New and frustrated- Autocruise Comfortmatic problem

johnnyboy

Free Member
May 30, 2021
5
4
Funster No
81,586
MH
autocruise rhythm
Hi I’m new to this forum and fairly new to the world of motorhoming. Bad omens from the start With my Autocruise Rhythm with comfort matic gearbox on the Ducato. Put deposit down in Feb 2020, was meant to pick up early March. Dealer had problem with airbag so rescheduled pickup to 23rd March . The day before pickup lockdown happened and didn’t get van until end of May. From the outset had warning messages about glow plugs. Didn’t affect performance but dealer paid for these to be replaced. Phew- let’s go camping. Did a few trips last year all good.
last month went for a day out ( oh nearly forgot- battery ran out if left stationary for more than two weeks- so have to leave constantly on charge). All going well but on return I get red error message. Transmission problem. I’m stuck in 2 nd gear. In traffic trundling along and unable to change gear. After 3 miles message goes and it’s all working again. Contact my usual garage and Fiat dealer. Both say it could be lots of things, sensors, wires but unlikely actual gearbox. Told to take it for a good run. Warranty by now has expired.
so last week went on a good trip. Covered around 400 miles. No problems until return trip. Red error message and couldn’t move from 2nd. Pulled into garage for fuel thinking the stop might sort it. This time everything dead. Engine wouldn’t start, angry people behind. Tried to start several times, nothing. Stress levels high, tried again and it started up. No error message and got home ok. Both times I had problems I was caught up in slow moving traffic. I’m at a loss as to what to do as reading other threads it seems it’s not straightforward knowing what it could be. Do I spend lots of money trying to get fault identified and sorted, are there simple things I can try. Can I reset things somehow? I’m set to go away again soon and really anxious about things going wrong again and being stuck. The idea of buying a van (2014- 37k) was to experience freedom and relaxation. Not getting much of that at moment. Any suggestions gratefully received. Thanks.
 
Dec 13, 2019
2,184
1,184
Northumberland
Funster No
67,346
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 2019
Welcome 👍
Sorry to hear of all your mechanical woes. What has the dealer said about things? You would at the very least expect a sympathetic hearing from them given the CV-19 situation.
Good luck with getting it sorted, and happy travels once you do get going properly. 👍
 

WynandJean

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 23, 2010
6,114
3,087
West Midlands
Funster No
10,746
MH
Bailey Autograph 682
Exp
Since 2010
Hello and welcome from West Midlands. 👍 It certainly sounds like something Fiat need to be sorting out preferably via your dealer.

Wyn

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johnnyboy

johnnyboy

Free Member
May 30, 2021
5
4
Funster No
81,586
MH
autocruise rhythm
Hi
The original dealer I bought it from basically says to take it to local Fiat dealer- it’s now out of 6 month warranty so they don’t want to know and Fiat said unless they see it with the error message ( now gone) they will be none the wiser.

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Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
33,375
65,437
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
:welco:
I wonder if it could be battery related, parked up battery should last at least 3 weeks, and then the non starting problem. I have heard of Comfomatic boxes playing if the battery is not in top condition, worth replacing as a 100 quid battery is a lot cheaper than a dealer.
visit.

Also you said it had an air bag fault before you picked it up. That means the battery had probably been allowed to go flat. The airbag ECU has under/over voltage sensing & a flat starter battery often buggers the airbag ECU.
 
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johnnyboy

johnnyboy

Free Member
May 30, 2021
5
4
Funster No
81,586
MH
autocruise rhythm
Hi
When I took it to Fiat to replace glowlugs I mentioned battery going flat and they checked battery and said it was ok.
 
Sep 1, 2018
1,700
5,549
Strathaven
Funster No
55,963
MH
Pilote G741
Exp
Since 2018
hi johnnyboy & welcome , sorry to hear about your problems , I’ve been there , luckily it was a brand new van so under warranty, used it twice down to France & broke down twice , first time stuck in 4th gear & wouldn’t go up a steep hill , had to be towed in , 3 days later the garage said they think it was a loose wire to the speed controller, they reset with a computer & that got us home

should have added -: switch of engine & won’t restart ( even disconnected battery but no joy )


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Oct 10, 2018
509
274
Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
Funster No
56,646
MH
PVC
Exp
Since 2005
Hello and welcome, There have been many times with these vans that electrical/warning light problems have been caused by faulty earth connections, they look ok but replacement has fixed them.
It would be worth having an extra earth fitted to the body to engine gearbox connection as this would not cost very little and may work.
The battery would normally stay up a bit longer (not much) than yours does and it may be faulty but if the radio is an aftermarket one check it is really off when it should be.

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Sep 1, 2018
1,700
5,549
Strathaven
Funster No
55,963
MH
Pilote G741
Exp
Since 2018
Second time I used it in earnest was 1 year later, again 1 month in France, 2 weeks into trip stuck in 2nd gear , again switch off engine won’t restart or change gear , they struggled to get anybody to come out to us (8 days & 5 tow trucks to get towed to garage) , one garage on the phone said in poor English “ recalibrate speed sensor “ , I kept telling fiat assist to get a mobile mechanic with computer to reset & we would most likely be able to drive it to garage (no joy) , the garage who eventually took it removed the gear box & replaced the complete auto mechanism & told it’ll be fixed on Monday, Monday comes garage says
still not working they will need to borrow a computer to reset , which worked , I believe there was no need for all that work & parts

Edit -: it took 8 weeks to get it back fixed ( allegedly)

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Last edited:
Sep 1, 2018
1,700
5,549
Strathaven
Funster No
55,963
MH
Pilote G741
Exp
Since 2018
I think it was communication problem to the pcb controlling the automation , probably in the speed controller/ sensor area , it probably will have to go to a fiat garage who has experience wit comformattic
gearbox’s or you could end up untrained mechanics changing any & everything to try to overcome there lack of knowledge

in my case I think the inboard computer couldn’t read the speed so wouldn’t change gear in case it caused gearbox damage or an accident
 
Last edited:
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johnnyboy

johnnyboy

Free Member
May 30, 2021
5
4
Funster No
81,586
MH
autocruise rhythm
Thanks - really appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I think that given it happened both times in slow traffic, it could be to do woth constant quick switching between brake and accelerator ( shouldn’t happen of course) and maybe I’ll try using it in manual mode when in those conditions. The frustration is knowing it could be any number of different causes and solutions.

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Puddleduck

LIFE MEMBER
Jan 15, 2014
11,280
33,282
Scottish Borders
Funster No
29,703
MH
SunLiving Lido M45SP
Exp
On and off for many years.
Also keep a camera handy (or a dash cam trained on the instrument cluster?) so you have a photo of the issue.

Have you written to FIAT themselves? When we had an issue with our previous van (out of warranty) it was FIAT Head Office that sorted out the replacement part, repair and picked up the cost as it was a fault that had been with the van since new and only found when the timing belt was changed. I've found their after sales people to be really helpful.
 
May 7, 2011
3,464
11,829
East Anglia
Funster No
16,302
MH
Kontiki 669
Exp
Since 2010
w2f

I had a problem with my conformatic,and a warning on dash saying transmission problem. It turned out to be the clutch and dual mass flywheel. Not saying that’s your problem as sounds like you need to change your battery first to me!
 
Aug 18, 2014
18,691
83,342
Lorca,Murcia,Spain
Funster No
32,898
MH
Transit PVC
Exp
6 years since restarting
Warranty by now has expired.

Hi
The original dealer I bought it from basically says to take it to local Fiat dealer- it’s now out of 6 month warranty so they don’t want to know and Fiat said unless they see it with the error message ( now gone) they will be none the wiser.
You need to explain to them that the falt occurred before the warranty ended. They have a duty to fix it. If not tell them you will get it fixed correctly then reclaim the full amount + expenses ,etc in the small claims court.
 

philmc79

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 4, 2018
78
51
East Manchester
Funster No
57,469
MH
LP Coach Built
Exp
since 2 weeks ago
Check the battery leads that they are fully tightened, mine went in for a factory recall and they did not tighten the battery terminals up hence the MH would not start then it did then all sorts of odd problems, took the cover off the starter battery and the earth terminal connector was loose, tightened it up myself and its been fine ever since, have a look at both terminal clamps, especially if you have had some work done on it.
 
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