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Old 01-04-2016   #1
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Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Hi all,

Over the past week or so, I've been having a bit of an issue with my 1.2 (Euro 5) Panda.

Each and every morning, the car struggles to start. It eventually coughs and splutters into life and sounds as though it's only running on 2 cylinders.

But here's the odd bit: If I turn the ignition off, and then try to start the car again, it starts perfectly. Just never on the first try. For the rest of the day however, the car is fine. It starts, idles and runs like normal.

Letting the fuel pump 'prime' before turning the engine over doesn't seem to make any difference.

As the car's still under warranty, it's currently in at the dealer but they seem to be at a bit of a loss as to what the issue may be. They've already performed a software update (as mentioned in a previous thread) however the issue still occurs.

Here's a short video to demonstrate the problem:

Does anyone have any suggestions or pointers to what the issue may be?

Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by Tom95; 01-04-2016 at 11:25.
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Old 01-04-2016   #2
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Funny, mine always starts on two cylinders

Yer video won't play unless you log in to the host service

Regarding the problem. On an old style engine, I'd be checking all the ignition wiring, looking for something loose, but I suspect that's not an issue with a new, modern vehicle. You could be getting moisture into something, but you'd be looking for condensation - I suspect that wouldn't be a problem this time of year (still summer in Oz, even if it is the tail end). Mind you, it's been so damned humid this year, maybe that is it.

My best guess though is that it's something in the computer system, either a software glitch or a component failing. That's something only your dealer can fix.

Either that or your flog her so hard she's too scared to get out of bed in the morning
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Old 01-04-2016   #3
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

I haven't been able to see the video but i suspect it has something the do with the VVT. Mine used to splutter if I set off too quickly from a cold start. Its down to the VVT and related to phase advance/retard cycles. In addition, the spark plugs don't last particularly long on these engines, mine had poor running problems at 16k, 2k before fiats quoted service interval and it was down to the spark plugs.
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Old 01-04-2016   #4
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Not sure why the video was set to 'private'?

Should work now.
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Old 01-04-2016   #5
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

It works fine now - but that's a pretty weird problem. Undoubtedly an electronics/ECU thing as opposed to mechanical, as it is, as you say, 100% perfect on the second start. Dealer has the ability to diagnose if it's hooked up to monitoring for that first start, but whether they have the competence to do it properly though, is another thing altogether.
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Old 01-04-2016   #6
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Quote Originally Posted by Tom95 View Post
Hi all,

Over the past week or so, I've been having a bit of an issue with my 1.2 (Euro 5) Panda.

Each and every morning, the car struggles to start. It eventually coughs and splutters into life and sounds as though it's only running on 2 cylinders.

But here's the odd bit: If I turn the ignition off, and then try to start the car again, it starts perfectly. Just never on the first try. For the rest of the day however, the car is fine. It starts, idles and runs like normal.

Letting the fuel pump 'prime' before turning the engine over doesn't seem to make any difference.

As the car's still under warranty, it's currently in at the dealer but they seem to be at a bit of a loss as to what the issue may be. They've already performed a software update (as mentioned in a previous thread) however the issue still occurs.

Here's a short video to demonstrate the problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzy-eHoLDag

Does anyone have any suggestions or pointers to what the issue may be?

Thanks in advance.
What happens when you leave it to splutter? Does it eventually correct itself?
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Old 01-04-2016   #7
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

My 1.2 always sounds like a diesel for the first few seconds. It does correct itself and thrums as per usual afterward. I'll give mine a turn over in the morning to see how it starts. It's not properly cold here yet, so might still develop the issue in the months to come.


1.2 - are you mad?
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Old 01-04-2016   #8
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Quote Originally Posted by AAB1992 View Post
What happens when you leave it to splutter? Does it eventually correct itself?
I've never let it run for more than 20 seconds like that, but in that period it didn't get better.
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Old 01-04-2016   #9
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Quote Originally Posted by Tom95 View Post
Does anyone have any suggestions or pointers to what the issue may be?
My 1.2 Euro5 500 (same engine) did something similar after about 6000 miles - basically the plugs were shot. The OEM ones will last for 10k at the very most.

I fitted a set of iridiums (NGK DCPR7EIX); problem fixed and not recurred at any time in the past 5yrs/30k.
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Old 02-04-2016   #10
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

We hear a lot about plugs don't we, they've almost become a default 'go to' when you get a problem.

As for that video, man, what a weird problem, I can see why it upset you. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-04-2016   #11
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Anyone know the spark plug gaps on the panda?
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Old 02-04-2016   #12
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Quote Originally Posted by leroya500 View Post
Anyone know the spark plug gaps on the panda?
OEM copper core plugs are 1.0mm and can be safely gapped using any of the usual tools if they are significantly out. TBH if they are sufficiently worn as to require regapping they're probably better just thrown away as the tip profile will likely be substantially compromised.

The NGK Iridium replacements are 0.8mm and it is strongly recommended that you never try to adjust the gap as the tip is extremely brittle and could subsequently break off inside the engine (ouch!); some go so far as to say that even checking it is risky. Certainly you should never use a ball type gapping tool on any precious metal plug.

The Ir plugs give much more precise spark placement and the engine runs fine with the supplied 0.8mm gap; an added benefit is the smaller gap will put less stress on the coil pack (and that is another fairly common failure item).
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Last edited by jrkitching; 02-04-2016 at 19:25.
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Old 03-04-2016   #13
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
The NGK Iridium replacements are 0.8mm and it is strongly recommended that you never try to adjust the gap as the tip is extremely brittle and could subsequently break off inside the engine (ouch!); some go so far as to say that even checking it is risky. Certainly you should never use a ball type gapping tool on any precious metal plug..
I've always wondered about this 'don't adjust the gap' routine, but that's been for 'normal' plugs. Your explanation of why you shouldn't for precious metal plugs makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 12-04-2016   #14
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

So, I thought I'd give everyone a quick update...

Car's been at the dealer now for nearly 2 weeks, and they've still not been able to pinpoint what the hell is going on. Apparently, no faults have been recorded/stored by the car even though they've had no trouble replicating the rough running.

As of today, they've run a compression test and found nothing out of the ordinary (surprise, surprise). They're now awaiting on FIAT for advice on what to do next...

This would be really bloody annoying if I didn't have backup transportation. Who'd have thought a 40-year-old Peugeot would be the 'reliable car'...
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Old 12-04-2016   #15
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Re: Panda 1.2 Cold Starting Problem

That is such a strange one.

We have owned three 1.2s and a 1.4 8v since 2008, and all of them have displayed "farty starting" from cold when the weather is a bit chilly. As AAB1992 points out, if you pull away too quickly when it fires up then it will really splutter and a bit of blue smoke will appear lol. But seeing as this has happened on every single car I understand it to be "normal"!

Yours is weird as I have never experienced that sort of rough running. What is equally odd is that it fires up properly straight after; if you had cut the video then and asked what happened next, I would have expected it to be a right pig to even get it to turn over!

Anyway I wish you all the best; hopefully it gets sorted soon.
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