General Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet 2008 - Startup Issue

Currently reading:
General Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet 2008 - Startup Issue


New member
Jun 10, 2023
West Sussex
I've had a 1.3 panda for a few years now and out i6f nowhere the car wouldn't turn over at all (I had used the car about 10 minutes before)

Diagnosed it as a starter motor issue, got a new one fitted and seemingly worked again.

But a week or two later the car wouldn't start again, with the engine not even cranking. After a lot of attempts it actually started like normal and and I managed to get the car home.

Would anyone know what this issue might be? As the starter motor did initially fix the car. Perhaps some sort of electrical issue?

Just a thought and it may not be the case, but does it sound like a flat battery or like the engine is almost "solid", what I would call a "hydraulic lock"? If so two things that can cause it are .
No.1 if you are losing water due to a head gasket issue, water leaking into cylinder that can be a cause, however if no water/coolant loss then unlikely.
No.2 a faulty injector can leak fuel into the combustion chamber whilst engine off and also cause the same problem. If this then probably on starting you may hear a temorary knock and some black smoke at exhaust may be noticed. Another symptom of this can be rising engine oil level and possible a diesel smell on the dipstick.
Either way, "bump or tow starting" can cause massive engine damage so avoid.
When this problem occurs if you are mechanically safely able to do this. With ignition off and key out, put a socket on the crankshaft pulley bolt and see if engine turns over easily in it's normal direction several revolutions. If it does then you can rule those issues out and look for cheaper causes, such as ignition switch, wiring, battery terminals, earthing etc.
However if engine appears to be "locked" then further investigation is required.
Sounds like

Battery or battery terminals are dirty,

Put the dome light on and observe what happens when it's not cranking

But more likely to be

The chassis rail to gearbox earth lead (most likely by the amout of others that have had this issue)


The ignition switch (I have had two fail but very few others have)

Both are fairly easy to diagnose with a test light or multi meter

Earth lead test here at 2 minuites

You can sometimes tell by watching the oil pressure warning light on the dash, if the light normally comes on with the ignition and doesn't goes out until the engine has built up some pressure by turning over. If it changes and goes out without the engine turning over you have a bad block ground. I don't have the diesel to check.

At the 1 minute mark he test the start motor s post, this is the small brown wire on my car, this will receive no power while cranking if the ignition switch is faulty
Last edited:
The diesel starter motor has a strange (my opinion anyway) setup with main power and the solenoid trigger wire.

Main power is two big eyelets crimped on to the heavy power cables. One comes form battery the other goes off to the alternator. All housed in a fancy plastic connector block. The trigger wire has a thin but large diameter ring that sits on the starter end of that bock. It's all held on by a nut on the end and plastic cap. If you do not correctly align that block the trigger ring wont touch the motor and it wont know you are asking the solenoid to pull in.

Main earth is easy. Connect a jump lead to battery negative with the other end to bare metal on the engine block. If it works better you have a bad main earth connection in the car.
Last edited:
The problem is the OP said at the beginning of the thread that he had the issue before and after fitting a new starter and said "After a lot of attempts it actually started like normal".
Which is why in my reply, at the beginning of the the thread I put the suggestion of something easy to check and hopefully rule out as a possible cause, so that the OP could carry on checking the very valid suggestions put forward by others on Forum.:)
Whilst not common "hydraulic lock" is something I have come across several times and it gives similar symptoms of engine not wanting to turn over, but by repeated turning of the key can push whatever fluid is causing the problem either past the piston or out the exhaust valve, at which point the engine will turn over enough to start, although the extra strain can destroy the starter motor (and sometimes the battery) or if "tow started" has been known to destroy the engine by bending a con rod etc.
Hopefully the OP will be able to tell us what the answer was and increase the database of knowledge here on Forum to everyone's advantage.:)
Appreciate all of the speedy replies

Apologies I should have mentioned I did initially have the battery looked at, and all of this has to be removed in order to get to the starter motor. I had a mechanic friend do this for me and didn't spot any other issues with the battery or any of the wires/cables.

I must admit I'm not very knowledgeable about this sort of thing but I will pass on the suggestions to him as he'll be working on the car

Can certainly let this forum know the answer when it is diagnosed and fixed

Thanks again