Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - GT
On 5th Nov, I posted a thread ("Who should foot the bill?") regarding my usual garage's attempts to diagnose and fix low-revs grumbling on my Xantia 2.0HDi. They thought it was gearbox bearings....I paid £750 (inc. new clutch)....but the problem was still there.

To cut a long story short, the problem turned out to be disc pad retaining clips which apparently Citroen know about but keep a close secret (why?). Glad to say the original grumbling has just been cured 4 months after their first attempt. BUT....as a result of the original gearbox work (which proved a complete red herring), the synchro changing from 1st to 2nd appears to be shot; at best, it "clicks", at worst I can pause the gearchange between 1st and 2nd and it's like I haven't got the clutch pressed at all. The garage tell me there's nothing more they can do, it would be impossible to get the synchro back to what it was, etc.... My immediate reaction is bulls**t, they're just trying to wriggle off the hook! But is it fair to say that once a gearbox is worked on it's unlikely to give the same smooth gear change as before?
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Dizzy {P}

Around 20 years ago I overhauled gearboxes for 'pocket money' and the syncromesh performance was always returned to proper working order. Syncro design has probably changed since then but I find it very hard to believe what you are being told.

Could you ask for the exact (technical) reason behind the garage's assertion? You could ask them to write it down so that you can take your time in understanding it -- and then let us Backroomers know what they have to say.

Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Billy Whizz
surely if they have mis-diagnosed the fault then they should refund you??? Or am I missing something here?

Also I would second Dizzy's post: all the gearboxes I have rebuilt (sometimes even using good second-hand parts) have been *far* better than before I started. They were fairly bad before I started I'd have to say tho'.

They should check the exact specification of oil they have used to refill as this is critical to the performance of the synchro.

Sounds to me that they have not only badly mis-diagnosed the problem but have made a pig's ear of the rebuild. Infact an experienced good mechanic will see right away that there is nothing wrong with the gearbox when he strips it down.

Keep us posted,
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - PhilW
>>On 5th Nov, I posted a thread ("Who should foot the bill?") regarding my usual garage's attempts to diagnose and fix low-revs grumbling on my Xantia 2.0HDi. They thought it was gearbox bearings....I paid £750 (inc. new clutch)....but the problem was still there.

To cut a long story short, the problem turned out to be disc pad retaining clips which apparently Citroen know about but keep a close secret (why?). <<

No help with your gearbox problem I'm afraid (though it sounds like the dealer should at least re-imburse you) but I'm interested in these "retaining clips" I too have the same(?) "grumble" on an HDi and when I posted on the Yahoo board about it was told about a kit from Citroen to cure it. I approached my local main dealer, Citroen head office and a local independent. All said they knew nothing about it. I wrote back to the Yahoo bloke and he gave me the name of the garage who put his clip "kit" on and I even spoke to the mechanic who did the job. They also denied all knowledge of doing such work! At this point I gave up, wondering if I had been "had". How does one go about getting one of theses retaining clip kits?
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Dizzy {P}
Excellent point about the oil spec, Billy. As I reported some time back, I came across similar 1st and 2nd gearchange problems on a Peugeot 305 and reason was that gear oil had been used instead of engine oil. This oil was too thick to be squeezed out from between the syncro cones, therefore the syncro didn't work properly, especially from cold, and the gears crunched.

For the benefit of anyone who doesn't already know: Manual gearboxes are designed for a specific oil and this is often not a 'gear oil'. Sometimes it is an engine oil or even an automatic transmission oil.
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Mondaywoe
This is interesting!

My C5 has had a 'notchy' change from 1st to 2nd from new. It's much worse when cold but still noticeable sometimes when hot. The dealer looked at it on Monday and said it's probably the rubber gaiter on the handle obstructing the shift. They've ordered a new one under warranty.

Personally,I don't think that's it at all. I have no trouble 'finding' the gears - just a sensation of cogs slowly and uncomfortably meshing! Would it be more likely that the oil is either at the wrong level, incorrect grade (from factory?)or contaminated with swarf (from factory) ???

Dealer said there is the unlikely possibility of the clutch being faulty - presumeably not clearing. Is this possible?

On the other hand, could the box itself have faulty syncromesh?

I would like it fixed, but dread pushing the dealer into hauling out the box and doing more damage!

Any thoughts?

Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - M.M

Is this the gear lever gaiter they're replacing? I'm struggling to see this as anything other than an exercise in gaining thinking time.

Could you take off the gaiter for a day and see what improvement?

The first thing I'd do would be to replace the oil with a quality brand of exactly the correct grade...and to exactly the correct level.

The fact that it is a heat related fault points to a possible oil issue.

Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Dizzy {P}
Graeme, I slightly disagree with MM - for the very first time I think! MM is probably looking at the way he might tackle this problem himself and may have overlooked the fact that the work is being carried out under new-car warranty.

I would let the dealer change the gaiter because if you leave clues that you have tampered with it yourself you might invalidate the warranty in relation to that fault. Also, I would not be dismissive of the gaiter as the possible cause of the problem.

Assuming that the gaiter is not the culprit, and the dealer assures you that the gearbox contains the correct grade and volume of oil, you might suggest that they change to an approved grade of synthetic oil (assuming that it is filled with a mineral oil at present).

Synthetic oil is much thinner than the equivalent mineral oil when cold, therefore it doesn't baulk the gearchange as much. I have used synthetic in the gearbox of my Triumph 2500 for the past five years and changing gear is amazingly smooth and easy compared with the traditional Triumph 'notchy' gearchange.

To answer your question about the clutch: If this is not releasing squarely it can drag and cause gearchange problems, however I think that would show up more on engaging 1st/reverse from neutral rather than the 1st to 2nd change.
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Mondaywoe
Thanks MM and Dizzy for advice.

The gaiter I refer to is the rubber one at the bottom of the gearstick (concealed by the 'cosmetic' vinyl gaiter)I did lift back the vinyl one and have a look. It seems pretty much OK to me - although there are (tiny)signs of one fold of the gaiter rubbing against another. Don't think this would cause a 'crunch' though. There is no perceptible 'resistance' to gearchanging.

My own feeling is that it's oil-related.This would make the 'improvement' with heat more logical. It almost goes in tandem with the temperature gauge rise on the dash.

I think Citroen specify a Total oil for this box (must check the handbook)I was actually a bit surprised by the garage when I asked about the correct oil for the SUMP. It's a 2.2 HDI with particle filter and in the handbook there is an'erratum' to say that the 2.2 must have 5/40 oil. When I asked the garage which oil they had refilled the sump with they (initially) said 'Esso 15/40 semi synthetic'.

When I mentioned the note about the 2.2, the Service Manager asked 'Which engine is yours?'.....disappeared and came back with a bottle of 5/40 Total. (Correct oil) He said I could have it for topping up. He didn't actually say that was what they had put in, mind you.......
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Mondaywoe
I've just checked the handbook.

Recommended oil for the manual box on the C5 is Total Transmission BV 75W-80 (New Formula) I wonder if I've got the 'old formula' (!!??)

Sump should be Total Quartz 9000 5w-40

Anyone know if this gearbox oil is mineral or synthetic?
and - is Total Quartz 9000 a semi synth or fully synth? I imagine it must be fully synth(????)

Is the gearbox on the C5 reasonably accessible for checking / changing the gearbox oil? I Emailed Mr Haynes to ask if he had any intention of producing a manual on the C5. The answer (I paraphrase) was 'in your dreams'!

Ho hum!
Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Billy Whizz
C5 owner, looks like your dealer are still on their learning curve?

Total Quartz 9000 is fully synth.

Transmission BV 75W-80 is the only manual gearbox oil that Total produce. But they don't say whether it is synth or not:


My guess would be that it is mineral, as it is the only one they do. If you have a look at one of the bottles at the dealer it should say if it is synth.

As mentioned above: I would say 1st to 2nd crunch is oil/ synchromesh issue. Clutch issue more noticable neutral to 1st and/or reverse. Unless they can point to a service bulletin about the gaiter then I think they are waisting their time (I've been wrong before tho'.) I would try some "new formula" oil.

Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - Mondaywoe
Thanks Billy

I'm waiting for this gaiter to arrive. I'll let them fit it, because there is a little bit of rubbery squeak as I change gear, but I can't see that that would make the gears crunch as such. Will politely request that they change the gearbox oil at the same time.

Xantia gearbox synchro problems? - ianb
Reminds me of my experience with a Citroen Saxo and it's engine stutter. The quality of customer service Citroen give and the lets keep changing things until something works attitude.

I bought my Saxo from a Skoda dealership and I spent more time in Skoda's than my Saxo. After 5 visits to Citroen and the problem was still not fixed, although they managed to damage the paint work twice. The joys of owning a citroen.

Still I took pleasure in telling the Citroen dealship the day before it was due in for it's 6th week long visit, that I had bought a Skoda.

In my experience Citroen build cars yet don't know how to fix them.


Value my car