2009-2010 1.9, advice re topping up Automatic transmission?
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Thread: 2009-2010 1.9, advice re topping up Automatic transmission?

  1. #1
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    Icon7 2009-2010 1.9, advice re topping up Automatic transmission?

    Got back to Melbourne last night and it was a bit of a struggle, as the dash fault message "check Gearbox" was coming up. I presume that it indicated low transmission fluid, as typically when you stopped, and let it rest it would perform o.k. but in a few Kilometres it would again chuck itself out of gear and flash up the message, we were out in the Bundoora area, and not far from home, but I felt mixing it with Saturday night traffic and a transmission on the blink, time to use our RACV, just to be safe.

    We were told an hour, but 15 minutes later our tow truck appeared and the megane was loaded on the tilt flat top and home we went, a bit ignoble, but safe and a very nice tow truck driver that made it a happy experience. Will have to organise a transmission check on Monday or Tuesday. When Ifirst noticed the problem I stopped near an auto trans place, but one look and with no obvious way to top up the fluid they didn't want to touch it, "mate it will need loading on a hoist and not a quick job".

    Now has anyone advice on the access and method of checking the fluid ? or tips car & transmission have done 130,000 plus KM mostly on highway trips, we did drive over some unmade road on Friday night and the car bottomed briefly on the raised centre of the gravel road - apparently 4 wheel drives give it a pounding, though nothing showing up. The red light for the auto would be showing normally at startup, and would then extinguish with the rest.

    Ever since we bought it I had noticed a slight hesitation when taking off, and that was mentioned to the car firm, though it is well out of a warranty period now so what will be will be.

    Any help or advice is appreciated from megane owners who have had similar problems or had them fixed.

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    I'm not going to get too worked up over it, Sh*te happens, maybe I was too happy with it., Thank goodness the trusty Laguna is..o.k.

    Ken

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    Is that the DP0 box?

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    Default 2009-2010 1.9, advice re topping up Automatic transmission?

    I haven't heard of a transmission low level sensor but they (in general, not necessarily Renaults) normally have a fluid temperature sensor which could be playing up and putting it into limp home mode. Assuming it hasn't been leaking fluid and the coolant doesn't resemble a strawberry milkshake, it shouldn't be any lower on fluid than the day you bought it. Considering it's been bringing the warning light on, it should have logged a fault code. My first point of call would be to put a scan tool on it. That should at least give a guide as to what is happening with it.
    cheers,

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Got back to Melbourne last night and it was a bit of a struggle, as the dash fault message "check Gearbox" was coming up. I presume that it indicated low transmission fluid, as typically when you stopped, and let it rest it would perform o.k. but in a few Kilometres it would again chuck itself out of gear and flash up the message, we were out in the Bundoora area, and not far from home, but I felt mixing it with Saturday night traffic and a transmission on the blink, time to use our RACV, just to be safe.

    We were told an hour, but 15 minutes later our tow truck appeared and the megane was loaded on the tilt flat top and home we went, a bit ignoble, but safe and a very nice tow truck driver that made it a happy experience. Will have to organise a transmission check on Monday or Tuesday. When Ifirst noticed the problem I stopped near an auto trans place, but one look and with no obvious way to top up the fluid they didn't want to touch it, "mate it will need loading on a hoist and not a quick job".

    Now has anyone advice on the access and method of checking the fluid ? or tips car & transmission have done 130,000 plus KM mostly on highway trips, we did drive over some unmade road on Friday night and the car bottomed briefly on the raised centre of the gravel road - apparently 4 wheel drives give it a pounding, though nothing showing up. The red light for the auto would be showing normally at startup, and would then extinguish with the rest.

    Ever since we bought it I had noticed a slight hesitation when taking off, and that was mentioned to the car firm, though it is well out of a warranty period now so what will be will be.

    Any help or advice is appreciated from megane owners who have had similar problems or had them fixed.

    I'm not going to get too worked up over it, Sh*te happens, maybe I was too happy with it., Thank goodness the trusty Laguna is..o.k.

    Ken
    Is the vehicle still under dealer used car warranty ?

    Hopefully it is, in which case it's not your problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Is the vehicle still under dealer used car warranty ?

    Hopefully it is, in which case it's not your problem.
    I wouldn't think so Rob, even though I raised the issue of checking fluid levels, due to subtle changes in the way it changed gears on occasions, had almost a bump lag under acceleration, probably should have taken it to a transmission specialist to check it out myself when I had that feeling that something wasn't right. I tried to demonstrate the problem to Fordman but as usual when you have someone on board that has some real knowledge, it behaved itself.

    I have all the factory details re the Laguna's transmission, and that was a great help as the Laguna was a bit prone to losing fluid over time, but hadn't got around to gathering technical information about the Megane setup, if anyone has a link to a Factory manual on the megane transmission, that might be helpful.

    On this occasion the probable resolution will be book it in for a check on the fault codes, I suspect with low fluid, heat dissipation would be a factor that is probably triggering the "check gearbox message", will be interesting to find out exactly what is the actual rather than suspected problem, apparently RACV can send out a mechanic and then arrange transport of the car to a transmission place..

    My good ladies relatives in Adelaide who are transmission specialists have recommended one, and I may check with her rellies on Monday before we book it in as to the possibilities and replacements. I had to attend our Camera Club auction today, so that wiped out most of the day, so tonight will be internet searching and following up advice/clues from you guys.

    I am sure all will work out in due course.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Ken.

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    So, which gearbox?

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    So, which gearbox?
    That is the $64 question Addo, the most I can find is that its likely to be a four speed auto transmission fitted to the 1.9 dCI model ML 2S19ADYD 02 D69 SUO 31246 Engine plate is F9Q, the auto gearbox uses D3 Syn and Renaultmatic D2 for automatic transmissions as in the data that came with the vehicle. so not sure on that, maybe if I crawl under the thing I might get a number etc.

    Can't really find anything on the gearbox, the gearbox oil and final drive levels were last checked by the dealer 2014 according to their notes, and it is well out of any statutory warranty for a second hand vehicle.

    So that is where I am at and still trawling the internet.

    Ken

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    Does the transmission look anything like this?

    Reconditioned automatic/manual gearboxes by TES Transmissions Ltd, Westbury, Wiltshire, UK

    The black pan vertically fitted to the front face, is a giveaway.

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    I haven't been able to find anything either Ken.

    I have even looked at Laguna 1.9 DCI and haven't come up with anything.

    Have you looked for a plate or a tag on the gear box itself?

    Shame that you are on the other side of Bass Strait, I have just got a scan tool for Renault cars and would be nice to use it in anger.
    Regards Col

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    Ken, can you remember when I had a bit of a look at it in February, I think I saw that it was a DPO - as described above by Addo, the DPO has a vertical black pan mounted on the front of the auto (not underneath), not real easy to see if I remember correctly.

    Next I would say low fluid level is unlikely to be causing the light to come on unless you can see evidence of a decent leak from somewhere.

    Now, when you say it went OK after a bit of a rest, did you turn off the ignition? If so, it was just resetting itself after being in "limp home" mode. Nothing to do with fluid level (well, unlikely anyway).

    So what happens is a fault is detected (maybe a solenoid playing up), a fault code is logged, the car goes into limp home mode, and the warning light on the dash tells you there has been a fault. Switching off the ignition clears it from limp home mode, but the fault code should remain in the computer. Limp home mode feels very gutless because it just remains in 3rd gear as a default, so very slow off the line, drives sort of ok, but won't change up into top gear either. Is that what it felt like?

    Anyway, it's the fault code that should give the answer, don't get fixated on fluid level, as you might with an an older auto trans in which that was usually the reason for not taking off properly. Not saying it isn't the fluid level, just more likely to be something else.

    The good news is that if it drives well between "limp home" episodes, then mechanically the trans is ok, but it may have an electrical (maybe solenoid) problem.

    One would think that after a few years of manufacturing something with such a common, well known problem, that they would have solved the problem - but then, that's assuming it is a solenoid. Other things such as the selector switch can also be faulty. Get it to someone that can read Renault specific codes, because the trans fault codes are not generic codes, not in my Scenic anyway.

    Good luck, give me call if you want.

    Chris M.

    Edit PS: If it is a DPO, the fluid level can be a bit of a mission - there are plenty of threads on here somewhere. The filler plug is difficult to access, and there is no dipstick, it has a standpipe arrangement, which requires the trans to be at a certain temperature, and there is a bit of a procedure.
    Just leave it to your dealer/repairer.
    Cheers.
    Last edited by Fordman; 18th April 2016 at 02:15 AM.
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    Hi Ken,
    I think you made a false assumption here { the dash fault message "check Gearbox". } That message just means take it to a dealer and get the faults read with a scanner !! Nothing more and certainly not the fluid level is low !!

    I think Fordman said it all really. Read it again. But it is probably a DPO and the solenoid valve(s) need changing. If you cannot find any information on this then search for AL4 in Citroen/Peugeot threads as it is the same transmission. Same shit fault and keeps on keeping on
    Jaahn

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    May be worth seeing if that bloke out around Campbellfield is still going - the one who was loosening up the solenoids.

    Either way, if a DP0 my money is on the solenoid pair, workshop fix under a grand and less than two days in/out.
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    Icon7 Decisions, decisions and best route to fixing the problem ASAP!

    Quote Originally Posted by jaahn View Post
    Hi Ken,
    I think you made a false assumption here { the dash fault message "check Gearbox". } That message just means take it to a dealer and get the faults read with a scanner !! Nothing more and certainly not the fluid level is low !!

    I think Fordman said it all really. Read it again. But it is probably a DPO and the solenoid valve(s) need changing. If you cannot find any information on this then search for AL4 in Citroen/Peugeot threads as it is the same transmission. Same shit fault and keeps on keeping on
    Jaahn
    Thanks Jaahn and Chris, I noted that in your post earlier Jaahn, and as you can see I am not familiar with solenoid faults, though I have seen the limp home mode posts of others. Chris, it would run well after a stop though I didn't try to get up to highway speed quickly, when it first manifested itself it was in cruise control and it felt like it chucked itself out of gear and we pulled to the side of the road as the check gearbox message came up, it would drive while the message was up, but certainly you would not drive far, so I guess that is the limp mode you describe, once the engine was turned off it cleared and the transmission changed normally, though as I said I was driving very carefully and after it got up to highway speed it went well for about 25 km, then it would drop out and go into that same mode with the check gearbox message displayed. Nearing Melbourne the 25 k drive o.k. after stops was heavily reduced and that was when we organised the tow.

    And yes, my limited experience with other auto transmissions that perform o.k. (well reasonable) after topping up with fluid obviously influenced my thinking. So I am learning! even if the hard way about Megane transmissions, and hopefully the least costly fix.

    My choice now is where to send it, my local garage does European cars and he uses his preferred transmission guy that he swears by. (Not the one recommended by our Adelaide friends as that place is probably in their own transmission trade group)

    The local garage is very convenient for us and work I have had done there when I haven't had time or the hoist to do the work myself on the Laguna, has been very efficient and done at a reasonable cost for the work undertaken. He has a good reputation with our local car owners as well. So I am very tempted to use his services to get this fixed as well as utilising that garage for regular servicing of my cars.

    I guess from what has been said, that diagnosing the actual problem from the codes is important and if there is a quick solution available, choice and familiarity to the problem may pay dividends in the long run. so a bit to think about as one so often hears expensive and quite conflicting stories where auto transmission repairs or replacement are involved. Confidence and trust is so important.

    Thanks for guiding me to this point, it is so good to have others to discuss alternatives re problems with our cars and bounce ideas or suggestions round. I certainly don't have the expertise to delve into an auto transmission, though I might like to do so, if only for the learning that comes with that decision! Though with age and health/aches and pains creeping up on me, that "learning" is less attractive these days

    I will let you know how things go.

    Regards and thanks again.

    Ken

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    Classic pressure reg solenoid fault as you describe it, I have experienced that many times.

    Don't get reamed on the fix, this is what is replaced (typical example for sale to DIY'ers): Peugeot Citroen AND Renault AL4 DPO NEW EPC Lockup Solenoid SET 1998 ON | eBay

    About a 3.5-4 spanner Haynes job.


    Here's the other chap: Al4/DPO modified Super Slippery Solenoids pressure control and Lock up

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Classic pressure reg solenoid fault as you describe it, I have experienced that many times.

    Don't get reamed on the fix, this is what is replaced (typical example for sale to DIY'ers): Peugeot Citroen AND Renault AL4 DPO NEW EPC Lockup Solenoid SET 1998 ON | eBay

    About a 3.5-4 spanner Haynes job.


    Here's the other chap: Al4/DPO modified Super Slippery Solenoids pressure control and Lock up

    Thanks for that Addo, hopefully the problem is just that and can be fixed quickly with solenoid replacement.

    Will follow up the leads.

    Ken

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    Icon14 Progressing.

    Confirmed it was the DPO fitted to the Megane and tonight went and picked up the modified solenoids ready for fitting in due course, will need to find a mechanic that will do the job, will speak to my local garage among others. Hope is that it will fix the problem and worth a try if it does. and worth the $160 spent.

    Thanks for that link Addo, so far so good.

    Ken
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    Good to hear that frenchtranstech is still able to provide solenoids - in a PM to me last November he said he only had enough sets left for 10 cars.

    Cheers

    Alec
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Confirmed it was the DPO fitted to the Megane and tonight went and picked up the modified solenoids ready for fitting in due course, will need to find a mechanic that will do the job, will speak to my local garage among others. Hope is that it will fix the problem and worth a try if it does. and worth the $160 spent.

    Thanks for that link Addo, so far so good.

    Ken
    That sounds like a good price Ken, a few hours labour and some fresh auto transmission oil and you will be back on the road.
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    Regards Col

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    The hardest part is lining up the finger spring which regulates a sliding shuttle valve in the top of the valvebody. It has to be set within a few thou. There's a factory tool for it, not sure if dimensions are online. You could build a tool in a few hours.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to alter the multiple contact switch, this is usually done to mask a mis-setting of the shuttle valve described above.

    The other caveats are mechanical, screws are soft and you need fresh top quality Torx bits without excuse. Stamped and machined edges inside are razor sharp, always fun.

    The fill plug is an 8mm internal square, same as a Fuego sump plug. If you mistakenly loosen the band locking screw (differently headed) adjacent then it's tranny out time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    The hardest part is lining up the finger spring which regulates a sliding shuttle valve in the top of the valvebody. It has to be set within a few thou. There's a factory tool for it, not sure if dimensions are online. You could build a tool in a few hours.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to alter the multiple contact switch, this is usually done to mask a mis-setting of the shuttle valve described above.

    The other caveats are mechanical, screws are soft and you need fresh top quality Torx bits without excuse. Stamped and machined edges inside are razor sharp, always fun.

    The fill plug is an 8mm internal square, same as a Fuego sump plug. If you mistakenly loosen the band locking screw (differently headed) adjacent then it's tranny out time...
    Thanks for those warnings Addo

    I did a bit of looking around for information on Google and found these Utube videos, if all else fails I reckon I could just about do this myself if I have time

    Basic Procedure


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4rK6Ufr9ZI

    or more involved strip down of internals

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsJBWWLtP7w

    Any comments on them? I noted the warnings about not dropping the supplied solenoids, Tony also gave the same warning - apparently his modified ones can be stripped and cleaned for extended life as well.

    As usual for me, I will proceed slowly - no rush as I have the Laguna to do the things we have scheduled.!!

    Ken
    Last edited by Kenfuego; 20th April 2016 at 08:46 AM. Reason: edit 1st link.

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    I just clicked on your first link, there is a preceding six minute advertisement for "Abs over 40" or something like that.

    At 1:17 in the first video, is a reasonable picture of what I would call the finger spring, you can see the slotted fixing hole whereby its lateral position may vary (but you should return it to within a thou or so of prior), also what they call the "manual valve" I call a shuttle valve.

    Second video spills a lot of secrets including how to substantially dismantle and clean the valvebody, note it uses carby cleaner not brake cleaner, the metallised sludge is tenacious.
    Last edited by addo; 20th April 2016 at 10:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    The hardest part is lining up the finger spring which regulates a sliding shuttle valve in the top of the valvebody. It has to be set within a few thou. There's a factory tool for it, not sure if dimensions are online. You could build a tool in a few hours.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to alter the multiple contact switch, this is usually done to mask a mis-setting of the shuttle valve described above.

    The other caveats are mechanical, screws are soft and you need fresh top quality Torx bits without excuse. Stamped and machined edges inside are razor sharp, always fun.

    The fill plug is an 8mm internal square, same as a Fuego sump plug. If you mistakenly loosen the band locking screw (differently headed) adjacent then it's tranny out time...
    Hi Addo and Ken and others to follow.
    The statement about the finger spring is not correct IMHO. I have done the job or assisted three times without a tool and it certainly does not locate to a few thou !! In fact as I recall it is just the detent spring for the selector positions. I think we just measured the position and scribed it also. Then we did not touch the gear selector and refitted as it seemed logical. It just went back into the groove and we set it straight then. No problems any way.

    I used a small torque wrench I have to tighten the screws in the valve body. In a logical spreading scroll patten. I noted two of the valve bodies were very unevenly tightened and had previously had new solenoids fitted before. So I suggest that you use a small torque wrench. Cheap now-a-days !
    Jaahn

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    I probably overstated the accuracy required , but if it's appreciably different to prior location the multifunction switch will have fits, that's when I've seen hackers adjust the switch - which shouldn't be necessary.

    You can use the telltale contact pair on the switch to make up a test light or get sophisticated and have it trigger a buzzer during reassembly if it is not happy with the setting.

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    Icon12 Getting the work done or doing it myself...

    Jaahn and Addo

    Hopefully it should not need the extended treatment, just the removal of the valve body for replacement of the solenoids, quickest and easiest, then hopefully all that tenacious stuff that might have accumulated will stay where it is, while the modified solenoids do their job in the refilled and renewed transmission fluid.

    Spoke to my local garage (very convenient) but as expected he does not want to attempt the job as he sends out all his transmission work to his preferred specialist, and I can understand his reasoning, as he does mine
    so need is on to find someone sympathetic to the problem and willing to work with the issue. I well understand that it might not be successful and I may in the end have to travel a longer and more expensive route.

    I'd love to do the job myself (successful or not) just for the learning, but as Addo knows my garage space is a little cramped at present with sons spare parked & immobile Porch.. also Addo, If I decide to do the job properly and clean out the whole valve body how many cans of carby cleaner should I order in

    Apparently the quick in and out to just replace the solenoids costs in the order of $300 in time so I guess those that know and have done the job can do it quickly and I would be happy to pay that as against nothing to do the job myself where the only joy is getting to see what the condition is inside a unit that has done 130,000 km.

    Anyone knowing of Melbourne Francophile mechanics known to be willing to undertake the process and save me tinkering/learning on the job. Let me know on the thread or via PM, I'd appreciate that!

    Ken

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    Ken, I can only advise that you pay a professional to do this job. Yes, everything can be done by DIY, but in this case I am reluctant, as I was with our own car for the same problem. And I have completely overhauled dozens of non-electronic automatics in the past. I also thought about my back and my knees when looking at the location of the work area, it looks to be a real PITA (although I don't have a problem with that area of my body ). I am glad I didn't try it on, as after paying a Renault dealer to fix it, the next day it had a different problem which turned out to be a faulty new solenoid, which they replaced FOC of course, including a second fluid change so that was a bit of a bonus. I thought what position I would have been in had I BOUGHT that same new solenoid and fitted it myself, I would have immediately been looking for another problem, doesn't bear thinking about the dramas I would have had. Also I did not have a code reader for the Renault trans codes so I would be firing in the dark.

    Yes, it cost me over $900 including the initial electronic interrogation to confirm the fault, including the parts and fluid, but with a 12 year old car in otherwise excellent condition I sucked it up. The car still has a bit of shudder into 2nd and 4th, which I put down to driving it for many years with the developing solenoid problem, but is not worth overhauling the trans for, as yet anyway. I may look at changing the fluid to a non-genuine at some stage.

    All I would say is get someone who has a proven record with this Renault trans. Does the guy that sells the solenoids do it? seems a good place to start.



    That's 10 cents worth of advice.
    Cheers
    Chris.
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