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Old 24-11-2008   #1
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Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Hi there,

My boyfriend recently purchased a second-hand 1999 1.0 (or 1.2) Fiat Punto S. It was running fine until about a week ago, when he noticed that if he sat in traffic the heaters started blowing out cold air instead of hot, and the car started to overheat. The overheating problem would be rectified as soon as he started moving again, but the cold air was intermittent. Some days it would blow hot air fine, others it wouldn't.

Then (not sure if this is related or not), after a day or two of not using it, he tried to start it and it's not having any of it. It's ticking over but not starting at all. They've tried jump-starting it and the AA have also come out, but no luck in getting it started at all.

Does anybody have any suggestions in what may be causing this (or both problems), and whether it sounds like they're related or separate? We're going to take it to a garage, but obviously this close to Christmas it'd be a massive help if we could get an idea of what it might be and how much it might cost!

Many thanks! :-)
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Old 24-11-2008   #2
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Heaters blowing hot normally then temp rise and heaters going cold is usually a lack of coolant in the system, and what is there basically vaporising, check the coolant system to see how much is in there. Also check the cap for a mayo like substance, if it wont start I suspect the headgasket has gone due to the heat
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Old 24-11-2008   #3
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Exactly my suggestion but to add. check the passenger footwell for being wet. This may indicate a failed heater matrix. I've changed both the head gasket and heater matrix on my wifes Punto. Both are a bit of a job but I managed

If you lift the oil filler cap off and there is a creamy substance then the oil in the engine ma be contaminated. The RAC guy pinpointed the exact place on the engine the gasket would have blown (back corner oil filler side). This could well be your problem.

Good luck.
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Old 25-11-2008   #4
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

We checked the coolant level when it first started happening and it was fine then. It is low now though. There was no leaking into the car so I don't think it was the heater matrix (that went on a car I had a couple of years ago so we checked for that), there's also no creamy substance in the oil cap. We're guessing the head gasket has gone too but there's no symptom like the creamy substance or anything else anybody has suggested, we just guessed it's the most likely thing causing it to not start. Is there anyway of being able to tell for definite whether this is the problem?

davet30 - How difficult did you think it was to change the head gasket and heater matrix? So far we've only had quotes for 500 - 800 from garages, which is ridiculously not worth it on a car this age!

Many thanks everyone!
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Old 25-11-2008   #5
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

The creamy substance is only one of many indicators If the level of coolant had not receeded but the mayo appeared then that would indicate a gasket failure, if there are no obvious points of leakage in on the outside of the engine it could quite easily have been pushed out of the exhaust.

The head gasket can be done yourself if you have the time, you're looking at a new gasket set and probably skimming the head (so about 240) and then the work involved in the repair out of your own time.

Heater matrix is a pain in the rear I've heard.
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Old 27-11-2008   #6
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Dont know if this is related to your problem but I had something similar a fortnight ago. Car would tick over but wouldnt start. Had it in the garage and they replaced a map sensor which cured it. If it is that I was charged 86 for the sensor and havent had the bill for the labour yet
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Old 01-12-2008   #7
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Quote Originally Posted by lealea View Post
davet30 - How difficult did you think it was to change the head gasket and heater matrix? So far we've only had quotes for 500 - 800 from garages, which is ridiculously not worth it on a car this age!

Many thanks everyone!
Heater matrix ... not too difficult but a big job. means removing the entire dash board. I used photos before disconnecting the wiring so when I came to re-build I had something to reference.

Head gasket - a bit more difficult - especially removing and re-fitting the inlet manifold I found particularly tricky but I manage it. - the cost of this was alot cheaper then the matrix. Best go to the local library and borrow a haynes manual if you don't already have one.
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Old 01-12-2008   #8
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

When the RAC guy came out to the wifes car he used some chemical to test the water in the header tank for CO which confirmed his suspicion.
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Old 02-12-2008   #9
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Hi just wondering if your key code light is staying on. I'm havin a few problems and just wondering if they are linked. I have to disconnect battery for 4o seconds then my car starts, it only starts no problem when it freezing cold but when it warm it wont think it to do with fuel pump, but also having to have the water pump done tomorrow bought that for 21 quid. Let me know if disconnecting battery works.
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Old 02-12-2008   #10
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Quote Originally Posted by lealea View Post
We checked the coolant level when it first started happening and it was fine then. It is low now though. There was no leaking into the car so I don't think it was the heater matrix (that went on a car I had a couple of years ago so we checked for that), there's also no creamy substance in the oil cap. We're guessing the head gasket has gone too but there's no symptom like the creamy substance or anything else anybody has suggested, we just guessed it's the most likely thing causing it to not start. Is there anyway of being able to tell for definite whether this is the problem?

davet30 - How difficult did you think it was to change the head gasket and heater matrix? So far we've only had quotes for 500 - 800 from garages, which is ridiculously not worth it on a car this age!

Many thanks everyone!
i had a similar problem on my 98 R reg 60S. Red temperature light would come on and heater would blow cold air intermitently. Massive water loss when standing but not when in motion. Found that the water pump had gone. Look under the car and see if there is a trail of coolant down the driverside underneith the car. This was my problem and wasnt to bad to fix. hope this helps.
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Old 11-01-2014   #11
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

@lealea .... I know this thread is the same age as my 6 year old son...BUT, my car has done the exact same thing over the last 2 weeks.... If your still active on here, could you tell me what you did?!?! Thanks
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Old 12-01-2014   #12
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

check your coolant level, if low top up and start hunting for leaks... If can't find any leaks get the engine compression tested (you can do this yourself, its quite simple and cheap tester can be had for about 15)
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Old 19-08-2015   #13
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

Your engine thermostat could be malfunction.
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Old 19-08-2015   #14
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Re: Fiat Punto won't start! (plus heating prob!!)

a thermostat is not gonna stop it starting or running. Unless you mean temperature sensor for the ecu, which could make it hard to start but not likely to stop it completely and 100% won't stop spark.
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