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View Poll Results: If you have faced a DSG mechatronics failure, please vote here(Multiple option poll):
My car is a Laura Petrol 1 5.88%
My car is a Laura Diesel 4 23.53%
My car is a Superb Petrol 5 29.41%
My car is a Superb Diesel 3 17.65%
It is a 6-speed DSG 6 35.29%
It is a 7-speed DSG 11 64.71%
The car is mostly chauffeur-driven 6 35.29%
The car is mostly self-driven 9 52.94%
Most of my drive is in crawling / stop-start traffic 6 35.29%
Most of my drive is in free-flowing traffic 4 23.53%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 20th December 2011, 22:34   #1
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Default DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Friend called in from Mumbai this morning - his Superb's DSG has packed up. Car would start but not move. Diagnosis is mechatronics failure - for a 2011-registered vehicle with less than 15,000 km on the odo...

There have been loads of stories of similar failures...
Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
...a mechatronic failure. Also it is not an openable unit. It may be the ecu o fthe gearbox but im not sure if they are the same thing, though i believe it is. One has to open the housing on the side of the gearbox (the black housing) and this unit is fixed in it, via two or three nuts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
Mechatron failure.
I'll be damned if I know what that is.
BUT I've been told it happens with this DSG gearbox.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
I've heard the 7 speed DSG box in the superb TSi is supposed to be problematic.
And even I want to know what exactly is this mechatronic jargon. Is it mechanical or electrical? And what are the parts that are replaced for such a huge amount.
Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
There were some noises on the forums that the DSG's worst days were behind it. From the looks of it, those were wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
What a place to put all the electronics, no wonder they fail in the heat! It has wire connectors dipped in oil!
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...Skoda has not run a single recall in India. Not for their DSGs...
A few random thoughts and comments come to mind:
  1. The petrol Superb comes with a 7-speed DSG which is more compact in its dimensions, than the diesel Superb's 6-speed DSG. It therefore contains less oil;
  2. The same oil that lubricates the gears also acts as a hydraulic fluid for the mechatronic module to shift the gears;
  3. Running the DSG in crawling / stop-start traffic with the shift always in 'D' mode generates extra heat from constant clutch friction. Even though the DSG has an oil-cooler, the oil tends to overheat in tropical conditions, and damage the mechatronics module (this was an explanation I received from someone whose name I am not in a position to quote);
  4. Shifting to 'N' in stop-start traffic may save the mechatronics module from terminal damage. Although this is counterproductive considering that an automatic gearbox should not need fiddling with the shifter every so often, one might save on a huge replacement bill;
  5. Why is the mechatronics module so sensitive? Is this somehow an example of poor German engineering?
  6. Why can the module not be sensitive enough to understand that a car has stopped, via its various sensors, and automatically shift to 'N' by itself? In the worst case scenario, why can't there be a limp-home mode in case the oil overheats? I found this little video in which an indicator can be installed to know the temperature inside the DSG as well as know which gear is engaged.
  7. Do 6-speed DSGs with their larger oil capacity have a lesser rate of failure than the 7-speed DSG (which is a newer design)?
  8. Is a chauffeur-driven car with DSG more prone to failure than one that is self-driven? Has a Skoda service centre told you this? If so, what is the chauffeur doing wrong?
I have created a poll to find out which DSG 'box is more prone to failure. Perhaps we can elicit some results.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 20th December 2011 at 22:45.
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Old 20th December 2011, 22:51   #2
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
[*]Running the DSG in crawling / stop-start traffic with the shift always in 'D' mode generates extra heat from constant clutch friction. Even though the DSG has an oil-cooler, the oil tends to overheat in tropical conditions, and damage the mechatronics module (this was an explanation I received from someone whose name I am not in a position to quote);
Somehow, I don't buy this explanation.
As you have mentioned, if this was really the problem, the DSG has more than enough intelligence to protect itself. And this type of problem should be caught in testing. Certainly not beyond ver 1.0.

The 'too good for Indians' is a leitmotif which I find alternately amusing and irritating. Am talking w.r.t Skoda, (well, their dealers) and on subjects other than the DSG.

Regards
Sutripta


Regards
Sutripta
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Old 20th December 2011, 23:54   #3
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

It's hard to put a finger on the issue, unless Skoda, and VAG run a complete diagnosis on the problem.

Now, we can't but blame Indian conditions for the DSG failures. Stop-start traffic should not affect the clutch too much. A company like Porsche, for example, discourages its customers from opting for a manual-'box on their cars. This could be attributed to the constant stop-start traffic that the vehicle is bound to be in, at some point during its service. And this, in turn, will wear out the clutch in no time. And Porsche's clutch-assemblies are not cheap at all.

However, they do recommend the automatic trannys, purely because the electronics take care of the clutch.

Getting back to the topic, the heat could be one of the reasons why the DSG 'box tends to fail.

Skodas and other cars equipped with the same sort of trannys aren't subjected to high temperatures. They are predominantly driven in Europe, where the temperature rarely goes beyond 30 degrees Celsius.

So the question I have is: Is the DSG 'box a good option for cars in India? We'll have to wait and see how the new Fiesta AT performs after a year or so. Would it be plagued with similar problems? If yes, then it's definitely something to do with Indian conditions. Be it the heat, or the insane traffic or even wrong-usage.

I have another question. I have heard of several instances of the DSG 'box packing-up in other cars that are driven in other countries. So is it an inherit problem with the 'box, or is it the tropical Indian climate that's the reason behind the problems?

Last edited by suhaas307 : 20th December 2011 at 23:59.
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Old 21st December 2011, 00:19   #4
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
....
  1. Running the DSG in crawling / stop-start traffic with the shift always in 'D' mode generates extra heat from constant clutch friction. Even though the DSG has an oil-cooler, the oil tends to overheat in tropical conditions, and damage the mechatronics module (this was an explanation I received from someone whose name I am not in a position to quote);
  2. Shifting to 'N' in stop-start traffic may save the mechatronics module from terminal damage. Although this is counterproductive considering that an automatic gearbox should not need fiddling with the shifter every so often, one might save on a huge replacement bill;
  3. Why is the mechatronics module so sensitive? Is this somehow an example of poor German engineering?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
...

The 'too good for Indians' is a leitmotif which I find alternately amusing and irritating. Am talking w.r.t Skoda, (well, their dealers) and on subjects other than the DSG.
...


Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
...
Now, we can't but blame Indian conditions for the DSG failures. ...
Before people try to debug the Indian conditions may be you want to look at the following:

VWVortex.com - DSG/Mechatronic Failure Update

A google search will throw more results.

VW DSG clutches are failing all over the world - if it required some particular driving method, it is the fault of the designers and not drivers.


As far as highlighted comments above are concerned - there is good engineering and there is bad engineering. There is no "German engineering" in the world outside of marketing rubbish. If you read the techonological history of the 30s, and 40s you'll realize that Germans got their behinds kicked by British and American engineers pretty bad in every engineering field.

Last edited by GTO : 31st July 2012 at 09:47. Reason: No inappropriate language on Team-BHP please (e.g. bull****)
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Old 21st December 2011, 00:27   #5
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post

I have another question. I have heard of several instances of the DSG 'box packing-up in other cars that are driven in other countries. So is it an inherit problem with the 'box, or is it the tropical Indian climate that's the reason behind the problems?
Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post

VW DSG clutches are failing all over the world - if it required some particular driving method, it is the fault of the designers and not drivers.


As far as highlighted comments above are concerned - there is good engineering and there is bad engineering. There is no "German engineering" in the world outside of marketing rubbish. If you read the techonological history of the 30s, and 40s you'll realize that Germans got their behinds kicked by British and American engineers pretty bad in every engineering field.
Vina, perhaps you should read my entire post before quoting me out of context?

I did mention that I've heard of DSG gearboxes failing not just in India, but in the other parts of the World.

At the end of the day, it's not just electronics but also a lot of mechanical components in a car, and if you don't take care of it, it's bound to go kaput. Also, one cannot come to the conclusion that it's an engineering defect if there is a 'required-method' to drive the car.

There is always a required method to drive any car, whether it's powered by electricity, petrol or diesel. If you don't drive it the way you're supposed to, it will pack up. Clutches in manual cars pack-up if you drive like a nut. And if one fiddles with the controls of any part of the car for too long, to the point of abuse, it will not last. Everything has a life.

Last edited by GTO : 31st July 2012 at 09:48. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 21st December 2011, 00:45   #6
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
Vina, perhaps you should read my entire post before quoting me out of context?

I did mention that I've heard of DSG gearboxes failing not just in India, but in the other parts of the World.
I did read your entire post (every other post as well). I quoted only a part of it because (1) re-posting long posts is discouraged on TBHP (2) save for the last two lines of your post, the part I quoted sums up you post pretty well (3) Sometime the guy quoting you might want to comment only on a part of your post - that is not out of context


If you really believe that failures are cropping up in the rest of the world then why write about blaming Indian condition for a dozen lines first before posing an innocent question?



Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
... Also, one cannot come to the conclusion that it's an engineering defect if there is a 'required-method' to drive the car.

There is always a required method to drive any car, whether it's powered by electricity, petrol or diesel. If you don't drive it the way you're supposed to, it will pack up. Clutches in manual cars pack-up if you drive like a nut. And if one fiddles with the controls of any part of the car for too long, to the point of abuse, it will not last. Everything has a life.
How are you supposed to driver VW cars? Is that different from other brands? Is it mentioned in owners' manual?

There are usual methods of using common equipment, and unless the manufacturer tells "my product is different" it is valid for the users to use it they would use any similar equipment.

Did VW issue any special driving methods bulleting that Indian (or any other drivers) are not following? If not then it is clearly their fault. And yes that is bad engineering - if your premise is accepted we must also accept that VW engineers can't make their stuff work with normal driver behaviour. Given that the clutch is failing all over the world, this is not merely an Indian drver problem.
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Old 21st December 2011, 01:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
I did read your entire post (every other post as well). I quoted only a part of it because (1) re-posting long posts is discouraged on TBHP (2) save for the last two lines of your post, the part I quoted sums up you post pretty well (3) Sometime the guy quoting you might want to comment only on a part of your post - that is not out of context
1) Agreed.

2) Umm, nope. It does not sum up my post in any way. I've merely mentioned several scenarios and possibilities. And you've taken one of those possibilities and harped on it.

3) Exactly what you've done. Which is okay. Not really out of context. But if you read my entire post, you'd realize that I'm not singling out anything, where as you made it look like I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
If you really believe that failures are cropping up in the rest of the world then why write about blaming Indian condition for a dozen lines first before posing an innocent question?
No. I do not 'believe'. I said, it could be. it's a possibility. It's plausible. I haven't put a full-stop and arrived at any conclusion. I'd appreciate it if you're a less condescending and a little more discussion-oriented.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
How are you supposed to driver VW cars? Is that different from other brands? Is it mentioned in owners' manual?

There are usual methods of using common equipment, and unless the manufacturer tells "my product is different" it is valid for the users to use it they would use any similar equipment.

Did VW issue any special driving methods bulleting that Indian (or any other drivers) are not following? If not then it is clearly their fault. And yes that is bad engineering - if your premise is accepted we must also accept that VW engineers can't make their stuff work with normal driver behaviour. Given that the clutch is failing all over the world, this is not merely an Indian drver problem.
You've got me completely wrong.

I did not, for one second, say that it's a VW thing. Did I? I'd even mentioned the Fiesta AT in my earlier post. You really have to start reading the posts clearly before jumping to conclusions and latching onto single sentences.

There is nothing different about the usage. Every car is used and driven the same way. Some cars are always driven hard, while some cars don't see the business end of the RPM meter at all. Now it's just common sense here. Which car will last longer? The car that's been abused and wrung by its neck, or the car that's been babied in its lifetime?

Indian driving conditions strain cars to a much higher extent. Dust, pollution, low quality fuel, stop-start traffic, etc is bound to reduce the life of the engine and components of the same. Drive the same car in a far more controlled environment, and it will not be as problematic.

And how sure are you that the cars that have developed problems with the DSG 'box have been driven 'normally'? We're not sure. None of us are. It's a presumption. It may, or may not be driven normally. We don't know.

If it is a universal problem, then it's definitely an engineering defect. But if not, then it's only natural to look at other possibilities. As far as I know, DSG 'boxes do have their fair share of issues. But not as much as in India. Or maybe not? I don't know. My views and opinions are subject to changes. I am not rigid.

I'm here on Team BHP to learn.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 21st December 2011 at 01:07.
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Old 21st December 2011, 01:24   #8
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
If it is a universal problem, then it's definitely an engineering defect. But if not, then it's only natural to look at other possibilities. As far as I know, DSG 'boxes do have their fair share of issues. But not as much as in India. Or maybe not? I don't know. My views and opinions are subject to changes. I am not rigid.

I'm here on Team BHP to learn.


The last two lines - I'll let them slide. I perhaps read too much in your posts, and you perhaps took it personally.

Last edited by .anshuman : 22nd December 2011 at 11:12. Reason: note removed
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Old 21st December 2011, 02:14   #9
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Direct-Shift Gearbox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The damn thing is on Wikipedia !

There are threads from UK owners cursing VW - apparently VW has been making rather lame excuses in many cases to void warranties, local laws are not as stringent as in US, so not much can be done.
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Old 21st December 2011, 10:52   #10
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
  1. Is a chauffeur-driven car with DSG more prone to failure than one that is self-driven? Has a Skoda service centre told you this? If so, what is the chauffeur doing wrong?
I fail to see the relevance of this, knowing my driver can drive at the very least as well as I do.
Otherwise either he is in the wrong profession, or I am.
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:02   #11
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

I didn't vote because I don't own a DSG-sporting car but I will surely confess the only reason I didn't take the Laura DSG seriously as a potential purchase was because of those damn "mechatronics" failures. What does that even mean? It's just some portmanteau word that the folks at VW AG made up!

I have an old school AT on my Vento and am quite happy with it. It's not lightning-swift like the DSG- not by a mile!- but it's a small price to pay for peace of mind. The only problem I've seen (not on mine) is when a friend who has the identical car came to an emergency halt from 120 k's and after that the car was sluggish to pick up and didn't go beyond 110 or so. A TCU reset took care of that problem, pretty much. At least he didn't have to go and replace the entire gearbox the way these poor DSG victims have to!

DSG is a sound concept in theory but till they work out these kinks, am for sure not plonking my hard-earned money down on it!

Edit: How on earth can you "drive an AT wrong"? A friend and I were debating the same thing and he suggested that perhaps the driver-log put the car into P without coming to a complete halt first. Or slot from D to R when car is still in motion. Or press brake and accelerator with either foot (I've seen this being done ) But does any of these warrant an entire gearbox to FAIL? How delicate *is* the darn thing?

Last edited by noopster : 21st December 2011 at 11:05.
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:06   #12
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

There are even more harsh conditions than India if environment aspects are taken into account. With respect to traffic, I dont believe thats the cause because its not happening only in India.

On a side note, today when I was driving my A-Star automatic, I did notice the extra vibration (or rpm) when stopped in traffic with lever on D. I move it to N to bring the car to a smooth state. It would however take a bit of extra time when moved into D (and kick the gear in) when you want to move ahead.
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:20   #13
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Is the DSG failure a common phenomenon with VAG cars worldwide? Even with minimum pollution, I have seen quite a few cases reported here in SG auto forums.

And just a question on the choices in the poll – Do we have a Laura petrol with DSG (the first option in the poll)?
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:30   #14
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^^ No we don't, the TSI comes only with the manual tranny. Good catch, vb-san!
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Old 21st December 2011, 11:32   #15
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Default Re: DSG Mechatronics Failures: Are we driving them wrongly?

Automatics are always kept in D mode in Traffic jams, with foot on the brake. Thats how everybody has been driving automatics forever. So if the DSG box is not designed to handle such use, then it should not be put in cars.
A car is for real world use, not laboratory use.

What next. Suspension failures are caused by bad roads. Users should not drive on roads which are bad??
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