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Intermittent Fault On Gearbox - Garage Claim It Has To Be Observed?!

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Before they can legally do anything - that doesn't seem right?

A £20 fine if they cannot observe the fault on the day, or I can leave it with them until they do observe it but it can be weeks and it doesn't occur!

A 5 year old car, still under manufacturer's warranty, and it is recently sticky getting it into first gear, but only rarely. the last few times it has happened at busy junctions, and the car moves forward, but isn't properly engaged so stalls in the middle of the road - not the safest thing to be doing.

I just can't believe they won't look at it on my say so - that they "have to observe it" or they "can't legally do anything to the car".

Are they talking rubbish? How do I go about getting it looked at under warranty without having to leave it with them for an indefinite period of time until it occurs under test driving? Seems ludicrous to me!

*Grrrr*

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Not wanting to state the obvious - but if you have trouble getting into gear - taking your foot of the clutch and then doing it again can often help.

Why, how, is it a major problem, does it need fixed - I am afraid I do not know !!

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Guest eight

Before they can legally do anything - that doesn't seem right?

A £20 fine if they cannot observe the fault on the day, or I can leave it with them until they do observe it but it can be weeks and it doesn't occur!

A 5 year old car, still under manufacturer's warranty, and it is recently sticky getting it into first gear, but only rarely. the last few times it has happened at busy junctions, and the car moves forward, but isn't properly engaged so stalls in the middle of the road - not the safest thing to be doing.

I just can't believe they won't look at it on my say so - that they "have to observe it" or they "can't legally do anything to the car".

Are they talking rubbish? How do I go about getting it looked at under warranty without having to leave it with them for an indefinite period of time until it occurs under test driving? Seems ludicrous to me!

*Grrrr*

Do they have a massive plate glass frontage? Driving through that might get them to take you seriously.

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Is it cold when it does this ( the engine I mean)...could be lube issue, clutch most likely.

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I just can't believe they won't look at it on my say so - that they "have to observe it" or they "can't legally do anything to the car".

Sounds like a loads of ********, I'd send them a letter/email saying.

I'm just about to send a letter to Trading Standards and wondered if you could just clarify exactly which bit of legislation you mean when you say you cannot legally do anything. I'm sure this will mean they can give a quicker response.

Having said that, to be fair to them it's pretty difficult to find a problem if they can't observe it. Sounds to me like the clutch is on the way out, but that doesn't seem likely on a car still under warranty.

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If they really mean "legally" then yes, it's a load of nonsense.

More likely is the manufacturer's warranty does not cover the dealer for the cost of dismantling/carrying out testing unless there is a problem they can easily replicate.

If that's the case, I assume the "fine" is a token cost for inspection and given main dealer labour costs it may only cover 12-15 minutes of their time, which doesn't seem unreasonable.

If you can handle it yourself then worthwhile checking gearbox oil level and clutch (clutch/brake) fluid level and also worthwhile testing clutch for slipping by driving slowly in a high gear then accelerating hard to see if this provokes clutch slip.

Otherwise, if the problem does not get worse maybe leave it to next service then report it again and ask for it to be checked while they're working on the car. That way, you have a record of reporting the fault and can point to this if something serious goes wrong in the future.

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To be fair to the garage ,it would be very difficult to diagnose a problem that they cannot observe when it comes to manual gearboxes and when it`s an intermittent problem that only occurs in a time frame of weeks ,other than checking the obvious like the linkages/cables they would be pi$$ing in the wind

As already stated if its happening when the engine is cold ,it could be worth changing the gearbox oil

Also is 1st next to reverse ?

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Sounds like a loads of ********, I'd send them a letter/email saying.

I'm just about to send a letter to Trading Standards and wondered if you could just clarify exactly which bit of legislation you mean when you say you cannot legally do anything. I'm sure this will mean they can give a quicker response.

Having said that, to be fair to them it's pretty difficult to find a problem if they can't observe it. Sounds to me like the clutch is on the way out, but that doesn't seem likely on a car still under warranty.

I would guess they are referring to their internal rules on work done under warranty (the garage will back charge the manufacturer for this work )

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doesn't sound like you'll get very far with a "rarely occurring" fault.

Drive even more defensively allowing time and space at these junctions and change your physical movements to be more deliberate with regard to putting it into 1st gear. Double de-clutch or knock into 2nd before putting into 1st if stationary.

If you used the bite of the clutch when the handbrake is engaged, does it come out of gear?

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Some great replies here, thanks.

Yes, having cooled down a bit I can see that, from their point of view, trying to identify and fix a fault if they cannot observe or replicate it would be a potentially long and expensive undertaking.

It was the "legally unable" to do anything bit that got me riled, as I was sure this sounded like BS. I agree that it is much more likely that they meant that it was part of the regulations for doing any work under warranty.

No, I don't think it occurs when cold, particularly.

Being extra cautious and double de-clutching sounds sensible.

It's not that I can't get it in gear, but more that I don't know it's not fully in gear until the clutch is slipping and I've stalled. Clutch being on the way out is a possibility, but this is my first car and I don't know enough to know what to be looking for. I don't see any other symptoms. Will try the hard acceleration in higher gear thing to see if there's any slippage.

It doesn't pop out of gear when bite point is reached with handbrake on, with hill starts etc.

1st is next to reverse: pull up on the lever to go to the left of first. Why might this be a factor?

I guess I wrongly imagined that the fault would be easily recognised as "a thing" by those in the know, and that they would just take it and fix it under warranty. I have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Will just have to see how it goes.

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Some great replies here, thanks.

Yes, having cooled down a bit I can see that, from their point of view, trying to identify and fix a fault if they cannot observe or replicate it would be a potentially long and expensive undertaking.

It was the "legally unable" to do anything bit that got me riled, as I was sure this sounded like BS. I agree that it is much more likely that they meant that it was part of the regulations for doing any work under warranty.

No, I don't think it occurs when cold, particularly.

Being extra cautious and double de-clutching sounds sensible.

It's not that I can't get it in gear, but more that I don't know it's not fully in gear until the clutch is slipping and I've stalled. Clutch being on the way out is a possibility, but this is my first car and I don't know enough to know what to be looking for. I don't see any other symptoms. Will try the hard acceleration in higher gear thing to see if there's any slippage.

It doesn't pop out of gear when bite point is reached with handbrake on, with hill starts etc.

1st is next to reverse: pull up on the lever to go to the left of first. Why might this be a factor?

I guess I wrongly imagined that the fault would be easily recognised as "a thing" by those in the know, and that they would just take it and fix it under warranty. I have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Will just have to see how it goes.

There is a gate on the business end of the gear stick/linkage which stops you selecting reverse by mistake (why you have to lift to engage reverse ) they can cause problems with engaging 1st sometimes on some cars if they are a bit sticky

When testing for the clutch slipping you will be looking for the engine revs to increase far faster than the car increases in speed

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! would have thought that stalling when the thing occurs would imply you put it in 3rd by mistake...we've all done it.

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I guess I wrongly imagined that the fault would be easily recognised as "a thing" by those in the know, and that they would just take it and fix it under warranty. I have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Will just have to see how it goes.

Well the thing is with gear boxes is that they are rather complex and it's not like changing a light bulb or spark plug (I know you will realise that). Anything to do with them is a bit of a nightmare so they will want to be sure of what it is before they go taking the whole thing apart.

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How much play do you have at the gear lever?

Beneath the faux leather housing unit it will be bolted to a connecting rod which is adjusted to allow selection of all gears and a gate for reverse...

Did the dealer look at it? TBH this is the first thing I would check. Enough play to just move the rack but not quite enough to engage it properly.

Whatever it is it is simple.....

I had an old 1600e one couldn't get first gear (gearbox was knackered) so had to use second. Can be done carefully for pulling away bu you have to slip the clutch

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I think I would be looking at whatever the gear linkage setup for your car is too. They can be very tricky and manifest themselves in ways that imply some sort of synchro problem.

There is generally a specific calibration procedure to carry out when the linkage is installed, or changed, and it can be worth redoing it at some point in the future to allow for stretched or worn parts. It may just need replacing though. I would say if it is a hard mechanical fault, in the gearbox, it would be unusual to be intermittent in a manual. Adjusting your gear changing style also might improve things by moving the stick across and up/down as two consciously separate movements.

It can be worth searching for your car model's gear linkage on ebay and seeing how many are being sold as an indication of the likelihood of it being the problem.

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"Gearbox" - that would be a good name for Clarkson's new telly show.

EDIT: They may have already found one. I was close, but there's is better. Unless this is a smokescreen:

EDIT2: Or maybe using Sky's tactic of re-naming the old Division One as The Premier League, they should call it "Premier Gear" and re-name "Amazon Prime" as "Amazon Premier" at the same time. That way you get all the positive associations for free as the IPL found out. Then, Amazon would be ideally placed to buy up key global sports rights too....I should have stayed at work!

I suggested Top Geezer to Clarkeson but he didn't like it.

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Thanks for all the replies, very useful.

There is a gate on the business end of the gear stick/linkage which stops you selecting reverse by mistake (why you have to lift to engage reverse ) they can cause problems with engaging 1st sometimes on some cars if they are a bit sticky

When testing for the clutch slipping you will be looking for the engine revs to increase far faster than the car increases in speed

Cheers, will check it out next time.

! would have thought that stalling when the thing occurs would imply you put it in 3rd by mistake...we've all done it.

Ha! I accept there is that possibility. But I'm fairly sure that it's the gearbox. To give more of a sense of what it's like, most of the time shifting is smooth and effortless, with a definite end point that you can subtly feel (not quite a sensory 'clunk', but you can kind of feel that the stick has travelled the full distance). Very occasionally there is a stickiness when moving it into first, and sometimes then also down into 2nd too, though not as noticeable. When this happens I can usually just disengage and re-engage and it disappears. But sometimes it happens where the stickiness is less obvious but it is still not quite engaged (the stick hasn't travelled quite the full distance, but I haven't noticed it and so then when I try to pull out quickly (typically a busy junction), it slips and stalls.

I think being much more mindful of it and moving the stick much more deliberately, as suggested, will either ameliorate the problem or at least make me more aware of when it hasn't quite engaged. I think the repair may have to wait until it gets a lot worse and can be easily replicated.

I think I would be looking at whatever the gear linkage setup for your car is too. They can be very tricky and manifest themselves in ways that imply some sort of synchro problem.

There is generally a specific calibration procedure to carry out when the linkage is installed, or changed, and it can be worth redoing it at some point in the future to allow for stretched or worn parts. It may just need replacing though. I would say if it is a hard mechanical fault, in the gearbox, it would be unusual to be intermittent in a manual. Adjusting your gear changing style also might improve things by moving the stick across and up/down as two consciously separate movements.

It can be worth searching for your car model's gear linkage on ebay and seeing how many are being sold as an indication of the likelihood of it being the problem.

Thanks, but that sounds to be a little above my skill level! :)

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I dont think I can recall any car I have driven that didnt occasionally have a sticky moment...

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I dont think I can recall any car I have driven that didnt occasionally have a sticky moment...

Keep some wet wipes in the glove box?

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Stalling? Are you saying the engine actually cuts out? And you have to turn the key to re-start?

Does your i30 have stop/start?

Good memory ;)

Yes, it moves forward some then loses power (I assume clutch slippage), stalls and cuts out. No stop/start on mine.

This thread will turn out to be very embarrassing if it turns out it's just my ineptitude in selecting the correct gear and I have wrongly blamed the sticky gear stick!

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