1999 Fiat Ducato Gearbox Problem - Fixed

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Robin Mid-Wales, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Robin Mid-Wales

    Robin Mid-Wales Read Only Funster

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    I have a 1999 Murvi Morello based on the Fiat Ducato 2.8. After the engine got hot the gears were crunching, particularly the 3rd, 4th and 5th changes. Changing was also generally very stiff and the gears were not disengaging quickly. I thought that it was going to mean a new gear box! However, my local mechanic suggest we first change the oil in the gearbox before considering anything more expensive. He changed the oil and found two problems: firstly, the oil had completely broken down, it was like water in viscosity. Secondly, the gearbox only has 2.5 litres in it (this was the original spec from Fiat) but around 2003 a correction was issued by Fiat to increase the oil to 3 litres.

    It took about 50 miles to run in the new oil but the result was a complete correction of the fault. Now 5000 miles later and I still have a smooth running and easy changing gearbox. So if your Ducato gearbox start playing up try changing the oil as the first option!
     
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  2. Boringfrog

    Boringfrog Funster

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    How did it take 50 miles for the oil to "run in" I don't understand what you mean?
     
  3. Robin Mid-Wales

    Robin Mid-Wales Read Only Funster

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    It's like when you use 3-in-one oil on a stuck nut or something similar and have to leave it a while. It takes a while for the oil to provide a coating at a molecular level. The gears continues to crunch for about 20 miles and then got smoother and smoother.
     
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  4. Figaro

    Figaro Funster

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    Is changing gearbox oil a service item ?
     
  5. Robin Mid-Wales

    Robin Mid-Wales Read Only Funster

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    No - there's a level check at 60,000. But my van hasn't reached that yet despite being 17 years old.
     
  6. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    a good reminder to change gear oil at least every 5 years. same with brake fluid
     
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  7. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    A couple of points spring into my mind reading this thread, firstly gearbox oil does not break down and lose viscosity. If it was like water then it probably was mostly water. Water ingress into Ducato boxes is a known and quite common issue with X230 (1994 to 2001 I think), X244 (2001 to 2006) models as the scuttle drain often fed straight onto the gear selector shaft. Secondly there is no level check at 60,000 as there is no level plug to remove to check the level. If there is any sign of oil leakage then that should be fixed and new oil installed of the appropriate ammount. Thirdly gearbox oil is "lifed for the vehicle" generally, that means excepting leaks or other reasons to change the oil (replacing a driveshaft or clutch for example) it is good for the life of the vehicle.

    Going back to the OP, difficult gearchanges are a common result of water ingress into the gearbox, the 50 mile "running in" period is simply how long it takes for the new oil to displace the old water/oil emulsion which really isn't a very good lubricant. The tricky bit with gearboxes is to get the correct level of lubrication, bearings and moving bits need lubrication but the synchro cones that are the heart of synchromesh gearboxes (Google it, I'm tired :) ) actually rely on a certain level of friction to work. Changing gearbox oil to a grade that is not right for that 'box design can lead to crunching on gearchanges because the oil reduces the friction too much for the synchro cones.

    D.
     
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  8. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I was thinking the same but didn't know how the water might have got in. I was wondering if there was an oil cooler somewhere and coolant had got in - which has happened on some cars I believe, but those sort of oil coolers only tends to be fitted to torque converter automatics.
     
  9. Robin Mid-Wales

    Robin Mid-Wales Read Only Funster

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    The oil that came out was very black and very thin, no sign of water or that emulsion effect. I'd not had the van long - I bought it at 55,000 miles. There's no record of any gear box oil change on the service history (and I have a lot of records going back to the original purchase) but just possibly the wrong grade was installed at some point?

    I'm no expert on these vans. I got the 'check transmission oil level at 60,000 miles' from the service record printout in the folder that came with the vehicle.

    What I can say is that the oil change has solved the problem.
     
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  10. grayb

    grayb Read Only Funster

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    I have had the same problem of oil in gearbox, and have now found the water looks like it has come from the pipe connected to the windscreen scuttle and drops the water onto the gear selector shaft. the pipe needs to be at least 12 inches longer. now trying to find out if there is a longer pipe made by manufacturers'( ie modification) or weather I need to become inventive and make one up.
     
  11. grayb

    grayb Read Only Funster

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    should have read water in gear box not oil
     
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