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stagea tiptronic

Tip(tronic) over the edge

There’s nothing like driving off to work from home and then returning back there a few hours later…in the back of a tow truck. Is this the beginning of the end of the Drive Another Day Wagon of War? (DADWOW)

It just made it past the Gooding Drive roundabout on the Gold Coast before it suddenly stalled and I rode out the momentum for as long as I could.

Start, put it into D and watch it stall again. Well okay, RACQ time then.

Mal the helpful mechanic came out for a look (trying to move it up the road first a little more given how busy Nerang-Broadbeach road can be at that time of morning) and suspected something coil pack related as it idled fine, it just did not like selecting D or doing anything under load. However as most C34 Stagea owners know, you get lots of warnings when coilpacks are doing anything remotely away from what they should and so I was definitely ruling out that one.

Beside, this little light was going nuts and that combined with a lack of going forward would indicate part my Stagea tiptronic transmission was now toast..

Mal did what he could but like a busy techpriest in the heat of battle, all he could do was give the machine spirit a quick litany before moving on. He was nice enough to call for a tow truck home and put it on high priority before he left which was handy.

Dave (no idea if that was his name but it is now) soon arrived and gave the Wagon of War a piggy back.

stagea tiptronic problems

So I hadn’t even made it to work yet but I’ve been soaked and then sunburnt from this on and off again weather while on the side of the road, I’ve been cursed by a witch (she looked like a witch, waving her arms at my car when she failed to realize it was broken down even with me standing next to it AND the hazard lights on) and now I was getting taken home in the back of Dave’s truck. I’ve had better 2020s.

It’s stayed in the carport here at home for the rest of the week, battery disconnected so I could start up again this weekend and my wife has kindly been driving me to and from work.

So the weekend is now

And I’m not shocked at all that the problem I had three days ago doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Of course letting it sit there cleared everything, why wouldn’t it defy logic? However I’m still extremely hesitant on taking it out again (all I’ve done is driven it in and out of  the carport a few times) given that we live on a small hill and if I get stranded with the same dramas, there’s no way of getting it back home easily (save for calling the RACQ again.)

Still, at least I can check a couple of things.


The old bridge the paperclip in the diagnostic port trick has given me code 5-5 (nothing to report.) I probably should have done this before I took the battery off for a spell but at least nothing is coming up with the car sitting there warming up so that’s a start.


It took me quite a while to track down the steps for this because people would link to it, only that link has long since gone. However I’m happy to report the process for the Stagea Tiptronic diagnostic report is exactly the same as the GTT Tiptronic diagnostic report because they are the same unit. So it’s a nice easy few steps:

1. Warm engine.
2. Turn ignition on-off more than once and then leave OFF.
3. Turn ignition ON with selector in “P” position and ensure A/T warning lamp is ON for
2 seconds.
4. Turn ignition OFF.
5. Depress brake pedal and move selector to “D” position.
6. Turn ignition ON.
7. Release brake pedal and move selector to “3” position.
8. Depress brake pedal with left foot and depress accelerator pedal fully down with right
foot and move selector to “2” position.
9. Read A/T warning lamp flashes for codes.

And then your A/T light should give you the code like mine did:

The only problem? I have no idea what it’s trying to tell me because there’s no 14 on the list.

1. Vehicle speed sensor 1
2. Vehicle speed sensor 2
3. Throttle position sensor
4. Shift solenoid A
5. Shift solenoid B
6. Overrun clutch solenoid
7. Lock-up solenoid
8. A/T fluid temp. sensor, TCM power supply or throttle position sensor power supply
9. Engine speed signal
10. RB20DE Line Pressure Solenoid or Non-RB20DE Turbine Sensor
11. Non-RB20DE Line Pressure solenoid
12. Non-RB20DE Total control signal
13. Non-RB20DE Shift control unit
No flashes:- PNP idle switch/full switch or RB20DE Overdrive control switch or Non-

RB20DE Stop lamp switch

(Anyone had this before and want to share what it was?)

Best guess? New solenoids time. Which seems like a common problem on these Stags (and Skylines with same running gear.) Sadly not cheap and I’d probably have to get it towed to the shop again just in case it craps the bed again over there..

Given how expensive this year has been (for a year of lockdown, the costs have still added up and my writing career certainly isn’t bringing in the millions as hoped) I’m loathe to pour more money into this thing to fix what might just be the start of more problems to come down the track. And at 20 years and counting, you know it’s getting up there for more things to go bang.

So it may just be going up for sale soon as a perfect base for someone keen to do a manual conversion or parts, I’m still working it out. As much as I love it (and it’s practicality) it would be nice to have something a little cheaper in everything from upkeep to fuel to insurance for a time to get back to saving and working towards the next great Drive Another Day article fodder.

I’m of two minds, stay tuned…


All attempts to replicate the problems have failed which is both thrilling and frustrating not knowing what messed things up originally. I pulled out the Air Flow Meter for a look, sprayed it with MAF cleaner and reoiled the K and N filter and after a nice little trip including a couple of times on boost and going through the tiptronic gears, nothing has happened. Main diagnostic reports no errors.

Best guess? Something got wet from the rain overnight and created some car stopping gremlins. Being undercover for the next few days dried it out and left me confused.

I’m still thinking of other cars though, just in case there’s a next time..

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