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Old 4th May 2015, 10:43   #1
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Default Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

After a long search I have zeroed in on a good pre-owned Scorpio automatic through a friend's friend. Took it out for a long test drive in-city and out and this is what I found. The car is mid-2013 white with 40K KMs on odo and looks stunning. But, the AT box behaves very weirdly.

When we slot into D and let go of the brake, it picked up but thereafter engine revs rose but car didn't pick up nor did it change to 2nd / 3rd. 2nd/3rd came up at around 3K rpm (high for a diesel car). By this time engine screamed sitting just there. But once we hit 3rd/4th and 60 kph, thereafter, the car kind of took off in a typical Scorpio manner. 4th.5th.6th came up in quick succession without any abnormal rise in rpm. What could be the problem?

It's almost like it has two engines. First engine struggles to reach 60 through 2nd/ 3rd. But once there, something else takes over (like a booster rocket) and propels it to 120 kph in very quick sedan-matching time.

I'm intrigued. I like the car otherwise and it is hard to come by a good used Scorpio AT, so I do not want to miss this one but at the same time I'm concerned. The present owner is clueless and says this is how it has always been and he thought this is pretty much how diesel cars run (he is a returning NRI who bought this upon his return and doesn't know anything about diesels, being used to gasoline automatics). But I do and I have seen Scorpios flying on highways, glued to bumpers of even D segment sedans. last year, during the course of my search, I had driven 2/3 Scorpio ATs, one of which had 1.1 lakh Km on odo but none exhibited this oddity. Those were just flying from the word go. I didn't pick them for other reasons.

0-60 KPH is more important to me as this is where we dwell most of the times in city traffic. 60-120 is not so important to me. I struggled to take it up to 0 to 60 on several runs. Throttle input would only make the engine scream as revs rise. Alternatively, I pussy-footed the throttle gently till it shifted to 2nd/3rd in its own sweet time. There is no flashing light on dashboard to indicate any malfunction. The car does not jerk, gears engage very smoothly (albeit delayed initially).

A quick google search revealed any one or more of the following could be reason.

1. Low ATF fluid.
2. Transmission cooling pipes clogged.
3. TCM ( Trans Control Module ) not ok.
4. Gear wheels (bands) worn out.
5. Oxygen sensor issue
6. Torque converter malfunctioning.

Requesting experts to throw some light which one of the above could be the reason? Which one of the above fails to trigger a flashing light on dash-board? If we know that, we know the source of problem. Any suggestions please. Scorpio AT users, did any of you experience this? I don't want to miss this car so if I know that the problem is minor and can be fixed, then I will go for it.

Last edited by noopster : 4th May 2015 at 15:39. Reason: Removing high-speed references in keeping with Team BHP rules
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Old 4th May 2015, 12:17   #2
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Default re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

I guess this behavior can be attributed to the old school torque converter which takes its own sweet time to get the fluids churning and then transmit power. You can pretty much feel the transmission oil spinning inside it before it sends the torque. But once it locks in, you get that trademark good Scorpio acceleration. Basically, you get strong performance at all times on open roads but plenty of frustration in traffic.

You must be feeling the artificial lag in the 1600-2200rpm range. The Pajero Sport AT also suffers from the same problem.
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Old 4th May 2015, 16:08   #3
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Default re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Thanks Shreyans for your reply but no, it is not because of Torque Converter. I have driven 3 AT Scorpios before this and they were flying all the way from 0 to 100. Complete linear acceleration. No flat spot at all. But all 3 were of 2009 make. I wonder if Mahindra screwed up with AT box in 2013. Because , they had stopped AT sometime in 2012 and restarted later. May be 2013 make has a box from different supplier. I think I should look for a 2009 Scorpio AT but it may be in bad shape otherwise, owing to 6 year old wear and tear. I don't know why this Scorpio is behaving the way it is.

Also while on the subject of torque converter(TC), I find them better than even DSG. None of the initial lag/hesitation of DSG and no, I never felt any liquid sloshing around. I have an A-Star AT and it performs excellent. Instantaneous acceleration. It is also TC. Then my cousin's Accord V6 AT. Again a TC with mind-numbing acceleration, all the way from 0 to 160.

Last edited by pgsagar : 4th May 2015 at 16:11.
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Old 4th May 2015, 18:10   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

I have not driven a scorpio automatic; still this seems very weird in the first place and warrants a thorough check at a competent workshop.

Slush box should not show different characteristics, as and when it shifts the gears. They can be lethargic in shift or pace, but then it will be same in almost all gears. I can understand if the character changes due to sports mode or similar, but normally it will be similar performance in the same mode.

If the engine RPM is rising without any gain in momentum, doesn't it mean there is some slippage?

Since these boxes are expensive to repair, i would recommend a thorough check before signing up.
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Old 4th May 2015, 18:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Thanks Shreyans for your reply but no, it is not because of Torque Converter. I have driven 3 AT Scorpios before this and they were flying all the way from 0 to 100.

Also while on the subject of torque converter(TC), I find them better than even DSG. None of the initial lag/hesitation of DSG and no, I never felt any liquid sloshing around. I have an A-Star AT and it performs excellent. Instantaneous acceleration. It is also TC. Then my cousin's Accord V6 AT. Again a TC with mind-numbing acceleration, all the way from 0 to 160.
If the ATF is orangish and not black, and the level is right, then clutch band wear most likely - engine rpm rise with no corresponding rise in speed. Would require opening up and refurbishing. I would stay away or bargain like crazy.

Comparing a TC AT and a DSG is like comparing a chimpanzee to Einstein. DSG blows a traditional Honda/Hyundai torque converter ATs into the weeds with sheer responsiveness and efficiency.(gt Tsi, accord AT, i10 AT - my cars) . However bumper to bumper isn't as smooth. But easily forgiven.
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Old 4th May 2015, 18:29   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

That certainly is atypical for any auto box - and something that demands a thorough check.

An easy checkpoint to start off with is to see if there are any leaks of the gearbox oil/ATF on the floor, that might have caused its levels to dip sufficiently to potentially contribute to this problem. The ATF is typically bright red in color. Suffice to say, if the leak is confirmed, the very next critical activity would be to get it fixed and ATF topped up.

Last edited by theMAG : 4th May 2015 at 18:30.
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Old 4th May 2015, 18:35   #7
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Since you report no error lights:

1. Check if the ATF oil cooler (behind the radiator on the left side of the car) is undamaged, clean and muck-free.

2. Do a stall test to check for slipping transmission clutches
  • Apply the parking brake.
  • Start the engine.
  • Depress the brake pedal.
  • Move the gear select lever to DRIVE position.
  • Fully depress the accelerator pedal for 6 seconds and observe engine speed.
  • Release the accelerator pedal.
  • Move the TGS lever to REVERSE position.
  • Fully depress the accelerator pedal for 6 seconds and observe engine speed.
  • If the engine speed goes more than 3000 rpm – leave the car alone.
3. There was a software update for the TCU IIRC (not sure when). Ask the owner if it was done. If the owner allows it, you can take the car in to a M&M ASS and get them to check if the software is up-to-date.

4. Is the shifting jerky? (i.e. harsh engagement of gears, for e.g. while shifting from N to D/R the complete vehicle shakes; or, while driving, jerks are felt similar to sudden clutch release in manual transmission) This can be solved by a competent ASS through a (fairly time consuming) TCU learning procedure called the *fast adoptive procedure*, using their proprietary software on their laptop.
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Old 4th May 2015, 20:26   #8
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post

Slush box should not show different characteristics, as and when it shifts the gears. They can be lethargic in shift or pace, but then it will be same in almost all gears.

If the engine RPM is rising without any gain in momentum, doesn't it mean there is some slippage?
Thanks Jaggu. yes, you are spot on there is slippage like a burnt clutch in an MT. But it is not consistent across the gear range. It is lethargic upto 3rd and picks up fast from 4th onwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
That certainly is atypical for any auto box - and something that demands a thorough check.

An easy checkpoint to start off with is to see if there are any leaks of the gearbox oil/ATF on the floor, that might have caused its levels to dip sufficiently to potentially contribute to this problem. The ATF is typically bright red in color. Suffice to say, if the leak is confirmed, the very next critical activity would be to get it fixed and ATF topped up.
Thanks Mag, I will look for the leak signs underneath. Yes, this indeed is an atypical case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Since you report no error lights:

1. Check if the ATF oil cooler (behind the radiator on the left side of the car) is undamaged, clean and muck-free.

2. Do a stall test to check for slipping transmission clutches
  • Apply the parking brake.
  • Start the engine.
  • Depress the brake pedal.
  • Move the gear select lever to DRIVE position.
  • Fully depress the accelerator pedal for 6 seconds and observe engine speed.
  • Release the accelerator pedal.
  • Move the TGS lever to REVERSE position.
  • Fully depress the accelerator pedal for 6 seconds and observe engine speed.
  • If the engine speed goes more than 3000 rpm leave the car alone.
3. There was a software update for the TCU IIRC (not sure when). Ask the owner if it was done. If the owner allows it, you can take the car in to a M&M ASS and get them to check if the software is up-to-date.

4. Is the shifting jerky? (i.e. harsh engagement of gears, for e.g. while shifting from N to D/R the complete vehicle shakes; or, while driving, jerks are felt similar to sudden clutch release in manual transmission) This can be solved by a competent ASS through a (fairly time consuming) TCU learning procedure called the *fast adoptive procedure*, using their proprietary software on their laptop.
Thanks SS. I'm afraid rpm does shoot up to 3K before it changes to 2nd and again to 3K for change to 3rd. From 4th/60 kph, this car wakes up and comes into its own. I will take this over to local dealer and have it thoroughly checked. Any raised eyebrows and I will walk away. Thanks a lot guys.
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Old 4th May 2015, 22:22   #9
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

I owned Scorpio Automatic for 5 years (60K km) before I sold it earlier this year and I didn't encounter this behavior at all. Can you confirm that you were not driving in "M" as opposed to "D"? If it is in "M" it upshifts at 3K RPM. Also the W/N switch was at N (W stands for Winter mode)
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Old 4th May 2015, 23:24   #10
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondadude View Post
I owned Scorpio Automatic for 5 years (60K km) before I sold it earlier this year and I didn't encounter this behavior at all. Can you confirm that you were not driving in "M" as opposed to "D"? If it is in "M" it upshifts at 3K RPM. Also the W/N switch was at N (W stands for Winter mode)
No, the gear lever was in D. Not M. And the toggle switch was at N. Not W. Do you say it is normal to upshift from 1st and 2nd cog at 3K rpm? Isn't it too high an rpm?
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Old 4th May 2015, 23:51   #11
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Have you driven the car on an incline, decline and flat road? Can you confirm if it behaves the same? According to me, there shouldn't be any problem on flat and declines, on incline it will tend to hold longer. But if the problem is same across all types of roads, then my guess is one of the sensors in the gearbox would have failed.
This will set you back by 50k.

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2015 at 14:29. Reason: Typo
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Old 5th May 2015, 00:36   #12
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
After a long search I have zeroed in on a good pre-owned Scorpio automatic through a friend's friend. Took it out for a long test drive in-city and out and this is what I found. The car is mid-2013 white with 40K KMs on odo and looks stunning. But, the AT box behaves very weirdly.

When we slot into D and let go of the brake, it picked up but thereafter engine revs rose but car didn't pick up nor did it change to 2nd / 3rd. 2nd/3rd came up at around 3K rpm (high for a diesel car). By this time engine screamed sitting just there. But once we hit 3rd/4th and 60 kph, thereafter, the car kind of took off in a typical Scorpio manner. 4th.5th.6th came up in quick succession without any abnormal rise in rpm. What could be the problem?
Hi,
AT boxes operate with planetary gears and a number of clutches. Separate clutch engages for separate gears. If the clutch plates of the clutch that engages for 2nd / 3rd gear are worn-out, then you can notice such problem.
For 04th, 05th and 06th gear, the worn clutch disengages and different clutch(es) engage. So you do not find any problem in these gears.

The clutch(es) for 02nd and 03rd gear undergo more useage.

It is better to get this issue resolved from Mahindra ASS before making a deal. If you feel necessary to close the deal fast, take the car to Mahindra ASS and get a detailed quotation including the material and labour. You can then deduct this amount from the car's negotiated price.

If the car is continued to be driven with worn clutches, it will result in overheating and degradation of the AT fluid, damage on bearings and other clutches too.

I have witnessed and serviced / repaired AT boxes (2 forward + 2 reverse) on forklift trucks where I noticed this phenomenon.

Wish you the best for the solution and the subsequent deal.
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Old 5th May 2015, 12:37   #13
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Anandkumar, what sensor could it be? Even on flat, it changes to 2nd only when revs touch screaming 3K rpm.

Rahul, wow! You sound like at AT doctor. I think you are spot on. 2nd 3rd gear clutches must be worn out. Tomorrow, I will visit M&M and will have it looked upon.
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Old 5th May 2015, 15:29   #14
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
No, the gear lever was in D. Not M. And the toggle switch was at N. Not W. Do you say it is normal to upshift from 1st and 2nd cog at 3K rpm? Isn't it too high an rpm?
In M mode, it upshifts at 3K+ RPM. In D mode, it upshifts much earlier.

Frankly considering the problem with the vehicle, I would look for another Scoprio AT. Mahindra dealerships are not very good at diagnosing AT problems.
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Old 5th May 2015, 16:13   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra Scorpio Automatic: Gearbox problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
I'm afraid rpm does shoot up to 3K before it changes to 2nd and again to 3K for change to 3rd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
...engine revs rose but car didn't pick up nor did it change to 2nd / 3rd. 2nd/3rd came up at around 3K rpm (high for a diesel car). By this time engine screamed sitting just there.
Leave the car alone.
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