I am an avid reader of Diesel Car of long standing (since 1989 or 1990, although I have actually only been a diesel driver since 2000), and I would be very grateful for your help and comments. I notice that you are currently long term testing a Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 2.0 BlueHDi Automatic Exclusive+ and I have the very same car, even down to the colour! Since winter set in – although it has only been noticeable since the engine was replaced under warranty in October 2014 – I have experienced a weird free-wheeling effect when first starting out in the morning. This is temperature dependent and the colder the temperature, the longer it lasts. When I move off, the engine speed rises to 2,000rpm and, very reluctantly, the road speed catches up with it. If at any time I take my foot off the accelerator, the engine speed instantly drops to idle speed (about 900rpm) and the car then coasts. This happens at all speeds, and in any gear, right up to 60mph, which I am sure you would agree with me is unusual to say the least. The effect lasts no more than three miles (less if the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius), and is not repeatable unless the car has been standing at less than 10 degrees Celsius for at least eight hours, or less time if it is even colder. Has your test Picasso ever done that? I have a video of the anomaly “in action” that I have sent you, so that your current tester Gavin Braithwaite-Smith or your team can comment. With regard to the engine problem, my engine had to be replaced last year. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen with the automatic gearbox, but I fear that something similar may end up being the case. Regards,
PS. I agree with Gavin’s comments about needing the patience of a Russian Chess Player when negotiating the Bluetooth Phone system, or trying to navigate to an address in the Phone Book. TomTom and Garmin have been most successful over the last ten years, so why do manufacturers insist on reinventing the wheel with their satellite navigation and phone systems? It’s just crazy!
I am very sorry to hear of your problems William. I have struggled to find out much about this new EAT6 automatic transmission, which is made by Japanese company Aisin AW and was developed in conjunction with PSA Peugeot-Citroën. I am not sure if the reluctance of the road speed to catch up with the engine speed is a problem that you did not experience in warmer weather, but what you describe suggests that the torque converter is operating for a long period before it “locks up” and maintains a fixed gear ratio. The relatively limited description that I have managed to find of this torque converter transmission does highlight that “at idle, it automatically selects neutral gear to reduce internal temperatures and improves fuel economy.” But, having no experience of this transmission, I am not really adding much to the picture, and I’m hoping that Gavin can relate more to your experiences and help decide whether they are abnormal, or otherwise. I don’t know whether you have taken this up with your Citroën garage or not, but they should show some interest and concern, and it would not be unreasonable to ask for a similar cold start drive in one of their own cars with this transmission – if they have one.
Then: 10 days later… Gavin has now reported no such problems with his long term car, and you have fed me much more information on this problem, including a video of a (miserable) cold start experience. My betting is on some kind of electronic problem, either in the engine management or transmission management and, with the problem being temperature related, I’m wondering if there is maybe a faulty temperature sensor somewhere? But a competent garage with the necessary diagnostic equipment should be able to check this side of things out – and maybe they already have, and eliminated what I’m suggesting. Waiting for another Grand C4 Picasso of similar specification with the EAT6 transmission to turn up, and for you to have a run in, isn’t exactly going far to solving the problem, is it? I think you need to put your foot hard down (Aaaaargh – sorry for that unintended pun!) and demand some action William. Like you, no doubt, I’m sensing that the cold weather is disappearing fast and that, without any action, you’ll be in the same place as you are now come next November! So, regretfully, I have no solution for you, merely a confident conclusion that your car has a problem and, in this situation, it is up to Citroën to find out what it is, and solve it! Best regards,