Doctor Diesel

Doctor Diesel – Picasso’s Blue (HDi) Period?

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Web03I 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,
William Ransom

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,
The Doc

5 Responses

  1. I purchased a 2016 Grand c4 Picasso March 2016. It is the 1.6 120hp diesel with the new EAT6 automatic transmission with torque convertor and manual paddle shifters. No problems for the first 1500 miles. After 1500 miles the automatic works fine in steady driving but is very reluctant or won’t upshift under heavy acceleration after driving around for about three miles and I have to do this manually. The dealer had it for a day and reset things? Nothing improved and is back with the dealer who said his demonstration vehicle does the same. I cannot accept this as an answer.

    Also when I tried to demonstrate the problem the car started in “Park” position but would not select engage any other gears so I could not drive it. I then had to leave it with them for three to four days and am awaiting a fix!!

    Do you know if any other owners have experienced these problems?

    What recourse do I have if the problems are not rectified?

  2. The EAT6 gearbox is quite new, so it’s probably early for trends on issues and problems to surface, but I’ve driven the combination with the 1.6-litre BlueHDi engine in a number of different cars, and haven’t experienced any troubles.

    With a few issues manifesting themselves, it could be that you’ve got a ‘rogue’ gearbox. Ask to test drive the demo vehicle to see if that is indeed the case. If it is, then you’ll not have much redress, as it would seem to be a trait of that kind of vehicle. If it drives differently, then you have more clout to get something done.

    It’s concerning that you couldn’t get the car out of park, though, and hope you get a speedy fix for that.

    If you get any more issues with the vehicle, then you should reject the vehicle under the terms of the Consumer Rights Act. Previously it was the Sales of Goods Act, but that has been since replaced by the new laws, which ultimately give buyers more rights.

    If you would like us to get more involved, drop us a line at thedoctor@dieselcarmagazine.co.uk giving as much information as possible, including reg number.

  3. Hi
    I just want to say that I have the exact same problem with my car as William Ransom has. It is a Peugeot 308 BlueHdi 2.0 EAT6 from 2015. It could have me that wrote those words. I have had my car checked at Peugeot, and they say there is no fault codes to see, and that Peugeot “helpdesk”, say that this is the way it should be. They say that because of the higher rpm, the engine warms up more quickly, and in this way reduces air pollution. In my opinion this is bullshit. I do not believe that. This is simply not the way to do it. It must be an error or what?
    William Ransoms post is 1.5 year old. I just wonder if someone may have more information on the matter?

  4. I have a 2016 Picasso Exclusive plus with eat6 g/box.My problem is that if you are traverling at around 50mph and go to overtake a slower vehicle it goes down 2 gears i.e 5th to 3rd when you have overtaken and lift the throttle it does not change up a gear until about 10 seconds in which time the car you have overtaken has caught up to you. Has anybody experienced this??

  5. Hello,
    I am the owner of a Peugeot 3008 1.6HDI 120HP with the EAT3 gearbox and I have experienced the same problems (free-wheeling efect for a couple of km) since it got colder. Since yesterday it seems like I have bigger problems:
    In the afternoon I had to drive the car again but some other problems apeared when I started the engine:
    – parking break faulty
    – ABS faulty
    – ESP faulty
    – Navigation not working correctly (it took 10 min to see where I was and then it was always behind my actual position with a few km, the map was tilted and the arrow representing the car was moving sideways)
    – cruise control not working at any speeds
    – and THE WORSE PROBLEM – the gear box behavior remained the same ( free-wheeling at all speeds and in any gear) for the hole journey (about 30 km)
    I tried to disconnect the + from the battery for 20 min and then reconnect it, waited 10 min, contact on, started engine …. same problems.
    Anybody had the problem solved and how?
    I wrote an email to the dealer where I bought the car and I am waiting for an answer.
    PS: I live in Belgium

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