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Hi David,
It is located behind the front bumper on the driver's side, attached to the large silver electrical motor. It is blak and looks like a soda can and sticks out to the front of the car. You need to lift the car though, either with a jack or on a bridge. I couldn't get to it without having lifted the car.
Good luck!
Hi Laurent,

Thanks for the info. I could definitely feel that the wheels were free to move when I started the procedure, and that they became locked as I turned the screw clockwise. So in some sense, I succeeded in putting the car in P. But when I powered up again, I still had all the P,R,N,D lights on (plus the Service PRND message) and was unable to choose a gear. I tried also turning the screw (almost) all the way counterclockwise: this made the wheels free to move again, but didn't change the situation when I powered back up. So this doesn't seem to be a temporary glitch in the parking prawl. I should check for breakages in the wires/connector leading to that motor, but if I don't find any I will probably have to take it to a mechanic. At least I know how to free up the wheels so I can push it out of the garage!
 

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Hi David,
It is located behind the front bumper on the driver's side, attached to the large silver electrical motor. It is blak and looks like a soda can and sticks out to the front of the car. You need to lift the car though, either with a jack or on a bridge. I couldn't get to it without having lifted the car.
Good luck!
Hi Laurent,

Thanks for the info. I could definitely feel that the wheels were free to move when I started the procedure, and that they became locked as I turned the screw clockwise. So in some sense, I succeeded in putting the car in P. But when I powered up again, I still had all the P,R,N,D lights on (plus the Service PRND message) and was unable to choose a gear. I tried also turning the screw (almost) all the way counterclockwise: this made the wheels free to move again, but didn't change the situation when I powered back up. So this doesn't seem to be a temporary glitch in the parking prawl. I should check for breakages in the wires/connector leading to that motor, but if I don't find any I will probably have to take it to a mechanic. At least I know how to free up the wheels so I can push it out of the garage!
 

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I'm just wondering if people with the parking prawl problem are using the parking brake prior to placing the vehicle in park? Or does this car's transmission makes this procedure described below irrelevant?

A suggested procedure by mechanics when parking is to:
  1. stop the car normally and continue pressing the foot brake to hold the car still
  2. while still holding the foot brake- shift the vehicle into Neutral then apply the parking break
  3. release the foot brake then put the car into Park.
This prevents the car from moving, so the parking prawl teeth do not lock into the transmission and can help avoid damage to the parking prawl. This is something I've always heard with ICE engine vehicles that use traditional transmissions, but I do it with my 500e anyway.

Edit: Of course we can't control what someone did prior to our own ownership, as this car is typically a prior-lease car.
 

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I just put it in P while pressing the foot brake. I would think the foot brake prevents the car from moving while putting it in P. But, I usually don't bother to set the hand brake at all (I live in a very flat area), and I can see now how this could eventually hurt the pawl. There are probably forces acting on the car while I'm out of it: small slopes, wind, etc, and the pawl is taking that rather than the hand brake. That said, your edit is also on point, as I have not had the car long enough to do any damage.
 

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I get it now. If I were to park on a slope with this method, stress on the pawl would occur as soon as I release the footbrake.
 

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So I finally got a black 500e over the weekend, and on Monday, the 1st day with the car, two messages showed up. The 1st one is "Service electric system", and the 2nd one is "Service PRND continue driving do not shift or turn off vehicle until you reach a desired location. You may not be able to shift again to D until serviced". Both messages happened when I just started the car, all PRND button lighted up and I couldn't press any of them. Needless to say, I'm very disappointed. On the 1st day!!! Now the car is in service that I don't know how long it would take.

Anyone experience the same problem? Does that related to the recall in the sticky thread (btw, the link in that thread is dead, I still don't know what kind of recall is that).

OK - well - this is weird, but I tried the winding the little motor thingy someone said worked, and well I thought it did, but it didn't. Here's what did work - twice now - as after a month it recurred. This makes no real sense to me but I found through trial and error and using the AlfaOBD program with a Konnwei interface - that if you go to battery management - then go to the battery pack control modules and then run the active diagnostics protocols - and I'm not even sure which one makes the big diff yet - but I know I run a few of them, enable/disable HV batt con's, and the reset of the various faults, and the HV batt tests, I think the isolation test does something for sure, and then turn it off and wait for it to completely disconnect. Then restart and it cleared the "PRND" error! It did leave a "service vehicle electrical system" error - but I took it for a drive, then shut it off, and then waitied a minute for it to shut off all the way - then on restart, that too was gone and all is well again.
Here is the strangest thing - and now I know it to be true as it also happened twice now. As the car begins to have troubles - but before it does though - it'll warn you with a funny little semi-distorted "beep" that starts to accompany the usual "click click click" of the turn signal noise. I know it sounds crazy, but it's what I've observed now more than once.
So there you have it - this works - but only lasts about a month or so. I do think the dealer computer will be able to fix it, but I can't get there - it's too far. I'd have to tow it up there. But this'll do for a while. (UPDATE below - )
 

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Thank you very much for the great tip! Please let us know if you narrow it down even more.

Monthly reset after the warning turn-signal "beep" seems like fairly easy maintenance, although I think "active diagnostics" requirs the $50 version of AlfaOBD.
 

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OK - thanks - and update - it did it again (the PRND error, and Service Elec Sys error). didn't last a month this time. But was able to clear it again using the same method - but trying to narrow it down a bit. This time I think the HV contactors are the key. (And yes - I paid the $50 - was worth it I think - for the ALfaOBD full program - but anyway) - So this time I just did the HV enable disable batt contactors, then did the HV Batt neg contactor test and pos contactor test - interestingly - at first they wouldn't proceed but then trying again they did. Then did the HV Batt isiolation test - that takes a few minutes to do - be patient with it. Then it seemed to work. After re-start. And even a couple more restarts. Hasn't reverted back yet to the error - but I worry it will. All this makes me wonder - what's going on with those battery contactors? I do have an early 500e - it's a 2013, and it's got almost 70k miles on it. Could there be some corrosion? or ? I wish I had a Fiat tech to ask.
 

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I recently greatly reduced the number of times my "irreplaceable" contactors engage. They used to clunk closed 6-to-8 times per round-trip commute, even if I didn't stop to charge or shop. Now they close only 2 times & it's really easy:

  • As soon as I open the left door to drive, I turn the key at least 1 click.
  • Before I plug in right after driving, I turn the key off, then right back to 1 click.
  • Before unplugging the charger to drive, I turn the key 1 click.
  • While parked unplugged, I do any loading/unloading through the hatch & passenger door.
 

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UPDATE - so the fix for the PRND and Service elec sys - that I described above - worked for about a week this time. The weather's gotten cold, not sure if that had anything to do with it. But It works again if I repeat the procedures. JUst thought I'd keep you all updated.
 

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Another update - it's become harder and harder to reset those contactors - to fix the PRND / Svc Elec Sys errors - as that seems to be the procedure that fixed it albeit temporarily - to open and close them a couple times with the AlfaOBD protocols. I'm beginning to think it's the contactors that are the problem. I'm reading worrisome things about that though - that they are part of the HV batt pack and not available as parts. Anybody open it all up and inspect these eletromechanical relays? Can they be serviced? I might have to break down and take it to the stealership - though far away.
 
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