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AL4 Gearbox Valve Replacement - Repair Notes and Guide

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Author Post
Ozman49   
Fri Jun 15 2018, 12:42am
Member No: #42926
Joined: Dec 10 2015
Location: Australia
A ton of stuff has been written on this and I read it all before doing my own vehicle.

I hope that the following adds to the body of knowledge and maybe includes some extra info/tips which may guide those who need to do this work

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Citroen C4 AL4 Gearbox Valves – Repair Notes

Date carried out = 12/6/18

Work was carried out without removing the radiator – definitely a two person job this way.

Car placed on van ramps overnight – gearbox drained next day – cold (figured if I warmed it up it’d recirculate so maybe no gain over overnight drain/ cold empty.
NOTE: Make sure you can remove the filler plug BEFORE you drain the fluid!!

Amount released – 2.8L – muddy grey colour – fluid was Citroen Spec ESSO LT 71141 (yellow) put in by a local mechanic when the valve problems began.

Note that the fill plug requires a torx bit and it can be reached without taking out the battery by using a long 3/8 in bar and ratchet handle. Putting it back in without thread jamming took some wiggling – push bar towards the rear and to the engine a bit – if the plug seems tight, stop and re-do it – it turns easily when correct.

Note: The sump plug requires an 8mm square drive – sump plug set purchased from Supercheap (Aus) – about $36 – ugh.

Repair required removal of the bracket holding the radiator hoses and ropes pulling them away from the gearbox (tied to a convenient post)

The pan cover came off OK – the top left torx screw is hard to get to.

A small amount of fluid was recovered from the valve body area.

The six side mounted valve clips were removed next – these proved tougher to remove than shown in videos – tried using allan keys behind each clip (pulling outwards) but the fluid makes the key slippery and too hard to get sufficient pull – a long, very thin flat bladed screwdriver eventually did the job. There is also a roundish plastic loom retainer at the top which needs to be popped out (after the next step of removing the 7 screws).

7 torx screws securing the valve body were removed easily – screw remover person beneath car – one person holding the valve body from the top - Note that spring pressure from the top is evident when the top screws are removed. This is caused by the long arm covering the manual valve rod (a matter not raised anywhere that I’ve read). Note that the removal of the screws results in the front cover plate of the valve body being un-secured – just hold it in place as it’s withdrawn. There are references which indicate that two of the screws are shouldered to allow alignment of the valve body when re-installing – None of the 7 screws in this case were shouldered.

The valve body was tilted out enough (being held by the person beneath-who by this time has fluid running up arms etc) for the top person to wiggle and remove the connectors from the problem valves. The valve body was then lowered down and out to the upstairs person.

The manual valve arm and associated clip were then removed (NB..NB – this MUST be replaced in the same position- TIP – scribe lines on the valve body to allow correct placement – we didn’t but there were brown marks from fluid which allowed us to get it back correctly – the risk with this is that handling the body will smear/remove the fluid marks)

The valves were then removed and replaced – takes literally one minute to do this. At this point you reflect on the amount of work necessary to get to this simple point.

Back on the ground for the unlucky person – valve body passed in and held – a bit of trouble getting it positioned – Upper person re-clips leads to the new top valves and positions the notch in manual rod to match the lug/pin in the notched ‘swing’ plate (fiddly) – lower person needs to be able to check that the position is OK. We were initially puzzled as to whether the long arm had to engage the notches in the swing arm but resolved that it was just a matter of the top person pushing against the spring pressure of the arm to allow the valve body to be screwed in. Before the screwing, the side valve loom has to be repositioned including the upper plastic bit. Once screwed back in, the 6 side valve clips can be refitted – again – they were a bit harder to push on than expected.

Refitting screws calls for a torque of about 80Nm – we tested on undoing and just did it by feel because I don’t have a small torque wrench (but will now buy one for future use) – all felt good and turned out OK (so far at least). The specified way is to tighten all to about 90Nm then loosen and retighten in order to the specified torque.

Looking at the body in place, the order is:
- 5
6 1
2 3
4 7

Check the seal on the cover pan cover and replace if necessary (we didn’t). Don’t overtighten – 10Nm specified – again we did it by feel.

Refilling:

I looked into buying the ESSO LT 71141 fluid but is wasn’t economically feasible and so after reading reams of info I settled on using Penrite multi-vehicle fully synthetic ATF – (not the low viscosity one).

The total capacity of the box and converter is stated to be 5.85L while drain and re-fill takes about 3L so inevitably a mix of fluids results. I have it in mind to run the vehicle for a while and do another refill so the old fluid will only comprise 25% of the total.

Anyway – again people have differing stories about how much is needed to refill. Here’s mine:

I initially cold drained 2.8L (car was on small ramps at the time)
I refilled with 3.1L and after a drive I used a spirit level across the front and a small ramp to ensure the car was level – with the engine running I drained 0.1L from the overflow – still a small flow with air bubbles when I decided it was enough and replaced the plug – Hence 3.0L back in. So I guess a rule of thumb may be to initially go 0.3L to 0.5L more than you pull out and then drain to suit.

As an extra, I added 50mls of AW10, a relatively expensive 'slippery dip' from CEM (Cost Effective Maintenance).

There it is - all now seems good - smooth shifts ...Ahh bliss and fingers crossed!!

hopefully these notes are of some assistance

Cheers
 

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