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Thread: The Ultimate SensoDrive Owners Guide

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    Lite Member DryftKylt is on a distinguished road DryftKylt's Avatar
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    Default The Ultimate SensoDrive Owners Guide

    Due to difficulty finding info relevant to SensoDrive owners, I have decided to consolidate as much info as I can into a single thread, mods feel free to make this a sticky.
    If you have any issues with any of the information in this thread please message me with the info and I will add it to the thread if it proves relevant and true, please refrain from posting useless crap or unfounded opinions in this thread, we want to keep this thread free of misinformation.

    Introduction.

    For starters lets just be clear on how the system works, the SensoDrive is an electronically controlled manual gearbox with electronically managed clutch and gear-shift functions. As a result, the car has no clutch pedal and the gear lever — which remains present — has no mechanical link with the gearbox.
    The SensoDrive gearbox is managed by a control unit, which controls two actuators. One actuator changes gears while the other, which is equipped with a facing wear compensation system, opens and closes the clutch. The gearbox control unit also dialogues with the engine control unit.
    The transmission internals are almost identical to a regular ma series pug/cit transmission, there are however minor differences in the selector fork assemblies to allow the shift actuator full control via a single linkage, see pics below.

    Manual MA transmission
    Manual.jpg

    SensoDrive (Piloted) MA transmission
    Sensodrive.jpg

    Must have tools for SensoDrive owners

    1: lexia scan tool

    If you don't have one of these I would highly reccomend getting one, I at this point still don't have one and believe me it's been difficult at most having work done because every time there is an issue the car needs to go to the dealer to go on their diagnostic bench, even if only used for troubleshooting problems it is a good tool to have.

    2: Silicon based lubrication spray

    This is used for lubricating creaking clutch actuators, some people write off a creaking actuator as just something that an aging actuator does, however just leaving the actuator to it's own devices when this happens causes excessive wear and is probably a very high contributor to actuator failure, more on how to use this later.

    3: Citroen Piloted clutch actuator alignment tool

    Good luck getting your hands on one of these, Citroen manufacture this tool themselves and then lease them to the authorized service departments, they sell them to neither mechanics or their own technicians, if you've managed to purchase one somewhere let us know where.

    4: Regular servicing at an authorized dealership.

    Your computer antivirus software receives regular updates, it's no different with your ecu/tcu. Software updates are issued more often then you would think so it's best to try and have the dealership do a service on the car every once in a while, I would try at least once a year to have this done.

    5: Transmission initialization process.

    This is a simple process that can save you from a tow, and it should be your first action if you find yourself stranded, the process is as follows (Edited from a post by ozVTR).

    Make sure the key is out of the ignition, pop the bonnet and close all the doors and hatch, ensure the windows are up (do not lock the car) ensure everything is off (e.g. radio). Flip the rear ‘screen wiper down (on ‘reset’ the rear wiper sometimes runs for a few seconds). Prop the bonnet up and remove the two battery covers. WAIT A MINIMUM OF 60 SECONDS before removing the battery terminals. BEFORE you disconnect the battery you must let the systems go into stand-by or you will create ‘errors’. And after you reconnect the battery you need to let the systems initialize before doing anything but I will get to that.
    Remove the battery leads and insulate the positive lead or in the very least do not let it touch the positive terminal (yet)
    Check the battery lead clamps for corrosion. If there is any, clean it with ‘scotch brite’ (PLASTIC scourer) and water.
    Clamp the negative lead on first, then the positive.
    WAIT A MINIMUM OF 60 SECONDS before opening the doors and fiddling about! Flip rear wiper up.
    After that, hop in the car and have a look at the gear selector readout on the instrument display. It should have a “-“ sign as the gear selected. If it doesn’t, disconnect the battery for a longer time. Don’t forget to follow ALL the steps above before ever disconnecting the battery.
    If you do have a “-“ sign, put your foot on the brake (press down) and turn the ignition to “on” (NOT start). The gearbox should hum and click and clack for a good 30 seconds or so, keep your foot on the brake during this time. At the end of this cycle the gear selector on the dash should show “N” or a number. If the gearbox does not make any noise and a “N” or a number appears straight away, remove the battery terminal as above and try again.
    You will now have to set the date, time and your radio stations. Flip rear wiper up. Take the car for a run.



    Common problems.

    1: Snowflake of death

    This is when the gear indicator displays a "-" symbol and flashes in unison with the snowflake symbol on the instrument panel, this is accompanied by a series of beeps indicating a fault, it is a common occurrence that can happen for many reasons, should this happen to you and the car goes dead your first response should be attempting to reinitialize the transmission as on occasion the system will just get a little confused and shut down as a precautionary measure and this will be enough to get you going again, if not it means there is a bigger problem.

    2: Momentary loss of drive (Roundabout Roulette type 1)

    The SensoDrive system is designed to read all input parameters and decide where the gear changes should take place, sometimes (more often than one would like) the tcu will decide to keep the vehicle in second gear when ideally it should be in first. On occasion this makes for interesting close calls as the engine lacks low down torque but the tcu decides second gear will do when not quite coming to a full stop entering a roundabout or main road from a side street. It will however decide to finally shift back to first just as you have crawled across the first lane of a roundabout with rapidly approaching traffic after it's decided that second gear wasn't ideal.
    This unfortunately isn't a malfunction, it's the system doing what it was programmed to do and can't be rectified by programming, the best way to avoid these dangerous situations is to always make sure to manually select first gear when approaching a slow entry to a roundabout, do this and you should never be caught by surprise.

    3: Total loss of drive (roundabout roulette type 2)

    This similar yet far more serious problem is one that has only recently come to my attention after I spent many years screaming and swearing at my local dealership to fix the problem, basically resulting in total loss of drive when shifting from second to first and resulting in nothing but a boot full of revs, and if kept on revs for too long an accompanying snowflake of death. Sometimes initializing the transmission when the vehicle is cold will allow the vehicle to be started again if the problem is in early stages but if the problem has advanced you will find yourself stranded and only the dealership can help you.
    The cause of this I recently found was the selector fork assembly, the pin securing the fork to the shaft wears loose allowing slop in the mechanism causing the fork to not quite knock the transmission into first, usually selecting neutral then shifting back into first was enough to get me going again but when it finally decided it had had enough I made the call to have the dealer look inside the box. This is a transmission out job and it was rectified by drilling out the assembly to take a larger pin, since then this problem has disappeared entirely.

    4: Battery failure

    The C2 has a lot of electrical systems all requiring power at startup, if your battery isn't performing at it's peak this can lead to errors as some systems (including the tcu) scream for power the moment you turn the key.
    If you find yourself stuck and initializing gets you nowhere, the very first thing you should look at is the battery. Check the terminals are clean and properly secured, if this doesn't work get it tested, if it's even only moderately down from it's peak then replace it.
    A good tip here is to replace it with a higher rated battery with the same physical footprint, as when this battery starts to run down it will still be able to supply the required cca to keep everything happy, my original battery was 500cca and I replaced it with a 520cca battery with no issues encountered so far.

    5: Alternator failure

    Just like the battery, a lot of systems rely on the alternator, if you find yourself regularly encountering problems with the battery then have your alternator tested and replace if necessary. For good insurance have an alternator check every time you have the vehicle serviced.

    end of first post, more info coming just saving what I have typed so far.
    Last edited by DryftKylt; 19-09-2013 at 01:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Lite Member DryftKylt is on a distinguished road DryftKylt's Avatar
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    DIY Maintenance

    There's not much the owner can do to keep the system working correctly, very little information is available online and official service technicians are tight lipped about giving away any information that could potentially lose business to those who would rather diy, but there are 2 things I highly recommend you put into practice when maintaining your vehicle.

    1: Bimonthly transmission initialization.

    The system is designed to compensate for the wearing of the clutch, but I have a hunch that this doesn't quite work as well as it should because when initializing the system it explores and sets limits for the clutch actuator end position and point that the clutch loads up, it then compensates for clutch wear as time goes on but not every clutch wears the same so I recommend allowing it to reset these parameters every 2 months by performing an initialization.

    2: Lubricating the clutch actuator.

    This is where that silicone spray lube I mentioned in the previous post comes in. Strangely enough, this miracle fix was discovered by a smart car owner, but the process is the same and I must say it works brilliantly, but rather than go through the process with you I would rather let him show you himself via these 3 YouTube video's.

    Before the lubrication, sound familiar?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbEH...F4b92Z&index=3

    The lubrication Process
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLl1...F4b92Z&index=4

    After lubrication
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slje...F4b92Z&index=2

    There are other beneficial maintenance procedures I know of that I have yet to be able to gather definite info on such as de-carboning of the actuator stepper motors, and I have found absolutely nothing on the shift actuator at all, however these parts are beginning to show up cheap second hand and in time I will purchase some for the sole purpose of investigating their inner workings and figuring these processes out.

  3. #3
    Lite Member DryftKylt is on a distinguished road DryftKylt's Avatar
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    Replacing the clutch actuator

    WARNING! I have not attempted this myself as yet, I hold no responsibility to anyone attempting without the alignment tool exclusive to Citroen technicians, attempt at your own risk.
    page1.jpg
    page2.jpg
    page3.jpg
    page4.jpg
    page5.jpg
    page6.jpg
    page7.jpg
    page8.jpg
    page9.jpg

    Once again if anyone finds an alternative source for this tool please speak up.

  4. #4
    Lite Member DryftKylt is on a distinguished road DryftKylt's Avatar
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    Gearbox and tyre specifications
    other01.jpg


    MA/5 Piloted Manual Gearbox Identification and torque settings
    other02.jpg
    other03.jpg
    other04.jpg
    other05.jpg


    Description and lubrication specifications
    other06.jpg


    Recommendations and precautions/towing
    other07.jpg
    other08.jpg

    Engaging neutral using diagnostic tool
    other09.jpg

    Manual setting of neutral in the case of shift actuator failure (without diagnostic tool)
    other10.jpg
    Last edited by DryftKylt; 19-09-2013 at 05:02 PM.

  5. #5

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    Excellent work . Sticky for def

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    Lite Member spooner56 is on a distinguished road
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    This should prevent a lot of questions well done mate. Top Job.

  7. #7
    Site Owner WTF is on a distinguished road WTF's Avatar
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    Thank you

  8. #8
    Lite Member DryftKylt is on a distinguished road DryftKylt's Avatar
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    currently have my actuator removed while I change my clutch, will post an update once it's back together if I can refit it myself without any issues.

  9. #9

    Default Citroen C2 VTR Sensodrive

    The info on this thread is fantastic by the way !

    I have a c2 VTR senodrive and like many others are having probles with the gearbox

    While happily driving along and in top gear in auto the car will let out 3 beeps and auto light flashing along with the snowflake and all drive is lost engine will just rev but nothing happens and end up at standstill.

    There are that many different senarios for this gearbox fault its very hard to find or understand what is going wrong eg ecu / actuator and on and on.

    It did it last year a few times so it went to citroen and they said they could not find anything wrong with it the only thing it had was a software update it then drove all summer without an issue now it has started doing it again but even more so than before.

    This problem is unreal all you get off citroen is "book it in andwe'll take a look" so you know thats a 100 bill before you even start trying to sort it

    With the car driving ok changing gear ok and no clutch slipping one min then no drive and wont select any gear the next makes you wonder how this can be a mechanical fault. You would think that it is sensing something hense the snowflake and auto light flashing. After waiting 10 mins locking and unlocking it seems to reset its self and away you go again driving as normal

    Please help anyone i you can ! Kind regards Dan

  10. #10

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    Hi Dryftkylt
    I just joined this forum as I found a link to this thread. This is very good information and what I initially was looking for was similar information on my 2007 Grand C4 Picasso Hdi 1.6 with EGS gearbox (6-speed piloted) 110000km. As you already mensioned the skilled mechanics joining my local forums in DK and UK seams to be tightlipped. A lot of people have clutch judder and recalibrating, if helping, only pertains for a little while. Now, I am a mechanic myself, now retired and I might be facing a very costly repair for something maybe not neccesary, at least I would very much like to understand how this thing works before I hand it over to a "stranger" , if I am not able to do this myself?, so I am able to follow what they intend to do with it. In my mind the judder can be a number of reasons not solely the clutch itself. It is mostly occurring in "cold" conditions (morning) and to overcome the judder (it will damage the whole driveline) I tend to push lightly on the brake with my left foot then push lightly on the gaspedal (making the clutch drag a little) then release the brakepedal, that usually get me started softly, and if I am lucky it is almost gone for the rest of the drive. Also, it never judders in reverse out of the driveway, untill I go into forward to take away, why is that?
    That brings me back to my questions to the mechanics: What is the problem? and what causes it? is it one component always or is it a combination of factors? Can anything be done to rectify this, other that new parts all over, now that we have gained years experience with this boxsystem , can we improve something?
    I would not think that a, basicly sound, but worn clutch itself would cause this, my clutch do not slip. An oilstained clutch (sticky) would do this, are leaky clutch releasecylinder or crankshaft rear seal known issues? Wear in clutch release parts can not be an issue, there are'nt any. My reverse/backwards problem, could that be excessive axial play, the helical gears will push in either direction when going rev/forw? The engine/clutch goes always in the same direction. The dualmass flywheel seams ok to me, no noise, no glap when accerating and releasing the gaspedal.
    I would not like to think that this problem cannot be resolved, maybe even improved. The system is not perfect, but when it works and you gets familiar with the sometimes odd shiftingpatterns I would almost rather drive with this than a traditional automatic. Especially 2 things are better than the full auto version: Paddleshift while in auto and complete standstill while in gear when the gaspedal is fully released, this I enjoy every day;-)
    I/we would really appreciate all the input and experience anyone can put up with in this matter.
    Thanks from Denmark
    Last edited by renel; 26-11-2013 at 04:59 PM.

  11. #11

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    Totally different system

  12. #12

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    I know that, but I hoped that there might be some of you that also have knowledge about this system…;-)
    Anyone, not tightlipped…;-)

  13. #13
    High-Tech Support Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish is a glorious beacon of light Dangerousfish's Avatar
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    Renel, I've modified your post once already. Please could you remove the links in your post if you wish to modify it again?

    Thanks.

  14. #14

  15. #15

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    Dangerousfish.
    What did I do wrong? I just mensioned where i already have tried to get help, and above this message is another with a complete link to the same forum, would that be ok?

  16. #16

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    You need to do neither , this is a C2 forum not a c4 , no knowledge of this system so i strongly suggest looking on c4 forums not c2

  17. #17
    Member petkovski is on a distinguished road
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    I have a question. I followed the steps for lubricating the actuator because it made a squeaking noise. I then opened it and closed it a few times, and drove the car for a few minutes changing gears, stopping and pulling off. The noise is still here. Am I doing something wrong? I think I put enough lube, spraying for 5 - 10 seconds.

    Cheers

  18. #18
    Member petkovski is on a distinguished road
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    Can somebody explain me what "Front and rear wiper arm extractor 10" means?
    I want to reset the "load point" of the clutch since I'm having some problems - juddering.

    Thanks

  19. #19

    Smile Clutch actuator lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by DryftKylt View Post
    DIY Maintenance

    2: Lubricating the clutch actuator.

    This is where that silicone spray lube I mentioned in the previous post comes in. Strangely enough, this miracle fix was discovered by a smart car owner, but the process is the same and I must say it works brilliantly, but rather than go through the process with you I would rather let him show you himself via these 3 YouTube video's.

    The lubrication Process
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLl1...F4b92Z&index=4
    Sorry to butt in, but hope allowable?

    As a fugitive from the Peugeot 1007 forum, which uses the identical Sensodrive/2-Tronic gearbox setup as the Citroen C2 - I would point out that our clutch actuator is very different to that of the Smart car shown in the videos. Our clutch actuators C R E A K (best heard with a window down) and so far I have not been able to reduce the creak with any form of lubrication.

    However the better news is that mine has been creaking for the last 20,000 miles and still does so it is an annoyance rather than a precursor to dire events. We (Peugeot 1007 Facebook forum) have had no complaints about the creak turning into a disaster and they seem to just soldier on (50,000 on mine; many others with higher mileages).

    An excellent thread in all other respects thanks
    Last edited by sfj642; 03-06-2014 at 09:05 AM. Reason: small improvement to make more sense

  20. #20

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    Hi new to the c2 world don't exactly get the gist of all the paragraphs because the pictures aren't loading

    Anyway a few months back a bought a 1.4 furio sensodrive and at first it didn't do it but when my sister is at lights or at a stop it shows a snowflake flashing and the AUTO flashes it is completely fine in cold weather it only does it when it is sunny
    Took it to Citroen and they basically ripped the car to pieces and said all sorts is wrong with it they said they couldn't find out what the gearbox problem was because the clutch was apparently slipping.

    Ive heard it can just be a brake light switch ? Anyway they said it would cost the car more than it is worth to sort out so is there anything I can do to sort it out or change it to manual
    Thanks

  21. #21
    Newbie Ft4070 is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by petkovski View Post
    Can somebody explain me what "Front and rear wiper arm extractor 10" means?
    I want to reset the "load point" of the clutch since I'm having some problems - juddering.

    Thanks
    It's a wrong translation from the original French document..

    This is what you need to do for programming the clutch "biting" point:

    Start the engine

    Repeat the following 3 steps for 10 times while keeping the break pedal pressed:
    1. Engage 1st gear (1)
    2. Return to Neutral (N)
    3. Wait 5 seconds

    Cut the engine & ignition completely ie. switch off and remove the key.

  22. #22
    Newbie Ft4070 is on a distinguished road
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    The creak or creaking sound was heard from day one of getting our 2004 C3, 2nd hand with 50K miles. Initially I thought the clutch bearing is a goner..what a mess. But than I read through and found lots of complaints and discussions.

    It was noticeable right after the gear changes and the clutch actuator releases the fork. It sounded like a squeaking door hinge but quite loud. Sort of like a rusty spring being compressed.

    I also heard it like a strong fast grind when switching off the engine in case it was in Neutral when switched off.

    I removed the O spring to release the rubber seal, and slid the WD40 tube all the way in about 10cm so it would bend down passed the angle. Sprayed for about 4 seconds.

    There was no immediate change. I drove the car around for a while changing gears and slowly noticed the sound fading away. Left the car overnight - and the following morning there is no more noise!

    It's possible that what generates the noise is different for each case - but in my case lubricating this way worked very nicely. Very happy.
    Last edited by Ft4070; 21-09-2014 at 11:21 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Faulty Gearbox!

    My C2 keeps on coming up with "Faulty gearbox" error on the dash display whenever I've kept the car idle at the eg traffic lights. I've had the ECU read and it says its having problems with the actuator... Any suggestions? Is the problem the actuator or is it the ECU??



    Quote Originally Posted by DryftKylt View Post
    DIY Maintenance

    There's not much the owner can do to keep the system working correctly, very little information is available online and official service technicians are tight lipped about giving away any information that could potentially lose business to those who would rather diy, but there are 2 things I highly recommend you put into practice when maintaining your vehicle.

    1: Bimonthly transmission initialization.

    The system is designed to compensate for the wearing of the clutch, but I have a hunch that this doesn't quite work as well as it should because when initializing the system it explores and sets limits for the clutch actuator end position and point that the clutch loads up, it then compensates for clutch wear as time goes on but not every clutch wears the same so I recommend allowing it to reset these parameters every 2 months by performing an initialization.

    2: Lubricating the clutch actuator.

    This is where that silicone spray lube I mentioned in the previous post comes in. Strangely enough, this miracle fix was discovered by a smart car owner, but the process is the same and I must say it works brilliantly, but rather than go through the process with you I would rather let him show you himself via these 3 YouTube video's.

    Before the lubrication, sound familiar?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbEH...F4b92Z&index=3

    The lubrication Process
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLl1...F4b92Z&index=4

    After lubrication
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slje...F4b92Z&index=2

    There are other beneficial maintenance procedures I know of that I have yet to be able to gather definite info on such as de-carboning of the actuator stepper motors, and I have found absolutely nothing on the shift actuator at all, however these parts are beginning to show up cheap second hand and in time I will purchase some for the sole purpose of investigating their inner workings and figuring these processes out.

  24. #24

    Default

    Great info, the silicon part for lubricating the actuator should help me killing this annoying cracking sound. Great job writing this info out for us!
    Owner of www.C2club.nl and GB Customs NL

  25. #25
    C2 Addict Advanced Poster ozVTR is on a distinguished road ozVTR's Avatar
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    Hmm. Have been mulling over adjusting tool and I think the secret is on the page 8 diagram. It says turn screw F, 3 turns (3mm). So if the adjusting screw has a 1mm pitch, screwing it in 3 turns will move the actuator 3mm. So the adjustment is: contact clutch fork + 3mm.

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