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Old 30-01-2013   #1
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Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Hi, I'm on my 4th Starter Motor since buying my Doblo from new in Dec 2006! Has anyone had similar problems with consecutive starter motor failures. The first two were done under warranty but the dealer refused to replace a third failure as it was six weeks out of the parts warranty and way outside the vehicle cover period. They quoted over 400 (from memory) for parts and fitting so i got my own reconditioned (Bosch I think) from a reputable motor factor and had it fitted at the local garage costing me just over 200. Now it looks as though its eaten another one, again just over 15 months after installation. I can't go back to the Fiat as its not their part that's failed but surely there must be some other fault that's causing these multiple failures. The vehicle has done about 80k. Any advice welcome!
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Old 30-01-2013   #2
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Do you know how they all failed ? Was it electrical or a mechanical failure of the bendix ? That many electrical failures would be unusual for what is a simple part electrically.

When my family had a garage we had a customer whos car got through a starter a year from when he bought it at 10,000 miles from a dealer. It eventually turned out that wrong flywheel had been fitted after any early crankshaft failure not long after it was new
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Old 30-01-2013   #3
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Thanks for your reply.....

Interesting. You are not the first to suggest flywheel problems but I purchased the vehicle from new so the flywheel is factory fitted and unlikely to be a wrong part. However I must consider that it may be a factor unless anyone can suggest anything else? If there was an endemic flywheel problem with a certain batch I would have expected to read more posts on the subject but I can find none such. I did not get any report as to the state of the failed parts from the garage.

The dealer was so unsympathetic with my problem last time wanting me to stump up the full amount that I left in disgust. I don't know just how much of a job it would be to even investigate the flywheel but it sounds like a pretty big job to even get to it. The pragmatist in me says just "fix and get rid" but I'm not in a financial position to do that I'm afraid.
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Old 30-01-2013   #4
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Further info re:starter motor probs. Dealer is now suggesting I may need to look at a new flywheel and that the Doblo 'could' have a Dual Mass version which is causing the problem. They are saying 1k labour plus parts and by the way we do the clutch at the same time on these as its so difficult to get at! The real interesting question is was this going wrong after the 1st Starter Motor change at only 7,000 miles. Was the underlying problem there when I bought the car from new!??
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Old 30-01-2013   #5
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Dual Mass Flywheels when they fail at about 80k miles can result in bits of spring, elastic bands, bluetack etc chaff flying about and could get into the pinion gear on the starter motor/flywheel, it would sound like a bag of nails though both with clutch out and during starting.
So key information needed is what part of the starter motor is failing, what were the symptoms when you first took it to the garage?
1k is normal for a new dmf, but I would expect the garage to know it had failed rather than suggest it may have failed because its a lot of your money. Clutch out in neutral if it sounds rattly or clunky? then its failed, and or going on and off the throttle in second would be jerky. A lot of people would sell it.
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Last edited by johnhififan; 30-01-2013 at 13:23.
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Old 31-01-2013   #6
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Thanks johnhififan,

The failed part is being replaced after the weekend and we'll have a look at it and try and diagnose why its broken. I'll ask the mechanic to look at the vehicle with respect of a possible DMF problem although I have not experienced any vibration or jerky action that one would expect. The only additional symptom is that it sometimes seems to get stuck in gear on very rare occasions when I've been stuck in traffic for long periods. It only happens every so often the last being over seven months ago. Believe me I have no desire to spend 1k but the DMF is the only suspect that keeps being suggested as a potential causal factor. The Fiat dealer has made no suggestion at all and been far from sympathetic or helpful. The last one had to go straight to the motor factors as a swap so I did not even see it although the engineer did say that there was a lot of dust that seemed to have been induced into the works. Bear in mind that I have had two original Fiat parts and one Bosch reconditioned. I don't think we can say that they were all faulty so it must be something on the car that's doing it. What else could it possibly be? I either get rid of the car or have the clutch and DMF replaced now at 80k and run it for another four years. More later ......
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Old 01-02-2013   #7
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

I've just had a new starter motor fitted. My five star independant was told by Fiat that they only sell and fit reconditioned starter motors and that one unlucky customer has had three within a year.
The answer,fit a new Bosch unit. Now done and the Doblo is back starting on the button and i reckon it is the best engine wise 1.9D in the UK.
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Old 01-02-2013   #8
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Are the starters showing signs of overheating?
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Old 22-03-2013   #9
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

I just thought I'd finish this thread by reporting that the Garage replaced the Starter Motor and for the moment all is fine. It cost me 198 to get a Bosch Recon unit fitted by an Independent Garage whilst The Dealer Garage wanted 420 plus VAT and circa 1,000 to replace the Flywheel if they thought it to be at causal factor with a refusal of any financial help towards the problem.

The Independent reported that they could find no evidence that the Flywheel was worn or not working properly and that they did not think it necessary to carry out the work. They could find no obvious reason or signs as to why the old Starter had failed. (no excessive dust or broken teeth, shards etc).

On a practical basis I have to take a pragmatic approach based on the vehicle being worth say 3k. Its not worth investing half its value with no gurantee of a 'fix' against adding approx 80 a year to running costs should I be unlucky enough to suffer another failure in 18 months time. I'll either trade it in or replace the Flywheel as and when the clutch needs replacing.
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Old 25-03-2013   #10
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Re: Why does my Doblo keep eating Starter Motors

Quote Originally Posted by credomoft View Post
The Independent reported that they could find no evidence that the Flywheel was worn or not working properly and that they did not think it necessary to carry out the work. They could find no obvious reason or signs as to why the old Starter had failed. (no excessive dust or broken teeth, shards etc)..
We all take it that the garage spent some time carefully turning the flywheel to examine it through the hole left by the starter. I wonder if the reality is that they simply pulled the old, put in the new & gave the old bendix a cursory look over?

When you take it back in a year's time with the same problem "that's strange, we had a look & found nothing out of the ordinary..."

I don't know if it still happens but manufacturers have been known to shove any old lump under the bonnet when they run short (we had a 1.6 sierra which actually had a 2.0 lump - from new. Always had problems buying parts like starter, alternator, exhaust, etc). So just wondering if you've got the wrong lump - you put in the right parts for what you believe the engine is but they might not quite marry up?
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