Fiat Ducato 5th Gear finally repaired

Today I finally had the well known Fiat Ducato 5th gear problem repaired! Rather than go into lots of details about the nature of this problem I just wanted to quickly give some general points of advice for anyone else who is faced with this problem in the hope that it makes you more informed and hopefully saves you some money.

Fiat Ducato 5th Gear – What part(s) to buy and where to buy them

The total cost of this repair charged to others who have faced it varies wildly. Part of the reason for this is because many get billed for a new Fiat Ducato 5th gear kit (5th gear and a new synchro). The old synchro is the same both sides so by merely turning it around you can avoid having to buy a new one. Another cost cutting tip is to shop around for the 5th gear to get a decent price. The Fiat Ducato is essentially the same vehicle as the Peugeot Boxer and the Citroen Jumper. White van man does not seem to suffer from this problem and it seems to be confined to motorhome owners who generally drive more cautiously and change into 5th earlier (at lower revs). The majority of motorhomes are based on the Fiat Ducato and not only have Fiat refused to admit any liability for this poor gearbox design, but they also seem to charge more for the same part than Peugeot.

Thanks to readers who replied to my earlier post I saved myself some money. Fiat wanted over £250.00 for the 5th gear part. My local Peugeot dealer charged me just over £170.00 for the same part. Naturally I would advise others to refuse to pay Fiat’s over inflated parts prices. The Peugeot part number is 2344C9.

Fiat Ducato 5th Gear – Finding someone to do the repair

When my Fiat Ducato 5th gear suddenly failed I didn’t rush to the first garage to get it repaired which probably saved me money in the long run. Firstly if you are mechanically minded and have a reasonable set of tools this is a job you could do yourself! If you decide like I did that you want someone else to carry out the repair then here are a few things which will hopefully help you make the right choice:

  • The gearbox does not need to come out to do this repair. If a garage tries to tell you that it does then I’d advise looking elsewhere.
  • The repair is a 3 hour job maximum. Beware of garages who say this is a 6 hour job.
  • Rather than using a general mechanic or even a Fiat dealer I would recommend using a gearbox specialist. A specialist who has been in business a while has probably done this repair on many vehicles before will be able to work quickly and at a fair hourly rate.

Due to my location and based on advise given by readers of this blog I decided to use Transmission Services in Guildford to repair my Fiat Ducato 5th Gear. I was charged 3 hours labour at £50.00 per hour and a small amount for gearbox oil and VAT. They overfilled the gearbox by half a litre which is often recommended to do.

If you have had an issue with a Fiat Ducato 5th gear I hope this article has helped.

 

 

23 thoughts on “Fiat Ducato 5th Gear finally repaired

  1. Great information – thanks Gary. Your details came up when I was searching for information about a re-con/repair for my Eldis Motor Home based on 1999 Peugeot Boxer 1.9 TDI . Havong only dome 35,000 synchro’s on 2nd and 4th packed up. Due to manufacturers fault in locating drain for windsreen which turns gear oil into “Windsor Soup” . Having difficulty matching gearbox as mechanic can’t find box number and it appears to be a Fiat Ducati box not a peugeot.
    Can anyone out there help ?

    Regards
    Bill

  2. Thank you so much for this. I’m getting crazy quotes like £1300 for a gearbox that’s done more miles than the one I’ve got! Now I’m going to speak to a gearbox specialist!

  3. Hi Linda,

    Glad you found the post and the comments from others useful. It’s certainly worth asking around before taking the first quote. If it’s the 5th gear issue you have then it’s well known about and most gearbox specialists will be able to do the repair for a relatively reasonable price (parts and labour).

    Good luck.

    Gary

  4. Hi Gary –

    We are about to set out on a multi – year trip.

    I’ve owned our 1996 euramobile fiat ducato 2500 TDI cat for a year now. Driven it from 98k km to 127k km. So far no problem with the 5th gear issue.

    Does it make sense to pre-emptively fix the 5th gear issue?

    I’m now in Hungary where Fiat repair is inexpensive. 10 pounds for a great mechanic at the DAF garage. Or about 13 pounds an hour at the Iveco garage.

    Thank you-
    Matt

  5. Hi Matt,

    It’s hard to say. My advice would not to change it unless needed but that’s based on the fact that I know the cost to do the job in the UK for a specialist gearbox place. Having said this I was also being quoted double by others who had the same job done elsewhere in the UK. Labour will form the bigger part of the cost and a mechanic who has changed many of these will be able to work quickly compared to a mechanic who perhaps does not normally work on gearboxes.

    The part I had fitted was not stronger or different to the standard part but once changed my driving style certainly changed. All I would advise is that you don’t change up to 5th too early and also maybe to consider slightly over filling the gearbox oil level. If during your ownership of the vehicle you have had a conservative driving style and changed up at low revs then you might get the issue.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do.

    All the best
    Gary

  6. Hi Gary –

    Thanks for posting back.

    The trouble is I’ve only had the car for 1 out of its 18 years. I do rev up quite a bit before I switch into 5th. But can’t speak for the other drivers. On mine you really can’t get into fifth without some pretty big revs – the gap is wide between 4th & 5th.

    Another idea.. would be to fit a temperature sensor on the 5th gear housing. I could run that inside to a raspberry pi or some such.

    This way I could see that the unit is heating up outside of an ordinary level. I presume this is what happens when the 5th gear begins to be in trouble. (due to not enough oil in the gearbox?

    I suppose I could pay a specialist here (which would be at a good price) to open up the gearbox and have a look. I’m having the front struts changed in a few days. I guess that would be a good time to have a look inside at the gears to see if they are a little too worn / missing teeth anywhere.

    Thank you for the very helpful & to the point post-
    Matt

  7. Good luck with whatever you decide. I’ve heard of some people fitting a different ratio gear (lower) as their 5th and others who fitted spy glass to check oil level. The gearbox specialist who did mine felt this was not necessary and simply slightly over filled the gearbox with oil. Driving style plays large part and I think it’s something fiat should advise to everyone. The failures don’t happen to white van man with ducato who might carry less weight and drives like a lunatic. Careful motorhome owners who try and get best fuel consumption suffer.

  8. Hi Gary
    we have a left hand drive 1991 Hymer motorhome our gearbox shattered in beginning of august, we have taken it for repair but will take over 8 weeks at a cost of £1200 ,cannot seem to find anywhere else to take it or buy another one any ideas please

  9. Hi,

    Sorry but I don’t know since I don’t own a motorhome any longer and not really up to date with suppliers etc. At the cost quoted and the age of the vehicle I would imagine a used gearbox would be more economical option. If anyone else has any ideas please reply.

    Gary

  10. Hi Gary
    I own a Fiat Ducato motorhome with 33,000 miles on the clock when driving through Toulouse the 5th gear went so I took it into the Fiat dealership who charged me €36.00 to diagnose the problem which took them all of 10 minutes then produced a quotation to fix it €7,100.00 + 20% TVA.
    Needless to say I now have the motorhome jacked up at home awaiting new parts trying to find the gear is proving a problem. Does anyone have any ideas?
    Reg

  11. Interesting stuff!
    I bought my Detleff camper in 2004.With 30000miles on the clock the 5th gear went in Sicily in 2013 Cost me 5 days and £400.00
    In Italy in 2015 it went again, no teeth, no 5th gear, exactly the same as in Sicily . This time 5 days and £400.00. So that’s 10 lost days of holiday and £800.00. The camper now has 36000 miles on the clock. In 45 years of motoring I have never experienced a 5th gear disintegrating like this.
    Fiat told me to bugger off because
    a] the camper is 11 years old
    b] I should have taken it to an authorised fiat dealer for repair.[ in the middle of nowhere]
    But….they were sympathetic. Well ,they would be.
    Wow!
    Would I buy a Fiat engine and gearbox again–have a guess, despite the “customer service” telling me that they control 87% of the European market for campers. As in –” you wont have much choice mate!
    Thank you Fiat

  12. Hi Steve,

    I can understand your frustration. It’s true that most motorhomes are based on the Fiat Ducato chassis but as buyers we do still have some choice and can buy ones based on Mercedes, Fords etc. The problem is when buying a motorhome everything is a compromise unless you are doing a self build and therefore chances are the one that has the layout you need etc may well turn our to be based on a Fiat. I’m not sure that this is an issue for the newer gearboxes but I do agree that Fiat try and wash their hands of an issue that is their fault. I’ve had gearbox specialists explain to me that the Ducato is really suited to ‘white van man’ and not the loads that some motorhomes carry. Personally I think I carried minimal weight. I’ve also had it explained that the gearbox needs revs like white van man gives it and that careful driving where you change up early at low revs will lead to the problem.

    I changed my driving style once I had mine repaired but wish this was common knowledge. For you to have 2 failures within 35k miles is alarming though! At least your repair costs seem relatively fair compared to what some people are quoted. I too got a good price on the job from advice given to me on my post (always use a gearbox specialist). What really annoys me about Fiat though is not only the poor part and their denials but the fact that they seem to try and profit from the whole situation. The part in question is the same as used by Peugeot for their Partner vans. Interestingly the price from Peugeot is cheaper! Shame on Fiat! I can understand why you would not touch Fiat again. If I was looking for another motorhome it would certainly be a factor I’d take into account but not the only factor.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to go with next time.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  13. Northern commercials fiat specialist in Bradford . Quoted me £176 for part and £85 an hour times 3 hours . Told me gear box needs to come out in told them too Google this page !!
    Thanks I won’t be using them. Great link ..

  14. Hi Colin,

    As I’ve mentioned in this thread before I found the Peugeot part to be cheaper than the Fiat part when I was looking to do this repair. A gearbox specialist will tell you that it does not need to be removed to do the job so be careful what you pay for labour. However 3 hours sounds pretty good if they are prepared to honour that time as most take all day when they want to remove the gearbox. Your total quote was more than I paid but not by a huge distance and certainly others I’ve spoken to have been quoted far higher than you.

    Good luck with the job.

    Gary

  15. Had the 5th gear problem and when trying to fix the problem came unstuck as we couldn’t undue the round ‘nut’ on the shaft. Most fixes speak of a ‘c’ clip holding the gears in but mine had a round nut and tab washer. Any idea how to remove this ‘nut’? Is a special tool required? Apart from that the procedure looks as described by others.

  16. Hi Peter,

    I don’t know myself as I had a gearbox specialist repair mine. There are others who have commented who did the job themselves, hopefully one of them will reply with the answer you need.

    Good luck

    Gary

  17. Hi Reg,

    Missed your comment! How did you get on? It should be easy to get the gear parts. All I would say to anyone with this issue is do homework and check if the same Peugeot or Citroen van used same parts as they are often cheaper.

    Hope you got it sorted.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  18. Hi Gary
    Due to reading your posts , while in Italy two weeks ago, 5th gear packed up.
    So we decided to carry on with our journey using 4th gear as our top gear,
    And completed another 1600 miles.
    We returned this week end and it is now in the hands of a gear box specialist.

    Thankyou for your advice,
    Don’t let 5th gear spoil your holiday, use 4th drive slower and see more countryside.

  19. Hi Alan,

    Sorry to hear you had the 5th gear issue (when will Fiat admit they have a problem!). Hopefully the cost won’t be too great to repair it. Just remember to ask them to overfill the gearbox slightly and then don’t change up into 5th too early.

    Sounds like you had a great holiday in your motorhome!

    Gary

  20. I fitted a re-conditioned unit, the guy I bought it from told me not to change gear as if I was a racing driver or normal way I would in my car as these gearboxes are not strong. He said to take my time let engine revs drop off and then ease it into gear, I did drive my camper previously with synchromesh on 1st and 3rd being being a little iffy for sometime but had to change it when 2nd just wore out for no apparent reason. I also slightly overfill with mineral gear oil , which is another subject in itself.

    Dom.

  21. Had same trouble on 2002 2.8TDJ ducato engine. Just seen this guy today and fantastic service and a really nice chap.
    £480 Inc vAT

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