Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 76 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Had my Alfa for 4 years now, never a problem with the gearbox.........until now.
Initially the super smooth change became very jerky betwenn 1st and 2nd, then on mild acceleration there appeared to be what I can only describe as a stuttery period.
Went out today and the red light came on all the time, kept the car in 4th. It resets when I stop/start the car but came on again on the way home.
The book says its oil temperature!
The car has done 71K and to my knowledge has not had a gearbox oil change. OK I can get that done but is the problem associated with the need to reset the ECU?
I've just come back from a weeks holiday and the car was driven quite agressively through the hills in Cornwall, perhaps it was too much for the old engine oil.
Any help would be appreciated, together with a link to how I reset the ecu - I have all the codes so that part shouldn't be an issue.
It has occasionaly given me a flashing red gearbox warning light however that has historicaly gone as quickly as it came........help please, someone!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,889 Posts
The thought/opinion is that the oil is for life unless major work is done.Apparently changing is awkward and sometimes causes more problems.

My red transmission appears to have sortd itself.


Pomeo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thought that was the case with te oil - your red light was sorted out by a cold start on the UCU then?
If you have a quick link to this info I would appreciate it - I'm just going to do a search of the forum for the ECU re-boot process, wish me luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
I bought an Alfa 2.5 Sportronic recently. The gearbox failed fifteen minutes after driving her away. Red light came on and then a complete loss of drive after a quick stutter. Test never picked it up. Result: AA job. Box is US and I'm now in litigation. The oil showed up to be quite brown with black specs here and there. My mechanic informs me that the box has been suspect for some time. Hey ho!! What I'm trying to say is go easy on her and get a specialist to look her over before any real damage might be done. It could be oil or the ECU or it might be on the cusp of failure. Things don't last forever.

Hope it goes well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys, makes me feel so happy.
Isn't it these things that make owning an Alfa just that bit special, a somewhat dissapointing dealer network, Italian electrics, crippling replacement spares costs......... we wouldn't have it any other way would we?
After all who wants to join the Panzer division when we own such stylish cars.
I'll do the ECU thing and report back, after all I've owned it for the past 4 years and its been fantastic up to now so why spoil the party - anyone got a recon gearbox.......................?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Could be - can you give me some clues as to where it may be located please, and what it looks like too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
OK team - great effort.
Did the ECU thing - battery off for 45 mins, battery on, key to start but do not turn engine, wait 90 secs., turn off, wait 90 secs., turn on without touching the go pedal, idle for around 10 minutes then took it out for a mixture of driving styles culminating in a good thrash down the local dual carriageway. Stuck it into manual and gave it a good beating through the gears and had the orchestra on full song in all but fourth. The more miles I did the better the whole plot became. The engine feels so much more responsive and (fingers crossed, don't walk under a ladder and let a black cat cross my path) no red light, flashing or otherwise, from the gear box. On the return home the engine idle was good.
Thanks for all the help - will keep this link updated on any further developments, but some clues on the ECU location would be good - thinking of going to Angel tuning for a chip change - worth doing or not???

Thanks again
Colin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,298 Posts
the engine ECU is mounted on the throttle body but the sporto ECU is behind the centre console somewhere....just below where the heater matrix is :D

Fingers crossed that the ECU reset does the trick though.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I'm sure it's documented here somewhere but the Gearbox ECU is very easy to remove. ( probably less than a minute and then another minute to disconnect the plugs ) It is below the glove compartment and just involves removing the cover panel under the dash. The ECU is immediately above it and removing the four 10m nuts that secure it has it in your hand. You only have to know to remove the 3 smaller plugs (two at one end and one in the middle ) first. They need to be removed first in order to get clearance to remove the larger multi gang plugs. The tabs that need to be depressed to release the plugs are easy to see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
I agree with the theory that your heater matrix is leaking onto the gearbox ecu.

My car started off with the same symptoms - red light went off after reset, gearbox apparently fixed only for the problem to reappear. Jamie Porter fixed the matrix, and cleaned the connectors to the gearbox ecu (and waterproofed it) and presto - never had a problem since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
It must be a full moon. My beautiful 166 which recently performed so well on a family trip has suffered a leaking heater matrix onto the ECU.

It started a few days ago when the "gearbox" red warning light stayed on after start up. This was accompanied by a clunky gear selection, loss of gear change and no gear display on the dashboard or on the gear selector. I took it into the Alfa dealership who discovered that the heater matrix has leaked onto the ECU. Are the heaters made of cardboard?

The ECU was tested and seems to be working ok so they have bypassed the heater matrix to avoid any future leaks, put some plastic around the ECU and ordered a new heater matrix (three weeks from Italy as none are available in Australia).

I am moving to Canberra which is quite cool in winter so no heater for a few weeks is going to be fun, especially defrosting the front windscreen. The heated seat will get a work out :)

I am not sure that I trust the ECU if it has been wet. The car is still under warranty so I think that the ECU should also be replaced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
It must be a full moon. My beautiful 166 which recently performed so well on a family trip has suffered a leaking heater matrix onto the ECU.

It started a few days ago when the "gearbox" red warning light stayed on after start up. This was accompanied by a clunky gear selection, loss of gear change and no gear display on the dashboard or on the gear selector. I took it into the Alfa dealership who discovered that the heater matrix has leaked onto the ECU. Are the heaters made of cardboard?

The ECU was tested and seems to be working ok so they have bypassed the heater matrix to avoid any future leaks, put some plastic around the ECU and ordered a new heater matrix (three weeks from Italy as none are available in Australia).

I am moving to Canberra which is quite cool in winter so no heater for a few weeks is going to be fun, especially defrosting the front windscreen. The heated seat will get a work out :)

I am not sure that I trust the ECU if it has been wet. The car is still under warranty so I think that the ECU should also be replaced.
It would be nice to have something definitive on this whole issue but I understand that these issues tend to play out this way

The main problem I have is the number of people who are in this situation but report that they are not losing coolant, having overheating problems or wet carpets. It doesn't really add up in support of a leaking heater matrix. After 35 years mechanicing, I just find it very unlikely.

If you are seeing wet carpets, losing coolant - fair enough but otherwise I just can't see it.

In my case ( and I'm sure others ) the problem is simply condensation settling on the ECU. With almost everything else in the car's interior being plastic, leather or vinyl. water condenses on the cold ECU.

The contacts on the ecu get a build up of green corrosion. It is a green acid like corrosion which makes me think that there may also be some sort of reaction between dissimilar metals in ECU pins and the terminals in the plugs.

The thing staying wet for ages when I didn't even start it for sometimes 3 months probably it had no chance to warm and dry, so it just got more and more corroded. ( terminals aren't really corroded themselves, but just have that green acid growth similar to what you get on battery terminals )

It has to be said also, that many manufacturers account for this with a rubber boot over the terminals to seal it from the atmosphere, so this is just poor (from Bosch or Alfa or both)

My problem only started after the car had sat almost unused for 6 months or more. It was also a very wet period and so the air was damp for months.

I haven't been able to coax mine back to life even after cleaning the terminals etc. NO water had actually penetrated the main case of the unit. (I'm sure that would often be the case ) The problem with the damp terminals and corrosion is that it gets quite a build up inside the plastic casing of the terminals on the ECU.

That kind of green corrosion can be conductive or semi conductive so it may eventually create a contact or a high enough resistance across the terminals to damage the ECU.

I would like to hear from anyone with more detailed knowledge on the situation. I just can't quite get my mind around the leaking matrix thing, but of course I am prepared to be corrected !

Do what folks here say, though for pete's sake. SEAL it up ! It's very easy to get Just some heavy plastic or a piece of vinyl secured by fabric race tape to seal the line of plugs should do the job.

As far as worrying that your ECU should be replaced too, it may be worth a go, but I wouldn't worry too much. If it has come back ok, it'll be fine. Like most "solid state " type electronic equipment, it's either fine or it's broken. They don't really get worn as such. That stuff can last for 2 days or 40 years .

So - just my 2 cents worth. I realise most are probably sick of talking about it but I'd love to hear others' ideas on the matter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
this is very good info, thanks... but now my garage shielded my ECU to avoid fluid getting on it in case the matrix leaks, so is it going to do more damage then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
this is very good info, thanks... but now my garage shielded my ECU to avoid fluid getting on it in case the matrix leaks, so is it going to do more damage then?
I'm sure shielding it is a good move as many here advise.

It should ensure no problem if you do have a matrix failure. ( or have the ECU get wet any other way ) As for it doing any more damage in the event of matric failure ( if you mean the shielding it with plastic ), no - I can't see any negative effect.

The ECUs aren't ventilated. Their only cooling is through the casing to the atmosphere. The only cooling feature is the fins on the casing so, strictly speaking the metal casing should be left exposed to the atmosphere. I don't really think it would cause a problem to have it wrapped up.

I'll actually just seal my plugs completely and go around the joints in the case with high quality sealant ( Dirko ) It's just a much higher quality version of Silastic which has great adhesion.

I have looked at two failed units and opened them up, but didn't find any water had got inside the casing. In both cases it had just got all over the plugs and started the corrosive growth. I believe some have said that they'd seen water right inside the unit.

I accept that some are matrix failures but mine is not. Sealing the ECU would have avoided my problem too though. There's also the possibility of the heater / air conditioner box itself just leaking into the interior if drains are blocked up. That's very common and it's about the first thing we look at when we get a car in with water coming into the interior. So ther'es a lot more I'll be checking just for my own piece of mind.

As far as identifying the problem, the matrix would be easy to test. Just disconnect the hoses, block off one hole and blow into the other ( through a piece of of hose ) You'll soon see if it leaks. If you are keen, you can fit a tyre valve in one and a pressure gauge in the other. Pump it up to 5 or 6 psi with a foot pump or something and leave it.

I certainly wouldn't fit a new matrix without making sure the old one was the problem. If you're finding wet carpets or losing coolant that likely is the problem - otherwise I'd go steady. I'm sure if I'd taken my car to an Alfa dealer they'd have just said "heater matrix"

I'm going to have a look at the damaged heater matrix another guy is having replaced here to see what actually goes wrong. I'm just going to carry a piece of copper tube in the boot so I can just cut out the heater matrix if it fails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
OK
tried looking under glove compartment, took out 3 screws dropped the panel - no ECU. Took the top panel out inside the glove compartment no ECU. My car is a 3.0 but was a grey import - would this mean the ECU is somewhere else?
The problem with the red light has started again!. I tried driving the car today, on my way to Cambridgeshire in Auto mode, red light came on and stayed on, coming home from cambridgeshire using the sport mode - i.e. I change gear and not the auto box - no red light throughout the entire journey - I have no signs inside the car of a water leak - makes me think it may be some condensation issue - but help, where else do a I look for the ECU, at least so I can unplug it, clean the terminals and apply some common sense water protection to it!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
OK
tried looking under glove compartment, took out 3 screws dropped the panel - no ECU. Took the top panel out inside the glove compartment no ECU. My car is a 3.0 but was a grey import - would this mean the ECU is somewhere else?
The problem with the red light has started again!. I tried driving the car today, on my way to Cambridgeshire in Auto mode, red light came on and stayed on, coming home from cambridgeshire using the sport mode - i.e. I change gear and not the auto box - no red light throughout the entire journey - I have no signs inside the car of a water leak - makes me think it may be some condensation issue - but help, where else do a I look for the ECU, at least so I can unplug it, clean the terminals and apply some common sense water protection to it!!
That's interesting. I had wondered about that when someone else suggested that the ECU was behind the console. My car is an Australian delivery and I was just going on where a local alfa club guy told me it was located.

I removed the closing panel under the glove compartment and there was a fairly large Bosch ECU. It has I think 5 or 6 different plugs connect into it with cam-lock type retainers.

I hope i'm dealing with the right unit now ! I'll have to find a picture of it but I think it is the one ? It looks too large to be a body control module or airbag control module or the like.

I'll have to find somewhere to confirm it. I did try to find info here on its location but I wasn't able to. I'm not the best at finding my way around these sites though.

Can anyone else help us with the right info ?
 
1 - 20 of 76 Posts
Top