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Old 23-11-2016   #1
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Rough Idle on initial start from cold

My girlfriend has a Ford KA mk2 which I believe is really a Fiat 500. The engine is a petrol 1.2l and is 2013.
I've been looking on this forum at previous threads about the rough running from cold start which seems to be a common problem. Surely someone has had this problem fixed as it doesn't seem normal to me as the car never used to do it until this year. She has had the car from new and it's been serviced regularly.
The problem is that for the first 10 or 15 seconds the idle from cold is rough before settling down and then the car runs perfectly all day before the same problem re occurs the next morning. The ECU was interrogated but there are no codes stored. I've also asked this question on another forum but no one has returned with an explanation as to why it does it.
I hope you guys will be able to help and not throw me off the forum as the car hasn't got the fiat badge. Like I say, the engine is made by Fiat and even the MOT man was surprised at the similarity under the bonnet.
Thanks, and I look forward to your replies.
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Old 23-11-2016   #2
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Quote Originally Posted by Russwh View Post
My girlfriend has a Ford KA mk2 which I believe is really a Fiat 500. The engine is a petrol 1.2l and is 2013.
I've been looking on this forum at previous threads about the rough running from cold start which seems to be a common problem. Surely someone has had this problem fixed as it doesn't seem normal to me as the car never used to do it until this year. She has had the car from new and it's been serviced regularly.
The problem is that for the first 10 or 15 seconds the idle from cold is rough before settling down and then the car runs perfectly all day before the same problem re occurs the next morning. The ECU was interrogated but there are no codes stored. I've also asked this question on another forum but no one has returned with an explanation as to why it does it.
I hope you guys will be able to help and not throw me off the forum as the car hasn't got the fiat badge. Like I say, the engine is made by Fiat and even the MOT man was surprised at the similarity under the bonnet.
Thanks, and I look forward to your replies.
Hi and welcome .

Try changing the spark plugs. The original fit plugs in the 1.2 500 use copper core technology and are usually worn out by 10,000 miles at most.

You can fit an Iridium near-equivalent; NGK DCPR7EIX, which will last at least 50,000 miles and generally cure the rough idling problem when starting from cold. The problem is typically much worse if you start the car, move it a few yards, turn it off and then start again within an hour or so.

Read all about it here.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 23-11-2016 at 19:01.
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Old 23-11-2016   #3
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Wow, that was a quick reply. I forgot to mention that I've been chasing this problem for a few weeks and the first thing I did was the plugs and air filter which made no difference. This week I had a look at the purge valve as I thought it may had stuck open on start causing a vacuum leak and hence the rough running. It wasn't this either and so I thought I'd ask on here if anyone knew the cause.
The plugs aren't iridium, but standard Ford plugs. I'm convinced it's nothing to do with these as it's consistent and only for the first 10 to 15 seconds before running perfectly for the rest of the day. This is why I thought it could be a sensor that is used on start, but the question is which sensor?
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Old 23-11-2016   #4
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Dodgy coil pack?
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Old 23-11-2016   #5
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

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Old 23-11-2016   #6
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Hi,
I'm not convinced because the car runs perfectly after the consistant 10 or 15 seconds. It then continues to run perfectly. Incidentally, if the car is switched off and then back on after the first cold start, the car starts and runs perfectly.
This problem is almost not worth worrying about but I know there is something wrong and I'm the sort that would like to get to the bottom of it.
The other forum mentioned about the car running in open loop and using various sensors to estimate readings before going into closed loop mode.
The technical data on these modern cars is almost non existent and the Haynes manual is very lacking.
Does any member on here work for Fiat that has any training notes as I'm sure the garage technicians were trained when the car was launched.
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Old 23-11-2016   #7
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

I assume cold start also applies to "cold" summer start?
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Old 23-11-2016   #8
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Whilst appreciating that you are trying to resolve the problem by using forums, have you actually put the car into a dealership for either a service or diagnostic check? You say the ECU was interrogated and no stored codes were found, but who interrogated it and what sort of diagnostics were used?

As I've said often on this forum to people who've been chasing their own backsides for weeks and months, sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and put the car into a dealership and get a proper service done. That way, you'll get any software updates to your ECU that may have been issued since the car was produced. If you've done this, or you have service history/evidence to support this, then great, but as a matter of interest, when did the car last have a service by Ford?
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Old 23-11-2016   #9
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Hi Russwh,

The 1.2 8v is known to be a bit fussy at times with cold starts; we have had three different cars with that engine over the past 7 years and all of them can display slightly p***y starting when the weather gets cold.

However that doesn't appear to be your problem.

What is the exact process with these cold starts?

- When turning on the ignition, do you wait for the "Christmas lights" to come on and go out and wait for the fuel pump to prime?

- Once it fires up, are we talking about rough running for 10-15 sec when idling, or are you pulling away almost straight after the engine starts and it is then that you have the rough running?
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Old 23-11-2016   #10
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

They all run like that from cold and usually comes with a bit of smoke as well. Good luck finding anything with that cos as far as I'm aware fiat treat this as normal operation
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Old 23-11-2016   #11
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

The car last had a Ford service when it was two years old but was serviced by an independent in March this year as fords wanted to rip me off, but that's another story. I don't really go along with the software update thing as the car was running perfectly through its whole life using old software and should continue to run just as well now. Software could only sort out issues that all owners are suffering. There is obviously a problem with a sensor that needs to be determined from analysis but the reason for asking on this forum was to find out if anyone else has suffered the same issue and how it was fixed.
I don't entertain taking my cars to garages for technicians to guess the problem at my expense, as I'm quite capable of doing this myself. I have some technical knowledge as I work in the aircraft industry and I'm capable also of fitting any part that is needed.
Coming back to the question of asking if other owners have suffered this problem, I can only assume that they have from a couple of threads that I've read but unfortunately there have not been any solid technical replies.
I'm not adverse to taking the car somewhere providing it is looked at properly and diagnosed properly but feel that they would only get one chance of diagnosing the car per day and fear it could be there sometime.

With regard to the question about cold start in the summer, I can't answer that now as it was ok during the summer just gone but isn't good now.

I feel that the manufacturers are holding back service data as the Haynes manual is very lacking in content, especially the wiring diagram as even the MAP sensor isn't depicted. This was the reason for asking if there are any Fiat technicians who have been factory trained.
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Old 23-11-2016   #12
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Hi,
Super Uwe,
I wasn't aware of a special start procedure, at least I didn't see it mentioned in the handbook. I do actually wait for the fuel pump to do its thing then turn off before turning the key but really? Can you imagine a female or non technical male doing this? This is a modern car that should just work by just turning the key with no fuss. I know it's the bottom of the Ford range but just can't believe it should be like this in today's modern world.
Just to clarify, it is the first 10 or 15 seconds that the revs fluctuate between 1200, 600, before settling at a steady 800. When we pull away, the car runs as expected, no problem at all.

Burrowdeano,
How can you say this is normal operation? This is a joke, there are so many of these cars on the road and surely all these owners don't put up with this.
My lawnmower behaves better than this in every way!
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Old 24-11-2016   #13
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Russwh

You're welcome here, but be careful who and what you criticise - we are Fiat lovers after all, in spite of the difficulties we sometimes face with our vehicles. What you might regard as 'toally unacceptable behaviour' in a car would perhaps be described as 'quirkiness' by some of the regulars here.

There's a lot of both technical expertise and real-world experience on this forum; we generally manage to keep our vehicles running sweetly at reasonable cost, in spite of the franchised dealers and the lack of decent english language technical information. Please do us the courtesy of using the search function before jumping in with both feet; much of what you're saying and asking has been covered multiple times here.

And burrowsdeano is a well-regarded Fiat specialist who knows more than most of the dealer service techs you'll find in a typical franchised dealer service department. His response is exactly what you'd likely get if you took it to one of the franchised service centres of the folks who made the engine.

If you brought a Fiat into a franchised dealership under warranty with this fault, they'd probably want an up-front payment even to look at it, and you wouldn't get this back unless they found something specific they could recharge Fiat's service insurers for. The chances of them being able to find the cause of your issue and fix it would, IMO, be slim.

To help you further (and it's terribly difficult to diagnose a car from a keyboard when someone standing in front of it can't work out what's wrong), I don't think it's a sensor problem. You can find my own take on the subject in this post; you might care to read the entire thread, as the problem being considered there would appear to be similar to the one you are trying to deal with.

Remember the 2nd generation Ka, like the 500, is based on the 169 Panda, which at the time was one of the cheapest cars you could buy. For what you pay, it's a surprisingly robust and good value package, but Fiat could only sell them at this price point by scouring the planet for the cheapest parts they could find. Fitting higher quality replacements when the time comes to replace OEM parts is one way of making what is basically a good value car better. The OEM spark plugs are rubbish and this is an easy and cheap place to start; it'd be the first thing I'd do if I bought a Ka.

If you really can't come to terms with 'thinking the Fiat way', then all I can suggest is you trade it in for a Fiesta.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 24-11-2016 at 05:26.
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Old 24-11-2016   #14
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

I too wait for the Xmas tree of lights to go out, not only allowing full priming but also for all electrical systems to settle it's not hard, turn on, put seat belt on and start whilst it should not matter there's no harm adopting this technique if it helps? I know of one guy who had issues(constant warning light) for year's with his Jaguar dealer could not fix it until one day by accident he used the above method of starting, problem fixed.
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Old 24-11-2016   #15
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Re: Rough Idle on initial start from cold

Points well made JR.

Without meaning to come across as being sanctimonius, Russwh's response is pretty much what I was expecting. Clearly, he is not going to be able to 'diagnose' the problem himself because he doesn't have access to the correct technical diagnostic kit and he's seemingly not willing to pay for the problem to be interrogated. To be honest, I think burrowsdeano response is about right!

I've lost count of the times folk have come onto forums expecting 'blind' diagnostics to be doled out. Yes, I agree, some problems are 'common' and can sometimes be addressed without the need for more 'expert' intervention. I'm afraid however as vehicles become ever more complex in their electronics and ECU's, owners will be almost forced to use dealerships all the time in the very near future. The Fiat 500/Ford KA may be a small and somewhat 'simple' car, but it is still far more complex than say a 1968 Rover P6 for example.

Day in, day out, I see around 60 or 70 vehicles that I have direct contact with. Approximately one third of those vehicles have the Engine Management Light illuminated on the dash, many of these vehicles are less than 3 years old. Many owners will quite simply 'get rid' of the car these days instead of getting the issue fixed, seemingly before the first MOT is due. I've been guilty of that myself, getting rid before the first MOT, but not because the car has had a diagnostic issue. I've owned my Saab now for six years, if anything goes wrong with it, I fix it, often myself and for the jobs I can't do, I take it to the garage and I pay for it.

I hope Russwh sorts his 'issue' out to his satisfaction, but I would suggest that if he's really that bothered, then he'll get the car diagnosed properly instead of rummaging through the alley of 'blind' diagnostics in the hope that other folk who have never seen his car, will somehow be able to 'magic' up some resolution.
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