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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Fiat 500L Transmission Recall
April 1: Story updated with revised build dates. Check your MDH (Month-Day-Hour) Code.
Fiat will voluntarily be recalling approximately 19,500 Fiat 500L models equipped with the dual dry clutch automatic transmissions to upgrade their transmission software and/or replace the Gear Shift Module. It was determined that some Fiat 500L models may experience a loss of communication from the Gear Shift Module (GSM) to the transmission which may result in the transmission remaining in an undesired gear range or the park position and/or delayed shifting in certain temperature conditions.
The cause of this issue is the GSM, manufactured Ficosa International, S.A.of Spain. Wide build tolerances within the Supervisor Microcontroller (SMC) inside the Gear Shift Module can allow temperature to affect the data transfer rates. When the data transfer rate of the SMC becomes desynchronized with the Main Microcontroller (MMC), the GSM resets and signals to the transmission may be delayed. This can result in an inability to get the vehicle out of park and/or the transmission not receiving, or there is a delay to receive, the intended gear selection.
To fix the problem, Fiat will replace the GSM or reflash vehicles with updated GSM software as necessary.
The cars affected are Fiat 500L models built between April 3, 2013, through February 14, 2014 (MDH 040300 through 021400)* equipped with the C635 dual dry clutch automatic transmission (sales code DA1). This amounts to approximately 19,500 cars (18,100 in the U.S. and 1,400 in Canada) and according to Fiat, some 20 percent are still in Fiat Studios inventory.
Fiat says an estimated 200 vehicles out of the total may require shift-module replacement to ensure hardware-software compatibility.
Owners of Fiat 500L models affected are expected to begin receiving notification by mail in April. The campaign is called Fiat 500L Recall P06. Owners concerned about the Fiat 500L recall may call 1-800-853-1403.
Here is timeline of significant events leading up to the recall of Fiat 500L.
• On October 23, 2013, Chrysler Vehicle Integration opened an investigation into reports of PRNDL lights flickering and shift delays. Regulatory Affairs was notified on December 2, 2013.
• On January 15, 2014, data from the Gear Shift Module (GSM) supplier showed inconsistent data transfer rates between two in-system microcontrollers with various GSM software levels.
• On January 27, 2014, Chrysler program team began recording vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) log data from vehicles exhibiting the conditions after they were cold soaked in the environmental chamber.
• The root cause is determined to be wide tolerances of the internal oscillator within the Supervisor Microcontroller (SMC) internal to the GSM, allowing temperature to affect the internal oscillator rate of the SMC.
• When the oscillator rate of the SMC changes, it may become desynchronized with the Main Microcontroller (MMC), causing the GSM to reset and signals to the transmission may be delayed.
• As a result, shift requests made by the driver during this time may lead to vehicles moving in an unintended or unexpected direction.
• The scope of affected vehicles was determined to be all 2014 MY Fiat 500L vehicles produced with GSM software versions 120, 124, and 125.
• The suspect period was established as April 5, 2013 to January 22, 2014 at Fiat Automobile Serbia (Kragujevac- Z) Assembly Plant.
• As of February 20, 2014, Chrysler identified approximately 16 CAIRs, 2 VOQs and 89 field reports related to this issue.
• As of February 20, 2014, Chrysler is unaware of any accidents or injuries potentially related to this issue.
• On February 25, 2014, Chrysler determined, through the Vehicle Regulations Committee, to conduct a voluntary safety recall.
About the Dual Dry Clutch Transmission
The C635 Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) used on the Fiat 500L was developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) and uses a BorgWarner hydraulic actuation module. At the time of its introduction in 2010 on the Alfa Romeo MiTo, the robust transmission held the distinction of having the highest torque capacity of any DDCT transmission available on the market. The Fiat DDCT was designed to be compact and adaptable to allow its use in a multitude of cars, from the Dodge Dart to the high performance Alfa Romeo 4C sports car.
The advantages of using a dual dry clutch over a wet clutch setup is substantially increased efficiency and the elimination of the heavy and complex hydraulic support systems. The tangible results are significant savings in fuel consumption of more than ten percent when compared to the wet clutch and up to six percent in comparison to manual transmissions. The lightweight yet stout C635 DDCT weighs in at 179 lbs including oil and the transmission control unit and the design has been awarded 23 patents. The transmission is manufactured at the FPT facility in Verone, Italy.
NHTSA, Fiat Group Press, Chrysler Media