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Old 29-01-2019   #1
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Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Hello All.


My first post so apologies if I am rambling. This problem relates to my wife's Fiat 500c 2013 Lounge 1.2 manual.


As back ground information, the car 'conked out' last week when my wife was unable to select any gear. The breakdown guy got the car going again after removing the car battery tray and reseating the gearbox linkage cables. We took the car to our local garage (who has seen this issue before) and replaced the gearbox cables with a 'kit' (containing the cables rubber gromits etc.). £245 later and according to my wife the gears seem to be ok again.


However after only 3 days my wife says that the car failed to start 'the ignition lights were on as normal but nothing from the starter motor....it took several turns of the key before the car started as it should'.


I tried it several times at the weekend and no problems noted, the car started each time and there was no indication that the car battery was getting 'lazy'. We dismissed it as 'one of those things...(we were using the same 'remote key fob' on each occasion.


Now it is Monday and the car failed to start again. Same circumstances as before, the ignition indications as normal but nothing from the starter motor. It took half a dozen attempts to get the car started and my wife was too worried to turn it off again until she got home.


Has anyone experienced similar problems such as this before? Where do I start to look please?


Loose connection at the battery terminal or a bad earth after the gearbox cables where replaced? (We had no issues with the car failing to start before it went into the garage with the gearbox problem.)


Car battery 'dying' due to the cold weather? However when the car does start it's fine and the engine turns over as it should. All the car electrics seem ok, heater, windows, roof etc.


Remote key failing? Does the remote key form part of the immobiliser, could it just require a new battery in the key? (When the car first broke down and the car battery disconnected to permit access to the gear linkage cables the 'remote' aspect of the key stopped working initially but seemed to 'fix' itself...We have the spare key so I suppose this is easy to prove if it is the remote key causing the problem.


Car starter motor solenoid giving up?


Is there an easy way of discounting any of the above or could it just be a matter of replacing components until we stop having this problem? (Commencing with the cheapest item first I guess?)


The car has been well looked after during the last couple of years (it is a 2013 with 40k miles on the clock) and has a small fortune spent on services during our ownership.


It would be a shame but as I work away my wife needs a reliable car and she is already talking as though the little 500c's days are numbered. Has anyone else experienced similar problems as this with a similar aged car?


Any advice/ideas welcome before it goes back to garage for the second time in 7 days, looking for a problem that only occurs sometimes...


Thanks,


Lee159
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Old 29-01-2019   #2
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Hi Lee. I've not experienced the problems you describe, so can only make a limited contribution. I don't think the key battery will influence the immobiliser - after all, the spare (non-remote) key doesn't have a battery so it must use a passive transponder system.

As it starts most of the time, it's unlikely to be the 12V battery, although this could be easily checked with a multimeter during cranking.

I'd get the garage that fixed the gear linkage to check any wiring they may have disturbed. I once had electrical gremlins on a car after work was carried out. When I took it back, the mechanic found he hadn't fully tightened a nut on the battery terminal, and all was fixed.

Hope you get it sorted.
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Old 29-01-2019   #3
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

If it was an immobiliser problem the starter should still operate, but the engine would not fire, so we can probably rule that out.

The earth cable from battery to gearbox casing and then on to the car body is a known issue. They corrode internally, breaking the connection. Likely to have been disturbed when cables changed. If possible, a jump lead form battery to gearbox will identify if this is a problem.

If you have a voltmeter, and small hands, long arms with two elbows, see if you can attach the voltmeter to the small connector at the starter solenoid. Should have battery voltage when trying to start the car. This checks the supply from the ignition switch. (Supply probably from the ECU, not directly from the switch.)

To need gearchange cables at that low age/mileage is unusual. If it has spent most of its time around town, they may have had a lot of use, but still a surprise. Being heavy-handed puts more stress on them.

At the back of the engine, low down, is a 'dogbone' engine mount. This controls the rock of the engine during power on/off, and gearchanging. This needs checking. If worn, it will allow the engine to move more than it should. That would stress the gearchange cables and the earth cable, and if left will destroy the exhaust flexi coupling too.
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Old 29-01-2019   #4
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

I imagine it was just the green ball and socket that had separated but they ďdone youĒ by replacing the whole cable which isnít a nice job. I had one go on me but after following advice in here used superglue to repair it. Almost two years later itís still going strong. As they took the battery and tray out to do this, my money is in a bad earth connection. The earth straps are under the battery tray on the top chassis leg inner surface. Two bolts. Itís worth taking them off and cleaning them up. That will if nothing else eliminate that problem. There is a possibility that one of them has broken inside giving an intermittent problem.
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Old 29-01-2019   #5
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Hi Lee. And wife .. welcome

My advice :
Carefully study the dashboard lights.

You will have a key:lock symbol..

Goes on for a few seconds.. then once the key chip has been read and accepted.. it will go out.
Will spin over.. but never run.


Double check the other lamps light and extinguish in a reliable pattern...
Could well highlight an issue.

Also noting if the lights DIM as you turn the key.


Plenty of scenarios..

But try and work through all of the excellent suggestions regarding earth cables. Etc.

Good luck.. and please do let us know what you find.

Charlie
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Old 29-01-2019   #6
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

+1 on checking the earth cables are all connected!, clean and secure. Vital that the contact areas of the cable ends are clean ( not covered in grease from mechanics fingers) when reassembled.
If you have some jump leads you can check by putting one from the battery - terminal and then other end onto the engine/gearbox and see if that solves it.
Paul m.
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Last edited by Texas149; 29-01-2019 at 11:04.
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Old 29-01-2019   #7
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Hello everyone!
Thanks for the input so far.


I have plenty of things to check when I get back to the car and my wife (not necessarily in that order!). Don't want to fall out with the garage as up to now they have been able to look after us and both our cars. The fiat did go back to the garage today but I hoped if my wife fluttered her eyebrows they would have looked there and then....but that's not the case....so the car is back at home. It started first time out but coming back it proved 'reluctant' and would only start when the clutch was depressed...maybe just a coincidence?


Think the cars days are numbered...as are mine if I don't get it sorted. Maybe she needs a Saab (like mine)? I've had two 9-5 aero's without a problem....and the 9-3 I have now...is going strong...after an initial 'suspension' issue.....


Will keep you all up to date with developments and once again that's for the input.


Regards,


Lee159
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Old 29-01-2019   #8
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Try the spare key for a few days too

Probably a basic fault.. once they get around to it.
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Old 29-01-2019   #9
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

The problem is the intermittent nature of the fault, consider a mobile auto electrician? Could be as simple a a internally failed wire that looks good, not uncommon on the little Fiat. The general "starting electronics" is what I would look at, is there a start signal going to the starter? As said good earthing(replaced our earth lead £3) it's possible it's the starter I've had 1 with a dead sector worked fine as long as it didn't stop just at the dead point.
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Old 29-01-2019   #10
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Quote Originally Posted by John202020 View Post
The problem is the intermittent nature of the fault, consider a mobile auto electrician? Could be as simple a a internally failed wire that looks good, not uncommon on the little Fiat.
it's possible it's the starter I've had 1 with a dead sector worked fine as long as it didn't stop just at the dead point.
Did the starter keep working though..?

Sat in a dead spot.. surely it wouldnt..
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Old 30-01-2019   #11
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Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
Did the starter keep working though..?

Sat in a dead spot.. surely it wouldnt..
Once at the dead spot it wouldn't work, now I remember I had to remove it test it find it's fine replace fine for a while then nothing drove me mad, even supplying dealer had problems confirming it was faulty so in this case we can rule this scenario out as it works one minute then not the next, still think it a supply or switching signal issue?
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Last edited by John202020; 30-01-2019 at 00:12.
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Old 30-01-2019   #12
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Largely ignored by the garage that initially did the work so have had to give up and book the car in with our local Fiat dealership. £89 just for the initial diagnostics! Hopefully I will have an hour or so on Thursday night to have a poke around myself before I take it to Fiat. Maybe I will find something obvious under the dash....that would be nice.


I did try the mobile mechanic route but everyone is so busy it seems...the favourite response was...call me next week...I might be able to fit you in then!
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Old 30-01-2019   #13
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Quote Originally Posted by lee159 View Post
Maybe I will find something obvious under the dash....that would be nice.
More likely under the bonnet? have a look at the fuse/relay box too on the right next to the battery?
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Old 30-01-2019   #14
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Quote Originally Posted by lee159 View Post
Largely ignored by the garage that initially did the work so have had to give up and book the car in with our local Fiat dealership. £89 just for the initial diagnostics! Hopefully I will have an hour or so on Thursday night to have a poke around myself before I take it to Fiat. Maybe I will find something obvious under the dash....that would be nice.


I did try the mobile mechanic route but everyone is so busy it seems...the favourite response was...call me next week...I might be able to fit you in then!
Where is car based.?

£85 just to suck air through your teeth..

Ouch.

Have you got a jumplead?
Spare key..??

Many of us can read most of the ECU data from our ownlaptops.

Charlie
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Last edited by varesecrazy; 30-01-2019 at 18:03.
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Old 30-01-2019   #15
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re: Ignition Lights but Intermittent Starting

Car is in a little village near Humberside Airport.....I am working on the M4 corridor...and my wife is currently on a low orbit....!!


Trying to get back tomorrow at a reasonable time so I can take a look and go through some of the suggests offered by the guys on the forum here.


Thanks all!
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