Crunchy on the inside

My wife has just purchased a FIAT 500. It was registered October 2010 but has only done 40 miles having been an unused, ex BSM car (no dual controls, etc. It really has been unused).

Whilst she loves the car, the gearchange is lousy; one can feel the gears almost sliding in, the change is often very heavy, usually baulks and is worse when cold (presumably the oil is thicker) - there's also a faint whine in third.

Other 500s we've driven have had a very pleasant gear change but this one is now spoiling the car with very ponderous selection of first, and unpleasant changes into second and third. We've done just over 700 miles in it now and the Fiat dealer agrees it is stiff and have heard the whine but won't do anything until it has a few more miles on the clock, although they have logged the fault and have asked us to "see how it goes".

I doubt it will improve and to me it feels almost like the clutch isn't disengaging properly. Given that occasionally the change is ok to me means it can't just be a stiff linkage but it just happens that things line up rather like a successful clutchless gear change. What do you think? I understand you have a 500. What is your impression of a normal 500 change? Is it related to having been sitting around for 9 months or more?

Asked on 19 September 2011 by MB, Solihull,

Answered by Honest John
My 500 is now three and a half years old. The gearbox is a little bit noisy. FIATs are famous for variable quality gearboxes. But then so are Volkswagens. If it fails, the dealer will have to replace it under warranty. The problem could be condensation corrosion inside the box from the car sitting around unused. I'm surprised the dealer hasn't checked the oil level, or attempted to change the oil (if that is possible).
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