Technical Confusing problems, please help

Currently reading:
Technical Confusing problems, please help

Lady Flava

New member
May 21, 2009
Hi all,

Sorry if this appears to be long winded, but the problems on this car seem to be numerous, although I'm sure they're all connected, but by what, no one seems to know!

First had a problem with my '04 2.0 JTD Eleganza, about a year ago, when it refused to start. It said it had an engine immobiliser fault. AA came out and checked and couldn't find any fault codes listed. A couple of days later the car seemed to have reset itself and started without any problems at all. All went well for a while, then one day I started it up, it ran for about 5 seconds, then died. Wouldn't start again, wouldn't even turn over. AA said the engine had siezed. I wasn't happy with the diagnosis, so it was towed to a garage who discovered the alternator had fused itself completely solid. As soon as that was disconnected the engine started first try and ran with no probelms whatsoever. One new alternator later and all seemed well. It's had no problems since then other than occasionally it will say anti pollution fault. But this always dissappears after a couple of miles, usually after a drive down a motorway.

Over the weekend, while I was driving it, the engine seemed to die, but then restarted itself and continued home without a problem. No warning lights or error messages displayed. It did it twice, one on saturday and one on sunday. Then on monday morning, it started, got about 800 yards then died, and came back to life. Continued for about another mile and died again but didn't restart itself. I pulled over, tried to restart, but it said engine immobiliser fault. After about 30 seconds it started, got a little way further and did it again. I took it to my usual garage, they put it on diagnostics, and this is where it gets interesting. They said the car was recording too many fault codes, even for things that they knew were definately not wrong. For one thing, it said there was no oil in the car at all, however the engine had ample oil. They thought it was a problem with the ECU. It's now been taken to an ECU specialist, who found that the relay for the glow plugs was completely burnt out. They replaced that, and fixed the wiring that was also burnt, but the car still cuts out randomly. It doesn't always come up with engine immobilser fault, and as far as the ECU is concerned there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The garage where it is now seem to think that it could be the ECU has recieved some kind of power surge, possibly when my car was used to jump start my mum's car last week, and it's caused it to have some sort of nervous breakdown. Or there is the possibility that when the new stereo was fitted there was a short of some kind. However they also said it could be the BSI (I think that's what they called it, they also referred to it as the body control unit) which is at fault.

Basically, we are now at the point where they're stabbing in the dark so to speak, with no idea where the actual problem is, and we don't have the limitless funds for them to carry on replacing random parts till they get it right. They have said that it's definately an electrical problem, but it's a matter of finding where that problem is. If we replace the ECU and it turns out to be the other thing, then we don't have the money to replace that as well. I would like to know if anyone has had this problem with thier own car, or if anyone has even heard of this problem and how to fix it? Everyone I've spoken to in relation to this, even Fiat themselves seem to be completely mystified by it, and any help anyone can give me on this would be deeply appreciated.

Last edited:
Sorry, should have said it's the manual diesel, and when the engine dies, it's as though the ignition has been turned off rather than a stall. Also no warning lights come on at all, and it will die whether it's accelerating, decelerating or idling. Also, the fuse boxes and the ECU have been checked for water damage and are totally clear.

Another point is that the relay module for the glow plugs had come out of it's housing and was basically swinging freely, and we know that it was shorting out against the body work, or anything else metal that it was near.

Last edited:
Sounds like you have an earthing fault.When the glow plug relay burnt out as it burnt through the wirng as well?
Could be the ECU did it not show up on the ecu test
It's been put on many diagnostics now, and each time it appears as though the ecu doesn't know what caused the engine to die. There was a loose earth wire that was fixed back in place, but that was on monday, and since then the problem has only gotten worse. The guy who's been working on the car seems to think that the relay burnt out when the alternator fused, as it's directly connected to it, or at least that's what he told me. Other than that, we're all out of ideas, and they basically said it's a trial and error process of replacing random parts throughout the electrics, starting with the ecu.
We have a similar problem ourselves - our car just died on Wed night ten minutes after i parked it. Refused to start, was not even trying to turn over. Breakdown people came out tried to start it and eventually did so by bye-passing the wiring between the ignition and starter motor I think he said it was..... they came back the following day and took it away to local garage who have now spent 2 days running diognistic tests on it to no avail. There were no warniing signs coming up at all, and there still aren't. I have electric, the full ignition is coming on, radio, lights etc. However they have said that they cant even access any of the computers, apparently its like the whole car has shut down, each time they try to test it they cant get anywhere. Its now a case of sitting tight and waiting for some more news on Tuesday hopefully. Im gutted, we only bought it 2weeks ago today, it has only done 48000 miles, is also a 2.0 JTD but is an automatic not manual. Had researched lots before buying it and not found anything like this, now i cant believe I have found somebody else in the same situation. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Once i get any more news back i shall post on here again.
Right, another update! Since the garage changed the burnt out relay, the car has now started producing smoke before it cuts out, which appears to be coming from the general area of the battery compartment. It wasn't left running for long enough to see if it was actually in the battery compartment, but there was definately smoke, and a smell of burning. As soon as I turned the engine off, the smoke went away, along with the smell. The fuses have all been checked and appear to be fine (correct amp fuses fitted in the correct places according to the fuse diagram in the owners manual), and there is no earthing problem as this has been checked aswell. We are no nearer to figuring out the cause of all the trouble, but just seem to be racking up symptoms like there's no tomorrow. Although I think it's safe to say, with some degree of certainty, that it's clearly now a wiring problem. None of the fuses have blown, and it would appear that the relay box is still in good condition. Beyond that, no one seems to have any clue as to what this is all about.
Ok, discount the smoke issue, we found out that the AA guy who attended the car on monday, overfilled the oil. Although the car still seems to think it has no oil in it whatsoever. Also the fuel filter has been changed, as to our knowledge this hadn't been done for a while. It was a bit dirty, but nothing major. We are now wondering if maybe the oil sensor not detecting oil would cause the engine to shut down? Is it maybe a safety feature to cut the engine if it detects no oil to prevent it siezing? We know that fuel is running through the engine, so does that discount the injectors? Also is it possible that a problem somewhere on the exhaust system is causing the engine to cut out? We've been thinking it may be something to do with that particulate filter?
Hi, I came across something similar on a Ford Mondeo (petrol)a couple of years ago, would completely shut down for no reason, all sorts of tests showed nothing, no fault codes being stored etc, eventually traced to a sensor wire near the exhaust, when it got hot enough the wire sagged and earthed, ecu not recorded it as fault as thought the ignition was turned off. If I remember it was from the flywheel sensor, apparently Ford re routed the wire as a result of this incident. may be something similar, intermitten faults are a pure b...ard to diagnose. hope this may help,
Thanks for that, will definately be having a look into that possibility, as you said though, these intermittent faults have got to be the worst. But when the engine dies, it's exactly as if it's been turned off rather than stalling, as you've said, and the ecu seems to think everything's normal, so will def add it to the list of possibles to go through.