Fiat Ducato Gearbox Problems
Some time ago I experienced what I have since discovered is a common problem with the Fiat Ducato gearbox. It suddenly and without any warning just refused to stay in 5th gear! There are no unusual noises or sensations. When going from 4th to 5th the action seems as normal but when you release the gear lever it jumps back and refuses to hold in position.
Fiat Ducato Gearbox Problems – The Cause
According to forums I have read the gearbox was originally a 4 speed design and the 5th gear was bolted on afterwards. Some say the quality of the metal parts is inferior. The general consensus is that the way to avoid it happening is to keep the gearbox oil slightly overfilled and be careful not to change up to 5th too early. The problem has affected many motorhome owners, sometimes with mileages as low as 60k. Naturally Fiat refuse to accept any liability but it’s clear that the design of this gearbox is really not up to normal use.
Motorhome owners do not drive their vehicles like sports cars and many of us probably change up to 5th gear at relatively modest revs, because it just feels right and perhaps also to get the best fuel consumption. Had I known that the gearbox was such a weak link I would have ensured that I slightly overfilled with oil and kept the revs high before changing up to 5th.
What I plan to do – Looking for mechanic to repair
The forums I’ve looked at seem to indicate that the repair can be carried out without removing the gearbox but prices quoted indicate that this is still far from a cheap job! Since the problem has happened I’ve not really used the motorhome for any long journeys, preferring to stick to the South East of England. You really need 5th gear to make any decent progress in a motorhome like this, sitting at 50mph or lower on a motorway is no fun whatsoever!
I want to get it repaired but would rather use a gearbox specialist or someone who knows about this Fiat gearbox issue and has worked on them before. Since I don’t have 5th gear I’d also ideally like the mechanic to be based in the South East. So I’m asking for help! If you know of someone who can fix this problem for me at a fair price please let me know. If you own a Fiat Ducato based motorhome and you want to avoid the Fiat Ducato gearbox problems I would urge you to keep the revs high before changing up to 5th and make sure your oil level is on maximum or slightly over.
Since writing this article I’ve had the gearbox repaired at a very fair price. You can read about it here:
do you know if you can still get tow bars for the 564 ive got one were the rear bumper comes out for a bike or small scooter and its got a damaged indecator lens with the reversing light in it cant get one anywere your help is needed
I know the type of towbar you mean and have seen them on some motorhomes. Mine has a normal towbar, one that came with the vehicle. I’ve never used it so cannot really give you any tow bar advice. Have you asked the question on one of the motorhome forums?
All the best
I’ve been meaning to post on here for some time. Been following off and on for a while. I’m about to take the leap and start full timing in a motorhome but still at the pre-purchase stage. Hoping to purchase around September time to try and get any benefit from an end of season deal and intend to co-locate between the south coast and north of London depending on work etc.
Anyway in reference to the 5th gear issue I’m sure you’ve down a bit of internet research so probably know most of this but:
If you can’t find any one to do it at a reasonable price it’s not that hard a job. Takes a couple of hours or so with easy access as the 5th gear was a bolt on addition. There are how to guides on the internet and of course until you take the end cover off and see what’s broken you don’t know what parts to replace. Replacing the oil seems to be the fiddliest bit.
The parts seem to vary a lot in price so shop around and consider changing the standard ratio 5th for a lower ratio. (called the “upgrade”). The problem with the orginal choclate gear is the throw between 4th and 5th is long, somewhat like 4th to 6th causing drivers to labour the engine or gear change excessively. And because motorhome drivers seldom drive faster than 60 or 70 you don’t need such a high ratio or overdriven gear set up that van drivers might need to pelt up and down the motorway. The ugrade ratio puts less stress on the gear but at the expense of top speed, but twho cares cos we never go that fast anyway. I’ve read that the driveability improves imeasurably and you don’t have to worry about late change ups or over reving in 4th. I’ve read some people do the upgrade even without a failure just to get the improved driveability and then keep the old 5th as a spare in case of failure.
The final bit of advice is to place a strongish magnet on the 5th gear casing to gather or prevent the shards of likely broken 5th gear teeth from getting into and ruining the rest of the gearbox.
Here’s a link to a download on googledocs. A guide by someone that’s done the work himself.
Anyway good luck!
Thanks for the reply, really appreciated. Not sure if I want to do the job myself but it’s good to know that the job is not that difficult. I’m hoping to find a mechanic that has done these many times before so he will be able to do the job quickly (less labour charge) and give the sort of advice you did regarding the ‘upgrade’ 5th gear. With a Toyota Estima diesel import I used to own I used a Toyota independent mechanic who was able to change the timing belt including part for £180.00 when Toyota wanted £700.00! It took him under 2 hours so I’m just trying to find something similar for the Ducato, someone who works quickly and does not rip you off!
Good luck with the motorhome search. I’m being contacted through this blog all the time by people thinking about fulltiming!
Thanks again for the really useful advice.
im also having 5th gear problem on my 1992 2.5 td in 5th it makes a grinding noice any one know where i can get replacement cogs please
Sorry to hear about your problems. Cannot afford to repair mine just yet so have not looked into where to get parts. Hopefully someone will reply to this post with helpful answer.
All the best
I had/have a similar problem with my 1992 Hymercamp 550 2.5 Fiat Deisel gearbox. It would run very well for 200 miles or so on the motorway and then start to jump out of 5th. I could hold it manually for a while and then it’d decide to behave normally! Pulling off the motorway on my last trip the gearbox started making horrendous clunking noises but after stopping for half an hour started behaving again! Last time this happened my garage put some 75W-90 Castrol Systrans and we went from Kent to Lands End and back last year with no problems at all.
As it’s started to misbehave again I think a 1.6L of systrans oil change will do no harm.
PS There’s an excellent diesel vehicle specialist garage in the road adjacent to Luton train station who may be worth a look. They fixed my dodgy fuel pump earlier this year and were very helpful.
You can buy gearbox parts at:
This company has very modest packaging costs.
The change of the fith gear parts is rather easy to do without removing the gearbox!
Thanks for the link. A number of people have told me that the repair is fairly easy and with labour charges being expensive I’d like to consider doing the job myself but the idea scares me a little. Is it really that easy to do?
Hi Gary K,
Thanks for the comment. I’d like to think a change of gearbox oil would fix my problem and I might try it this week but somehow I doubt it will be that easy. I have no noises from the gearbox and even if I hold it in 5th manually for a while it will not stay and will jump out immediately. Do you happen to know the name of the garage in Luton? I might call them to see what the likely price would be to fix the problem.
I might also Google some more to see if others have been able to fix this problem just by going a gearbox oil change.
Thanks and I will update people with the outcome soon.
All the best
If you want the job done for you try Ouse Valley Autos in Warboys near Huntingdon.
They are independent Fiat Specialists and Fiat main dealer trained.
They have done the job lots of times and are advocates of keeping the box slightly overfilled to ensure the gears get adequate lubrication.
Thanks for the suggestion, I will give them a call later to see what the likely cost will be and their hourly labour rate. It’s a hard one to decide who to send it to, the cost of the diesel is not cheap with only 4 gears, maybe I need to plan a visit to Cambridge to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Re 5th gear.
I have an Autotrail Chyenne, had the problem. There is a fix kit and my usual mechanic did the job well over a year ago, no problems since. He charged under £200.
Thanks for the comment and really interested to know more. How much was the kit? Do you have a part number for the kit? Where was your mechanic based? I’m keen to get this fixed very soon.
All the best
The Motorhome Vagabond
Hi Ted I also have an Autotrail Cheyenne its a 2001 model but my problem is with 3rd gear grinding when going in or out of gear, Iv had it repaired a couple of months ago they said they’d replaced the 3rd gear which obviously they hav’nt so now im going through trading standards to take these cowboys to court, (I wont say the name of the garage involved until we have been to court) but now im looking for somebody with a good repututation to repair it again, any help would be appreciated. Cheers
Regular servicing is the key,the older the motor the more often you service it,and do it yourself.Check your hand books use the recommended oils ect. Change your anti-freeze just a couple of months before you need too,out off date coolant rusts the engine from inside out and nackers the pump.I was quoted £800 for a ECU part for my car(not Fiat) I refused point blank,i got a cll the next day telling me the company would do it for £500,I again refused point blank.2days later another call telling me the company would do it for £180,I accepted,it pays to let dealers know firmly you won’t pay extortionate prices.
Hi Fred thanks for the comment. I do much less mileage these days but mine is certainly due a service based on how long ago since I did the last one. I did the oil and filter change myself last time but I also have a new fuel filter that I want to fit and following your comment I think it would be a good time to change the coolant.
I know what you mean about quotes from garages that you just don’t believe. They will always be more expensive due to their overheads like premises but I even don’t trust some of the quotes given by mobile mechanics. The problem with the Fiat 5th gear is a classic example. I’ve read some stories of owners being told the whole gearbox has to be changed, and this is an overseas Fiat dealer telling them this! Another UK owner called Garry repaired it himself and created a document and some images for others who wanted to try the repair themselves. He says it’s a couple of hours to repair but one of the companies I was recommended to contact within the comments have quoted me 4 1/2 hours labour and a total bill well in excess of £800.00 so who do you believe?
There is no way I’ll pay £800.00 for a fault I believe is a Fiat problem due to badly manufactured gearbox. I’m hoping to find some honest, reliable mobile mechanic who has done this job before and will charge an honest rate.
In the meantime I won’t be driving it anywhere long distance.
If anyone knows a mechanic that they can honestly recommend please get in touch.
The Motorhome Vagabond
Did Ted ever get back to you with the kit price and where his mechanic is based? Also did you contact the Warboys garage? Am over from Spain until the 29th of April and this problem developed today on my 1995 Ducato based Hymer motorhome!
Sorry for few days delay in reply. I’m still waiting to do this repair but others have kindly helped me with information. It seems buying the part from Peugeot is cheaper than Fiat, the Peugeot part number is 2344C9 and this part costs between £150.00 and £200.00. Fiat wanted over £250.00.
The best place from all the advice I’ve been given to do the job is Transmission Services in Guildford who put labour at between two and three hours. They have done this job many times before and slightly overfill the gearbox when replacing the part. Apparently you don’t also need to buy the synchro and this part can be reversed. You will find huge variations in quotes so if you plan on repair in Europe make them aware you know what is involved so they don’t try and overcharge on labour or buy extra parts you don’t need.
The Motorhome Vagabond
I am over for Spain until the 29th of April, visiting family and friends, and therefore needed to get it sorted asap (didnt fancy long drives either here or going back to Spain in 4th!). Did a lot of research (tried Ouse Valley as you did and had to laugh!), and phoned various places along my intended route from Huntingdon, to Northampton, to Shropshire, to Morecambe, to York, to Leeds, and then back out of the country via Dover. I ended up getting it done last Thursday by A1 Gearboxes of Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambs (https://www.a1gearboxes.co.uk/). Steve from here was the only one when I explained the vehicle and problem and asked for a price, who gave me an instant response. The job took 2 hours to do, including a before and after road test to confirm the problem, and cost what he said £350+ V.A.T. They showed me the changed items afterwards, and also overfilled the gearbox. I did have some tools with me, so could probably have done it myself somewhere along the line, but with the cost of parts and the knowledge of knowing that this was something they have done many times in the past, I was quite happy to get it done professionally (was quoted upto £1400 and needing the vehicle for 4 days elsewhere) at that price. I also elected not to have the ‘ratio change’ upgrade, as I am quite happy with the fuel economy/maximum speed attainable – I have owned and driven the vehicle from purchasing it in Germany at 18000 miles to its current 125000 miles. Best of luck.
Anybody know why my 2005 fiat ducato (23000 mls) suddenly loses power in 5th gear and feels like its goin to stall, yet when i lay off the revs or drop down to 4th it picks back up, doesnt happen all the time but its gettin more regular
No sorry not the same problem as my 5th gear issue but if anyone reading has heard of this before please let Ken or I know your thoughts.
Hope you get it sorted.
The Motorhome Vagabond
hi i had the 5th gear issue, once it goes you need to change it the whole gear set up is about £670 i modified the end casing and got a filler brazed on it to make filling gearbox easier i added molyslip to gear oil to ensure there will always be lubrication in the 5th gear and also check it every 1000 miles.
its an easy fix replacing the gear .
The reason the 5th gear fails is lack of lubrication to the 5th gear, the oil having to pass through the 4 speed casing bearing. The solution when fitting a new 5th gear is to drill holes through the bottom of the casing to equalise the oil level in the 4 speed casing and the 5th gear extension casting.
Over filling a little if unmodified is unlikely to improve lubrication as it still has to pass through the bearing. Gearbox molyslip would help.
Do not over work 5th gear. Change down early and keep the revs up.
Thanks for the comment. It seems clear that this is a design fault and despite the high number of failures Fiat don’t want to admit any liability that the design is the issue. Certainly I would advise anyone buying a Ducato based motorhome to be wary of this and keeps revs high when changing up to 5th gear. I wish I knew of this problem when I bought mine as my natural driving style is quite conservative ‘revs’ wise.
Thanks for the insight. I’m sure the others who find this blog after 5th gear problems appreciate it too.
All the best
The Motorhome Vagabond
Hi Gary I own an auto trail apache Fiat Ducato Im having problems with the 3rd gear making a crunching noise when you change up or down. The van is 2009 had it from new and its only done just under 8000 miles Its out of warranty but spoke to Fiat at the motorhome show they suggested taking it into a local dealership which we did they want to change me £875 to strip gear box down to find out IF there is a problem with no guarantee of any financial riemburstment from Fiat which I think stinks anyone else had this problem? I was going to buy a new motorhome in the spring but I think I might change my mind after reading your blog/forum
Hi Christine. Sorry to hear about your problem with 3rd gear. Since yours is a much newer motorhome it does not sound like the famous 5th gear problem which was an issue on older Fiat Ducato motorhomes. I do think Fiat are offering poor service in your case and in the case of the 5th gear issue. If the gearbox is fit for purpose then those that have the 5th gear repaired would not overfill the gearbox with oil and change their driving style to get around what is essentially a design flaw.
Hopefully someone reading this will have some idea what it might be. I can certainly understand why you don’t want to buy another new motorhome that is based on a Fiat when they are trying to fleece you over £875.00 on a motorhome that has done less than 8000 miles, regardless of how many years old it is. However you do need to get it fixed and so if the warranty has expired anyway don’t put any money in Fiat UK’s pockets, get an independent gearbox specialist to look at it. In my opinion Fiat know there is an issue with the gearbox on some models and rather than feel ashamed and try to fix the problem they try to profit from it. A case in point is the 5th gear on my Ducato which is the same part as used by Citroen and Peugeot. Why were Fiat charging much more for the same part than Peugeot? Naturally I bought my 5th gear from Peugeot to save money and also avoid Fiat from profiting in any way.
If you like motorhoming then you should not let this put you off. By all means become wary and educate yourself about issues with various base vehicles. For example I would consider buying a Fiat Ducato based vehicle again but I would overfill the gearbox and ensure I did not change up to 5th until revs were high and not at all uphill. Many vehicles have a weak point but I just wish manufacturers and dealers were more honest about these.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I know I would be furious in your position being the first and only owner of the vehicle with such a low mileage.
All the best
The Motorhome Vagabond
Hi i recently bought a fiat dukato 2.5diesel motor home from1991 the bloke i bought it from assured me it was all sound,whilst driving in luxembourg i also experienced the jumping out of 5th gear a couple of times followed by the horendous crunching noise.after letting it cool down i then restarted it and after driving a few meters in first gear you could hear a loud
Clangging sound again so i lost my confidence to drive any further.when the anwb arrived(AA)they towed me to a garage ,the mechanic said it was a bearing of some sort,he couldnt speak english and my french is merd.could the crunching be coming from the 5th gear even when im driving slowly in first?or is my whole gearbox broken
Hi I have just got back from Paris, I have a fiat ducato 2.5/diesel,Cheyenne. We just drove into callis when gearbox made awful noise as I changed up through all gears until I got into fifth! Fifth gear seemed not to make grinding noise. So decided to try and limp home??? Half way home faith gear kept jumping out, so kept holding gear stick when in fifth….. Then noticed 5th gear was making wurrrrring noise and getting louder, was nearly home when gearbox made funny noise so I put motorhome in reverse and has now stuck solid in reverse?????????? I will repair myself but dose it sound like I have bigger problem than this 5gear failure, or could it be something else??? Please give me a clue would be greatfull of any suggestions.
Sometime ago I read that Andy Stothard of MMM magazine had problems with his Ducato 2.3 camper juddering in reverse gear, I am looking to buy a 2012 150 Ducato 2.3 camper can you confirm that they have now eliminated the problems as far as you are aware?
Thanks very much Mike
hi motorhomers just had a fierce row on the phone with that stupid fiat crowd I haver had so much trouble with my motorhome a fist wsift escape 624 they are complte rubbish I have had all the serices and habs the last issue is the hand break they do not seem to know how to adjust the handbrake so silly woman from fiat say we are not going to reimburse you to have it adjusted now I am out of warranty my fitters ace he done it but said it had not been adjust properly since I bought it new they are awaste of space I took it for two years for sevice to one of their fiat garages my fitter said they have hardly done any servicing on it talk about rip off britian rip off fiat rip off swift gutted to say the least regards del c
Thanks for the comment and sorry you have not enjoyed motorhome ownership. I think the Fiat is actually a decent base vehicle for a motorhome in many ways but Fiat did have some issues and their customer service has often been lacking (failure to admit any issue with gearboxes being one). I guess the fact that motorhomes have both a mechanical side and a living side mean there is more to go wrong but I’d have to say that the levels of reliability in the motor industry these days has not totally filtered down to the motorhome sector. I’ve heard lots of people with niggles about Swift motorhomes but I’ve heard similar about many other makes too. It was one of the reasons I bought a Hymer which seem to be well put together. Yes they cost more but since I was living in it I wanted something that would take more ‘wear and tear’.
I’m currently without a motorhome. Sure I miss it but it’s simply not practical to own one if it will not be used all the time.
Hope you find a solution to your problems, whether that’s getting the motorhome working as it should or selling it and moving on.
All the best
Hi, I have a Swift Sundance ( y registration Fiat Ducato 1.9) and just recently I am having problems moving the gears from 1st to 2nd and from 3rd to 2nd . Does anyone know of any gearbox repair specialists in the Essex area. I live near to Colchester.
I’m not really familiar with the Essex area but I’ve approved your comment so hopefully someone will read it and be able to give some advice.
All the best
I am buying my Bessacarr E795 motorhome tomorrow to become a fulltimer. I have had great difficulty getting insurance but have succeeded in a policy for £387 from the Life Insurance group for 365 days with 270 days cover in Europe. I have no unclaims bonuses because since retiring from the fire service in 2004 I haven’t had a motor vehicle but have driven my sons car.
The reason I am telling this is that if you haven’t had vehicle insurance for two years one loses ones no claims. Wicked I think. Anyway I have bookmarked this web page for future comments, and maybe a website in the future making.
Best Regards Everyone
my third gear sincro select has gone after 50,000 miles on my fiat ducato 2001, being rebuilt by gearbox specialist,
Hope the repair went well and was not too hard on the wallet.
The Motorhome Vagabond
Hi Robin Deakin / Gary,
Can you supply name of garage + price that did the work I have a noisy 3rd on my 91 Duca.
Gary you say Peugeot were cheaper for p-no 2344C9, is that the full kit or just replacement 5th gear?
The name of the garage was Transmission Services Guildford. The part number should clearly show what will be included. I do remember the Peugeot part being much cheaper than the same Fiat part and since this seemed to effect motorhomes more than vans (which are nearly all Fiat based) I could not help but feel Fiat were trying to profit from such a poor original design.
All the best
I have a 1999 1.9 td 10 Fiat ducato van which has had problems with gearbox. The syncho’s have packed up with gear changing from 2nd to 3rd then from 4th to third and 3rd to 2nd, a terrible crunching happens. I’ve had the gearbox reconditioned twice and the same thing has happened again. Has anyone had similar problems? It seems there have been problems with this particular gearbox manufactured in 1999 so how to remedy this problem?
I’ve had Fiats for many years which have been excellent but this one’s gearbox is lacking.
I’ll leave your post for others to respond to if they can help. I no longer have my motorhome. If I was in the market for another one I’d think carefully about which model to buy, it seems some Fiat based ones have an issue with gearboxes.
Amazing and informative forum. Thanks, guys.
My pal’s problem is a little more serious. 1991 Hymer 2.5 TD (8140.27).
He’d already fixed the 5th gear bullshit, but now the box has ACTUALLY SPLIT OPEN.
Hahaha… (nasty stuff) !!!
So now looking for a replacement box.
Fiat Spain has quoted him 9000€ … (like: say whaaaaa???)
Scrap yards say ALL those mofos get snapped up & sent to Morocco immediately. Nothing whatsoever is available.
Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks a lot.
Yes. I DID say NINE THOUSAND EUROS.
I no longer have the motorhome so don’t really keep up with latest information about the issues with them. Hopefully someone else on reading this could offer some help. Judging by the number of people who seem to comment on this post there does seem to be a problem with these gearboxes and Fiat don’t seem to acknowledge this problem (in my opinion). What makes the problem even worse is that Fiat actually seem to try and profit from the situation! In my own case the 5th gear parts were more expensive from Fiat compared to the same part from Peugeot.
In many ways the Fiat Ducato is a decent vehicle as a motorhome base but it seems gearbox issues is something that crops up all the time and really needs addressing.
Good luck to your friend with their search. In their shoes I would not spend €9000.00 on such an old vehicle. Actually depending on their circumstances it might be time for an upgrade anyway as 1991 is quite an old vehicle. Whilst Fiat do seem to dominate the motorhome market they are not the only player and there are some really great motorhomes now being built on the Ford Transit.
All the best
The Motorhome Vagabond
I have one for sale – its on Ebay @ £500
Snap up quick – even for a spare as it wont get any less scarce!
We have an Autotrail cherokee which we purchased from new in May 2010.
The vehicle has only done 16800 miles.
We recently went on holiday to France and the motorhome broke down on the auto route. Unfortunately, both the clutch and gearbox failed.
We were advised that metal filters had broken away from the clutch and had broken one of the cogs on the gearbox.
Has anyone else had this problem. (It was repaired in France at a cost of 4400.00 euros) !!!
Not had this problem myself but will leave your comment here for others to reply.
Fiat ducato 2004 87000 started jumping out of 2nd gear had new clutch fitted about 3 months ago need advice cheers
Hope you can help
I no longer have my Hymer and don’t think the known 5th gear issue is the same as what you have with the 2nd gear. If anyone has any ideas please reply to this comment so Bob can read it.
Good luck with it.
All the best
Did you start your own website? If so share the link.
All the best
Does anyone know what the ratio of the 5th gear upgrade is. Also if it is suitable for a 2000cc Ducato.
I HAVE HYMER FIAT DUCATO 2.5–1998 5TH GEAR PROBLEM.
I NEED HELP FINDING GEAR BOX REPAIR GARAGE –TAMWORTH OR MIDLANDS
SOMEONE I CAN TRUST HELP
Hope you find someone, I will leave your message on the blog in the hope someone can advise of repairer in your area. Generally gearbox specialists are the ones to seek out as they are likely to do the job faster and therefore less labour.
Hi 5th gear problem with my 1997 Ducato traveling back from Kent to Newcastle got home in 4 th had it 13 hrs looking for repair in or near Newcastle any help appreciated.
I don’t know the Newcastle area well but will leave your comment here in case anyone can assist. Generally you want a gearbox specialist as they seem to do the job quickly resulting in lower labour charge.
Trying to find info on 1988 2.5 non turbo diesel Ducato based Chausson Bora 258.
50,000 miles from new, internal walls and floor rotted out.
Main dealers say it is pre Fiat computerisation and they have nothing available online.
I have had, for the last year,odd bursts on the internet looking for original type w/shop manual to no avail and older camper sites etc.
A link to an exploded view of the engine would be great.
Bought upon retirement to replace our in daily use Petrol Ducato Highwayman as the 300ft climb uphill from our local beach on light choke has reduced MPG to 11 mpg in spite of garage tune ups at every MOT.
The diesel dumps all its oil in a few minutes when running but it is coming from rear of engine central area in the most impossible place to see ….its not oil filter or sump gasket [ I have replaced both]….is there a hidden external oil pipe as this is peeing out.
I have been underneath with a torch but can still not source the leak and rather worryingly the core plugs seem to have been recently replaced.
There is a 9″ long pipe the size of brake pipe with a 13mm nut banjo each end under oil filter but it is not that although it is corroded and I am looking for a new one.
The Chausson bodywork makes it impossible to get your head over the top of the engine to look down.
Next step will be to axe everything out of the way.
It was unused for 2 years and had its nose in the seafront salt air literally a stone throw from the surf and pointing towards America.
Sounds like a lot of hassle. I’ve approved the comment so that others who can maybe help will be able to reply. I tend to find dealers are next to useless once a vehicle reaches 10 years of age. They are only interested in selling new or nearly new vehicles. To be honest there are aspects of motorhomes that don’t make sense. They are built on commercial vehicles that are designed to please white van man who does high mileage and scraps the van after 5 years. I’ve seen plenty of rusty Merc Sprinters that are not that old. Motorhomes are expensive vehicles and we expect them to last. It seems crazy to have all those expensive interior fittings bolted onto what is a chassis that’s not really designed to last.
I still like the campervan lifestyle but beginning to question whether there is a better way to lead it.
I wish you all the best.
G Davies here, I have a year 2000 ducato 14 2.8D manual self- build camper. Engine great, 5th gear ok but synchro in lower gears terrible. I am thinking of buying a remanufactured unit for £1500 (plus) because parts seem unavailable elsewhere. I am Manchester based but am considering going nationwide. I can only assume those offering remanufacturing services have their own gear- manufacturing outsourcing contacts!?
If anybody can offer advice on fixing my gearbox I would appreciate it .Anyone with a good recommendation for The Gearbox Centre, Faversham, Kent?
Approved your comment so others can comment. Personally don’t know about The Gearbox Centre but I would certainly use a specialist if you are having gearbox work done.
Looking for a campervan in the sub £10000 bracket and a close friend has offered me his 1998 Fiat Ducato a very reasonable price, compared to market price but it does need gearbox repair. Crunches 1st into 2nd and again from 2 into 3rd. Having read all the comments re this gearbox on this excellent site I notice that no one has mentioned fitting a gearbox from some of the Peugeot vans. Is there an alternative gearbox out there somewhere as repairing a weak poorly designed box does not make much sense to me.
I’d get the advice of a gearbox specialist. I can see that replacing gearbox rather than repairing it makes sense but it might depend on the mileage of the current gearbox compared to the donor gearbox. I’d also say £10k is not a big budget so you will have to be very careful when it comes to buying a vehicle. I would advise either buying something old with low mileage that has been well cared for or maybe looking at self builds with service history.
I have a 1996 Fiat Ducato that i had changing gears without crunching them this a synchro problems since 35Km. I had a gear oil change at 45km which showed signs of water in the oil. At 65Km the 5th gear jumped out and would not stay in. Had the gearbox removed and sent to a gearbox re-manufacture. This is what i have experienced.
The gear crunching is caused by synchro ring and the gear cone getting warn down which means they don’t bind together well and the gear gets harder and harder to change into over time. The crunching can result in wearing down the meshing teeth and eventually the gear will start jumping out. Or if the synchro and cone wear down too much they will slip which eventually they won’t mesh and you won’t be able to change into that gear.
I had all 1st- 4th synchro rings replaced at £50 each as the gears were ok. The 5th gear hub and gear mesh were warn to bad and all had to be replaced. Synchro hubs cost £150 main 5th gear £150. Sourcing 1st-4th gears and hubs is near impossible, so i was lucky that i did not need those. My 5th gear ratio was 51/31 which works out to be 51/31=1.64551 turns of the drive to make 1 turn of the output shaft( good for standard motor-home). Other ratios that can be found and many others are 53/31=1.70967(good for a towing motor-home) and 51/33= 1.54545( not good for heavy motor-homes). This is were the fun starts. The only way you will know what you have on your gearbox is open the end cover up and check, as there is no way of knowing by the reg as some vehicles were converted by motor home builders and some were after market converted. Other problems is I ran into then two gearbox styles for the 5 gear box, hydroponic or cable clutch. This makes a difference to the shaft size of the gears inside the box. My box is cable and the 5th gear shaft size is 34mm. Parts suppliers don’t have enough knowledge of their stock to distinguish the different shaft sizes for what style of box you have. So you are going to need to confirm with them what size the shafts are before purchasing.If you are lucky the gearbox manufacturer will know all this for you. You might look at changing ratio’s , but if you do that the you will need the matching pair of large drive gear and small driven gear. The small driven gears are extremely hard to get because these rarely wear out, so chances are you will only be able to get the large gear that matches your original small driven gear. It’s worth staying in conversation with your gearbox repairer as parts are varied and sometimes unavailable and so your repairer might need encouragement to continue the repair. The main reason all this happens it seems is water ingress through the breather on top of the box as many motor home screen rain water channels drain onto the gearbox. The gearbox gears are Teflon coated and the water in the box does something to wear off the coating leaving bare steal that is warn down on the gear synchro cones. So for anyone out there, get your gear oil changed and ask the garage to make something up to divert water off the top of the box. As eventual failure will happen costing just under £1.5k in labour and parts. The average price for sychro rings which you will need 5 of is £50. each gear that needs replacing is about £150. and each sychro hub is about £150. Then there is the rebuild labour costs of about £300. And then the cost of your local garage to remove and replace the box at minimum of 4hrs some say 6hrs .Oh and the clutches are another can of worms. As no doubt the clutch bearing will need replacing and they only come with a new clutch, which there are many varieties of those as well.
Thanks for the detailed reply. Hopefully it will be helpful to others experiencing the same issues.
Hi Gary my ducato is also just started jumping out of 5 th how much did it cost you in the end and we’re did you get it done regards tony
Sad to hear about these gearbox problems with the ducatos. I am aware of those issues with the older models, but hoped to skip them with the 2002 model that we have an eye on.
I drive all my life Lancia/Alfa romeo without basically any issues at all. Now we are planning to buy a 2002 hymer swing 2.8jtd 5 gear Ducato. It has ran 90.000km and couldnt find any history of gearbox upgrades or repairs. The camper costs a lot of money and seem to be in a really good state. With cold engine i heard a bit of turbo wissle but other than that it seemed fine. I have tried the 5th gear which worked fine but i did also notice a huge gap between 4th and 5th.
Is this a reason to leave the Fiat standing and maybe go for a Mercedes based camper?
I am a bit handy with cars but havent ever got a gearbox open.. :/ i havent read the manual yet as posted above.
I am from Sweden and we planned to make a trip to the south of Europe.. now i am worried..
Any Advice is very much welcome..
Thanks in advance!
I’ve approved the comment so that others can reply. My response would be that you need to understand if your year of vehicle is affected and what the repair cost would be. I do feel Fiat had a design flaw with the gearbox we had. By getting a gearbox specialist to do the repair though it should not be too expensive to put right. You could limit yourself to Mercedes base vehicle but they are less common and there is no guarantee you will find one with the spec you like.