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Full Version '98 2.1 Auto. Info Wanted

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Could anyone give me any information about the auto box used on a '98 2.1 ? Is it all mechanical or does it have any electronic connotations? what sort of problems do they give and how can I tell if there is likely to be one? - Yes, I'm sort of tempted as you can't get any late manual ones

Hi Peter,

can't give you any tech-spec, but from a useage pov - mine have all been troublefree.

My last 2.1 TD estate racked up almost 200K miles before I mistakenly read the dipstick thinking it was OK when in fact it was very low [ I now wear my reading glasses when looking at dipsticks! ]. I then undertook a 2500 mile blast with heavy trailer and car accross France /Germany and irreversibly damaged the box. Got me home though!

My Daughter's similar car [ hatch ] did similar mileage and is still going strong [ and used for towing ] with 250K miles on the original box.

All I do is flush and refill the box on any new to me car - irrespective of service history and Robert's your Father's brother Sibling.

I now also add a can of magic Lucas oil additive. I've ued it on all my auto cars [ actually that's all my cars! ] and can honestly say there has been a noticeable improvement. As to long term benefits - don't know. My current XM is "only" on 120K miles and my Wife's Scooby Estate on 140K miles. Her Celica GT showed the best improvement at 150K miles, and the box now has silky smooth shifts and holds really hard under "power" mode. My T5 has the highest mileage at 170K miles and has also benefitted from the additive. Both the Scooby and the Celica had very minor oil weeps from the box - both completely cured after the Lucas treatment.

Usual disclaimer - no connectionj with Lucas Oil Co., except an extremely satisfied customer.
Hi Beachcomber

Thanks for the info. I think you mentioned before about the longevity of your auto boxes, shows its possible to get good mileages if you look after them. The problem is of course, you don't know how the previous owner has looked after it, unless it has service history of course.

I see that silver one from Southend is up for sale again, '98 R, 98k and I like the colour. I was going to see it last time but was unable to due to other commitments.

The additional problems of a late 2.1 are the EPIC pump and lack of a glove box, I don't know if there is anything else I have missed.

It's a gamble really. I've struck lucky with both my autos - the first was maintained by an XM enthusiast so had regular oil changes, the second was neglected and had dirty burnt-smelling brown oil but has been transformed with four complete flushes.

On my latest acquisition, if the original spheres are anything to go by (changed them all yesterday and I've got the bruised knuckles and grazes to prove it tongue.gif ), it was probably on its original transmission oil at 170k!! Saying that 170k in 9 years means plenty of long runs that would have kept the transmission oil warm.

So if the car is cheap enough, don't let brown smelly oil put you off completely, just take it into consideration along with the usage / mileage.

A test drive is all important - fluid nice and warm - see if it engages drive without a clunk & changes smoothly through all gears.

They'll probably both blow up tomorrow now I've said all this biggrin.gif
Hi Peter,
I had one and liked it overall. As far as I know the box is mechanical and the main external adjustment is to the length of the kick-down cable.There is a glove box albeit a small one due to the pass. airbag. As suggested by wirdy give it a good work-out to operating temperature to ensure smooth gearchanges up and down, also drive stop and reverse without snatching. The oil should be clear and definitely sniff the oil on the dipstick. if it has a burnt smell think again at the price.
The other things you may dislike after a manual are the mpg is not as good and the box ratios and change points are such that the engine sounds busy all the time in urban driving. you get used to that but always aware of it. A test drive is the only way to find out if that is ok for you.
I was tempted myself by the car you mentioned including the first occasion but I think the urge has passed. I could easily end up with one of each model like so many on here, it seems to be addictive! I too like the colour.
There was a low mileage black one for sale on the Lincs coast I think we both eyed as well. I wonder is it sold. It dawned on me that it might be a bit too hearse-like though.


Hi Robert

Mmm, I'm going off it a bit now. I did drive one once and was very unimpressed at the revs it changed up at. I like my cars quiet. I very rarely drive at over 2000 rpm, except on the motorway and generally drive in the 14-1800 rpm range. The fuel consumption comparisons are not to bad except urban, as I live in the country and very rarely drive urban that should help, although driving on the motorways is getting like 'urban' a lot of the time.

I still live in hopes of a late manual turning up but I have only ever seen one, I think it must have been a special order.

Hi Peter,

I think there may well have been a fault with the version that you drove as you say you were -"unimpressed at the revs it changed up at"..............

I suspect that means high revs - not low?

ALL the boxes I've been involved with have changed both up and down flawlessly and if gentle acceleration is employed [ "normal" ? ], then the changes are seemless and quiet. From your own description you would appear to be a sympathetic driver and I can honestly say that driven in that manner all my autos have performed in a similar manner - Citroen or otherwise.

IF the kickdown is badly adjusted or other maladies in maintenance, then I guess you might expect the circumstances that you describe.

Even in "hold down / manual" mode the changes are not violent - the revs are higher of course dependent on how far your boot is in it!

I have again been looking at V6's and TD's to replace my T5 in Germany, and have seen a lot of manuals with "low" mileage requiring clutches.

I've ALWAYS had auto's through choice since I started driving 47 years ago, and never regretted any one of them. I've never had to have a clutch replaced either!

ALL my CX's [ 10 ] except 1 were autos - same results there. Most of them were on 200K + when I parted them on. At least 2 of those went on to record 300K miles before their demise - neither due to auto failure.

I've used auto's in race cars with 1000bhp - and still they've coped - at the other end of the scale I've bimbled accross Europe at "tourist" speeds AND enjoyed not having to be continually up and down on a clutch pedal whilst sightseeing etc.

That's just my [ and my family's ] experience of autos.

Good luck with your search - Spanish or Auto!

I don't think that Peter is saying it wasn't smooth - just that its choice of gear was not what he would choose. He likes to drive so that the Turbo barely even spins up by the sounds of it - and reaps the fuel consumption benefits of doing so.

Would the auto box really ever behave like that even with a very light foot? I would have expected it to tend towards the 1800 - 2500 range even with a light foot, moving to 3000 and over with kickdown.

I have very little experience of driving autos, but the couple I have driven have tended to higher revs than I drive with when I am in a sedate mood, and I am by no means a low revs driver.
Hi Peter, i run 2 auto's, a 94 mk2 & a 2000 both 2.1's.My saga with the 2000 car is on file on this site and worth a perusal. The 94 car has given endless smooth performance and is the gauge with which i measure all other cars i'm in. Both cars are used almost exclusively on medium to long haul trips -the 2000 car shuttling around europe, predominantly from my home in the highlands to my work in the south of France-and tankful to tankful exceeds 800 miles on the long run home and never less than 550 on shorter more frequent trips. I don't drive with a mind on economy, only the most suitable speed for the driving conditions, and with cruise engaged at any appropriate time,and as often as i can.As an example of range, i fill the car in ASDA's in Elgin and then top up an hour from Paris, 15 hours later. On the way home i fill up at the channel port - cost saving. My first xm was a 92 sed manual,and yes ,you could decide at what point you changed gear and fuel consumption was marginally better on the medium usage, but on the long haul it is not noticeable.After my woes with the 2000 car it would be fair to say i am paranoid on servicing them both at 5000 mile intervals! My preference is always to choose the auto above the manual
Sorry forgot to get to the point.There are no electronics involved in the operation or management of ZF4HP18, ONLY a fault warning on the left dot matix display for overheat, i saw it when my auto box failed!
Thanks for the updates folks.

800 miles on a tankful sounds good, that's around what I get from the manual on a reasonably long trip, although I have on occaisions managed 900 driving very gently. If they are capable of that sort of fuel consumption I would certainly be more interested.

My complaint about the one I drove wasn't the smoothness of the change it was the revs that it changed up at, something like 2.5 to 3k which makes it noisey. I normally change up at about 2k and drive around 1200-1800, the auto didn't seem to want to do that.

Can anyone confirm those fuel consumption figures? Not that I don't believe you Robert, but I feel that yours may be exeptional.
Hi Peter, with ref to the noise, i agree that due to what seems an overly low ratio in second, stepdown from 3 to 2 generates high revs and a fair crescendo of noise as the engine revs crash past 2500 up to 4000/4200 before the change up takes place - or earlier as you ease off, and with regard to fuel consumption, Elgin to an hour or so north of Paris until the low fuel warning light illuminates, on what? about 80 litres of fuel.There is some debate as to whether cruise is detrimental to fuel burn - i can't say, never done a long trip without it.
Hi Robert

That must be what I didn't like, all those revs seem to be so unnecessary and wasteful. Pruesmably on your Elgin to Paris journey it will be in top gear most of the time and I believe that has lock up. Still impressive consumption though. I would have thought that cruise would have an adverse affect on economy as it will maintain a constant speed up hill and down dale, if I find that the car is slowing on a steepish hill, I will leave the throttle in its present position and let it slow down a little rather than flooring it.

I do my most economical journey in the opposite direction to you. I fill up in Axminster and then again at Tesco in Inverness, it has usually used 2/3 tank, I have managed 55 mpg on that journey.

If I get the opportunity I will try another auto, or perhaps try and borrow one for a day.

I must say that I've never noticed any "crashing or thrashing" changing up or down and that's at any speed / load condition - even with trailer and load.
Now it's been mentioned , I'll actually pay attention next time I'm out in the car and note what points the changes are in normal and "brisk" mode.

I have to say I NEVER look at the rev counter - driven in auto mode, hardly seems any point?

In fact my Boris [ Becker ] sits on it's mounting in front of the rev counter, as I don't like to have sat nav's on my windscreen. Well OK - I can't see them if they're that far away! wacko.gif

I can confirm the fuel economy on long journey's, especially when there's a lot of highway use. See my previous postings re: towing with 2 tons + and "touring" trips.

I'm intrigued about the "snow mode" auto boxes - only fitted to V6?

Diesel has now gone up yet again in Germany, so that V6 with LPG is looking better by the moment!

I get an excellent price on LPG for my domestic use in Saxony [ 20p / litre ], even better than the already super cheap pump prices - nudge, nudge, wink, wink. rolleyes.gif

XM v6 sadist

Snow mode in autos - basically it starts the box off in second rather than third.

It seems a pity the HP20 never made it to the diesels since when you drive in Economy mode on the auto it really does make a difference - change ups usually well before ~2000rpm. This would be ideally suited to the torque in an XM diesel.

I've only driven an auto diesel once or twice but in the last 15years or of driving manual diesels (I've had 7 or 8 different company car diesels) and my own Ho**a, all of them I've driven with change ups at ~1800-2000rpm - in the fat of the torque curve - I think I'd be fairly annoyed to drive a diesel that changed up at 2500-3000rpm.


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