's the same as the 607.

    Only D9 406s (non V6s) got the AL4, like the N5 306s.

    Regards,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  11. #11
    nJm
    nJm is offline
    Guru nJm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,930
    Hi Rod, what do you think of the performance in the auto ST? My mum refuses to drive a manual, and she is up for getting something late this year. Her requirements were mid sized sedan or large hatch, auto, comfy seats and soft suspension. I think a 406 is in order wink . So as a whole, what is the D8 406 ST like? No one in our family has driven one yet so I really have no idea .

    cheers!
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,664
    Lets not look at it with blinkers on. THe 406 trannies are the worst things I have ever struck. I think the boxes themselves are at best passable, but the way the stupid things carry on is a disgrace.
    The adaptive feature is an excuse for unsorted behaviour. Fuzzy logic?? Yes, very.
    The worst problems seem to be in the 406 v6's, where a bit of extra torque emphasises the programming deficiencies. They thump, and change up and down at inappropriate times, and leave you in Limbo at others. No matter how much you adapt them, they are still junk.
    Alfa also had no end of crap trannies in their cars(ZF), but finally someone in Italy had an attack of good sense, and the 156's were fitted with AISIN trannies. They are excellent. Initially they were explained to me from someone at Alfa as being from a 'European conglomerate'. Looking round the box I found the magic word Toyota stamped on it. I am not proud. If it drives ok, which it does, then I'm happy to sell it. Surely it isnt just the programming that makes this tranny better. I think its the tranny itself. As Alfa is preparing to re-enter the American market, they presumably have gotten their heads out of their Euro-Centric backsides, and chosen to use something that works. Wish the French could do the same.
    "Now my dream lies shattered like the shards of a broken dream"

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,664
    P.S. Credit where its due. The 206 1.4 Auto is really excellent. However as for software changes I never saw any noticeable improvement in the 406 V6's. I would be excited whenever there was new software, and disappointed when I found no discernable difference afterward.
    "Now my dream lies shattered like the shards of a broken dream"

  14. #14
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Logic is what spoils it a lot - that's what made the 206 better, it's logic was better. Still a little worrying when you get the whole powertrain juddering as you put the car into winter mode at a standstill.

    Summed up in a nutshell - these gearboxes try too hard, they try to be too clever. The classic example is climbing a hill, holds a low gear, but when you start cruising, it takes donkeys years for it to upshift into top gear. Then you have the cars like the Clio that never shift into top gear, even if there isn't a hill for 10 miles. Or, when you're climbing up a hilly driveway, just as you slow down past 10km/h, foot gently on the throttle, the car shifts from 2nd into 1st, and lurches forward - simply stupid - there is absolutely no reason for this. How about not unlocking the torque converter at low revs, so the engine lugs?

    Siemens is involved with much of the logic of these adaptive gearboxes. I was told, in a lot of the cases, the car is reevaluating reevaluated decisions - ie. it is so indecisive, when it finally makes a decision, conditions have changed.

    I still think, the prize for the worst logic goes to the Clio 1.4A. Stupid thing refused to upshift into 4th on the freeway. Then I started prompting it, by turning OD on and off several times, and after a minute or so, it got the message. I almost bought it, but that really tarred it.

    The salesman said it was "learning" how you drove. That was the same salesman, who, sitting in the rear slanted, replied to my question "how's the headroom back there, I found it a little small?" "Oh yeah, it's great, I could sit here for ages" - you know, when you're sitting on a 30° offset, you're not that convincing. Unless you're the size of a peanut, or have a hunched back like Notre Dame, you won't have headroom in the back of a Clio.

    I find when people have these adaptive gearboxes, they imagine things - they say "oh yeah, 3 weeks later, it's learnt the way how I drive". Check the programming, you'll find it works out the shift points in much less time - MUCH LESS!

    It only learns based on average throttle behaviour over the past few minutes - I can pull it right out of Peugeot's technical manual. There are only 6 different auto adaptive shift patterns, based on three types of driving styles.

    If you want to learn to your heart's content about French gearboxes (AL4 - the most common French auto gearbox), visit <a href="http://users.bigpond.net.au/skystar/peugeot307/technology.htm" target="_blank">this page on my site</a>.

    Regards,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  15. #15
    1000+ Posts
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    6,646
    Stuff that then. I'll look elsewhere for my wife's car. If we must have an auto, it has to be a good one, as I do about a third of the miles in her cars. And I'm sick of using them manually as the shifters aren't usually very well designed for it.

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  16. #16
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Doesn't hurt to try though.

    The problem with most of them is that you can tell them to downshift (ie, pull the gaiter to a lower gear), but you can never tell them to upshift (moving the gaiter up only allows the gearbox to use higher gears if it chooses to do so) unless you have tiptronic - this is very useful when you disagree with the box's brain.

    I remember the excuse another Renault salesman gave me. "In Europe, people don't drive autos, hardly anyone does. That's why they don't put as much effort into them"

    Hmmn, last time I checked, Japan builds some brilliant manual gearboxes, but it's a place built for autos.

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  17. #17
    nJm
    nJm is offline
    Guru nJm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,930
    Found this in a little press thing from Peugeot back at the 1996 launch of the 406
    The ZF automatic transmission used in the 406 model has a unique shift performance map. The default 'adaptive' mode monitors the driver input and selects one of the five available shift patterns to best suit the driving environment. Gear shift points and torque convertor lock up points are adjusted automatically. When the Sport option is selected only the top two of the five available modes are used. At higher engine speeds the gear change upshifts are made later and the downchanges made sooner. When the Snow option is selected, the vehicle moves off from its stationary position in second gear. When the vehicle is moving and the brake pedal is pressed, the transmission will change down a gear in one of three ways: after two seconds in Adaptive or Sport modes, after one second if travelling down hill, and after 0.1 second if the vehicle is in the Snow mode. Further features of this smart transmission include: it will disconnect the drive system if 10km/h is exceeded while in reverse gear, it will run the engine at a higher speed after a cold start, and it will disable manual downshifts at high speeds.
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    3,636
    I did test drive a 406 V6 Auto and a Xantia V6 Auto with dad when we were looking at the XM, just as a comparison.

    I don't remember any of the troubles described. We did a 20km +/- circuit - the same in all the cars. I think alot of it has to do with how the cars are driven? Maybe 406 Auto sedans are targetted at sedate drivers? I don't know. If it is a ZF transmission, it's probably the same one our XM V6 auto had- it was relatively good I thought, except when it died, but it did have around 160 or 180 000km on it at the time. The XM certainly had the function where it changed say from 4th - 3rd on touching the brakes, and it changed down gears as you slow down. I never tried reversing at over 10km/hr so can't comment on that bit!!

    Derek

  19. #19
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    I'm wondering if the comment regarding going over 10km/h in reverse gear refers to selecting reverse when travelling forward in reverse gear? That would make sense, as you'd want to protect the drive train.

    I can't work out why you'd want to disengage the drivetrain if you drive faster than 10km/h in reverse. 10km/h in reverse wouldn't be that much faster than normal reversing speeds IMHO, and if anything, if it does work this way, they've dumped the feature. I remember taking up Alan S's suggested cure for squeaky breakes one day in the wee hours of the morning on a dead road - the car went up past 50km/h in reverse and certainly didn't disengage the drivetrain.

    I'm not sure what the XM gearbox was like, but I've driven the N3 306 auto (ZF) and that didn't have any of the "adaptive" functions, so it behaved relatively "normally". Having said that, it did that that over eagerness to lock up the torque converter.

    When the AL4 gearbox is too cold, or too hot, it unlocks the torque converter. It is amazing how smooth the gearbox becomes.

    If you'd like to hear a good thing about the AL4 in the 307 - it has one of the fastest manumatic gearboxes I have driven (pseudo manual based on an auto). Brisk between 2, 3 & 4, but a bit useless between 1st & 2nd.

    Does anyone know who makes the 5 speeder in the Laguna, PSA don't have one yet. I've heard rumours it's an AW unit, but haven't been able to confirm it. Anyway, this is what Autoweb (an Autospeed relation) had to say

    But let's get the bad news out of the way first. On paper the auto trans looks like a good 'un - 5-speed with a tiptronic-style manual override. But this is a trans which just tries to be w-a-a-y too clever. It's reading the driving style so hard that it gets wound up into knots that are hugely irritating to untangle.

    Like, you're climbing a long hill and - as with some many 'thinking' auto transmissions- it figures that on the incline you won't want to have too many up- or down-changes. Fine. But then after you've passed the hill you find the trans still thinking in hill-mode; for 10 or 15 seconds the engine's revving at three grand in second gear and just won't change up. Or you're going down the same hill, feet off the brake and accelerator. The trans selects third gear - which is good for some engine braking - and you're rolling along, quite happy. Then, for no apparent reason, the trans figures you don't want engine braking anymore and slots up to fourth.

    Whooops - off you go!

    Then there's the lock-up converter that does its stuff with an audible thump on at least a couple of gears, the logic that sees the trans change down from fifth to fourth when even a minor rise is met - and it's not like the engine doesn't have plenty of mid-range torque - and bizarre jerks and bumps that occur at apparently random times.
    You know, I can associate with a lot of the above, especially when the car was new It's definately smarter now and a lot better, but here and there, it'll show a quirk. Like skipping second gear from 1st to 3rd - bloody multplexing, crazy computer, French electrics, I don't know, etc, etc

    The French have never been great with the autos. I guess that's why they only recently discovered the 5 speed auto

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  20. #20
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    4,918
    I am only new to Citroens really but it is true then that the C3 has the same gearbox/engine as the 206?

  21. #21
    nJm
    nJm is offline
    Guru nJm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,930
    Yep.

    Mind you, after driving a C3 and 206 1.4 back to back, there are differences in the way they drive. The 206 sounds quite gruff while the C3 has a smoother whiney sound to it. Also, the manual C3 seems to be quieter than the auto in terms of engine noise etc. No idea why though.
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  22. #22
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Your C3 has the AL4 gearbox - read the links I've put in previous posts, and you can find out everything you want about it

    The AL4 stars in

    C3
    C5 (I believe)
    Xsara
    206
    306 (N5)
    406 (D9)
    307
    807

    You won't find it in the higher spec cars, the 406 V6 & 607 have a ZF. Too much torque for the AL4. It's a PSA-Renault-Siemens creation, Renault calls it the DP0.

    The C3 & 206 autos were quite different. IMHO, the C3's one was a bit bozoey (there's a new word for today!) - it upshifted too early, didn't have as sound logic as the 206. It was rougher and just didn't feel as well matched to the engine as the 206s.

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  23. #23
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,355
    Ahh yeah, another point I remember. The C3 has a motorised throttle body (throttle by wire), whereas the 206 has a cable throttle.

    This explains why the 206 is snappier off the line. It is quite noticeable.

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  24. #24
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    4,918
    Yeah i agree with your last comments justin about fly by wire. I still love my new little car though.
    (more so than a renault clio-cant believe i would ever say that)..

  25. #25
    1000+ Posts
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    3,636
    I think it's more to do with the engine being run in or not than how the throttle pedal is connected to the throttle body Justin. I'm sure the 1.4 206 I drove in the UK is no different in performance to our C3.

    Our C3 is a completely different beast with 8200km+ clocked on it now. It actually has get up and go from a rolling-start in second - that used to shit me where you'd have to go back to first whilst rolling up to a sharp left hand corner say.

    Needless to say, our C3 had a fairly rapid run-in with 1 x AF Drive day and 1 x trip to Noosa & back!

    Derek.

Page 1 of 3 123 Last

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •