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Old 08-04-2019   #1
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Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

After 72,000 problem-free miles in 40 months since new (January 16) Ive encountered a power issue with my TA Cross.

A couple of weeks ago going uphill the power (so good with the turbo) went pretty completely. I managed to limp up to the house (500 meters) in first. I switched the engine off. Re-started the car and it was ok, the power back in the engine.

I then duly forgot that it had occurred!

Last Thursday it got lovely big premium service and new front brakes and the car has been running really sweetly. After 250 miles I have been motoring up a steep and long hill today and the power went again, especially concerning in 2nd gear. It was like switching on the eco mode but worse. As it happened I was collecting a friend from a garage a few miles on, switched off the engine on arrival, switched it on and once again the turbo is firing ok and we drove back up hill and down dale flawlessly. Phew.

However, although I am no engineer this is a symptom of a problem, I suspect with the turbo or the mapping or something, and I will contact my Fiat garage in west Wales to discuss but wondered if there is any wisdom among fellow forum members that might illuminate! I would be grateful for any suggestions!

Pete
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Old 08-04-2019   #2
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Its uncertain what, but sounds like a turbo issue. On most diesels loss of turbo means a savage power reduction. You need to get a plug in diagnosis first.

I had a Golf diesel that did this it was caused by ecu on that, due to a sensor issue which was carbon build up caused it kept going into limp home. It would return to normal briefly but after a lot of money down the tubes I think it needed a turbo and sold it.

I would get the turbo looked at by a specialist if MES turns nothing up a refurb would be miles cheaper than a new unit. I hope someone else can throw specific light on the issue. Best of luck
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Old 08-04-2019   #3
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by The Panda Nut View Post
Its uncertain what, but sounds like a turbo issue. On most diesels loss of turbo means a savage power reduction. You need to get a plug in diagnosis first.

I had a Golf diesel that did this it was caused by ecu on that, due to a sensor issue which was carbon build up caused it kept going into limp home. It would return to normal briefly but after a lot of money down the tubes I think it needed a turbo and sold it.

I would get the turbo looked at by a specialist if MES turns nothing up a refurb would be miles cheaper than a new unit. I hope someone else can throw specific light on the issue. Best of luck
It's not a diesel, it's a TwinAir, but your comment about the influence of the turbo still stands; going up long main road hills the car feels as though it's really hanging on the turbo. It would be interesting to connect a pressure gauge to the inlet manifold as that would help to establish if it's a mechanical problem - waste gate opening, a leak somewhere - or something electronic, like a sensor or an ignition issue, or a sparking plug breaking down - there are only two so losing one's a big deal.
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Old 08-04-2019   #4
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Is car on original plugs and when was air filter last changed (unlikely but....). Have you ever let turbo spool down (30-40 seconds until feel engine note change at idle, may not be turbo that does that but have always done this) before switch off? Needs diagnosing, maybe by a turbo specialist now warranty gone on time and mileage. Is oil regularly checked and changed. Car has another 50k left at least that's for sure.
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Last edited by Al D; 08-04-2019 at 23:03.
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Old 08-04-2019   #5
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Thanks to you three!

Time to call the fiat guys....will look up turbo specialists too...

The car has been serviced every 9k, just had one new spark plug in premium service, always good oil kept topped up, etc.

What does MES mean?

The experience of the car thus far has been positive, so think a problem at 72k not too bad although i worry about excessive costs so will take on the good advice here and will post an update when i have it.

Thanks.
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Last edited by Peter Rawlings; 08-04-2019 at 23:42.
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Old 09-04-2019   #6
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

If there's a fault with the engine somewhere it'll cut the engine power to protect the rest of the engine (limp mode).
So just because it feels like the turbo is cutting out, doesn't automatically mean it's the turbo at fault, it's just the cars way of limiting performance when it detects trouble.

It's sounds like it's resetting when restarting the engine and running well again until the conditions cause it to relapse, these conditions appear to be when the engine is under high load.

This may suggest some boost pressure issue, like a faulty boost sensor or a suck wastegate, but as the TA is quite a complicated engine you can't rule anything out, the Multiair module is known to be temperamental, if it can't suitably alter the valve timing properly for high load I can imagine it could give similar issues.

As it's resetting at restart, it's not hard writing a fault code to the ECU (and lighting up the Engine Management Light), though it possible there might be a "pending" code stored that might help identify the problem.

If not there's going to be a bit more diagnostic work needed and dealers tend to swap out parts in hope rather than spend their time performing timely tests as customers can't see the value in them!
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Last edited by Goudrons; 09-04-2019 at 08:30.
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Old 12-04-2019   #7
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
It's not a diesel, it's a TwinAir, but your comment about the influence of the turbo still stands; going up long main road hills the car feels as though it's really hanging on the turbo. It would be interesting to connect a pressure gauge to the inlet manifold as that would help to establish if it's a mechanical problem - waste gate opening, a leak somewhere - or something electronic, like a sensor or an ignition issue, or a sparking plug breaking down - there are only two so losing one's a big deal.
A second thought. My brother had an R5GT Turbo that did this. It was a split pipe on the inter-cooler buried in the engine bay the dealers never found it so in the end he looked himself and found the pipe looked OK at rest, but opened a crack up when the engine moved on its mounts with instant loss of power. This reverted to a 50hp car.... SOmetimes it would go for miles OK but would misbehave when called on at speed. There is plenty to look at on this circuit. If the turbo has failed you will I suspect be in no doubt about this. I ran a car with the turbo effectively disconnected due to a head gasket failure and I was amazed how little power it had without any boost at all.
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Old 13-04-2019   #8
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by The Panda Nut View Post
A second thought. My brother had an R5GT Turbo that did this. It was a split pipe on the inter-cooler buried in the engine bay the dealers never found it so in the end he looked himself and found the pipe looked OK at rest, but opened a crack up when the engine mo....
I used to have a substantially tweaked Uno Turbo ie and had the same problem every 18 months or so - about 3 inches of high tech flexible hose - fortunately it wasn't too difficult to replace.
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Old 18-04-2019   #9
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Thanks everyone! I am very grateful for all of the concerned replies and suggestions. This forum is brilliant for this!

The problem has not re-occurred since my original posting. My nearest fiat dealer is an hour away so i spoke to a recommended senior mechanic locally whose first response was to ask if i used cheap petrol (of course i do!) and then suggested i use Shell or BP and see if it happens again. I nearly ran out of fuel searching for either so in the end had to put Texaco petrol in....and the car seems ok.

However, i am not entirely convinced by this (he said something about different additives affecting turbo performance) so once the Easter madness is out of the way I will take all of the suggestions with me down to the dealership in St Dogmaels (Cardigan) and have a deeper look!

...and will keep this thread updated...

Thanks!

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Old 18-04-2019   #10
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by Peter Rawlings View Post
Once the Easter madness is out of the way I will take all of the suggestions with me down to the dealership in St Dogmaels (Cardigan) and have a deeper look!
But there are surely some compensations for being so far away from a dealer? Lunch in the Ferry Inn, and then walk it off along Poppit Sands? Ardderchog!
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Last edited by gar074; 18-04-2019 at 16:57.
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Old 19-04-2019   #11
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by gar074 View Post
But there are surely some compensations for being so far away from a dealer? Lunch in the Ferry Inn, and then walk it off along Poppit Sands? Ardderchog!
‘Tis true! I do walk the dog there (so many excellent beaches in west Wales) and was at the Ferry Inn two weeks ago, a favourite!

Car booked in for inspection next Friday at B V Rees in St Dogmaels so maybe will get another walk with Sam the dog.
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Old 20-04-2019   #12
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

MES by the way is a diagnostic software specific to Fiats. I paid £126 for the software on a memory stick and a license and all the wires to connect to the cars ECU. I have used it at least half a dozen times to good effect saving between 200 and 300 on diagnostic checks. You can look at a demo of the software free I think they are at Multiecuscan.co.uk

The sellers are very friendly and helpful too. In addition you can access a forum with further useful info.

MES could tyell you a lot and you can watch sensor readings live and graphed for you if connected when you drive the car.

Bought my daughter a Panda recently and it saved me a huge sum when I added a new remote key to the system. This was easy to do and took seconds. I usually take the kit with me if I am going away. It is amazing how things settle down when the little beast knows you have it cornered!!
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Old 20-04-2019   #13
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

I've had similar power loss issues on my Nissan Terrano2 2.7 TDI. Turned out to be a fuel filter issue - after changing fuel lines and filter it did not occur again.

Fuel system could cope in normal circumstances, but not under stress (in your case, extra fuel use uphill, maybe).
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Old 20-04-2019   #14
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Quote Originally Posted by The Panda Nut View Post
MES by the way is a diagnostic software specific to Fiats. I paid £126 for the software on a memory stick and a license and all the wires to connect to the cars ECU. I have used it at least half a dozen times to good effect saving between 200 and 300 on diagnostic checks. You can look at a demo of the software free I think they are at Multiecuscan.co.uk
Bought my daughter a Panda recently and it saved me a huge sum when I added a new remote key to the system. This was easy to do and took seconds. I usually take the kit with me if I am going away. It is amazing how things settle down when the little beast knows you have it cornered!!

MES.. coding keys..??
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Old 22-04-2019   #15
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Re: Panda 4x4 TA Cross, power issue!

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
MES.. coding keys..??
I have used mine to do all the keys on my Bravo (4) and those on the 169 1.2. I think its about £50 a key otherwise. The key was costly enough without paying for this. One of the Bravo keys died and had to be re-coded to get it back up and running. Its buried deep in the software I cant remember exactly where.
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