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Resident Spanner

A FIAT non-breakdown

Well, it still runs and moves anyway, but my uncle brought his FIAT 500 around the other day and asked me to take a look because it was making a funny noise on the way up that was getting louder.
Within about 10 yards of driving in it I reversed back and parked it up, the gearbox is shot, sounds like the input shaft bearings have let go and it's making a noise like a brick in a tumble drier, varies with engine speed and gear loading so obviously on the input side of the 'box.

Not bad for a '12 plate car with 30,000 miles on the clock!  

Anyway, I told him to get in touch with Fiat as giving the milage a gearbox shouldn't be failing, and really I'd expect them to replace the 'box gratis if he made a contribution towards the labour or similar.

After having a bit of a runaround with the dealer and Fiat HQ, the furthest he's got with them is to pay out for the car to be transported to the dealer for a full diagnostic, after which the replacement of the gearbox would cost £2200.
Fiat UK may or may not contribute towards it, but wouldn't commit either way until the diagnostic and gearbox removal. Even if it's definitely the bearings they wont commit to any rough figure or guideline.

So, basically, pay out £150 to diagnose a problem that can't be anything else (don't ask me why, but they insist it needs a full diagnostic check and scan - there's no sensors on the gearbox that would show any fault up on an ECU scan!) and have them start work for the replacement, without any guarantee that Fiat would contribute anything at all, and possibly end up with a £2200 bill plus the transport + diag costs.
Given how evasive Fiat have been over contributions, would you risk it?  

I can see their side, obviously, I mean, all this steel bearing race material in the completely black opaque oil is obviously normal wear and tear.....arseholes.




For comparison, the top left picture is 100k mile, 16 year old Jag gearbox oil I've just changed at the same time I took the sample from the 30,000 mile old Fiat.....
Bob Sacamano

All depends on the service history - if it's been done regularly by FIAT they will normally be pretty good in terms of contribution. If they've not seen it from new they will just point out it's out of warranty so repair/replacement is down to you.
Frank Bullitt

I don't think that is remotely unreasonable.

As yet they have no idea on the fault or why it occurred - it could be bearing related or the mechanical sympathy of a chimp.

When I took the Picasso in for a clutch replacement (3.5 years, 47kI was well aware that it could be me footing the bill and was advised of course this may be the case. As it was, the release bearing had suffered complete mechanical failure that was not attributed to use and Citroen paid for it in full despite being out of warranty - the dealer confirmed it relies on a number of factors including FCSH and customer support for the brand being part of it. I would imagine Fiat are no different and it's one reason why I continue to use main dealer servicing - I've no doubt I'd it didn't have a FCSH I'd have got nowhere near a full contribution.
gooner

Surprised you're not building him a new box yourself!

My only thoughts are that the box is either faulty or has been mistreated. There surely can't be any other explanation. Should it be faulty and FIAT won't cover it I'd look to go back to FIAT UK and demand to know why they consider it fair for a gearbox to naturally wear out after such a short period given how their are many FIATs on the UKs roads whose boxes have lasted since the mid 90s.
Martin

I think it's a bit early to be criticising FIAT, as it's outside of warranty and they don't know what the issue is yet.  I don't think any manufacturer would take a customers (or even an independent garages) diagnosis and use that to make any decision.  However, if they do take it in, agree with your diagnosis and do nothing, it would be different.

No relevant to the issue/point being made, but out of interest,  is it a Ford or FIAT gearbox?
Bob Sacamano

I suspect it's a FIAT gearbox. Ford had little input into the 500.

As it's outside of warranty I don't think it's unreasonable for FIAT to charge for a diagnostic, garages don't work for free.
Resident Spanner

Martin wrote:
I think it's a bit early to be criticising FIAT, as it's outside of warranty and they don't know what the issue is yet.  I don't think any manufacturer would take a customers (or even an independent garages) diagnosis and use that to make any decision.  However, if they do take it in, agree with your diagnosis and do nothing, it would be different.

No relevant to the issue/point being made, but out of interest,  is it a Ford or FIAT gearbox?


I think what riles me the most is that they won't give an idea of whether they will contribute even assuming that is the issue.
Whilst I accept they need the dealer to see the car, I fail to see why they need to start work that can end up with a £2k+ bill without giving the customer any idea of whether they'd help out given the issue.
Or charge for a full diagnostic check when all it needs is 10 seconds in the car to know the fault is the 'box to be honest, £20 would cover the time dealing with the car, Fiat and the customer there easily.
The swarf in the oil is bearing race material, not synchro's, there's no way on earth that is from abuse.
Bob Sacamano

Resident Spanner wrote:

I think what riles me the most is that they won't give an idea of whether they will contribute even assuming that is the issue.
Whilst I accept they need the dealer to see the car, I fail to see why they need to start work that can end up with a £2k+ bill without giving the customer any idea of whether they'd help out given the issue.
Or charge for a full diagnostic check when all it needs is 10 seconds in the car to know the fault is the 'box to be honest, £20 would cover the time dealing with the car, Fiat and the customer there easily.
The swarf in the oil is bearing race material, not synchro's, there's no way on earth that is from abuse.


I know exactly why they won't give an idea of whether they will contribute or not and that is because, in these situations, the customer will only hear what they want to hear. If they say before starting work that FIAT may contribute in the event of a manufacturing defect the customer hears that FIAT will be paying some or all of the costs of repair whatever. This then descends into who said what before starting work. In their shoes I would say nothing until i had all the facts to hand - you've then got far more leeway in how much/if any you can contribute.
Resident Spanner

Hardly inspires confidence to take it in when facing a £2200+ bill though, does it?

All they need to do is say "If it's a manufacturing fault, we will cover the box if you contribute the labour, if not, you foot the bill".

Instead all we're getting is "Well, we might, or we might not, we can't discuss it yet. Maybe."
 Which then makes you wonder if halfway through they'll just go 'Sorry, out of warranty, no contribution - here's a bill for something that would have cost you 1/4 as much elsewhere....'
Resident Spanner

gooner wrote:
Surprised you're not building him a new box yourself!


I probably will, less hassle.
Bob Sacamano

Resident Spanner wrote:
Hardly inspires confidence to take it in when facing a £2200+ bill though, does it?

All they need to do is say "If it's a manufacturing fault, we will cover the box if you contribute the labour, if not, you foot the bill".

Instead all we're getting is "Well, we might, or we might not, we can't discuss it yet. Maybe."
 Which then makes you wonder if halfway through they'll just go 'Sorry, out of warranty, no contribution - here's a bill for something that would have cost you 1/4 as much elsewhere....'


They can't say that. It wouldn't be their decision - following the strip down the report goes overnight to FIAT in Italy and they have the final say. I only know this because Mrs Sacamano used to do this.
Grampa

Has the 500 not been around long enough to be able to get a used box yet? Would this be less than the labour cost if they find a manufacturing fault plus the £150 'diagnositic fee'  In which case, assuming you would install it for him for nothing (?) wouldn't this be the cheapest option.

Otherwise - pay the £150 - then if they come back and say they won't contribute anything towards it, can you not take the car from them and rebuild the box yourself?  If the parts go to Italy, make it clear you want them back.
Racing Teatray

Did he buy it new?
Bob Sacamano

Grampa wrote:
Has the 500 not been around long enough to be able to get a used box yet? Would this be less than the labour cost if they find a manufacturing fault plus the £150 'diagnositic fee'  In which case, assuming you would install it for him for nothing (?) wouldn't this be the cheapest option.

Otherwise - pay the £150 - then if they come back and say they won't contribute anything towards it, can you not take the car from them and rebuild the box yourself?  If the parts go to Italy, make it clear you want them back.


That would be the way I'd go - there are refurbished 500 gearboxes with a 12 month warranty readily available.
Boxer6

Grampa wrote:
Has the 500 not been around long enough to be able to get a used box yet? Would this be less than the labour cost if they find a manufacturing fault plus the £150 'diagnositic fee'  In which case, assuming you would install it for him for nothing (?) wouldn't this be the cheapest option.

Otherwise - pay the £150 - then if they come back and say they won't contribute anything towards it, can you not take the car from them and rebuild the box yourself?  If the parts go to Italy, make it clear you want them back.


I'd had similar thought myself. Herself's friend bought a Punto a few years ago which the previous owner had allowed to run dry of oil, requiring a new engine/box before the garage put it up for sale. The whole lot cost just over £1400, so £2200 just for a 'box seems more than a bit excessive!
gooner

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Grampa wrote:
Has the 500 not been around long enough to be able to get a used box yet? Would this be less than the labour cost if they find a manufacturing fault plus the £150 'diagnositic fee'  In which case, assuming you would install it for him for nothing (?) wouldn't this be the cheapest option.

Otherwise - pay the £150 - then if they come back and say they won't contribute anything towards it, can you not take the car from them and rebuild the box yourself?  If the parts go to Italy, make it clear you want them back.


That would be the way I'd go - there are refurbished 500 gearboxes with a 12 month warranty readily available.


The Panda's been around a lot longer and uses the same engines mostly.
PR

I don't think the dealer is acting unreasonably in not indicating a likelihood or otherwise of contributing to potential repair costs before they've even seen the car.

You might be fine. I know someone who had an oil-less gearbox replaced at no cost on a very early and out of warranty R50 MINI, and the in laws' Freelander got a new rear diff last year at no cost, despite the car being a couple of years out of warranty and without a full LR service history (it had been to Kwik Fit for god's sake).
Resident Spanner

After being on the phone again earlier, it's just going to be cheaper for me to fit a refurbished box than even let Fiat look at it - there's the diagnostic plus 4 hours of labour @ 65 per hour to remove the box to send it to Fiat.
That's before the cost of the replacement box and refitting.

I can buy a box and have it fitted for less than that, waste of time.
JohnC

I think it is reasonable that there are some costs to cover the garage's time but the sale of goods act states that products must last a reasonable length of time, depending on what they are. I would say that 4 years and 30,000 miles is not reasonable for a gearbox, provided it has been serviced. Citizen's advice will help and perhaps get you the assurance that if it is a fault or product failure, Fiat will pick up the cost.
Resident Spanner

Took the box off this evening, exactly as expected, the input shaft bearing has picked up on the inner race and all the swarf are particles from that. Thankfully the rest of the box doesn't look any worse for wear so it'll get a wash down tommorow afternoon and a proper check over but it looks like a new bearing, seals and oil and it should be good.

The bearing is a bog-standard off the shelf one so local suppliers keep them in stock for the terrible price of a whole tenner. Input and diff seals are another 5 quid and a tenner for some aerobic sealant for the sealing faces. Worst part is new gearbox oil at 15 quid a litre, but it only takes two litres....so a grand total of £55 so far.

I might fit some new discs and pads as it's only a couple of k away from needing some......they're quite hefty too at 7 pounds and 50 pence per disc and £18 for pads, and a new clutch (£80 Valeo) is going in whilst the box is off anyway, just in case.

That leaves quite a bit spare for beer from the £2.2k+ the dealer wanted...and it's had the brakes and clutch done on top...
Big Blue

Where do you live again? I might start transporting cars there for servicing.....
gooner

The mere fact you flippantly mention removing a gearbox of an evening amazes me. That is some tinkering!
Resident Spanner

gooner wrote:
The mere fact you flippantly mention removing a gearbox of an evening amazes me. That is some tinkering!


Did you not see my afternoons work the other week?  



I had it running for half an hour sorting the engine mapping out about 3-4 hours before this picture - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku7sU_e-8mA&feature=youtu.be
:D
gooner

Show off  
DetmoldDick

Yes, but how many bits were left over when you put it all back together?
Resident Spanner

They were superfluous parts. I've made it lighter by leaving them out. It'll go faster.
PG

gooner wrote:
The mere fact you flippantly mention removing a gearbox of an evening amazes me. That is some tinkering!




Very true.
Resident Spanner

It's all good fun - this is the culprit:



All that work for £2-worth of Polish bearing.
Resident Spanner

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHGU6KI1mk8
Roadsterstu

Yeah. That's buggered.
Resident Spanner

And to complete your evening gearbox fetish:

Resident Spanner

Fiat are so generous they provide you with all this spare steel to glue to the worn out bits of your gearbox so you can fit it. Handy.



Resident Spanner

Seals/sealant, etc came this morning, so took a rather longer lunch break than intended, back together, if it's not cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey tonight when I get back might get it in this evening.

Resident Spanner

Gearbox fitted, clutch/shafts on, etc, etc, but didn't finish the brakes as I was working via torchlight to do the box and really couldn't be arsed by the time everything was hooked up, tommorows job now those. :)

Good new is, it's silent and goes up and down the gears as smooth as butter. Job jobbed.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Give yourself a hearty pat on the back for a job well done !

(Just don't pull a muscle when you do that)
Resident Spanner

£2.4k saved....

He owes me a shedload of beer mind that might make a dent in the savings. ;)
Roadsterstu

Resident Spanner

Next stop - welding half a Jaguar back together....
Resident Spanner

Well, Fiat want the bearing, pictures and a details of the oil volume and debris - they aren't going to do anything, but luckily I kept an oil sample and the old bearings etc.

Just for fun before I post it off, can you tell the difference between the FIAT bearing and a decent replacement one?

https://youtu.be/dLcfFiFJ8ic

https://youtu.be/bosqLY8i0GQ
(I bought a spare one just in case there were any issues in fitting, anyone got a Fiat? :D )

;)
Chris M Wanted a V-10

What's the incentive to send the shot bearing to Fiat? Do you think that they may partially reimburse you?
Resident Spanner

Seriously doubt it, but maybe they'll give him the next service free or something if he's lucky.

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