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Old 22-06-2015   #1
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Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of engine

Guys,

Heads up here as I’m sure this it’s a common issue but we have two Twinair 500’s in our household, early 2012 500C (had for 3 year) and late 2012 500 Lounge (had for 2 weeks) and I couldn’t see this issue on any Fiat Forum.

My daughter recently purchased a 500 Twinair lounge lasts 2.5years old, immaculate with only 4000 miles on the clock. But was finding her brakes a couple of times smelling and she was complaining of losing engine power randomly. This happened on the M25 a week ago and also yesterday on a dual carriage.

On the M25 in traffic there was a burning smell but this disappeared quickly, but yesterday her front brakes were so hot they melted the rear of plastic the wheel hub caps. ;-(

So the symptom I had was both front brakes very very hot and both rears warmer than they should be for the 10mile trip on a dual carriageway, and a very random loss of power . I.e. put your foot on the throttle and nothing, all this with your driving !

Well after a bit of investigation and checking the car over yesterday:

  • · Took off each front caliper and checked the caliper was sliding evenly and the pistons were returning freely and each pad was even
  • · Checked the rear drum piston for free movement
  • · Check the brake pedal for free movement
  • · Bleed the brake fluid and will doing this also made sure the pedal would go to the floor and back freely
  • · General checking the car for floor mates or anything stuck in the top of the left foot well ( passengers side ) , were the right to left brake torsion bar is . (only on RHD cars as the servo is on the left but the brake pedals are on the right of the car)
· Within the left foot well , I then take off the server / mater cylinder cover to check for free servo movement etc ( see picture of the left foot well – its held on my 3 cross head screws ).

What fell out was a “ hard fibrous packing block“ which had obviously fallen done the top of the cover as its open toped , so any rubbish could make its way and fall into the servo torsion levers ..umm not a good design in my eyes !



So it looks like this was a block from perhaps the cars assembly and was randomly not allowing the master cylinder to 100% retract , perhaps only 98% !!!

I also worked out the engine random loss of power was a symptom of the “sticky retracting brake pedal” .

While test driving the car I tried left foot braking and you can’t in the late 2012 Twinair , because as soon as you touch the brake the engine losses power ..all fly by wire control .

So with the brake slightly pressed (symptom of the sticky pedal) engine throttle power is restricted even if you’re at a constant speed. All makes sense as its not a racing car with a left foot braking need, but interesting as to why we had random power loss and random hot brakes !

I also noticed if you do a hard emergency stop, the hazards come on for that braking duration. Nice feature but my other early 2012 500 C Twinair doesn’t seem to have this emergency stop notification feature.


Does anyone know what this fibrous block is and where it perhaps comes from in the car …is it a vibration packing block for the dashboard ?
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Last edited by iangray100; 22-06-2015 at 16:44.
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Old 22-06-2015   #2
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

That's not the pollen filter is it?

Good investigation; but I really don't think that's a common issue.

As to the hazards under braking thing: My 2009 Sport did that. Could be only on ESP cars?
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Last edited by zanes; 22-06-2015 at 16:35.
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Old 22-06-2015   #3
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

No it's not the pollen filter as that's a sealed filter , this block is as big as £2 coin approx but fatter .
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Old 22-06-2015   #4
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Utterly bizarre then!

Any evidence of mounting clamping/gluing on it? I'm guessing that red stripe is where the brake linkage was pressing against it?

Edit: On something like this, I'd be considering logging it with FIAT UK as a potential fault.
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Ordered 15th June 2009, collected 25th September 2009. 10000 miles completed 6th August 2010.
Traded in for Suzuki Swift Sport 10th May 2014.
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Old 22-06-2015   #5
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Correct that's the pressure mark the torsion bar put into the block , but no glue marks on the block and yes odd
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Old 22-06-2015   #6
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Where did your daughter or you buy the 2.5 year old car from? Is she the second owner of the vehicle, if so, have you/she transferred the 3rd year warranty?

If you bought it from a Fiat dealership, I'd take it back and get them to carry out a safety check urgently. What you have experienced, isn't normal. Our TA is a late built 2012 car, but registered July 2013 and so only two years old by warranty and we have definitely not experienced any of the issues you have described. If it were my car and I'd noticed the symptoms you have found, I certainly wouldn't have touched the car, it'd have been straight back to the supplying garage or in our own case, our nearest Fiat dealership.
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Old 23-06-2015   #7
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Thanks for the note and concern and I know it’s not normal which is why I’ve posted it for information to others and if someone knew where the fibre block was from.

It sounds like your experience of modern garages has all been positive?

I’ve had a dreadful experience with BMW dealers fault diagnose in the past and recently Fiat “Warranty” faults on my 500C, as the Fiat dealer couldn’t find why the gearbox light kept coming on randomly and I returned the car 5 times with no fix, until I had meeting with the Director and technician of the garage to help use “logic”. I also escalate the case to Fiat UK and eventually a HQ warrant technician authorised the gearbox paddle shift wiring to be replaced for the random fault, as the dealer wouldn’t move as the dealers diagnostics kept showing there wasn’t an error as the computer said “ NO fault” , well there was .

I use warranty when I need to, my daughter’s car fault needed good old fashion diagnosis to find the cause, not a laptop . (I’ve raced cars, rebuild engines as a hobby and recently rebuilt the gearbox on my 911, so I can use a spanner)

I checked to see if Fiat Italy had a known cause as Under EU block exemption 1995 amended 2002, independent garages VAT registered can gain access to OEM technical information at a charge: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-10-619_en.htm

If you can register have a look at Fiats technical details :

https://www.technicalinformation.fiat.com/
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Old 23-06-2015   #8
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Quote Originally Posted by iangray100 View Post
Thanks for the note and concern and I know it’s not normal which is why I’ve posted it for information to others and if someone knew where the fibre block was from.

It sounds like your experience of modern garages has all been positive?

I’ve had a dreadful experience with BMW dealers fault diagnose in the past and recently Fiat “Warranty” faults on my 500C, as the Fiat dealer couldn’t find why the gearbox light kept coming on randomly and I returned the car 5 times with no fix, until I had meeting with the Director and technician of the garage to help use “logic”. I also escalate the case to Fiat UK and eventually a HQ warrant technician authorised the gearbox paddle shift wiring to be replaced for the random fault, as the dealer wouldn’t move as the dealers diagnostics kept showing there wasn’t an error as the computer said “ NO fault” , well there was .

I use warranty when I need to, my daughter’s car fault needed good old fashion diagnosis to find the cause, not a laptop . (I’ve raced cars, rebuild engines as a hobby and recently rebuilt the gearbox on my 911, so I can use a spanner)

I checked to see if Fiat Italy had a known cause as Under EU block exemption 1995 amended 2002, independent garages VAT registered can gain access to OEM technical information at a charge: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-10-619_en.htm

If you can register have a look at Fiats technical details :

https://www.technicalinformation.fiat.com/
my dualogic was giving flashing lights for years before i had to replace the whole system at 1100 GBP = )
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Old 23-06-2015   #9
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Quote Originally Posted by iangray100 View Post
Thanks for the note and concern and I know it’s not normal which is why I’ve posted it for information to others and if someone knew where the fibre block was from.

It sounds like your experience of modern garages has all been positive?

I’ve had a dreadful experience with BMW dealers fault diagnose in the past and recently Fiat “Warranty” faults on my 500C, as the Fiat dealer couldn’t find why the gearbox light kept coming on randomly and I returned the car 5 times with no fix, until I had meeting with the Director and technician of the garage to help use “logic”. I also escalate the case to Fiat UK and eventually a HQ warrant technician authorised the gearbox paddle shift wiring to be replaced for the random fault, as the dealer wouldn’t move as the dealers diagnostics kept showing there wasn’t an error as the computer said “ NO fault” , well there was .

I use warranty when I need to, my daughter’s car fault needed good old fashion diagnosis to find the cause, not a laptop . (I’ve raced cars, rebuild engines as a hobby and recently rebuilt the gearbox on my 911, so I can use a spanner)

I checked to see if Fiat Italy had a known cause as Under EU block exemption 1995 amended 2002, independent garages VAT registered can gain access to OEM technical information at a charge: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-10-619_en.htm

If you can register have a look at Fiats technical details :

https://www.technicalinformation.fiat.com/
Of course the one thing I didn't ask was, did you buy the car privately? If so, I can perfectly understand why you took it upon yourself to start pulling the braking system apart. However, if you've bought it from a dealership, I personally would not have touched it with a barge pole as that is what dealership warranties are for, especially on such a recently bought vehicle. You are clearly and obviously competent, but your actions depending on how you've bought the vehicle, could obviously invalidate any warranty if you've not put something back right or followed book procedures, so I am therefore assuming you've bought the car privately. At the end of the day, it's your car, so your business about how you service it and I'm not judging you in any way about the actions you've taken.

As for your experiences with your Fiat dealership, well if I come across a dealership that I consider a bunch of amateurs, I'll find another dealership, even if that means travelling and trust me, I've done it many times, even buying our current TA from a Fiat franchise 150 miles away from where I live , but I sure as the monthly moon rise, wouldn't ever go back to them for servicing or warranty work. I'm also pretty bloody forthright too when I'm at a dealership, i.e. I take charge of them, not the other way round and I've had a hell of a row before now at a Mazda dealership when I bought a brand new MX5 a few years back. If I smell bullsh*t, I'll jump down their throats like a ton of pig guano. So generally, I don't have too many issues and if they don't like my attitude, I'll go elsewhere.
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Old 23-06-2015   #10
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

FYI : It wasn't a dealership purchase
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Old 23-06-2015   #11
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Re: Random front brakes smelling with hot rear brakes sticking on, random loss of eng

Quote Originally Posted by iangray100 View Post
FYI : It wasn't a dealership purchase
As I say then, I perfectly understand why you've done what you did. If your daughter is now the second owner and you haven't already done so, I would pay for the remaining six months on the third year warranty.

I'm assuming all of your pre-purchase checks revealed nothing untoward with the car, or you personally knew the previous owner? Not sure if you remember the young lady who bought a total lemon a few months back, found out things from a Fiat dealership she definitely didn't bargain for, insurance write off I believe. Thankfully, all turned out well in the end. I hope you sort the current issue out.
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