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Old 03-12-2016   #16
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Any fault in the ignition switch itself?
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Old 04-12-2016   #17
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Went out to the car, covered in frost this morning to take a look at the ignition switch. Before I did anything I tried the key in the ignition. It fired immediately and ran beautifully. How am I going to find out what is wrong with it if it randomly works?


While the engine was running I fiddled with each electrical connection to see if it faltered or stopped, including the ignition switch, but everything worked sweetly. I drove it into the garage, then switched off the engine and started it again immediately, but nothing. It turned over as normal, but wouldn't fire. I've since been back out and it fired up perfectly.
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Old 05-12-2016   #18
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Intermittent faults are the worst!!
I think, if i have understood all the posts correctly, the ignition switch is a red herring. Sounds like when its not started it has at least turned over, which would rule out the ignition switch itself and points towards something fuel or spark related - I suggest next time it does it to keep letting it turn over for a while and then whipping a plug out to see if its wet and ergo you have fuel, you will then at least be able to rule out a fuel issue. Bit harder to test spark with it being intermittent, of course if there is no fuel it could be both still but you can fix fuel and if it still does it there is an issue with spark as well.
I kinda suspect a dodgy earth on the engine loom myself, may be worth just going through and cleaning them all thoroughly and ensuring good contact - on the fire engined cars what you describe is classic earth issue on the body to gearbox ground lead, not sure where it is or if there is multiple earths on the 1.6 - the test is usually to put a jump lead from battery -ve to somewhere on the engine block or gearbox but with it being intermittent thats not much help really.
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Old 05-12-2016   #19
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Thank you for that advice, it makes sense. I have tested the electrics using a noid light which connects to a fuel injector. This has confirmed that there is no electrical pulse to the injector when it won't start. Next time I have the problem I will try the jump lead earth trick.
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Old 06-12-2016   #20
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

I take it the EML isn't coming on when it isn't starting? Bit weird if you aren't getting power to the injectors when it won't start. Not sure if this a good idea with a fuel injected engine but something I used to do with my carb'd Panda was spray some starting fluid (or WD40 if its all I had to hand....) in the intake, I assume this wouldn't hurt an injection engine anymore than a carbed one just for a few seconds. You could try that next time it won't start, if you spray some in and it coughs a bit then you'll know its got spark and its fuel related.
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Old 07-12-2016   #21
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Got home this evening and since the air was moist I thought I would give the car a try. As it wouldn't start I thought I would try some of the suggestions above. First was to run an earth from the engine to the battery, but nothing. Second was gearbox to battery - nothing, so third was mounting bracket holding relays etc to battery - again nothing. Could there still be a dodgy earth somewhere inside the car behind the dash?


Next I turned my attention to the spark. This turned up an interesting result: When I first switched on the ignition, there was a single spark, but when I cranked the engine, there was nothing. I kept repeating it and every time I switched on the ignition I got a single spark.


I know from the noid light that I am not getting a fuel pulse. I am convinced that there is a simple fault which will be easy to fix. Trouble is, I can't find it!


For the record, when the engine is cranking the EML goes out.
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Old 08-12-2016   #22
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

so seems there is no spark or fuel when its not working, does sound very much like a crank sensor problem, i wonder if one of the wires is damaged or corroded somewhere....

you have a multimeter? I'm trying to remember how a crank sensor is wired, from memory its usually 3 wires, one a permenant earth, which should be easy to test with a meter on continuity, one probe on a good earth anywhere and then other in each pin to check for an earth. The other two will be going back to the ecu so you would need to find the wiring diagram then check for continuity between the plug on the crank sensor and the pin on the ecu plug, should be good solid contiunuity and very little resistance if you check the resistance. If it works but there is high resistance it would suggest corroded wires.

There should also be an earth on the engine loom itself somewhere, maybe a couple - not an engine i have messed with much. I would assume the wiring diagrams are in teh back of the mk1 haynes manual, alas mine is at my mums house and not here so i can't look for you.
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Old 08-12-2016   #23
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

I've checked the crank sensor with the multimeter and it is fine and I also have a spare. I will continue with the earth theory (that sounds a bit grand). Unfortunately the Haynes doesn't include a wiring diagram for the 1.6, but the Porter manual does. I will seek out my magnifying glass!
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Old 08-12-2016   #24
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Had a brainwave: I ran a connection from the earth in the tester socket to the battery as this shares the same earth as the rest of the ignition circuit. So much for a brainwave, the tide must have been out! Back to the drawing board.


I am pretty confident the problem is as simple as a dodgy connection in the ignition circuit. The problem is finding it. There appear to be more orange wires and connectors than appear in the wiring diagram. I think I have checked every connection under the bonnet. Accessing connections under the dash is far more difficult as everything is so tightly bundled under there.
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Old 09-12-2016   #25
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

you should have an award for your patience - think i'd have fire bombed it by now... lol
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Old 28-12-2016   #26
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

The fire bombing might nearly be here! The car is not running at all now, which should be an advantage in finding the fault, so I have been methodical in my approach. I have checked the ignition circuits for continuity and all seem well. Similarly, the wires from the crank sensor to the ECU are fine and the sensor is sending a signal. I believe I have a circuit leaking to ground somewhere, possibly on the fuel injection circuit, but I cannot find it. There are dozens of red and green wires connecting all sorts of components, including injectors, EGR solenoid, fuel pump relay and coil. All connections appear sound, but they all seem to be leaking to ground, as does the main feed to the fuel pump. Am I missing something obvious?
Does anyone want an early Cabrio?
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Old 29-12-2016   #27
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Have you removed plugs individually and checked they are all firing when you turn over the engine? (easier done in the dark so you can see the sparks)? Since it isn't running at all now you must'nt either be getting fuel or spark basically.
If it is sparking on all plugs then spray some starting fluid in the intake while cranking, if it coughs a bit then you'll know if its fuel related? Once you narrow down which it is you'll know which to look at first?
Good luck

EDIT: You're also welcome to buy mine I'm thinking of moving it along once I sort out my oil leak, they're basically the same car anyway
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Old 08-01-2017   #28
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

I think I might be winning. I think I have checked virtually the entire wiring loom and all relevant connectors, fuses and relays. I then turned my attention to the control wires to the relays; first the fuel pump and then the ignition. I found no control feed to the fuel pump, so bypassed the relay and heard the pump working. However, when I cranked it there was still nothing. I then looked at the control feed to the ignition relay and discovered only 0.5 of a volt. This pointed to a fault at the ECU. Before giving up, I tried one more trick: I warmed the ECU with a hair dryer for about 5 minutes (the ECU is behind the centre console inside the car) and the car fired up and ran perfectly. I tried it again about an hour later and it started again.
Went out to the car this morning and it was a no start. However, 5 minutes with the hair dryer and it was working again. I suspect a new ECU is required, but in the meantime, I removed the ECU, placed it in the airing cupboard for a couple of hours, then placed it in a plastic bag with two sachets of silica gel and sealed it up once it was back in the car and connected. The test will come in the morning when I see if it will start. In the meantime, I don't suppose anyone has a spare ECU for a 94 1.6. It's a GM unit (below).


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Old 09-01-2017   #29
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

its a known fault these getting water damage - or at least i have read it many times. Its underneath the heater matrix if my memory serves and a leak there get its wet. Worth some poking around although this is not something i have done before on a mk1 so not sure how easy it is to access and if it means dash out. Sure a search will turn up many threads on it though

Well done for tracking it down and not burning the car lol.
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Old 09-01-2017   #30
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Re: 1.6 Cabrio

Did a heater matrix in my cab last year, not a nice job, Blu you're spot on the ECU is directly under the matrix. Have a feeling I'm going to have to change another one soon in my latest cab as well. Think I will make up a kind of drip tray to prevent future damage.
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