The dreaded Gearbox Malfunction message - Audi A5 Forum & Audi S5 Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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The dreaded Gearbox Malfunction message

I was hoping my second post on here would be a nice one about how awesome my new S5 Cab is, and to be fair it absolutely is, but having bought the car on Saturday on Monday I get an error message.

It says Gearboc Malfunction, you can continue to drive the car normally.

I lost power for 10-15 secs then the error cleared and performance resumed. Then it happened again a couple more times within a few minutes. I took it for a spin an hour later and no problems, but then today on my way to work it happens again.

A quick google search shows up lots of posts of similar problems, most of which end up with a mechatronic unit being replaced under warranty. Well, mine is almost 6 yeas old with 56k miles on the clock so I don't see Audi being too generous to me if this is the problem.

I can't say for sure if the seller was aware of the problem, I've dropped him a message but no reply yet.

It's booked in for a 60 min diagnistic check with Camberley Audi next week so I guess I'll have a better idea then, but my concern is that their response will be to replace the whole unit regardless of the message. I've read plenty of heartwarming stories about some people getting away with just a circuit board change, or even just replacing a faulty sensor.

Has anyone had any successes with UK dealers with this problem? I read somewhere that in the US these sometimes got a 6 year 100k (km) extended warranty, but the guy at Audi knew nothing about this over the phone.

Also, it has an APR Stage 1 ECU upgrade, should I get it reflashed to stock before I take it in?
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post #2 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 03:16 AM
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Was it a private purchase? If so I would say 100% the seller knew of this issue if it was a dealer I would be taking it back

Whats the service history like of the gearbox? Not a million miles from a second service there so might be worth trying that first.

There are a number of specialists working on these now, think I might have posted a link to a few in a previous thread

Fingers crossed for a cheap quick fix

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post #3 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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It looks like the S-tronic / multitronic oil and filters were changed at 48k and 55k miles. Is that what you mean?

I can't see any record of it having had a specific gearbox service.

The seller replied and tells me he hadn't had any error messages but it hadn't been driven much in the last 3 months or at all for a month. Could that be causing the message?

I have an independant ex-Audi mechanic popping round tonight for a look with his diagnostic kit. Hopefully that will shed a bit more light on the subject. I'm mildly optimistic because it hasn't had the same problems some others have had i.e. losing even number gears or reverse or clunky gear changes (although it's sometimes a little clunky stopping and starting, I assumed this was normal though?).
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post #4 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 05:52 AM
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Sorry to hear Willkoss. The cynic in me tends to agree with C.B that they seller probably knew although that might not make any difference. The diagnostic check should show DTCs which might include dates. If those dates are prior to your purchase then that might be evidence you need if you decide to follow a legal path.

As you probably know by now, the first generation of DL501 had problems. However there are plenty of owners of 2009 & 2010 cars who do not have gearbox problems. It might be surprising but some owners have reported improvements after just an oil and filter change. When Audi developed your 'box it had two filters and both were lifetime fit items. In around 2011 or 2012 they designed out one of the filters and made the other a service item. Your 'box should have had the oil changed once already (did you check that?), but probably not the filters. Depending on what the diagnostic shows you might want to get another oil change including both filters. However an Audi dealer will likely refuse to change the filters ("computer says no") so this will have to be done by an independent tech.

Audi also issued TCU updates so this might be something that your dealer will recommend.

After that you are correct, there is a circuit board which gets cooked and also at least one sensor which can fail. Next is the whole mechatronics, clutch packs and finally the whole gearbox. But be warned. Some people have gong to dealers who try the "suck it and see" approach to fixing, and when there is no warranty that's a bad thing. So if the dealer doesn't seem confident about exactly what the problem is and how to fix it then you might be better off going to a gearbox specialist.

If you have no warranty then flashing the ECU back to stock will make no difference, especially since that does not hide the fact that the ECU has been flashed.

You'll find more information from owners who have been in the same situation over on ASN

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Last edited by Dippy; 7th September 2016 at 05:57 AM.
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post #5 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilkoss View Post
It looks like the S-tronic / multitronic oil and filters were changed at 48k and 55k miles.
The first one was late. Currently Audi recommend 38K (but it could have been 40K originally). As I noted, the filters were a lifetime fit but if they were changed then that's great.

The cynic in me now asks if it was done at 48K, then why was it done again at 55K?

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post #6 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks chaps.

The ticks in the service book are for both mulitronic: oil and s-tronic: oil and filter for both services carried out by an independent garage, so there is a good chance whoever ticked them didn't really know what they were ticking and just ticked everything.

There was also a 'proper' tick from an Audi Dealer at about 25k miles in 2012 so it's possible it's not actually been done since. I'll ask the chap tonight to do it and see if it helps.
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post #7 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 10:03 AM
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Just had this problem myself a few weeks back and yes it was the mechatronic unit.mine is a 2010 s5 cab with just over 30k on the clock and mine had been stood for 6 months due to health problems and was fine when i put it in the garage.took it to a indi garage had the car serviced as well while it was there and the bill was 4K

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post #8 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the plot thickens.

The Audi guy found the following fault code:



The interesting thing is that it clearly shows the problem first occurred on the 18th August and has occurred 14 times. This proves the seller was lying to me when he said he'd never seen it before, and in the advert when he claimed it's "running beautifully".

The Audi guy is going to try a gearbox service but isn't hopeful this is going to fix the problem. Next step is probably the 4k option S5 Tony had to go through!

I know buying privately is 'buyer beware' and 'sold as seen' but surely I have some rights?
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post #9 of 35 Old 7th September 2016, 11:37 PM
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You do have rights, even on a private sale, you can legally claim back the cost of repair or get a refund if you can prove the fault was present at the time of sale and it wasn't disclosed buy the seller.

Might be a painful process going through the small claims, but less painful than a 4k outlay an the feeling you've been had.

If you are lucky the thought of legal action might prompt him to do the right thing.

I have had the same gearbox problem and Audi took several attempts to sort it, hopefully you get a better result.
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post #10 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 12:00 AM
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If you buy privately, it's a case of 'Buyer Beware'. You won't have the same legal protection as you would if buying from a dealer and it's up to you to ask the right questions and inspect the car thoroughly before you buy. It's a good idea to get an independent engineer to give the car a thorough mechanical inspection, and to get a car history check to make sure there's no shady past.

Because your legal rights are more limited, unscrupulous dealers may masquerade as private sellers: be very wary if a private seller wants to meet you somewhere other than at their home, or if their name is not on the V5C registration document. A dealer pretending to be a private seller is committing a criminal offence.

The only legal terms that cover a private sale contract are:

the seller must have the right to sell the car
the vehicle should match the description given by the seller
the car must be roadworthy - it is a criminal offence to sell an unroadworthy car and an MOT certificate from a test several months ago is no guarantee that the car is roadworthy today.

I would argue that the gearbox issue makes the car unroadworthy and want to return the car fo a refund. You have checked the V5 has the seller as the owner, I assume.

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post #11 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 12:03 AM
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i was told from my garage you can get the mechatronic unit reconditioned i presume they just replace the sensors.The 2010 cars are running on version 1 mine was replaced with a version 5 unit which i was told are a lot more bullet proof taking into consideration its a gearbox out job and the man hours thats involved i went with a new part.Going back to having the gearbox service mine has had 2 i bought the car brand new the last service on the box was done about 800 miles previous to the unit failing soi dont think that will solve it

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post #12 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 12:48 AM
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You can search in google for "automatic gearbox specialists rebuild" if you have auto gearbox or just "gearbox specialists rebuild" for manual box ... get few quotes as rebuild would be much cheaper than getting a new one ... generally speaking most place offers two years unlimited mileage warranty of rebuilt gearboxes, they take apart the whole gearbox and replaces any worn parts, fix any electronic issues with mechantronic unit, and replace all seals, oil and filter ... rebuilt gearboxes works pretty good as far as I know. Only downside is you will have to leave the car with them for some time ....

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post #13 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rackingman View Post
You have checked the V5 has the seller as the owner, I assume.
Yes the V5 was in his name so no joy there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rackingman View Post
I would argue that the gearbox issue makes the car unroadworthy and want to return the car for a refund.
I was thinking the same thing. It's one thing it happening on a 30 mph lane near home, but it would be pretty disastrous if it happened on a motorway. I doubt the insurance company would pay out if I had an accident as a result of this knowing it was a problem.


The only fault I was aware of when I bought it was the front brake pads needing to be replaced.

I also spent a while trying to figure out how to automatically lock the car when I got out (it has the clever keyless ignition option). Getting in is fine, I grip the handle and the car unlocks, getting out, the sensor on the door won't lock them. It came up as a fault on the diagnostics too saying the drivers side sensor needs replacing. I don't think I can use that to my advantage here though - it still locks with the fob button.
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post #14 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 04:34 AM
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Wilkoss, the link you posted in #8 doesn't show, what are the details. You need to make sure that you choose the correct fix. You don't want to spend 4K if it then fails to fix the problem.

Good advice from Steve and Racks - the threat of legal action might be enough but if not, actually going through with it can be painful: Winning in a civil court is one thing, actually getting your money back is another.

Easy for me to say, but maybe the question is how much do you love this car? Or rather which would be less painful: Keeping the car with the knowledge that you had to pay for the gearbox fix because the seller ****ed you, or going through legal action and maybe getting some or all of your money back but ending back at square 1 without the car you loved enough to buy?

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post #15 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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Strange, it looks fine when I view it from here and at home!

Does this work now? (I resized it under 1MB)
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post #16 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 07:07 AM
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Well assuming that the clutch packs are not actually overheating, then I believe that it is one of the symptoms of the PCB 'cooking'. If so only the PCB and possibly wiring harness need changing and not the whole mechatronics.

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post #17 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 07:13 AM
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Details in this TSB
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File Type: pdf TSB2030477.pdf (189.8 KB, 549 views)

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post #18 of 35 Old 8th September 2016, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, that's an awesome Service Bulletin, thank you!

Am I right in saying that 100 TU = 1 Hour? 3.5 hours seems quick.
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post #19 of 35 Old 11th September 2016, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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I've spoken to a solicitor and he's said that as long as I can prove the previous owner was aware of the fault before he sold it to me, he is liable to pay for the repairs as it was sold in an unroadworthy condition. I'm hoping the threat of legal action will be enough but I don't mind going to court to get the matter settled if necessary.

Meanwhile I have a 20 grand toy sitting on my driveway that I can't drive. I imagine the insurance company would wriggle out of a claim if they found out I knew about the problem and drove the car anyway!
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post #20 of 35 Old 21st September 2016, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Car is at the garage today. The mechanic said it could be a waste doing the transmission service and oil / filter change if we're going to have to replace the PCB anyway. By the time he's stripped it down and done the service it wouldn't be much more work to do the PCB. Also all the parts he uses and fluids he puts in the car would be wasted.

Sounds like decent advice. The replacement PCB can be had for around 300 on Ebay.
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post #21 of 35 Old 21st September 2016, 07:49 AM
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Sorry to hear this, especially as it appears you've been duped by the previous owner. I'd definitely fight this all the way, you've got good evidence to show the previous owner was probably aware of the fault...

Are you using an independant garage to do the work? If so have you been given an idea on the labour cost? I'm fortunate enought to have bought a car that had the mechatronic unit recently replaced by Audi, however it'd be good to know that in the worst case this repair can be done for less than the 4000 horror stories you hear about!!
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post #22 of 35 Old 22nd September 2016, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry to hear this, especially as it appears you've been duped by the previous owner. I'd definitely fight this all the way, you've got good evidence to show the previous owner was probably aware of the fault...

Are you using an independant garage to do the work? If so have you been given an idea on the labour cost? I'm fortunate enought to have bought a car that had the mechatronic unit recently replaced by Audi, however it'd be good to know that in the worst case this repair can be done for less than the 4000 horror stories you hear about!!
Yes, it's a guy that was recommended to me by another mechanic. He worked at the main Audi dealer for 16 years before setting up his own garage. I can't recommend him enough really. He also said for 60 he'd come out on a test drive and bring his laptop to plug in (hindsight is a wonderful thing!).

If it helps anyone else, their website is A WordPress Site | Just another WordPress site

He has quoted me 830 all in for parts and labour to replace the PCB as per the service bulletin above. Also interesting was that he called his mate who still work for Audi on the gearboxes. He said they generally have a 95% success rate with this fix for this problem.

My fingers are firmly crossed, it's booked in for 11th October. I can't help but feel I'm usually the 5% guy!
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post #23 of 35 Old 22nd September 2016, 04:39 AM
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Thanks for your reply Wilkoss, that's good information. Obviously 830 is still a lot of money, but it's certaily better than the Audi quotes/costs! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed it works for you...

How are you getting on with the seller? Have you heard anything back from him yet?
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post #24 of 35 Old 29th September 2016, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Nothing back from the seller yet but he has 7 days to reply.

In terms of the diagnosis, I'm getting a bit worried that it isn't just the PCB. I drove it a few days ago and on a 10 min drive it was fine, no problems. I then drove it home 8 hours later and again all was fine. Thinking maybe it had fixed itself I then drove it straight away on a slightly longer drive, after 5 mins the problems started. I got my son to take a video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQZKSmSSJ4

It started after I had been stopped at a roundabout stationary for about a minute, as I drove off I couldn't put any pressure on the accelerator without the error coming up. After 5 or 6 occurrences I got the car up to 40 mph and the problem went away.

This seems to suggest to me that either the clutches are genuinely overheating, or the sensor is faulty. It could be while the car is stationary and the car is warm the heat builds up under the bonnet until it thinks it's overheating. Once a breeze was moving the air in the engine the problem went away.

Would the PCB replacement fix this or will I also need to replace the sensor array?

Thanks
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post #25 of 35 Old 29th September 2016, 09:36 AM
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Hi Wilkoss,

I'd bet my money that the buyer knew of the issue before he sold it. To be frank, this is why I buy cars from a Dealer, instead of private sellers. People who sell faulty cars privately typically think that once it's sold, it's sold. THAT IS NOT THE CASE! I want to redirect your attention to the following website:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/co...th-a-used-car/

Click 'Start', check the 'private seller' box and put the purchase date in. It will then tell you that LEGALLY you have the right to be FULLY refunded for the car, or that the seller has to PAY for any repairs. DO NOT TAKE THIS BS!

Record any phone calls, screenshot any text messages and save any emails. If the seller isn't compliant, send him a letter with the intention to take him to court (by recorded delivery) and give him 7 days to reply. If no reply or he's still not agreeing, issue a small claims court case. If you can get a print out from the diagnostic chap, get that too to use as proof in court, and it will most likely be in your favour.

I've had a similar recent situation with the garage I bought my car from - my A5 had many issues (which weren't advertised), they told me to do one, threatened them with legal proceedings, and now they've pulled their finger out and are working on the car as we speak!

Keep us updated,
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post #26 of 35 Old 30th September 2016, 04:48 AM
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Wilkoss, I have no first-hand experience of gearbox problems but have read a lot of reports of them, plus of course the TSBs. Unless the clutches are seriously slipping (which surely you would notice by feel as well as movement of the rev counter) then I can't see why they would be overheating on the gentle drive you were doing in the video. Has the symptom code 8040 been checked? If so then surely it must be a PCB issue. Unfortunately there's no way to be 100% sure, however if there are associated sensors which can be changed at the same time then it would make sense to do so.

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post #27 of 35 Old 13th October 2016, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update. The PCB was replaced yesterday along with a transmission service i.e. oil / filter / strainer change.

So far no errors but that is not unusual on short drives, the crunch will come when I have time to take it for a decent run out.

Interestingly, he said the oil he drained out of the transmission was the wrong colour, I can't remember exactly what he said but I think he said it was yellow where it should be greeny blue (or possibly the other way round).

Also, the clunking at stop and start is almost completely eliminated now - it genuinely feels like it's running beautifully, so fingers are firmly crossed.

As a separate note I'd like to thank several forum members who had previously commented about door handle sensors. Mine weren't working so I asked the mechanic to replace them (350 parts and labour for both). He called me to say he'd swapped one but it wasn't working, I remembered seeing something about that on here so suggested it might need to have both replaced or neither will work. He said the wiring diagrams showed no reason why that could be the case but agreed anyway. Hey presto they are now both working.

Now I just need to get the previous owner to cough up for the transmission fix since he blatantly sold it knowing it was a problem!
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post #28 of 35 Old 13th October 2016, 05:00 AM
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Hope it is sorted !

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post #29 of 35 Old 17th October 2016, 02:16 AM
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Wilkoss,

I really hope you are able to get a satisfactory resolution to the issue and that the experience has not taken away from enjoying the car.

Unfortunately, there are some low-life scum who think it is perfectly acceptable to try and pull the wool over individuals who are making an emotive purchase with their hard -earned money, which is all the more reason for the benefit of the experience / knowledge and advice on excellent forums such as this.

Hopefully, when you get a chance to give it a bit of a 'spirited' test over a longer distance, it will have sorted the issue but agree, leaves a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth ... good luck fella ... T

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post #30 of 35 Old 23rd October 2016, 09:58 AM
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Posts: 51
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Hi Wilkoss, what's the verdict - has it all been fixed? I really hope so, you deserve a break after all this...

Have you heard anything from the seller?
R00KiE is offline  
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