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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!

I've had a really sad problem with my Fiat 500, I was driving just fine and suddenly I couldn't change gears, so I had to drive the car to the side of the road, and eventually managed to get it in first gear, second and third, but I couldn't change the gears from 3 to 2 etc, I had to push the stick really hard back into first gear and then back up again to drive the car back home. The clutch turned really hard, so it's tough to press in, and now it's been sitting for a day, and I tried to start it and it's stuck in first gear, I have no chance on changing gears as it's budged in first. The engine starts just fine, the clutch hasn't been problematic before or seemed worn out, it happened out of nowhere. There are also no warning lights on the dash. Also before it got stuck like this, I tried to shift gears into reverse, and it just makes this "spinning" noise and wouldn't shift into reverse, but now it won't shift at all. When I start the car it will automatically push forward slowly without me pushing the pedal, but it won't actually drive. I'm not very good with cars, and as I can't drive the car (seemingly) I was wondering if anyone has encountered this problem, and maybe had a solution to it, or any idea of what it might be, or if it's going to be costly to fix. The mileage on the car is at about 84k. Any and all inputs/experiences are appreciated! Thank you in advance :eek:
 

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This sounds like it is not something you will be able to repair yourself, so you will probably want to have it towed to your shop. I'd love to help diagnose it, if I can.

Let's start at the top and see if I have this. While driving, you couldn't change gears, possibly because the clutch is not releasing. Was this when you first noticed the clutch was difficult to push in? Or maybe the clutch pedal problem came up some time ago, and now it's failed?

Excellent... Fabio13 has the solution, below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your fast reply! :)

While driving, I was going up a hill, so I was shifting down from 4th to 3rd gear, and the clutch pedal became very hard and the shift stick popped into neutral, I couldn't put it in any gears, so I had to stop the car, force it into 1st gear while stepping really hard on the clutch pedal, after that I managed to drive, and change gears up from first; but when trying to shift down it stuck, so I had to come to a halt and put it back into first gear to drive again. But now, the stick is stuck in first, the car starts, clutch pedal is still hard and I can't press it in very far, the car also moves forward while engine is running, but I'm not pushing the gas pedal.. It's really strange, I talked to someone at my shop and he thought it sounded weird, but would have to look at it; which means it might need to be towed if we can't fix it :confused: The clutch has been perfect up until now, no problems at all, no weird signs, no warnings no nothing.
 

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What year? There has been a clutch pedal recall on early models because of the driver pushing too far on the pedal causing the clutch diaphragm to eventually fail. The fix is a new bump stop or new pedal (can't remember exactly which or both). You'd also need a new clutch diaphragm. The clutch disk and throw-out bearing would technically still be good but with your mileage better to replace at the same time. It can also be the hydraulic clutch slave cylinder is leaking. After the pedal fix you'd need to separate the engine and transmission to get to the clutch assembly. Maybe $1200-1600. The pedal fix should be free at the dealer and some people have gotten the clutch assembly too. With the mileage you have could be harder to get the assembly done free. You'd be golden after that provided you maintain the car like the owner's manual tells you.
 
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Do check your brake fluid. We in the US have one master cylinder feed fluid to both brakes and clutch. The passage for the clutch fluid is higher than the brakes. When fluid is low the clutch will take on air. This can signal low brake fluid. If the fluid looks low, it might be resolved with topping it off and actuating the clutch, but it may still need to be bled to operate correctly. There were other issues in US early models in which the clutch pressure plate fingers would bend/distort and cause partial disengagement. This was due to overtravel of the clutch pedal as I recall, and there was a recall or TSB for it.

Where are you, that you have a 2011?

Cable end fittings at the transmission are a known failure point but they don't cause issues with clutch pedal, only the shifter action upon transmission.
 

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Hi,

I'm trying to decipher the the issues from your description. I have a question - can you shift into the gears if the engine is turned off and car is stationary, without pressing the clutch?

I don't know if you are aware, but earlier Fiat 500 models in the US had an issue with clutch pedal over extending the slave cylinder and damaging the clutch diaphragm springs. You said your clutch pedal is too hard to press, it could be that the one of the fingers on the pressure plate is damaged and lodged itself, thus making it impossible to operate the clutch. That's what happened to mine. Did you buy your car new? Do you know if the S34 recall was performed? If not, this may be the cause of your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi,

I'm trying to decipher the the issues from your description. I have a question - can you shift into the gears if the engine is turned off and car is stationary, without pressing the clutch?

I don't know if you are aware, but earlier Fiat 500 models in the US had an issue with clutch pedal over extending the slave cylinder and damaging the clutch diaphragm springs. You said your clutch pedal is too hard to press, it could be that the one of the fingers on the pressure plate is damaged and lodged itself, thus making it impossible to operate the clutch. That's what happened to mine. Did you buy your car new? Do you know if the S34 recall was performed? If not, this may be the cause of your problem.
Yes, the gears seem to shift fine when engine is off, or it did yesterday, now it just seems to be lodged in place on the 1st gear. Yes I saw something about the issues with the 2012 models when I was frantically googling to try to find the issue, but this Fiat was imported from Germany in 2011, and has a mileage of 84k, in the articles I read; the car hadn't gone that far before the problems with the clutch arose, but who knows! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do check your brake fluid. We in the US have one master cylinder feed fluid to both brakes and clutch. The passage for the clutch fluid is higher than the brakes. When fluid is low the clutch will take on air. This can signal low brake fluid. If the fluid looks low, it might be resolved with topping it off and actuating the clutch, but it may still need to be bled to operate correctly. There were other issues in US early models in which the clutch pressure plate fingers would bend/distort and cause partial disengagement. This was due to overtravel of the clutch pedal as I recall, and there was a recall or TSB for it.

Where are you, that you have a 2011?

Cable end fittings at the transmission are a known failure point but they don't cause issues with clutch pedal, only the shifter action upon transmission.
Thank you for replying! :)

the fluid looks to be a little bit below max, should I maybe top it off just to be sure? :) Yes, I saw there were some issues with the 2012 models, but I would like to think since this is 2011 and it has high mileage it woulda happened sooner, but idk! The car was imported from Germany in 2011 I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What year? There has been a clutch pedal recall on early models because of the driver pushing too far on the pedal causing the clutch diaphragm to eventually fail. The fix is a new bump stop or new pedal (can't remember exactly which or both). You'd also need a new clutch diaphragm. The clutch disk and throw-out bearing would technically still be good but with your mileage better to replace at the same time. It can also be the hydraulic clutch slave cylinder is leaking. After the pedal fix you'd need to separate the engine and transmission to get to the clutch assembly. Maybe $1200-1600. The pedal fix should be free at the dealer and some people have gotten the clutch assembly too. With the mileage you have could be harder to get the assembly done free. You'd be golden after that provided you maintain the car like the owner's manual tells you.

Thank you so much for your reply, I will relay what you said on to the guy at the shop.


It's a 2011 500 with the twinair turbo, it's had 2 previous owners before me, and none of them had any problems, and it's been driving completely fine up until now. Only issue I've had is the mileage blinking, and blue&me not working at all, but with the clutch and brakes? nothing, I just had it in for a check, and it came out with no flaws.. so this is just typical! I'm pretty sure I'll have to pay for everything myself, because like you said; the mileage.

The shop I talked to said that if it was the clutch, they would take around 700$ to fix it. But wouldn't there be some sort of indication before something like that happens? It coulda gone really bad if I was on a road with more traffic
 

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Just wondered if the original poster @zkdln resolved the issue. I have 2013, Popular 1200, manual five speed, 40,000 on the clock. I bought it a month or two ago and it has had a hard life and not much love. I have the same problem. The first time it was discovered that the gearbox was low on oil. The leak had been bodged. It was properly fixed with new gasket and seals and then topped up. Everything was fine for a month and now it has the same problem again. Changes through the gears fine with the engine not running. If I start it in gear with clutch pushed in it will drive forward OK, just won't change into another gear.

Brake/clutch fluid is at the proper level. Cables and cable ends seem fine.

If anyone has successfully cured this fault I'd love to know. Thanks in advance.

Dave
 

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Dave, Welcome to the forum. His last posting was 3 years ago. If he’s still active on this forum. Try and PM him.

Good Luck!
Thanks @smark

I've been searching the forum and this seems to come up a lot. But people resolve the problem and don't come back to say what the resolution was for them. So, I thought I'd add my two pennorth and hope it helps someone else.

I'm pretty sure the clutch is dragging. The levels were right just because the mobile mechanic who fixed the gearbox leak a month ago, bled the clutch mechanism too at that time. Now the fault is back. Bleeding the system again got me moving temporarily. It was as smooth as butter for the first few miles.

I've been quoted £85 for new slave cylinder, brake/clutch fluid supplied and fitted. Which I think is a bargain.

If it turns out to be more than that I've been quoted £350 for a 3-piece clutch kit, slave kit, oils, and fluid.

Funny how this car has gotten under my skin. I got it cheap, and it had been unloved with no service history. Pretty sure the previous owner has bodged all the faults (which have all been a pain, but minor). My partner wants rid of it but i'm a few quid into it now and reluctant to give up. :) But I'll come back and update any resolution.

Dave
 

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Thank you for posting. Same issues with no resolution help .

HI @Abath500

Sorry, I should have come back. Yes, the problem was clutch drag. The clutch was refurbished. The 'fingers' on the clutch pressure plate? were damaged and the bearing? it fits over too were damaged. Price £350 using a mobile mechanic

I thought it would not be the gearbox as I was able to test each gear by changing into each one with the engine not running, starting the engine in each gear and driving forward a bit. No problems.

This may not be your problem but likely causes for this in order of cheapness are:

Selector mechanism - a couple of cables
Clutch hydraulics - shares the master cylinder with the brakes
Clutch

The car is now running fine and dandy.

Hope this helps

Dave

Wheel Tire Automotive tire White Bicycle tire
 

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