Technical Death Trap

Currently reading:
Technical Death Trap

flowerday

New member
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
4
my 1.6 stilo randomly decides to switch off/on all or some of the electical items. For example, can be driving along and sudenly lights go out, sterering fails, air con comes on, dash board goes dead, windscreen wipers stop. Several times we can turn the key off, take the key out of the ignition, and the engine still runs!! The time and date reset to Jan 1st

My wife is a nurse who works at night and the above problems have made her lose complete confidence in the safety of the car. She is right - she could be driving at night, in the rain, and all this happens - it will one day coarse significant death - theblame will laid at FIAT's door (as I have reported it both to FIAT and wth Dealer who do nto seem bothered)

Have looked at Forum before (as FIAT dealers all deny or suggest and thing "checked the computer" they say - idiots) and picked up hint of the D4 connector, which I assume has the CAN bus on it somewhere, and have used contact cleaner on it. But problems come back - any further help?

Adrian
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
1,621
Location
RAF Henlow
There's a guide for the D4 here with a link to other D4 related pages. Not sure whether it'd be the D4 causing trouble myself, but then I'm an electrical vortex when it comes to auto-electrics. You'll need to speak to the all knowing Oracle who we call Deckchair :D I'm sure he'll be able to help, he's a freakin genius (y)
 

T14086

Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Messages
39,858
Location
Preston
My wife is a nurse who works at night and the above problems have made her lose complete confidence in the safety of the car. She is right - she could be driving at night, in the rain, and all this happens - it will one day coarse significant death - theblame will laid at FIAT's door (as I have reported it both to FIAT and wth Dealer who do nto seem bothered)

Have looked at Forum before (as FIAT dealers all deny or suggest and thing "checked the computer" they say - idiots) and picked up hint of the D4 connector, which I assume has the CAN bus on it somewhere, and have used contact cleaner on it. But problems come back - any further help?

Dealers (therefore techs) are idiots? Have you any idea how many are members here & how much they contribute.

Unless you leave the car at a garage for thorough testing theres not much they can do as I gather the fault is intermittent.However telling us year of car might help.

If I was you i'd start looking for water leaks at *** ********** as it drips onto **** ******** producing exact faults you describe.
 

Deckchair5

Whaddya mean too old?
Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
5,607
Location
Roman city Bath
Sounds pretty horrific and I wouldn't drive it until it's fixed.
I would only drive it around somehwhere quiet to encourage the fault to occur and make notes of what happens in detail

It could be a very simple fix and it sounds like it's D4 connector as prime suspect in there somewhere and rear dashboard gauge connectors mayeb too but maybe other electrical faults like bad earth

When systems come on or go off on their own then systems are going open circuit (losing connection) and the electricity is finding another way to earth

Has it been in floods or has anyone pressure washed the engine bay recently?

Intermittent faults are a problem to sort for anyone including techs. They can't cure a fault if it isn't there so as you're the only one experiencing them then make a detailed note of what and when things happen. Particlularly, is it or has it been raining when it happens?

For instance,
Has it just started doing this?
How long have you had the car before it started happening?

For example, can be driving along and sudenly lights go out, sterering fails, air con comes on, dash board goes dead, windscreen wipers stop. Several times we can turn the key off, take the key out of the ignition, and the engine still runs!! The time and date reset to Jan 1st

Does this all happen at the same time or is this different events?

picked up hint of the D4 connector, which I assume has the CAN bus on it somewhere, and have used contact cleaner on it. But problems come back
So did it cure it initially?

Like i said, you're the only on experiencing this so the more information you can provide the better. You need to see a dealer. or good Fiat based auto electrician. If you're not happy with the one you have then go elsewhere but you've got to be prepared to leave the car for them to do test runs and checks
 
Last edited:

Argonought

It's about GO! not SHOW!
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
7,593
Location
POOLE, Dorset
Not much to add to Decks very thorough reply (y)

I'd say bad earth is the most likely culprit although it wont be the main earthing point as the car can be started.

Not sure if D4 or the ECU are capable of clearing the clock but this is something I'd want to investigate. :chin:
 

PNL

Banned
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
17,870
Location
In my house
I know someone who had the problem with the car still running when the key was taken out, they had a new ECU which fixed the problem

WE owned a car that used to switch its self off as well did it once to me at 80mph on a motorway :eek: :eek: :eek: that was the ECU as well and a new one solved the problem ..
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
1,621
Location
RAF Henlow
A mate of mine from work had an old mini that had just a minor problem. At motorway speeds and the vibrations that a mini is often prone to, the keys use to shake free and fall out of the ignition. Next thing you know, you're doing 70 odd with no keys in, engine running and, and this is the best part, the steering lock on!! :eek:
 

Irishfan

New member
Joined
Nov 10, 2005
Messages
9
Thank you for the information. My car did this on saturday night, I wasn't driving it at the time but I thought I was hearing things and thought that the driver must be exaggerating !! Death trap is a good description for this.
 
OP
OP
F

flowerday

New member
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
4
Hi - it is my car

Thanks for the feedback - apologies to FIAT techicians who care enough to make replies - its the dealers that I find frustrating.

I have left car with dealer (Wilsons Epsom) who could not repeat fault, pulled dashboard apart for loose connections with no results, and said "they had never had any electrical problems with Stilo's" - they checked the cars "computer" which did not report any faults - so must be OK!

To try and answer some of the comments:
When I saw this problem last year, I looked on FIAT forum and got the hint about potential D4 connector - which I disconnected and sprayed contact cleaner on, and the problem went away. Great I thought, problem solved

Then this year came, and problems started (is it a change in weather temperatures??) - Rain or water does not seem to be a factor - it has been dry over the last few weeks.

All the things I describe either happen all at the same time, or a combination of - Whilst driving last Saturday all electrics seems to stop, rpm and speedo were "stuck" at about 2000rpm/24mph - radio dead, AC dead, no hazards/indocators, brake lights, wipers, etc, Date/milgae panel dead - engine still running - stopped and took out keys - engine still running - I then stalled the car to stop the engine, and then proceeded to open bonnet, and bash hard on the panel covering the battery/fuses - then electrics come to life, with time/date reset (and AC on full power!). This happened twice within 4 miles.

Later I tried checking each wire anywhere near Fusebox, battery and D4 - thinking that by wiggling one of them the fault would appear - but alas no! - I have driven it 200 miles today with no sign of fault - but then it will attack any time, and keep re-occuring sometimes within 5 minutes. So to give it to a garage to "test run" will require me losing the car potentially for several weeks - and they will need to continuously use the car - who is going to do that?

Also, for a while after this (several days) the Engine fault warning comes on when I start the car - I disconnected the battery earth and replaced it and the fault status went away

Can you recommend a good FIAT electrician who knows about these things?

It is close to being sold! - apart from this fault, we do actually like the car!

Does FIAT have a team I can send this to?
 

Argonought

It's about GO! not SHOW!
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
7,593
Location
POOLE, Dorset
Later I tried checking each wire anywhere near Fusebox, battery and D4 - thinking that by wiggling one of them the fault would appear - but alas no! - I have driven it 200 miles today with no sign of fault - but then it will attack any time, and keep re-occuring sometimes within 5 minutes. So to give it to a garage to "test run" will require me losing the car potentially for several weeks - and they will need to continuously use the car - who is going to do that?
Sounds like you've got the right idea but I suspect the problem is a lot simpler than you mighty suppose.

I'd strip everything in the area of D4 out completely. What you should be looking for are suspect earth connections which go back to the chassis of the car.
 

Deckchair5

Whaddya mean too old?
Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
5,607
Location
Roman city Bath
Yes I'd do the same, as you know where the problem is- in the D4 area. I'd check all connectors there and make sure they're like new. Put a new main earth lead on the car. Do you have a battery cover? This can make all the difference to wet weather problems. Check each fuse and their holders for corroded contacts.
 
OP
OP
F

flowerday

New member
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
4
Thanks guys for feedback and advice

Yes I have battery cover - have taken it on and off enough times! - problem has occured in dry weather, and we have not washed the car recently (although I am aware that it is water in that area of the car over a period of time that probably is the cause for everyone's connector problems)

Where is the main earth lead? Can I get circuit diagrams from anywhere?

I have now driven it 400 miles, and she is behaving - it maybe as I wiggled every wire I could get my hands on. I also pulled fuses in/out, and some of the relays - I also notice there is a large multi-way connector going to the fuse panel which I have not disconnected and cleaned (just wiggled it) - I will try and disconnect that if I can get my hands in and check the contacts

On another note - does anyone know about a dead spot when slightly touching the accelerator - especially when on a hill - dealer told me that it was "normal" as it uses a digital pot to detect movement, and that it may be a setting in the ECU that may need changing - can I change to a cable???

Thanks all
 

Deckchair5

Whaddya mean too old?
Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
5,607
Location
Roman city Bath
Where is the main earth lead?
That's the thick black one connecting your battery directly to the engine

Can I get circuit diagrams from anywhere? Ebay has a few for under £10. eLearn seems a pretty good favourite on the forum

does anyone know about a dead spot when slightly touching the accelerator - especially when on a hill - dealer told me that it was "normal" as it uses a digital pot to detect movement, and that it may be a setting in the ECU that may need changing
No dead spots on mine. Couldn't stand that. Should be smooth change of resistance from the accelerator with no hiccups.

Could check if you've had the ECU update for your car. Might make a difference but get this major stuff sorted first as it will never settle down with such drastic stuff happening.


When it does - reset the ECU by disconnecting the battery overnight and let it relearn the best settings.

ACCELERATOR POTENTIOMETERS
You can check if the output from the accelerator is looking is good by just connecting a multi meter and checking the resistance (with all electrical power off) is smooth all the way up as someone depresses the accelerator. Any dead areas or jumps in resistance will cause problems.
 
Top