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Old 12-09-2017   #1
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Germany 
1.8 16V ECU fault

Hi Everyone,

new on the forum but it is a case of needing help. I am an Ex Pat living in germany and own a Stilo 1.8 16V Dynamic that has done me proud since the day I bought it. absolutely no problems until recently.

So to the problem, I am getting ASR/ESP error message "ESP not available/disabled" when I start the car, light on the instrument panel lights up along with the light on the switch in the middle console, this all stays on when driving the car. Took the car to my local Fiat dealer, they read the codes out, they came back with "no communication between ABS and ECU". They tried to find the fault with no luck saying they presume there is a cable break somewhere but I quote "they don't really know how to find it" LMAO.....their suggestion replace the complete wiring harness as it is one complete piece !!! to this I just thought "yea ok and took the car home again"
I then found this forum read lots of posts about all the different eletronic gremlins that can be found in a Stilo, unfortunately most relate to the 1.6 model. Anyway went about doing everything from cleaning all contacts, plugs, Sensors on the wheels, adjusting Brakelight switch etc. etc. that are know to cause this type of problem, all to no avail. Next step was to call my mate who works for John Deere tractors as a technician (tractors have more technical systems these days than cars ) he went about measuring the wiring harness each part one by one (just to see if the dealer was right), and believe me it was a job and a half, took him 2 days (including striping large parts of the dash out) and didn't find a single problem with it. He even read out the faults, with the same error code plus one more "air conditioning sensor fail" (I have the codes as a printout). He tried to reset them but couldn't, which he thought was very strange because normally you can reset them and if the problem is still there the ECU will just rewrite them next time you start the car.

So to my question. I have read here that the 1.6 ECU suffers from heat causing pins to drop or solder joints to weaken because of it's bad positioning in the engine bay. Having looked at the position of the ECU in my car, which to be honest is not really ideal, I am thinking maybe this could also be a cause. Has anyone had the same experience ? If not does anyone know of somewhere in the UK where you can buy a new or refurbished ECU, Fiat in Germany want upwards of 1500 pounds for one, I presume Fiat UK will be about the same.

I will interested in your advice and opinions, and thanks in advance.

Peace, Rock 'n' Roll everyone
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Old 12-09-2017   #2
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

I had the same error and what i did is clean all the connectors of the ECU, fuse box, cables under the fuse box and the plug of the ABS which is next to the fuse box. Clean them with electronic contact cleaner.

Make sure to disconnect the battery while doing all of this.
Also did this i did this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZAsoqmqhdM ....Credits to guy of the video.
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Old 13-09-2017   #3
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

Hi @Ottiwottti,

Sorry to hear you're experiencing difficulties with your 1.8 16v.

First off in relation to your question regarding an ECU fault; simple answer is no. I highly doubt that your 1.8 has suffered the same ECU heat issues as the 1.6s do.

If memory serves your ECU for the 1.8 should be mounted on the bulkhead somewhere kind of next to the throttle body.

The issue with the 1.6 is that the engine ECU is mounted directly on top of the engine, pretty much right on top of cylinder 4. Physics being what it is and heat rising, this puts a lot of heat soak on the ECU and the constant heat cycles (hot to cold, hot to cold repeatedly) has a detrimental affect on the engine's ECU.

The mounting location of the 1.8 ECU is much more sensible than this and so is highly unlikely to affected in the same way.

It is, of course, impossible to rule out an ECU fault caused by some other means, such as component failure, at this stage. I would still wager this highly unlikely though.

Personally; I would agree with astacheva. Unfortunately for the Stilo, although it is a very well built car and suffers little in the way of issues, the electronics are sensitive to even a rather small voltage drop and this will flag errors.

The contact cleaning that is suggested is by no means a bad idea at all - I would recommend doing it.

I would also expand on this slightly for you to go ahead and check that the alternator is charging the battery - with the engine running measure the battery voltage and see that it's somewhere around 14.5v.

Also check the battery voltage with the engine off and you want to aim for 12.6v. A low battery voltage on system start, caused by an aged or failing battery, can cause a whole world of problems.

We are starting to head towards "bad battery" season - where the weather in a morning is edging towards being cold and damp enough to expose an old, tired battery. You might be fairing a little bit better still on continental Europe though.
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Old 13-09-2017   #4
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Germany 
Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

Mornin....
Thanks guys some interestint pointers from you, I'll do the things suggested over the next few days and see what happens. I was totally unaware of the sensitivity to battery voltage which is the first thing I will look at.

Regarding the video posted about erasing ECU memory I just have a question if I do this will I need to relearn things into the ECU and would this have any effect on the remote key being deleted from the system ?

I will post results of my endeavours when done.

Thx again guys
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Old 14-09-2017   #5
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

OK, just checked the battery voltage this morning. With engine running measured 13.64 v, engine off it was 11.83 v.
So I think it is time to change the battery, if I'm honest I can't remember the last time it was changed. Will be off to buy one this afternoon.
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Old 14-09-2017   #6
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

Hopefully a new battery will see you right then. Be sure to give the contact terminals a good clean when you fit the new battery.
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Old 15-09-2017   #7
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

So new battery fitted, started the car and yaaaaaay no ESP error light.....

Then however....went for a drive all still ok. Parked the car on the driveway, about 3 hours later went out to go to the supermarket, started the car and after 10 seconds ESP/ASR not available message in the display again and the warning light on instrument panel on again

So tommorrow is take all plugs off clean them, clean all the sockets and contacts and I think I will check the earthing strap as well.

If all that doesn't work I'll clean the carpets, wax the leather seats, drink 10 beers and see if that helps .

But at least I can still see the funny side of things
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Old 16-09-2017   #8
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

Well, well I cleaned all connecters, plugs, Fusebox and the earth strap (alot of gundge an sh.t around it)

Lo and behold the ESP error is gone, no warning light on dash or ASR switch. I have been out to test drive, ESP kicks in as it should, ASR works and ABS works !!!!! Waited a couple of hours an went out again, still no problems.

I am going round to my mate tommorrow and get him to check if the error codes have disappeared from the ECU.

Not going to bother cleaning the carpets und wax the leather seats like I said in my last post (I'll save that for another day) but still gonna drink a beer or 2 to celebrate

So a big thx @ Artemis and Astacheva for the heads up and pointers without your input I probably would never have cured the problem

Peace Rock 'n' Roll everyone

P.S I might just go back to my Fiat dealer and tell them what a bunch of D.cks they are and point them in the direction of the Forum to learn something about the Stilo
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Last edited by Ottiwottti; 16-09-2017 at 15:06.
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Old 17-09-2017   #9
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Re: 1.8 16V ECU fault

Quote Originally Posted by Ottiwottti View Post
Well, well I cleaned all connecters, plugs, Fusebox and the earth strap (alot of gundge an sh.t around it)

Lo and behold the ESP error is gone, no warning light on dash or ASR switch. I have been out to test drive, ESP kicks in as it should, ASR works and ABS works !!!!! Waited a couple of hours an went out again, still no problems.

I am going round to my mate tommorrow and get him to check if the error codes have disappeared from the ECU.

Not going to bother cleaning the carpets und wax the leather seats like I said in my last post (I'll save that for another day) but still gonna drink a beer or 2 to celebrate

So a big thx @ Artemis and Astacheva for the heads up and pointers without your input I probably would never have cured the problem

Peace Rock 'n' Roll everyone

P.S I might just go back to my Fiat dealer and tell them what a bunch of D.cks they are and point them in the direction of the Forum to learn something about the Stilo
You're most welcome mate - that's what the forum is here for. Glad we could get your sorted.

As for the Fiat dealer - dealers aren't much cop. They're technicians rather than mechanics. They're not really trained to think or learn - they're only taught to read the fault codes and follow the prescribed work procedures (i.e. eLearn).

When I bought my security code for my Abarth off the dealer the guy on the parts desk was convinced I was wasting my time and would never be able to code a key by myself - but he was more than happy to take my money and sell me the code!

10 minutes later I had recoded my original key (which had dropped it's code) and programmed an additional spare I bought off eBay.
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